Three District Superintendents To Retire

published 1/31/2018
--By Jackie Campbell, Communications Director-- Three Western PA District Superintendents have announced that they will retire from active ministry on June 30, 2018. They are: Butler DS Joel S. Garrett, Erie-Meadville DS Joseph Patterson and Pittsburgh DS Paul Taylor.    “They all possess great skills and gifts for the Church and we will miss them around the table," said Bishop Cynthia Moore Koikoi. "Retirement will allow all three to focus more on their families and other matters." But, she ...

Greensburg District Clergy Rise Against Hunger

published 1/29/2018
In lieu of a Christmas party in December, Greensburg District clergy families gathered for an "Epiphany" party in late January to "Rise Against Hunger." About 35 active and retired clergy and family members formed assembly lines and packed more than 10,000 meals in less than two hours at Charter Oak UMC.    Instead of the usual dinner and entertainment, we promoted global heath and focused on ministry with the poor," said Greensburg District Superintendent Pat Nelson. "Rev. Donna Gabler, and ...

Somerset Pastor on Jeopardy

published 1/24/2018
Rev. Eric Raygor, pastor of Somerset Grace UMC and co-chair of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, can add a new line to his bio: Jeopardy contestant. He appeared Wednesday, Jan. 24 on the popular, long-running game show airing at 7 p.m.  In June 2016, after answering a 50-question online test the show uses to find contestants, Raygor was invited to a live audition in Pittsburgh that included a written test and a mock competition with host Alex Trebek asking the questions. "They don't ...

Whitehead Can't Stay in Holy Land

published 1/24/2018
Tina Whitehead, who has served as a volunteer Conference missionary in the Holy Land for several months each year since 2006, is back in Western Pennsylvania after experiencing difficulties entering Israel. Whitehead, who has shared her experiences in classes at Mission u, the Annual Conference Lay Academy, and at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University Osher Institute programs, sent the following note to those from the Conference who have supported her missionary efforts. ...

MLK 50th Anniversary Service

published 1/23/2018
Rev. Raphael Koikoi, who serves as the Upper Allegheny Valley Director of Ministry and Community Development, will be the speaker at a Jan. 28 service celebrating the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr.   Martin Luther King Jr.  The 3 p.m., Sunday service at Bethel United Methodist Church in Lower Burrell will mark the 50th anniversary of the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Association of Churches' event honoring Dr. King.  "The interfaith service was started by local pastors and NAACP leaders after Dr....

Bishop Offers Camping Initiative Grants

published 1/22/2018
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has launched a grant program to help small membership churches start innovative programs to involve people in camping and retreat ministries. Fifteen grants of $1,000 each will be awarded to congregations who submit the most creative ideas to involve church and community members in camping or retreat programs that address the Conference's five areas of focus.  Applications are due Feb. 15, and grants will be awarded in the Spring/Summer of 2018. "Because ...

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

published 1/22/2018
As part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will join other Pittsburgh area Christian leaders for an Ecumenical Ministerial Eucharist on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1700 Bower Hill Road; Pittsburgh, PA 15243.  The Rev. Alina Kanaski, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), serves this Lutheran congregation. The United Methodist Council of Bishops is urging all United Methodists to join with other Christians ...

Creating Community in Diverse World

published 1/15/2018
The work of creating a community where diverse people can work together and live in harmony is difficult and messy, but God gave us the ability to do it, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi said during a Martin Luther King Day Unity breakfast at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh’s North Hills. The Genesis 11 story of the Tower of Babel, “teaches us that diversity is from God,” she said. “It also teaches us that diversity makes it hard to get things done!” In the scripture (Gen. 11: 1-9), God intervenes when...

Churches Provide A Home for Christmas

published 1/9/2018
2017 was a tough year for little TJ Anderson and his family. The apparently healthy 5-year-old experienced severe stomach pain last April and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Doctors determined that to survive he would need a full liver transplant and the waiting began. T.J. started kindergarten, but could only attend for one day. He turned 6 in October.     In late November, the Andersons got the call that a liver was available. T.J. and his mother Anna jumped on an Angel Medical ...

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

published 1/8/2018
United Methodist leaders and churches will be involved in services and events celebrating the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 14 and 15, 2018. The federal holiday, held on the Monday nearest his birthday, honoring the preacher who in 1964 at age 35 became the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  He was selected for his nonviolent leadership of the U.S. civil rights movement. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will be the keynote speaker at the 18th annual Martin...

Gottschalk to Lead Ministry in Bahamas

published 12/19/2017
The Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, the Mission and Volunteers in Mission (VIM) coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Conference since October, 2013, will begin serving as executive director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat sometime in  January, 2018.    Headquartered in Eleuthera, Bahamas Methodist Habitat hosts U.S. VIM teams and coordinates the VIM and Disaster Response ministries for all of the Bahamas Methodist Church. The independent Methodist denomination has congregations and ministries across...

Disabilities Team Supports McGuire Group Home Plans

published 12/18/2017
Members of the Conference Disability Concerns Committee and other United Methodist clergy and church members in Beaver and Lawrence counties are urging officials in the borough of Koppel to approve plans to build of group homes for  people with disabilities.  McGuire Memorial, a faith-based non-profit headquartered in New Brighton, has proposed building homes offering one-floor living for individuals with mild to severe disabilities in the borough. McGuire's Community Home Program currently has...

A Prayer for the New Year 2018

published 12/17/2017
At the start of each year, members of the Western Pennsylvania-East German Conference Partnership offer a Prayer for the New Year. The prayer is prepared in alternate years by a member of the partnership committee in Western PA or in Germany so that congregations in both areas can unite in prayer on the first Sunday of the year or another Sunday in January.  It may also be used by individuals or groups as the Spirit leads. The 2018 prayer was composed by the Rev. Lutz Bruckner, an East German ...

True Meaning of Christmas Tour Stops in Ebensburg!

published 12/14/2017
Anyone looking for the true meaning of Christmas got a glimpse when a big red tour van pulled up in front of the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg on Dec. 14 offering free hot cocoa, a chance to help neighbors, and an invitation to connect with a faith community. The van, resembling a giant wrapped gift, is visiting 16 states this month as part of The United Methodist Church's “The True Meaning of Christmas Tour”. It will was the centerpiece of the festivities from noon until 3 p.m. in ...

Bishops: Oppose Gambling in Your Community

published 12/1/2017
Pennsylvania’s three United Methodist bishops have signed a letter urging United Methodists who oppose expansion of gambling in their communities to contact their local government officials and request they pass a resolution banning mini-casinos within their borders. The resolutions must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by Dec. 31, 2017.   In late October, both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill that significantly expands opportunities for gambling ...

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