Service, Worship, Events to Honor Dr. King

published 1/6/2015
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton will speak at a Martin Luther King Day observance at 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 18. The annual event, sponsored by the Pittsburgh and Greensburg districts, will be at Monroeville UM Church.   Special music will be provided by the choir from Calvary UMC in McKeesport; the Robert Harper Men’s Chorus from Coraopolis UMC; the bell choir of First UMC in West Newton and the Bethany House Drummers.  The United Methodist Church celebrates Human Relations Day on the Sunday before ...

Parks' New CD Benefits Homestead Ministry

published 12/24/2014
Streets replete with untold stories Buried dreams and hidden glories Some hearts warm and others broken Some prayers voiced and some unspoken   We are joined in our addiction Some to wine and some to fiction Scattered lives in search of center Drawn to depths we rarely enter   The suburbs intersect the street In this haven of commingled souls And nothing ever tastes so sweet As sacred food in simple bowls Poverty and privilege meet On common ground of what’s perceived as true Unlikely saints, we...

More Churches Offer Blue Christmas Services

published 12/17/2014
For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job or even good health, the Christmas season can be bittersweet. In United Methodist churches in Western PA and elsewhere, there is a growing attentiveness to the needs of people who are blue at Christmas. Each year, more churches are creating sacred space for people living through dark times. Services referred to as Blue Christmas or Longest Night services are reflective, accepting where people really are, and holding out ...

Teen Launches Hats of Hope Project for Cancer Patients

published 12/12/2014
-By Leslie Spehar- When Joseph Totin couldn’t find a scarf to wear for the first day of hunting season, he decided to try to knit one himself.  A senior at New Castle Junior/Senior High School, the 18-year-old is a self-described do-it-yourselfer. As he was watching instructional videos on YouTube to teach himself to knit, he started thinking about his mother who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March and was undergoing chemotherapy. It occurred to him that he could knit hats for ...

Pianist Still Strikes a Chord at 100

published 12/8/2014
     Rhea Hornyak was just eight years old when she began playing piano for Bethany United Methodist Church in Portage, PA. That was 92 years ago and she’s still tickling the ivories each week during worship.     Hornyak  turned 100 on November 29.  “I think the secret of a long life is to not worry,” she said. “I made up my mind a long time ago that if I’m going to pray and ask God to help me, then it’s an insult to the Lord to keep worrying. I give it all to the Lord.”     With just one year ...

Bible Study Helps Vets at WVU, Churches

published 12/3/2014
--By Renee Elder-- Entering college after a tour of military duty is a little like stepping into another world. “There’s a feeling of being isolated when you come back,” said Timothy Woody, who spent six years as a member of the Air Force Reserve with tours in the Middle East before starting college at West Virginia University in 2009. “You try to reintegrate, but you have people asking you about military service a lot, so you’re forced to revisit it; sometimes that is something you want to ...

Celebrating Christmas with a Fijian Flair

published 12/3/2014
Christmas worship at Point Marion UMC will be a little different this year. The December 14 service at the church in Fayette County will feature music sung by a Fijian choir in the native Fijian language. The tiny borough, located between Uniontown, PA and Morgantown, WV, had a population of just over 1300 as of the census of 2000, but that number is growing as more and more native Fijians have moved there to work in the shale gas industry.  Many of those immigrants attend worship at Point ...

Credit Union Offers Tips for Holiday Season

published 12/3/2014
Between shopping for presents and wrapping all of them, baking special goodies, planning and attending gatherings, and addressing and mailing Christmas cards, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most stressful time for many of us. Add in reduced daylight hours and plunging temperatures and the combination has the potential to really bring out our inner Scrooge. If Christmastime leaves you feeling more frazzled than festive, Keystone United Methodist Federal Credit Union has some ...

GCFA Continues Sanctions Against East Africa Bishop

published 11/26/2014
The board of The United Methodist Church’s finance agency is taking separate actions against two African bishops over financial and accounting issues. Some relate to issues raised by the Western PA Conference regarding use of $100,000 given to the East Africa Conference.  In one instance, the General Council on Finance and Administration board decided Nov. 21 that the finance agency will withhold funds from East Angola Area Bishop José Quipungo’s episcopal office until he provides “a ...

Help Make Mission VIMpossible!

published 11/21/2014
-By Leslie Uriss Spehar- Scholarships for Volunteers in Mission trips (VIMships) have been available for several years through the Western PA Conference, but the supply has been limited due to lack of resources. To increase the number of VIMships available, the Conference Volunteers in Mission leadership team has launched a fundraising plan that will enable them to assist people who feel called to the mission field.  They are on a mission to make the impossible VIMpossible. The costs ...

Churches Welcome All for Thanksgiving Meals

published 11/19/2014
-By Jackie Campbell- In many communities across Western PA, United Methodist churches open their doors on Thanksgiving Day to welcome friends and neighbors for a Thanksgiving feast. It’s a love gift  and a way to see that no one has to be without a “family”meal on the holiday.  At Beulah Park UMC in McKeesport, church youth, seniors, families and community volunteers help to prepare a community meal. Several families rearranged their family dinners in order to help at the church.   “We are ...

Camp Dean Sets Sites on New Telescopes

published 11/18/2014
During the past 20 years, Rev. Dale Shunk, who serves as co-dean of an Astronomy, Rocketry and Computer camp each summer, has placed professional grade telescopes at all three of the Western PA Conference camps. He's done it "in order for our campers, young and old, to enjoy an original and personal view of God’s creation," he said. Shunk's latest project was at Jumonville, where the camp purchased the newest edition of the Meade Telescope line called the Meade Light Switch or LS.   "This ...

Family Loss Leads to Thanksgiving Ministry

published 11/18/2014
By Leslie Uriss Spehar Family traditions are the foundation on which holiday celebrations are built. When those traditions change, for whatever reason, how we experience the holiday does as well. When Jeanne Cosgrove of Coraopolis UMC lost her mother and sister in 2011, the idea of celebrating anything seemed a daunting task. Cosgrove tried her best to create a festive atmosphere at Thanksgiving that year for her husband and two children, but when the meal was done and the dishes washed and ...

Missionary Requests Prayer for Peace in Jerusalem

published 11/18/2014
Conference missionary Tina Whitehead of Oakmont UMC is in the Holy Land, where tensions have been escalating in East Jerusalem.  She asks for prayers for peace and sent the following report of what she has experienced. I’ve been in Jerusalem for one month now and should have written long ago.  Where to start?  At present, the situation is very tense in East Jerusalem and has been since July.  While the world was focused on Gaza this summer, life in Jerusalem became more and more difficult.  ...

Conference Evangelist Named My Hope Coordinator

published 11/12/2014
Conference Evangelist John Zimmerman has been selected as the Pennsylvania coordinator for My Hope with Billy Graham. Regional coordinators were named across the nation this year to encourage local pastors in their efforts to share the Gospel. The My Hope organization on Nov. 7 released a new film called “Heaven,” which includes a never-before-seen message from Billy Graham that was filmed last year at his home in Montreat, N.C., as well as the impactful stories of writer and speaker Laurie ...

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