Bishop Responds to Church Shootings

published 6/18/2015
In response to the killing of a pastor and parishioners during a bible study in the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton today urged Western Pennsylvania United Methodists to set aside significant time in worship this weekend for intentional prayer and intercession for the victims and families affected by the violence, the people of Charleston, and also the person who did the shooting.  Here is Bishop Bickerton's statement: As I write, I am watching the ...

Denman Awards Recognize Evangelism Efforts

published 6/17/2015
The Foundation for Evangelism each year works with annual conferences around the country to celebrate personal evangelism ministries of United Methodist clergy, lay persons, and youth by sponsoring the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The award is named after the founder of the Foundation who was recognized by Dr. Billy Graham for his love of Christ and his desire to see others come to know Him. Rev. Al Kimmel, registrar for the Denman Awards in Western PA, recognized the contributions of two ...

General Conference, NEJ Delegates Elected

published 6/16/2015
Twelve delegates, six clergy and six laity, were elected to represent Western Pennsylvania at the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, scheduled May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. The  General Conference, held every four years, brings together delegates from regional conference around the world to set policy for the denomination. An additional 12 delegates were elected to represent WPAUMC at the Northeast Jurisdictional Conference (NEJ) in Lancaster, PA from July 11-15. NEJ ...

Ministry With the Poor: Discover/Design/Do

published 6/16/2015
Many Christians are aware of those living in poverty in their own community or somewhere nearby.  They’d like to help, but they don’t know how.  A number of churches and some church-related agencies in Western Pennsylvania are actively in engaged in ministry WITH the poor.  During the Laity Academy at Annual Conference 2015, the WPAUMC Poverty Team facilitated two panel discussions where those in  ministry with the poor offered suggestions for churches that want to start ministries in their ...

Governor Waives Fees for Volunteer Clearances

published 6/10/2015
Harrisburg, PA - Governor Tom Wolf announced today that fees for child abuse clearances and criminal background checks required by the Child Protective Services Law will be waived for volunteers working with children. Additionally, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will be reducing the cost of both the child abuse and criminal history record checks from $10 to $8 for all other applicants. These changes will take effect July 25, 2015. In 2014, 23 ...

UM Foundation Awards 2015 Ministry Grants

published 6/9/2015
The United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania recently announced recipients of 2015 ministry grants totaling $45,550. They include 15 local churches, 11 agencies, and one district. These grants will enhance the potential and foster the growth of many people throughout the region. Ranging  from $500 to $4,500, the grants are directed to diverse programs that benefit all ages. Among them are a program that uses creative techniques for increasing worship attendance; cooperative ...

Blitz Build Provides Ramps in Erie-Meadville

published 6/8/2015
About 65 people from 20 churches worked together to build ramps to provide accessibility for residents of five homes in the Erie-Meadville District on Saturday, June 8.  It was the third annual Blitz Build for Ramps of Hope ministries in partnership with the District. See photo album  Rev. Debbie Hills, founder and executive director of the Ramps of Hope Ministry, said the volunteers were amazing, "working in the power of the Holy Spirit with true love and joy that can only be found through our...

Annual Conference To Focus on Leadership

published 6/4/2015
The 2015 Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference session will be held June 11-14, with a day of preparation June 10, at Grove City College. The session brings together about 1800 clergy and lay representatives of each church or charge to connect through  worship, fellowship and study and to conduct official business. This year’s theme is leadership.   During the session, voting members will elect 12 delegates to the United Methodist Church’s 2016 General Conference, where United Methodists from ...

Have Fun and Help Others on Red Nose Day

published 5/18/2015
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton is encouraging United Methodists around Western PA to wear big red noses this week – all in an effort to raise funds “to lift children out of poverty through the power of entertainment.” It is an outgrowth of a 25-year-old “Comic Relief” effort in the United Kingdom that has raised more than one billion pounds to aid in anti-poverty efforts. The Red Nose Day campaign in the U.S. began in April and culminates on Thursday, May 21 with a nationally televised comedy ...

Can Creations Aid Connellsville Food Pantries

published 4/28/2015
UPDATED May 4, 2015 --By Jackie Campbell-- Residents of the Connellsville area in southwestern Pennsylvania showed that a community effort CAN  go a long way toward easing hunger in an area where many are living in poverty.  Create to Donate, an interactive community competition, encouraged and rewarded support of the food pantry at Connellsville Area Community Ministries (CACM), a regional mission agency of the Western PA Conference. Businesses and organizations in the community were invited...

Bishop Delivers Historic Gift to Fight Malaria

published 4/22/2015
Bishop Thomas Bickerton and the Rev. Gary Henderson (right) present Dr. Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, with a gift for $9.6 million, a donation from Imagine No Malaria, an initiative of the people of The United Methodist Church to eliminate malaria deaths. Photo by Jay Mallin, UMNS   See more photos WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton today presented a historic donation from the people of The United Methodist Church to the Global Fund. The gift of $9.6 million ...

Bishops Endorse PA Non-Discrimination Act

published 4/22/2015
Pennsylvania's three United Methodist bishops have called on state lawmakers to pass legislation known as the Pennsylvania Non-Discrimination Act  during the current session. It would extend protections against discrimination guaranteed to most residents in the 60-year-old Human Relations Act to lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender individuals. A joint letter from Bishops Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, Jeremiah Park of the Susquehanna Conference and Thomas J. ...

Staff, Cabinet Set Goals to Strengthen Ministry

published 4/12/2015
--By Jackie Campbell-- After nine months of discussion and collaboration in large and small group meetings, Conference leaders and staff  have developed a plan with specific goals and action steps designed to strengthen United Methodist ministry in Western PA. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton described it as “a short-term strategic plan to get us into a healthier posture.  It includes goal-driven desired outcomes that staff and cabinet will begin to work on.” The Bishop launched the effort, which ...

Build on Strengths to Improve Effectiveness, Bishop Says

published 4/1/2015
Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Area traveled to Western Pennsylvania March 31 to help Conference staff and district superintendents learn more about leadership based on identified individual strengths and look at ways to build teams of people with different strengths for more effective ministry. Prior to the daylong session with Bishop Hagiya, the Cabinet, staff, and Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton used StrengthFinder 2.0, an assessment tool developed by Gallup, to identify their ...

Conference Supports UMC Ministry Worldwide

published 3/27/2015
Western Pennsylvania is among 25 of 57 annual conferences in the U. S. that paid 100 percent of their apportionments to support United Methodist Church connectional ministry throughout the world.   By Heather Hahn March 26, 2015 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) If The United Methodist Church had a “Paid in Full” rubber stamp, it would likely need more ink. That’s because — looking at recent  years at least — a record number of conferences have paid 100 percent of their apportionments, part of an ...

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