Orientation to Ministry Draws 45; New Dates Set

published 1/15/2014
About 45 people attended an orientation to ministry event sponsored by the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry on January 4, 2014 at St. Paul's UMC in Allison Park.  Representing all 10 districts, they came to find out more about ordained, licensed and set-apart ministry within the United Methodist Church.  Speakers included Rev. Jeffrey Sterling and Rev. Amy Wagner, co-chairs of the Board; Faith Geer, Administrative Director of St. Paul's; Louise Patterson, CLM and Chair of the Conference ...

SPARK 14 Rocked! 200 Commit to Christ

published 1/15/2014
By Jackie Campbell About 500 youth and their leaders attended SPARK last weekend, with at least 200 youth coming forward for a commitment to Christ, according to Conference Youth Director Renaye Hoffman. There were 17 students that came forward for the call to ministry, she added.    “From my perspective, the event was wonderful,” Hoffman said. “The youth were fun, yet well-mannered and kind.  The dodge-ball tournament was a lot of fun; karaoke was rocking as always, and the photo booth, ...

Newsmaker Profile: Rev. Patricia Nelson

published 1/8/2014
The Rev. Patricia Nelson has been selected by Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton to serve as the next superintendent of the Greensburg District. She shared some thoughts after the appointment, effective July 1, was announced. By Jackie Campbell When the Rev. Pat Nelson joined the pastoral staff of First UMC in Butler in February of 2010, it was primarily to focus on congregational care for the large multi-site church. Her ministry involved working with and supervising 12 to 15 ministry teams who “...

Newsmaker Profile: Rev. Paul D. Taylor

published 1/8/2014
Paul D. Taylor, pastor of Bethel UM Church in Lower Burrell, has been selected to serve as superintendent of the Pittsburgh District beginning July 1. He recently shared some of his journey with Christ. By Jackie Campbell The Rev. Paul Taylor received what he describes as a Samuel-like call to ministry when he was a junior in college.  “I rejected it,” he says. “Really I was not very happy with God.  My father (Arthur James Taylor) had died in an industrial accident before I turned 16.” ...

Newsmaker Profile: Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr.

published 1/8/2014
By Jackie Campbell After eight years as superintendent of the Greensburg District and five years as dean of the Cabinet, the Rev. William B. Meekins Jr. said his role will be a lot different when he becomes the assistant to Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton on July 1. “The assistant to the Bishop is not supposed to to have opinions,” he joked. “The assistant is supposed to represent the Bishop.” While he will represent the Bishop on many occasions, in reality, Bishop Bickerton said one reason he ...

Bishop Names New Assistant, Two Superintendents

published 1/6/2014
By Jackie Campbell Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton has named two new district superintendents and an assistant to the bishop for the 2014-15 Conference year that begins July 1. The Rev. Patricia Nelson, associate pastor at Butler First UMC, will serve as superintendent of the Greensburg District, replacing the Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr., who will become assistant to the Bishop after serving the maximum eight years as a superintendent. The Rev. Paul Taylor, pastor of Bethel UMC in Lower Burrell, ...

UM Foundation Grant Helps Ramp Ministry Grow

published 1/2/2014
By Debbie Hills* Three years ago a new mission outreach program called Ramps of Hope had built a handful of ramps at the homes of people who otherwise could not afford one. These ramps allowed people affected by physical disabilities a safe way to come and go from their homes. As the program became better known in the community, more and more requests were received, and the limited resources of our churches were being stretched way beyond their breaking points. As the director of this new ...

Bishop Bickerton Reflects on the Life of Nelson Mandela

published 12/6/2013
Today I have been reflecting on the life and work of Nelson Mandela. My family and I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting and hearing Mandela speak when he made a surprise visit to the Council of Bishops' meeting in Mozambique in 2006. His wife, Graca Machel, really stole the show that night when she shared with us that the reason she and her husband came to the Council meeting was to say thank you. You see, she was born in a United Methodist hospital, taught in a United Methodist school, ...

Western PA Group Among 429 Exploring Ministry

published 11/20/2013
Speaker after speaker told the 429 young adults gathered to explore ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church that God is calling them to go change the world and the church.  “This is not your momma and daddy’s church. We have to be about making disciples, not members,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey told those attending Exploration 2013 in Denver, Colo.  Among the participants were 15 young adults from Western PA accompanied by the Revs. Keith Dunn and Alyce Weaver Dunn and Janet Lord.  ...

Bishops Take Action After Same-Sex Ceremony

published 11/15/2013
Press Release: Following the action of a retired bishop to conduct a same-gender ceremony in violation of church law, the United Methodist Council of Bishops took a series of actions to address the issue during their annual meeting this week in Lake Junaluska, N.C. The Council requested that Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council, and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference file a complaint regarding Bishop Melvin Talbert’s action, for “undermining the ministry of...

Bishop Shares Good News on Imagine No Malaria

published 11/14/2013
 LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — Pittsburgh Area Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton told the Council of Bishops today that the Imagine No Malaria campaign has raised nearly $60 million toward its goal to eradicate the disease in Africa. “It is all good news,” said Bickerton, who leads the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. The United Methodist Church hopes to raise $75 million for the effort by 2015. “We have the end of this campaign in our sights and we believe we have the roadmap to get us there,” ...

Delegate Count for GC2016 Gives WPAUMC 12

published 11/14/2013
The new delegate count for General Conference 2016 will give the Western PA Conference 12 delegates—6 clergy and 6 laity—to the denomination’s policy-making body.  The total number of delegates was reduced from nearly 1,000 in 2012 to about 850 for 2016 by a vote of the Commission on the General Conference at its October 2013 meeting. General Conference Secretary L. Fitzgerald Reist released a list of numbers of delegates by annual conferences at the Council of Bishops meeting in Lake Junaluska....

Former Pittsburgh Pastor to Lead Bishops

published 11/14/2013
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., who leads the California-Nevada Conference, will be the next president of the Council of Bishops. Bishop Brown was ordained an elder in the Western PA Conference and served two Pittsburgh churches--Church of Our Savior from 1973-75 and Warren UMC from 1975-79--before transferring to California-Nevada.  Germany Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, now the council president, said Brown “really sees church unity as very challenging, but also very ...

UMC Agency Names Scholarship Winners

published 10/30/2013
The Office of Loans and Scholarships of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) has awarded a total of $5 million in award money to more than 2,500 students for the 2013-14 academic year.  Sixteen Western PA students received scholarships. Many others received loans. Offerings received on United Methodist Student Day (Nov. 24, 2013), World Communion Sunday and Native American Sunday help fund a portion of the loans and scholarships. The remaining funds for these ...

Anti-Poverty Efforts Increase in Connellsville Area

published 10/4/2013
A lot has been happening the past few months at Connellsville Area Community Ministries, which serves those struggling to make ends meet in an area where the poverty rate is the second highest in Pennsylvania. Chip Rowan, the new executive director, is re-establishing connections in the community where he grew up.  With the help of numerous volunteers, renovations are moving along well in the downtown storefront building that serves as a center for operations. And they’ve launched a Fall ...

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