Conference News


Reynoldsville First UMC Welcomes "Strangers"

September 16, 2015
Rev. Tom Carr’s doorbell rang about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 and two young Japanese men, each pulling a cart behind him, asked if they could camp overnight on the lawn of First UMC in Reynoldsville. They were just passing through on Route 322 – walking from Los Angeles to New York. One, Ryuta Ishibe, loves soccer and is kicking a soccer ball throughout the six-month trek. Carr, the trustees who were meeting at the church that evening, and three women who had provided a meal after a funeral that ... read more

Why's It Hard to Talk About Race?

September 16, 2015
Shelly Tochluk, PhD, author of Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It, will facilitate an anti-racism workshop for Western PA clergy and laity at 10 a.m.,  Friday, Sept. 25 at Monroeville United Methodist Church. The workshop, intended for white people and people of color, is entitled “Why Is it Hard for White People to Talk About Race?”   “To begin honestly, we must discuss what may be the most challenging aspect of any discussion of race. We must deal with the ... read more

10 Represent WPAUMC at Health Forum

September 9, 2015
Ten Western PA United Methodists engaged in health ministries are in Houston, Texas from Sept. 8-10 to learn about a new congregational health initiative called "Healthy Congregations, Healthy Communities." The initiative is being launched in a joint effort by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and Wesley Theological Seminary. The summit is be hosted and co-sponsored by Houston Methodist and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.... read more

Sept. 6: Join AME Effort to End Racism

September 2, 2015
After the racially motivated murders of nine people during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) in South Carolina, the bishops of the AME church met and reaffirmed their commitment to move the nation to “face, confront and act on the issue of race.” They declared Sunday, Sept. 6 as a “Day of Confession, Repentance, Prayer, and Commitment to end Racism,” and invited their partners in faith to focus and preach on race that day—to “be reminded that out of one blood, ... read more

Bishop to Join Muslim, Jewish Leaders on Panel

August 12, 2015
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton will join a representative of the Islamic University Center of Pittsburgh and Cleveland and a rabbi from Pittsburgh's South Hills for a panel discussion about three ancient faith traditions that share a common root, yet often seem distant from each other in today’s world.  It's scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at 7 p. m. at Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park.  Besides Bishop Bickerton, the panel will include: Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, leader of the Beth El... read more

PA Churches Event Focus: Mass Incarceration

August 12, 2015
The Pennsylvania Council of Churches will relaunch its annual conference, formerly known as the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Conference, as an event for clergy and laity the weekend of Oct. 23-25 at the Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg. A day of action at the Capitol will follow on Monday, Oct. 26.   The conference, Lord, Let Our Eyes Be Opened: Breaking the Chains of Mass Incarceration, will be aimed at educating people of faith (clergy and laity) about America’s system of mass ... read more

Sunday School Class Movies Share God's Word

August 4, 2015
Sunday school at Hilltop United Methodist Church in Madison, PA has experienced a series of stops and starts. According to Jayne Sweet, who took over as head of the department in January, it’s all part of bringing 21st Century teaching practices and technology into their Sunday school program. A middle school and high school art teacher by profession, Sweet has introduced stop motion movie making as a way to help children learn Bible stories and share these stories with others. Stop motion ... read more

Silent Retreats Scheduled For Fall

July 29, 2015
But oh! God is in his holy Temple! Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen! --Habakkuk 2:20 MSG Conference Director of Discipleship Chris Kindle has scheduled two silent retreats in different locations for this fall: October 11-13 at Jumonville, near Uniontown,  and November 1-3 at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center, in Ludlow, PA. Silence does not come easy. "There is something counter-cultural in our intentional silence,"  Kindle said, noting that when the first retreats were scheduled last year, ... read more

Author Uses Mouse to Share God’s Love in New Book for Kids

July 22, 2015
Most people consider retirement a time to relax and take it easy, but don’t tell Pat Galbreath of First UMC in New Castle. As a new retiree and the author of a new book for children, she’s just getting started on what could prove to be a prolific writing career. Galbreath recently published her first book, Merry Mouse in Our Father’s House, about a little mouse who wanders into a church and learns about God’s love. The idea to write a book for children aged 3 to 8 came to her about 12 years ... read more

Youth 2015 Draws 4,500

July 15, 2015
Youth from seven Western PA churches, including 29 from the Youth Ministry Team and DuBois: Lakeside in the Indiana District, experienced four days of life-changing worship, learning, outreach and fun with about 4,500 other United Methodist young people at YOUTH 2015 in Orlando, FL.   Many youth expressed either hearing or confirming a call to ministry because of YOUTH 2015 (Y15), and others requested to be baptized when they returned home from the June 24-28 event in Orlando, said Michael ... read more

Ramp at Smith Center Built At Last!

July 8, 2015
Volunteers from Warren First UMC, the Youngsville Charge, and Russell UMC in the Kane District have been working for nearly a year to build a new handicap access ramp at the Ruth M. Smith Center in Sheffield, PA.  The Center, a national mission of the United Methodist Women organization, operates a day care program for area children and a personal care home for physically or mentally challenged individuals.  Before the volunteers could start work on the new ramp, they had to bring up to code ... read more

Crossroads Celebrates 40 Baptisms,105 Reaffirmations

July 1, 2015
--By Jackie Campbell-- The weekend of June 27-28 was described as powerful and glorious at Crossroads Church, where they celebrated the Sacrament of Baptism and the change that accepting Christ is making in the lives of 145 people.  At the four campuses, 40 individuals were baptized for the first time and 105 others reaffirmed their baptism.   “Many people shared why they were taking that step as they were in the water, creating a flow of testimonies to God's grace and goodness,” said the Rev.... read more

Hair Peace Charities Receives Foundation Grant

July 1, 2015
Hair Peace Charities is the recipient of a 2015 ministry grant from the United Methodist Foundation of Western PA. Bonny Diver, a member of Ingomar UMC,  is the founder and director of the organization. In the Foundation's July Fund Your Faith column, she tells the story of how the ministry began. It's a story of fighting fear with faith and finding peace. --By Bonny Diver (courtesy of UM Foundation of Western PA)-- I never dreamed I would hear the words, "I am sorry, you have cancer." I was 46... read more

Churches Respond to Emanuel Murders

June 24, 2015
--By Jackie Campbell-- Church bells tolled and candles were lit in many United Methodist churches across Western PA last Sunday as congregations remembered the victims of the racially motivated June 17 massacre of nine church members at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.   Some communities scheduled special ecumenical services and others focused attention on the racial divide and gun violence in their own communities. Discussions and planning continues in ... read more

Mission Fellow Called to Help Others

June 24, 2015
--By Leslie Uriss Spehar-- When you talk with Katy Wrona, several things become immediately apparent. This young woman is smart, energetic, and driven. Wrona is a Global Mission Fellow, currently working with Open Doors Inc. in the Mobile District of Alabama. At  23 years old, she has a maturity beyond her years and a deeply rooted passion to help others. Wrona’s interest in mission work began as a teen after she joined the youth group at Bethel United Methodist Church in Lower Burrell. With ... read more

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