Community Supports Student Targeted on Social Media

published 2/27/2018
--By Jackie Campbell, Communications Director-- An unfounded rumor posted on social media in southwestern Pennsylvania just days after the mass shooting at Florida’s Parkland High School accused the son of the local United Methodist pastor of planning to shoot up Carmichaels Middle-Senior High School the following Monday. The post, which included a photo apparently taken by a classmate, went viral over a weekend. Parents reposted it, prompting multiple calls that sent local police to the home...

Latrobe UMC Presents J-Notes for Camping Initiative

published 2/26/2018
--By Liz Lennox-- During Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi's Day on the Greensburg District Day in mid-February, representatives from a Latrobe UMC Sunday School class presented her with a gift bag. Inside was a pile of one-dollar bills--308 of them--for her camping initiative. Each bill bore a printed seal with the letter J. Inspired by the Bishop’s “Leap of Faith” from a balcony at the 2017 Annual Conference, Ellen Piper of the Latrobe church knew that she wanted her active Sunday School class to ...

WPA Youth Elected to NEJ Board

published 2/26/2018
Two members of the Western PA Youth Ministry Team have been elected to leadership positions on the Northeastern Jurisdiction Council on Youth Ministry (NEJ CYM) for the 2018-19 school year.  At an NEJ CYM meeting held Feb. 23-24 at Concord UMC in Beaver Falls, Mollie Landman of West Newton and Herminie UMCs was elected to chair the group and Ally Benn of Lakeside UMC in DuBois was elected as Youth Service Fund coordinator. Amanda Gilligan, Western PA Conference Youth and Young Adult ...

Price Serving on Wespath Advisory Board

published 2/16/2018
Matthew Price, lead pastor of the South Hills Partnership of churches, is serving on the denomination's Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) inaugural Young Leaders Advisory Board (Y-LAB). Wespath is the UMC general agency responsible for administering benefits and investing retirement plan assets. Wespath created Y-LAB last year to engage and better serve young adults dedicated to the Church. Members are partnering with Wespath to identify gaps in connecting with young clergy and lay ...

Laity Invited to Stewardship Academy

published 2/14/2018
The United Methodist Foundation of Western PA invites laity to participate in a Laity Academy for Stewardship and Leadership. This two-year program kicks off with a multi-day generosity event in Lakeside Chautauqua, Ohio, then the group will meet quarterly on Saturday mornings to focus on local church leadership and stewardship issues. The Laity Academy for Stewardship and Leadership mirrors the Foundation’s successful Pastor’s Leadership Academy for Stewardship Formation.  "The Laity Academy ...

Pray, Repent to End Cycle of Violence

published 2/14/2018
In the wake of the school shooting in Florida, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the United Methodist Council of Bishops issued statements mourning the victims of the shootings and called for prayers of repentance from the  culture of death and cycle of violence. Bishop Moore-Koikoi said this: Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the 17 killed and the fourteen injured in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.  We also pray for the young man who the ...

Lay Servant Ministry Schools Scheduled

published 2/7/2018
A variety of classes will be offered for laity all around Western Pennsylvania at Lay Servant Ministry Schools scheduled in several districts. Lay Servant Ministries is a leadership development program in The United Methodist Church focused on equipping and empowering laypersons to serve in mission and ministry.  The UMC has established three categories for laypersons in the area of lay servant ministries to develop, prepare, and engage principled Christian leaders for the mission of making ...

Learn How to See All the People

published 2/7/2018
Members of most local churches think their community is made up of people like themselves, but the reality is that it is rarely the case. People under the age of 40 are missing in many of our churches, says the Rev. John Seth, pastor of Christ UMC in Youngwood. “We’re missing about 38 percent of the population.”   Seth is working with the Conference Evangelism Team to help congregations find ways to connect with their communities and build relationships with them. They will offer daylong ...

Worship Practices for Flu Season

published 2/5/2018
With flu season in full swing and the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since the Centers for Disease Control began keeping records 13 years ago, churches here and across the nation are modifying worship practices to guard against spreading the disease.  According to the CDC, the contagious respiratory illness is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.  Most experts believe that flu ...

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 ...

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