Conference News

Church Fills Birthday Bags for Kids, Elderly

March 25, 2015
--By Leslie Uriss Spehar-- No matter how young or old, we all like to be remembered on our birthday. For children, this is especially true. The folks at Janes United Methodist Church in Creighton, PA, are helping to make sure that at least 30 area children have something to celebrate on their special day through their birthday bag outreach program. The ministry works in conjunction with the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches, providing gift bags for children, ages 3 to 12, whose families... read more

Bishops Urge Support for Death Penalty Moratorium

February 24, 2015
--By Jackie Campbell-- Pennsylvania’s three United Methodist bishops have commended Gov. Tom Wolf for imposing a moratorium on the death penalty and called on church members to endorse the action by contacting the governor’s office as well as their state senators and legislators.   Gov. Tom Wolf Calling Pennsylvania’s system of capital punishment “error prone, expensive and anything but infallible,” Gov. Wolf said in a memorandum Feb. 13 that the moratorium will remain in effect ... read more

Imagine No Malaria Gets Superhero Award

February 20, 2015
Imagine No Malaria, an initiative of The United Methodist Church to prevent and treat malaria, has received a Superhero Award from the Rotarians Action Group on Malaria. The award was given during the recent annual meeting of the Alliance for Malaria Prevention in Geneva. Imagine No Malaria, the only faith-based organization represented among the award recipients, was recognized for its grassroots efforts in reaching rural and hard to reach areas with its prevention methods. Dr. Olusimbo Ige, ... read more

Just Sharing Fellowship Moving Forward

February 18, 2015
The Just Sharing Fellowship, a partnership between young women in Bethlehem and Unstoppable young United Methodist Women in Western Pennsylvania, allows participants to exchange stories and get to know others of  their generation who are living in a completely different context. The goal is to empower young female voices to use story-telling as a tool for advocacy and conflict transformation. It was organized after Global Mission Fellow Grace Killian, a member of Mt. Lebanon UMC, spoke via ... read more

A New Mission u

February 17, 2015
Big changes are being made for Mission u, a summer event co-sponsored by the Conference and the United Methodist Women that focuses on learning about mission, growing spiritually and doing hands-on mission work. For the 2015 Mission u, the venue will change from Grove City College to California University of Pennsylvania and the programs for adults and children will be offered over a long weekend, beginning Thursday evening, July 9.  (Youth Mission u will begin earlier in the week, on July 7, ... read more

Pastor Puts Radio Focus on Faith

February 16, 2015
--By Leslie Uriss Spehar-- Tune into many radio stations and it’s likely you’ll hear some shocking music, ranting, or  racy content. But one local radio personality is dialing down the shock factor and raising spiritual awareness instead. More Jesus jock than shock jock, Rev. Rod Smith of Chippewa United Methodist Church can be found in front of a radio microphone every Wednesday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. doing a live talk show on WBVP 1230 AM in Beaver Falls and WMBA 1460 AM in Ambridge... read more

Morgan to Lead UM Advocacy in PA

February 6, 2015
Dai Morgan, a Pittsburgh area pastor who serves on the Pennsylvania Council of Churches’ public witness commission, has been selected as coordinator for United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania. Morgan is pastor of Swissvale United Methodist Church, a multi-cultural mission church just outside the City of Pittsburgh.  He also chairs the Commission on Christian Unity of the Western Pennsylvania UM Conference. As the denomination’s Advocacy Coordinator in the state, Morgan will bring together ... read more

Brooks to Serve As Franklin DS

February 4, 2015
--By Jackie Campbell--   Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton has selected the Rev. Allan Brooks, lead pastor of Baldwin Community UMC, to become the new superintendent of the Franklin District, effective July 1.  Current District Superintendent George Porter plans to retire from active ministry June 30 after completing a six-year term on the Bishop’s cabinet. A native of Pittsburgh’s South Hills, Brooks grew up in the Baldwin church he now serves. It is where he was “nurtured and challenged” in his ... read more

Grace Goes Over the Top for Zim Church

January 26, 2015
Through a generous Christmas Eve "miracle offering", Indiana Grace United Methodist Church took a major step in helping the people of Ringai Church in Zimbabwe put a roof over their heads.   The Rev. David Henderson presented a check for $11,300 to Indiana District Superintendent Jim Pond during Jan. 25 worship services celebrating the hope the donation represents.    Henderson said the estimated cost to roof the Ringai structure is $9,000. He was delighted the collection literally went “over ... read more

WPAUMC Churches Get Aging in Poverty Grants

January 21, 2015
Two Western Pennsylvania churches were among 31 churches around the world that were awarded grants totaling $75,000 from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries (OAM) to support Aging in Poverty ministry programs. The Aging in Poverty grants seek to address a core issue in the mission of The United Methodist Church concerning worldwide poverty, said William Randolph, director of the Office on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at Discipleship Ministries. “Our focus was to be in ... read more

Service, Worship, Events to Honor Dr. King

January 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 ... read more

Parks' New CD Benefits Homestead Ministry

December 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... read more

More Churches Offer Blue Christmas Services

December 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 ... read more

Teen Launches Hats of Hope Project for Cancer Patients

December 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 ... read more

Pianist Still Strikes a Chord at 100

December 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 ... read more

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