Conference News

 

Nyadire Connection Leader Honored

August 7, 2013
Drew Harvey of Christ UMC in Bethel Park has been named as a Jefferson Award winner for his work with The Nyadire Connection (TNC) helping to support and sustain the people and programs of the United Methodist Mission at Nyadire, Zimbabwe.  The Jefferson Awards program is a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local and were established in 1972 by Senator Robert Taft, Jr., Jacqueline ... read more

Washington DS Park Moving to Butler Church

August 5, 2013
Washington District Superintendent Eric S. Park has been appointed to serve as senior pastor of the Butler First United Methodist Church, effective September 1, 2013. There he hopes to continue the multi-faceted ministry developed under the leadership of the Rev. J. David Panther, the longtime senior pastor who died May 26 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Panther was first appointed to the church as an associate in 1992.  "Eric's appointment to First Church Butler is a confirmation of his ... read more

Zimbabwe Experience Energizes WPA Team

August 5, 2013
A team of Western PA laity and Director of Connectional Ministries Greg Cox returned to Western PA from Zimbabwe inspired by the worship, music and ministry of United Methodist brothers and sisters there and warmed by the extreme hospitality shown to them as they helped lead a Lay Academy at Africa University in July. About 500 people, who all seemed enthusiastic and excited to learn, attended the Lay Academy, Cox said.  Sponsored jointly by the Western PA Conference and the Zimbabwe Episcopal ... read more

Need for Volunteers, Cleaning Buckets Continues

July 31, 2013
Volunteers are needed in several areas of Western PA to help with clean-up of homes flooded by storms in late June and July. The DuBois-Reynoldsville area was hit with torrential rains of up to 6 inches of water in 24 hours on June 27. Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged in the storm. On July 10, a tornado hit the New Castle area,which also saw flooding from heavy rains. Areas south of Pittsburgh saw severe flooding that same day, and subsequent isolated storms created problems caused ... read more

Ready, Set, Sew

July 23, 2013
When Dr. James H. Ritchie heard about the disaster in Oklahoma he knew exactly who to turn to, Center United Methodist Church. Likewise, when it came to helping the school students receive bags of school supplies, once again he knew exactly who would help, the Fawn Township Sewing Group.   The Sewing Group meets every first Thursday of the month at the church. Their community projects have included sewing cancer robes, beds for dogs and cats at Animal Protectors, neck coolers for the troops in ... read more

Team Participates in Zimbabwe Lay Academy

July 20, 2013
 A team of four Western PA laity, accompanied by Director of Connectional Ministries Greg Cox and Zimbabwe Partnership Coordinator Sandra Matoushaya, traveled to Zimbabwe to visit ministry sites and teach along with Zimbabwe church leaders at a Lay Academy. The theme of the Lay Academy, held at Africa University's main campus, was "Developing Effective Lay Leadership". The academy is sponsored in partnership with the Western PA Conference.   Western Pennsylvanians leading session at the academy,... read more

First Reflections from Zimbabwe

July 15, 2013
Having returned only yesterday from Zimbabwe, three things keep playing over and over again in my heart.  First of all, to experience the loving expressions of our God in the people of Zimbabwe, and their tender, gentle and powerful hospitality, was to experience anew the very touch of Christ in my life.  Our United Methodist friends there shared all they had in every moment of encounter without hesitation.  They offered not only themselves in service to God and to us, but also their homes, ... read more

People of God Help Erie Tornado Survivors

July 3, 2013
On May 28, 2013, an EF1 tornado swept across southern Erie County, PA. Miraculously, there were no major injuries, but dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. A few families have lost everything and some have no insurance. The clean-up has gone well, with the help of the Red Cross and hundreds of volunteers. But the rebuilding has yet to begin. This tornado was too small to qualify for state or federal assistance. So what the government won't be doing, the people of God will! The Erie ... read more

Pittsburgh Area Pastor Among 20 Selected as Lewis Fellows

July 3, 2013
The Rev. Tom Parkinson, pastor of Faith UMC in the Pittsburgh suburb of Fox Chapel, has been selected as one of 20 young clergy to participate in the 2013-14 Lewis Fellows program at The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. The young clergy were chosen from a broad field of applicants and represent five denominations and 11 states.  Every year the Lewis Fellows program brings together outstanding young clergy persons (generally those under the age of 35) for ... read more

Annual Conference 2013 Focused on Disciples Making Disciples

June 20, 2013
Western PA Annual Conference members were blessed by dynamic preaching, insightful creative presentations on disciple-making and the joyful participation of church leaders from Zimbabwe during its 2013 session June 13-16 at Grove City College. The theme was Disciples Making Disciples, chosen by Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton to focus “conversations, training, and strategies around how we once again find the courage and passion to invite people into the heart of God through Christian discipleship.  ... read more

State of the Church: Disciple-Making Must Be Priority

June 14, 2013
“This disciple-making venture is a very tough nut to crack,” Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton declared in his State of the Church address at a Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference focused on the theme Disciples Making Disciples. “We have spent countless hours developing theories, statements and catch words that affirm our belief in this theme,” he said on the opening day of the June 13-16 gathering. Yet, he added, we continue to struggle. “The drive to grow our churches with disciples seems to, at ... read more

WPAUMC Stop Hunger Meals On Way to Zambia

June 13, 2013
The 25,000 meals packed by volunteers at the Western PA Annual Conference in mid-June have been shipped to Zambia in a container totaling 285,120 meals from Stop Hunger Now's Philadelphia warehouse. "These meals were loaded by hand by a team of youth to accommodate playground equipment also being sent for the children of Zambia. Your meals will support the work of Kids Alive International," said an e-mail to the Rev. Barb Moore, chair of the Conference Sessions Team, who arranged for the ... read more

Credit Union Warns of Scam Calls

May 29, 2013
When a panicked member of Keystone United Methodist Federal Credit Union rushed into the credit union’s office on a recent Tuesday afternoon, staff members were quick to react. The member told them he had received a call from his grandson who needed money immediately as bail to get out of jail on drug charges in Haiti. His grandson also told him not to tell anyone else in the family about this incident, but to wire the money to him right away. The story immediately set off a warning for Darlene ... read more

WPA Welcomes Zimbabwean Visitors

May 29, 2013
The Western PA Conference welcomed 13 leaders from the Zimbabwe East and Zimbabwe West conferences to Western Pennsylvania on May 29 for a 20-day visit that will include visits to Western PA ministry sites, churches and landmarks. After a two days for rest and orientation and touring the Pittsburgh area,each Zimbabwean visitor will be paired with a Western PA counterpart who will act as host for a week. The group includes lay leaders, district superintendents and pastors. All will attend the ... read more

Bishop Joins Colleagues at U.S.-Mexico Border

May 8, 2013
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton was one of several active United Methodist bishops who journed to the U.S. – Mexico border on May 7 to learn more about the people who live and work there and the issues they face.   “Consider what it means to live in poverty amidst great wealth,” said Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Los Angeles Episcopal area. “Consider the impact on families on all sides of the border.  Consider the great mission opportunity that exists for the church.” The bishops, who were meeting ... read more

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