Conference News

UM Advocacy Hosts Lawmakers for Prayer Breakfast

October 8, 2015
About 25 lawmakers from several denominations and religious leaders  attended a Lawmakers' Prayer Breakfast hosted by United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania at Grace UMC in Harrisburg recently.  Rev. William B. Meekins Jr,(shown above) assistant to Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, delivered the keynote message, and leaders from the other UM annual conferences participated in the liturgy at the Sept. 30 event. One United Methodist lawmaker, Rep. Jesse Topper of District 78 in the Susquehanna ... read more

Police Officer/Scout Leader Get Thanks

October 7, 2015
An Erie police officer who is an active member of Lakewood UMC in Erie got a thank you in an Erie Times-News letter to the editor on Oct. 5. Though he wasn’t cited by name, Rev. Bob Lewis, his pastor, said word got around the community pretty quickly through Facebook posts and other channels that the officer was Thomas Dunmire, the church's Cubmaster.  “Tom wants this to blow away. He really doesn't think what he did is all that much,” Lewis said about the father of three who also serves on the... read more

Credit Union CEO To Retire

October 6, 2015
A lot has changed since Patti Columbe took over as CEO of Keystone United Methodist Federal Credit Union in January 2000. Columbe, who will retire at the end of 2015, has seen membership in the credit union increase by 40 percent during her 15-year tenure. She’s also helped take it from an organization serving primarily clergy and their family to one that serves as a partner in ministry with the Western Pennsylvania Conference and welcomes all church members and their families. Columbe was the ... read more

Does God Want You to be Happy?

October 5, 2015
--By Jackie Campbell-- “God really has given us the ability to be happy, but that doesn’t mean we are going to be happy.  We have to choose,” says Robert W. Boyd, the lay leader of Ingomar United Methodist Church, who survived polio as a child, episodes of cancer as an adult and at times focused less on God than on material things.  Boyd said he came to that conclusion after seeing and thinking about the award-winning 2011 documentary The Happy Movie. Produced by Roko Belic, it was the ... read more

Christian Associates Aims to SPARK Conversations

October 2, 2015
In the coming year, Christian Associates of Southwestern PA will seek to kindle the fires of friendship and collaboration among clergy and leaders in the region through a brand new initiative: SPARK Conversations. It's a series of informal lunch gatherings for Christians who share a common role, interest, or identity. It seeks to bring leaders together across the usual boundaries of tradition, denomination, and theology to find unexpected common ground, and build new collaborative ... read more

MTSO Honors Morrison

October 2, 2015
Methodist Theological School in Ohio has presented Rev. Alan Morrison with the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Award for Distinguished Service, the school’s highest honor for graduates. The award was presented at a service of thanksgiving Sept. 28 on the MTSO campus, though Morrison was officiating at a funeral and unable to attend. Morrison, who earned a Master of Divinity degree from MTSO in 1990, received the Mount Award for Service to MTSO. He is pastor of First United Methodist Church of ... read more

Bishop, Poole to Lead Evangelism Clinic

September 30, 2015
Every two years, the Conference Evangelism Team offers a Clinic on Evangelism to provide an opportunity for laity and clergy to learn practical ways to share their faith with others. The 2015 clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24 at Harmony-Zelienople United Methodist Church, with Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton and Garry Poole as speakers.   Rev. John Emigh of the Conference Evangelism Team, recently provided answers to some frequently asked questions about the event. Do you have a special ... read more

Workbook Designed to Help Inmates Explore Character

September 30, 2015
Most of the nearly 2,000 inmates currently being held in the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) have clearly been at a life-changing crossroad where decisions they made have had a destructive impact on themselves, their families, and their communities. Making good decisions and having support can make all the difference in what happens next for these inmates, says Henry Huffman, a volunteer chaplain at the jail and former professor of Character Education at California University of PA. Through his ... read more

Breaking the Chains

September 25, 2015
Registration is open for Lord, Let Our Eyes Be Opened: Breaking the Chains of Mass Incarceration.  Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, it's scheduled to run from Friday evening, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center in Harrisburg.  It will be followed on Monday, Oct. 26, with a day of action at the Capitol. This event is aimed at educating people of faith about America’s system of mass incarceration. It will look at: the religious, ... read more

Northeast May Get One Less Bishop

September 23, 2015
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has notified the Northeastern and North Central Jurisdictional leadership that the number of bishops representing their areas could be reduced based on reported membership numbers. GCFA, responding to responsibilities and membership formulas outlined in ¶ 404.2 of the Book of Discipline, and the responsibilities of GCFA for the administration of the Episcopal Fund that pays the salaries of bishops, notified the College of Bishops of each ... read more

Using Technology to Change Lives

September 22, 2015
While innovators say we haven’t yet grasped all the ways pairing technology and communication can change lives for the better around the world, participants in the 2015 Game Changers Summit got a glimpse of the possibilities. Among them were six leaders from Western Pennsylvania. Not only is technology enabling people around the world to get to know each other, it provides an immediate way to let the world know what is happening in words, pictures or video if a disaster strikes or there is a ... read more

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

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