Conference News

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

Volunteers Aid Colombia Church in Trafficking Area

April 24, 2013
The Rev. David Stains, pastor of OakView UMC in Waynesburg, and his team of 10 Volunteers in Mission have returned from a 10-day trip to Colombia, where they worked on an addition to El Camino Church in Sincelejo, an area hard-hit by power struggles over drug trafficking. The work in Sincelejo is part of a Northeastern Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission Project proposed by the Rev. Clinton Rabb, who died in the Haiti earthquake. Teams are needed to continue the project in Colombia. In the ... read more

Forrester To Lead UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response

April 5, 2013
Gregory A. Forrester, who has conducted several Volunteers in Mission training sessions in Western PA,  has been hired to lead the United Methodist Church’s disaster response efforts in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). He’ll begin May 1. Noting Forrester's experience as Volunteer in Mission (VIM) coordinator for the Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ), Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the General Board of Global ... read more

Bailey Selected to Lead UM Foundation of WPA

February 27, 2013
The Rev. D. Edward Bailey, pastor of Christ UMC in Youngwood and vice-chair of the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, has been selected to succeed the Rev. Frederick Leasure as executive director of the United Methodist Foundation of Western PA. The executive committee of the Foundation’s board of directors announced Bailey’s selection on February 15 after a three-month nationwide search conducted with the Orion Delta Group. “We are extremely pleased that the Rev. Ed Bailey will ... read more

Get Preferred Pricing at Staples through GCFA

November 20, 2012
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has partnered with Staples to offer preferred pricing, rebates and services to all local churches, district and conference offices and general agencies of the United Methodist Church. Staples sells office and cleaning supplies, as well as furniture.   The program extends: • Preferred pricing on an established list of office and cleaning supplies across all UM churches • Preferred pricing on a custom list of office and cleaning supplies ... read more

Team Inspired, Energized by Zimbabwe Immersion

August 24, 2012
When members of Western Pennsylvania’s Zimbabwe Immersion Team met at the Nyadire United Methodist Mission after living with families in different areas for nearly five weeks, none of the stories they shared seemed the same. “We even joked, wondering if we were all on the same trip,” said Ruth Ann Varrato, lay leader of the Kane District. As they talked more, though, Varrato said they all realized there was something common to all their experiences—love, kindness and relationships – and learning... read more

Campus Ministry Leads to New Churches in Ukraine

March 21, 2012
 Michael Airgood, a member of First UMC in Kane, PA, is a General Board of Global Ministries missionary serving as a church planter and youth ministry developer in Western Ukraine. He’s based in the city of L’viv. The United Methodist presence in and around L'viv is growing rapidly after span style="font-size:10.0pt;line-height: 115%;Arial","sans-serif";">beingspan style="font-size:10.0pt; line-height:115%;Arial","sans-serif""> introduced through student ministry. University-based work led to ... read more

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