Conference News

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

Bishop Travels to Africa to Fight Malaria

April 14, 2010
 Western Pa. United Methodist Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, a South African superstar, government officials and other religious leaders have been helping to distribute 30,000 insecticide-treated bed nets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where malaria is a leading cause of death.  The net distribution began with a public event April 16.   According to the World Health Organization, malaria infects an estimated 23.6 million people in the DRC each year, and causes an estimated 96,000 ... read more

UM Colleges Offer Strong Connection to WPA Students

March 1, 2010
The United Methodist Church is connectional in countless ways. One of those ways is the connectional nature of United Methodist higher education. At the Christmas Conference of 1784, Bishop Francis Asbury had a vision that Methodists could educate the masses, opening their minds and forging an educated and enlightened population of church and community leaders for generations to come. Bishop Asbury’s legacy lives on in the 21st Century through church agencies and over 120 United ... read more

Volunteers in Mission: Why Not Send Money?

January 8, 2010
Sunday, Jan. 10,  will be Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Awareness Sunday in Western PA United Methodist congregations. It’s a day to recognize participants on VIM teams, let the congregation know about VIM opportunities and receive a special offering. The offerings help to fund  “VIMships” for participants who need help to pay expenses for their VIM experience.  “Volunteers in Mission are not paid to do the work they do.  It’s costly to take a week off work, get to a mission location, and pay for ... read more

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