WPAUMC enews --August 1, 2018


Support Bike-a-Thon! Ten intrepid bicyclists leave Western PA from Boston UMC on Aug. 13 for the 315-mile ride to Washington, D.C. to raise money for camperships. The group includes Ellen Gainer of Central Highlands UMC, Lee Baker of Titusville First UMC and Michael Sahlaney of Seward UMC, Pittsburgh DS Dawn Hand, Mission Engagement Coordinator Sandra Matoushaya, Discipleship Director Chris Kindle, and Pastors Matthew Blake, David Ewing, Jason McQueen and Raphael Koikoi. Donate online through Crowdrise or send a check to the Conference Treasurer’s Office with a notation for Campership Bike-a-Thon. Donations of bottled water, energy snacks, and electrolyte packets may be sent to the Conference Center.  Donate through Crowdrise
Learn more about Bike-a-Thon.

Wesley Woods’ New Hire: Joshua Forringer, who has worked on the Wesley Woods summer staff for five summers is the new Program and Marketing Director for Wesley Woods.  A graduate of Asbury University with a bachelor’s degree in music/vocal studies, Josh "loves Jesus and feels called to share, teach and embody that love to others through camping and retreat ministries,” said Nate Greenway, Wesley Woods Director. 

Jumonville Seeks CEO: Our camp and retreat facility in Fayette County seeks a president/CEO. The position is year-round full-time and includes salary, on-site family housing, meals for the family while the dining hall is open, family hospitalization coverage, and pension after one full year of service. Get details at jumonville.org/president.

Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching Visitors: Your church can learn about the exciting things that the Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching campaign for Camping and Retreat Ministries is bringing to our Conference by inviting a “Council Visitor” to your next church council meeting. Request a visitor using this form.  

Orientation to Ministry: The next orientation has been scheduled for Jan. 5, 2019 at Charter Oak UMC. Registration will open online soon. Contact the Rev. Janet Lord at jflord425@aol.com.

In the News

Congrats, Katy Wrona! Katy Wrona, who left Western PA to serve as a UMC Global Mission Fellow in 2014, has been named Director for Communities of Transformation in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. She’s the daughter of Paul and the Rev. Sara Wrona, pastor of the Kiski Charge. Read more.

Pray for Zimbabwe: Many involved in the WPAUMC-Zimbawe Partnership have been praying for the people of Zimbabwe as protests in Harare over Monday’s elections prompted a government crackdown that resulted in three deaths.  Learn more.

Allegheny River Charge Feature: The Kittanning Paper did a story on the pastors of the newly aligned Allegheny River Charge.  Read it.

Honduras Mission Team: Butler Radio ran a story about members of Butler First UMC’s mission trip to Honduras.  Read it.

Devoted to Children: The new education center at Grace UMC in Coal Center was the subject of a feature story in the Washington Observer-Reporter last Friday. Read story.


Are You Snapping? Rev. Wil Ranney makes a case for using Snapchat in church to connect with teens. Research shows 75 percent of 13-to-17-year-olds use it. Learn more from UMCommunications.
See part 2 -- How to Use Snapchat for Ministry

Liturgy Man: The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards addresses what ritual The United Methodist Church uses to receive new members in his latest “Liturgy Man” video. The series of short videos answers questions about United Methodist worship.
Watch video

End Summer with a Bang (Not fireworks)! Cokesbury Commons offers four ideas to help you. See what they are.

Environmental Justice

Facing the Climate Crisis: Pennsylvania Power and Light, an interfaith group responding to climate change, will hold its 2018 Conference on Saturday, Oct. 27 in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon. The conference, Facing the Climate Crisis: Called to Save our Sacred Home, takes place on the 70th anniversary of the day the Donora Smog began; it draws on wisdom rooted in southwestern PA, and will highlight beautiful work being done now. Get details

Earthkeepers Training: The UMC Board of Global Ministries invites laity and clergy who want to develop or deepen environmental initiatives in their communities to apply for the EarthKeepers program. Two training sessions are offered: Sept. 27-30 in Detroit, with a Sept. 6 application deadline, and Nov. 1-4 in Salt Lake City, with an Oct. 11 deadline. There is no fee and Global Ministries will provide lodging and vegetarian meals. Learn more.

UMC News

A Way Forward: The final report of the Commission on a Way Forward was officially released yesterday in all four official languages of the General Conference: English, French, Portuguese and Swahili. The report will be presented to the 2019 special General Conference. Read press release
Read report in English
Register for WPA Way Forward Listening Post

Thoughts on A Way Forward: Butler District Superintendent Eric Park wrote a letter to clergy and leaders in the Butler District offering his thoughts on the report from the Commission on a Way Forward. Read it.

California Fires: United Methodists in the California-Nevada Conference are responding to fires sweeping northern California. Members of at least two churches have been evacuated from their homes. The Carr Fire, the seventh most destructive in California history, affected about 60 members of Redding UMC, and their pastor. Most of the community served by the Shasta Lake UMC has been evacuated. Read conference update
How to help

Clergywomen Advance in Africa: African clergywomen say they have come a long way from the time when congregations frowned on women pastors. Read story

Upcoming Events

Corry First Offers Puerto Rican Dinner: Corry First UMC will hold a dinner with traditional Puerto Rican foods Saturday, August 4 from 5 -7pm to raise funds for the upcoming Erie-Meadville District Volunteers in Mission trip to do storm recovery work in Puerto Rican. Cost of the dinner is a donation. For more info, contact the church office at 814-665-2445.

Criminal Justice Reform Advocacy: First UMC in Pittsburgh will host a seminar on Advocacy for Criminal Justice Reform on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 5. A portion of the day will also focus on advocacy to reduce gun violence. It’s sponsored by the PA Council of Churches and the Mennonite Central Committee. Get details.

Back to School Clothing Giveaway: Franklin Center UMC in the Erie-Meadville District will give away gently used men’s women’s and children’s clothing free of charge on Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 19, New socks and underwear for school-age children will be distributed while supplies last. Shoppers will also enjoy a free hotdog lunch. Times are 3pm to 7pm on Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturday. For more information or to donate clothing, call 814-734-4691.

Celebrate with PTS: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary invites friends, neighbors, and churches to celebrate the reopening of its newly renovated Barbour Library on Friday, Sept. 21 from 4-7 p.m. Highlights include the Fred Rogers Family Room and an active learning area. A picnic dinner will follow a brief dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Tours on the half-hour will begin at 4:30 p.m. Children are welcome at this free, family-friendly event. RSVP by September 16 to Katie Yates at 412-924-1376 or kyates@pts.edu.
Learn more about the library renovation