Fires Destroy Parsonage: Two fires, one Saturday afternoon and the other about 12 hours later, destroyed the parsonage at First UMC in Cambridge Springs over the weekend. No one was injured in either blaze. Get details.
Way Forward Feedback: The last of 20 Listening Posts led by members of the WPA Way Forward Task Force was held Dec. 2. Many attended the events to learn about legislation submitted for the 2019 special session of General Conference in St. Louis, February 23-26, and to give feedback. A Final Report from the WPA task force will be posted on the Conference website by January 1. Those who did not attend a Listening Post, but would like to offer feedback may do so using a link on the Way Forward page of the website wpaumc.org/A-Way-Forward.
2020 General Conference Delegate Elections: At our June 2019 Annual Conference, members will elect delegates to the 2020 General Conference and Northeast Jurisdictional Conference. Ordained elders and deacons in full connection are designated as nominees for election as clergy delegates, and laity who have been members of a UM church for at least two years prior to election and active participants for at least four years are eligible to serve as lay delegates. Those who want to be considered for election should complete and submit the online Personal Data Sheet with photo by January 1, 2019. The information will be published in the pre-conference Journal. The Personal Data form is available here.
See guidelines here.
Facing Loss: The Rev. Howard Greenfield will lead a Spiritual Formation Retreat focusing on unavoidable losses experienced in life and ministry. Participants will discuss Dr. M Craig Barnes book, When God Interrupts - Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change, clarify personal support systems and see how to navigate unwanted changes while caring for others in ministry. Get details and register at Olmstedmanor.org.
Deaths: Funeral services were held Tuesday for the Rev. Victor Redfoot. See obituary.
Classifieds: First UMC in Pittsburgh is seeking a director of spiritual formation and Grace UMC in Grove City is looking for a part-time praise and worship team coordinator. See these and other opportunities at wpaumc.org/classifieds.
SPARK Deadline Approaching: December 20 is the deadline to register youth for SPARK 2019. The weekend event with Duffy Robbins, Josh Price and DJ Big Al Cherry is Jan. 11-13 at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh. Get details at wpaumc.org/spark.
Wesley Woods Winter Youth Retreat: Registration is open for a Feb. 8-10 winter youth retreat at Wesley Woods led by Jay Trainer of Infuzion. Cost is $95 per person. Get details and register at wesleywoods.com.
Learn more about Jay at Infuzion.org
Bishop in Africa: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was one of six UMC bishops who made a mission visit to Kenya and the Central Africa Republic, where the UMC has its newest mission stations. Learn more and see photos.
#Giving Tuesday Report: More than 2,450 gifts from 11 countries — totaling $624,868.81 — were contributed to UMC Global Ministries for missionary support, mission projects and disaster relief as part of Giving Tuesday. Learn more
Methodists and Alcohol: Survey results published last week by LifeWay Research show perhaps the most dramatic evidence yet of how U.S. Methodists, once famous teetotalers, are willing to take a drink from time to time. Read UMNS story
Pregnancy and Domestic Violence: In the U.S., over 320,000 pregnant women experience domestic violence each year. It has devastating effects on the women and their children. What can be done? Read more.
Reducing HIV Risk: In Zimbabwe, The United Methodist Church has joined the Common Voice Initiative, which aims to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS through advocacy and action by leaders and followers of several religious traditions. Read story
Methodist Class Leader Class: This new online course from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is worth .5 CEUs and free to the first 25 people who enroll. It’s $49 otherwise. It uses the work of Dr. David Lowes Watson to examine the historic significance and contemporary relevance of class leaders, a role essential to the success of early Methodism and an effective means of nurturing discipleship. Get details.
New Liturgical Resources: A subgroup of the UMC Hymnal Revision Committee seeks the submission of new materials for possible inclusion in the next United Methodist Hymnal. The committee particularly is looking for resources for baptism, confirmation, renewal of baptism and days and seasons of the church year. Get details.
Take the Advent Quiz! See how you do. Print copies to share. You may learn something. Visit umc.org/what-we-believe/advent-quiz
If you ace it (or if you don't), try the Advent and Christmas Music Quiz!
Advent Resources: You can find links to a variety of devotionals, videos, feature articles and worship resources for Advent and Christmas at umc.org/topics/topic-advent-and-christmas
50 Ways to Welcome New People: The season of Advent is a good time to review The Lewis Center for Church Leadership’s free resource 50 Ways to Welcome New People.