Fire at Vandergrift Church: Fire damaged the bell tower at First UMC in Vandergrift on Monday. Activities in the building have been suspended until repairs can be made. No one was injured. Pastor Sara Wrona was interviewed by KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti. See video
InFocus: The February issue of InFocus, our Conference magazine, is out. It’s mailed to clergy and local church leaders serving in positions such as lay leader, but it’s also available online at wpaumc.org/InFocus.
Confirmation Events and Kits: Youth who will be at one of our camps or the Conference Center for one of the Confirmation Class events are invited to bring some of the “ingredients” for UMCOR school kits. Kits will be assembled during the gatherings. Particularly needed are round-tip scissors (not plastic), Crayons in boxes of 24, rulers, and pencil sharpeners (with caps). See a video and full list of kit ingredients under Relief Supplies at UMCOR.org.
Learn more and register your Confirmation Class at wpaumc.org/Confirmation2019.
Make a Joyful Noise! The ministry of Tim Coles has enabled the people of First UMC in Pittsburgh to sing new songs and offer joyful music to the Lord. On Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 the congregation surprised him with a worship service celebrating his 21st anniversary as music director. Read what happened.
Disability Awareness Weekend: WPAUMC churches are encouraged to recognize Disability Awareness Weekend during worship Feb. 18 and 19 or another date of their choice. Special offerings benefit ministries within Western PA. An order of worship is available on the UMC DisAbility MInistries website.
Other information is available at wpaumc.org/disabilityconcerns
Classifieds: Several job postings and other ads have been posted recently. See classifieds
UMVIM Advisory on Haiti: Due to the ongoing anti-corruption protests in Haiti, UM Volunteers in Mission recommends that teams postpone travel to Haiti. Rev. Tom Lank,our Northeastern Jurisdiction UMVIM coordinator, is in regular contact with Global Ministries, the Methodist Guest House in Petionville, and local partners in the country. The Methodist Guest House is still receiving teams and has not yet had any trouble, but the situation can change quickly. On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department issued an evacuation order for children of U.S. embassy personnel and authorized a voluntary evacuation for non-essential personnel. See NEJ UMVIM Advisory
Radical Discipleship: Butler DS Eric Park will lead the spiritual growth study The Gospel of Mark and Radical Discipleship at this summer’s Mission u, scheduled for July 18-21 at California University of PA. Get details and register.
Faith Over Fear: As The United Methodist Church prepares for a Special Session of the General Conference on Feb. 23-26, Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary, offers an encouraging message for United Methodists and colleagues in ministry. See video
GC2019 Coverage: Links to follow proceedings at GC2019 will be posted at wpaumc.org.
Perspectives on a Way Forward: Spokespersons for four proposals on the future of The United Methodist Church recently engaged in a panel discussion to highlight the differences among their plans. "Perspectives on a Way Forward," organized by UM News Service, was recorded and can be viewed on UMNews.org. Watch the video
Ruling Prompts Plan Revisions: Proponents of the Traditional Plan, the Modified Traditional Plan and the One Church Plan are recommending changes to address constitutional concerns raised by the denomination's top court. The revisions will have to be brought to the floor at the special General Conference to take effect. Read story
Read GC2019 process for prioritizing plans
Traditional Plans Keep Status Quo: Two plans to be considered at the special General Conference would continue to restrict the role of LGBTQ persons in the church. The Traditional Plan and Modified Traditional Plan provide penalties for those who act against the Discipline's guidelines on sexuality. This is the final in a four-part series explaining the most prominent proposals. Read story
Trust Clause Critical: John Wesley was thinking about church property when he wrote the first trust clause in 1750. Gracious exit plan petitions going to the 2019 General Conference ask for a temporary halt to the trust clause if local churches decide to leave The United Methodist Church. Read story
Group Says Hold Up on Exit Plans: The Uniting Methodists, an unofficial advocacy group, is urging General Conference delegates to wait and take up exit plans in 2020. Read story
Insurance Premium Hikes: Churches and conference treasurers have voiced their displeasure that United Methodist Insurance, a subsidiary of the General Council on Finance and Administration, sent large premium hike notices just before Christmas. Read story
Ethnic UM Training Grants: Programs that train ethnic United Methodists to be church leaders have until March 8 to apply for grants of up to $10,000. The UMC Board of Higher Education and Ministry administers the grants. Read press release
Scholarships: The deadline to apply for scholarships through the UM Higher Education Foundation is March 1. Get info at umhef.org
Lenten Calendar: The UM Higher Education Foundation offers a free Lenten calendar to download.
Easter Outreach Tools: UM Communications is offering local churches customizable Easter outreach tools to invite their communities to events and worship services. The resources include postcards, posters, invitation cards, yard signs, outdoor banners and free downloadable graphics. The agency also is offering $250 grants for local churches to help cover the cost of the resources and shipping. The offer will continue until grant funds are depleted.Read press release
To order and use the $250 promo code
Our Way Home: If you want to attend Erie UM Alliance’s Our Way Home Gala on March 1 to support their life-changing ministries to end homelessness, reservations are due on Friday. Get details.
Direct assistance payments to Pennsylvania’s poorest residents--those making less than $205 a month--have become a political football, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Read more.
Want to start a health ministry? Global Ministries’ Abundant Health offers five steps from getting the conversation started to incorporating healthy practices into your church and community. See what they are.
Equipping Disciples to Dismantle Racism: Clergy, as well as laity, are invited to register for the Equipping Disciples to Dismantle Racism class, part of the Erie-Meadville District’s 2019 Lay Servant Ministry School. The class will be taught at Saegertown UMC from 2-5 p.m. on Sundays from March 10 to April 7. One CEU is available to clergy. Get description and registration form