WPAUMC enews --March 13, 2019


In Our Prayers: Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 14 at Hill Memorial UMC for the Rev. Ron Lindahl, husband of the Rev. Marjorie Lindahl and father of the Rev. Craig Lindahl. See obituary

Services also will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Monroeville UMC for Edward Gascoine, a church leader and father of the Revs. James and Bruce Gascoine. See obituary

Plenty (Good) Room for you to join Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn for a Lenten study Plenty Good Room, based on African-American spirituals. Sessions are held each Thursday in March from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bakerstown UMC and each one is a separate unit. You don’t have to attend every session, but you are welcome at all! Get details.

Want to Change the World? Learn how to advocate for change at the 2019 Faith and Politics Conference hosted by United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania on Change the World Weekend, May 18-20, in the Harrisburg Area. Learn more.


Engaging Your Community! Only a day remaining to register for a workshop with the Rev. Junius Dotson, the head of UMC Discipleship Ministries, hosted by Christ UMC in Franklin next Wednesday, March 20. Get details and register.

Albright-Deering Lecture: You may also hear Rev. Dotson at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for the Albright-Deering Lecture on Thursday, March 21. See schedule and register at pts.edu/AD-2019
The events are co-sponsored by the WPA Conference.

Can’t Go? See All The People: Discipleship Begins with Relationship, a three-session video series with the Rev. Junius Dotson, is designed to increase  understanding of discipleship and evangelism in the 21st Century, and is available online now. The self-directed curriculum addresses whose job it is to make disciples, how to stop fixing churches, and how discipleship begins with relationship. Learn more and register

Four Ways to Engage Your Community:  Sam Marullo and Doug Powe,  Wesley Theological Seminary faculty members, have developed a simple model to help congregations engage their communities in meaningful ways. They outline four reflective practices -- inquiry, imagination, incarnation, and imminence -- to guide a church in connecting with its neighbors. Learn more


UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) is March 31. The United Methodist Committee on Relief covers the administrative needs of disaster relief to enable 100 percent of donations to go to people, situations and churches in crisis. Learn more with this presentation and promote UMCOR Sunday with this Leader's Kit.
See other UMCOR Sunday resources

Disaster Response: Tornadoes, storms, mudslides and flooding are keeping disaster response personnel and their partners busy in several areas of the U.S. UMCOR supports these efforts with emergency grants and other assistance. To help, donate through your church or online to U.S. Disaster Response. Learn more.

NEJ Mission Academy: The 2019 Academy, "When Helping Helps" will be held at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, MA, April 1- 4.  It will focus on ministry initiatives that are responsible, sustainable, and asset-based. Registration is now open.

General Conference 2019

What Happened At GC2019?  Ask the UMC offers an FAQ. See it.

GC2019 Actions on Judicial Council Docket: Decisions by the legislative body of The United Methodist Church will be reviewed next month by the denomination's top court. The two items on the April 23-26 docket deal with constitutionality questions related to the Traditional Plan and an exit plan approved by GC2019. Read more

German Church Won’t Impose Traditional Plan Penalties: Stipulations in the Traditional Plan approved by GC2019 are unacceptable, said the executive committee of the UMC in Germany, and the church there will not impose the stricter penalties laid out in the plan. Learn more

More GC Reaction in WPA: Mike Crowley of The Meadville Tribune did a story on Crawford County churches’ reactions to General Conference 2019. It quotes pastors, the district superintendent and Allegheny College officials. Read it.

GC2019 Debriefings: The last three of 10 General Conference debriefing sessions with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, GC delegates and A Way Forward Task Force members will be held on March 23,24, and 25.  See schedule for times and locations

In the News

Airline Crash Victim's Legacy: Before he died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the Rev. Norman Tendis, a Lutheran pastor from Austria, completed a practical congregational guide to caring for the environment. Grieving staff at the World Council of Churches publicly shared the downloadable resource March 12 and spoke of his commitment and legacy. Read story

See more about leaders at UN Environmental Assembly

Duke Divinity Student Shot: Durham police were investigating after the Rev. Ryan Ware, a Duke Divinity School graduate student, was shot in a Costco parking lot March 9. Police said Ware was shot in the stomach. He was hospitalized in critical condition. Ware is currently appointed to two churches in Virginia. See ABC11 Report

WPA Ash Wednesday Coverage: A nice Roots of Faith promo video was keyed to a story in The Tribune on its Ash Wednesday distribution of ashes. See it.

What’s in a Name? The Trib also interviewed Rev. Dawn Lynn Check, who was offering ashes outside Otterbein UMC, although the church was misidentified as First UMC. See story.

Ministry with the Poor

Disaster Funding Favors Rich? FEMA money flows to wealthy/whites after disasters, according to an NPR investigation of FEMA records. The report uses the example of two of the thousands of families who evacuated and lost their Houston homes after Hurricane Harvey to illustrate the situation. Read report.

Leadership Development

Where is Your Church Headed? Too often church leaders only focus only on attendance and revenue numbers to gauge the health of a church. Consultant Rich Birch says a better way to reveal the direction a church is heading is to focus on some leading indicators. Read more.

Leadership Training: Training in leadership, team building, parliamentary procedure and facilitating discussion is available to clergy and laity on two Saturdays this Spring.  It's offered by the team that recruits, trains and coordinates leaders for annual conference legislative sections, but is open to anyone who wants to develop their skills. The trainings are scheduled for Saturday, April 6 and Saturday, May 4 at the UM Conference Center in Cranberry Twp. Get details.

Confirmation Classes: There were some strange characters leading activities at the first of the WPAUMC’s 2019 Confirmation Class events last Friday at Wesley Woods. Check out the photos on the Conference Facebook page.


Student Leaders Wanted: We’re looking for student leaders who are willing to step up to serve and grow in their faith as pages or voting members of Annual Conference 2019.  Both the youth voting members and pages are part of the AC Youth Caucus. Applications are due April 1. To apply for either, use the Youth Caucus Application link at wpaumc.org/youthevents.

Timothy Awards: Nominate a youth who demonstrates faith and exemplifies the qualities described in 1 Timothy 11-14 for the 2019 Timothy Award! Nominations are due April 1. Get nomination form and learn more

Youth Worker Achievement Awards: Nominations are due April 1 for the 2019 Youth Worker Achievement Awards offered by the Conference Youth Ministry Team. Get details.


How to Talk to Youth About GC2019: The Youth Worker Collective offers some reflections on being in ministry with LGBTQ kids and how to talk with youth about General Conference. Read post.

Resources, Prayers for LGBTQ Youth: Bishop Karen Oliveto is among church leaders who fear the recent 2019 General Conference votes on homosexuality might harm LGBTQ youth. She and others are offering resources to help. Learn more


Upper Room Prayer Center Calls to End: The Upper Room Prayer Center plans to end its live call-in ministry at the end of April and shift its focus to prayer requests posted on the online Upper Room Prayer Center Wall. Read story

Women’s Retreat: The Women of Community UMC-Harrison City invite others to "Escape to the Mountains" for their annual Women's Retreat, April 26-28.  More than 50 women from various churches get together for fellowship and to refresh and grow together in Christ. Learn more and register