General Conference Debriefing: The final three of 10 General Conference debriefing sessions with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, the WPAUMC Way Forward team and GC2019 delegates were held last weekend. All 10 sessions were well-attended. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covered the event at Salem UMC in Wexford last Sunday. See story
More GC Reaction: Explore Clarion posted a story with area pastors’ response to the actions of the 2019 General Conference. Read it.
Engaging Your Community: Rev. Junius Dotson of Discipleship Ministries was in Western PA last week thanks to a partnership between the Conference and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He led a workshop on Engaging Your Community at Christ UMC in Franklin on March 20, then delivered the 2019 Albright-Deering Lecture in Methodist studies and preached at the chapel service at the seminary on March 21. See photo album
Pittsburgh Prayer Vigil: Pittsburgh District clergy organized a vigil last Sunday outside Warren UMC that brought together about 100 people to pray for peace, healing and justice for all affected by the death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose. The teen was shot last summer by a suburban police officer as he fled from a car that was involved in a drive-by shooting. A jury acquitted the officer of homicide charges, prompting peaceful protests in the city. See WPXI-TV report
Read Post-Gazette story with statements by UMC clergy.
WORSHIP Event Postponed: This special event for pastors, worship leaders and other laity with Rev. Olu Brown, Lead Pastor of Impact Church; Rev. Lydia Munoz, Lead Pastor of Church of the Open Door, and Barbara Newman, author of Inclusive Gospel, Accessible Worship, has been postponed. A new date has not been set.
Classifieds: The Conference is seeking candidates for assistant treasurer. Get details at wpaumc.org/classifieds.
April 1 Deadline Day for Youth! It’s the last day to submit applications to be part of the Youth Caucus as a page or a voting member of the 2019 Annual Conference. It’s also the last day to nominate a youth for the Timothy Award. Get details at wpaumc.org/youthevents
Mission of Peace:The next Northeastern Jurisdiction Council of Youth Ministry Mission of Peace trip will be to India in late 2019/early 2020. The NEJ CYM is seeking applications for this trip. Get details and application at .wpaumc.org/mop
Cold-weather overflow shelters for Erie area residents closed for the season Wednesday morning. Churches have worked cooperatively to welcome guests at the shelters for seven years. Learn more.
End to Cash Assistance Proposed: Some PA legislators are proposing an end to General Assistance, cash (about $200/month) given to low-income individuals with no dependents. Gov. Wolf has included $50 million in the next state budget for the program. The program was cut before, but a court challenge restored it. Learn more.
Autism Inclusion Workshop: Barbara J. Newman, an author and consultant who has worked to help create communities of inclusion for 30 years through CLC (Christian Learning Centers) Network, will lead a workshop for pastors and church leaders sponsored by the Western PA Autism Initiative. Participants will look at six key differences in persons with autism spectrum disorders and discover practical tools and ideas to create places of belonging for each individual. It is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1 at Ingomar UMC. Get details and register
DisAbility Ministry Resources: The United Methodist Disability Ministries Committee, now under the umbrella of the Council of Bishops, has launched a new website featuring practical tools and a helpful search engine. The committee also will co-sponsor legislation for General Conference 2020 with the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Mental Health Ministries, the United Methodist Congress of the Deaf and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Committee.
UMCOR Sunday: Resource UMC offers a last-minute ideas for UMCOR Sunday, March 31. See what they are.
UMCOR Disaster Response: Global Ministries’ Thomas Kemper shares details of how you can help UMCOR respond to the cyclone that hit southern Africa and the flooding in the U.S. Midwest in this video .
Cyclone Idai Response: The death toll from Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Beira, Mozambique on March 14, has risen to 750 people across southern Africa, with more than 446 of the dead in Mozambique. A UM communicator in the country said that although material things are gone, survivors “thank God because we are alive.” UMCOR is assisting with grants. Get details.
Midwest Response: United Methodists are responding in Iowa and Nebraska as states along the Missouri River basin deal with historic floods. The disaster response coordinators for the Iowa Conference had to evacuate with all other residents of the small town of Hornick. Disaster response teams in Nebraska are focusing on the eastern part of the state.
Read Iowa Conference story
Read Great Plains Conference story
Appeals Court Backs Tax-Free Clergy Housing: A federal appeals court has ruled that clergy can continue getting a housing allowance tax exemption. Learn more.
More Bishops for Africa? A UMC leadership committee this week unanimously backed a plan that both changes the church’s map in Africa and adds five new bishops to the denomination’s fastest-growing region.The Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters on March 26 approved legislation that, if approved by the General Conference, would would add a new central conference to the continent and increases the number of African bishops from 13 to 18. Learn more
Clergy Health Institute: Pfeiffer University, a UMC-related school in North Carolina, is launching a year-long program designed
to address the health and wellness needs of United Methodist
clergy. It begins with a seven-day retreat in July at Pfeiffer hosting two separate yet simultaneous cohorts of 8-10 clergymen and women for spiritual enrichment, wellness training and renewal. Download flyer with details.
Affirm the Ministry of Lay Readers: One of the most meaningful ways a church can bind new members, youthful members, casual attendees and even old reliable members to scripture, worship, and their church is to invite them all to read scripture aloud, writes Theodore May in Leading Ideas. Learn more
Holy Week Resources: Connect with people seeking renewal on social media with the help of brand new Easter and Holy Week shareable graphics! These free downloads can be used as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts on their own or along with invitations to events and worship services, words from a pastor etc. Get resources
Sunrise Service at Jumonville: the United Methodist churches of the greater Uniontown area will hold their annual Easter sunrise service at 7 a.m. on the dining hall lawn at Jumonville. All are welcome. Bring a lawn chair.