Commit 2019: A few hundred Confirmation students and their leaders visited the United Methodist Center last Friday and Saturday to meet Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and learn about mission and ministry. The sessions focused on the commitments the students will make when they are confirmed -- to support the church with their presence, prayers, gifts, service and witness. See the Commit photo albums, including some shots of the fabulous Name 5 game, at flickr.com/photos/wpaumc/albums/
InFocus: The April edition of the InFocus magazine should arrive in your mailbox within a week. Meanwhile, the March issue is posted online at wpaumc.org/InFocus.
Transforming the Body of Christ: The Body of Christ is only as healthy as its individual parts, so individual healing is one way the local church can experience wholeness. During a May 11 Gestalt Pastoral Care workshop sponsored by the Butler District, participants will look at individual and congregational responses to trauma and discover ways to offer effective care in the midst of various responses. The workshop will be at Epworth UMC in New Castle. Get details.
Got Shoes? All God's Children Ministries and the Erie UM Alliance are conducting their annual used shoe collection now through July 1.There are drop-off locations in the Erie area now -- and bags of shoes will be collected during annual conference in June at Grove City College. Get details
Hunger Advocacy Workshop: Southwest PA Bread for the World and Christian Associates of Southwest PA will host Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow: A Hunger Advocacy Workshop on Saturday, May 4, from 9am to noon at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Registration and a light continental breakfast will be available at 8:30am. There is no cost. Learn more and register
Interested in Advocacy? Don't miss the Faith and Politics Conference, arranged by Dai Morgan of UM Advocacy in PA, on Change the World weekend-May 18-20 in the Harrisburg Area. Get details and register.
Communities for Christ Training: Learn practical ways to share your faith this Saturday at Corry First UMC. If you know you should be sharing the Good News, but don't know what to say or are just afraid, this training is for you! It’s scheduled for Saturday, April 6, from 9 am – 4 pm at Corry First’s Family Life Center. (650 Worth St., Corry 16407). Lunch and childcare provided. RSVP to email@example.com or 814-665-2445.
Evangelist Available to Speak: Conference Evangelist and Christian author Ken Wilson is available to speak, teach or lead a seminar at your church. Ken is lay leader at Harmony-Zelienople UMC and was named as a WPAUMC Evangelist at the 2018 Annual Conference. Download flyer about Ken
2019 Pastors’ Academy: Explore how you can faithfully participate in Jesus' ministry and perhaps find a fresh love for preaching during the 2019 Pastors Academy. Timothy Matthew Slemmons, professor of homiletics and worship and director of the D.Min program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, will lead the May 13-15 continuing education event at Olmsted Manor. Get details
Download brochure to share
Imagining Possibilities: Lent is a time to reflect on whether are we so self-absorbed that we are missing where God is leading, writes Stephanie Remington in a Lenten Reflection for Leading Ideas. Read it
Going to Jerusalem: During this Lenten period of self-examination and reflection, you’re invited to focus on the work God calls you to do by listening to a riveting podcast by Erin Hawkins, General Secretary of the UMC Commission on Religion and Race. Hear Going to Jerusalem.
UMC Future Under Discussion: Talks about the future of the UMC are quietly occurring among leaders after the 2019 special session of General Conference underscored deep divisions over homosexuality. Learn more
For the Sake of the Church: The leaders of the UMC Connectional Table (CT) say that because of fundamental differences, the denomination “cannot maintain unity as we have understood and practiced it in the past.” Bishop Christian Alsted and Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai said .."we need to acknowledge the conversations happening throughout our connection about ways to go forward in ministry, perhaps even along separate paths. Read press release
See UM News story on CT conversations
Global Discipline Effort Stalled: The fallout of the special General Conference has slowed the years-long effort to specify which United Methodist policies can be adapted in Africa, Europe and Asia. Learn more
Do Your Church Visitors Return? As one of the top-attended Sundays of the year approaches, here's a timely reminder from The Lewis Center for Church Leadership about why guests don't return,
Reaching Seekers? A new Barna survey done for UM Communications revealed that feeling welcome is the top factor when spiritual seekers aged 18-49 look for a church. Get to know more about seekers in this video.
Midwest Flooding: Take a video tour of flooding and recovery efforts in Hamburg, Iowa.
Zimbabwe Cyclone Survivors: The UMC has rallied to provide relief to those affected by Cyclone Idai, which ravaged Chimanimani and Chipinge in Zimbabwe more than two weeks ago. See how.
Disposing of Bibles: Old tattered or damaged Bibles should not be thrown in the trash.The sacred book should be treated with reverence and buried or burned. Erie Lakewood UMC, in cooperation with Boy Scout Troop 104 of Lakewood, will hold a service to dispose of Bibles on Saturday, April 20 at 9 am. Worn old Bibles may be dropped off in a collection box in the church lobby (3856 West 10th Street, Erie, PA 16505). The Bibles will be burned after a short devotional service and the ashes will be reverently buried in the ground, returning them to the Lord. For questions, call Rev. Lewis at 814-833-4131.
See Ask the UMC article on how to dispose of old Bibles
Great American Clean-Up Day is Saturday, April 27, 2019. It's part of the larger Keep America Beautiful Campaign. If there’s a community clean-up effort in your area, recruit a few church volunteers (the Saturday morning men’s group?), take the church out of the building, and help. You may even get to meet some new people.
Mini Mission u: Rev. Lisa Grant, pastor of Edinboro UMC, will lead a Mini-Mission u at Olmsted Manor from April 28-30. The study will be Embracing Wholeness: An Earth Perspective for Covenantal Living. Get details and register
Sending A Youth as Lay Member of Annual Conference? If your church is sending a youth (under 18) as your lay member to annual conference, please let Amanda Gilligan, coordinator of youth and young adult ministries, know. It will help youth caucus leaders in planning for supervision and meals. Email Amanda.Gilligan@wpaumc.org or call her at the Conference Center ( 724-776-2300).
Mission of Peace: High school seniors (or mature juniors) are invited to apply to be part of a life-changing experience: the NEJ Mission of Peace to India from late December 2019-early January 2020. Up to four individuals from our Conference may be selected. Scholarships or other financial assistance can help with some of the cost. Get details and application at wpaumc.org/mop.
People of Faith and Civil Discourse: Can people debate issues such as abortion, gun control, race and police brutality without anger and division? Tallahassee’s interfaith "God Squad" group says it's possible because of the friendship and faith at the core of their long-running civic experiment. Read more
Overcome Passivity to Overcome Racism: In The Color of Compromise, historian-activist Jemar Tisby confronts the history of racism in Christianity and outlines steps to combat it on systemic and institutional levels. Read Q&A with Tisby
Native American Ministries Sunday: More than 20,000 Native American people are part of The United Methodist Church? On May 5, we celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday and receive offerings to directly supports Native American congregations and enable them to authentically minister with their communities while honoring creative expressions of culture and heritage. The offering also provides scholarships for Native American seminary students. See leaders’ kit