WPAUMC enews --May 15, 2019


Addiction Epidemic Response: Laity, clergy, friends and family are invited to a June 22 Addiction Response Seminar designed to help individuals and church teams learn practical ways to support those in addiction or recovery and their families. Sponsored by the Conference, it will be at Butler First UMC. Get details and register.

Deaf Ministry Boot Camp Cancelled: This May 18 event with Rev. Leo Yates of UMC Ministries with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has been cancelled due to low registration. See details.

At the Lake Ministries: The season gets underway soon for At the Lake Ministries, which offers opportunities for individuals with special needs to enjoy fishing or cruising on Lake Erie. The first scheduled event is May 24, when adults with Down Syndrome will be welcomed aboard the JoAnn M. On May 30 adults in assisted living can enjoy time on the vessel. See the schedule and register for one of the days.

UM Advocates Discuss Process Changes: Connellsville District Supt. Robert Zilhaver shared an analysis of recent Judicial Council decisions during a recent gathering of Associates in Advocacy in Illinois.  Read more

Annual Conference

Mission Collections: When you come to Annual Conference, support mission by bringing donations of used eyeglasses, readers or sunglasses for Through God’s Eyes ministry, a group that partners with mission teams heading to global locations to provide glasses to those who need them. A collection box will be at the Mission Barn table in the display area. In the back parking lot, Mission Barn volunteers will accept UMCOR hygiene kits and cleaning buckets and All God’s Children will collect bags of used shoes.

AC2019 Registration: If you don’t register for annual conference by Friday of this week, a late fee of $25 will be added. Registration links (and other information) are at wpaumc.org/AC.

UMC News/Views

Bishop Shares Common Word: In an email to clergy and church leaders, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi shared a “pastoral and prophetic word” from the Council of Bishops related to the actions of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference and Judicial Council decisions. She also repeated her invitation to participate in small group conversations. Read Bishop’s letter

Bishops Back Regional Conference Proposal: Legislation developed by the Connectional Table’s U.S. Contextual Ministries Advisory Group proposes a two-stage process for creating a U.S. regional conference, much like the current Central Conferences. The Council of Bishops has agreed to work with the Connectional Table on the legislation. Read press release.

General Conference Needs Pages, Marshals: Applications are now open for United Methodists to serve as marshals and pages during the 2020 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. Read press release

Labeling the Gospel: Retired Bishop Kenneth Carder says structural changes are needed and new forms of Methodism will emerge, but forming them around ambiguous secular political ideological labels falls “sinfully short  of the firm foundation on which the church is built!” Read his blog post

Do No Harm: In the debate over the role of homosexuals in the life of our denomination, many say the viewpoints they express are not intended to harm anyone. As conversations continue, a recent Public Source feature includes stories that may shed some light on how actions by United Methodist and other faith communities have affected individuals in Western PA.  Read more

Religion and Race

Vital Conversations 4: Race, Culture, the Church and Human Sexuality is the latest in the series of Vital Conversations video studies from the Commission on Religion and Race. It can help to guide small groups in conversation as the United Methodist Church faces its future. See videos

Save the Date! The National Council of Churches’ Christian Unity Gathering, scheduled for Oct. 13-16 in Virginia, will mark the 400th year since the first enslaved Africans reached the U.S. in Jamestown, VA. Participants at the Gathering will join in a public witness at Point Comfort, Virginia against the legacy of suffering that continues today through systemic racism in our churches, communities, and lives. Registration and details available soon at nationalcouncilofchurches.us.

Change the World

UN Chief Seeks Action Against Hate Speech: The world must stand together against hatred and bigotry in the face of a surge of hate speech spreading on social media, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a visit to one of the New Zealand mosques where 51 people were killed in March. Guterres tasked the UN special adviser for the prevention of genocide, with assembling a team and developing a global action plan to combat the rise of hate speech. Learn more.

Universal Background Checks:  In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8), the first gun violence prevention legislation to pass in the U.S. Congress in 20 years. The promise of this legislation hinges upon its companion bill in the Senate, the 2019 Background Check Expansion Act (S. 42). The UMC Board of Church and Society urges you to contact your Senators and tell them to pass universal background checks! Get details.

Toolkit for Creating Change Together: In this toolkit from the General Board of Church and Society, you will find the biblical and United Methodist grounding for civic engagement, as well as strategies and tactics that you can do as an individual or group to pursue the common good. Get toolkit

Strength for Service: The Strength for Service ministry is providing 5,000 copies of the devotional book to veterans and first responders who are participating in “Carry the Load,” a three-team, 11,500-mile national relay handing off the American flag every 5 miles for 32 straight days. Read story

Ministry with the Poor

Economic Power and Evangelism: It’s difficult to preach the good news to people who are hungry and living in poverty, so the UMC in Zimbabwe is helping link rural communities with business opportunities in an effort to “evangelize through economic empowerment.” Read UMNews story.

Celebrating WPA Ministry with the Poor: The Conference Anti-Poverty Team hosted recent grant recipients for a celebration lunch after their meeting at the Conference Center last Saturday. Rev. Dai Morgan of UM Advocacy in PA spoke about his efforts to provide all three UMC conferences in Pennsylvania with updates on legislative actions and encouragement to speak out for UMC positions on public policy. Representatives of Roots of Faith Ministry, the Erie UM Alliance, Eastbrook Mission Barn and Ruth M. Smith Center provided updates on their work. See photos

Leadership Development

Church Business Academy: The Academy of Church Business Administration (ACBA), which offers education and certification for church business administrators, will be held in Nashville, TN from June 17-27. It’s hosted by the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). Get details.

Collegiate Ministry: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) invites those involved in campus/collegiate ministry to the July 16-19 Summer Institute, a UM Campus Ministry Association (UMCMA) conference, co-sponsored and hosted by Iliff School of Theology in Denver. To learn more and register, click here.

Get Ready to Navigate! Registration is open now for Navigate, an Aug. 22-24 event in Harrisburg to help current and future leaders impact their congregations and communities for Jesus Christ. There will be powerful speakers and workshops geared to Revitalization, The Small Church, Lay Pastors, New Places for New People, Young Leaders and Conference Leaders. Navigate was planned by Northeastern Jurisdiction leaders after the 2019 School of Congregational Development was cancelled. Get details and register