WPAUMC enews --June 19, 2019


Annual Conference 2020: The dates for Annual Conference 2020 were confirmed today. The session will be June 11-13, 2020 at Grove City College.

Weaver Dunn to Lead 2020 Delegation: Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn was elected to chair Western PA’s delegation to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional conferences. See the other leaders and learn more.

Annual Conference Reports: Lay members are invited to use resources from the Conference website to prepare annual conference reports for their congregations. Links to videos, presentations, the daily proceedings, and photos on Flickr, are at wpaumc.org/AC.
Under news, find the Annual Conference wrap-up report
A version of the report is also on the UM News website 

Thanks from Mission Barn: Katie Peterson wants to thank everyone who donated eyeglasses, UMCOR hygiene and cleaning kits and gave monetary donations during Annual Conference!   “Your prayers and support are greatly felt and appreciated!” she said. “Email missionbarn@gmail.com to volunteer with us or have a speaker come to your church.”   

Flooding Affects Mission Barn: Flooding earlier this week took out much of the entrance road to the Eastbrook Mission Barn, where UMCOR “flood buckets” and hygiene kits are verified and stored. Repairs got underway today, but work is expected to last through next week. Continue to assemble kits, but don’t attempt any deliveries to the Barn for awhile. See photos and learn more.

Notes from Belfast: WPAUMC Mission Ambassadors Sandy McKee and Lynn Sibley, who will teach at Mission u at California University of PA in July,  recently returned from visiting with missionaries, churches and mission sites in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The second of their Notes from Belfast is posted on the Conference Reflections blog.

Ministry with the Poor

Struggling to Make It: Roughly one in three Pennsylvania households struggle to afford life’s basic necessities, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Way. Learn more.

Take the Ration Challenge: Can you survive on the same food rations as a Syrian refugee? That means just a small amount of rice, flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fish and oil. Church World Service has issued the challenge and more than 40,000 Americans are trying it this week to mark International Refugee Day. Read Religion News Service Story

Dismantling Racism

Celebrating Juneteenth! Although the official day for Juneteenth is June 19th, celebrations in Pittsburgh will continue over the rest of this month. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will be honored at a gala on Friday, June 28 and join in a memorial service at Point State Park on June 29. Learn more.
Read more about United Methodists and Juneteenth.

Racial/Ethnic Ministry Grants: Grants of up to $10,000 will be available this fall from UMC Discipleship Ministries to strengthen the leadership training, small groups, worship, stewardship and spiritual formation in ethnic local United Methodist churches. Read press release

Roar! VBS and Racism: The 2019 Vacation Bible School (VBS) curriculum by Group Publishing Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good, is facing criticism from the Commission on Religion and Race and other church organizations. Beyond referring to the continent of Africa as a country, the curriculum, focused on the Exodus story and the plight of Hebrews who were held in slavery in Egypt, was called out for cultural insensitivity. Group has apologized and made some modifications. Read more.

UMC News

Housing Allowance Lawsuit Dropped: The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist watchdog group, has dropped its long-running fight against the U.S. tax exemption for clergy housing allowances. Read Religion News Service story
See UM News story  on clergy housing ruling

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: And it can be expensive too, for local churches who want to leave the United Methodist Church, says a UM News report. See why

Leadership Development

Strategies to Grow Your Church: Pastors will disagree on just about anything except their common desire to grow a church, says author and preacher Charley Reeb. He offers four preaching strategies to do that. See what they are.

UM Men and Youth: The UM Men national magazine is now a free online publication available to all. The summer issue provides ways for United Methodist congregations to minister to youth in their communities, and the national executive for Boy Scouts of America writes about how his Scouting career began in a United Methodist church. Read magazine

Getting a New Pastor? This article from UM Communications has some ideas for things you can do to make things go smoothly. Read it

Celebrating John Wesley’s Birthday? Or did you miss it? Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, while England was still using the Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and thus Wesley's birth date became June 28. So now may be a good time to read some of Wesley’s reflections on his birthday.
Take the Wesley edition of the United Methodist quiz.