WPAUMC enews --July 31, 2019


UMCOR Kits Needed! With storms and flooding in Western PA through most of July, District Disaster Response coordinators and volunteers have been busy distributing cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. The Eastbrook Mission Barn’s supplies are low, so Director Katie Peterson is asking churches and individuals to put together buckets and kits. Use the recipes at umcmission.org/umcor
Visit Mission Barn website

Thanks for Relief Supplies! Katie Peterson wants to pass on the “hearty thank you for your generosity” that the Mission Barn received in the mail this week from Dan Ivan, the director of the Belmont County (Ohio) Emergency Management Agency. He wrote: “The citizens of Neffs, Stewartsville, and Glencoe who were affected by flash flooding on July 7 extend their appreciation for the hygiene kits and cleaning buckets you donated. The Neffs fire department and volunteers who helped coordinate response are grateful as well. We especially want to thank you for providing relief to the citizens of Belmont County.  We commend you on this support to our residents.”

Summer Residential Licensing School is underway at Olmsted Manor. It started Sunday July 28 and on Monday, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi spent the afternoon teaching the theology of the sacraments. See photo. 

UMC Outreach at Open Streets Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh District United Methodists took to the streets Sunday morning to offer Open Streets Pittsburgh participants an opportunity to create Blessing Bags as they passed along Forbes Ave. The bags contain items things that an unhoused person may need -- food, small notebooks, sunscreen, chapstick, and information about community resources. They were donated by many District churches. Riders and passers-by were invited to make a bag and keep it in their car or carry it with them to share with someone in need. See photos at Facebook.com/wpaumc.  

Smith Center Honors Bloomsters: The Board of the Ruth M. Smith Center in Sheffield has named a building after the Rev. Don and Shirley Bloomster. Don retired from the board last December after an astounding 36 years of service. Read more.

Bentz Accepts ABA Post: Amy Bentz, the long-time chancellor/legal advisor for the Western PA Annual Conference, will transition out of the position over the coming year to devote time to a leadership position in the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. Beginning in October, she will serve as Vice Chair of the Fidelity and Surety Law General Committee. Rebecca A. Brammel of Irwin, an attorney in private practice in Westmoreland County, was elected co-chancellor with Bentz at the 2019 Annual Conference session and the two have been working together in the role. 

UM Foundation News

WPA’s Bailey to Oversee Two Foundations: Rev. Ed Bailey, executive director of the UM Foundation of Western PA, will also serve as interim executive director of the Susquehanna UM Stewardship Foundation (SUMSF). The Susquehanna Foundation’s executive director retired today and the two organizations have been exploring ways to work together to benefit and improve services for the stakeholders of both Annual Conferences. See announcement

Consider Korea Trip: The UM Foundation of Western PA invites clergy and laity to apply to take an educational and spiritual journey to South Korea from September 2-10, 2020.  Participants will see firsthand how Methodism, brought to Korea by Methodist missionaries, is thriving as a faithful conduit of strength and grace for a nation. Get details
Download flyer
Sample the host church’s worship music 

Ministry with the Poor/Mission

Eyeglass Ministry Update: The Nyadire Connection’s July Volunteers in Mission team and Don Ziegler, co-leader of TNC’s eyeglass clinic ministry, recently returned from Zimbabwe. During their stay, people were tested and fitted for glasses at Mashambanaka Health Clinic and at Murewa. The result: 2070 patients now have better vision! See photos on TNC’s Facebook page
Read UM News story on the clinics

Eyeglass Note: Used eyeglasses are collected in many locations, including several churches and the United Methodist Center in Cranberry Twp. Volunteers at Zion UMC in Sarver measure and sort the glasses to send with mission teams, including the TNC teams. 

Ride for Refuge Bulletin Insert: The Erie UM Alliance is celebrating 20 years of The Ride on Monday, Sept. 2 starting at 7:30 a.m. at Shades Beach or Albion Borough Park. Join in this milestone event! Registration is now open. Proceeds benefit EUMA’s The Refuge emergency homeless shelter for families with children. Learn more and register 
Download bulletin insert

Act Against Hunger! Be a part of the solution to the global hunger crisis by supporting Global Ministries’ Advance programs and missionaries. A Hunger Mission Kit of free, downloadable awareness-building tools and fundraising ideas can empower you, your congregation and your community to better understand the hunger crisis, find opportunities to alleviate suffering and support vital ministry work. See kit

Kids Meal Network: UM Church Union’s Kids Meal Network has been running in several locations around Allegheny County this summer. Check out the great photos on their Facebook page. 

Uth4Mission and More: Youth groups from around the conference are at Jumonville this week for Uth 4 Mission and teams are working in the Uniontown and Connellsville areas. See photos of this annual event, as well as updates from Zim Camp at facebook.com/wpaumc/

Dismantling Racism

BWCUMC Leaders Defend Baltimore: Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling and the Rev. Wanda Bynum Duckett defended their beloved city of Baltimore in the wake of disparaging tweets from President Donald Trump. Read story

UMC News and Views

Seeking a New Way Forward: At a meeting called by Sierra Leone Bishop John K. Yambasu, central conference bishops and church leaders with different viewpoints on the issue of ministry with LGBTQ people discussed finding a new way forward through consensus. Yambasu and others, however, expressed fears that a split is coming. Read story

UM Scholars to Address LGBTQIA Inclusion: About 60 United Methodist clergy and lay scholars will gather in Dallas, TX, on Aug. 7-8 to cast a vision for an inclusive church and offer live-streamed presentations to support those seeking inclusion. Presenters include the Rev. Jane Ellen Nickell, chaplain at Allegheny College. She is the author of We Shall Not Be Moved, which looks at the UMC’s conversations about inclusion in light of Methodism's historic differences over the leadership of African Americans and women. Get details

WCA Conferences Withholding Apportionments? The Rev. Mark Holland contends that the U.S. conferences most supportive of the Wesleyan Covenant Association-backed Traditional Plan are among the most likely to withhold denominational apportionments used to fund United Methodist ministries around the world. Read commentary
See graphics

Good News Thinks Not! The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht writes that it is not disloyalty to the church that causes people to withhold or redirect their giving. Lambrecht, vice president of Good News, argues for a more nuanced analysis. Read commentary

Leadership Resources

Is Nostalgia Sabotaging Your Church’s Future? It's not unhealthy to be nostalgic, as long as you live in the present and focus on the future, says Matt Miofski. But nostalgia can seductively tempt us to trade present potential and the promise of the future for an often romanticized past that we can’t return to. Read more in Leading Ideas

To Revitalize, Some Things May need to Go!  It might help to get rid of some of the clutter. See how in To the Point: Unclutter Your Church Now

Connect to The Source! Both clergy and laypeople in leadership at all levels of the church can turn to The Source to find ministry ideas, inspiration and resources from across the denomination. The twice-monthly e-newsletter offers information from general agencies and church entities, new and timely articles from ResourceUMC.org and more. Subscribe

Removing Barriers

DisAbilty Ministries: Lots of good info in the latest newsletter from the DisAbility Ministries Committee of the UMC. See it.

Think Your Internet Connection is Bad? Some 800,000 Pennsylvanians, nearly two-thirds of them in rural areas, do not have access to broadband services, according to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Connectivity problems are common even 20 minutes outside urban areas. Why does it matter? It negatively affects businesses, schools, and people. Learn more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s feature, Disconnected

Religion News

UMC Turned Buddhist Temple Closes: Two years ago, the former Dormont UMC was dedicated as a Buddhist temple, but its leaders say the costs to heat and operate the building were too high. They’re looking for a new location in Pittsburgh’s South Hills. Read Post-Gazette story

Know Religion? Most Americans are familiar with some of the basics of Christianity and the Bible, and even a few facts about Islam. But far fewer U.S. adults are able to correctly answer factual questions about Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Read story
Take religious knowledge quiz