WPAUMC enews -- Dec. 4, 2019



Funeral Services for Rev. Paul D. Taylor, former Pittsburgh District Superintendent, will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Grace UMC in Coal Center. Clergy are invited to wear stoles to the service. See obituary 

Bishop Elected to Christian Associates Post: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has been elected to serve as president of Christian Associates of Southwestern PA, effective January 1, 2020. She currently is vice-president of the ecumenical organization whose board includes leaders of denominations or organizations represented in 10 Southwestern PA counties. Read more

An Olmsted Christmas! Sunday is your last opportunity this year to explore Olmsted Manor decorated for Christmas at the annual Christmas Open House. Various areas and rooms were decorated by members of several Kane District churches. Learn more

Messiah Sing-Along: There are two performances of the Handel's Messiah Sing-Along Concert at Calvary UMC in Pittsburgh this coming weekend, Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8, both at 4 p.m. Tickets may still be available. Get details. 

Parks Release New CD: Tara and Eric Park share their musical gifts on a new CD with several original songs. It's called Feels Like Home. Eric is the Butler District Superintendent. Sales of the CD will benefit WPAUMC Camping and Retreat Ministries. Learn more

Important Reminder from Janet Lord:  Annual Mentor Reports are due on December 15.  If you are a Provisional Member or a Local Pastor who has not yet completed the Course of Study, you must complete and file this report every year.  The form and instructions are available on the WPAUMC website. In addition to keeping a copy for yourself, send a copies to your DCOM registrar, your District Superintendent and, if you are a Local Pastor,  Rev. Sara Wrona, 134 Custer Avenue, Vandergrift, PA 15690 OR, if you are a Provisional Member, Rev. Janet Lord, 783 Freeport Road, Creighton, PA 15030. Get the mentoring report form for Local Pastors at wpaumc.org/Forms/BOOM Forms/Local Pastor Forms
Get the form for provisional members here 

Ministry with the Poor

Addressing Childhood Poverty: In the Alle-Kiski Valley, where poverty has increased in recent years, an elementary school principal realized his faculty and staff did not have the resources to address poverty-related effects on children and families in the once-thriving area. He’s developed a plan to help teachers understand how issues related to poverty so they can take a different approach to help students learn and cope. Read more  

Hope-filled Relationships: Things are busy in the Moxham Area of Johnstown where Hope-Filled Relationships are building community. The latest newsletter from church and community worker Natalie Marionneaux has details. Read it.  

Community Outreach

Thanksgiving Meals: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured Coraopolis UMC’s annual Thanksgiving meal outreach last week. Volunteers there prepared 525 meals, but it wasn’t the only local UM church to serve a Thanksgiving feast for the community or deliver meals to shut-ins or first-responders. Among the others were Salem in Wexford, Otterbein in Greensburg,Christ in Bethel Park, Saegertown, Jefferson Ave. in Washington, and Holiday Park. See photos at facebook.com/wpaumc/

Blessing of the Badges: West Allegheny Magazine’s Cornell edition had a report on Coraopolis UMC’s annual Blessing of the Badges event to honor and pray for area first responders. See article and photos.

UMC News

U.S. Regional Conference? Bishops from Africa, Europe and the Philippines are backing a proposal  to create a new UMC structure for U.S. decision-making. “The central conference bishops will promote and solidly support the U.S. regional conference proposal,” Bishop Harald Rückert of Germany announced to applause near the end of the fall Council of Bishops meeting. Learn more.

UMC Membership Shift: Denominational projections indicate that more that half of United Methodists now live outside the United States. Learn more. 

WCA Drafts Guidebook for New Denomination: The Wesleyan Covenant Association posted the first draft of a guidebook for a potential new expression of Methodism. The primacy of Scripture and clear language against the acceptance of homosexual marriage and gay clergy are contained in the document. Read story

Young Adults

Internship Opportunity: Applications are due by December 15 for students interested in working with the Conference Board of HIgher Education and Campus Ministry to get the word out about WPAUMC scholarships available for undergraduate education. Travel around Western PA is required. More information and application is available at wpaumc.org/internships. 

GBHEM Scholarships: Applications for scholarships from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the 2020 fall term will be accepted online from Jan. 3 until March 5, 2020. Get details at gbhem.org/loans-scholarships/scholarships/apply/

Young Adult Wesley Week at Taize: Young adults (ages 18-30) within the Wesleyan tradition from around the world are invited to gather and participate in the rhythms of daily life and prayer at Taizé,France. They’ll experience the teachings of the brothers, a shared community life  and sacrificial living for a week. Learn more. 


Help Need in Disaster Response: A Halloween Storm hit the Mohawk Valley in Upstate New York October 31 and flooding and mud affected thousands of people. UMCOR responded and helped many get through the initial devastation, but more than 100 homes need work before the freezing temperatures set in. Upper New York Disaster Response Coordinator Mike Block has asked for help from WPAUMC volunteer teams. Housing is available. Contact Mike at mikeblock@unyumc.org or 315-491-0497.  If you plan to go, let WPAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator David Kissinger know at dlkissinger22@gmail.com
Read more about Halloween storm response.

Mission Volunteer Openings: Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up) seeking to build partnerships and serve in communities around the world. Mission Volunteer opportunities are diverse and range from working with refugees, children and youth, serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years. Learn more


Seekers View UMC Positively: A new survey from UM Communications found willingness to visit a United Methodist Church rose to 42 percent in 2019 among U.S. adults seeking more spirituality in their lives and who are aware of the denomination. That's up from 28 percent in 2017. Learn more.

Don’t Shame Christmas Visitors! Refrain from “jokes”/snide remarks to those who attend infrequently, but come on Christmas Eve. The preparation of Advent should include prayer about how we can  reflect the heart of our God in welcoming all who seek the Christ Child at Christmas, says Ann Michel of the Lewis Center. Read more.

Make Hospitality A Pattern: Director Doug Powe of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership says special efforts to welcome visitors at Christmas shouldn't be set aside once the holiday is over. He outlines four ways the hospitality of the Christmas season can launch more intentional visitor welcome throughout the year. Learn more

Webinars on Dementia: Beginning in January, the UMC Committee on Older Adult Ministry will join with Discipleship Ministries to produce a series of free webinars on dementia and the church. Learn more and see webinar schedule

Upper Room Disciplines 2020:  The 2020 edition of "Disciplines: A Book of Daily Devotions" features all new material from 53 writers who contributed to the beloved Upper Room publication Weavings. Each week covers a different spiritual theme. Learn more and order