WPAUMC enews -- Dec. 11, 2019



Refuge Christmas Story: An estimated 2.5 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren. The Erie UM Alliance’s Refuge came to the rescue of one grandma and four grandchildren. They are in their own home now. EUMA’s Executive Director Kurt Crays shared Diana’s compelling story. 

Living Christmas Tree Concerts: The Meadville Tribune ran a story about the Living Christmas Tree performances at Trinity UMC in Conneaut Lake, which have become a tradition in the area. See photos and story.

Redemption of the Grinch: Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, Director of Connectional Ministries, sees the classic Dr. Suess tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a perfect redemption story. Alyce introduces the cast of characters in the first of three blog posts. 

Connellsville Ministries Receives Grant: The Angela Phillips Memorial Fund gave a donation of $12,716 to Connellsville Area Community Ministries last week. Mary Sampey, Phillips sister, raised $19,000 from  for the fund and selected CACM to receive the grant because it is "an extension of the church and truly serves our local community as Jesus himself.” The grant amount represented the date Phillips, 34, died of an overdose, 12-07-16. Read more

Churches Vandalized: Mt. Lebanon UMC was one of three churches near each other in suburban Pittsburgh that were vandalized last week. Police detained a 21-year-old man. Pastor Tom Strandburg was interviewed by KDKA-TV. See report 

Apportionment Deadline: The last day to submit  2019 Connectional Apportionments payments is Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Get details and check record. 

Aging Churches

How Churches Adapt to Aging: Pastor Bev Roscoe, lead pastor of the South Fayette Cooperative Parish, is quoted in a news feature on how churches are adapting to dwindling numbers. The story appeared on the front page of the Uniontown Herald-Standard and in the Washington Observer-Reporter.  Read it

Johnstown Church to Close: After 130 years in the Moxham community, Park Avenue UMC will close its doors. See WTAC report 

Re-Examine Your Building Use: Authors Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller have written on church building stewardship and how to make neighborhood church buildings a powerhouse for mission. They  recommend that church leaders ask this question: How can we integrate our buildings not only to serve God’s purpose now, but as a way of positioning our church for generations to come? Read more

 Abundant Health

Bill to Lower Prescription Drug Costs: On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives may vote on a bill to allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to lower drug prices, cap out-of-pocket expenses in the Medicare Part D program, and use a portion of the cost savings to expand vision, hearing, and dental benefits in Medicare Part B. Because the UMC Social Principles call for everyone to have access to high-quality, affordable health care, the Board of Church and Society urges United Methodists to support the bill by calling their representative and asking them to vote for H.R. 3 -- The Lower Drug Costs Now Act. Call (202) 224-3121, ask for your representative’s office, say that you are a constituent, and, asa United Methodist, you support the effort to lower drug costs and expand access to affordable, quality care. The President opposes the bill in its current form, saying that while it will lower the cost of prescription drugs, it would hamper development of new drugs, an argument made by drug manufacturers. 

Zimbabwe Doctors Strike: With hundreds of doctors on strike at government hospitals and a deepening economic crisis, patients are flocking to United Methodist hospitals for care. The influx of patients is taking its toll on the doctors and nurses who are still working and has resulted in critical shortages in medication, beds and equipment. Read more

Faith Talks: Mary, Maternal Health and Caregiving is the subject of a UMW Faith Talks Zoom video webinar scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Get details and register at unitedmethodistwomen.org/faithtalks

Ministry with the Poor

Micro-homes for Homeless Patients: When homeless people are released from the hospital, even after major surgery, they may have nowhere to go to recover. That reality led Glencliff UMC in Nashville  to build micro homes on its grounds to serve as bridge housing for homeless patients to recover from medical issues as they await permanent housing. Read story

Dignity Museum: For 33 days in 2018, the Rev. Terence Lester, a black man, walked through the South and was regularly harassed and threatened. He marched to dispel ignorance about poverty and homelessness. His latest effort is the Dignity Museum, a traveling exhibit housed in a shipping container that creates an immersive experience designed to foster understanding and prompt action. Read more from Faith and Leadership

Nativity Scene Draws Criticism, Support: Claremont United Methodist Church's Nativity scene, depicting Jesus, Mary and Joseph in separate cages to demonstrate the separation of families at the U.S. border, has drawn criticism and support. The pastor of Claremont,said, "We wanted the Holy Family to stand in for those nameless people because they also were refugees." Read story

Immigration Summit: Members of the United Methodist Immigration Task Force visited migrants living near the Paso del Norte International Bridge, which connects Juárez with El Paso recently. Among those living in tents was a man named Jesus, his wife Mariana and their one-year-old son. The visit was part of an Immigration Summit held in El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Juárez. See UM News story and photos

PA Churches Aid Migrants: The Rev. Lillian "Luky" Cotto, pastor of St. Paul's UMC in Warrington, PA is far from the southwest border, but she is on the front lines of assisting Central American migrants and refugees seeking asylum and legal residency. Read story


Top 10 Leading Ideas: The Lewis Center for Church Leadership’s Top 10 list of trending articles offers you a chance to glean insight and inspiration from the authors and articles most popular with their nearly 20,000 subscribers. See the list

Youth Worker Resources: If you’re planning ahead for your youth ministry or looking for something to do next week, Discipleship Ministries recommends the Youth Worker Collective resources. Everything on it is written by people active in youth ministry. Visit youthworkercollective.com/

Local Church Communications Guide: United Methodist Communications can help you communicate all the good you can. Use the new Church Leader Guide to find training courses, outreach tools, marketing support, giving resources, web ministry tips, grant opportunities, information sources, inspirational ideas and more. See guide online

Update Your Find-A-Church!  People are searching for a peaceful place to celebrate Advent and Christmas, and many turn to Find-A-Church to locate United Methodist churches in their zip code. Your church already has a profile – update it today. Include worship times, ministry opportunities and much more. Don’t wait! It may take a few days for changes you make to appear. Learn how