As the New Year begins, we have much news to share and a request for prayer for clergy and laity being deployed for military service.
Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation: A diverse, 16-member team of bishops and advocacy group leaders has offered a proposal that, if adopted by the General Conference, would preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing traditionalist-minded congregations to form a new denomination. Proposal backers say it could end the denomination's impasse over homosexuality. Read UM News story
Read Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi’s statement on the proposed protocol.
Hear Team Members Discuss Proposal: Members of the team that developed a new proposal for The United Methodist Church's future will be interviewed in a live-streamed panel discussion on Monday, Jan. 13. Conducted by UM News, the 60-minute interview will be streamed on the UM News Facebook page and umnews.org beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST. The interview will be recorded and archived on umnews.org for future viewing. Read story
Famed Mediator Kept Parties at Table: Lawyer and mediator Kenneth Feinberg managed to keep a diverse group of church leaders working toward agreement on a protocol to move past the UMC impasse over homosexuality. He called it a labor of love. Read more.
Reaction to the Plan: United Methodist News Service reported on reaction to the plan. Read story
Proposal in the News: Some Western PA media outlets reported on the proposal to allow separation. The Meadville Tribune’s story included comments from some area pastors. Read it.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted a story online referencing Bishop Moore-Koikoi’s statement and included a photo of Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who was part of the group that proposed the protocol. See story.
KDKA Interviews Bishop: KDKA’s John Shumway interviewed Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi about the proposal for its report and also included video clips from two Pittsburgh area pastors. Watch
Mercy Center Honors Women Making History: United Methodist Pastor Dixie Rose Welker, who died March 30, 2019, will be among 13 Erie area women honored by the Mercy Center for Women on March 4 at Mercyhurst University for their contributions to the community. “Even in death Dixie is still a positive influence on everyone who knew her,” said her nominator. Dixie was passionate about prison ministry, serving as the protestant pastor at Cambridge Springs Women’s Prison, and was an advocate for education and empowerment. Learn more.
Read Welker’s obituary
Tackle Hunger: You can help fight hunger with a Souper Bowl of Caring event and the Society of St. Andrew, a UM Men and Global Missions partner organization, offers free resources. Learn more and get resources at endhunger.org/souper/
Spring Licensing School: Applications are available for the 2020 Spring Commuter Licensing School and Certified Lay Minister training, which begins with a Feb. 13-15 retreat, includes Saturday sessions through March and closes with a retreat April 16 - 18. Sessions are at Manorville UMC. Download application form with details.
Key Practices for Building a High Trust Culture: Amy Valdez Barker says that the church should be a training center in the development of trust. She names practices that leaders can employ when groups come together to create environments that foster and facilitate a high-trust culture. Read more
Can We Trust One Another? Amy Valdez Barker will address this question during a workshop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Christ UMC in Franklin, PA on Wednesday, March 11. Get details
The Conference-sponsored workshop is held in conjunction with the Albright-Deering Lecture in Methodist Studies, scheduled for March 12 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Learn more and register
Wesley Seminary offers Open Houses: Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. offers open houses online and on campus this month. An online Virtual Wesley Webinar is January 16 from noon until 12:25 p.m. Get details and register
The Doctor of Ministry Info Day is on campus Jan. 14, from 9 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Register here.
Pray for Mission of Peace! Three Western PA youth --Vivian Somes of the Greensburg District, A.J. Batson of the Washington District and Ethan Nannen of the Kane District-- are traveling in India as part of the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Mission of Peace. Bishops Sudarshana Devadhar of the New England Conference and LaTRelle Miller Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference are among the leaders. Check out the photos on the NEJ Mission of Peace Facebook page.
Youth to Attend NEJ Conference: The Conference Youth Ministry Team selected Kendra Shoffstall of the Pittsburgh District and Elisha Schoeneck and Malorie Landman of the Greensburg District to attend the 2020 Jurisdictional Conference in July. Shane Pogany of the Pittsburgh District will serve as an alternate. Jurisdictional Conferences, where bishops are elected and assigned, are held every four years.
Engage 2020: Learn ways to help your church engage with people in your community to share the love, hope and help offered in Jesus Christ. Engaging Your Community for Christ, scheduled for Saturday morning, Feb. 8 is sponsored by the Washington District, but open to all. It offers a choice of three workshops. Get details and register
Parish & Community Development Grant Deadlines: February 24 is the deadline to apply for Spring 2020 New Places for New People grants. Grants are awarded in Spring and Fall and two types of grants are available. Download application/instruction form.
The Fresh Expressions National Gathering, "The Present Future: Cultivating a Church for Tomorrow Today," will be held April 1-3 at Heritage Fellowship Church in Reston, VA. Featured speakers include Tod Bolsinger, Keisha Polonio and Len Sweet. Learn more and register.
United Methodist Men in Review, the Commission on United Methodist Men created more small groups, released its first study of discipleship and tackled domestic violence. Last year, The United Methodist Church also took the lead among denominations in providing a home base for Scouts BSA. Read story
See United Methodist Men by the numbers
Keep Up with United Methodist Men: The winter issue of UM Men magazine offers an overview of the ministry partners of the Commission on United Methodist Men. These partners, including the Society of St. Andrew, Rise Against Hunger and Strength for Service, help extend the church’s outreach around the globe. Read magazine’s Winter 2020 issue
Clergyman Retires Under Complaint: A United Methodist clergyman has retired “under complaint” after facing formal accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse from four women. Under a resolution with the West Ohio Conference, the Rev. Donald Heckman, an ordained elder who has been involved in interfaith ministries, can no longer represent himself as under appointment nor perform ministerial activities in the name of The United Methodist Church. Read more
Register Now for Global Mission Revival: Rev. Ron and Bonnie Hipwell will be the keynote speakers at the 2020 Global Mission Revival scheduled for March 14 at Crossroads UMC/North Fayette campus. Bring a group from your church and learn how to get involved in global ministry. Get details
Former Mission Fellow Dies: Tawanda Chandiwana, a former Global Mission Fellow who was at the center of a 2018 campaign to win his release along with two other young missionaries detained on spurious charges in the Philippines, has died in Zimbabwe, just days before his 30th birthday. His health situation and treatment were complicated by a prolonged strike of many doctors in Zimbabwe, church contacts told the Board of Global Ministries. Read statement
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: During the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, congregations all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. Something special is planned at Sharon First UMC on Jan. 19. Learn more and get resources.
Valentine’s Weekend with Eric and Tara: Treat your valentine to a special Valentine’s weekend Celebrate Marriage getaway at Olmsted Manor. Rev. Eric and Tara Park will lead a few fun activities, but the focus will be on rest and relaxation. Get details
MLK Services: Garden City UMC will host the annual Greensburg/Pittsburgh service honoring the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19. The Rev. Dr. DeNeice Welch, pastor of Bidwell Presbyterian Church, will be the preacher and Garden City’s choir and praise band will provide music.
UM Churches in the Sharon area will participate in the Shenango Valley Ministerial Association’s Martin Luther King observance, scheduled for 4 p.m., Jan. 19 at the Hope Center for Arts and Technology.
Human Relations Sunday is January 19. This churchwide Special Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday before the observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. It acknowledges the right of all God's children to reach their potential, and calls all of our churches to strengthen United Methodist outreach to communities in the United States through supporting social justice and work with at-risk youth. Get worship and other resources from UMCGiving.
The final day for 2019 Connectional Apportionment payments to be received is next Tuesday, January 14, 2020. If you haven't yet submitted your payment, clearly mark it as a 2019 payment.