WPAUMC enews for Feb. 5, 2020



New Camping Coordinator: Shane Hinderliter will begin serving as the new Conference Coordinator of Camping and Retreat Ministries on March 1. Learn more

Confirmation Class Events: Some scheduled sessions for Confirmation classes to visit the United Methodist Center are filling up. Register your group ASAP. Get details at wpaumc.org/Confirmation2020 


Funeral Services will be held on Friday for Pastor Valerie Conrad-Dembinsky, who passed away on Wednesday. Join in offering thanks for her many years of ministry and praying for her husband, church family and friends. See obituary


NEJ Mission Academy: Western PA will host the Northeastern Jurisdiction Mission Academy at Laurelville Retreat Center near Mt. Pleasant from April 14-17. Registration is open. Get details at umvimnej.org.

Global Ministries Exec Won’t Seek Re-Election: After 10 years  as chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, Thomas Kemper said he will not see re-election to the post. In a memo to staff  he said he will relocate to his native Germany with his wife Barbara. Read press release

UMCOR joins Coronavirus Fight: To support the efforts of local partners in China dealing with the coronavirus crisis, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is sending an emergency grant to Amity Foundation in Nanjing, China. The grant will immediately enable infection, prevention and control measures to limit the spread of respiratory diseases such as the new virus. Get livestream details.

Read press release 

Global Prayer Campaign

Prayer Campaign for Peace in Korea: The World Council of Churches will host a Feb. 6 livestream event to prepare for a March 1-Aug. 15 global prayer campaign for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The 70 days of prayer correspond with a commemoration of 70 years since the Korean War. A toolkit of resource materials, including prayers and Bible studies, will be available. Read press release

General Conference

Class on General Conference: The Erie-Meadville District Laity School will offer an elective class on General Conference taught by Rev. Alan Morrison. Morrison, who previously served as General Conference business manager, will discuss the different plans being submitted for the future of United Methodism. The classes will be offered at two locations -- Waterford: Asbury UMC from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, March 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, and Saegertown UMC from 2-4 p.m. on Sundays, March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29. Clergy are welcome and will be offered 0.5 CEUs upon completion of the course. Registration is due Feb. 12. Contact the Erie-Meadville District Office or Get enrollment form with class descriptions and details. 

General Conference Legislation is contained in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate (DCA),  available online at the Resource UMC website. 
The site also contains resources to help your congregation understand how General Conference works.

Pre-GC2020 Protocol Briefings: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, the Rev. Alyce Weaver-Dunn, chair of the Western PA Delegation to the General Conference; Rev. John R. Wilson, Conference Secretary, and Donna Vizza, chair of the WPAUMC Connectional Leadership Table, will hold a series of informational sessions on the proposed Protocol for Separation of the denomination at five locations, around the Conference in March. The dates and locations are: 

  • Sunday, March 22 @ Saint Mary’s from 3 - 5:30 pm 
  • Monday, March 23 @ Saegertown from 6:30– 9 pm 
  • Tuesday, March 24 @ Punxsutawney: First from 6:30 – 9 pm
  • Wednesday, March 25 @ Crossroads: Oakdale from 6:30– 9 pm 
  • Thursday, March 26 @ Somerset: Grace from 6:30 – 9 pm 

Details are listed on the March Calendar on the Conference website.

Late Legislation for GC:  The group that organizes General Conference held a special meeting to discuss the process for receiving legislation — such as the protocol — after the usual petition deadline. The group also received an update on challenges to delegates getting required visas. Read story

Judicial Council Docket: Five rulings of law made when New Jersey United Methodists held a special session to discuss their own “way forward” through a denominational divide will be reviewed by the UMC’s top court when it meets this spring. On the Judicial Council’s docket is continuation of an item from the Fall 2019 session regarding the legal impact of a finding of improper voting during General Conference 2019. Learn more.

Dismantling Racism

Erie Youth Forum on Racism: African-American Youth in Erie participated in a public form in Erie last week, talking about their experiences with racial bias and prejudice from teachers and authorities, colorism, intraracial strife and poverty. Read more at GoErie.com

Backs Against the Wall: Pittsburgh Seminary’s sixth annual Community Conversation on Race and Faith will be held from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Feb. 7. It will include viewing the documentary “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story. Learn more.

Project To Explore Gentrification, Race, Theology: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support a multidimensional project on gentrification, race, and theological education. The project works at intersections between theological education, church life, and violent transformations of urban space—particularly where gentrification results in dislocations and erasures of communities. Learn more.

Black History Month

Underground Railroad Tour: Doors Open Pittsburgh, which had a tour of black churches on Feb. 1 as the first of two Black History Month events, offers an Underground Railroad Tour on Saturday, Feb. 29.  Get details

CMOA Permanent Gallery:  News photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris spent decades documenting African-American life in Pittsburgh and now his images have a permanent gallery space at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The archive includes more than 70,000 negatives and prints. Learn more


Dive Deep into Evangelism: A new group study guide has been released for "The E Word" webinar, which launched in November 2019. Written by the Rev. Heather Lear, the guide provides a way for small groups and congregations to dive deep into what evangelism means and learn how to better tell the Gospel story to their community. Read press release

Lenten Devotional: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s 2020 Lenten Devotional (free online) includes entries written distinguished alumni and board members, including more some United Methodist clergy. Get details and download the devotional.  

Upcoming Events

100 Years of Methodist Scouting: The Methodist Episcopal Church officially recognized Scouting in February 1920. This month, as the 100th anniversary is celebrated, 3,111 United Methodist congregations charter 9,611 Scout units. Those serve 309,739 young people. United Methodist churches provide home base for more Scouts than any other denomination in America. Read story

Radical Discipleship: If you missed the inspirational study of the Gospel of Mark last summer at Mission u, plan to attend the Mini-Mission u retreat at Olmsted Manor from April 19-21. Rev. Eric S. Park again will lead the spiritual growth sessions. Learn more and register 
Get brochure with details.

Thinking about it? Olmsted Manor was highlighted in Pinpoint Magazine recently. Read Escape and Rejuvenate...