WPAUMC enews for March 11, 2020



In Such a Time as This: In an email to local church leaders and pastors on Wednesday night, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi offered some guidelines and information to help them address the current coronavirus situation. The letter included a link to an update prepared by Dr. Jessica Price, chair of the Conference’s Abundant Health Team.  Read more.

Sources for Coronavirus Information: Keep up with information and advice from the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more localized information, check the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, your county Health Department or local officials. Share their printable flyers.

Online Worship? In areas such as Seattle, local authorities imposed restrictions to contain a flare-up of COVID19, saying congregations (or other groups) with more than 50 attendees, should not gather. Some have moved to online worship. Rev. Jeremy Smith, a UMC elder serving in Seattle, posted some suggestions on his Hacking Christianity blog for how to pull together an online service. 

Adjusting to Coronavirus Threat: UM News Service reported on how churches in areas like Seattle and elsewhere around the world are adjusting to the Coronavirus threat. Read story.


Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Academy: WPAUMC is hosting the Northeastern Jurisdictional Mission Academy April 14-17 at Laurelville Retreat Center in Mt. Pleasant, PA.  It’s open to all United Methodists who want to develop their skills and knowledge for mission and disaster response. Register and select courses now at umvimnej.org/training/annual-mission-academy.html

Global Mission Revival: You can still register for the Mission Revival scheduled for this Saturday, March 14, at Crossroads UMC’s Oakdale (North Fayette) campus.  Get details.

UMCOR Sunday is March 22! Make sustainable changes around the world by partnering in the work of UMCOR. Our support makes a difference in communities impacted by storms, wars, climate change and displacement. Be a part of this essential work by participating in UMCOR Sunday. Learn More

Get UMCOR Sunday Resources: Download worship ideas, social media graphics and other resources the Pastors and Leaders Kit.

UMCOR Tornado Response: UMCOR is on the ground in Tennessee responding to the devastation caused by nine tornadoes that blew through middle Tennessee on March 3, destroying more than 1,500 homes and 500 businesses - including many churches and schools. See how you can help.

Another Way to Help with Tornado Response: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), located in Nashville, is working with the Tennessee Conference and UMCOR to gather supplies for hygiene kits and supply buckets for tornado relief. This is an affordable, tangible way to help. To support the project, they created this Amazon Wish List of needed supplies. Items range from $5.19 - $24.97 and will ship directly to GBHEM. Items may be delivered no later than March 25.

UMC News

Pastor’s Home Destroyed by Tornado: The Rev. Jackie Wheeler, a 74-year-old retired United Methodist elder still serving a rural church, lost his home in a March 3 tornado. Cookeville and surrounding Putnam County suffered 18 fatalities in the storms that also swept through Nashville. Read story

Preaching in the Marketplace: Within the hustle and bustle of the Tichagarika Shopping Center in Zimbabwe, lives are being transformed through midday prayer meetings. "Lunch-hour ministry for market traders is a game changer for our connectional ministries," said the Rev. Vienna Mutezo. Read story

General Conference 2020

Delegation Calls for GC Prayer Vigil: The Spiritual Life Team of WPAUMC’s Delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference is organizing a six-week, 24-7 prayer vigil from April 13-May 22-- the week after Easter through the week after General Conference. Congregations, youth groups, Conference committees, UMW chapters, choirs and other groups are invited to commit to prayer for a 24-hour time block (from midnight to midnight). Learn more and register.

Bishops Seek Judicial Council Decision: The Council of Bishops has asked the denomination's highest court to decide whether the legislation implementing the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation is constitutional. Read press release

LGBTQ Advocates see Hope for Church Future: United Methodists at the Reconciling Ministries Network convocation expect a proposed denominational separation will reduce harm to LGBTQ church members and their allies. They also expressed a desire to remain in the denomination for the long haul. Read UM News story

GCFA Cuts UMC Budget: The United Methodist finance agency's board narrowly approved reductions to an already slashed denominational budget. The result would be the smallest budget since 1988. Read story

UM Men Look to Future: The upcoming 2020 General Conference was on the mind of participants at United Methodist Men's March 5-8 National Association of Conference Presidents meeting. With looming budget cuts and a potential denominational split, they discussed how to weather the financial impact to its ministry, as well as how to continue to minister to any new expression of Methodism that may arise. Read story

Ministry with the Poor

Rooted in Relationship: WPAUMC Mission Engagement Coordinator Sandra Matoushaya participated in Rooted in Relationship, a three-day gathering hosted by the UMC Board of Church and Society that addressed the root causes of poverty. Experts in relationship-based justice ministries connected to share resources and what they learned.
Read more.


Un-Welcoming?  Even if your church has trained greeters and consciously works to be welcoming to visitors, there are things may sabotage those efforts. There’s a difference between offering hospitality and being guest-ready. Learn more

March is Women’s History Month! Celebrate the history of women in your local church using this packet of ideas, suggestions and historical info from ResourceUMC. Learn more.

Holy Week Worship Resources: See what’s available from Discipleship Ministries.

Wesley Hymn Devotion for Lent: Charles Wesley wrote a number of hymns that we use specifically during the Lent and Easter season, including "Come Sinners, to the Gospel Feast." This Wesley hymn, based on the Parable of the Great Banquet in the Gospel of Luke, invites everyone to receive new life in Jesus Christ. Read more

Wesley Health Tips:  With an extra hour of daylight, you may have time for some activities to get in shape.  SOME of John Wesley’s health tips still apply. Learn more.

Upcoming Events

Celebrate Earth Day: 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. This year, Earth Day (April 22)  falls after Easter and Earth Day Sunday can be celebrated April 19, 26, or another day. The 2020 theme focuses on "The Fierce Urgency of Now." The UMC Board of Church and Society partners with Creation Justice Ministries, which offers free resources to observe Earth Day. Learn more. 

Fresh Expressions: United Theological Seminary offers a day of instruction and inspiration with some of the leading practitioners in the Fresh Expressions movement, Jorge Acevedo and Michael Beck, authors of the soon to be released book, A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions. The gathering on Friday, April 24 will feature practical and theological resources to cultivate a fresh expression for your unique ministry context. Get details