Twelve delegates, six clergy and six laity, were elected to represent Western Pennsylvania at the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, scheduled May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. The General Conference, held every four years, brings together delegates from regional conference around the world to set policy for the denomination.
An additional 12 delegates were elected to represent WPAUMC at the Northeast Jurisdictional Conference (NEJ) in Lancaster, PA from July 11-15. NEJ delegates may serve as alternates for the General Conference, attending and sitting in when GC2016 delegates need a break.
Laity elected as General Conference delegates were Conference Lay Leader Sharon Gregory, shown at right being annointed by Bishop Bickerton; Nancy Denardo of Port Vue UMC; Rich Hoffman of Charter Oak UMC; Paul Morelli of Lakeside UMC in DuBois; Diane Miller, president of the Conference United Methodist Women, and Vicki Stahlman, Conference Sessions Team Chair and member of Brookville Evangelical UMC.
Clergy delegates to GC2016 are Eric Park, pastor of Butler First UMC; Johnstown District Supt. Alyce Weaver Dunn; Robert Zilhaver, pastor of Lakeside UMC in DuBois; Amy Wagner, Conference director of Congregational Development and Revitalization; William B. Meekins Jr., Assistant to the Bishop, and John Seth, pastor of Christ UMC in Youngwood.
Elected as NEJ clergy delegates were Seth McPherson, associate pastor at Christ UMC in Bethel Park; Sung Shik Chung, pastor of Otterbein UMC in Greensburg; Gregory Cox, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries; Randy Bain, pastor of Oakland UMC in Johnstown; Stephanie Gottschalk, Conference Missions Coordinator; and John Ciampa, pastor of Harrison City Community UMC.
Lay delegates to the NEJ include Erie-Meadville Lay Leader Don Blystone; Tina Whitehead, who serves as a volunteer missionary in Israel/Palestine; Faith Geer of St. Paul’s UMC in Allison Park; Peggy Ward of Greenstone UMC in Pittsburgh; Kayla Schwanke of Russell UMC in Kane District, and Tracy Merrick of First UMC in Pittsburgh.
NEJ alternate lay delegates are: Joe Emigh of Cochranton UMC; Donna Burkhart of First UMC in Erie, Eric Duda of Lowville UMC, Conference Treasurer Larry Bridge, Richard Thomas of Port Vue UMC, and Sydney Widdersheim of Christ Community UMC in Butler.
Alternate NEJ clergy delegates are: Greensburg District Superintendent Pat Nelson; Tom Parkinson, pastor of Faith UMC in Fox Chapel; Butler District Supt. Joel Garrett; Joseph Stains, pastor of Mt. Hope UMC in South Fork; Janet Lord, Conference Coordinator of Ministerial Services; Thomas Strandburg, pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC.
At a meeting when balloting concluded, the entire delegation met to choose its leaders. Sharon Gregory will serve as chairperson, DS Alyce Weaver Dunn as vice-chair, Rev. Robert Zilhaver as secretary and Vicki Stahlman as the voucher agent.