WPAUMC enews, April 29, 2020



Bishops Convene via Zoom: "One of the implications of COVID-19 is that we are indeed together as a connection. And in a season of trauma, we claim our strengths — connection, mission, good news of grace," said Bishop Kenneth Carter in his final address as Council of Bishops president on Wednesday. He spoke during the Spring Council meeting held via Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook and Council’s webpage. Learn more 

Clergy Conversations: The Clergy Conversations offered by Conference staff and guests via Zoom will be reduced from two to one per week beginning in May. This week’s Monday session with Shane Hinderliter looked at best practices for Supervising from a Distance .
The Wednesday session began a series on Ministry Then and Now, specifically looking at Building Virtual Relationships.
Takeaways from all the conversations are available at wpaumc.org/covid-19-clergy-conversations

Lessons in Leadership: Susan Moudry urges pastors to look at the big picture and cast a vision before rushing to get back to a normal that no longer exists. See her blog post.

Thinking about Opening Your Building? Jeff Bobin did a YouTube video that illustrates visually what seating should look like to protect people from possible spread of COVID-19. See the video

Things to Talk About: Every church in essence will be relaunching as a different community of faith after stay-at-home orders lift. UMC Discipleship Ministries offers a video discussion and study guide for congregational leaders as they consider what church will look like post-COVID-19. Learn more about Re-Launch. 

Now and Next: Amplify Media, a streaming service with a Wesleyan outlook, is offering the free webinar series "Now & Next: How the Church Is Changing for Good." The first is "The State of the Church: You're Not Alone" at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on April 30. It will look at a survey of 1,000 church leaders about the impact of COVID-19 on ministry. To register


Deaths: Pray for the families of clergy who passed away in the past few weeks. The most recent were the Rev. Dr. James Mowrey and the Rev. Howard Hess. See obituaries

Email Scam Alert: People have been receiving a message from a gmail account with "Many Blessings" in the subject line that seems to be from Bishop Cynthia. This email may ask you to call her or donate gift cards for a cancer patient. DO NOT RESPOND. This is a scam. The Bishop will NEVER email you to ask for a favor and will never solicit gift cards.

Coronavirus Relief Fund: The WPA Coronavirus Relief Fund was established to assist clergy families in need, lay staff in need, and ministries in need because of the pandemic. The Bishop announced the special appeal during her online Easter worship service. Learn more and donate through your local church or at wpaumc.org/onlinepayments

Addressing Hunger

Fighting Hunger: Lakewood UMC in the Erie-Meadville District had a drive-in food drive last Sunday afternoon to benefit the West Millcreek Food Pantry. A steady stream of cars drove under the church portico from 12:45 till 2:45 p.m. dropping off food donations that filled eight and one-half cars with food and monetary donations totaling $2,670.00! See photos on Facebook

Takeout Olmsted Dinners!: Although Olmsted Manor can’t host retreats and gatherings, the staff is reaching out to support the community, especially those living with food insecurity. They are offering Take-Out Community Dinners available for pick up from 5-6 p.m. each Friday. There is no cost, but donations will gladly be accepted. Check out the menus and learn more at olmstedmanor.org/take-out-dinners.html 

Dismantling Racism/Seeking Justice

Millennial Pastor Holds Senior Church Together: Rev. Bryant Phelps is a 29-year-old millennial shepherding a senior-citizen congregation in one of the Dallas zip codes hit hardest by the coronavirus. His efforts to hold the church together and speak prophetically about inequities affecting his African American community drew the attention of columnist Sharon Grigsby. Read column

Standing in Solidarity-6 Ft. Apart! The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that injustice is routine, too – ingrained in the fabric of society, writes Rev. Susan Henry Crowe of the Board of Church and Society. The systems and structures that routinely oppress have continued to disproportionately impact the most marginalized during COVID-19. See why


Sheltering in Love: UMCOR is expanding its response to COVID-19 by offering grants to equip partners who assist vulnerable populations around the world impacted by COVID-19, including racial/ethnic and indigenous communities in the United States. Grants of up to $20,000 will be disbursed quickly to address pressing needs in the areas of health, food insecurity, water, sanitation and hygiene and economic instability. Learn more. 

WPAUMC Mission News: Mission Engagement Coordinator Sandra Matoushaya has revived the Mission enewsletter. See the latest issue
If you want to subscribe, visit wpaumc.org/subscribe. 

Crisis Upon Crisis: While others were staying home to save their state and nation from the coronavirus, members from local churches in Chattanooga area had to put on their masks and step out to save a community damaged by tornadoes. Read more


Keeping Church Property Safe: UM News reports on some ways to help protect church property that may be vacant much of the time as we shelter in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus. See what they are

Resources During Social Distancing: The General Council on Finance and Administration offers several that may be helpful to local churches.


UMC News

Young Delegates Question Proposed GC Dates: Young General Conference delegates have sent a letter and petition urging General Conference organizers to reconsider scheduling the assembly at the start of the U.S. academic year in 2021. See petition
Learn more about Tentative General Conference dates

Judicial Council Terms on Hold: Members and alternate members of the United Methodist Judicial Council whose terms were expiring will continue to serve until their successors are elected at the next General Conference, the denomination's top court has announced. Read announcement