WPAUMC enews, May 13, 2020



The Power of Through: Susan Moudry sees Heritage Sunday this year as an awesome opportunity for the local church to remember the many things God has brought us through as a denomination, as well as what God has brought your specific congregation, community and people through. Read her blog post.

Wesley Woods Shifts Summer Season: After much prayer and deliberation, Wesley Woods has decided to delay the start of its summer camping season until June 28, 2020. It will only open to campers IF Warren County has moved to the Green Phase under Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan by then. Camps that had been scheduled to start before June 28 are being rescheduled, if possible. Full refunds will be issued to all registered campers who cannot attend another session or a rescheduled event. Get details at WesleyWoods.com

Join in Interfaith Prayers for Hope and Healing: At 2 p.m., Sunday, May 17, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and others from WPAUMC will join representatives of more than two dozen faith-based and community organizations for Together in Hope for Healing: Interfaith Prayers Amid COVID-19, a video prayer service that will premiere on Christian Associates’ Facebook page
See press release with details 
Download Together in Hope for Healing flyer

Abundant Health

Creation Care: Our covenant with God includes stewardship of God’s creation. We want to invite you to get involved in conversations about what creation care means and looks like in Western PA. We'd also like to share stories of how your church or community is caring for God’s creation.To share your stories or be part of the conversations, email Rev. Lynette Moran at lynettesmoran@gmail.com

Clergy Zoom Conversations: Our May 13 Clergy Zoom Conversation was led by Dr. Jessica Price of the Abundant Health Team, who offered an update on COVID-19 and the risks of reopening churches too soon. Rev. Renee Mikell discussed spiritual health and Rev. Lynette Moran looked at the pandemic's effect on mental health. Takeaways will be posted sometime on Thursday at wpaumc.org/covid-19-clergy-conversations

Know the COVID-19 Risks, and Avoid Them: Erin Bromage, a researcher and professor at UMass/Dartmouth who teaches a course on the ecology of infectious disease, has written a series of Facebook posts  to provide information to friends about the spread of COVID-19 in terms that they can easily understand. One of his recent posts went viral and is worth a look. (There's a section about a choir.) Read it 

Reopening PA Dilemma: While businesses want and need to reopen, some workers particularly at risk of serious complications or death if they get coronavirus are afraid they’ll have to choose between risking their health or losing their jobs. Read Spotlight PA report

Considerations Before Reopening: There’s much to think about before reopening your building to worship. Here’s a UM News Story about it. 

Relaunching the Church: In a post on the Outreach.com blog, Ed Stetzer and Josh Laxton of the Billy Graham Center and Wheaton College outline what they recommend churches do over the next three to 12 months as we deal with COVID-19. Read it

Faith Leader COVID-19 Webinar: Representatives of the Centers for Disease Control will interact with faith leaders during a May 14 webinar sponsored by the National Council of Churches and two other ecumenical groups. Entitled “What Communities Need to Know about COVID-19 and Reopening,” it’s scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET. Register


Pastoral Transitions Amid COVID-19: The Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers resources for pastoral transition and they’ve issued a free supplement with information on navigating a pastoral change during the  COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more
Get the supplement

What If? That’s the question to ask now as we move into Phase 2 of what will be a new normal, writes Scott Eblin, executive coach, author and leadership development expert. Read more.

Communication Resources: Technology can make meaningful connections and bring the church and its communities closer together, especially now. Find new tactics to try for both the tech reluctant and tech savvy in the near and long-term. Plug in

Dismantling Racism

Clueless About Racism? Church leaders are calling for all United Methodists to work for the complete eradication of racism in light of the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed while jogging in his neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23.  Read story

Asian Pacific Heritage Month: United Methodists join others across the United States in observing Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has put together an infographic highlighting the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the church in the U.S. See infographic

Small Church Ministry

Rest Stop Ministry: A small Ohio church near I-90 just west of the PA border is easing the load on truck drivers who come through the area delivering food during the coronavirus pandemic. Members of Amboy United Methodist Church have set up shop at a rest stop to hand out goody bags with snacks and bottled water for truckers. A prayer is stapled to the outside of each bag. Read story

Small Church Blessings: In times of sickness and anxiety, the deep relationships in a small-membership church can be a powerfully sustaining force, writes a leader in cultivating thriving rural communities. Read more

Participation Culture is a powerful strength of small congregations. It’s not about observing experts,but creating an experience with each person’s ordinary gifts. It sometimes takes a leap of faith. Read more.


Online Mission Academy: UMVIM-NEJ has canceled its Mission Academy due to the pandemic. As a result, the Jurisdiction will offer some of the courses online.  All courses are free of charge, but donations are encouraged. One of the first classes offered is Covid-19 Pandemic: Crisis Spiritual Care for Congregations. For more information, visit the UMVIM-NEJ page.

Relief Supply Network: UMCOR is accepting requests for Hygiene Kits for shelters. If you know any shelters in Western PA in need of Hygiene Kits, suggest they fill out the Relief Supply Request Form, or contact our Disaster Response Coordinator, David Kissinger at dlkissinger22@gmail.com 

Dismantling Poverty/Justice Ministries

Hunger Advocacy Online Workshop: Bread for the World’s Regional Workshop has been rescheduled to May 30 as a Virtual Workshop. Bread’s goal is to empower Christians to help end hunger in the U.S. and abroad by learning strategies for effective advocacy.The Zoom workshop will feature the new national leader Rev. Eugene Cho. Get flyer with details 
Register at bread2020.eventbrite.com.

Feeding Ministries Struggle to Meet Needs: Throughout Western PA, as organizations like the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Second Harvest and their community partners are on the front lines, offering drive-up distribution to feed those in need. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story about neighbors working with community partners to help neighbors in one area of the city. Read it

Stay-at-Home Affects Smith Center Residents: This week’s United Methodist Women’s blog post talks about the ways the current pandemic has affected the lives of residents of Ruth M. Smith Center in Sheffield. It also points out a special opportunity to boost support for the Center by donating on May 20 through Warren Gives.  Read more

Justice for our Neighbors: United Methodist Justice for Our Neighbors centers in Iowa and Nebraska are pressing their states to protect the health and safety of meatpacking workers, most of whom are immigrants and refugees. Since early April, 10,000 COVID-19 cases have been linked to meat-processing plants, and at least 45 people have died. Read press release
See USA Today report on extent of COVID in meatpacking industry

Church and Society Webinar Series: During the COVID-19 pandemic the UMC Board of Church and Society is offering a virtual version of their signature United Methodist Seminar Program. Over five weeks, they’ll explore how the pandemic intersects with today's most pressing social justice issues. General Secretary Susan Henry-Crowe explains more in a video message:
The first webinar on racial disparities amid COVID-19 is next week, May 21. Learn more about the Webinar Series and register

Discipleship Resources

E-Learning CEUs: Discipleship Ministries eLearning offers continuing education units (CEU) upon successful course completion. Available to clergy and lay leadership of all denominations, you receive high-quality information that will enrich your faith life and ministry. Get details

Chuck’s Been Busy!  Chuck (of Chuck Knows Church) has a series of 30 short videos on things you can do to reach people and continue ministry in these times. Check out the videos and see which ideas what might work in your context. Then use those videos on social media. See the the videos at umcdiscipleship.org/articles/chuck-knows-church-things-we-can-do .

Christian Home Month is typically celebrated in May. Discipleship Ministries has worship planning and family resources available. See what they are.

Grants Available: Discipleship Ministries offers several grant programs to further the priority of making disciples around the world. Applications for grants for Ministries with Young People and the Global Youth Service Fund are due June 1. Applications for Racial Ethnic Local Church Grants to strengthen ethnic congregations, are due Sept. 1. Learn more

UMC News

Hard-Fought Hope: In Greater New Jersey, more than 1,000 United Methodist leaders heard Bishop John Schol discuss a plan "to turn the church outward during the pandemic by modifying current spending and raising new funds to allocate $500,000 for food security." Two Greater New Jersey clergy and more than 100 laity have died because of COVID-19 and more than 600 clergy and laity have been infected with the virus. Read more

A Message of Hope: In Zimbabwe, 10-year-old United Methodist Britney Sadete released her first gospel album just days before the country was locked down to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Now, her music is providing an escape and message of hope for those struggling during the global pandemic. Read story