WPAUMC enews, June 3, 2020



Racism and the Cycle of Violence: Last weekend, as protests erupted throughout the nation after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi issued a statement and called on white members of our Conference “to step up and take the lead in addressing issues of racism and white privilege throughout Western Pennsylvania.” Read the statement 

United Methodists Join in Protests: Some individual United Methodist clergy and laity were moved to don masks and join a major protest march Saturday in downtown Pittsburgh and other communities in Western PA. Protests continued into this week. UM News Service included information from the Pittsburgh march and a quote from Pittsburgh District Superintendent Dawn Hand in its roundup on United Methodist participation. Read it. 

It is Enough! While many clergy gave sermons on the scourge of racism on Pentecost Sunday, the Rev. R. DeAndre Johnson may have out-preached and outreached them all by offering his own protest hymn, titled “It Is Enough!” Watch video and learn more.

The Threat of Blackness: Following the February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the Florida Conference invited four black clergymen to reflect on that tragedy and their own experiences with racism. As their thoughts were being gathered, news of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police emerged. "When I scream, 'Black Lives Matter!' it's not enough. I need my white clergy friends to stand with me," writes the Rev. Gary A. Marcelin, one of the contributors. To gain insight, see The Threat of Blackness

Assumptions of White Privilege and What We Can Do About It: Fr. Bryan Massingale, a senior fellow at Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education, writes that while it has never been easy to be black in America, the past few months have pushed him to depths of outrage, pain and despondency. Amy Cooper holds the key, he says. See why. 

The Dominos of Racial Injustice: Trevor Noah framed the situation very clearly in a recent segment of The Daily Show. Watch

Anti-Racism Resources

What Can I Do? A daily enewsletter designed for the corporate community today featured an article on what individual managers can do to respond to racism and build an anti-racist culture among their team members. It can be applied in other circumstances. Read it. 

How to Be An AntiRacist: “The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it,” writes historian and author Ibram X. Kendi of American University. The essence of antiracism is the action that must follow both emotional and intellectual awareness of racism. At the 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival, Kendi sat down with a journalist to explore what an antiracist society might look like, how we can play an active role in building it, and what being an antiracist in your own context might mean. Watch


Navigating Two Viruses: As we make plans to regather for in-person worship while grieving racism and violence across the nation, UMC Discipleship Resources invites you to a virtual conference designed to prepare your congregation to navigate these challenges.  It’s scheduled for 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 9. Get details

Jumonville Cancels Summer Camp: Out of concern for camper safety, the Jumonville Board of Directors last week made the difficult decision to cancel summer camp this year. Learn more at jumonville.org/

Green Phase Guidelines: The WPAUMC Abundant Health Team issued more detailed guidelines for churches in counties that are in the Green Phase of Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan for Pennsylvania. There was a link to a news story on the guidelines in last week’s enews. A downloadable graphic is also available. Get it.  

Don’t let Corona Virus Divide You: An article on The Gospel Coalition website warns against letting strongly held, but differing, opinions over when to reopen divide the church. Read it. 


Festival of Homiletics: The Festival of Homiletics featured several United Methodists speaking on this year’s theme, "Preaching a New Earth: Climate and Creation." Former Georgia state legislator Stacey Abrams said that environmental activism is part of "the eternal human struggle to do right by others." Read UM News story
See WPAUMC Clergy Conversation takeaways on Festival of Homiletics

Leadership Summit Goes Virtual: The 2020 Women's Leadership Summit, originally scheduled for Aug. 13-15 at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been rescheduled for October as a virtual summit, the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women announced. The commission is working with the seminary to determine new dates. Read press release

Resources/Learning Opportunities

Need a Website? If your church doesn’t have a website, UM Communications may be able to help. Apply for a Website Development Package, which includes: One year of web hosting and domain name registration; WordPress online training and support; pre-designed templates, and email accounts and storage. Learn more and apply

Communicating Online: If you’re still developing your online presence or want to know how to improve engagement, consider one of United Methodist Communications’ online micro-training courses. They are free and you can go through each course on your own timetable. See what’s available

Counting Online Worshippers: While the denomination’s statistical reports include a line for online worship attendance, it’s up to churches to determine how those engagements should be counted using certain parameters.  Gathering analytics can be helpful in determining the next steps for your online ministry. An article from Church Production magazine offers some details on how to measure online engagement. Read it

Virtual Choir How To: Practical Resources for Churches offers a Thursday, June 18 webinar to show you how to create a virtual choir. It will include what hardware and software you will need, what platforms are available, what your choir members will need to do, and basic audio mixing technique. Get details and register 

Interested in Preserving Your Church History? The United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) will offer a free online Local Church Historian School for anyone interested in learning or sharing the story of their church.The school will begin on Sept. 14, 2020. Students receive lessons and assignments via email each week and can proceed at their own pace. Get details and register

Peace with Justice Sunday: Perhaps providentially, Sunday, June 7 is Peace with Justice Sunday. Offerings received for this churchwide Special Sunday will spread the gospel of peace and encourage cooperation locally, nationally and globally. It’s not too late to participate! Download tools to encourage giving, including worship resources, social media graphics and more here.