WPAUMC enews, June 10, 2020



Pastors, Churches in Transition: Over the next few weeks, several clergy will be preparing to move to new appointments, despite the pandemic. Please join in prayer for pastors and congregations in transition. For churches receiving new pastors, consider some of these  50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor. 

Peaceful Anti-Racism Protests: United Methodists joined in peaceful protests in several Western PA communities over the past week, including in Beaver Falls, Pittsburgh, Meadville and Indiana, PA. There Rev. Katrina Laude of Homer City UMC was the speaker at a rally attended by DS Jim Pond and other UMC clergy and laity. A local online publication shared her message.

Meanwhile in Erie, where a peaceful protest was hijacked by vandals on May 30, two local black leaders shared their perspective on the events and urged the city to invest in hope. Read more. 
On June 6, several United Methodists, including Rev. Renee Mikell, Assistant to the Bishop, DS Dennis Swineford and DS Dawn Hand, were among the clergy who joined in a peaceful march against racism in Erie’s Perry Square on June 6. See GoErie photo gallery

Moving Beyond Protests: The day after the Rev. Gregory Holston was rallying people for justice at a peaceful demonstration outside Philadelphia’s City Hall, he joined fellow United Methodists and law enforcement officials on Zoom to organize for justice long-term. “You can talk about police reform, and you can talk about police accountability and I believe in all of those things,” Holston said. “But the reality is that every police department is really a reflection of us, who we are, and until we change who we are, the police will only continue to reflect that.” Read more.

Responding to Racism

UMC End Racism Campaign: In response to protests against police brutality and violence triggered by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, UM Communications is launching an "End Racism" campaign. National advertisements launch this week and a social media presence will be part of the campaign. To join the Stand Against Racism campaign, download resources here.

What’s a White Guy to Do? On his Avery UMC pastor’s blog, Rev. Erik Hoeke shares some “words for anyone, of any gender, asking that question.” Read them

Seven Tips for White Allies: Cameron Barnett, a teacher and poetry Journal editor, suggests some concrete and empathetic actions white allies can do to support black friends/neighbors/co-workers. Read TribLive op-ed

Education, Love Not the Answer to Racism? Prize-winner author and scholar Ibrahim Kendi says racist ideas grow out of discriminatory policies. If we can identify and dismantle those policies, we can start to eliminate racism. Read more

UMC News

Church and Society Response: The United Methodist Board of Church and Society will partner with the Commission on Religion and Race to plan for actions at the 2021 General Conference to dismantle racism. The General Conference is set for Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 2021 in Minneapolis.Read press release

Delays Keep Bishops in Place: One-third of The United Methodist Church’s 66 active bishops had planned to retire this year or next after the election of their successors. But with General Conference delayed until Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 2021, most of those 22 bishops are continuing in their current office. Read more

Keeping the Heart of Camping Alive: Jessica Gamache, who left her position as WPAUMC camping coordinator last year to become director of the United Methodist Camping and Retreat Ministries Association, is featured in a UM News Service report on how UM camps are handling the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read story 


Conversations with a Missionary: Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, former WPAUMC Missions/VIM coordinator who now serves as director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat, will be the guest for WPAUMC's June 11 Conversation with a Missionary. It's at 7 p.m. Register

Keep Up with Mission News: Subscribe to the Mission e-newsletter at wpaumc.org/subscribe.


“Beginning a Culture of Generosity” is a new stewardship program offered in Western PA by Rev. Mike Ward of GSB Fundraising, one of the consultants to the “Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching” camping campaign. It’s designed to help congregations stabilize and grow financial giving, particularly in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic. An informational Zoom session is set for June 19.  Learn more.

Considering a Hybrid Ministry? Tom Berlin says churches will likely need a hybrid ministry model with a mix of in-person and online ministry for some time. In Leading Ideas, he shares thoughts on how churches can embrace this approach and focus their efforts as they move forward. Read more.

Open the Doors and ???  United Methodist pastor and author David Kalas has developed a Bible study for churches getting back together. It’s designed to help church families reconnect with one another in meaningful ways. He envisions it as the basis for a 6-week sermon series or study for small groups. It’s available on Amazon. Learn more about Reunion.

Feeling Like You Didn’t Sign Up for This? The first in a series of Leading in Crisis e-panel discussions offered by the  General Board of Higher Education and Ministry is on Wednesday, June 17 at noon EDT. It will feature Bishops Grant Hagiya and Kenneth Carter. Get details