WPAUMC enews, June 17, 2020



Hope for Dismantling Racism: United Methodists should focus on dismantling racism in the church as a step toward doing so in the entire world, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi said in an interview with UMNews about a major new antiracism initiative by the denomination. “We do live in hope,” she said. “We do believe that there will be a day when we will dismantle racism.” Read full story.

Mark Your Calendar for Juneteenth: Bishop Cynthia and other UMC bishops and will launch the Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom initiative on June 19, 2020, to coincide with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. An announcement from the Council of Bishops will be broadcast at noon Eastern Time on UMC.org/EndRacism
Learn more about the initiative 

Pittsburgh/WPA Response to Racism: Pittsburgh District clergy crafted a letter in response to racism, especially recent 350 others United Methodists from other districts signed on in the last few weeks.  Read it. 

Racism is Not a Black Problem! The Rev. Junius B. Dotson, top executive of Discipleship Ministries, urges white people to raise their voices against systemic racism. "Declaring racism a black problem is like men declaring domestic violence a women's issue," he writes.
Read commentary

Disability Ministries/Dismantling Poverty 

UMC Disability Ministries Real Talk:  In a GCORR Real Talk this week, Rev. Debbie Hills, a deacon from the Erie-Meadville District, talked with two leaders about how COVID-19 has impacted the lives of people in the disabilities community. Debbie has served on denomination’s DisAbility Ministries Committee and in July 2019 was elected  chair of the group.
Watch Real Talk
Explore info and resources for COVID-19 ministry with people in the disability community

Digital Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March: On June 20, the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-income people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in our nation’s history will give voice to the 140 million poor and low-income people across the U.S. Get details and register

Mission News

UMCOR Kit Collection: WPAUMC is collecting UMCOR Cleaning Kits and Hygiene Kits this summer. Put them together as part of your virtual VBS or remind people during mission moments. The Eastbrook Mission Barn has created a resource you can use, and Katie Peterson is more than happy to be a part of your VBS in person or virtually. Learn more and check the list of drop-off sites in this week’s Mission News.

Mission u 2020: Mission U will not be held as usual this summer. But because the Spiritual Growth Study, Peace in an Anxious World, edited by Erin James-Brown, seems particularly appropriate for this time, plans are being developed to offer it in three different formats. Learn more at wpaumc.org/missionu

UMVIM Joint Website: The five jurisdictional United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) offices are entering a new phase of collaboration with a new website.  It will include resources from all jurisdictions in one place. Read press release 
Visit umvim.org


Online Worship and Evangelism: One apparent advantage of online worship is that people seem more inclined to extend and respond to invitations to check out church online. Virtual evangelism is proving easier, less intimidating, and more spontaneous than face-to-face evangelism. Read more now.


Clergy Session Postponed: After consultation with leaders of the Board of Ordained Ministry, Conference Sessions Team, the Cabinet, the Conference Secretary, and Ingomar UMC leaders, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has rescheduled the Clergy Session of the 2020 Annual Conference. Originally scheduled for late June, it is now set for August 22, 2020 at Ingomar UMC. Read June 12 letter to clergy members.

Annual Conference Updates: Keep up with Annual Conference news, see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, download the Appointment book, and read reports, and legislation at wpaumc.org/AC

Doing Health Ministry During Pandemic? The Abundant Health Team is looking for pictures and videos showing how pastors, congregations and communities are staying healthy or participating in health ministry during the pandemic. Share yours by emailing them to abundanthealth@wpaumc.org 

Last Chance for Beginning a Culture of Generosity!  An informational Zoom session is set for June 19 on a new stewardship program designed by GSB that can be implemented in local churches.  Watch video and learn more.

In the News: Frank Kiefer, husband of Pastor Marge Kiefer of the United for God Cooperative in Johnstown, was honored for rescuing three neighbors from the porch roof of their burning house after being awakened by his barking dog.  See WJAC story

Leadership Development

Connect with the Youth Ministry Team! It’s youth leading youth along with adult mentors in a community of believers committed to encouraging youth to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, influence the UMC, and promote youth leadership. Check out the new YMT video and find ideas for youth ministry during the pandemic at wpaumc.org/Youth

Small Groups Better Online? Some are arguing that online groups are actually better than in-person groups, says Josh Daffin. He offers nine reasons why in a New Wineskins blog post. 

6 Traits People Value in Online Faith Communities:  In the rush to offer online worship, many churches have focused primarily on technical and programmatic concerns. Heidi Campbell says it’s more important to consider what people need from church now and how digital technology can meet those needs. Read more in Leading Ideas.


Leading Remote Worship Course: UM Communications offers a new, free online training course that explores how remote worship differs from traditional worship, basic technology needs, ideas for engaging participants, and points of connection for those not online. Learn more

Sermon By Phone: Because not everyone has internet, Guy Wyant created a sermon-by-phone option for people who wanted to hear his wife's sermons. The Rev. Jennifer Wyant records her latest sermon, which is downloaded as an automated message. Once the Wyants realized other churches might want something similar, Sermon by Phone was born. Read story

Honor Dad! This month #IGiveUMC is inspiring United Methodists to donate to local churches in honor of a father or father figure. Launch this effort in your church with a kit of social media graphics and promotional tools! Download resources

12 Rules of Church from the CDC! The Pandemic Praise Team of First UMC in Covington, TN produced a video with new lyrics to a familiar Christmas tune to help churchgoers know what to expect when they return to in-person worship. The video has gone viral.  Read story and watch video