WPAUMC enews, July 8, 2020



Finding Peace in An Anxious World: Beginning July 21, Rev. Lisa A. Grant, pastor of Edinboro UMC,  will lead a 4-week Tuesday morning Zoom study Finding Peace in an Anxious World.  It’s an adaptation of the Spiritual Growth study planned for Mission u 2020, which was cancelled. The study uses the book of Proverbs and The Serenity Prayer as a guide to help Christians find their way through anxiety, worry, and fear and move towards God’s peace. Anyone is welcome to register.  Learn more.

Fire Hits Church, Parsonage: Early July 4, Pastor Lanfer Simpson of Mapletown United Methodist Church was awakened to news that his church was on fire. The fire started in the parsonage, which is rented to a family with two young children, and quickly spread to the adjacent church. The family escaped and the mother and son were treated at a hospital and released. Read more.

What If Someone in Church Gets COVID-19? Since some churches resumed in-person worship and other activities, the Conference has received several inquiries about what steps to take if someone who was in a church tests positive for COVID-19. The Abundant Health Team offered some answers. See them

Dismantling Racism

Act Now to Combat Racism! Many people of faith want to move beyond words to act against racism, but don’t know what to do. Some don't understand the concepts of white privilege and systemic racism. WPAUMC staff and leaders have developed a way to help each of us learn, examine our own hearts, and develop new anti-racism skills. Anyone interested is invited to sign a pledge committing to the effort. Each participant will receive a monthly email with a few suggestions for learning and action to chose from. In less than 24 hours after the project launch on Tuesday, more than 200 WPA United Methodists had signed on. Learn more.

Race & the Church 2020: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will be one of five UMC Bishops discussing the current racial and social justice movement in this country and the role the church can play in this transformational movement. The discussion will be Sunday, 7/12 @ 6pm EST on the Hip-Politics Podcast Network. Hip-Politics is an organization that is focused on educating and mobilizing the Hip-Hop generation. TUNE IN at Youtube.com/HipPolitics

Unsnarling Church Racial History: Methodism’s founder wanted to minister with Native Americans and abolish slavery. But decades after John Wesley’s death, a Methodist bishop was a slaveowner and a Methodist clergyman was responsible for one of the worst massacres of Native Americans in U.S. history. What went wrong?

Race and Reckoning: To help provide context to the issues driving the debate among people attending marches and rallies or those having more quiet conversations with family and friends, the Washington Post has compiled significant stories, videos, photo essays, audio and graphics on black history, progress, inequality and injustice. Explore racism in America

Leadership Development

Register Now for Clergy Communities of Practice! Many clergy have felt alone or confused or simply need people to bounce ideas off of in our rapidly changing world. CCOPs can help. Clergy who participated this year report being inspired to refresh their preaching, practice new prayer rhythms, use study material in other small group ministries and engage in difficult conversations about racism. Groups are offered all around our Conference, and this year an online group has been added to increase accessibility. Learn more and register 
Questions? Email susan.moudry@wpaumc.org.

Digital Church Planting: Discipleship Ministries’ Path One has a new training that will equip church leaders to combine an online worship service  with a house-church network to continue offering transformative ministry during and beyond this season of coronavirus. Get details 
Download Flyer

COVID Shifts Pastoral Ministry Model: In The Poet and the Temple Person: Reassessing the Role of Clergy and Laity in a Pandemic Culture, Gil Rendle offers an emerging shift in the model for pastoral ministry that has the potential to profoundly impact how we view the role of clergy, the role of laity, and the work of ministry. The Texas Methodist Foundation offers Rendle’s piece as a PDF. 


Join the Youth Ministry Team: Let your youth know that there’s still time to apply to be part of the 2020-2021 Conference Youth Ministry Team. Watch video
Fill out the online YMT application

International Youth Day: The World Council of Churches is inviting the global fellowship to take part in International Youth Day with a virtual celebration on Aug. 12, featuring music and song, prayer and Bible study and expert presentations. Further creative contributions from youth are welcome. Read story

Children/Family Ministry

Addressing Pandemic, Racism in VBS: This summer, every church has had conversations about how to do summer VBS. See how some provided virtual programming to address the pandemic and racism and offer children and their families hope, fun, and a reminder that God loves them deeply. Read more from Discipleship Ministries

Children and Family Ministry Handbook: This handbook by author Sarah Flannery provides an in-depth analysis of every aspect of children’s and family ministries, including chapters on parents/caregivers, disability, intergenerational ministry, and volunteers. There are personal anecdotes as well as practical applications in each chapter. Learn more.

Dismantling Poverty

Partnerships Provide Food, PPE at Mission Hospitals: United Methodists in Zimbabwe and Western PA. with support from the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, are helping protect frontline workers at church mission hospitals and providing food for those struggling during the pandemic. See UM News story 
See photos and video from a July 6 distribution to 410 families, including residents and staff of the Nyadire UM Mission, pastors of the Mutoko-Mudzi district and the staff of Nyadire’s six rural health clinics,  at The Nyadire Connection’s Facebook page

Nonprofits Reassessing Need: As nonprofit donation centers reopen across Western Pennsylvania, many are learning to address the new needs of the communities they directly serve and their own operations. Read Post-Gazette story

UMC News

Bishops Shift Roles: The Council of Bishops has announced that Bishop Bruce Ough and Bishop Sally Dyck will become the new Executive Secretary and Ecumenical Officer of the Council effective September 1, 2020. Both will continue in their residential assignments in the North Central Jurisdiction until Jan. 1, 2021, when two retired bishops will fill those positions on an interim basis. Learn more

Out of Chaos: An informal group of General Conference delegates is inviting church members to make use of the postponement of the lawmaking assembly to cast a new vision for the church. They say they aren’t pushing any specific legislation. Read story

Classifieds: The latest job postings are for a part-time tech and media coordinator position at Baldwin Community UMC and a diversity development and inclusion coordinator for the Conference. Get details at wpaumc.org/classifieds