WPAUMC enews, Sept. 2, 2020



Share Your Photos for Annual Conference! The Worship Team for our 2020 Annual Conference is asking churches throughout Western PA to send a (high resolution) photo or two of ministries your church has engaged in since our 2019 Annual Conference. These pictures will be during the Annual Conference 2020 worship to highlight the incredible work of our Conference and connection. Please email your pictures to amy.wagner@wpaumc.org by September 15, 2020.

Funeral Services will be held at Hill Memorial UMC on Monday, Sept. 7 for the Rev. Raymond “Pete” Graham. See obituary. 

Conference UMW Annual Meeting: Registration is now open for the 2020 virtual annual meeting of the Conference UMW.  It’s Saturday, Oct. 24 with sessions offered via Zoom.  Get details and register

Tree Hits Lottsville UMC: Sustained winds estimated at 55 to 66 mph swept through Warren County late last week, knocking down trees and power lines.  A large section of a tree fell against the side of Lottsville UMC. But services were held there Sunday morning. See photos at Facebook.com/wpaumc

Music to the Ears: A few years ago, First UMC in Warren launched a campaign to renovate its nearly 100-year-old carillon, including replacing  the deteriorating original wooden framework with steel. With 11 bells weighing about 11,000 pounds in the tower high above the church, it is a monumental job. But the framework and some new bells arrived August 27 and installation got underway. See Warren Times story and photos.

Finance and Benefits

Pondering the Payroll Tax Deferral?  For those churches or individuals considering the deferral of payroll taxes (withholdings and/or payments) beginning September 1, 2020, as authorized in an August 8, 2020, Presidential Executive Order, the Conference Treasurer’s office recommends against such action.  Because the tax law cannot be changed through an Executive Order, any payroll taxes deferred will  have to be paid at a later date.  Should you have any questions, contact the Conference Treasurer at roger.white@wpaumc.org.
Read related IRS guidance here

Pension Calculation Worksheet: The Conference Benefits Office has updated the 2021 Pension Calculator for clergy, local church treasurers and finance committees to use in determining pension obligations. There is a slight increase from 2020; the Benefit Reserve is changing from .1% to .5% for 2021. Look for the Calculator under Miscellaneous files at www.wpaumc.org/benefits

 UMC News

COVID Affects Agency Finances: The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty over the denomination's future direction already is affecting programs like Global Mission Fellows, a successful young adult ministry. The United Methodist Church's 13 general agencies are trying to negotiate this changing landscape as they support the church's mission. Read UM News Report
Supporting the church amid pandemic disruptions

GCFA Update: Giving to denomination-wide ministries rebounded slightly in July. That was part of an update on finances in the midst of COVID-19 at last week’s meeting of the General Council on Finance and Administration board. Members also received some guidance on calculating online attendance while the disease’s spread still keeps many people worshipping at home. Learn more


The Way of Integrity: While WPAUMC clergy receive sexual ethics training this fall, it may be a good time for leaders and others in our faith communities to focus on living in right relationship with self and others. The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women offers a four-part curriculum developed called The Way of Integrity to encourage that.  It’s available as a free download for participants. Learn more. 

Planned Giving in a COVID-19 World: The UM Foundation of Western PA will offer a free webinar with five reasons why your church needs planned giving. Intended for pastors and church leaders as an introduction to planned giving, the webinar is scheduled from 10-11 a.m. on September 15. Get details and register
See other webinars at umfoundation.org/webinars

Safe Seasonal Celebrations: UM Communications offers some creative ideas for reimagining seasonal events and celebrations for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. See what they are

Abundant Health

Mental Wellness: One in five young adults lives with a mental health condition and before the pandemic, college students were reporting loneliness at increasing rates. To help those who work with students, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministries developed The Awakened Life, an 8-week guide to student well-being. Learn more.

Dismantling Racism

30 Days of Antiracism, a calendar of simple actions anyone can do to be more antiracist, was launched Sept. 1 by the General Commission on Religion and Race. See the calendar

Everyone Should Count! United Methodists across the U.S. are helping to make sure the census includes historically undercounted populations. In doing so, they hope to strengthen their communities. Heather Hahn reports for UM News Read story

Engage in Your Community by Voting: See a flier with dates and facts about voting in the November 3rd elections. It was developed by the Conference Anti-Racism Team. Get the flier

Upcoming Events

Annual Conference Update: Check the Conference website and watch your email Thursday afternoon, Sept. 3, for an update on Annual Conference plans from Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi. Visit wpaumc.org

SPARK! Plans are being made to hold SPARK, the annual WPAUMC Youth gathering, in the Spring of 2021. The event is usually held at a Pittsburgh hotel in January.