Annual Conference: An estimated 900 people zoomed in to attend the plenary sessions of the 2020 virtual Annual Conference session on Saturday. There was meaningful worship, with music recorded by various local church music teams. The Bishop’s State of the Church message was inspiring and highlighted some of the excellent ministry that has continued throughout the pandemic. Videos of the State of the Church address and the Five Areas of Focus reports are posted at wpaumc.org/AC.
Watch and share them with your congregation. A wrap-up, additional information and videos will be posted through this week.
AC Memorial Service: Clergy and laity who passed away from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020 were remembered during the closing worship of the 2020 virtual Annual Conference Session. Those who passed away after May 31 will be remembered at the 2021 Annual Conference.
Celebrations of Life: A service will be held on Friday, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. in the South Brownsville UMC for Rev. Jay Polowsky, who died on Sept. 30. A week later, on Oct. 16 at 11 a.m., a Celebration of Life service will be held at The First United Methodist Church in Emporium, Pa. for Rev. Emilia “Pastor Em” Burdick. For details, visit wpaumc.org/obituaries.
In New Jersey, a service was held Sept. 15 for Wha Sei Park Kim, wife of former Bishop Hae Jong Kim, who served in Western PA from 2000-2004. She passed away on Sept. 10. See obituary.
Join Us in Daily Prayer! Our Conference COVID-19 Daily Prayer Initiative launched Monday. A daily video with scripture and prayers written by the Rev. Dr. Renee Mikell and Rev. Chris Kindle is posted each weekday for 19 days on the Conference website and social media to guide you. You're encouraged to pray at the 19th hour of the day, 7 p.m. Look for the post on the WPAUMC Facebook page, click the “Let Us Pray” graphic at wpaumc.org, or go directly to wpaumc.org/daily-prayer
Do You Ever Plan to Retire? Clergy of all ages and their spouses are encouraged to attend an informational seminar with presentations on financial wellness, retirement plans and pensions, clergy taxes and healthcare in retirement. The sessions will be virtual on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Wednesday, Oct. 21 beginning at 9 a.m. Usually billed as the bi-annual Pre-Retirement Seminar, the event offers information and insight valuable for clergy at all stages of ministry. Register for the sessions that interest you. Get details.
Renew Your ERT Certification! Conference Disaster Response Coordinator DAvid Kissinger has scheduled two opportunities -- Oct. 17 and Oct. 24-- for Early Response Team recertification training. It will be done virtually. The four-hour course is required for those who were certified as an ERT member prior to 2017. Get details and register.
Church, Community Aid Fire Survivors: While firefighters were still battling a fire that destroyed 21 units of an apartment building in Canonsburg, a Facebook post invited people in the community to bring items for the 30 families affected to a local pizza shop. So much clothing, toiletries and other items came in, the people of First UMC in Canonsburg were asked to help. They jumped on board to store, organize and distribute the items to those in need. Read news story
Nyadire Orphan Pays It Forward: College student Winnet Mandikisi, who spent her teenage years at the United Methodist Home of Hope orphanage in Zimbabwe, is using the sewing skills she has learned to teach fellow orphans how to make masks to fight against COVID-19. Many Western PA United Methodists partner with the Home of Hope through The Nyadire Connection. Chenayi Kumuterera has the story. Read story
UMC Ministry with Children: Discipleship Ministries has re-launched the Ministry with Children Facebook group. This private group allows space for UMC "connected" children's leaders to provide voice to programming resources, relationships, and support one another amid the challenges and celebrations in ministry. Connect with group.
Webinar with Young Clergy: The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary will host an Oct. 21 webinar panel discussion with younger clergy and candidates on the findings of the recent Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church report. The report revealed that the number of young elders returned to near record lows this past year after four consecutive years of decline, erasing a decade of progress. Registration for the noon webinar is open now. Learn more.
Dare to Live Generously! The Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, WPAUMC’s Director of Connectional Ministries, shares her own “journey to generosity” this week in a blog post. She also includes links to resources to promote generosity in your church. See the post
New Generosity Course Online: Registration is now open for a new online course from Discipleship Ministries designed to help clergy and lay people lead congregations toward growth in generosity. This six-module leadership series will focus on generosity as a key part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Read press release
Developing a Legacy Gift Plan: The United Methodist Foundation of Western PA provides fund management and ongoing stewardship programming and offers webinars regularly. The next one Ten Tips for Developing and Enhancing a Legacy Gift Plan is scheduled for Oct. 21. Get details and register at umfoundation.org/webinars
Blessed Are the Poor is a webinar series designed to help church leaders engage with the people in their communities and reflect on the different ways in which people experience poverty. From Discipleship Ministries and Path 1, the series will explore many experiences of poverty in two-hour sessions once a month for five months, from October 2020 through February 2021. The first one is October 22. Get details and register.
Shop for a Cause! On Oct. 14-15, shop at Boscov’s in person or online and, not only do you get a 20% discount, but 5% of your purchase will go to the ministries of United Methodist Human Services of Johnstown. See flier with details
Urban Farm Feeds Neighbors: The Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh doesn’t have a grocery store. So Lisa Freeman started an urban farm there, demonstrating one of the top goals of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council — to help people grow food accessibly and affordably. The council recently released its Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan. Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature
Annual Conference Postponed: Many annual conference gatherings in Europe were postponed until autumn due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, most will still be unable to meet in person. Read story
Ensuring voting rights for all will be a difficult and uncomfortable process, says the Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II, a United Methodist pastor and longtime representative of Missouri's 5th Congressional District. Cleaver spoke with Erin Hawkins during The United Methodist Church's latest online discussion about eradicating racial injustice. Read story
Casting Out Fear: Planting Seeds of Love and Hope! Valley UMC in Conneautville will host a time of prayer and reflection in response to recent acts of hate directed toward members of the community. It is at 7p.m., Friday, October 9 at the church. If you can't attend, please pray that seeds of love and hope are planted in response to hatred.
Racial Injustice and Voting Rights: Ensuring voting rights for all will be a difficult and uncomfortable process, says the Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II, a United Methodist pastor and longtime representative of Missouri's 5th Congressional District. Cleaver spoke with Erin Hawkins during the UMC’s latest online discussion about eradicating racial injustice. Read story
The Hard Truth About Bias: Images and Reality, a special project of Hearst Television’s Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, will be broadcast on Thursday, October 8 at 7 p.m. ET, The one-hour digital program, originating from New York with a wide array of topic leaders from across the nation, will feature conversations about the relationship of race and privilege, racial stress, the impact of bias in the images and language in our daily news and information, and the creation of stereotypes and how they influence the way we think. In the Pittsburgh market, the show will air on WTAE-TV. Learn more
Pandemic Pastor Appreciation: Pastor Appreciation Sunday (Oct. 11)--or anytime in October--is a good time for United Methodists to thank clergy for the work they do year-round. Here are some ways people can show gratitude in the age of COVID-19. Read ideas
Join Christian Unity Gathering Online: The National Council of Churches’ 2020 Christian Unity Gathering (CUG)--Breathing New Life into Our Nation: Repentance, Re-formation and Reparations--will be held online next week, Monday, Oct. 12 - Tuesday, Oct. 13. Registration is free, but donations are welcome. Check out the line-up of speakers and register at nationalcouncilofchurches.us/cug/
Children’s Sabbath is Oct. 18! This year marks the 29th Annual National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration. The theme this year is "Reimagining Our Future with Children, Justice, and Joy”. This year’s planning will certainly require creativity and reimagining. In many churches, the UMW organizesThe Children's Defense Fund website provides many resources and suggestions as you plan for this celebration. See the resources