WPAUMC enews, Oct. 21, 2020



Covid Update for Churches: The Conference Abundant Health Team has updated guidelines for churches to protect congregants and the community from the spread of COVID-19. It includes a link to recommendations from the CDC for upcoming holidays. See WPAUMC guidelines
See CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations.

COVID Report Prompts Olmsted Shutdown: The Fall Women’s Spirituality Retreat has been cancelled and Olmsted Manor Retreat Center has shut down at least until Nov. 1 to avoid potential spread of COVID-19.  Executive Director Al Hammer made the decision after an overnight weekend guest reported experiencing symptoms the day after leaving and a college student intern who last was at Olmsted on 10/14 tested positive. Guests are screened before entering Olmsted buildings. Both the intern and the guest had limited contact with others, but Olmsted staff will quarantine. 

Urgent Message on Boy Scout Bankruptcy: On Wednesday afternoon, church pastors should have received an email from the Conference Treasurer’s office about the status of the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) bankruptcy litigation. If your church is currently, or ever was, a Chartering Organization, be sure to read the email, then use the BSA Proof of Claim Authorization link to authorize the Bentz Law Firm to file a proof of claim on your behalf. 

Cultivate Generosity: Rev. Tom Parkinson, pastor of Dutilh UMC, is developing a 5-part video series for the Conference to help local churches develop a culture of generosity in the local church. Parkinson has done presentations on stewardship for provisional clergy. The first entry is posted this week. See it.

Looking Ahead to Advent

Realty and Reality: Noticing a For Sale sign while walking his dog, Rev. Chris Kindle began to think about the difference between realty- dealing with purchasing or selling property-- and reality, the state of things as they actually exist. Then his thoughts turned to Advent. To see the connection, read his blog post.

Reimagining Christmas? If you’re planning something creative for Christmas worship to protect people from the spread of COVID-19, share your idea with us. Describe or give us a glimpse of what you’re planning in a short (less than 60 seconds) video clip and email it to communications@wpaumc.org. (If you use a phone to record, position it horizontally for a landscape view.)

Advent Books and Resources: The United Methodist Publishing House has books and resources to help churches and individuals prepare for Advent in a spirit of hope during this year of uncertainty and anxiety. The new resources cover a variety of topics and themes for individual or small group study or in classrooms. See what’s available.

Mission and Outreach

Time’s running out to apply for 2021 Mission Support grants! The deadline is October 31. The Mission Support Team and the Conference Board of Global Ministries allocate grants to assist ministries with potential to significantly impact lives. The process includes prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. While every mission of the church is important, the amount of funds available varies from year to year. Find the Mission Support Guidelines and Forms on WPAUMC.org’s Mission Support Page.

Seeking US2 Missionaries: United Methodist Global Ministries is now accepting applications for the 2021-23 cohort of Global Mission Fellows on the US-2 track. The Global Mission Fellows program places young adults, ages 20-30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The US-2 track offers the opportunity in the United States. Learn more and apply

See this week’s WPAUMC Mission News for much information on mission opportunities.

Resources and Training

Harbor of Hope Training: Conference Evangelists John and Christine Zimmerman will offer an online (Zoom) training session on their new Harbor of Hope Bible study from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.  The study can be used by any church to provide a safe gathering for all people, including those with addiction, to explore the writings of the Holy Bible and pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ. Learn more and see video at af180.org/harbor-of-hope
Register for the Nov. 12 online training

Need Strength for the Journey? Register for a two-part online workshop offered by our Conference Program and Benefits staff on Finding Balance. It’s open to clergy and laity. On October 26, LifeSolutions Employee Assistance Program will lead a session on renewal, resilience and self-compassion. On Nov. 2, Conference Program staff will facilitate discussion and reflection on learnings from the first session. You can attend one or both sessions. Register separately for each. 
Register for Part 1, Monday Oct. 26 @ 2 p.m. 
Register for Part 2, Monday, Nov. 2 @ 2 p.m.

Stress in Children: Children are not immune to the stress caused by the pandemic and other events in their lives. The Rev. Leanne Hadley, a longtime United Methodist children's minister, suggests a weekly three-step healing ritual to help children navigate their anxieties.Read about healing ritual

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: The United Methodist Church is committed to ending domestic violence through education, advocacy, and support for victims. Domestic violence can take many forms (physical, emotional, psychological or financial). Susan Barton of the Board of Church and Society explores what what The United Methodist Church can do about domestic violence. Listen and watch.

Detecting Misinformation: Al Tompkins, an award-winning investigative journalist who happens to be married to a UMC pastor, will lead four free webinars for United Methodists on "Detecting Disinformation in the Media." The series will teach how to separate online fact from fiction, detect fake images from the real thing and know when that "perfect sermon illustration" is nonsense. The webinars, offered by the Florida Conference, will be at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12. To register
Learn more about Tompkins

Dismantling Poverty

Educational Equity: The UMC Board of Church and Society will hold a seminar series, "Towards Educational Equity: Investing in the Beloved Community," via Zoom on Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Participants also have an option to hold virtual meetings with their congressional offices on Dec. 3. The registration deadline is Nov. 11 for those meetings and a team-building session on Dec. 2. Get details

Double Crisis: People living in poverty are facing a double crisis amid the pandemic with higher exposure to the virus and limited access to quality health care when they get sick, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an address marking International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Guterres urged global cooperation to eradicate the virus, asserting that the international community is currently failing the test presented by the pandemic. Learn more

UMC News

Results of Virtual Annual Conferences Mixed: Many Annual Conference sessions were virtual this year: Some went smoothly and were well-received; others didn’t fare so well. Read UM News story