As we prepare to celebrate a different kind of Thanksgiving than most of us are used to, we are grateful for the faithfulness of God and our United Methodist clergy, laity and churches in Western PA. This week, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving and offer a few items related to this season.
A Pandemic Thanksgiving: Like most everything about our lives in 2020, we need to make some alterations to stay safe during the holiday season. Here are some suggestions.
The First Thanksgiving: The origin story of the U.S. Thanksgiving is more myth than reality. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in North America, so historians see an opportunity to revisit the good — and the bad — of how the holiday developed. Learn more
Post-Election Survival Guide: If you expect to find yourself across the table or on a holiday Zoom call with family members whose political views differ from yours, you may want to check out this survival guide.
Reimagine Christmas Update: As part of our Reimagine Christmas package of resources, we’re posting videos of church leaders sharing creative ideas they are using to celebrate and remain safe. This week's features Rev. Erik Hoeke of Avery UMC. You can see it on Facebook here.
See WPAUMC’s Reimagine Christmas package
Holiday Hustle! It's the first week of the Holiday Hustle challenge -- not too late for you to join. (You just might have to move a bit more over the next few days.) Get details.
COVID Updates: To avoid returning to a complete shutdown as COVID-19 cases surge, state and local officials have issued stay at home advisories and pleaded with people to wear masks anytime they do leave home. The latest order again stressed the need for social distancing and reduced the limit for gatherings to 10 percent of capacity. While churches are legally exempt from the gathering limits during religious services, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi continued to emphasizes the importance of following health mandates and guidelines to protect the most vulnerable in our churches and communities. In a Nov. 18 email, she said pastors and leaders of each church should make decisions based on current conditions in their area. See Bishop’s email
Keep up with PA Coronavirus info
Coping with Stress: Because of COVID-19 and the inequalities it has exacerbated, adults are reporting considerably higher mental stress. The Rev. Justin Coleman and panels of therapeutic and pastoral experts will lead four webinars to discuss the practical and spiritual disciplines needed for surviving this season. The webinars are scheduled for 3-4 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 1, 3, 8 and 10. Learn more and register
Giving Tuesday is Dec. 1: The season of Thanksgiving and Advent often inspires generosity and what has come to be known as Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity to empower people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Many of our local and global United Methodist agencies would welcome your gifts and prayers, if not your physical presence. Because the needs are many, we encourage you to connect online and, if you're able, support one of our WPAUMC mission agencies, UMCOR, our Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching campaign for camping and retreat ministries, or efforts in your community to help those in need.
Nicaragua Disaster Response: Recently the second of two major hurricanes blew through parts of Central America. In Nicaragua, still suffering from the effects of 2019 civil unrest and the Covid 19 pandemic, more than 60,000 people have been left homeless. Our WPA-Nicaragua Partnership has been working with two Methodist missionaries in the country to provide emergency disaster relief. There is an urgent need for medicine, food, clothing and shelter. To help, give through your local church to the Nicaragua Task Force Conference Advance or mail checks payable to WPAUMC to the Conference, PO Box 5002, Cranberry Township, PA 16066. Contact Rich Schall for details.
Cash for Clinics Challenge: The Nyadire Connection (TNC) will host a one-hour Zoom webinar on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. to help fund continuing renovations of rural health clinics. The program will feature Zimbabweans talking about the difference the clinics have made in their communities. To join the webinar, see flyer with details.