Harbor of Hope Training: The final online training of the year for Harbor of Hope, an easy-to-implement addiction recovery Bible Study developed by Rev. John and Christine Zimmerman, is scheduled for Thursday, December 17 from 7-8:30 p.m. The training is free and participants will receive free resources thanks to support from the WPAUMC Evangelism Team. Get details and register.
Advent Devotional for Disability Awareness: The Conference Disability Awareness Team compiled an Advent devotional to bring practical and theological awareness to issues of disability rights and to help people think more broadly about Advent and what it means for Christians in the disability community. The devotional has entries from team members and friends for two days each week. Download the devotional
Creativity, Flexibility Help Advent Planning: Some WPAUMC resources are mentioned in a UM News story on how pastors are using creativity and flexibility to observe Advent and Christmas during the surge in coronavirus cases. Read story
See our WPAUMC Reimagine Christmas resources
Church Offers Light Up Nights: St. Paul’s UMC in Allison Park created a video invitation for their drive-through Light-Up Nights on Dec. 5 & 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. Take a look.
A Covid Cantata: In a Reimagine Christmas video, Maureen Konopka, music director at Dutilh UMC, describes how their music groups are using video technology to present their Christmas cantata this year. It will also feature artwork by members of the congregation. Watch Reimagine Christmas #3.
Reaching New People at Christmas: Ann Michel and Doug Powe of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership write that the pandemic makes connecting with new people this Christmas more important than ever. New ways of being and doing church adopted in the face of the coronavirus present some natural opportunities for outreach and evangelism. Read more.
Books to Welcome Advent: Some new books, as well as some old favorites, can help you observe Advent. See what they are
UMC Scholarships: The UMC Board of Higher Education and Ministry has awarded scholarships totaling $60,300 to 24 college and seminary students from Western PA. In all, the Office of Scholarships and Loans provided 2,100 students with $5.6 million in financial assistance. Offerings on World Communion Sunday, United Methodist Student Day, and Native American Sunday provide some of the funding. The rest comes from gifts, annuities and endowments GBHEM has invested and administered for decades. Applications for 2021 scholarships will be accepted beginning Dec. 15. Get details at gbhem.org/loans-scholarships/
What’s a DCM? Our Director of Connectional Ministries, the Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, sheds some light on the answer to this question, which she is asked often. Read her blog post.
Online Worship Permissions Extended: The UM Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through July 2021. Read press release
Ministry in Digital Spaces: Most churches moved so quickly into digital ministry that they have not had a chance to think about lessons learned or what comes next. In a Leading Ideas podcast, digital ministry expert Keith Anderson reflects on what's been learned and how our pandemic practices might reshape the future narrative of the church. Listen or read transcript.
Appointments: A few new ones have been announced. See wpaumc.org/appointments.
In the News: The Sewickley Herald has a feature story about Rev. Hannah Loughman, the Sewickley UMC’s new, youngest and first female pastor, who hasn’t yet preached in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the arrival of a new baby. Read it
Christmas Thank You From UMC Missionaries: If you, your church or group supports a United Methodist missionary, or even if you don’t, you may enjoy seeing some of our missionaries serving here and around the world in this video. See if you recognize anyone while you listen and learn. See and share video
Revealing God’s Abundance? The Moxham area of Johnstown is a place that might appear to have a scarcity problem, but what if it really is an opportunity to reveal God’s abundance? That abundance lives and thrives in the cracks of those who live here and show up every day in a life and in a world that tells them they are not enough, writes Natalie Marionneaux, Missionary and Church and Community Worker at Hope-Filled Relationships. Read more
Mission Prayer Calendar: The 2021 Prayer Calendar published by United Methodist Women with UMC Global Ministries is now available for purchase at $14 each. The calendar includes information about mission projects, prayers written by missionaries, and the birthdays and contact information for missionaries serving around the world. Get details
Young Adult Mission Journey: Applications are due Dec. 17 for the Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ) Young Adult Mission Journey to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana from July 3-12, 2021. Candidates must be 18-30 years old. Successful applicants will be trained as UMVIM Team Leaders and will interact with other young adults from the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish as they learn about native culture and participate in ministries of peace and justice. Scholarships may be available. Apply
Let’s Chat! The Pennsylvania Council of Churches invites youth and young adults to join via Zoom for “Let’s Chat: A Time to Share and Discuss Events from a Difficult Year.” What About the 2020 Election? is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7 from 7-8:30 pm To get the link for the session register via zoom
Living Through COVID-19 is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 14, 7-8:30 pm. Register
Upcoming Youth Events: Mark your calendars for these Conference youth events: