Reflections on Lament: In this difficult season, Rev. Amy Wagner offers reflections on lament and some suggestions for leading a congregation in the practice of lament. They could be used during a traditional Blue Christmas or Longest Night service, at the end of a particularly challenging year, following a community or national tragedy, or any time a congregation and community faces corporate grief. See her blog post
Frustrated? Breathe! "COVID has messed up everything -- our life, our mental health, our rituals, our norms," writes Rob Giannamore in a blog post for the WPAUMC Abundant Health Team. But, he adds, “Breathe! I truly believe that the Lord will make it okay…” Read more
Sing Silent Night on Christmas Eve: During the pandemic, it may be unsafe or even impossible to gather for Christmas Eve services this year. But Christian Associates of Southwestern PA offers a creative way to celebrate together. (It can work wherever you live!) On December 24 at 6:30 PM, light a candle and stand on your porch, driveway or sidewalk and together - socially distant but spiritually united - sing Silent Night. Be a sign for one another of unity and hope, welcoming the Christ child into the world with one voice. Lyrics and prayers are available at casp.org/silentnight.
ERT Recertification: If you trained and were certified as an Early Response Team member before 2017, you need to be re-certified to serve through UMCOR. Recertfication training will be offered via Zoom on Jan. 9, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Register.
New Progressive Denomination Formed: A group of progressive United Methodists and other Christians launched a new denomination named the Liberation Methodist Connexion, or LMX. Read UM News story
Scam Warning! Scam artists are targeting United Methodists with emails that try to extract personal information or infect computers and networks with viruses. One email making the rounds is a classic pyramid scheme, asking for a contribution and promising that much more money will be returned to them. Learn more.
Is Christmas a “Christianized” Pagan Holiday? It is not, says Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications. In his book "The Origins of the Liturgical Year," Thomas Talley shows that Dec. 25 was celebrated in the early church by the Third Century and suggests a North African rather than Roman origin for the feast and its dating. Read story
Read more from Ask The UMC
Upper Room Youth Ministry Changing Hands: The Upper Room has granted ownership of its Discovery Weekend program to N2Discovery Inc., a new nonprofit ministry with a mission of growing young disciples. Discovery Weekend is a spiritual formation retreat program designed for middle school students. The Rev. Michael Ratliff, former executive at Discipleship Ministries, is N2Discovery president. Read press release
Connecting Faith and Justice: A new curriculum to help junior and senior high students actively engage the intersection of faith and justice and explore why our faith compels us toward justice. It is available to download today for free. Learn more and download
Top 10 Leading Ideas: The Lewis Center for Church Leadership compiled a list of its 10 best articles of 2020 that are still relevant as we move into 2021. See what they are.
Living Tradition Resource: The recently launched Living Tradition webpages serve as “a dynamic teaching, learning, and research resource for ministers, seminarians, lay people, and scholars of many disciplines,” says the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke Chapel and an associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School. Read story
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Coping with Stress: The last webinars in the Mental Health and Care series from Amplify Media is at 3 p.m., thursday, Dec. 10 and is titled Pandemic as Moral Injury: How do We React to Global Suffering? The good news is that you can see the current and prior episodes by registering here.