WPAUMC enews, Dec. 16, 2020



Rejoice! Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has some hopeful words for us this week in an Advent message. Read it.

Don’t Lose Sight of Joy! Rev. Susan Moudry invites you to leave the disorienting fog that has hung in the air since Easter. “Do not let yourself be pulled down into thinking this Christmas is any less than it should be,” she writes in a blog post. “This Christmas is what we need, exactly as it is.” Read her post

Need Resources for Online Services? The increased community spread of COVID-19 has led to major changes for the Advent and Christmas season. Rev. Amy Wagner reminds church leaders about the resources available from the WPAUMC website to help them adapt. See what she has to say in this brief video.
 Access resources at wpaumc.org/adventresources.

Kid’s Christmas Eve Service: The ABCs of Christmas, a 15-minute children's Christmas Eve worship service, is now available for local churches to use. The service is geared for younger children and was developed by the Rev. Kathy Pittenger, the children's ministry coordinator for the Michigan Conference. The video can be shared as is or downloaded and edited as a personalized local church service, as long as "a production of the Michigan Conference" appears somewhere in the video. Watch video
Download editable video
See more Advent resources

COVID Update: As coronavirus cases reached new highs across PA, new restrictions were put in place Dec. 12 to stop the spread. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi noted that while the new limits on gatherings do not apply to worship services, they do apply to other church activities. She also reminded church leaders of their moral responsibility to do everything possible to keep people safe. Visit WPAUMC Covid-19 webpage

Finding Peace in an Anxious World: This four-session study, designed to be offered at Mission u 2020, may be especially helpful for laity and clergy these days. The study was offered online over five weeks last summer by the Mission u team, and will be offered again via Zoom on Wednesday evenings beginning Jan. 20, 2021. Get details and register


Coats for Kids! UM Church Union in Pittsburgh is partnering with the Pittsburgh Police to distribute new coats to children and youth on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Police officers will help kids of all ages select a coat during the distribution in Northview Heights on Dec. 21 and 22. Rev. Beth Nelson, Church Union Board Chair, said they’ve gathered more than 500 new coats, but could use a few hundred more, especially for smaller boys. (Pre-K through 5th grade). Collection goes through Saturday. Hats and gloves and mittens are needed too! For donation drop-off info, see flyer 
See distribution info

Congratulations, Sandra! The latest edition of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission newsletter brings word that our WPA Mission Engagement Coordinator Sandra Matoushaya will become chair of the board of the NEJ UMVIM group. She’ll replace Barbara Burnside of the New England Conference, who served in the post for three years. See newsletter.

VIM Team In People Magazine: A recent issue of People magazine includes the story of a Pittsburgh couple whose adoption of a 5-year-old boy with special needs after 1,275 days in foster care. The story features several photos, including one of volunteers from St. Paul’s UMC in Allison Park with the boy on the ramp they built so he can get in and out of the house with his wheelchair. The photo is by Dave Hochendoner, a member of the St. Paul’s team. See story

Clean Water Flowing at Zim Missions! At a time when clean water is scarce in many parts of the world, The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is keeping the precious liquid flowing at its three missions, thanks in part to The Nyadire Connection and Zimbabwe Volunteers in Mission. Learn more

It’s a Wrap on WVA 2016 Disaster Recovery: Since the June 23, 2016, storms and flood disaster that impacted 44 of 55 counties in West Virginia, the WV Conference Disaster Recovery Team oversaw repairs or rebuilds to hundreds of homes and churches. The WV ministry, which handled more than 160 personal claims and even replaced six bridges, is preparing to complete its mission on Dec. 31. Many volunteers from Western PA were part of the recovery effort. Read story

Abundant Health

Online Health Minister Training: Registration is open and scholarships are available for the 2021 online health minister certificate program offered through Wesley Theological Seminary’s Heal the Sick program, an educational partner of Global Ministries. Through 10 weekly online modules from Jan. 17 – March 27, the certificate provides foundational  skills in faith and health and equips faith community members, clergy, public health professionals, social workers, chaplains, and others to support whole person health in many settings. Register by Jan. 4, 2021. Learn more

D.Min in Soul Care: Pastors, chaplains and clinicians are invited to renew, refresh and support their essential ministry in care and counseling through Wesley Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry in Soul Care. The new track begins May 2021, but the deadline to apply is Feb. 15. Get details
For more info, contact Rev. Dr. Chip Aldridge at caldridge@wesleyseminary.edu or call 703-736-1549. 

Dismantling Racism

Battle vs Racism a Non-Issue? “Far too many white Christians — including United Methodists — continue to view the battle against racism and racial violence as a non-issue for them," said Garlinda Burton, interim top executive of the UMC Commission on Religion and Race, after acts of vandalism against two historic Black churches in Washington, D.C. last weekend. Demonstrators ripped down and burned church signs supporting Black Lives Matter. Burton also posted a video interview with the Rev. Ianther Mills, senior pastor of Asbury United Methodist, one of the vandalized churches on the GCORR Facebook page. Read statement
Watch video 
See Washington Post story

Watch Night Resources: Churches Uniting in Christ is offering ecumenical resources to teach congregations about "Watchnight," a traditional service in historically Black churches that gathers members in unity to welcome in the new year. One resource is a preaching video featuring UMC  Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Read more and see resources

Human Relations Day is Jan. 17! Continue the ministry of Jesus by advocating for the oppressed on Human Relations Day (January 17). This special offering allows us to join with United Methodists around the world and remember that the size of the table of divine love is unlimited. Learn more
Get started with the help of a Pastor and Leaders’ Kit.

In the News

State Funding to Help Communities: The PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development announced it is providing nearly $4 million in support to communities struggling during the covid-19 crisis. A portion of the money will go toward expanding broadband service to areas of Fayette County where the workforce and students have difficulty working remotely. Read more

Food Insecurity Crisis: Last year, more than 35 million people experienced food insecurity. But because of the pandemic, that number could be as high as 50 million for this year, according to the hunger relief organization Feeding America. Read or listen to NPR report

It’s No Joke: The former Stanton Heights UMC in Pittsburgh will  reportedly find new life as a comedy incubator -- a performance and residential space for stand-up comings. Read Post-Gazette story 

Advent Activities

Carols and Cocoa! Grab your favorite mug of hot cocoa and join friends of UM Church Union for "Carols and Cocoa - A musical interlude of inspiration, challenge, comfort and joy!” The video will premiere at 4 p.m., Sunday, December 20, 2020 on Church Union's Facebook page Get details.

Advent Quiz: Test your knowledge on the history and traditions of the season of Advent. You can share the quiz link with friends and compare scores later. Or print copies to share. See the quiz