WPAUMC enews, Jan. 13, 2021



Join in prayer for the families of Pastor Kathryn Reitz and Jean Harriger, who both passed away recently. Visitation is Thursday and a funeral service will be held Friday in Clarion for Pastor Kate, who was serving in retirement as pastor of Sligo and East Brady UMCs. A memorial service for Jean, wife of retired elder Clayton Harriger, is planned for June 12.  See obituaries 

Opportunities to Serve: In the Conference Reflections blog this week,  Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn talks about the volunteers who are the “heartbeat of our Conference ministry.” Read her post.

The World-Wide-Web Is My Parish: The WPAUMC Program Staff will host a series of Zoom conversations about online worship and virtual ministry on five consecutive Monday evenings @ 7 p.m. beginning January 25. Clergy and laity are welcome. The sessions will include:

  1. Streaming and social media platforms for online engagement;
  2. Caring well for people and building community in virtual spaces;
  3. Staffing and volunteer support for virtual ministry;
  4. Equipment and technical requirements; and
  5. Tracking and communicating online ministry impact.

Registration will begin next week. Watch for a link to registration information at wpaumc.org and in the enews.

Licensing and Privacy Info: A Zoom session will be offered sometime in February that will focus on online copyright, licensing and privacy issues. An intellectual property expert will offer a presentation. More info and registration coming soon. 

Scam Alert: This week someone created gmail accounts using variations of Bishop Cynthia’s name and sent emails on Monday to clergy and on Wednesday to laity in Western PA. The emails were the same, although the sender’s address was slightly different each day. Legitimate emails from the Bishop almost always will come from a wpaumc.org address. And she won’t request gift cards or cash -- or ask you to be discrete about helping her. Do not reply to -- or click a link in -- a suspicious email!

Christian Leadership

In God We Trust! “In a statement after last Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi called for prayer for all involved in or affected by it. “I have faith that as a result of this violence, our country will grow more fully into the ideals of life, liberty, and justice for all. I have faith that we will find a way to put the interests of our entire country before our individual desire for power or control. I have this faith because in God I trust.” Read more

A Jesus I Do Not Know: David F. Watson, academic dean at United Theological Seminary and editor of Firebrand magazine, called the riot at the U.S. Capitol a “national disgrace” and attack on the principles on which the nation was founded. His concern, though, was “with the attempt to infuse this attack on our system of governance with Christian symbolism.” Read his article.

Licensing School/CLM Training: The application/registration form for the 2021 Spring Commuter Licensing School and Certified Lay Minister (CLM) training is available online. Participants must be certified candidates to attend. The course will begin online with a Feb. 18-20 retreat, followed by weekly Saturday sessions from Feb. 27 - April 17 and a closing retreat April 22-24. IF pandemic health and safety guidelines allow, the classes may transition to in-person sessions at Manorville UMC. Class size is limited to 15. For details, download application form.

Top 10 Faith and Leadership Stories: For information, inspiration and resources, check out these features from Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership website. See list

State Park Chaplains Needed: The Pa Council of Churches invites applications for individuals to serve as chaplains for summer campground ministry in Pennsylvania State Parks. The positions offer stipends of $4,950 for full-time and $2,595 for half-time summer positions, plus travel and other expenses. Candidates must be available from May 24 - Sept. 5, 2021. Get details 
Apply at pachurches.org/ministries/campground-ministry/

New and Renewed Congregations

New People, New Places: Discipleship Ministries offers a free webinar to show you what the New People New Places movement is all about and how it can  help you connect with people outside of the church and help them birth a new faith community.  It’s a new version of the Fresh Expressions movement. The webinar is set for Thursday, January 28 at 2 p.m. ET.  Get details

Mosaix House of Studies: United Theological Seminary, in cooperation with the Mosaix Global Network, has established the Mosaix House of Studies to prepare students to build and lead healthy multiethnic and economically diverse, culturally intelligent, socially just and financially sustainable churches. Read press release

UMC News

2020 in Pictures: Photographers from UM News, the denomination's official news service, documented a difficult and event year in the life of United Methodism worldwide. Don’t miss  seeing their photo presentation.

United Methodists killed in Congo Massacre: At least 25 civilians, including seven United Methodists from two families, were killed in the latest violence in the East Congo territory of Beni, according to the Rev. Dumas Balaganire. The church members were killed as they prepared for a baptism. Read story

Former Megachurch Pastor Sentenced: Kirbyjon Caldwell, former pastor of Houston's Windsor Village UMC, was sentenced to six years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a $3.5 million investment scheme. Caldwell, who has made restitution of more than $4 million to victims of the scheme, apologized for his conduct during a Jan. 13 sentencing hearing in federal court. Read story

Lenten Resources

Hunger Ministry Devotional: The Society of St. Andrew, a United Methodist-supported hunger relief ministry, is offering free Lenten devotional booklets and daily email devotions for Feb. 17-April 4. This year's theme is "Walk Humbly" from Micah 6:8. To order
Read Feeding people is complicated but joyful

Upcoming Events

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: The Council of Bishops invites you to join with fellow Christians in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Jan. 18-25. The theme this year is "Abide in My Love … You Shall Bear Much Fruit." Read more and see resources.
See World Council of Churches resources

Finding Peace in an Anxious World: Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20, Barbara Hess and Pastor Karen Martin will lead a 4-week Wednesday evening online study Finding Peace in an Anxious World. The study uses the book of Proverbs and “The Serenity Prayer” as a guide to help Christians find their way through anxiety, worry, and fear and move towards God’s peace. The book and study materials were designed as the Spiritual Growth Study for Mission u 2020, which was cancelled because of the pandemic. Get details and register.

Path to Prayer: Olmsted Manor's Women’s Retreat with Rev. Dr. Patricia Brown of SpiritWorks Ministries will be offered virtually this year. At the retreat, you will consider he many paths to prayer and how you can cultivate prayer practices that deepen your relationship with the divine. By exploring the faith traditions, prayers, and practices, you will learn how a life of prayer helps you discover God amid the nitty-gritty of everyday living. The retreat is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2021 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Learn more and register now at olmstedmanor.org/virtual-womens-retreat.html

Knee-Deep in Flotsam: Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean will address the situation during this year's Albright-Deering Lecture in Methodist Studies, a virtual event on Feb. 18. The lecture will consider "how 2020 is changing how we think about the church—and how it is surfacing new and long-forgotten possibilities for the work God calls us to." Registration is free and CEUs are available. Get details.

Gestalt Pastoral Care Training: The Rev. Debra Flint, an ordained deacon in the WPA Conference, will be one of the facilitators for the 2021-22 Gestalt Pastoral Care Foundation Training Course. Classes will be held mostly in person on Saturdays in the Pittsburgh Area between April 2021 and October 2022. Get details