WPAUMC enews - Feb. 17, 2021



New District Leadership Model: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi announced this week that when Indiana District Superintendent Jim Pond retires on June 30, a new shared leadership model will be tested. Rev. Jodie Smith will be appointed Indiana DS in addition to continuing as Franklin DS. Connellsville DS Robert Zilhaver will assist in the Indiana District while continuing in the Connellsville post. Read more

Appointment Season is Underway: Some are posted at wpaumc.org/appointments.

Need a Break, Pastor? A bit of help is on the horizon! Rev. Amy Wagner, our Annual Conference worship coordinator, and Erie-Meadville DS Dennis Swineford are working with Bishop Cynthia and others to produce a recorded worship service that can be used by local churches on Sunday, April 11 (or later). It will be available as a complete service -- or in parts--and can be shown to in-person worshippers, shared online or both. Bishop Cynthia will be the preacher and offer the benediction. Watch for details to come. 

Bishops Propose Hold on New Elections: In a webinar hosted by the Council of Bishops (COB) last Saturday, General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates in the U.S. heard about the state of church finances and a proposal from the COB to hold off on electing new Bishops to replace 16 who are retiring this year. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi offered an opening mediation for the webinar. See links to the webinar and read UM News story

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Cross Sections: We hope you were able to join with others across our Conference in our devotional time this morning, and that you’ll consider using today's video and accompanying materials in your church. Learn more and see today’s video at wpaumc.org/Lent.

Ash Wednesday Around WPA: Ash Wednesday looked a little different this year because of COVID. Some congregations chose to forego distributing ashes, while others came up with alternative methods. Slippery Rock UMC passed out burlap squares marked with ashes, while  Dutilh UMC and Methodists United in Faith provided outdoor ashes and prayer. Check out a few photos and add your own on our Facebook page.

Ashes in the News: A Washington PA Observer-Reporter story about Ash Wednesday during COVID included some creative ways UMC pastors in the Washington District were distributing ashes. Read story

Walking Toward the Cross is the Lenten theme at Baldwin Community UMC, which will host three Sunday afternoon online events open to all. On February 21, Rev. Dr. Roger Owens, faculty member at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, will speak about Lenten practices, as well as his book Threshold of Discovery: A Field Guide to Spirituality in Midlife. On March 7, they’ll screen the 2010 movie, "The Way" directed by Emilio Estevez. On March 21, Beth Richardson will speak about her book Walking in the Wilderness: Seeking God During Lent. All three events will be via Zoom at 4 pm. Register now at bit.ly/BCUMCLent
In keeping with the theme, the church also is organizing 8:30 a.m. socially distanced hikes in area parks every other Saturday morning, beginning Feb. 20. See details

Looking Ahead: If you need them, Outreach, Inc., a partner with UM Communications, has sealed communion cups with juice and wafer in stock and on sale. Get details.

Dismantling Racism

Council of Bishops Devotions: The Council of Bishops is offering a weekly Lenten devotional series focused on Dismantling Racism.  Each Wednesday during Lent and every day during Holy Week, a 15-minute recorded devotion, led by a bishop and leaders from their episcopal areas, will be released. Learn more

Sharing Stories: The East Ohio Conference Black Pastors' Fellowship and the office of Multicultural Vitality have produced a new video series aimed at creating discussion and moving all of us towards racial justice. Each video is accompanied by questions to be answered either for personal reflection or as part of small group discussions. See the videos

Justice or Just Us? is a new four-week study that explores what it means to be faith community that’s committed to anti-racist and justice-seeking work. A Feb. 25 Amplify Live webinar will feature a conversation with Pastors Jevon Caldwell-Gross, Nicole Caldwell-Gross, and Rob Fuquay, who all serve at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, and developed the study based on their experiences in leading the church to confront racism. Learn more and register

Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Through Public Art: Join Patrick Fisher, executive director of Erie Arts and Culture, on a virtual tour of Erie's public art, celebrating the contributions of Black leaders, artists, athletes, musicians, and educators. The event, sponsored by the Erie-Meadville District Anti-Racism Team, is at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23 via Zoom.  REGISTER

Trinity Asbury Legacy Continues: In Western Pennsylvania Methodism, one of the historically black congregations, rich with history, was Trinity Asbury in Johnstown. In a blog post, Rev. Susan Moudry shares the story of the congregation, founded in 1921. Read her post

Black Women in Methodist History: Ask The UMC is developing a series celebrating pioneers in Methodism. During Black History month, as we approach Women’s History Month, the focus of the first two installments is on Black women in Methodist History.  See Part 1
Read Part 2 


By the Numbers: The final session of our WWW is My Parish series on Zoom will look at tracking online engagement, interpreting viewing stats, facilitating online giving, and connecting numbers with impact stories. Rev. Amy Wagner and some guest contributors will lead the conversation. It starts at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22. If you have not registered already, you can still do so here.

Watch previous sessions 

The Post-Covid Church: Barry Winders says the COVID-19 crisis is a hinge point for the church. This pivotal time demands mission-focused leaders lest the church slip back into the busyness and nonmissional activities of the pre-COVID-19 past. Read more in Leading Ideas

Overcoming Lukewarm Discipleship: This March 4 webinar in the Sharechurch online training series looks at how The Church of the Resurrection got back on track after noticing that many of those attending worship weren’t engaging in a pathway of discipleship. See what strategies they used to change that, including a new initiative with “Community Life Ministers.” Get details on training


Greensburg Food Bundles Delivered in Zimbabwe: Greensburg District churches raised $5,000 to provide emergency food assistance in their partner Harare West District in Zimbabwe. On Wednesday morning they were able to watch via Zoom as 350 food hampers containing Mealie Meal, sugar, cooking oil, salt, beans Soya chunks and a bar of soap were distributed. They went to people in four high priority categories: Families headed by children, retired pastors and widows, elderly people and vulnerable children. Watch a video
Check out the photos in a Harare West Facebook album

Hope-Filled Relationships Update: Natalie Marionneaux, community minister, shares what’s happening with this ministry that has been building relationships and hope in the Moxham neighborhood of Johnstown despite the pandemic. Read her newsletter

 "Methodist Mission at 200," a new book on the history of United Methodist Global Ministries, marks the bicentennial of the agency and details the mission theology that guides its work. One emphasis is on the way effective mission crosses boundaries in friendship. Learn more

Abundant Health

February is Heart Month! Your Abundant Health Team offers some tips for heart health along with personal stories from two members about love, faith and health. Read them.