WPAUMC enews - March 3, 2021



General Conference Updates: After an announcement last week that the postponed 2020 General Conference session cannot be held until August 29 – September 6, 2022, the Council of Bishops called for a Special Session to convene May 8, 2021 to act on 12 pieces of legislation. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi explained what it all means in a video. See video and learn more.
Read UMNS report on delegates’ reactions

Remembering Rev. Junius Dotson: United Methodists across the denomination are mourning the loss of the Rev. Junius Dotson, chief executive of Discipleship Ministries, who passed away Feb. 24, less than four weeks after announcing he was battling pancreatic cancer. He was 55. A Celebration of His Life will be livestreamed on the Discipleship Ministries website on Saturday, March 6 at noon Eastern Time.  Read more

Virtual Prayer Room: Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the first of our quarterly Virtual Prayer Room opportunities for personal prayer with members of the Annual Conference Prayer Team. The dates are March 11 & 12.  Get details and reserve a time.

Digital Ministry Guidebook: A new guide to copyright licensing and digital media strategies for churches is now available on the Conference website. PDFs will be e-mailed to each local church pastor on Friday. The guide, Navigating the World of Digital Media, was prepared by copyright attorneys with the firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney and funded through a grant from the United Methodist Foundation of Western PA. 
See the guide in single-page format
See 2-page spread format 

Digital Ministry Guide Discussion: On Monday, March 8 at 7 p.m., Attorney John Sullivan, who took the lead in preparing the guide, will be Amy Wagner’s guest for a Zoom conversation to discuss it and answer questions. Space is still available. Register now

UMHEF Scholarship Deadline Extended: The deadline to apply for United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) scholarship has been extended through Friday, March 19, 2021. Applicants must be members of a United Methodist church and planning to attend a United Methodist-related college or seminary full-time for the 2021-2022 school year. Get details at umhef.org/scholarships.
NOTE: UMHEF Scholarships are completely separate from those offered by the UM Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). See gbhem.org/loans-scholarships/scholarships/

Lent and Easter Resources

Holy Week Ideas: Amanda Mitchell offers some interesting ideas for Holy Week in these pandemic times. Check out her Conference blog post. 

Consider the Lilies -- and other Blooms: Each Easter, spring flowers add a special beauty to our sanctuaries, but they also add something less welcome -- allergens. The Conference Disability Concerns Team offers some suggestions to consider so that everyone can worship in a healthy atmosphere. Read their blog post.

Dismantling Poverty

Journey Home: Erie UM Alliance has a new program to help youth aging out of the foster system who are at risk of homelessness. Called Journey Home, it provides safe and stable housing and supportive services to give the youth, ages 18-24  the opportunity to learn to live on their own. Up to 14 youth can be housed in small apartments at three EUMA properties around Erie. Read more in EUMA’s Winter Newsletter.  
Watch Journey Home video

VBS Program Focuses on Feeding the Hungry:  The Society of St. Andrew has made planning for this year's Vacation Bible School a little easier. The United Methodist-supported hunger relief ministry offers a free VBS curriculum with a hunger-action theme. Learn more and get resources


March 14 is UMCOR Sunday! This Special Sunday with offering underwrites the administrative costs of the United Methodist Committee on Relief so that all designated gifts will go to the project givers specify. Resources, including worship ideas, are available to help churches celebrate the day. See resources

Leadership Development

Saving Grace: In mid-April, local church pastors are invited to join in a six-week online study of Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being, a new personal money management curriculum that promotes financial wellness for clergy and laity. Rev. Jeff Vanderhoff will lead the study for clergy on Wednesday evenings, April 14-May 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Learn more.

Candid Conversations: Candid conversations are often necessary, but candor requires courage to name uncomfortable facts and dynamics that people want to avoid. In this week’s Leading Ideas, Tom Berlin suggests five ground rules for candid conversations.

Travel As a Spiritual Act: Travel author and public television host Rick Steves will join the UMC Board of Higher Education and Ministry at 9 p.m. ET on March 23 for a live discussion on "Travel as a Spiritual Act." Steves will discuss why he believes experiencing people from different places and cultures has a unique way of shaping faith while promoting curiosity, empathy and — ultimately — growth. Register

Dismantling Racism

Confronting Racism: In the latest Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast, two authors of I'm Black. I'm Christian. I'm Methodist. talk with the Rev. Joe Iovino about the importance of confronting racism within the church and throughout society. The Rev. Rudy Rasmus of St. John's UMC in Houston and the Rev. Jevon Caldwell-Gross of St. Luke's UMC in Indianapolis share their experiences and discuss the state of the church. Listen to podcast

BMCR Annual Meeting: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will offer a greeting during the virtual Annual Meeting of Black Methodists for Church Renewal on March 19 & 20. BMCR is one of five U.S.-based ethnic caucuses of the UMC. Get details.