WPAUMC enews - March 31, 2021



As we continue through Holy Week, join in our daily Lenten video devotionals called Cross Sections.  Find them at wpaumc.org/lenten-video-series.

Jumonville Easter Sunrise Service: The UM churches of Greater Uniontown invite you to join them at Jumonville for their annual Easter Sunrise Service. Take a chair (and warm coat, if needed) and meet on the lawn in front of the dining hall at 7 a.m. Offerings will go to the Kidz2Kamp scholarship fund. 

Easter Blessing Over Pittsburgh: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will join Bishop David Zubik and other Christian leaders on Holy Saturday morning, April 3 at 10 a.m. at the Mount Washington Overlook across Grandview Ave from St. Mary of the Mount Church. 

Need Last Minute Easter Graphics? It’s not too late to download invitational resources for this Sunday! Choose from a variety of designs, all of which feature a unique, encouraging message of hope. Digital tools include graphics for social media, presentation software and more. Download

Video Service for April 11: For pastors and worship teams who may need a break, the Bishop and Cabinet have recorded an online worship service for Eastertide. The complete video or a video of just the Bishop’s message can be downloaded from Vimeo here
The full service can be viewed on the WPAUMC YouTube channel.
 See the worship bulletin.

Where Jesus Walked: The ecumenical Easter initiative of the World Council of Churches is offering Bible studies to help people follow the footsteps of Jesus and spotlight what is happening in Israel and Palestine today. See resources

Simon the Cyrene's Journey: A Good Friday Zoom experience offered by Africa University and By Faith magazine focuses on the Journey of Simon of Cyrene, who bore Jesus’ cross and was the only African eyewitness to the crucifixion. It also will address the struggle of black males today. It’s scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Learn more and Register


Franklin District Ministry Assistant: Rev. Tom Carr will serve as the Franklin District Ministry Assistant and as pastor of Oil City:Trinity/Bethel/Plumer Charge. The role of District Ministry Assistant is part of a new shared Ministry model that will be implemented in the Indiana and Franklin Districts on July 1. See Appointment Announcements
Read more about the Shared Ministry Model

NEJ Bishops Retire, Others to Share Coverage: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of Western PA and West Virginia Area Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball will share coverage of the Susquehanna Conference beginning Sept. 1 after Bishop Jeremiah Park retires. Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area also has been granted retirement. The two conferences in her area will be covered by Bishop John Schol and Bishop LaTrelle Easterling. Learn more

Dismantling Poverty in Johnstown Area: Throughout the pandemic, United Methodist Human Services of Johnstown has continued its ministry and stepped up to help people get the services they need for housing and utility security. UMHS also has provided direct financial assistance through their Bridges to Success and Emergency Financial Assistance programs. Executive director Cheryl Keafer recently invited pastors to refer those needing help to UMHS. Read More

Seminary Names New President: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Board of Directors has selected the Rev. Dr. Asa J. Lee as the next president of the Seminary. Dr. Lee currently serves at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., as vice president for campus administration, associate dean for community life, and director of African American studies. He will assume his duties on June 7, succeeding President David Esterline, who is retiring. Learn more

UMC News

Finance Agency Can’t Set New Budget: The United Methodist Church's finance agency lacks authority to set new denominational budget and apportionment guidelines, despite postponement of the church’s top legislative gathering, the Judicial Council has ruled. Read UMNews story
Read Finance and Administration press release

Judicial Council Clergy Session Ruling Clarified: With the General Conference postponed twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Judicial Council has clarified a 2019 ruling related to the administrative process for clergy ahead of annual conference sessions. Read story

Mozambique Bishop Shares Challenges: In July 2008, Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala made history by becoming the first woman elected to the United Methodist episcopacy in Africa. In honor of Women’s History Month, Nhanala reflects on United Methodism in Mozambique — its challenges and achievements — and how she has managed the crises that confront her episcopal area today. Read Q&A

Pandemic Enlivens Easter Creativity: A recent Pew Research Center poll found that because of the pandemic, less than 40% of U.S. Christians plan to attend church services in person this Easter Sunday. But church creativity also is thriving. This Holy Week finds United Methodist congregations offering new ways for people to connect with Christ’s passion and the hope of Easter. Read UM News wrapup.

 Appalachian Trail Chaplain Named: Chris Estus, director of recovery ministries at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas, has been named the 2021 United Methodist Appalachian Trail chaplain. A ministry of the Holston Conference, the chaplaincy has recruited both laity and clergy to hike the 2,200-mile trail annually since 2013. Estus plans to begin his hike in late May after he becomes a licensed local pastor. Read story

Dismantling Racism

Sermon Prompts Action on Racist Deed Restrictions: Deed RestrictionsOn the first Sunday after George Floyd's death, the Rev. Nathan Lonsdale Bledsoe of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Houston, TX spoke about racism and how it exists even in their own backyard, including on the deed restrictions of homes in the nearby Oak Forest neighborhood. Not long after, Ashley Cavazos, a church member and Oak Forest resident, began her mission to have the racist language removed. Read story

Communication and Connection

Age-Friendly Technology Guide: Computer Reach, a nonprofit launched in 2001 by Dave Sevick, a member of Calvary UMC in Pittsburgh, makes technology available to people most in need through refurbished equipment, computer literacy training, and support. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been working with agencies in the Pittsburgh area that serve older adults to get them digitally connected and combat social isolation. Their age-friendly technology guide features a list of affordable internet and technology options, technical support services, and technology training locations. The guide also may be helpful to older adults in your congregation. See the Age-Friendly Technology Guide
Learn more about Computer Reach

Leveraging Communication for More Connection: Knowing how best to deliver messages effectively and efficiently can be a challenge for any local church. In response, United Methodist Communications is launching a series of ecumenical virtual communications learning conferences aimed to assist all who seek to share the gospel. The first offering, "Leveraging Communication for Greater Connection," will take place at 10 a.m. U.S. Central time April 20-21. To register


UMCOR Aids Border Ministry: Recognizing that the situation at the United States-Mexico border requires immediate and dramatic action, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has awarded new funding to Church World Service (CWS) to help asylum seekers on their journey to safety. Thanks to the UMCOR grant, CWS will hire additional staff at some UMC border shelters, provide case management services to asylum seekers and advance its efforts to advocate for rebuilding a humane immigration system in the United States. Learn more

Other Global Ministry Grants: Self-sustaining food production in Africa will get a $2 million boost after the UMC Board of Global Ministries allocated its largest new budget outlay in honor of the late Bishop John K. Yambasu. Other major new allocations approved during virtual meetings March 24-26 include $1 million to promote environmental causes and $750,000 to address global health issues. Read more