WPAUMC enews - April 7, 2021



It's Time for SPARK! Pray for our youth and their leaders on Saturday, April 17, during SPARK, the Conference youth gathering. It will be held in-person at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center and live-streamed to churches around the Conference. Learn more and check out the Swag Store

Eastertide Worship Service: Several churches will be using the Eastertide Worship Service prepared by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and her Cabinet this coming Sunday. Links to download the service --or the Bishop's message--from Vimeo were emailed to clergy on Tuesday. The video also will be accessible to view on Sunday from the www.wpaumc.org homepage and visible Saturday at noon on the Conference YouTube channel through this link.
See worship bulletin

In the News: Several United Methodist pastors and churches were featured or quoted in the media reports during Holy Week and Easter.

  • TribLive featured the Derry Community Cross Walk, with photo and short video of Jim Shawley and Rev. Lola Turnbull, pastor of Derry First and Hillside UMCs, and interviewed Rev. Chris Livermore, pastor of Latrobe UMC. See story
  • On Saturday, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi participated in the Pittsburgh Christian Leaders Fellowship’s annual Blessing of the City on the Grandview Ave. overlook across from St. Mary of the Mount church. See Post-Gazette story and photos
  • Rev. Erik Hoeke of Avery UMC in Washington, PA is quoted in the Observer-Reporter story on churches balancing safety with in-person worship opportunities. Read it
  • Rev. Arnie McFarland, pastor of Calvary UMC in Somerset, is quoted in a Tribune-Democrat story about surprise pop-up Easter decorations at the home of a church neighbor as part of the Salvation Army Somerset Center Eggstravanza fundraiser. Read and watch video
  • Erie News Now visited Lakewood UMC in Erie on Easter and interviewed Rev.Bob Lewis and member Kathryn Gilchrist for their video for their report on Easter messages of hope.
  • KDKA TV covered Calvary UMC’s sunrise service at Pittsburgh’s West End Overlook with a spectacular sunrise over the City of Pittsburgh. Rev. Larry Homitsky was interviewed. See video

Leadership Development

Things We Don't Talk About At Church: At a hybrid event on Sunday afternoon, April 25, WPAUMC clergy speakers will share their thoughts on some justice issues that aren't often addressed in churches. Revs. Alyce Weaver Dunn and Keith Dunn will look at sexism in the church; Rev. Debra Mason will address racism, and Rev. Wade Berkey will talk about toxic relationships and church bullying. The event, scheduled from 2-4:30 p.m., will be simulcast to five locations in the Franklin District and available via Zoom. Get details and register

Last Chance to Register for Saving Grace! Space is still available in the six-week Wednesday evening Zoom class Saving Grace:A Guide to Financial Wellbeing for Clergy, which starts next week. Rev. Jeff Vanderhoff will lead the sessions. Earn 1 CEU by attending all sessions.  If you register now, you’ll still have time to get your book, especially if you have Amazon Prime! Get details and register.

Young Adults Dream Big: There’s less than a week remaining to register for our Conference Young Adult Council’s 5-week Zoom study focused on rediscovering your dreams and turning them into reality. Based on  Dream Big Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You're Going to Do About It by Bob Goff, the study will be on Tuesday evenings at 7pm beginning on April 13! Register 

Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds: Episode 5 of Rev. Chris Kindle’s Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds deals with a question on fingerprinting for those who work with children and vulnerable events. Watch it

No Going Back to the Pre-Pandemic Church:  Kay Kotan says many churches feel a natural desire to return to the familiar, comfortable patterns of the past. But churches that embrace this time of disruption as a catalyst for lasting change are most likely to be vital in the post-pandemic world. Read more from Leading Ideas

Fund Development Training: Olmsted Manor Retreat Center, in partnership with the UM Foundation, will offer two trainings for church and nonprofit leaders. Telling Your Story with Rev. Charles Maynard, set for May 9-11, 2021, will focus on storytelling as a key to fundraising. Learn to tell your organization’s story and to listen to the stories of your constituents. Abundant Resources for Ministry with Dr. Amanda Stewart, from June 13-15, 2021, will focus on the skills of fundraising management and development. Get details at olmstedmanor.org/events.  


Earth Day is April 22! Churches typical observe it on a Sunday during April.  It’s an opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God’s creation and the human responsibility to steward it. You’re invited to use worship resources offered by UMC Global Ministries.

Native American Ministries Sunday is April 18: Get resources for your church to use to promote and observe this churchwide Special Sunday with offering  in the Pastors and Leader Kit at ResourceUMC.org. 

Want to Improve Your Church Communications? Get tips and videos on church communications, marketing, social media, outreach and new technology in UMCommunications’ biweekly e-newsletter. It’s designed for pastors, church leaders and staff. Learn more and subscribe at ResourceUMC.org/MyCom

Mission News

ERT Recertification: A four-hour Early Response Team recertification course is required for anyone who received ERT training prior to 2017 and wants to continue serving as a certified ERT. UMCOR requires recertification every three years. The next class is scheduled to be held via Zoom on Saturday, April 17 from 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Register now

Cuban Pastors Share Ministry: Rev. Guillermo León Mighty, district superintendent of the Havana district in the Methodist Church of Cuba, and his wife Adria Nuñez Ortiz are sharing their ministry with their partners in the West Ohio Conference through April. They are interested in also itinerating in Western PA to talk about their church’s revival. See contact info in this week's Mission News. 
Mustard Seed Migration Grants UMCOR has launched a new grant program to help churches aid refugees and migrants living in their communities. “Mustard Seed Migration Grants” will provide fifty congregations with up to $2,000 in funding to support one-time, community based service projects in their own cities and town. Apply for this grant https://umcmission.org/migration/mustardseed/

Youth/ Young Adults

YSF/Young People’s Ministry Grants: The “Global Youth Service Fund” and “Grants for Ministries with Young People” grant programs deadline is this month! Submitting an initial application should take 30 minutes or less and needs to be done before April 15, 2021 to be considered for funding in 2022. Learn more at umcyoungpeople.org/grants

Easter Lessons for Youth: UMC Young People’s Ministry offers a series of 60-minutes or less lessons called Living the Resurrection written by active United Methodist youth ministers. Each can be done in person or virtually. Easter lessons go from April 4-May 16. Learn more

Dismantling Racism

Making Room for the Other: A three-part blog series with entries by staff from Perkins Theological Seminary and UM Young People’s Ministries, explores the theological and practical importance of making space for the new, for strangers, for what some might call the “other.” Become familiar with discipleship strategies and processes that can help turn strangers into friends and unfamiliar outsiders into cared-for peers. See posts

Racism in Church Ranks? Anonymous letters criticizing the appearance of an African associate pastor have led to self-reflection for a Virginia congregation and a "Do Not Harm" campaign seeking changes in The United Methodist Church. The hairstyle, clothing and accessories of the Rev. Chenda Innis Lee became an issue at Fairlington UMC. Read story

UMC News

UM Men Seek New Executive: Gil Hanke, who has served as General Secretary of the Commission on United Methodist Men since 2010 has announced his retirement. Read Gil Hanke’s retirement announcement
 The General Commission is accepting applications for the position. The General Secretary is the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, exercising general administrative oversight over the activities and policies of the Commission. See job posting

East Ohio Pastor Combats Conspiracy Theories: The Rev. Derek Kubilus says QAnon and other conspiracy theories amount to a "mind virus" affecting individuals, families and congregations. Kubilus, pastor of Uniontown United Methodist Church, launched his own podcast to address QAnon. That led to an appearance on "60 Minutes." Read UM News story