WPAUMC enews - May 19, 2021



AC2021 Updates: Conference Secretary John Wilson sent an email to all voting members of the annual conference reminding them to register as soon as possible. To receive a ballot for voting you must register before May 31. If you did not receive the registration link on May 6 or a reminder earlier this week and believe you should have, email conferencesecretary@wpaumc.org.
Get details on AC2021

Annual Conferences Go Online or Hybrid: Rev. Alan Morrison, chair of our Conference Sessions Team is quoted in a UMNews story about plans for annual conferences across the denomination. Read it 

Resuming Indoor Activities? As the CDC and state officials eased restrictions for vaccinated people, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the Abundant Health Team urged caution as churches move toward fully re-opening buildings for worship and other activities. Learn more

10 Keys to Effectively Leading Change: The latest CDC announcement that vaccinated people can unmask in most public places means more change for church leaders already suffering from decision-making fatigue. While we don’t get to choose the timing of change, there are ways to effectively deal with it. Read more 

Abundant Health

Vaccines for Community: A vaccine clinic offered by Pittsburgh DS Dawn Hand’s home church in Charlotte, NC was featured in a recent UM News story on how churches are bring vaccines to their communities. Some of DS Hand’s family members are pictured and one is quoted in the story. See it.

What’s Next with COVID-19? An American Public Health Association COVID-19 Conversations webinar will discuss what the world will look like when COVID-19 is an endemic disease, what we can learn from seasonal influenza, the reality of managing future outbreaks, ethical considerations for future policymaking, and lessons policy makers can learn from the last year. It’s Wednesday, May 26 from 5-6:30 p.m. Get details and register

UMCOR/Disaster Response

UMCOR Aids Partners in India: Global Ministries and UMCOR are responding to the COVID-19 health crisis around the world by supporting long-term partners in India and elsewhere who are working on the ground in emergency humanitarian and health response. Learn more
See how to Donate

More Flooding Hits Louisiana: On the eve of its annual conference gathering, the Louisiana Conference is scrambling to help churches and communities cope with flood damage from this week's heavy rains. Baton Rouge and Lake Charles are among the affected areas, and the latter is still recovering from 2020 hurricanes. Read story
Watch Bishop Harvey video
Watch video with pastor


From Online Worship to Online Ministry: Kay Kotan says many churches embraced online worship out of necessity during the pandemic without deliberate plans for engaging new people through online ministry. Now is the time to consider how to engage new digital worshipers more fully through intentional welcome, relational connections, and opportunities for Christian formation. Read more

SAVE the Date! WPAUMC will host Kay Kotan for a webinar on Being the Church in a Post-Pandemic World on Monday, June 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. Registration will open soon. Learn more

Rural Churches as Agents of Change: Allen Stanton says rural churches are uniquely positioned to be agents of change within their communities. Most are trusted long-term community stakeholders, and on any given Sunday people from a wide range of occupations and life circumstances are sitting in their pews. Read more from Leading Ideas

Incoming PTS President Honored: The Rev. Dr. Asa J. Lee, the incoming president of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, is the 2021 Society of John Wesley Award inductee. He is a Wesley Theological Seminary alumnus who is now an administrator there. Lee has been named as new president of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, a role he will assume in June. Learn more
Read Pittsburgh Theological Seminary press release

Training and Resources

Church Communications: If you’re seeking ideas and tools to boost your church’s communication and marketing plans, try MyCom. The robust content collection, e-newsletter and podcast offer practical tips about technology, video production, social media, outreach and marketing. Learn more

Generosity, Stewardship and Abundance: Lovett H. Weems Jr. and Ann A. Michel present the Bible’s redeeming and transforming message of generosity, stewardship, and abundance in a new comprehensive guide to Christian financial responsibility. The book provides practical advice to pastors and church leaders tasked with funding ministry and inspiring others toward responsible stewardship and greater generosity. Learn more about the book
Listen to A Transformative Approach to Church Finance podcast

UMC Administrative Training: The online PAUMCS Institute is designed to stimulate the professional growth and development of United Methodist church administrators, administrative assistants, general agency office personnel, episcopal, district, and annual conference office personnel. The course begins on June 1, 2021, runs through August 13, 2021, and culminates with the completion of a group assignment. Learn more

UMC News

UMC Finance Ups and Downs: The General Council on Finance and Administration board last week got an update on giving in the first quarter of the year. Bottom line: U.S. apportionment receipts were down by about $857,000 through March 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, when the pandemic started. However, the first-quarter drop follows the denomination’s record-high apportionment collections of nearly $40 million in December 2020. Learn more

Publishing House Rebounding: The United Methodist Publishing House was hit hard by the pandemic as churches slowed or halted orders of curriculum materials. But with COVID-19 case numbers down in the U.S., the self-supporting agency is seeing sales bounce back. The Publishing House also has reached a purchase agreement for its Nashville headquarters. Learn more

Illinois Megachurch Departs UMC: The Illinois Great Rivers Conference has reached an amicable settlement with Christ Church of Fairview Heights, allowing the church to leave the denomination. Under the agreement, the four-campus church will pay an undisclosed sum to the conference, which is relinquishing its claim to property through the UMC trust clause. Read press release

Appointment Dispute: Greater New Jersey Conference Bishop John Schol has issued a statement giving his account of a pastoral appointment decision criticized by some traditionalist groups in The United Methodist Church. Read statement

Dismantling Racism

Understanding Other Cultures: The Commission on Religion and Race has designed two new infographics for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to help churches provide information about these cultures. “Ten Things to Know About Asian Americans” and “Ten Honorable Traits of Pacific Islander Culture” are available for download on the GCORR resource library. Download resources

Ever Heard Things Like This? A new video shows volunteers reading offensive comments made to Asian American and Pacific Islander clergy and lay leaders in churches or other United Methodist settings. The volunteers did not see the comments before reading them. Their reactions may increase understanding in the work of dismantling racism. Watch

Latin@s, Hispanics, Latinx: ¡Si! To All of it!  Latino/Latinx people in the United States are diverse in many ways, including theologically, writes the Rev. Lydia E. Muñoz. She gives an overview of the rich diversity and cautions against assuming that all Latino/Latinx United Methodists would go in the same direction if the denomination were to split. Read commentary

In the News

Shifting Demographics: In the U.S., people who belong to a faith community now are just 47% of the population. That’s down from 70 percent in 1999. There seem to be a variety of reasons for the decrease. Peter Smith, religion writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, shares the Gallup poll numbers and stories of a few in the new majority.  Read story