Annual Conference 2021 gets underway with Opening Worship and the Ordination and Commissioning service at 7 p.m., Friday, June 18 at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie. The service, along with the Saturday's events --8 a.m. Bible Study, 8:30 official opening plenary session and closing worship with memorial service at 11:30 a.m. -- will be live-streamed through a link at wpaumc.org/AC.
AC Prayer Opportunities: The Conference Prayer Team will support both onsite and virtual prayer experiences during annual conference. See how you can participate at wpaumc.org/AC2021-prayer-opportunities.
A Prayer for Fathers Day: To honor the fathers and father figures whose love and example have made a difference in many lives, Discipleship Ministries offers a short prayer in video form. Share the link and download for use at church. See video reflection.
Lonely the Boat: In a blog post subtitled The Urgency of Caring Well for Weary and Isolated Church Leaders, Butler District Superintendent Eric Park describes the burdens many leaders have carried throughout the pandemic. He offers some suggestions for how congregations might offer support and encouragement to their weary leaders. Read more
Connecting with People Through Prayer: The Rev. Jacqui King, a longtime United Methodist leader, found a new ministry praying with strangers. She has realized that when people pray together, mundane encounters can become miraculous. Read story
Erie Looks at Racial Justice: Over the next year, a senior fellow from the Brookings Institution will help local leaders in Erie look at issues of equity, racial justice and economic mobility to identify and correct policies that perpetuate racial injustice and inequity in the area. Read Erie Times-News story
Freedom Day for All: June 19th celebrates a specific event in the U.S., but the day is a time for all people to recommit to antiracism work. Learn more
See Six Ways White People Can Observe Juneteenth.
Alleviating Hunger in Zimbabwe: A UM News story by Zimbabwe East Communicator Kudzai Chingwe highlights the efforts of The Nyadire Connection, the UMW and others in combating hunger during COVID lockdowns. Read it.
Last Chance to register for next Monday evening’s Ultimate Relaunch Playbook webinar with church consultant and author Kay Kotan. It’s June 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more and register
Potchangers: Innovative Change in an Ever-Changing World is the title of a 90-minute webinar designed to help church leaders pivot out of the pandemic. Rev. Dr. J. Elvin Sadler, general secretary of the AME Zion Church and assistant dean for graduate studies at United Theological Seminary, will lead the webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 24. The cost is $25. Get details and register.
Countering Political Polarization: On June 21 from 6:30-9:15 p.m., Christian Associates of SWPA joins with Braver Angels and many community partners to present Depolarizing Within. This workshop teaches participants how to stay true to their own beliefs without demonizing, dismissing or stereotyping “the other side.” Learn strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views. Register by June 17 at http://bit.ly/depolarizingjune21.
Download depolarizing series flyer
At-Home Bible Study for Kids: Illuminate Bible Series is a new daily curriculum that encourages kids to engage with God’s Word while giving them the assurance they need during difficult times and the tools to grow in their knowledge and love for the Lord! Each book contains 32 week-long studies designed to lead students in grades 1–12 to a deeper understanding of the prominent stories and vital teachings found in Scripture. Learn more at Cokesbury.com
What Is God Like? The late author Rachel Held Evans’ first children’s book, released on June 15, a week after what would have been her 40th birthday, is a picture book aimed at ages 3 to 7. It’s full of colorful, whimsical illustrations by Ying Hui Tan and was completed by best-selling children’s author and friend Matthew Paul Turner. Read Religion News Service story.
Cicadas Show Up for Church: United Methodist clergy are finding inspiration for sermons and devotionals in the arrival of billions of Brood X cicadas after 17 years spent underground. But the red-eyed, flying insects also have disrupted outdoor worship services. Read UMNews story
Grants for Rural Churches: Rural churches can apply for $500 grants to be used to respond to specific needs in their communities. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. United Methodist Rural Advocates will notify the 10 grant recipients by Dec. 1. Read press release
Navigating Denominational Change Webinar: Andy Hendren, Wespath's chief legal and governance officer, plans to present a webinar on navigating church disruption and change as part of the United Methodist Association's 2021 Resilience 365 conference series. Hendren's presentation at 1 p.m. U.S. Central time June 23 will focus on General Conference, proposals for denominational separation and other considerations for United Methodist-affiliated organizations. The association works with United Methodist-affiliated health and welfare ministries. To register
Diverse Abilities Retreat: Always Room for One More is the theme for the 2021 retreat presented by the WPAUMC Disability Concerns Committee and Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. It’s scheduled for Oct. 3-5 at Olmsted. Download a brochure