WPAUMC enews - Aug. 25, 2021



Back to School Anxiety and COVID: To help parents and students better understand the issues and the risks involved in returning to the classroom, PennLive and the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg will co-host a “Back to School” webinar at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, featuring educators as well as parents and experts in mental and emotional wellness. Nicole Kirksey, MSW, Associate Lay Leader in the Susquehanna Conference, will be one of the panelists. Joyce Davis, coordinator of UM Advocacy in PA and Susquehanna Conference Lay Leader, wrote about it for Penn Live. 

Register here

Back to School Blessing: United Methodist Communications offers a back to school blessing video you can view and share. See it

Instilling Faith in Children: Helping kids learn about God may seem daunting. Check out these tips from United Methodist children ministry leaders for how to make faith real in the lives of the children we love. Read more.

Back to School with VBS Twist: With fall approaching, churches can reconnect with families that attended vacation Bible school by holding a back-to-school bash. To reinforce the summer's Bible lessons, volunteer Jayne Andrews suggests ways to repurpose decorations, reimagine snacks and remind families of God's love. Read story

Organizing a Children’s Sabbath Celebration? Join United Methodist Women and friends for an interactive workshop at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1 to learn how to engage congregations in the Children’s Sabbath celebration. As part of a nationwide multi-faith effort to generate year-round action to improve children’s lives, United Methodists celebrate Children's Sabbath on the second Sunday in October. The 2021 Children’s Sabbath theme is “Where Does It Hurt? Listening to Heal Our Children.” Get details and register

Disability Concerns

At the Lake Ministries in the News: The Erie Times News, the Beaver County Times and other Gannett/USA Today network papers recently ran a great story by Pennsylvania outdoors writer Brian Whipkey about At the Lake Ministries. It was posted on The United Methodist Church Facebook page today. See story

Reel Abilities Film Festival: The ReelAbilities Pittsburgh film festival promoting a greater understanding of diversity in the disability community will be held at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh from Sept. 8-12. It features screenings of some award-winning independent films that explore the experiences of living with mental and physical disabilities. Learn more from Pittsburgh Magazine 


Still in Mission!  Katie Peterson, a Church and Community Worker who is director of our Eastbrook MIssion Barn, will be one of the four missionaries featured during Global Ministries’ Still in Mission conversation on September 16. Laity and clergy are invited to connect with missionaries as they share the joys and challenges they’ve experienced. The conversation via Zoom is at 12 noon on Thursday, Sept. 16. Register

How to Help in Haiti: In response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on August 14, The United Methodist Committee on Relief has awarded grants to provide urgently needed medical supplies. Read more and see how to help

UMCOR Partners to Aid in Afghanistan: Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief have long-standing partners in Afghanistan, with projects and programs dating back to the mid-1960s. The work has been in partnership with local Afghan communities, as well as other humanitarian agencies. UMCOR is working with these partners to determine what assistance is most helpful at this time and the best avenue for ensuring humanitarian relief reaches the country. Through one project, UMCOR will provide cash assistance to displaced families residing in the Kabul area, enabling them to prioritize urgent needs such as food, shelter or medicine. To support UMCOR’s response in Afghanistan donate online at umcmission.org/advance-project/982450/ or by check sent to Global Ministries/UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068, with Advance #982450 noted on the memo line.

Tennessee Flooding: "When disaster strikes, The United Methodist Church always responds," writes Tennessee Conference Bishop William McAlilly in his blog. In the past 18 months, his episcopal area has endured a tornado, COVID-19, a Christmas Day bombing and now catastrophic flooding that has claimed more than 20 lives. Noting that the area is not yet safe for untrained volunteers to enter, McAlilly recommends that the best way to help right now is to donate money for relief efforts. Read story

Flooding Reminder: If you have any local flooding that impacts homes or churches, contact your District Superintendent or David Kissinger, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator at disasterresponse@wpaumc.org or at 814-243-3254. The Conference Disaster Response Team(s) are prepared to assist with cleaning homes and helping people that may be impacted by the remains of any Hurricane or storm.

UMVIM Leader Training: Two virtual trainings for certification as a United Methodist Volunteer in Mission Team Leader have been scheduled for the Fall of 2021. The training is designed to equip participants to plan and lead VIM teams locally, nationally, or internationally. The Fall dates are Sept. 25 and October 23; both begin at 10 a.m. Get details at wpaumc.org/VIMTraining

Dismantling Poverty

Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes: While we hear a lot of talk about wages, unemployment, and living from paycheck to paycheck, many in our churches and communities know very little about what it’s really like to live on a poverty-level income. To increase understanding and/or offer a reality check, the Conference Poverty Team invites clergy, laity and community leaders to participate in a Poverty Simulation on Saturday, October 9th at Clarks Mills UMC. Get details and Register now

UMC News

Boarding School Healing Project: With recent discoveries of the bones of more than 1,000 children in mass graves on the grounds of church-run boarding schools, the Native American International Caucus of the UMC is calling on the Church to commit to seek the locations and records from the Methodist run boarding schools, search the properties for individual or mass graves, provide surviving family members with the information found, and  listen to/collect the oral stories of those whose ancestors were impacted by a Methodist boarding schools. The Boarding School Healing Project designated October 6 as a Day of Remembrance. On that day in 1879 General Richard Pratt took children from First Nations and opened the boarding school in Carlisle, PA. Learn more

Boy Scout Bankruptcy Affects Churches: As Boy Scouts of America moves through a bankruptcy process, it recently reached a tentative settlement agreement with survivors of sexual abuse. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. An ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations. That committee has some recommendations for chartering congregations as the process continues. Read press release

Clergywomen Still Under-compensated: Since the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women began monitoring disparities in compensation for UMC clergy by gender, things got worse for women clergy before getting slightly better in 2020. In 2011, clergywomen, on average, made 13% less than clergymen; in 2015, it was 16% less. The 2020 study shows clergywomen made, on average, 11% less in salary. See the details

Bishops Fund Balance Improves: With increased giving and cost savings from retirements, the fund that supports United Methodist bishops is in better shape, and bishops will receive their first raise in three years. However, the denomination's financial leaders still warn of possible troubles ahead for the Episcopal Fund. Read story
See GCFA press release

New Challenges for GC Planning: After two postponements, organizers continue working to hold General Conference next year. The business manager says staff know how important the coming legislative assembly is as the denomination weighs a potential split. However, the delta variant presents new challenges. Read story

Hit the Road Trail! On September 4, walkers, runners and bikers will gather at 9 a.m. in Franklin to get on the Allegheny River Trail, raising raise funds for camperships and the Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching Camping Campaign. Ask your family, friends or church to sponsor you per mile or per event. Get details
Don’t forget to register
Download a sponsor form.