WPAUMC enews - Sept. 1, 2021



Mission Barn Needs Flood Buckets, Hygiene Kits: With flooding in Western PA and the Louisiana Conference and other areas hard-hit by Hurricane Ida, our Eastbrook Mission Barn needs cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. These items can be brought to the Mission Barn or one of its satellites. 
Get kit assembly instructions

Hurricane Ida Recovery: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Rev. Bob Deich, disaster response coordinator, have done video updates on how the Louisiana Conference has been affected by and is responding to Hurricane Ida. "Help is on the way," Deich said.
Watch Harvey video
Watch Deich video
Read UM News story: Hurricane Ida takes out church buildings
See Religion News Service report on Faith-based disaster relief groups 
Donate to UMCOR's U.S. Disaster Response

Join in Prayer for the people of Afghanistan, for all the people killed and injured in last week's bombing, the veterans and others who served there, and for the future of that nation. Learn how to put your prayers into action through ministries with Afghan refugees.
 Learn more about UMCOR's response.

Lamentation with Hope: Watching the news of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan reminds the Rev. Thomas Kim of time he spent with missionaries there following his brother-in-law's death in a bombing. He noted that many questioned their mission in a country where they felt they weren't making a difference. The attitude reminded him of missionaries to Korea decades ago who never expected the country to prosper as it has.
Read commentary

Caldor Fire Response: Over 30 of the Federated Church's families had to evacuate due to the Caldor Fire and many more were under an evacuation warning. The Rev. Laura Barnes, the new senior minister of the joint United Methodist and Presbyterian congregation, writes about the impact of the wildfire in the south Lake Tahoe region and her gratitude that California-Nevada Conference disaster response team members are on the scene. Read commentary

Mission and Ministry

Offering Hope: “When life takes a turn and accessibility becomes necessary, who do you call?” writes Rev. Deb Rogosky. “If you are part of the Erie-Meadville District, you call Ramps of Hope, part of All God’s Children’s Ministries. I know. I called them.” Read more.

Discipleship/Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Growth Study: A new Mission u spiritual growth study -- Bearing Witness to the Kin-dom: Living into the Church’s Moral Witness through Radical Discipleship -- will be offered on four Wednesday evenings in October via zoom. Study leaders will be Deaconess Dr. Judith Pierre-Okerson, a District Lay Leader and President of the Florida Conference UMW who has served on the boards of several General Church agencies, and Joyce Genz, retired dean of graduate and continuing studies at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. Registration opens Sept. 7. Learn more

The Loneliness Epidemic: Rev. Tom Parkinson, pastor of Dutilh UMC, joined Rev. Chris Morgan of Christ UMC in Bethel Park last week for a video discussion of loneliness in our society and how a relationship with Jesus can cure it.  The video discussion was one in a series tied to Christ Church’s year-long Bible Adventure, through which the congregation is challenged to read through the Bible, learn the stories and discover God’s plan for them. Watch Video
The Loneliness Epidemic is the subject (and title) of Parkinson’s recently published book. 

Ponderings from the Pastor’s Partner: For 35 of her years as a pastor’s wife, Cheryl Hildbold wrote newsletter articles reflecting on the intersection of faith and family life. She always wanted to share them in a book, but she passed away after a 5-year battle with cancer on June 1.  Now, though, her husband Rev. Chuck Hildbold and family have made that book a reality. Learn more at ponderingsfromthepastorspartner.com
The book is available from the publisher through the website, search on Amazon or contact childbold@gmail.com

Upper Room Resilience Conference: Healthy spiritual practices will be explored during an online conference designed to help participants be more resilient in the wake of difficult events like the coronavirus pandemic and racial upheaval. "Resilience: Healing Practices for Mind, Body and Spirit" is set for Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. Learn more 

Peace and Justice Ministry

Challenging the School to Prison Pipeline: The school-to-prison pipeline results from a disturbing trend in which students are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems for minor infractions of school rules. To increase understanding and seek solutions, Rev. Debra Mason will moderate a daylong seminar at Christ UMC in Bethel Park on Saturday, Oct. 9 with an array of knowledgeable speakers including Allegheny County President Judge Kim Clark, Woodland Hills School Superintendent James Harris, Gateway School Board Member Rev. Scott Gallagher. Get details and register at christumc.net/pipeline

Sofa Spirituality: Are you curious about your neighbors’ faith and their spiritual traditions? Would you like to explore your own spirituality? Sofa Spirituality can help you do both — 45 minutes at a time! A joint effort by the JCC Center for Loving Kindness and Christian Associates of SWPA, Sofa Spirituality can help you do both --45 minutes at a time. Join them Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 PM (Eastern) to watch a video and engage in dialogue. For a calendar of upcoming dialogues, registration information, and more: sofaspirituality.org.

Dismantling Poverty

Rethink Poverty: Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families, but unless you’ve experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand. Four trained leaders - Sandra Matoushaya, Erica Rushing, Jessica Speer and Rev. Chad Bogdewic--invite you to be part of a Poverty Simulation event on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Clark's Mills UMC. The immersive experience, where participants assume the roles of those living in poverty, can help bridge that gap from misconception to understanding.  See what happens during a simulation.
Get details and register.

UMC News/Events

"Tuesdays at the Table: Should I stay? Or should I go?" is a new discussion series for United Methodists, presented by the Connectional Table in cooperation with general agencies. As the church faces proposed separation and an ongoing pandemic, the weekly segments will explore topics aimed at helping viewers better understand their faith, their church and themselves. The sessions will premiere at 10 a.m. U.S. Central time Oct. 5-Dec. 21. Read press release

Advent Prep Event: To help church leaders prepare for Advent, the United Methodist Publishing House will hold a special online event Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern time with three of its most popular authors. The Revs. Adam Hamilton, Matt Rawle and Laceye Warner will discuss their new studies and what inspires them at Christmas.
Read press release and view featured studies

Yes, We’ll Gather at the River: Wayne Dickert, a 1996 U.S. Olympic kayaker got in over his head when, while working as a raft guide and instructor at Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC, he asked his boss about holding a riverside worship service. He figured the answer would be “no.” But when it wasn't, Dickert, then a lay person, got help from his senior pastor and youth pastor to launch River of Life.” Now, he’s pastor of Bryson City United Methodist Church, and has conducted riverside services beside the Nantahala River for 15 years. Read more, see photos and a video