WPAUMC enews - Sept. 8, 2021



Prayers for the 9/11 Anniversary: Discipleship Ministries offers a prayer and resources for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. See the prayer

Visitation and a Memorial Service for Gail Donaldson, wife of the Rev. Gary Donaldson, will be held Saturday morning, Sept. 11 at Asbury UMC in Waterford. She passed away August 31. See obituary

Faith in Action

How Faith Communities Support Migrants in PA: In a Facebook Live discussion, Joyce Davis, Coordinator for United Methodist Advocacy in PA, talked with those leading efforts to welcome and care for migrant children and families in Pennsylvania. Joyce, who is also Susquehanna Conference Lay Leader, led the discussion in her role on the editorial board of Penn Live. Watch and learn

Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Crisis: The final withdrawal of the U.S. from Afghanistan on Aug. 30 does not mean an end to United Methodist concerns over the humanitarian crisis in that country and the plight of refugees facing resettlement. “There’s a strong mandate for us as Christians, certainly as United Methodists, to support those trying to flee violence and persecution,” says David Wildman, who as staff of the General Board of Global Ministries made occasional trips to meet with humanitarian partners in Afghanistan. Read more from UMCJustice.org.
Resource UMC shares a collection educational and practical resources gathered by the Virginia Conference that will boost our understanding and ability to care for refugees. See resources
Church World Service, a UMC partner organization, is one of the agencies actively working to welcome refugees. Learn more

Disaster Response

Hurricane Ida Flooding: PA Disaster Response Teams have been helping with flood clean-up in the Johnstown area, and Crossroads Church has been coordinating clean-up in Oakdale area. For more more information on the Oakdale clean-up and related Mission/Volunteers in Mission info, check out this week’s Mission News. 

U.S. Response to Ida: The days after Hurricane Ida have brought more reports of damage to United Methodist buildings in Louisiana and the Northeast, but also cheering accounts of the denomination's connectional strength. The Alabama-West Florida Conference sent $100,000 to the Louisiana Conference for relief and recovery. Read story


Spiritual Growth Study: Registration is open for the 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, 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. Learn more


Honoring a Long-Time Pastor: When Rev. Reed Hurst recently received the Thoburn Cane, which is presented to the Conference’s oldest clergy member with the most years of service, several friends and family members thanked him for the positive influence he has been in their lives. Pointing skyward, Rev. Hurst, 92, proclaimed, “Thank Him!” Read more

Essential Qualities of Evangelism: Priscilla Pope-Levison’s new book Models of Evangelism studies eight influential approaches to evangelism, everything from visitation and revivalism to social media. She finds that regardless of the method deployed, five qualities are essential to effective evangelism — hospitality, relationships, integrity, sharing the Christian message, and rootedness in the church. Read more in Leading Ideas

Measuring Health/Vitality in Small & Medium-sized Churches: In To the Point: A New Way to View Small Church Vitality, small church expert Dr. Lew Parks describes five indices of health and vitality for small to mid-sized congregations that contribute to “dynamic equilibrium.” Read, download free, and share.

10 Things Churches to Know About Cryptocurrency: Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries explains some basics in a stewardship post. Read it. 

In the News: A local resident thanked Immanuel UMC in North East in a Letter to the Editor in the North East News Journal after the congregation offered a Community Fun Night on August 21. It featured musical duo Z-Praise and the Immanuel Puppet Ministry.  There was also free hotdogs, chips, popcorn and ice cream cones from the local ice cream stand, crafts for the children and a free children’s gift auction. The small congregation was amazed to have over 100 guests! Read letter

Dismantling Poverty 

Meals First Step in Fighting Poverty: For people living with food insecurity, a meal is the first step toward getting help, according to church volunteers making a difference in Pennsylvania. Learn more in public radio report from WITF.

Learn what's it's like to struggle to survive and feed a family at the Conference's Poverty Simulation on Oct. 9 at Clarks Mills UMC. Get details and register

UMC News

COVID-19 Vaccination Inequities: The Connectional Table, which acts as a church council for the denomination, declared that addressing COVID-19 vaccine inequities is a United Methodist "missional priority." The leadership body hopes the church will target the disease with the same organized zeal as it has malaria and Ebola. Read story

Black Churches Show Resilience Amid COVID: In June, Gammon Theological Seminary joined with five United Methodist organizations seeking to hear the voices of Black pastors and leaders who have faithfully led and served God's people amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. See what the research found. Read story

UMMen Respond to Boy Scout Charter Issues: At an Aug. 26 meeting of the Scouting Committee of the Commission on United Methodist Men, attendees were informed that bishops and conference chancellors are advising local churches not to renew their charters with Boy Scouts of America units beyond Dec. 31. There are concerns that local churches may still have a risk of liability for damages in the BSA settlements related to charges of sexual misconduct. This delay gives denominational leaders time to work out an agreement with the organization.
Read UMM story
UM News: BSA bankruptcy concerns church leaders

WPA Bishop’s Advisory: In a recent email, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi advised church pastors, as well as leaders who may be involved in administrative matters related to Scout troops, to not renew troop charters until the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy filing moves through the courts and more details are available on how any settlement might affect organizations chartering troops. Leaders were advised to only extend a charter to Dec. 31, 2021, or to replace it with a facilities use agreement. A sample of a facilities use agreement will be provided as soon as possible. An ad hoc committee set up by the denomination is monitoring the bankruptcy proceedings and will provide additional guidance when details are available. See the Bishop’s letter.