Indiana DS Installation: Rev. Jodie B. Smith will officially be installed as the Superintendent of the Indiana District during a 3 p.m. worship service on Sunday, Sept. 26 at Indiana Grace United Methodist Church. Rev. Smith also serves as the Superintendent of the Franklin District.
Learn more about Shared District Leadership
SPARK = 2 for 2022! The annual youth gathering will be offered on two weekends in two places -- Jan. 8-9 in Pittsburgh and April 9-10 in Erie--in 2022. Registration is open now! Check out the details and register to get the early bird discount at wpaumc.org/spark
2022 Health Insurance Rates: The Conference Board of Pensions approved the 2022 health insurance billing rate to local churches for active clergy. It includes medical, vision and dental coverage. Effective 1/1/2022, the rate will be $1481.00 a month, a $28 per month increase over the 2021 rate. Participant cost shares remain the same at $20 single / $35 two persons / $70 family.
Meet in the Middle! The Conference now has a podcast that explores a broad range of topics and is designed to promote civil discourse for greater understanding, relationship building and common good. It was created by the WPAUMC Antiracism Team. Listen to episodes at meetinthemiddle.buzzsprout.com/
The Power of Podcasts: Podcasts have exploded in popularity, and provide a new way to do ministry. According to PodcastHosting.org, there are now more than 2,000,000 podcasts and 48 million+ episodes. September 30 is International Podcast Day, and throughout the day, UM Communications will unveil new podcast episodes and discussions that can be accessed at the celebration webpage and on their Facebook page. Read press release
Awakening Conference Offers Day for Pastors: Crossroads Church is hosting the Awakening Conference October 10-12, with Tuesday, October 12 as a special day for Pastors from 10am - 3:00pm. Be their guest and enjoy a day of refueling, refreshing, and re-envisioning God’s heart for you and your Kingdom Impact! This event includes continental breakfast, lunch, worship, prophetic prayer appointments, networking with other pastors, and other surprises to take with you. Space is limited. Register now at https://xr.church/pastors
For more Awakening Conference details go to: xr.church/awakening
The Power of Thanks: “Saying ‘Thank You’ is one of the most underutilized tools a church has to grow giving and volunteerism,” says Joe Park of Horizon Stewardship. In a video, he offers four practical strategies for saying "Thank You" that you can implement today! Watch
Unclutter Your Church! To revitalize, congregations must strip away some vestiges of the past to make space for the new amidst decades of physical and emotional clutter. To the Point: Unclutter Your Church Now from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, helps congregations unshackle from the weight of clutter and disorganization. Read and download to share
Church Real Estate Crisis? While The United Methodist Church debates societal issues — LGBTQ rights, welcoming refugees and the like — its congregations’ real estate is eating away at the denomination and threatening its viability, says Rick Reinhard, who’s worked in economic development and with property matters in the denomination. He offers some ways to address what he describes as a real estate crisis in the church. Read his commentary
Poverty Simulation Postponed: The Poverty Simulation scheduled for Oct. 9 at Clarks Mills UMC has been postponed by the Conference Poverty Team. Facilitators hope to reschedule in early 2022.
Risky Discipleship: Watch a video to learn the story of The Village at Glencliff, a unique respite care community for persons experiencing homelessness, and the risky discipleship required by the United Methodists who made it happen. Watch
Tips for Building Relationships: Elizabeth Mae Magill wanted to create a food ministry that wasn’t a charity, but a demonstration of Christ’s radical welcome. For months, she did street ministry to get to know food insecure neighbors, hear their stories, and build relationships. In Leading Ideas, she shares nine practical tips for meeting people and learning their needs. Learn more.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 each year in the United States. The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has an infographic with facts about Hispanics' impact on the UM Church and suggestions for ways to celebrate. UM News’ overview about the month is in Spanish, but you can read it in English with Google Translate. See What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
A Day of Truth and Repentance: On Oct. 6, 1879, Gen. Richard Pratt forcibly removed First-Nations children from their homes and placed them in the Carlisle (PA) Indian Industrial School, which he founded. This year, the Church is called to observe October 6 as a Day of Truth and Repentance for Our Children. Bishops Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Sandra Steiner Ball suggested some concrete acts we can take as followers of Christ to begin a process a healing. Read more
Asbury Award Honors Campus Ministers: Rev. Sara Voight, who leads the Wesley Foundation and Penn State campus ministry of St. Paul’s UMC in State College, is one of 10 campus ministry leaders to receive the 2020-21 Francis Asbury Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The award recognizes exceptional ministry with students, faculty, staff, and colleagues. St. Paul’s and the Wesley Foundation are across the street from Penn State’s main campus and ministries include, among other things, the popular Abba Java coffeehouse. Learn more about Wesley Penn State.
Read GBHEM Press release
U.S. Bishop Serving in Africa: After the death of Sierra Leone Conference Bishop John K. Yambasu in August 2020, retired Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. was named interim episcopal leader. Bishop Brown, who was ordained an elder and served in Western PA in the 1970s at Bethany House Ministries and Warren UMC in Pittsburgh, said he sees his role as a caregiver. He talks about the challenges and highlights of the past year and his hopes for the future. Read Q&A
Coping with COVID in Zimbabwe: With churches and schools in Zimbabwe forced to close doors at various times during the pandemic, finances and livelihoods have suffered. Clergy and students are among those feeling the impact. Grieving families also are struggling to find closure amid restrictions on funerals and other gatherings. Read Kudzai Chingwe’s report.
Celebrate with The Nyadire Connection! You’re invited to join Western Pennsylvanians involved in The Nyadire Connection for a special event celebrating 15 years of their ministry partnership with the people of the UMC Mission at Nyadire in Zimbabwe. The celebration event will be on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 6 pm, at Dutilh UMC in Cranberry Township. Tickets are on sale now! Get flyer with details
Welcoming Afghan Refugees: Church World Service, one of nine approved resettlement organizations for Afghan refugees, will host a call on September 30 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. for clergy and judicatory/regional/conference leaders to hear how faith communities can partner with CWS to welcome Afghan allies and friends. Register
Cleaning Buckets Heading to NJ: Thanks to many who donated items /or and volunteered at the Eastbrook Mission Barn and its satellites, 1,224 buckets are on their way to The Greater New Jersey Area to help with clean-up after widespread flooding. See photos from the Mission Barn on WPAUMC’s Facebook post
Organ Recital and Workshop: International soloist, teacher, clinician and recording artist Dan Miller will offer a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 16 and an organ recital on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17 at Indiana Trinity UMC. He’ll also be guest organist for the church’s 11 a/m. Worship service on Sunday. Download flyer with details.
Teykl Event Registration Open: Registration is open for the Oct. 23 program with Rev. Terry Teykl at Warren First UMC and the Oct. 24 event at Butler First UMC. Choose your date/location on the registration form. Learn more and register.
The Conference UMW Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23 at Dutilh UMC. Get details and register.
United Methodist Women’s Assembly 2022 registration is open. The quadrennial event titled “Turn it Up!” is scheduled for May 20-22 at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, with an optional Ubuntu Day of Service on Thursday, May 19. Early-bird registration discounts are available through Nov. 30. Learn more and register