WPAUMC enews - Sept. 29, 2021


Smith Installed as Indiana DS: In a clear and powerful message during her installation service last  Sunday,  Rev. Jodie Smith acknowledged the deep divisions in our churches and in our nation. But she said it's time to stop focusing on what divides us and start acting like Jesus. Read more and see photos

New Meet in the Middle Episode! Rev. Renee Mikell interviews Conference Lay Leader Sharon Gregory in a new episode of the Conference’s Meet in the Middle podcast. The two then talk with Joyce Davis, coordinator of UM Advocacy in Pennsylvania about her advocacy work. Listen 

It’s International Podcast Day (if you’re reading this on Thursday, Sept. 30): An estimated 117+ million people will listen to podcasts in 2021. Celebrate this powerful audio content medium by exploring a variety of podcasts that support local church outreach and ministry. See what UMCom offers.  


Early Response Team Training: Disaster Response Coordinator David Kissinger has scheduled Early Response Team recertification training sessions for Saturday mornings, October 16 and November 13. Both will be offered from 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. Get details and register

Christ in the Community: There were 210 volunteers ranging in age from 2 to 91 participating in Christ UMC’s day of fellowship and service last Saturday. After worship, then fanned out in teams for projects around the church in Bethel Park and locations throughout the area. They cleaned up a home damaged by flooding, assembled 320 UMCOR hygiene kits, cleaned a music room for an after-school program in Pittsburgh, made meals and laundry kits for families at Ronald McDonald House -- and more. 
Watch video

Social Justice 

Challenging the School to Prison Pipeline: Learn more about the way children and youth of color are funneled away from educational success and towards the criminal justice system during an October 9 seminar at Christ UMC in Bethel Park. Panelists include Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark, an area school superintendent and a school board member who happens to be a UMC pastor. Rev. Debra Mason will be the moderator. Get details and register now. 

National Day of Remembrance: Global Ministries and 10 other UMC  boards and agencies have issued a statement calling for equity and justice for Native Americans. The statement endorses the Sept. 30 national Day of Remembrance for victims and survivors of boarding schools, which stripped many Native Americans of their culture. The groups also pledge an investigation of boarding schools associated with the denomination. Read press release
Read UM News story Pastor reflects on abuses at Indian boarding schools

Leadership Resources/Training

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Session 1 of Tuesdays at the Table will begin at 11 a.m. EDT on October 5 with discussion on the questions “Should I stay? Or should I go?”  It will be led by Dr. David N. Field and the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai. Watch, ask questions and engage with others on the UMC Facebook page. Learn more

Going to Church or Being the Church? If you’d like to see the focus shift in your congregation, check Horizon Stewarship’s  Re-imagining Church video with Rachel Billups, senior pastor of Ginghamsburg Church. Watch

Congregational Development

Coffee, Kids & Chaos: Looking for a simple, creative way to engage young families in the life of your congregation? Coffee, Kids, and Chaos may be a great way to reach new people in your community: stay-at-home/work-from-home parents, nannies, or grandparents caring for young children. Read more

Building Thriving Rural Congregations: Allen Stanton, author of Reclaiming Rural: Building Thriving Rural Congregations, recently talked with Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership about how rural churches can break free from the false narratives and unrealistic metrics that obscure their potential vitality. He sees healthy rural congregations as valued stakeholders and potent agents of change in their communities. Watch or read more

The Future of “First” Churches: Duke Divinity School's Office of Wesleyan Engagement will host a free two-part interactive lunchtime seminar with Bishop Ken Carter and Rev. Dr. Audrey B. Warren entitled The Future of “First Churches”: Foundations, Partnerships and Legacies. The event is geared toward clergy and laity serving churches that historically were at the geographic and spiritual center of their community. The first session will be held November 8, 2021, 12-1p.m., and the second session will be held February 22, 2022. Learn more

Abundant Health

Walk (14,000 steps) Like Jesus! The Emmaus Ministries Virtual Walk and Challenge is set for Oct. 1 to Nov. 12. The challenge is to walk the same distance as Jesus did from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The top three finishing teams will win cash prizes from $250 to $1,000. The 14,000 steps amount to about 7 miles. Learn more

October is Pastor Appreciation Month: Noting that its 2021 Clergy Well-being Survey results show a continued downward trend in clergy well-being, Wespath encourages congregations and groups to find ways to show appreciation to their clergy. They offer 50 Ways to Support Your Pastor's Wellbeing.
Resource UMC also has some suggestions to show appreciation. 

Reaching the Unvaccinated: The push to get people vaccinated against COVID-19 has opened wide divisions that can't be healed without compassion, said the Rev. Dana Horrell, who has written a handbook to help congregations reach out to the unvaccinated. Read more and download handbook

Faith Sees Best in the Dark: Dan Tritle and Karla Oleson Tritle, praise team leaders at Spirit Lake United Methodist Church in Iowa, are making a mark on the Christian contemporary music scene. The couple's song "Faith Sees Best in the Dark" is charting at No. 42 on the Hot 50 Country All Music Chart and No. 27 on the Spin 30 Christian All Music Chart. The song, recorded under the duo name Dan and Karla, aims to offer reassurance in challenging times.Watch video
Learn more and purchase

Last Chance! The final Walk/Run/Bike-a-Thon on a Western Pa rail trail is this coming Saturday, Oct. 2 starting in Brockway, PA on the Clarion Little Toby Trail. You can Walk/Run/Ride up to 36 miles to raise funds for Camping and Retreat Ministries. Get details.