WPAUMC enews - Oct. 6, 2021


WPAUMC Staff Changes: The Rev. Dr. Susan Moudry will leave her Conference staff position this month and move to Ft. Worth, TX, to serve as Director of Lay and Continuing Education at Brite Divinity School. Read more
Amanda Mitchell, who has served since 2016 as WPAUMC's Coordinator of Young People’s Ministries as a lay employee, has completed Licensing School and been appointed to the position as clergy. See appointment announcement

Update on Boy Scouts of America Situation: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi today sent an email to pastors and local church leaders updating recommendations on chartering Boy Scout troops. The recommendations relate to the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy filing and on-going negotiations with those who have filed claims of abuse. Read the email.

UM Foundation Grants: The United Methodist Foundation of Pennsylvania is currently accepting applications for a limited number of grants to United Methodist churches and affiliated agencies. The Foundation awards these grants twice a year – in January and June.  Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted through October 29. For details and to apply, visit umfoundation.org/grants or email grants@umfoundation.org.

Oldest Church Member, Wooly Willy Creator Dies: James Reese "Jim" Herzog, who created the famous "Wooly Willy" magnetic toy, was the oldest member of the United Methodist Church of Smethport. Herzog, a Sunday school teacher and trustee, died Sept. 29 at age 93. Although she’s only served Smethport for three months, Pastor Beverly Spore said Jim Herzog had an impact on her life. “I looked forward to seeing him,” she said. “He brought me newspaper articles he thought I would be interested in, had stories about the history of Smethport, and shared some history books with me. He was a great presence and will be missed!” Read obituary in the Bradford Era 
Read obituaries for Pastor Earl Watterson and Mary Jane Bishop at wpaumc.org/obituaries


Disability Awareness: October is Blind Awareness Month, but United Methodists need to see and care for their siblings who are blind or have vision loss beyond this month, writes the Rev. Leo Yates Jr. He offers ideas to mark the observance and make churches more accessible. 
Read commentary

GCFA Renews Vanco Partnership: The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, has renewed the ministry partnership with Vanco Faith through 2024. Vanco Faith provides churches with online giving tools, a church engagement app and a variety of giving options. Read press release

Communications Training: UM Communications is launching Communicating During Seasons of Change, a four-week online course that will be led by communications experts and include opportunities for interaction. Sessions will take place 2-3 p.m. Eastern Time each Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 18-Nov. 12. Registration is open through Oct. 15. 
Read press release
Learn more and register

Laity Sunday 2021 is Oct. 17! The theme is Rise up! and Revive God’s Gift. Discipleship Ministries has resources for this Special Sunday, which celebrates the ministry of all believers. Get details.


What's a Welcoming Church? In the latest edition of our Meet in the Middle podcast, Washington District Superintendent Rev. Paul Ritchie talks to Rev. Jeff Sterling, a recently retired Elder, about what makes a welcoming church. Both pastors share tips and ideas to help strengthen your church. Listen

Young Elders Numbers at New Low: Stats from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership's annual report on clergy age trends in the UMC show that the number of ordained elders under 35 has reached an all-time low. Looking at the trends in recent decades, Lovett H. Weems Jr. notes  significant downturns since 2016 erased several years of progress. Read more


Eastern PA Flood Recovery:  The Eastern PA Conference was hit hard by Hurricane Ida on September 1, with an estimated 6,000 homes affected.  They are looking for help cleaning out homes in the Downingtown and Coatesville areas on October 23.  Housing will be at Camp Innabah in Chester County. A team will be driving out on Friday, Oct. 22, working all day Saturday, then return home to be back for worship on Sunday. To help or for more information, contact David Kissinger at disasterresponse@wpaumc.org
Watch Bishop John Schol's video on flood damage

Global Mission Opportunities: The Global Mission Fellows program places young adults, ages 20–30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The program offers the opportunity for service in the United States (US-2 track) and around the world (international track). Applications for the 2022-24 cohort of Global Mission Fellows US-2 track are being accepted now. Learn more

Nomads Take Mission on the Road: The Rev. Max Marble, former director of the Missouri Conference's Office of Creative Ministries, is one of the newest of the highly mobile United Methodist volunteers known as NOMADS (Nomads on a Mission Active in Divine Service).  He's driving the U.S. in a Volkswagen camping van to help with work projects. Read story

Ministry with the Poor

World Food Day: A weekend of prayer and action to battle worldwide hunger is set for Oct. 16-17, co-sponsored by the World Methodist Council. Liturgy guides, a factsheet on hunger and famine, videos and a prayer and activity guide are available to enrich the weekend. See resources
Read how groups, including The Nyadire Connection (TNC), help alleviate hunger in Zimbabwe
Get latest info on TNC’s 15th anniversary celebration at Dutilh UMC on Nov. 14.

SOSA Advent Devotionals: The Society of St. Andrew, a gleaning ministry that distributes excess food to those in need, invites Christians to seek signs in the world around them with its free devotions this Advent season. This year's theme is "Signs of The Sacred." Advent is Nov. 28-Dec. 24 this year. Order Advent devotional
Read UM News story Reclaiming more food to fill pandemic gaps

Dismantling Racism

Decolonizing the Advent Journey: The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has created an Advent 2021 resource for congregations, with the theme of "decolonizing" the Advent journey. "Reimagine Advent. Discover The Liberating Christ" looks at the Advent story through the eyes of Jesus as a Hebrew child born and living under Roman colonialism. It offers sermon starters based on the lectionary, plus suggested songs and hymns, original litanies and children's activities that local congregations may use this season. View resource

Raise Your Voice Against Racism: An October 19 webinar in the Raise Your Voice Against Racism initiative, a joint effort of Global Ministries’ Asian American Language Ministry Plan, Church and Society and the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists, will focus on the Criminalization of Young Black Girls. Researchers have found that even though Black girls don’t misbehave more than white girls, they are more likely to be disciplined in school and often receive harsher penalties for the same infractions.  The webinar is at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Learn more

UMC News

Publishing House Sells Property: The United Methodist Publishing House, the denomination’s oldest agency, continues to make major changes as it deals with financial challenges. A self-supporting agency, the Publishing House has transferred the assets and operations of a pension plan to Wespath Benefits and Investments and completed the sale of its Nashville property for $24.5 million. Learn more

Conversations Address UMC Future: With The United Methodist Church facing a proposed split, multiple groups have events planned to help churchgoers discern where they might feel most at home. Learn more 
Meanwhile, in Western PA, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has invited others to join her in the spiritual exercise of “Active Waiting” -- continuing to do ministry while awaiting new things God may have for us, rather than stagnating or acting out of fear and anxiety. Read more

Tuesdays at the Table: If you missed Tuesday’s episode of the new Connectional Table webinar, Should I Stay or Should I Go?, you can view it online at umc.org/en/what-we-believe/tuesdays-at-the-table.
Next Tuesday, the Rev. Dr. Kabamba Kiboko and the Rev. Dr. Jacob Dharmaraj will discuss the question, “What is the role of the Bible in our lives?” Watch, ask questions and engage with others on The UMC’s Facebook page.

GCOSROW to Launch Do No More Harm: Board members of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women previewed a new resource to help victims navigate the denomination’s complaint process for addressing sexual misconduct. The Do No More Harm system is set to launch Oct. 12. During its Sept. 9-11 virtual meetings, the board also approved the 2022 budget and celebrated how staff developed new programming and resources by adapting to the extended quadrennium. Read press release