Ackley-Killian Installed as Pittsburgh DS: Deborah Ackley-Killian was installed as the Pittsburgh District Superintendent last Sunday during a service at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, the place where she and her late husband the Rev. Earl Killian served for a time as pastors-in-residence and where their daughter Rev. Grace Killian was confirmed. See photos
Ritchey to Serve as Greensburg DS: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has appointed Rev. Paul Ritchey to serve as the Greensburg District Superintendent, effective Jan. 1. He’ll replace the Rev. Pat Nelson, who will become senior pastor of Holiday Park UMC. Ritchey currently serves as the Washington District Superintendent. The Bishop will appoint a new DS to serve the Washington District. Read appointment announcement
Conference UMW Meeting: The 2021 Annual Meeting of United Methodist Women was held Saturday, Oct. 23 at Dutilh UMC and streamed live online. The program focus was Who is My Neighbor? Officers for 2022 were elected and installed by Pittsburgh DS Deborah Ackley-Killian. Links to photos, the video recording and a meeting packet with details are available at wpaumc.org/UMWomen
Safe Gatherings: The quadrennial training for Conference clergy this year was on Safe Sanctuaries and Mandated Reporting. It was offered online through Safe Gatherings. Rev. Chris Kindle, who coordinated the training, has now been asked by some clergy about using Safe Gatherings to train their church leaders. Read more in his blog post.
Evangelism Cooperative: General Evangelist John Zimmerman has formed an Evangelism Cooperative to bring together and provide a network of support those engaged in evangelism in Western PA. There is a website that includes a directory of approved General, Conference and local church evangelists, as well as information and resources, including videos from training events such as the Indiana District School of Evangelism last month. To learn more, visit evangelismcoop.org/
Join a live online Evangelism Huddle at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11. Download and share Evangelism Huddle flyer
Ride for the Refuge: Erie UM Alliance’s 22nd annual Ride for the Refuge was a month-long virtual event this year, but riders and sponsors raised $10,164 to help families with children move from homeless to home. In a video thank you, EUMA executive director Kurt Crays notes that last year 52 families--175 individuals including 101 children--received the help they needed to move from the Refuge into their own homes. Watch
Welcoming Afghan Refugees and Migrants: The Immigration Working Group of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA is sponsoring a virtual event on November 6 that will provide information and resources related to the welcoming of refugees and vulnerable migrants. See flyer for details.
We Are God’s Family: Personal Encounters with Racism. Because personal stories can increase awareness and promote understanding, UM News is inviting people to share their own stories about encounters with racism, as well as hopes and ideas for combating it. The forum is designed to foster dialogue and identify solutions to the problem. Learn more and share your story.
Interfaith Vigil for James Rogers: An interfaith vigil for James Rogers, a homeless black man who died after being tazed by a Pittsburgh Police officer, will be held at 7 p.m., Nov. 1 outside First UMC in Pittsburgh, not far from where the incident occurred. Police were responding to a 911 call from someone reporting a theft after seeing Rogers on their neighbor’s porch smoking after taking a ride on a bicycle for sale in the yard. The vigil is being organized by members of First Church and Warren UMC’s Wrestling with Racism group and the Pittsburgh District Anti-Racism Team. Download a flyer to share
Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news story
In the News: Leechburg First UMC’s new Caring Crockpot Ministry, which brings students from a nearby school to the church to learn about about slow cooking, was featured on TribLive last week. Read about it.
Rotary Partnership Benefits Nyadire Mission: For several years, The Nyadire Connection has helped to sell tickets for a Rotary Club chicken barbecue that benefits local charities, including TNC. TNC has been a top ticket seller and this year, thanks primarily to Phil Himmler of First Bethel UMC (who has been known to dress up as chicken), sold 900 tickets. Learn more and check out the photos on TNC’s Facebook page.
Girl Empowerment Kits: The United Methodist Women of Trinity UMC in Indiana, PA recently completed 220 kits for The Nyadire Connections Girl Empowerment Program. It was the first time a group got together in-person to make kits since the start of the pandemic. See photos
Give Love! As the year draws to a close, we look for ways to provide basic needs to the most vulnerable populations. Local churches and individuals are invited to give love, joy, hope and peace through Global Ministries’ Give Love end-of-year campaign. Download resources and join in supporting the transformational ministry of The Advance network. Learn more and explore resources
Faith and Mental Health: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health to the forefront, and churches can be key in supporting those who are struggling. Alan Whitley, a certified peer recovery specialist, explains how faith communities should be a safe place to have conversations about mental health. "It begins with a conversation and the church creating a space where people know that it is OK to not be OK," he writes. Read commentary
Leaders for Tomorrow: If you see the same faces in pictures of your church leaders over time, you may need help with leadership succession. Alban Institute recommends recruiting leaders-in-training. By developing “leaders in training,” you multiply the pool of leaders prepared to serve across the congregation, deepen the shared sense of ownership for the church’s vision, and move beyond emergency and contingency planning. Read more in Alban Weekly
Books & Studies for Advent: Publications from The United Methodist Publishing House and The Upper Room will help individuals and groups prepare for Advent in a spirit of hope during this time of heightened uncertainty and anxiety. Books, DVDs, guides, webinars and other resources cover a variety of topics and themes. See what’s available.
Reimagine Advent: If Jesus’ birth were happening today, and if Jesus were preaching that we should love and welcome refugees, or join the cry for racial justice for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, or provide universal healthcare for all, where would you stand? Are you willing to Reimagine Advent and Discover the Liberating Christ? Check out The General Commission on Religion and Race’s new Advent 2021 worship resources.
Women Clergy Still Paid Less: Men make up 68% of the clergy in The United Methodist Church and earn 8% more in compensation than women, according to a study commissioned by the Commission on the Status and Role of Women. The disparities are getting smaller, but very slowly, said researcher Magaela C. Bethune, assistant professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Read UM News story
Read press release
Job Openings: There are several new local church job openings in our classified section at wpaumc.org/classifieds, but there is also a new one-stop shop for United Methodist job listings. Among those currently listed on the UMC.org Jobs Board are two positions at the General Commission on Religion and Race and one at the General Board of Church and Society. To submit or find an opening, use the Find-A-Job link at the top of UMC.org or go directly to umc.org/en/find-a-job
Bishops Meet Online Nov. 2-5: The Council of Bishops will meet online Nov. 2-5 to discuss the future of the continuing United Methodist Church, elect new officers and address other timely topics. The meeting will be livestreamed via the Council of Bishops' Facebook and YouTube Channel from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on two days: Nov. 2 and Nov. 5. Read press release
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Salley Takes New Africa U Role: James H. Salley has been named the president and CEO of Africa University (Tennessee). The board of directors voted to create the position as part of the ongoing evolution of governance within the United Methodist-related institution in Zimbabwe. Africa University (Tennessee) is one of three legal entities that comprise Africa University. Salley will continue as associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement. Read press release
Strengthening Black Church Celebrates 25 Years: Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century will kick off its 25th anniversary celebration during the group's Dec. 1-2 national conference. "Shift Happens: Doing Ministry from the Right Side" will be held at St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston. The hybrid event is expected to attract 200 in-person attendees. To honor its work empowering and equipping Black clergy and lay leadership, the group will highlight achievements and hold observances through May 2022. Read press release (PDF)
Learn more about conference
Tuesdays at the Table: If you haven’t watched the Tuesdays at the Table discussions to help us better understand our faith, our church and ourselves, it’s not too late! View past sessions and join in at 11 a.m. ET on Nov. 2 as Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff and the Rev. Dr. Jacob Dharmaraj discuss, “Do I have to believe a certain way to belong?” Learn more.
Watch, ask questions and engage with others on The UMC’s Facebook page.
See past sessions
Celebrating Asbury: Francis Asbury played a key role in developing what is now The United Methodist Church. As people celebrate The 250th anniversary of his arrival in America this weekend at Historic St. George’s Church in Philadelphia, fresh discoveries about his extraordinary ministry are emerging. Read UM News story
See a map of Asbury's travels
UM News: Celebrating Asbury's impact on 2 shores