WPAUMC enews - Nov. 3, 2021



Bishops Consider Call to Grace, Focus on Continuing UMC: As the Council of Bishops met via Zoom this week, they focused on the Continuing United Methodist Church; considered a letter from a group of United Methodists urging them to allow churches to leave the denomination with property now, rather than wait for General Conference, and discussed the need for continued anti-racism work. Read UM News Report
 The “Call to Grace” letter came amid uncertainty about whether General Conference, twice delayed by pandemic, will be able to meet next year to consider a proposed denominational separation. Read about Call to Grace letter

Bickerton to Lead Council of Bishops: Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who served 12 years as resident bishop in Western PA before being assigned to the New York Area in 2016, today was elected president of the Council of Bishops. He and others who were elected will take office at the Spring 2022 COB meeting. Read press release 

Dismantling Racism

Benefitting from White Privilege? Racial justice issues were a focus of the 2021 Conference United Methodist Women’s annual meeting in October. In one presentation, the Rev. Connie Hoeke, a member of the Erie-Meadville District Anti-Racism Team, compared her experiences as the child of white working parents in a small Pennsylvania town to those of Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White who grew up in an upper middle class suburb outside Boston. Neither realized until college or later that their lives were much different from those of people of color. Now both strive to promote understanding of privilege and work toward racial equity.  Read more

Upcoming Events

Join the Online Evangelism Huddle: On Thursday, Nov. 11 at  7 p.m., direct your web browser to af180.online.church for the first virtual Evangelism Huddle. John Zimmerman will facilitate a discussion with Evangelist Paul Morelli centered on the ways Paul has trained his heart and eyes to see opportunity for outreach and relationship in common community gathering places. You will be inspired to consider your own local context for sharing the love of Jesus. 

Arts/Music Fest at The COVE: The Novelty Collective, an Arts & Music Fest providing a platform for new ideas and space for artists of all ages and mediums, will be Nov. 12 from 6-10 p.m. and Nov. 13 from 11a.m.-10p.m. It’s at The COVE Arts Center at Greenstone UMC and will be livestreamed. Learn more
United Methodist Student Day is Nov. 18: Learn more and see resources.

Ministry with the Poor

UM Human Services Annual Banquet Fundraiser, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 12, will be virtual this year. Funds raised will help UMHS  to disrupt the cycle of poverty and transform lives in the Johnstown region. Learn more (and donate now if you’d like) at umhumanservices.org/ 
Download a flyer to share. 

CACM Benefit Concert: Dave Gasbarro and Pittsburgh Fungus will return to the Porter Theater at Connellsville Area Community Center on Saturday, November 13 in a concert benefiting Connellsville Area Community Ministries. The opening act will be Truth and Rites. Tickets are $15. Watch video
Download flyer to share
Learn more about Connellsville Area Community Ministries


WPA Mission Support Grants: Applications for 2022 grants to support outreach ministries of local churches, agencies or ecumenical groups are available on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/missionfiles. The grants are funded by your apportionment giving. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2021.

Download 2022 Mission Support Grant guidelines and instructions.
Download 2022 Grant application
Global Ministries/UMCOR Grants: The board of UMC Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) approved more than $10 million in grants at their fall board meeting. The money will provide support for migrants around the world, wildfire survivors in the Pacific Northwest, malaria sufferers in Africa and more.  Read story

Trunk or Treats Connect Churches with Neighbors: Several churches had successful Trunk or Treat events for the community over the past few weeks. Fairview UMC, part of the West County Parish in the Erie-Meadville District, held one on Saturday, Oct 30 with about 10 cars decorated. Pastor Ali Berkey said many children come to see the cars and dressed up parishioners. There was even a visit from Chewbacca, who waved to passing cars!

Advent Virtual Mission Journey: You’re invited to journey to the Holy Lands virtually during Advent to hear from people living and working there. In four 90-minute Saturday sessions, scheduled at 11 a.m. from Nov. 27-Dec. 18, you’ll visit Global Ministries’ Advance projects, share in devotions, and hear from people living and working in Palestine. Get your ticket and details

UMC News

WV Recovery Ministry Aims to Save Lives, Erase Stigma:  The Ezekiel Project, a ministry of Winfield United Methodist Church, is on a mission to train 37 faith communities across the state in naloxone use by Aug. 31, 2022, Overdose Awareness Day. Trainees not only learn how to administer the potentially life-saving medication to someone who has overdosed, but also gain connections to direct those in need to area recovery services. Ultimately, the project aims to erase the stigma attached to substance abuse disorder. Read story
UM News: The road to recovery in West Virginia

Faith and Flexibility: The United Methodist Women organization just released its Annual Report in a new digitized format to allow for wider distribution with a narrower environmental impact. It reflects on the faithfulness of United Methodist Women throughout 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the challenges they learned new skills, supported one another, faithfully engaged in social justice work, gathered around National Mission Institutions and international partners, and through Mission Giving and the Legacy Fund made miracles happen in the lives of women, children, and youth. See the Annual Report

Churches Receive Sacred Space Grants: Four historic United Methodist congregations are among the recipients of up to $250,000 in restoration grants from the National Fund for Sacred Places. Among this year's 15 recipients are Arch Street and Calvary in Philadelphia, Mount Zion in Washington, D.C., and St. Stephen in Mesquite, Texas. The fund receives support from the Lilly Endowment.
Read press release


8 Keys to Improving Online Worship: Bob Whitesel, author of "Growing the Post-pandemic Church," offers eight practical suggestions for engaging online worshippers more effectively. One suggestion for church leaders is to ignore, rather than criticize, technical glitches during worship.
Read commentary

Families and Politics Workshop: In today’s polarizing political environment, family members are having nasty political arguments, avoiding each other, or even cutting off lifetime relationships. With the holidays approaching, if you want to preserve family bonds while staying true to your values and political beliefs, consider a workshop offered by Braver Angels, an organization dedicated to depolarizing America. It’s co-sponsored by Christian Associates of SWPA and other faith-based and civic groups and is scheduled for Monday evening, Nov. 15.  Learn more and register

Ask the UMC? Laypeople play an important role in leading the congregation to fulfill mission and ministry work. Have you ever wondered whether you have to be a member to hold a church office? Find the answer to this, and many more frequently asked questions, in the Ask The UMC online library.

In Closing

Congratulations to Camp Allegheny!  They were chosen the best of the 12 resident camps and numerous day camps in Somerset County in voting for the Best of Somerset County awards. 

Daylight Savings Time Ends: As indicated in the photo header, don't forget to turn your clocks back one hour at 2 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 7 (or a few hours earlier if you'd like!