WPAUMC enews - Nov. 10, 2021



Pryor Named Washington DS: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has appointed the Rev. Ross Pryor to serve as Superintendent of the Washington District, effective Jan. 1, 2022.  Rev. Paul Ritchey, the current Washington DS, will move to the Greensburg District when Rev. Patricia Nelson returns to local church ministry as pastor of Holiday Park UMC after nearly eight years on the Cabinet. Read appointment announcement

Conference Historian Honored: Former Conference Historian Helen G. Clear has been honored with a 2021 Ministry of Memory Award from the Historical Society of the United Methodist Church. She was nominated by the Rev. Ed Herald, who chairs the Western PA Conference Commission on Archives and History, for her years of work on both the Conference and Jurisdictional commissions. Learn more

A Theology of Mourning and Hope: “The UMC is a kaleidoscope of grief right now with multiple dynamics happening,” writes the Rev. Lynette Moran, an ordained deacon who studies grief as part of her doctoral studies at the University of Pittsburgh. “I can note a few ways grief is manifested—most of which apply to both local church closures and potential denominational schism,” she adds in a post on the UM & Global blog.

Invite for Lay Leaders: Conference Lay Leader Sharon Gregory is encouraging local church lay leaders to join with their counterparts from around the denomination at noon on Saturday, November 13 via Zoom for a Fall Learning event. Entitled Returning to the Beloved Community,  it's offered by the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and open to laity as well as clergy. See details and register

Council of Bishops Wrap-Up: Read a wrap-up of the Fall Council of Bishops meeting and see video comments on continuing UMC at wpaumc.org


NEJVIM Seeks Coordinator: The board of the Northeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Volunteers in Mission is seeking a coordinator to carry out administrative functions. The position is part-time with a potential for full-time after three to six months. Get details 

Grants for Churches Helping Afghan Refugees: Churches helping refugees from Afghanistan resettle in the U.S. are eligible for $1,000 grants through a partnership between the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Church World Service.  Read more

End Hunger Advent Resource: The Society of St. Andrew, dedicated to feeding America’s hungry through gleaning and other efforts, offers its 2021 Advent devotional Signs of the Sacred as a download, but if you’d like print copies for your congregation, order now. Of about 40,000 available, less than 2,000 remain. To order, download the devotional or sign up for daily emails, visit endhunger.org/advent 

Love Beyond Borders: Global Ministries has set up a new Advance project to support UNICEF and COVAX in the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.  The project is being led by First UMC, Boise, Idaho. A one-hour virtual briefing is scheduled for November 16 at noon EST to introduce the project. See details and register. 

Climate Justice

Faith and Climate Crisis: The familiar words of Psalm 23 — “walking in the valley of the shadow of death” — take on a new meaning in light of the world’s climate crisis. But this is not the way it has to be, the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe told worshippers gathered Nov. 7 at Glasgow Cathedral. Henry-Crowe, who is top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, gave the sermon at an ecumenical service in recognition of COP26. Read story
See updates from COP26

Wespath and Sustainable Investing: As the COP26 climate change summit unfolded, a top Wespath executive explained how the UMC's pension agency emphasizes socially responsible investing. Dave Zellner, Wespath chief investment officer, writes that the entire global economy must adopt sustainability practices. Read commentary
Read Climate Change and Wespath blog post

Revitalizing Congregations

Haitian Migrants Revitalize Church: Christ United Methodist Church found that the harder it worked to grow, the smaller it became, so it switched to being a ministry center. Haitians, fleeing disasters and violence in their own country, found shelter at the center and ended up making it their spiritual home. The Rev. Bill Jenkins estimates that the congregation has helped 10,000 migrants in the past 20 years. Gustavo Vasquez reports. Read story


Meet in the Middle: New episodes of our Conference’s Meet in the Middle podcast have been posted recently. In the first of a two-part series on Disabilities and the Church, Rev. Zayzay Kpadeh interviews Rev. Debbie Hills, a retired Deacon who continues to support disability ministries within Western PA and at the General Church level. She shares her experiences and offers direction on how to better serve those with special needs. See episodes and listen

United Methodists and Indigenous Nations: The Un-Tied Methodism podcast, hosted by Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff of the General Commission on Archives and History began began a series on Methodism and Indigenous nations on October 6. There are interviews with Rev. Dr. Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne on John Wesley and Indigenous Persons and Dr. Gary L. Roberts discussing his book, Massacre at Sand Creek. Check series on Spotify

UMC News and Resources

UM Student Day: United Methodist Student Day, Nov. 28, is a good day to set aside time to honor and celebrate students in our congregations and around the world. Funds from special offerings benefit students through scholarships and loans. Build awareness and encourage generous support with the help of offering talks, sermon starters, liturgies, age-level resources and more, available at Resource UMC.org/ 

Need Gifts or Giveaways? UMC-branded shirts and cloth face masks help you share a message of hope without saying a word. Perfect for day-to-day personal use, giveaways, gifts or group apparel, design options include “Church can happen anywhere,” “Love your neighbor,” “God speaks all languages” and more. Order today

Does God Love Everyone? Do I have to?  In this week’s Tuesday at the Table discussion, Rev. Dr. Traci West talks with Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff about God's love for you, your neighbor and humanity as a whole. Learn more and listen

Veterans Day

Ever Faithful Veteran Pens Army Hymn: "Ever Faithful to the Call" is a bid by a United Methodist songwriter to give the Army its own hymn, which the Navy and Air Force already have. When Tom Lough debuted it for a church group around the anniversary of Sept. 11 this year, veterans who attended were in tears. Read story

Pearl Harbor Survivor Oldest Conductor:  At 103 years old, Pearl Harbor survivor Frank Emond broke his own world record by conducting the U.S. Air Force Band's Airmen of Note in Glenn Miller's iconic "In the Mood." Emond is a member and former music leader of Gonzalez United Methodist Church in Cantonment, Florida. NorthEscambia.com has the story. Read story