WPAUMC enews - Nov. 17, 2021

 

11/18/2021

Funeral services will be held Thursday, Nov. 18 at College Ave. UMC in Beaver Falls for former Conference Treasurer Patricia Morris, and on Friday, Nov. 19 for Pastor Jan Reynolds at East Kane UMC, where she served as pastor. Services were held Monday for longtime Conference Historian Helen Clear, who passed away on Nov. 11. For details, visit www.wpaumc.org/obituaries.

Advent Devotional: United Methodists in Eastern Germany and Western Pennsylvania have released their 2021 Advent Devotional in English and German, which can be downloaded and copied.  Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Learn more and get devotional

Celebrating The Nyadire Connection: Mission-minded United Methodists and friends gathered at Dutilh UMC last Sunday evening to celebrate 15 years of a strong and growing partnership  between churches in the Pittsburgh region and the people of the Nyadire United Methodist Mission in Zimbabwe. The group heard stories from founding members of the group and friends in Zimbabwe, introduced the new leadership team and celebrated the work of Drew Harvey, who has led the group since its start, and Richard Dickey, who was part of the first group from Pittsburgh to visit the mission and has served as treasurer since TNC was formed. See the stories in the Celebration Booklet.
Watch Video recording.

Meet in the Middle Podcast: In the second episode of a two-part series on Disabilities and the Church, Pastor Zayzay Kpadeh talks with Rev. Rob Wilson, director of At the Lake Ministries in Erie and Director of Congregational Development for the Conference. At the Lake Ministries provides fishing and boating experiences on Lake Erie for people with disabilities. They explore some ways to open doors to work in ministry with those with special needs. Listen to the podcast

Stewardship

2021 Connectional Apportionments: Conference Treasurer Roger White has a message of gratitude and thanksgiving for all of our churches that continue to be faithful stewards in the fulfillment of their annual connectional apportionment payments. To date, nearly 270 (or 35%) of our churches have paid, or are on track to pay, 100% of their 2021 apportionment. Thank you!! Your giving is not in vain, and every dollar paid goes to support vital mission and ministry within our Annual Conference, and beyond.
NOTE:  Nearly two months remain for your church to attain, or exceed, its 100% goal. The cut-off for 2021 Connectional Apportionment (and Conference General Advances) is Thursday, January 13, 2022. Please make every effort to reach your 100% goal. To verify your church’s current status, use the Connectional Apportionment Reports page on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/apportionment

Afraid to Preach and Teach About Money?  Don’t be! Congregations courageous enough to talk openly about money are more likely to see their revenue streams grow than those that treat the topic as taboo, according to the recently released National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices, the largest nationally representative survey of congregational finances in a generation. Read more from Faith and Leadership 

Giving Tuesday emerged in 2012 to encourage people all over the world to embrace generosity. As the movement has grown, an increasing number of nonprofits, including denominational agencies, regional mission agencies and local churches, have taken the occasion to promote special opportunities for giving. Ask The UMC has more on Giving Tuesday and suggestions for how United Methodists can make good decisions about entities they may want to support on Nov. 30. Read story

Leadership Development

Forming Tomorrow’s Clergy: Exploring Ecologies of Formation for the 21st Century was the subject of a panel discussion at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary last weekend following the inauguration of Rev. Dr. Asa Lee as president. Participating with Dr. Lee were Dr. Matt Bloom of Notre Dame’s WorkWell research project to understand and support the wellbeing of clergy and other care-giving professionals; the Rev. Libby Davis Manning of Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program, and Dr. Joseph W. Daniels Jr., lead pastor of The Emory Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Watch the video. 
See other inauguration videos at pts.edu/Inauguration

Youth Ministry Resources: Discipleship Ministries just released new free downloadable ebooks -- Crash Courses in Youth Ministry. Each is loaded with practical tips and basic wisdom you can read today and put into practice tomorrow. Topics include Recruiting Volunteers, Keeping Volunteers, Fundraising, Methodist Heritage and Beliefs, Trips and Retreats, and more. View and download the resources.

50 Ways to Strengthen Ministry with Youth: The Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers this resource to view or download.  

Ministry with the Poor

Inflation Affecting Food Banks: Pennsylvania’s food banks are being affected by the increases in fuel and food prices. “The amount of food that we would normally be able to order has significantly decreased due to the rising costs,” David Bork, director of Fayette County Community Action Agency Food Bank. Read more in the Washington Observer-Reporter. 

Poverty Team Offers Grants: Many churches have been reaching out to their neighbors who are struggling through these days to put food on their table or maintain housing. The Conference Poverty Team has some funds available to support these ministries. All applications must be submitted by December 8. Download an application from the Poverty Team’s page on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/povertyteam

Dismantling Racism

Unity Gathering: Rev. Debra Mason, WPAUMC Coordinator of Diversity Development and Inclusion, will lead a Unity Gathering at Mt. Lebanon UMC on Tuesday evening, Nov. 30. The subject: What We Have in Common - Implicit Bias. The evening will begin with dinner at 6 and the program will follow at 6:30 p.m. in person or via Zoom. Contact the MLUMC Church Secretary at 412-531-7131 to make dinner reservations or to get on the zoom list.  Questions? call L Baily at 412-719-7063

UMC News

Pastor Fined for Providing Asylum: In January, the Rev. Stefan Schörk granted asylum in his church to a young man from Iran. Now, the United Methodist pastor faces a penalty of 1,500 Euros (more than $1,700 U.S.) and two years of probation for "aiding and abetting unauthorized residence." Klaus Ulrich Ruof reports. Read story

Video of Church Incident Goes Viral: A video shows an Hispanic woman being told to leave Penn Avenue Redemption United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City amid volunteers' accusations that she had brought in drugs — something she tearfully denied. The church is focused on prison and addiction recovery ministry, and has strict rules required by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. But the video, which didn't include that context, went viral and has resulted in a deluge of negative responses, including death threats. Read story

UMW Mission Institutions Serve All Ages: Bethlehem Centers, a ministry of United Methodist Women with roots in social justice movements of the early 1900s, offer programs to people of all ages, from child care to senior clubs. Read story

Resources

Be Brave! If faith communities can find the courage to have difficult conversations, they may make progress in overcoming division. Here are some suggestions for how to do that from Elizabeth Hagan, author of Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together from Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership website.

After I'm Saved, What’s Next? That’s the topic of next week’s Tuesdays at the Table discussion series from the UMC Connectional Table. The series explores who we are, what we believe and how we live as people of God. On Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time,Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff will ask the Rev. Dr. Connie Semy P. Mella what it means to respond with gratitude to God's grace at work in our lives. Watch, ask questions and engage with others on The UMC’s Facebook page
Get details and see past episodes

Giving Thanks Faithfully: Thanksgiving is an opportunity to refocus our expressions of gratitude, says Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. True gratitude is always about the giver and not the gift. Faith invites us to focus less on what we are grateful for and more on the God to whom we owe thanks.  Read more

Advent Resources: Discipleship Ministries has some new Advent resources. See them.

Hosting a Live Nativity? It can be an engaging, heart-warming event not only for church members, but for the entire community. One Houston-area church that has decades of experience bringing the Christmas story to life shared its Top 10 organizational and planning tips. Read more