WPAUMC enews - Nov. 24, 2021



Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart! As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, many of us have much to be thankful for, despite the upsurge in COVID-19 cases in most of Western PA. As we gather around a table, let’s remember and be grateful for many blessings experienced throughout the year. See Celebrating with Gratitude at home

Be Thankful Like Job: Perhaps this year more than most, Thanksgiving falls in a season of suffering for many believers here and around the world. How can we celebrate in the midst of lament? The answer: Be thankful like Job. Learn more

Hope Amidst Grief: Rev. Lynette Moran, an ordained deacon in our Conference and a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, believes that the church has a unique message of hope that is relevant amidst the many sources of grief today. Read the second in her three-part series A Theology of Mourning and Hope on the UM & Global blog.

Stay Safe During the Holidays: The WPAUMC Abundant Health Team has issued an update on some ways to do that amidst COVID-19. See the Update
Download PDF of COVID-19 update 

Rights and Responsibilities: Rev. Alyce Weaver Dunn, our director of connectional ministries, reflected on rights and responsibilities when it comes to mask wearing and other measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read her blog 


Thanksgiving Dinners: Many of our churches provide Thanksgiving meals for people in their community. For example: Holiday Park and Arnold UMC  were offering dine-in hours. Park UMC in North East took reservations for its drive-thru meals. Coraopolis UMC and Bethel in Lower Burrell were offering grab ‘n go meals. Grace UMC in Grove City offered take meals and delivery beginning at noon. Salem UMC in Wexford was set to deliver 300 hot meals. Other churches, such as Christ UMC in Bethel Park, prepare and deliver meals to first responders. 

Meal Partnerships: Many churches such as Mt. Lebanon UMC and Derry First UMC partner with other churches or community organizations to provide meals.  

Thanksgiving Eve Meals: The 47th annual Albright Community Thanksgiving Eve Dinner was adapted for pandemic times with volunteers handing out meals in the parking lot of First UMC in Pittsburgh. Otterbein in Greensburg also was offering to-go or delivered meals on Wednesday. 

Food Drive Challenge: Concord Church in Beaver Falls was one of several churches conducting food drives to support local food pantries. Concord took their annual children's Sunday School food drive one step further this year. They added a challenge to see if attendees of the Traditional or the Celebration services could donate more food pantry items or contributions to the Turkey Fund so the pantry could provide turkeys or Christmas hams. The challenge lasted three weeks and ended last Sunday with 5,905 food items and $6805 collected! Rumor has it the "Triumphant Traditionals" edged out the "Celebrating Contemporaries" by just 40 cans. This Sunday the whole church “will celebrate what God has done and how wonderful everyone has been,” said Associate Pastor Chris Kindle. See photos on Facebook 

In the News:

A Profile of Our Bishop: Public Source and Pittsburgh Magazine combined forces to profile Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, who was born into a segregated United Methodist Church and looks to lead it into a more inclusive future. Read story from PublicSource
See story in Pittsburgh magazine (Some photos are different.)

Operation Christmas Child: The Washington Observer-Reporter ran a story about a group of Washington District churches’ efforts to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Read story


Advent Begins Nov. 28: Advent is a highlight of congregational life. It is a time of joy, color, light, and anticipation. And it is a time of worship. This is a season that calls us to fall to our knees in worship of the awesome God. Discipleship Ministries offers some planning tools and resources.

WPAUMC Advent Resources: Because Advent looked very different in 2020, the WPAUMC program staff gathered a special package of resources to use in churches. They’re still relevant in 2021 and available on our website at wpaumc.org/adventresources

Neighborly Community Advent Ad Campaign: To assist people seeking to escape from the holiday blues and connect to the true source of joy and love, United Methodist Communications,has launched their Advent-Neighbors national advertising campaign. Learn more about it.

Giving Tuesday: Many organizations and groups are promoting #GivingTuesday on Nov. 27. #GiveUMC is the hashtag used by Global Ministries seeking support for mission and missionaries.

Giving Tuesday in WPA: Our Conference has  six regional mission agencies that would appreciate donations on Giving Tuesday. Learn more about these agencies at wpaumc.org/MissionAgencies.

Christmas at Olmsted: Olmsted Manor’s Christmas Open Houses are scheduled for Dec. 5 & 12. There are tours of the decorated 1917 Manor House and you can see the recently renovated retreat facilities. Get more details.

Calvary Open House: Historic Calvary UMC on Pittsburgh’s North Side will host a Christmas Open House on Saturday, Dec. 18. The free event features tours of the church, live music with choir and organ, a vintage item sale, homemade soups for takeout, cookies and refreshments, a kid’s area with crafts, and a Special Jolly Visitor! Beech Avenue will be open for a self-guided stroll down the historic festively decorated street, featuring carolers. Get details


Apply for Young Adult Mission Service: Applications are being accepted for the 2022-24 class of Global Mission Fellows.  The deadline to apply to serve in the U.S. (the U.S. 2 track) is November 30, but the application period for those interested in serving internationally just opened Nov. 15.  See promotional video

UMC News

Judicial Council to Review Church-Exit Rules: The United Methodist Church’s top court faces multiple docket items stemming from a new church law that allows congregations to leave with property. The court also faces questions about the deadline for submitting legislation to the pandemic-postponed General Conference. Heather Hahn reports on the fall docket. Read story
See fall 2021 docket

General Conference organizers plan to decide early next year whether the pandemic-postponed legislative assembly can go forward as scheduled next summer. In the meantime, commission members approved a list of values that will guide their decision. Read story

Connectional Table Aims to Shrink: The United Methodist leadership body that coordinates the denomination's mission and ministry is looking to both shrink and become more global in membership. The goal is to become a body that serves the whole church rather than certain constituencies. Read UM News story

COVID Sparks Interest in BeADisciple Courses: BeADisciple, an online Christian learning program that encourages small groups, was a rare organization aided by the coronavirus pandemic. It has offered more than 2,000 courses since 2006 and taught close to 20,000 students. Its number of students and classes actually went up in 2020. Read story