WPAUMC enews - Dec. 22, 2021

 

12/23/2021

As we prepare to light the candles of the Advent wreath and declare that unto us a Savior is born who is Christ the Lord, we send wishes for a healthy Christmas filled with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. May you experience anew the power of Christ’s birth.

Reflecting on God's Timing: Like many who experienced loss in this season, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi began wondering about God's timing. But during a celebration of life service for her aunt this week, and on the drive home, she realized again that there is blessing in God's timing. Read more

Covenant Renewal Service: Prepare for the New Year by recommitting to God and ministries to which we are called through a Covenant Renewal Service. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and other United Methodist Bishops participated in the service that was streamed live this week. Watch 

Boy Scout Bankruptcy Update: United Methodist leaders have reached a settlement as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) pending bankruptcy proceedings. It calls for the denomination to pay $30 million over three years into a trust to compensate survivors of Scouting-related sexual abuse and also provides United Methodist churches protection from future abuse-related lawsuits. The settlement, announced Dec. 21 after months of negotiations, is part of a BSA reorganization plan and  must be approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Learn more

The Chosen: WPAUMC's Evangelism Cooperative invites you and your friends to join them for an online watch party where you'll get to know Jesus "through the eyes of those who met him." On eight Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. beginning Dec. 26, they'll stream episodes of season one of The Chosen, a popular multi-season series about the life of Christ, at https://af180.online.church/ 
Learn more at https://evangelismcoop.org/events

Abundant Health

To Mask or Not? An Erie Times-News story this week focused on Christmas church attendance and what effect the increasing number of COVID-19 cases may have this year. Acknowledging that many of his colleagues have struggled with disagreements over requiring masks in church, Rev. Bill Hastings, pastor of Asbury UMC in Erie, told a reporter it hasn’t been a big deal for most folks at his church. Read more
See WPAUMC Abundant Health Team's latest COVID Advisory

Vaccine Hesitancy in Your Area? In a recent survey, religious Americans indicated that certain religious approaches made them more likely to get vaccinated. The National Council of Churches has produced a fact sheet: A Christian Approach to Vaccine Hesitancy to help church  leaders have courageous conversations on the subject. The fact sheet offers a scriptural basis for a compassionate response to vaccine hesitancy and provides responses to Biblical misinformation around vaccination. Download the fact sheet

Mission

Tornado Recovery: United Methodist churches continue to deal with death and property devastation caused by the tornadoes that carved a path through Kentucky, Tennessee and other states overnight on Dec. 10. Conferences in those areas and the United Methodist Committee on Relief are helping with relief efforts and gearing up for long-term recovery efforts. In addition to prayer, the best way to help now is to donate to UMCOR's U.S. Disaster Response fund umcmission.org/united-states-disaster-response/ 
 
Merry Christmas from UM Missionaries: Hear the Christmas story read by missionaries and partners serving around the world, and a special greeting by General Secretary Roland Fernandes. Watch video
 

2021 in Review

In Memoriam: This year, United Methodists mourned the passing of noted evangelists, civil rights activists, the inventor of a beloved children's toy who was the oldest members of Smethport UMC in Kane District, and the woman believed to be the last U.S. Civil War widow. UM News' Heather Hahn has 39 remembrances of notable church members memorialized in 2021. Read story

2021 in Pictures:  Amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties about the future of the denomination, United Methodists continued to live out their faith and serve their communities in 2021. Photographers from UM News, the denomination's official news service, documented a year in the life of United Methodism worldwide.  View photos

Christmas Greetings from the Council of Bishops: Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey is optimistic that the new year will offer more opportunities for United Methodists throughout the world to engage in increased ministry and to be more loving. "As we enter 2022, we will continue to make room for all to be welcome," writes Harvey, who also leads the Louisiana Conference. Read letter

Reminders

2021 Apportionment  Payments: January 13 is the last day for churches to pay their 2021 connectional apportionments. Your giving is not in vain, and every dollar paid goes to support vital mission and ministry within our Conference, and beyond. Please make every effort to reach your 100% goal. You can verify your church’s current status by using the Connectional Apportionment Reports page of the Conference website at wpaumc.org/apportionment.

2022 Confirmation Class Events with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi are scheduled on three  Fridays – March 4, 11 and 18, 2022 – from Noon to 4 p.m. at Dutilh UMC. The event will begin with an optional lunch and will feature a Confirmation lesson and conversation with the Bishop. Registration will open on the Conference website Jan. 5, 2022.