WPAUMC enews - Jan. 19, 2022



Join in Prayer! Funeral services will be held on Thursday, Jan. 20 at Elton Zion UMC for Ginny Butler, wife of the Rev. David Butler, and on Friday, Jan. 21 at Blairsville First UMC for Tom Krishart, a former pastor and husband of Pastor Dawn Krishart. Pray for their families and for the family of Jay Pifer, a retired elder who passed away on Jan. 16 in Aiken, SC. Get details at wpaumc.org/obituaries

Bishop Offers MLK Day Message: In a sermon during Martin LUther King weekend, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi offered a powerful message asking “What Has Come of Our Dreams?” Read her MLK Day reflection 
Watch the service 
Read about other MLK events 

Meet in the Middle: On Martin Luther King Day, Rev. Dr.  Renee Mikell talked with the Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, a theologian, professor, pastor and author from the Baltimore-Washington Conference, about the contributions made by Dr. King for the common good of all people. List to the conversation on this week’s Meet in the Middle podcast.

Meet in the Middle Deaf Ministry Episode: Today’s UM News Service Daily Digest included a link to last week’s Meet in the Middle episode on the Deaf Community and the Church. with host Rev. Drew Gordon and Rev. Leo Yates, an ordained deacon who works with the UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries. Listen
Read Rev. Yates’ post on Video Remote Interpreting for Churches

I Am Her Lunch and Learn: Rev. Dr. Josephine Whitely-Fields, retired WPAUMC elder, will be the guest for the Thursday, Jan. 20 online Lunch and Learn leadership session presented by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.She’ll discuss her book Pioneer Black Clergywomen. The session is at 1p.m. Get details


Mission Barn News: Eastbrook Mission Barn Director Katie Peterson reports that in 2021, despite the pandemic, the Mission Barn sent more than 3000 UMCOR Cleaning Buckets and Hygiene Kits to places where they were needed. Volunteers also built 30 ramps and reclaimed 10 others in the area. Read more

Mini Mission u: Bearing Witness in the Kin-dom, a Spiritual Growth study, will be the focus of the Mini-Mission u event scheduled for March 20-22 at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. The study leader will be Dr. Judith Pierre-Okerson, a native of Haiti and who serves as a lay leader and Florida Conference UMW President. Get details
Register through Olmsted Manor 

Tonga Volcano Eruption: Damaged communications infrastructure, airport closures due to volcanic ash, stringent pandemic restrictions and concerns about further volcanic activity have raised challenges for United Nations agencies and groups such as UMCOR working to deliver aid in Tonga following a massive underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami on Saturday. UMCOR is in prayer for the Tongans who are missing and for friends and family trying to make contact. As immediate needs become clear and damage assessments are made, UMCOR is ready to respond and offer humanitarian relief. Support the efforts of international disaster response here.

Philippines Still Reeling After Deadly Typhoon: Church leaders and relief groups are continuing to reach out to survivors in the wake of Typhoon Odette, which killed more than 400 people and destroyed homes and crops in The Philippines a week before Christmas. Several local churches are providing shelter, and United Methodists have been delivering food and other supplies. Learn more

Leadership Development

GBHEM Scholarships Awarded to WPA Students: Twenty students from Western PA received a total of $28,700 in financial assistance through the General Board of Higher Eduction and Ministry's Office of Loans and Scholarships in 2021. In total, GBHEM awarded $5 million to more than 2,100 students. Recipients ranged from first year freshmen to doctoral students across the denomination. Funding for the scholarships comes, in part, from contributions to United Methodist Student Day, World Communion Sunday and Native American Sunday. More than 70 scholarships are available that cover undergraduate and graduate-level studies. Applications are open through March 24. Learn more

UM Higher Ed Foundation Scholarships: Applications are being accepted until March 1 by  The UM Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) for the 2022-2023 academic year. Separate from the GBHEM scholarships, the Higher Ed Foundation awards go to UMC students who plan to attend a United Methodist-related college, university, or seminary full-time. Learn more at umhef.org/scholarships/

2022 Spring Licensing School: Applications and a $100 deposit for the 2022 Spring Commuter Licensing School and Certified Lay Minister Training must be received by Feb. 5. The school begins with a Feb. 17-19 weekend retreat at Manorville UMC, continues on Saturdays from Feb. 26-April 9 and closes with an April 21-23 retreat. To apply for Licensing School, you must be a certified candidate for ministry. Participation is limited to 15. Get application with details at wpaumc.org/forms

Navigating Next: Gammon Theological Seminary offers a series of virtual Leadership Intensives designed to equip pastors and leaders of churches averaging attendance of100 or less before the pandemic for their next season of ministry. The online program  of talks will be available online, on demand, free of charge from Jan. 25-February 25. Get details.

Foundation for Evangelism Local Church Grants: The Rev. Dr. Heather Lear  will have an online session on applying for the Foundation for Evangelism’s local church grants at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Registrants will receive a link to the recording so they can watch even if they cannot attend live. To register

Leading During Lent: Focusing on the Lord’s Prayer While Leading Your Congregation during Lent, a webinar with Olu Brown, is scheduled for January 27. He will discuss leading and preaching during Lent, and how to help congregations practice the spiritual discipline of trust. Get details and register  

UMC News

WCA Vaccine Plan Draws Criticism: After the Wesleyan Covenant Association announced it was raising funds to help General Conference delegates from Africa, Eurasia and the Philippines get COVID-19 vaccines, bishops from those areas challenged the ethics of the effort and said it bears the marks of colonialism. Today, the executive committee of the Council of Bishops stood by its Central Conference colleagues and urged everyone to read their letter and hear their concerns. “These matters impact the entire church and undermine the integrity of the General Conference delegates, the COB leaders said. Read UM News story
See Central Conference Bishops’ press release
See COB Executive Committee release

UMC Leaders Support Love Beyond Borders Vaccine Effort: The Council of Bishops and The Connectional Table last Fall endorsed a campaign to support equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Get details and donate through the Advance

Dismantling Racism

Stony the Road: United Methodist Odell Horne Jr., a doctoral candidate at Evangelical Seminary in Pennsylvania, writes about what he sees as the problems of the Eurocentric approach to Scripture. He also argues that the work of Black biblical scholars as well as the African early church fathers can lead Christians to see the Bible in a new light. Read commentary

White Awake Book Study: The Conference Committee on Religion and Race will offer a 6-week Tuesday evening online study of the book White Awake by Daniel Hill, beginning February 1.   Lisa Morse and Rev. Dylan Parson will lead the discussion each Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. from February 1 until March 8. Register through Eventbrite   

Lenten Anti-Racism Study: “Faithful Lent: Connecting the Practices of Lent and Anti-racism” is a new Lenten resource for congregations to use in a small group setting. The purpose of the six-week study is to make explicit connections between the traditions of Lent and the work of anti-racism. View resource

Christian Unity

This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is Jan. 18-25!  As Christians around the world remember one another in prayer and strenghthen bonds, join the PA Council of Churches' Worship Service at 7 p.m., Sunday, January 23.  Get details