It’s Appointment Season! In an email to clergy and church leaders, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi described the Cabinet’s priorities for the 2022 appointment season and invited prayers for wisdom and courage as they move through the process. See the email
Meet in the Middle Focuses on Mission: This week’s podcast looks at what’s happening with our mission partnerships in Zimbabwe. Greensburg DS Paul Ritchey serves as host and talks with Sandra Matoushaya, WPAUMC Missional Engagement Coordinator, and Drew Harvey of The Nyadire Connection. TNC recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Listen here
Ritchey Installation Service Set: Rev. Paul Ritchey will be installed as superintendent of the Greensburg District at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 27 during a service at Community UMC in Harrison City. Read his appointment announcement
In the News: Grieving teachers returned to Pittsburgh’s Oliver Citywide Academy today for the first time since 15-year old student Marquis Campbell was shot to death while sitting in a school van. Faith leaders and neighbors stood outside the building to show their love and concern as the staff arrived. Rev. Angelique Bradford of Faith UMC in Fox Chapel and Roots of Faith was among them and shared her thoughts with a reporter. Read Post-Gazette report
Calvary UMC’s participation was noted in KDKA-TV’s report
Join Annual Conference Youth Caucus: Applications are available for youth who want to serve as pages or delegates (voting members) of the 2022 Western PA Annual Conference session scheduled from June 2-4 at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie.Youth caucus members arrive for an orientation session Wednesday, June 1 and must stay through the event. Delegates must be full members of a local United Methodist Church. Download application with more info
SPARK 2022 in Erie: Youth and leaders can get a preview of the Bayfront Convention Center by attending the SPARK youth event there April 9-10. Get details and register at wpaumc.org/spark.
WPAUMC Scholarships: In addition to scholarships offered by the General Board of HIgher Education and Ministry, the Western PA Conference offers scholarships for undergraduate education. Learn more
Get details and apply online here
See GBHEM Scholarship & Loan info
Debate Over Church Future Heating Up: Two years after a diverse group of United Methodists introduced a proposal for separation, a global pandemic keeps the denomination uneasily together. With the General Conference scheduled for later this year, preparations are accelerating for the future United Methodist Church and the theologically conservative group that plans to break away. Heather Hahn of UM News provides an update.
Bishops Urge Support for Voting Rights: The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops is calling upon United Methodists to use their influence in state and local governments to enable voter registration and encourage their elected officials to provide resources to support the fullest possible participation in elections. The bishops issued their statement last week after the U.S. Senate rejected legislation that would have countered action in several state legislatures to make voting more difficult. Read statement
Vance Named to UMMen Post: The Rev. Rick Vance has been appointed as operations director of United Methodist Men, replacing the retiring Martha Davis. Vance, an ordained elder from the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, has directed the Center for Men's Ministries for more than six years. Read press release
Volunteers Needed for Ethnic Leader Panels: United Methodist Communications is seeking people in leadership roles within local United Methodist churches to participate in upcoming ethnic leader panel discussions. Panelists will be invited to take part in online surveys and focus groups throughout the year. People may volunteer for the agency’s Latino leader and/or Black leader panels. Additional panels will be introduced soon. Read press release
Black Church Leader Panel Volunteer Form
Latino Panel Volunteer Interest Form
UMCOR vs COVID-19: “Since the early months of 2020, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief have followed a broad, proactive course in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes Roland Fernandes, the agency’s top executive. Through the “Sheltering in Love” campaign, about $4.5 million has been distributed to more than 300 partners in 57 countries. Global Ministries also participates in the interfaith “Love Beyond Borders” effort to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide, he said.
Addressing Clergy Burnout: Reports indicate that clergy burnout is at an all-time high. Potential causes include ongoing isolation due to COVID-19, division in the church and the nation, and serious decline in church attendance. Showing clergy appreciation would go a long way, writes the Rev. Dr. René Lawson. Read commentary
What If We All Burned Out? David Odom, executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, looked for answers after seeing clergy leaving ministry and exhaustion and stress among overworked church members. He writes that listening intentionally and responding to specific symptoms of burnout are good practices within churches — and can benefit their communities. Learn more
First Aid for Mental Health: Live virtual training is available for clergy and their spouses, church leaders, staff and congregation members to learn how to identify when they or someone else is struggling with a mental health issue, respond with empathy, and find the help they need. The training is offered free of charge by Wespath on March 10 and 24. Get details and a variety of resources to share here
Flourishing in Ministry: Mid-career clergy who want to explore different facets of personal and professional flourishing and develop strategies for increasing resiliency are invited to participate in a week-long, online workshop from April 24-29. It’s offered by Brite Divinity School, where WPAUMC’s Susan Moudry serves as Director of Lay and Continuing Education. Get details and apply
Creating Hybrid Worship Services: As hybrid worship becomes the norm for many churches, UM Communications offers a new course on best practices to engage both in-person and online participants. In Creating Hybrid Worship Services, presenters outline effective hybrid techniques and identify some of the tools and skills needed. The course is available on-demand. Get details and register
How to Plan for the Future of Church Buildings: The number of churches closing could rise sharply after the pandemic. The time to explore using church real estate wisely is now, say Rick Reinhard of Duke Divinity School and Chris Elisara of The Lakelands Institute. They share five steps churches can take to prepare for an uncertain future. See what they are
Special Sundays: A simple one-page document to help congregations and leaders learn more about Special Sunday giving within The United Methodist Church is available from UM Communications. See and download it
Learn how a Human Relations Day offering helped change lives and build equity in a Cleveland community in this story
New Lenten Studies: Amplify Media offers two new studies to help individuals, small groups, and congregations grow spiritually during Lent. In webinars, Magrey deVega will discuss the studies with each of the authors – Adam Hamilton on February 8 and Amy-Jill Levine on February 10 – on Amplify’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Learn more and register
Easter Outreach Resources: There’s a UMC discount available on resources to invite your community to Easter services and events. Postcards, banners, and other items are available in a variety of designs. Use promo code UMCEA22 to get up to $200 off. The offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once funds are depleted, the code will expire. See resources.