WPAUMC enews - Feb. 2, 2022



Join in Prayer for Police Officers: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, prompted by the killing of two police officers at a small college in Virginia this week and the shooting of 30 others in the line of duty in the first 32 days of 2022, issued a call to prayer and action today. Read her email to clergy and church leaders.

Meet in the Middle: When Marquis Campbell, a 15-year-old student at Pittsburgh’s Oliver Citywide Academy, was shot while sitting in a school van, Rev. Kelly Smith received a call from a distraught Calvary UMC parishioner and friend who works at the school. In a Meet in the Middle podcast, she talks about her response, including connecting with other clergy, school leaders and others to show support and find a way forward to reduce violence. Listen
Read more about the Jan. 19 shooting

Faith Leaders Call for Answers in Spencer Shooting Death: Faith leaders from the Pittsburgh area and beyond gathered at Bethel AME church to support the family of a Pittsburgh man who died from multiple gunshot wounds in Venango County on Dec. 12. No one has been charged in the death of Peter Spencer, 29, although a 25-year-old man and three others were initially detained by police. See Post-Gazette story 
Several United Methodist leaders, pastors and church members from Western PA have signed a letter sent to Attorney Gen. Josh Shapiro, U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung, and Venango County District Attorney seeking an expedited investigation and justice in the case. Read letter

Prayer/Spiritual Formation

Exploring the Practice of Prayer. The Conference Discipleship Team will host a monthly series of online events, Exploring the Practice of Prayer from 12pm - 1pm on Thursdays, February 24, March 24,  and April 21. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required to get the ZOOM information. Get details and register
Centering Prayer Retreat: Take some time away to focus on your own spiritual journey, be enriched by the witness of others, and to be guided toward a deeper awareness of God at this Feb. 25-27 event at Olmsted Manor. Retreat leader, Samantha E. Lioi, will help participants investigate their deepest desires from an Ignatian perspective, discerning what gives them and the world around them life. Samantha Lioi is a writer, spiritual director, and group/retreat leader. Learn more.
Download flyer

Black History Month

February is Black History Month: Black History Month evolved from the first Negro History Week, established Feb.7, 1926. “The purposes have always been to learn, share and celebrate the unique story of African Americans," writes retired Bishop Forrest Stith.  “Why, then, do we continue to need a month almost 100 years later?" He offers three reasons in a document rich with insight and details. Read it

Preserving the Stories: Bishop Stith played a pivotal role in establishing the African American Methodist Heritage Center in 2001 to preserve the stories and artifacts of Black church history. Read more about it. 

Bishop to Preach at Absalom Jones Event: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will be the guest speaker for an ecumenical service celebrating the life and ministry of Absalom Jones, the first African-American ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. The service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh, and, due to COVID restrictions, will be streamed live at facebook.com/EpiscopalPittsburgh 
Download flyer

Resources for Black History Month can be found on the Conference website or look for the new featured resources from the R-Squared, the General Commission on Religion and Race’s resource library, at r2hub.org/

UMC News

Imagining the Future: The Connectional Table, the denomination’s coordinating body, has organized an initiative called “Imagining the Future” to invite United Methodists to have a conversation about their vision for the United Methodist Church. As part of the initiative, United Methodists in the Philippines and Europe have published “Background and Contextual Information” statements about their region. Statements from Africa and the U.S. are still in progress. See tools for conversation
Read UM News Story Leadership body invites church to vision work

#BeUMC: A new #BeUMC online toolkit has launched to assist church leaders in creating engagement in their church communities focused on the work of the Holy Spirit being done through the people of The United Methodist Church. #BeUMC is a grassroots effort built upon powerful stories of congregations and individuals living their faith. 
Read press release
Access toolkit

Advocating for Women in the Church: This year, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) marks its 50th year in advocating for women in the life of the Church, leaving in its history a trail of incredible ministry programs and projects that have challenged and continue to provoke the Church to consider how it can achieve full and equal participation of women.  Rev. Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain, a PhD student at Boston University and GCSRW board member, writes about it in a blog post 


Tornado Recovery Begins: Relief work is just beginning following December tornadoes that left a path of destruction across several states and led to dozens of deaths. The United Methodist Committee on Relief recently visited the area to assure church and community leaders that the church will be with them for the long haul. See UM News story and photos 
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Resources and Training

Handling the Church’s Money in a New Day: Times have changed since “cash or check” was the only variable in church giving and donations in the offering plates were recorded on counter’s forms and ledger paper. Join Rev. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Generosity at Discipleship Ministries, for a webinar on the challenges for the “giving and receiving” aspect of church money management in 2022. It’s March 22 at 7:30p.m. ET. Register

7 Strategies to Engage New Givers: In this week’s Leading Ideas, Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership outlines seven strategies more likely to connect with newer, younger givers and launch them on the journey to generosity. See what they are.
Including People with Disabilities: In a recent Faith Talks podcast, WPAUMC’s Rev. Debbie Hills and Rev. Melinda Baber from the United Methodist Disabilities Ministry Committee discussed ways faith communities can become places of true belonging. Listen to this and other Faith Talk podcasts at unitedmethodistwomen.org/faithtalks
Lenten Devotional: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary offers their 2022 Lent Devotional,a free online resource with a devotional for each day of Lent written by members of the PTS community, including some WPAUMC clergy. Learn more