WPAUMC enews - Feb. 16, 2022



The Loneliness Epidemic: Just in time for Lent, Rev. Tom Parkinson has created a study guide for small groups to use with his recently published book, The Loneliness Epidemic: How the Church Can Cure Our Gravest Sickness. Learn more and get study guide

Clothes 4U: First UMC of Belle Vernon was one of 10 local churches recently selected for an impact initiative grant from The United Methodist Rural Advocates (UMRA). The $500 grants were awarded to rural churches making an impact on their community during the pandemic. The Belle Vernon church’s award was for its Clothes 4U ministry, which accepts gently used clothing donations to stock a store where men, women and children can select what they need free of charge. It’s open twice each month.

UM Advocacy in PA Report: A February Roundup of activity in Harrisburg from Joyce Davis, coordinator of UM Advocacy in PA, focuses on redistricting and notes other issues coming before the legislature. Read it 

Exploring the Practice of Prayer: The first of three Zoom webinars on prayer offered by the Conference Discipleship Committee is just a week away. Daniel Wolpert, co-founder of the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing, will lead the sessions, from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays, Feb. 24,  March 24 and April 21.  Get details and register

Harnish Added to Conversion Conference Program: Rev. Jack Harnish, author of 30 Days with E. Stanley Jones, will be one of four speakers at the Conversion Conference presented by the WPA Evangelism Team and the E. Stanley Jones Foundation on Saturday, April 30 at Dutilh UMC. Get details and register.

WPAUMC Staff Changes Ahead: Conference Communications Director Jackie Campbell plans to retire on June 30. She joined the Conference staff as a writer/editor in 1997 and has served as Communications Director since 2016. 

Youth Ministry

Camps Get Grants: Two WPAUMC camps received grants from United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries through a fund honoring the  Rev. Solomon Graydon Cramer. In 2021, more than $32,000 was distributed among 11 United Methodist camp ministries. Jumonville’s Hope Camp received support and Wesley Woods received funds to provide scholarships for campers at its Best of Summer Sampler Camp.   Learn more

Jumonville Seeks Volunteers: Summer camp planning is well underway at Jumonville, but they still have openings for Chaplains and Deans. Get details at wpaumc.org/classifieds.

Confirmation Journey: Time's running out for church leaders to register their Confirmation Classes for one of our Confirmation Journey events to meet Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and learn more about Connectional Ministries. This year’s Confirmation events will be at Dutilh Church on three Fridays in March. Get details and register now

Black History Month

Absalom Jones Day: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was the preacher for a service last Saturday at Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh honoring the life of Absalom Jones, a former slave who along with his friend Richard Allen served as lay pastors to the Black members of St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia until walking out when they were ordered to stay in the balcony. Rev. Jones then started the first Black Episcopal Church and Bishop Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Watch service 
See bulletin with information on Absalom Jones 

Meet in the Middle: This week on the Meet in the Middle podcast celebrates Black History Month by sharing stories of those who broke barriers in their chosen fields. Listen

I Go On Singing: Renowned baritone Anthony Brown will present  I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in His Words & Songs, his multimedia musical documentary, at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26 at Dutilh United Methodist Church. It’s sponsored by the Pittsburgh District Anti-Racism Team as a special event for Black History Month. Brown, a member of the Wrestling with Racism Team of Warren and Pittsburgh First UMC Pittsburgh, has performed internationally in concert halls and used music to promote peace and reconciliation in hotspots around the world. Watch video

Dotson Institute for Music and Worship: United Methodist Discipleship Ministries is partnering with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary to create the Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond. The center will provide ongoing training to music and worship leaders and create an archive that will preserve and promote the rich history of Black church music. Dotson, the top executive of Discipleship Ministries, died Feb. 25, 2021. The agency donated $500,000 to start the center, which will be led by the Rev. Cynthia A. Wilson.  Learn more


Intersectionality and Clergy Compensation: Dr. Magaela Bethune will discuss findings from the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women's 2020 Salary Study during the next GCSRW I am Her Lunch and Learn session at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, February 24. Get flyer with details.

Facing Resistance in Your Church? Churches have always resisted change, but it’s become  worse due to the pandemic and polarization. In two Thursday workshops for clergy, Rev. Dr. Graham Standish will offer pragmatic guidance on transforming resistance into resourceful change. They’re set for March 31 and April 7 at Sewickley Presbyterian Church. Get details.

Moving Forward with Hybrid Worship: Effective hybrid worship requires that churches ascribe high and equal value to in-person and online worshipers. Olu Brown outlines key steps a congregation should take to assure that their worship is accessible and welcoming to those not in the building. Read more in Leading Ideas

Church Commitment Looks Different Today: Not long ago, church members mostly agreed that a committed United Methodist worshiped with their congregation each week, participated in regular Bible studies or a small group and served by volunteering in church or missions. In the 2020s, however, our perception of church commitment changed. People are finding new ways of committing to Christ and the church. Read more


Ministry Matters: The United Methodist Publishing House has named the Rev. Cameron Merrill as editor of Ministry Matters and Leadership Resources. Ministry Matters is an online source of book excerpts, articles and reference materials for pastors and other church leaders. Merrill is an elder in the North Carolina Conference and will continue as pastor of Hillsborough United Methodist Church. Read press release
Explore Ministry Matters

Books for Lent: Lent can be a time to reflect on what it means to be a follower of Christ. Books may serve as a guide. UM Communication’s list of new books that may help you grow closer to God. See the list

Fasting: While fasting is often associated with Lent, Methodists have never limited the practice to that season. John Wesley fasted weekly, from Thursday at sundown until receiving communion on Sunday. Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has more on fasting and its history in the church. Read more

Faith and Justice 

Voices from the Field: On Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m., in a virtual event, hear how three deaconesses are living out their lifetime calls to love, justice and service. An optional breakout session will follow the one-hour program. Learn more and Register

Immigration Conference: A virtual national faith gathering to strengthen support for refugees, immigrants and migrants is set for March 4-6. Faith and community leaders are invited to participate in the event organized by Church World Service. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is one of the sponsors. The conference will be presented in English and Spanish. Read press release

The Unfinished Search for Common Ground: Emory University’s Candler School of Theology will host a major conference this spring on the life and work of 20th century theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman. The Unfinished Search for Common Ground will take place April 8-9 in both online and in-person formats. To learn more and register, visit the event website 


Early Response Team Training: An in-person training session for volunteers to be certified by UMCOR for Disaster Response Ministry has been scheduled for Saturday, March 19 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Zion UMC in Sarver. Get details and register. 

ERT Recertification training will be offered online from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on March 26 and April 30 for those who need to renew their certification.  Register
Learn more at wpaumc.org/disasterrespons

Love Beyond Borders: The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is helping to host a webinar that will provide an update on the “Love Beyond Borders” initiative that supports the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries. The webinar is scheduled at 7 p.m. U.S. Eastern time Feb. 17. Kathy Griffith of Global Ministries' Global Health unit will serve as the moderator. To register
Donate to Love Beyond Borders

UMC News

Boy Scout Charters Extended through June 30: United Methodist leaders and the Boy Scouts of America have agreed to extend existing UM-related Scouting charters through June 30. The charters had been extended through March 31, but a longer period was worked out as the BSA’s bankruptcy case continues. Read letter from Bishop John Schol and BSA’s Roger C. Mosby
Read UM News story about United Methodist settlement in BSA case
Tennessee Taco Soup:  A few times a year, volunteer teams at Concord United Methodist Church in Farragut, TN assemble chili-scented bags of taco soup ingredients for its free meal ministry. Annette Spence writes about it and shares the recipe for this comforting soup in The Call to Cook, her food and faith blog for the Holston Conference. Read story and see recipe