WPAUMC enews - Feb. 23, 2022



Annual Conference 2022: Conference Secretary John Wilson today sent an email to voting members with information and a link to register for the June 2-4 session of the Western PA Annual Conference at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center.  Some details have yet to be determined, but basic information about the session and the Mission Impact event planned for Thursday morning are available at wpaumc.org/AC.

Appointments: Kane District Superintendent Pat Lenox, who serves as Dean of the WPAUMC Cabinet, has been appointed pastor of Trinity UMC in Indiana, PA, effective July 1. He is completing his final year on the Cabinet, having served since 2014 as a DS. See this and other newly announced appointments at www.wpaumc/appointments. 

Funeral services will be held on Saturday at Trinity UMC in Indiana for Marian E. Bishop, who passed away Monday at the age of 101. She was the surviving spouse of the Rev. Bruce H. Bishop. Services will be held on March 5 at Sewickley UMC for the Rev. Barry Lewis, who passed away unexpectedly on February 8.  Pray for their families as well as those of others listed at wpaumc.org/obituaries 

UM Foundation Offers Grants: Applications for the Spring 2022 round of grants from The United Methodist Foundation of Pennsylvania will be accepted from March 11-April 11. The Foundation awards a limited number of grants to local churches and affiliated agencies of the Western Pennsylvania and Susquehanna Conferences of the United Methodist Church twice each year.  The grants fund a variety of ministries, programs, consultant services, stewardship resources, and emergency needs. Learn more at umfoundation.org/grants.

10 Tips for A Successful Grant Application: Grants have helped many local churches and agencies launch new ministries. The Revs. Ed Bailey and Nick Keeney of the United Methodist Foundation of PA will present a live webinar from 10-11 a.m.  on Thursday, March 10 to help participants learn more about grants and how to write a successful grant application. Register

Youth /Leadership Development

Registration for SPARK 2022, scheduled for April 9-10 at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center, closes on March 1. Register your youth now! Get details at wpaumc.org/SPARK

Confirmation Journey: Some space is still available at most of the our Confirmation Journey events scheduled on Friday afternoons in March at Dutilh UMC. Bring your confirmands to meet Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and choose from breakout sessions designed to support and inspire them. Get details

Dismantling Racism

Explore Black History Through Movies: The Washington District Anti-Racism Team has compiled a list of movies to watch at home or with a small group during Black History Month – or at other times. Many are available through public libraries or via streaming. See the list. 

In the News: Erie-Meadville Educator Armendia Dixon, a member of Stone UMC in Meadville, was featured in a front page article in the Erie Times and Go Erie.com this week. She’s one of a number of Black women and men who relocated to Erie from Laurel, Mississippi in the late 1960s and became leaders in the the area. Her story was part of a package of articles, available only to subscribers, on the Great Migration and its effects on Erie.  Dixon was also featured in this 2021 story in the Meadville Tribune and on the Erie Public Schools website

Faithful Lent: Connecting the Practices of Lent and Anti-racism is a new study available for congregations to use with small groups from the Commission on Religion and Race. The purpose of this study is to make explicit connections between the traditions of Lent and the work of anti-racism without forcing either one to be what they are not. Learn more

Lent Resources

Cordle Books Featured as Lenten Resources: Two books by Rev. Steve Cordle of Crossroads Church are featured by their publishers as resources for Lent. Seedbed has created companion videos for small group use with his newest book A Jesus-Shaped Life - 40 days toward Christ-likenessGet details.
Hear him Cordle speak on the topic at A Night with New Room - Ash Wednesday March 2
Cordle’s Lenten Study based on Hebrews 11, Hear it, See it, Risk it is featured as a resource by Market Square Books

March 2 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Abingdon Press, the Upper Room and the Society of St. Andrew offer resources to help church leaders and congregants experience Lent as a season of reflection and attentiveness. Many are available to order in bulk or come with leader kits. Most are appropriate for individual use and for Sunday school/small group or congregation-wide studies. See studies

Ever Hear of Lent Madness? It resembles March Madness, but with saints. Find out more in the latest episode of the Pastoring in the Digital Parish podcast. 


UMCOR Sunday is March 27! Get ready now with the UMCOR Sunday Pastor and Leader Kit.

Missionary Focus: Barb Holcombe of First UMC in Reynoldsville serves as Conference Secretary of Global Ministries, connecting United Methodist missionaries with local churches and the Conference. She’s currently highlighting the two missionaries and asking local churches to provide $50 to support their work: Rev. Dr. Luis Cardoso (Advance #3022607), serving in Uruguay, and Ellyn Benson Dubberly (Advance #3021818), serving in Central America. Read Barb’s letter

Un-Rummage Sale to Support Mission: Ingomar Church will raise funds for Mission Outreach this coming weekend with an online auction of services and food. Among them are a Ricotta Cavatelli Cooking lesson and dinner with Pastor Cyndi Bloise and her husband Frank and four hours of Spring Yard Clean-up by Pastor Greg Cox. (Service area may be limited to about a one-hour drive.) Check out the online auction site.

Thanking Volunteers: This week’s Mission e-News notes the importance of thanking your church volunteers for their efforts. Christ UMC in Bethel Park came up with a clever way to thank their volunteers for “chipping in.” See photos and catch up on other mission news.

Caring in Crisis: Faith and community leaders are facing historic challenges requiring creativity, strength, and resilience. Church World Service offers a series of free, one-hour webinars in which  experienced specialists in crisis response, recovery, mental health, and congregational & family life offer their expertise to help leaders gain new skills and knowledge to face the difficult crises impacting our communities. The sessions are from 11 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays in March. Recordings will be available to registrants. Get details and register

Caring Ministry Opportunities

Chaplaincy Program Training: Lakeside UMC in DuBois will host the Chaplains Program Basic Training Course for those who want to serve with First Responders. The course, created by the Resilient Minds Training Program, will run from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on March 18-19 at Lakeside.  Download brochure for more info. 

Palliative Care Volunteers Needed: Allegheny Health Network is recruiting volunteers to work with Palliative Care patients and their families at one of the AHN hospitals:  Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Forbes, Jefferson, and West Penn. Training will be provided. Get details

Leadership Resources

Communicating During Seasons of Change: United Methodist Communications is relaunching its Communicating During Seasons of Change four-week facilitated online course. The training will run 2-3 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesdays and Thursdays March 7-April 1. Supplemental resources and discussions will be provided each week. The deadline to register is March 2. Read press release
Register at umctraining.org

Understanding Conflict: How can leaders respond to conflict in healthier, more productive ways? In a Leading Ideas podcast, Brian Brown shares perspectives and practices that can help keep conflict from diverting too much energy from our churches.Listen, read transcript, or watch video.

UMC News

See All the People: One year after his death, individuals who have been inspired by the ministry and life of Rev. Junius B. Dotson of Discipleship Ministries will offer a virtual hour of reflection and hope. Scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET, on Thursday, Feb. 24, the event will encourage us to lean into a new season of seeing all the people God is calling us to reach. Get details and register

Delay General Conference – Or Not? A letter signed by 170 General Conference delegates urges organizers to postpone the legislative assembly to 2024. Meanwhile, an African advocacy group urges that General Conference go forward this year. Read UMNews story 

Make the Call on General Conference! The editorial board of UM News, comprised of top executives of UMNews and UN Communications, acknowledged that General Conference planners need the church’s support during this challenging time. But they said the church needs a clear decision from the planners on whether General Conference will meet this year. Read editorial

Judicial Council Rules on Legislation Deadlines: The UMC’s top court has ruled that any postponement of General Conference resets the submission deadlines for proposed legislation. Read more 

Webinar Offers BSA Updates: An informational webinar with United Methodist Bishop John Schol and Boy Scouts of America Chief Executive Scout Roger C. Mosby has been added to a webpage of resources addressing The United Methodist Church's relationship with the BSA. The BSA continues to move through bankruptcy proceedings. The webpage includes an informational slideshow. See resources (scroll down to view)

Ukraine Crisis

Praying for the People of Ukraine, Russia: The World Council of Churches is gravely concerned about the latest developments and escalating tensions threatening the peace and security of the people of Ukraine, the top executive of the ecumenical group said. The Connectional Table, a United Methodist leadership body that met Feb. 23, also encouraged prayer for both the people of Ukraine and Russia. The United Methodist Church has members in both countries. Read WCC statement

Meet in the Middle Focus on Ukraine Crisis: Pastor Michael Airgood, a former missionary to Ukraine, and Nazar Yatsysshyn, a Christian publisher and former UMC Mission Fellow, discuss their experiences and views on the current crisis in Ukraine. Listen