WPAUMC enews - April 6, 2022



Annual Conference 2022: The pre-Conference Journal, containing legislation submitted the 2022 Annual Conference, the proposed 2023 Connectional Apportionment Budget, and reports has been posted on the Conference website at www.wpaumc.org/AC 

Intentional Missional Alignment Process: One piece of AC2022 legislation, RS 701, was submitted by the Actively Waiting Task Force, a diverse group of laity and clergy that spent time over the past year looking for ways to proactively respond to the postponement of the General Conference and discussions about disaffiliation over issues related to homosexuality.  RS701 proposes an “Intentional Missional Alignment Process.” See legislation
Note: An FAQ on the proposal will be available within a few weeks.

Processes for Disaffiliation: With the 2020 General Conference postponed to 2024 and the announcement by the Wesleyan Covenant Association that it will launch the Global Methodist Church on May 1, there are many questions about disaffiliation. The team at “Ask The UMC” has created an FAQ to help provide clarity about the process and dispel confusion. Read FAQ

Splintering, not Splitting: Framing the current Church situation as a “split” suggests we are dividing into two groups, distracting from the true picture, writes the Rev. Dr. William B. Lawrence, former dean and professor emeritus of American Church History at Perkins School of Theology and researcher at Duke Divinity School. He sees it as splintering.  Read commentary


Bishop Bickerton on Meet in the Middle: In this week’s podcast, Pastor ZayZay Kpedah interviews Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton about the denomination’s Global Health Initiative. Bishop Bickerton, who served in WPA from 2004-16 and now leads the NY Area, currently chairs the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and will begin serving as President of the UMC Council of Bishops on May 1. Listen

Ukraine Response: United Methodists are finding various ways to raise funds to help those displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The United Methodist Committee on Relief has already distributed about $2 million to provide food, water, medicine, shelter, transportation and other services for displaced persons and those seeking refuge in other countries. Read UM News Report

WPAUMC Supports Ukraine Relief: In Western PA, Lottsville UMC is among the churches that have received an offering for Ukraine relief, and Trinity UMC in McMurray will give all of its Easter offering to UMCOR’s relief efforts. Let us know if your church is planning a special offering or event to raise funds. Email communications@wpaumc.org.

Peace and Justice for Ukraine: The General Board of Church and Society heard reports from  European Methodist Council members in Germany and Norway about the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine during its recent Spring Board meeting and recommitted to seeking world peace and justice. Read more

Ministry Opportunities

Higher Power Church: General Evangelist John Zimmerman is forming a team to launch a new fresh expression church that will be online only and focus on reaching the addiction recovery community. The mission of Higher Power Church is to help others, through an online community, to "discover, receive, celebrate, and share Jesus Christ as our Higher Power.” You’re invited to pray for this new ministry.  Anyone interested in learning more or joining the ministry team is invited to an informational Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. To get the Zoom link, email John@Higherpowerchurch.org

As Memory Fades, Ministry Grows: As the number of dementia diagnoses grows, congregations have an opportunity to serve their community in meaningful ways. In Leading Ideas, Jessica L. Anschutz of the Lewis Center shares ideas for pastoral care and spiritual support for persons with dementia and their caregivers. See what they are

Creation Care 

Earth Day 2022 is April 22. Many churches will be involved in local projects to care for God’s creation in some way, including community clean-up days through the weekend.  Discipleship Ministries has some resources to help you raise awareness of our responsibility for creation care in your congregation, including a worship liturgy you can use on Sunday, April 25. Learn more 
Resource UMC has a variety of other resources and information on Creation Care 

Young Women’s Climate Justice Webinar: United Women in Faith is inviting women from 15-35 years old with a passion for climate justice to a webinar and networking event at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern time April 21. Participants will share their experiences on how climate change is impacting their lives and learn how seeking climate justice is part of what God expects from Christians. Get details and register

Dismantling Racism

Making Amends for KKK Donation:  Algiers United Methodist Church in Louisiana is acknowledging its past to help eradicate racism. To reconcile a $100 donation from the Ku Klux Klan in 1922, the church announced that a donation of $1,675 has been committed for the next 12 months, with the money going to organizations that strengthen people of color and work to end racism. The higher amount is what $100 from 1922 would be worth today. The church also is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the consecration of its sanctuary. Read story

Saving Lives, Keeping the Peace: The Pittsburgh District Anti-Racism Team is one of the sponsors of A Forum on Policing and Social Justice scheduled for Sunday, April 10 from 1-3:30 p.m. at First UMC in Pittsburgh. Among the speakers will be Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, Rev. Liddy Barlow of Christian Associates of SWPA, and Beth Pittinger of the city’s Citizen Police Review Board. Get details and register.

UMC News/Resources

Stress, Burnout Afflicting Pastors: United Methodist clergy are more stressed than usual these days, whether it’s from COVID-19, racial unrest, denominational uncertainty or natural disasters that just keep coming, writes Jim Patterson in a UM News Report.  Read it
Reminder:  As of April 1, the Conference’s Employee Assistance Program is available to all appointed WPA clergy. See Letter and overview 
Read email with details

Clergywomen Promote Hope, Healing: The history of women's admission to the clergy is one fraught with denial and refusal to see women as full people within the church, writes the Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain. She describes Methodist women who worked to open pulpits and eventually the episcopacy to women. Chastain is an ordained United Methodist deacon. Read commentary

United Methodist Communications has released its 2021 Annual Report spotlighting the agency's communications initiatives and activities on behalf of The UMC around the world. Highlights include the launch of the "Pastoring in the Digital Parish" podcast, the #BeUMC campaign, new training opportunities and strengthening communication infrastructure. Read press release

Upcoming Events

Camp Allegheny Work Days: Individuals and teams are invited to help with a number of Spring projects at Camp Allegheny on April 16 and 23 or the week of April 18-23. Join the fun and fellowship as numerous spring projects are completed. There are projects for all skill levels and plenty of time for fun and fellowship.  Come for a day or for several days.  FREE overnight and meals. Call the camp at 814-754-5122 to let them know you’re coming.

Camp Allegheny’s Celebration of Ministry Dinner is scheduled for Sunday, April 24. Hear from campers and young adult staff about how God has used camp in their lives. State Rep. Jim Rigby will be the guest speaker. It starts at 5 p.m. Make reservations