WPAUMC enews - April 27, 2022



New Coordinator of Clergy/Lay Excellence Named: The Rev. Chenda Innis Lee, who currently serves on Conference staff as a Regional Coordinator for Spiritual Formation in the Pittsburgh/Butler area, will begin serving as the new Coordinator of Clergy and Lay Excellence on July 1.  Read news story
Postings for other Conference staff positions, as well as some local church positions, were added to the Conference website this week at wpaumc.org/classifieds
Are You Registered for Annual Conference? Members of the Annual Conference should register as soon as possible to attend the June 2-4 session at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center. Voting members of the annual conference should have received information about registration via a Feb. 23rd email. If you want to stay at a hotel and have not made your reservations, do it now. Many hotel blocks have filled and negotiated rates are at the hotel's discretion for reservations made after May 1st. 
Clergy Session is at 1 p.m., May 12 at Dutilh UMC, 1270 Dutilh Rd., Cranberry Twp., PA 16066. Register for the clergy session.
To Robe or Not to Robe? Information on Page 52 of the print edition of the Pre-Conference Journal indicated that clergy would not need to bring robes to process during the Ordination Service. That was correct when the booklet was sent to the printer, but since then arrangements have been made to allow for clergy to robe in white with red stoles and process into the session. So, don't forget your robe! See Pre-Conference Booklet online at www.wpaumc.org/AC

Student Loan Forgiveness Possible? Clergy and employees of not-for-profit organizations engaged in faith-based work may benefit from recent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Wespath is offering a one-hour webinar on Monday, May 9 at 3 p.m. Eastern time, and again on Wednesday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. to help organizations and their staff understand the PSLF Program and its application process. Get details

Uth 4 Mission: The annual mission work camp for youth is scheduled for July 18-22 at Jumonville. Find details at wpaumc.org/youthevents
Registration is open now. 


Evangelism Stereotypes: Do people in your church avert their eyes or run quickly in the opposite direction when the subject of evangelism comes up? Stereotypes of someone yelling at the top of their lungs on a street corner or strangers knocking on the door make it difficult for individuals and congregations to embrace a positive, effective approach to evangelism. Doug Powe of the Lewis Center offers some ideas on how to liberate our understanding of evangelism from the weight of this emotional baggage. Read more

How’s Your Online Ministry? Successful online ministry requires a new mindset and different metrics. In this week’s Leading Ideas, Carey Nieuwhof outlines five signs that your online ministry is connecting with people and helping them grow in faith, rather than just advertising what happens in your building. See what they are!

Does Your Church Have an App?  If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's the need to reach our communities in multiple ways. Would it be worth it to have your own app? To help decide, read UMCom article

Dismantling Racism

Racial Justice Prayer/Action Challenge: The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race invites you to participate in a Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge. For six weeks beginning June 19 — Juneteenth — the agency will post daily prayers on social media for six weeks and include worship liturgies and weekly challenges to help put prayers into action. All materials are also available for download. View resources

Celebrating Native American Methodist Pioneer: William Apess, born among the Pequot of Massachusetts, was the first Native American Methodist exhorter in New England and the first Native American licensed to preach by American Methodists. He also is credited as the first Native American to write and publish an autobiography. Ask The UMC has more on Apess as part of its Pioneers in Methodism series. Read story
Read about other pioneers

 UMC News

Bishops’ President Urges Unity: In her final address as Council of Bishops president, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey urged as much unity as possible even as a new theologically conservative denomination plans to launch on May 1. In their meeting on Monday, the bishops also heard about the history of previous denominational separations. Read UM News story
Read COB press release

Delegates Boycott Conference on Russia-Ukraine Split: Delegates from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation say they will not attend an April 30 online special session of the UMC’s Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference. The delegates say they fear “Russophobia” and other discrimination. The session was called to consider whether, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukraine-Moldova Provisional Annual Conference should be moved from the Eurasia Area, currently led by Moscow-based Bishop Eduard Khegay. Khegay joined 20 delegates in signing the statement, which proposes delaying the session until “the cessation of hostilities.” Read statement
Read UM News story: Ukrainians may be moved from Russian bishop's area

Upcoming Training/Resources

Ministry to People with Autism, Learning Differences: Church leaders and members can learn how to support and include those in your church and community with autism or learning differences in a June 24 training event from 9a.m. -4 p.m., at The ATS Center for Achievement, in Irwin. Cost is $20, including lunch. Participants will receive 0.5 CEUs. For more information and to register click here
Click here to read the flier.

Spiritual Direction Ministry Training: The Center for Spiritual Formation in the Susquehanna Conference and the Bishop Bruce Ough Innovation Center at United Theological Seminary are teaming up to offer a two-year online training course for pastoral or lay leaders called to the ministry of spiritual direction. A webinar on the new course will be offered from 1 to 2:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern time April 28. Learn more
Register for webinar

VBS Time Already? Summer is quickly approaching, and if your church is ramping up for one of the great summer church traditions: Vacation Bible School, check out the latest MyCom podcast! Host Dan talks to the UM Publishing House’s resident VBS expert about how this outreach can impact your communities. Listen here 

Communications Learning Week: Join United Methodist Communications for Taking the Next Step (May 9th- May 13th), a week-long learning experience focused on boosting communication skills for church leaders. Participants will gain access to valuable content and receive training through a variety of methods including recorded workshops, podcast episodes and Q&A sessions with church communication professionals. All material will be stored and available to participants for six months after their registration date. Get details and register now