WPAUMC enews - May 4, 2022



Mothers Day: As you prepare to observe Mother’s Day, consider inviting church members and friends to celebrate a mother, grandmother or mother figure by donating to your local church, posting about it on social media and encouraging others to do the same! They can share why the person they’re celebrating is special. Resources designed to appreciate mothers and their gifts are available here. 

Give Mom a Chance to Get Away! Olmsted Manor’s Spring Women’s Retreat is May 20-22. Rev. Ginger Thomas will lead a time of reflection and rejuvenation that will include inspirational speaking, encouraging group discussions, quiet time with God, opportunities to enjoy stillness and nature, and top-notch Christian hospitality. For more information and registration, visit olmstedmanor.org/spring-womens-retreat.html
Meet in the Middle: In the latest episode of WPAUMC’s podcast, Rev. Dawn Lynn Check talks with Lt. Colonel Rev. Dr. Jonathan Bell, serving in extension ministry as a chaplain with the 171st Air Fueling Wing out of Pittsburgh and the Air National Guard Liaison Chaplain to the PA Joint Force Headquarters at Fort Indiantown Gap. He just returned from a seven-month deployment and talks about serving as a deployed military chaplain for many faiths. Listen
Bonus: See part of his homecoming as he surprises his son Asher in the school gym. Watch
Annual Conference Collection: The Mission Barn will be collecting hygiene kits, cleaning buckets and supplies for both during this year's Annual Conference June 2 -3, 2022.  Volunteers are needed to help receive the collections. Contact Katie at missionbarn@gmail.com. View the latest Newsletter from the Mission Barn. 
Cars, Conversation and Community: The Connellsville District Conference on May 15 will feature what’s billed as the 1st Annual Car Show, funnel cakes and a food truck. Scheduled from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. at Somerset Grace UMC, it’s open to clergy and laity and there will be prizes. For details, scroll down on the District news page .
Pastors’ Academy: Rev. Dr. Anthony Hunt will lead an intensive study of the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at the annual Pastors Academy from May 23-25 at Olmsted Manor. The training will offer historical, theological, and socio-cultural analysis, and opportunities for reflection and community-building centered on the life and writings of Bonhoeffer, with particular focus on the implications of Bonhoeffer’s work on the contemporary church and society. Register at olmstedmanor.org/pastors-academy.html

 Bishops Share Hope for Revived UMC: While acknowledging the start of a breakaway denomination and the departure of a fellow bishop, the United Methodist Council of Bishops last week shared hopes for a revived United Methodist Church. United Methodist ministry, including outreach to people displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, continues. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton took the helm as President of the Council of Bishops.  Read UM News story

Celebrate Heritage Sunday on May 22! Every May, United Methodists are encouraged to devote one Sunday to celebrating their Wesleyan heritage. This year’s theme for Heritage Sunday is “Splits, Separations and Reconciliations.” Congregations are invited to use this month as a time to explore how splits, schisms and mergers have framed our history and identity us as United Methodists. Learn more
Explore our denomination’s past Splits, Separations, and Reconciliations through the “United Methodist History Hub,” a new online course platform from the General Commission on Archives and History. Consider this resource as you plan your summer small group studies. For “Wesley Brothers” fans and others there’s also a visual timeline available for purchase. Check out Umhistoryhub.teachable.com

Meeting the Moment: Allegheny College invites clergy and laity to submit proposals for a paper on its affiliation with the United Methodist Church, which dates to 1833. Selected papers will be presented at a symposium on campus on March 17-18, 2023, then published in an edited volume. Entitled Meeting This Moment: Exploring the State of Allegheny College’s Methodist Affiliation, the symposium is not a referendum on affiliation, but an opportunity for the college community and the WPA Conference to reflect on their historic relationship, factors leading to this transitional moment, and what a future relationship might look like. Proposals will be reviewed by a team of faculty and UMC clergy, and those selected to write and present papers will receive a stipend. The deadline for proposals is June 30, 2022.  The full Call for Proposals is available on the symposium website allegheny.edu/meetingthismoment

Dismantling Poverty

Give to Smith Center Through Warren Gives: The Ruth M Smith Center, a Day Care Center and Personal Care Home with ties to United Methodist Women (Women United in Faith), will get added benefit from donations through Warren Gives on May 18. Donations from $10 to $100 are eligible for matching funds. None of the 28 residents at the Smith Center are able to pay their full way, and approximately 45% of the Smith Center budget comes from grants and benevolent giving. Help the Smith Center celebrate its centennial year by donating online during “Warren Gives” on May 18. Donations by check must be received by May 11. For details visit ruthmsmithcenter.org/


UMCOR Update on Ukrainian Aid: Global Ministries has video updates from regionally-based partners Urs Schweizer and Üllas Tankler on how United Methodists have been helping people from Ukraine. You can download them to share. In Part 1, hear how donations to UMCOR are directly helping people from Ukraine and what is giving our partners hope. Watch
In Part 2, hear how our partners are encouraged by the support they’ve received, where they see God in the midst of suffering, and what you can pray for right now. See Part 2 

Collaborating to Ease Suffering:  Nearly $1 million of essential medical supplies and equipment has been sent to Ukraine hospitals thanks to a joint effort by UMCOR, the Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation and Ohio Health. Read more.

Lithuanian Methodists Aid Ukraine Refugees: District Superintendent Remigijus Matulatis offers a report on how Methodists in Lithuania are supporting Ukrainian refugees coming into the country. Each Methodist Church has a plan for what they do to support the refugees, he said. Some have refugees staying in the church buildings while others have refugees staying in homes. Read more in this week’s Mission News.

Dismantling Racism

Racial Justice Prayer and Action Challenge: The General Commission on Religion and Race will launch its Racial Justice Prayer and Action Challenge on Juneteenth, but now’s the time to sign up. Rev. Debbie Hills has submitted one of the prayers. You and your congregation are invited to join in the challenge. Learn more 

Training and Resources

Church Administrators’ Training set for July 17-19: This Olmsted Manor retreat is designed for those who serve in a church, ministry, or similar organization in an administrative role. Prioritize this time to gain new skills, fellowship with folks who understand, and recharge your batteries. Learn more 

Taking the Next Step Training: Friday is the last day to register for Taking the Next Step, a weeklong learning experience focused on boosting your communication skills. During the week of May 9-13, UM Communications will feature subject matter experts and communication professionals sharing their knowledge on a wide range of topics affecting church leaders. All material will be recorded and available for participants to watch on their own schedule. You can also earn 2 continuing education units by taking this course. Get details and register today

Communication Resources: Stay updated on information and resources from United Methodist Communications through “My Portal” Church leaders, staff, volunteers, members, and those seeking to know more about the UMC can register and choose what resources they want to get. Learn more

United Offers Spiritual Direction Program:  If God’s Spirit has been stirring you toward a new next step of spiritual preparation for walking alongside others as they discern God’s voice and direction, the Ministry of Spiritual Direction two-year online course (with a certificate of completion) may be for you! It’s offered through the Bishop Bruce Ough Innovation Center at United Theological Seminary. Learn more

Embracing Multivocational Ministry: What does it mean to embrace multivocational ministry? Laity, clergy and ministers in discernment are invited to explore this question together at an online ecumenical conference at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time May 14. The Embracing Multivocational Ministry Conference costs $35. It coincides with the publication of “Bivocational and Beyond: Educating for a Thriving Multivocational Ministry,” edited by the Rev. Darryl W. Stephens with a foreword by the Rev. Lovett Weems. Register


Un-tied Methodism: Two new episodes of the podcast have been added recently. One looks at the Women’s Christian Missionary Society, forerunner of United Women in Faith (a/k/a UMW) and in the other features Emily Nelms Chastain, her work with COSROW, and the history of women engaging politically via their faith. Listen.
May the Fourth Be With You! The phrase was all over social media today. It’s a part of our culture. Many Christians feel a sense of connection between the world of Star Wars and the world of our religious tradition. Rev. Ryan Dunn, who does the Rethink Church/Compass podcast, is one of them. He and some of his colleagues at UM Communications offered a few articles/podcast episodes especially for May 4. 
Listen/read The Way of Righteousness and Grace in the Star Wars Franchise.
Try Jedi Jesus: Revealing Christian Themes in Star Wars
Star Wars Quiz: Can you tell the difference between what comes from "Star Wars" and what comes from Christianity? Try the Star Wars Quiz