WPAUMC enews - May 11, 2022



U. S. Conferences Can’t Vote to Leave UMC: The United Methodist Church's Judicial Council ruled this week that current church law does not allow annual conferences in the U.S. to withdraw from the denomination. The ruling answers questions from the United Methodist bishops, who are dealing with the ramifications of a splintering denomination. Read UM News story
See Council of Bishops press release: Council of Bishops welcomes decision

WCA Remaining in UMC:  Although the Global Methodist Church launched as a new traditionalist Methodist denomination on May 1, speakers at last week’s gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, which took the lead in creating the GMC, indicated the group will remain a part of the United Methodist Church. Read UM News report

Wespath Exec Offers FAQs on Future of UMC Pensions: Questions abound about the future of pensions in The United Methodist Church after the launch of the Global Methodist Church on May 1. Andy Hendren, top executive at Wespath Benefits and Investments, offers some answers in a new blog post. Read commentary

Annual Conference

Clergy Session Mask Advisory: As reports of COVID-19 cases rise in some areas, Conference leaders recommend wearing masks to clergy session on Thursday. If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, you are encouraged to consult with a doctor to determine if you should quarantine before making a decision to attend. 

Reminder for Elders: The Order of Elder will hold a reorganizational meeting with election of officers on Thursday after the Clergy Session at Dutilh U.M. Church. All members of the order are encouraged to attend and are eligible to vote. 

Mission Collections at Annual Conference: In addition to Thursday’s pre-conference Mission Impact event, several items will be collected during annual conference, including eyeglasses, UMCOR Kits, Back-to-School items, medical supplies, Mobility items, shoes and Welcome Home items. Get details at wpaumc.org/missionimpact2022

Biometric Screening at AC2022: Time slots are still available for the free biometric screenings at Annual Conference on Friday, June 3rd. The screening is offered to those on the Conference health plan and eligible spouses and is worth $100 for deposit into their Health Savings Account or HRA for 2023. Get details and registration information.

Cokesbury Resources: Although Cokesbury won’t have a display at Annual Conference, they are offering “annual conference” discounts and some free items to churches through links on this flyer.

Dismantling Racism

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: What’s the difference? Some have said diversity focuses on counting people, while inclusion concerns itself with making sure that people count. On May 21 from 6-8 p.m. at Mt. Lebanon UMC, Dr. Angelica Perez-Johnson, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the Community College of Allegheny County, will lead a workshop about how to implement equity audits and act on the results. The Pittsburgh District Antiracism team is sponsoring the session that aims to equip participants to begin focusing on dismantling institutional racism through concrete actions. Get details and register

The Unfinished Church is a new podcast focusing on the holy work of antiracism. Hosted by Bishops LaTrelle Easterling, Michael McKee, and Gregory Palmer, The Unfinished Church features conversations with well-known activists, authors, preachers and teachers about what it means to love our neighbors in the ways Christ has called us to love. A Facebook Live launch event hosted by Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey is scheduled for Thursday, May 12, at 5 p.m. Learn more

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The General Commission on Religion and Race has an infographic that may help people avoid stereotyping and increase understanding. See 10 things to Know About Asian Americans.

Asian Pioneer in Methodism: This week, Ask The UMC’s Pioneers in Methodism series focuses on the Rev. Zenro Hirota. In a clergy career spanning more than four decades, he faced challenges such as earthquakes, fires and anti-Asian policies, including internment. Read more

Raise Up Your Voice Against Racism: United Methodists will discuss the topics of migration, immigration and racism as part of the “Raise Up Your Voice Against Racism” webinar at 8 p.m. U.S. Eastern time May 24. The webinar is part of a series that seeks to dispel the notion that racism just affects Black people. Organizers include the Asian American Language Ministry, the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Learn more
Register for webinar


Host a Picnic with Friends!  The pandemic has been especially hard on the elderly living in UM Church Union’s two senior high-rise communities in the Pittsburgh area. Church Union is seeking volunteer groups–Sunday School classes, youth groups, scouts etc.-- to have a picnic/party for 45-50 seniors residents this summer. The meal can be simple like grilled hotdogs or burgers or more elaborate if you want. Our older friends like to play games like bingo or trivia for prizes (Dollar Tree type prizes). Dates available are June 10, July 8 and August 12 at Parkview Towers in Munhall OR June 17, July 15 and August 19 at Metowers in Avalon.
If you’re willing to put faith into action and share some time, contact Rev. Beth L. Nelson at Bethlnelson1@gmail.com  or 412-398-7894 to schedule or ask questions.   
Rich and Lulu Mrozcka, the missionaries we work with in Guatemala, plan to be in Western PA for from June 1- July 31, 2022. They’re willing to speak to congregations and church groups. Email them at lourdesramirez@umcmission.org to invite them to your church. 

Mental Health Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness Month: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. live with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and Bipolar disorder. Taking care of your mental health—whether as prevention or a prescribed course of treatment—is essential to living your best life. The Conference’s employee assistance program (EAP) can help. LifeSolutions, our EAP provider, has resources in place to help you. EAP services provided by LifeSolutions are completely confidential. They are available at no cost to all appointed clergy, lay employees and members of their households. Learn more
Download Mental Health Awareness Month flyer

Take a Mental Health Break: Learn five ways you can overcome anxiety when you feel fearful or stressed. This video from UM Communications offers a guided space to pause so that you can find the road back to peace. Watch

Scriptural Reflections for Mental Wellness: Scripture encourages us to recognize what ails us and to share our burdens with God and community. Read or listen 

Support for Caregivers: After 30 years of working with Alzheimer’s patients and their families as a United Methodist pastor, university researcher and hospice chaplain, Dr. Elizabeth Shulman has created a Bible study specifically written for dementia caregivers and the communities that serve them. Finding Sanctuary in the Midst of Alzheimer's is a valuable tool for churches supporting caregivers in their congregations and also provides an opportunity for pastors and fellow church members to “walk in their shoes” and learn ways to most effectively support caregivers. Learn more

Online Ministry

Hello?...Is This Thing On?? Even if you’ve been livestreaming worship and other other events for a while, you may want to check out  Four Mistakes to Avoid When Livestreaming.


The Church in the Metaverse: The latest episode of the UMCom Church Marketing podcast looks at the church in virtual reality – a place where people who grew up in the digital age connect. A fresh expression of ministry, in a sense it’s a church for people who don’t go to church, says Rev. Dr. Michael Beck. Listen

Holistic Evangelism and Salvation: In the latest episode of the Compass Podcast, the Rev. Mark Teasdale discusses adopting a healthy understanding of the Christian ideas of evangelism and salvation, based on his latest book, "Participating in Abundant Life." Listen

Church Comes Home: During the pandemic church happened in powerful and meaningful ways outside our buildings. In this week’s Leading Ideas podcast, Dave Barnhart describes how small, home-centered worshiping communities can connect with people who may never cross the threshold of your church. Listen, read or watch

CORRECTION: A typo in last week’s e-news said donations of $10 to $100 made to The Ruth M Smith Center through Warren Gives on May 18 are eligible for matching funds. The maximum amount that will be matched is $1000. For details visit ruthmsmithcenter.org/