10 Represent WPAUMC at Health Forum



Ten Western PA United Methodists engaged in health ministries are in Houston, Texas from Sept. 8-10 to learn about a new congregational health initiative called "Healthy Congregations, Healthy Communities."

The initiative is being launched in a joint effort by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and Wesley Theological Seminary. The summit is be hosted and co-sponsored by Houston Methodist and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

“I consider our opportunities in health ministry one of our expanding fields of mission, said Global Ministries top executive Thomas Kemper. “We ask God to give us the energy and wisdom for this work of healing and wholeness in the world.”

The health summit is designed to highlight congregational and annual conference work in health ministry, covering topics including community outreach, congregational health ministries, hospital-based community engagement, health and wholeness, academia, and spiritual healing ministries.  The summit will also feature work across general agencies that supports healthy clergy, congregations, and communities.

Barb Lewis, chair of the WPAUMC Health as Wholeness (HAW)  team arranged a display showcasing the various workshops and trainings the team offers as well as the information on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/healthaswholeness. She also highlighted the Erie UM Alliance's partnership providing health care for homeless people.  

The Methodist heritage is rooted in a strong concern for health, which is reflected in the current United Methodist commitment to “abundant health for all” in communities throughout the world.  John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, compiled the best available medical information of the day, which every Methodist preacher was expected to carry while making rounds.  The Healthy Congregations, Healthy Communities summit extends that tradition in the 21st century, providing current information and guidance to improve health for U.S. United Methodist congregations to use in their own ministries.

Representatives from 29 annual conferences registered for the summit. 

Representing WPAUMC are:

  • Joy Burt Conti, CRNP, MSN of Mt. Lebanon UMC  is the former HAW Chairperson & Former Manager of the Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministries Program.    
  • Dara Sterling of Saint Paul's UMC, Allison Park, is a Licensed Registered Dietician, Former HAW team member, presently serving on the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits - health sub-team.  Saint Paul's UMC, Allison Park 
  • Rev. Brad Lauster,  Washington District Superintendent
  • Rev. Scott Gallagher, Senior Pastor at Garden City UMC, who has been offering clergy health workshops.
  • RoseMary Ozvath, RN & Faith Community Nurse at Pine Run UMC in Clairton.
  • Debra Bates, RN & Coordinator of Health Ministries at Christ UMC in Bethel Park
  • Taafoi Kamara MPH, of UM Church Union in Pittsburgh
  • Patti Tobal, RN,   Asbury UMC, Uniontown, Health Minister
  • Barb Slavin, RN   Asbury UMC, Uniontown, Health Minister
  • Maria Spicher, Health Ministries Coordinator at Lakewood UMC, Erie, PA
  • Barb Lewis, RN, Faith Community Nurse, WPAUMC Health As Wholeness Coordinator  and EUMA Healthcare for the Homeless Partnerships Coordinator