Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom." Psalm 90:12
It happened a week ago, Wednesday, January 22. It happened yesterday too, Sunday, January 26. It happens every day to someone, somewhere. One moment life is and then it’s not.
Here’s what happened on the 22nd. Traveling on McKnight Road at approximately 3:45 PM, Anthony Diulus, age 50, father, son, and beloved brother and friend, lost his life in a tragic accident when the car he was driving rear-ended a Port Authority bus just minutes from the house Karen and I will soon call home.
Yesterday, nine lives were taken, among them basketball legend and father, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter, Gianna when the helicopter they were flying in, along with even others, including John Altobelli, wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa; Christina Mauser, mother and assistant girls basketball coach; Sarah Chester and daughter, Payton, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, crashed into a hillside killing everyone aboard.
Friends, life is fragile. It’s part of what also makes it precious. It’s what MAKES YOU PRECIOUS. “Precious” is what you are to me. More importantly, it’s what you are to our God who created you and says about you:
An Equipping Helpshop For Church Leaders Who Want to Grow
(Sponsored by the Butler District of the WPA Annual Conference)
Crossfire Campus of Butler First UMC
1802 North Main Street Ext
Butler, PA 16001
Dear friends on the Butler District,
I am hoping that you and some of the other leaders from your church will plan on participating in the Equipping Helpshop that will take place on Saturday, March 7, at the Crossfire Campus of Butler First United Methodist Church. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude by 3:00 that afternoon. Lunch is included and childcare will be provided.
Entitled “Visionary Leadership,” this helpshop is an informational and interactive event designed to provide both Biblical encouragement and practical training for church leaders during a time of uncertainty and struggle in our denomination.
Our keynote speaker for the event, Rev. Dr. Jacqui King, serves as the Director of Leadership for Congregational Vitality at United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. Dr. King’s passion for helping churches to impact their communities is known throughout our connection, and her dynamism is nothing less than inspiring. She has a heart for churches of all sizes and will cast important vision for us concerning the urgency of building bridges between our sanctuaries and our communities.
In addition to Dr. King’s teaching, the helpshop will offer some great breakout sessions that will cover important topics in local church leadership:
Join our NEW Sustainer's Club!
We are so grateful for all of our generous donors that we would like to make it even easier for you to donate to Jumonville! By joining our new Sustainer’s Club, you will be able to set up monthly recurring donations to help support all of the day to day costs it takes to make camp possible. Your donations will help cover the costs of electricity, soap, permits, water, and phone and internet access. All of which are needed to keep camp running. The list goes on and on and so does our need for support. Please consider becoming a charter member of our Sustainers Club. Whether it is $5 or $500 a month, every donation helps. Your monthly gift can ultimately point more people to Christ. We need you to make it happen!
Thank you again for supporting Jumonville!
How to Join:
Click here to join today!
In January I was leading a Safe Sanctuary training and a question was brought up regarding the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR). It is a PA clearance that is mandated for childcare workers. I was not aware of the clearance and began too investigate. My initial queries only led to great questions and the possibility of having to have our Chancellor make a recommendation.
Today I received a response from The Office of Children, Youth and Families answering the question whether church volunteers or paid staff would now need to obtain the NSOR. Here is the response.
Thank you for your email, it has reached the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF).
I, Pastor Corben M. Russell, felt inspired to start a new camp at Wesley Woods. It would be a non-traditional camp meant to reach campers who might not otherwise come and/or because of other ability-ness might not be able to participate fully in a traditional camp. I initiated conversation to start Lego Camp in the fall of 2018. In the summer of 2019 we kicked off Lego Camp maxing out the allotted amount campers and adding two from our waiting list enabling us to minister with 14 campers. It was such a success that we are looking at having two different weeks to offer Lego Camp this year in 2020. I feel guilty because I feel like I was blessed as much if not more than the campers for taking this leap of faith and Deaning/running Lego Camp. I am asking for your help in any way you see fit. First and foremost for prayer for camp, campers, their salvation, and growth in the body of Christ. As well as giving everyone the opportunity to participate by gathering used Legos, sending them to either the church I serve Mt Zion UMC of DuBois or directly to Wesley Woods and if anyone feels led also donations toward Lego camp for Lego Camp supplies would be greatly appreciated especially since we are having two separate camp weeks this year. The church I serve Mt Zion UMC is willing to be a sight collection center for used Legos at 16 Denton Ave, DuBois, Pa. or they can be sent to Wesley Woods, 1001 Fiddlersgreen Road, Grand Valley, Pa 16420.
*Note From the District Office. If every church in the conference sent in just $10 it would cover the expenses.
You may contact the Indiana District for further information at email@example.com.
Follow up on January 23, 2020 email from the Conference Secretary
To: Senior Pastors
Subject: Lay Members to Annual Conference
Notice of New Registration Process
We, as an annual conference, are moving from an open registration process to a closed registration process for voting members. Visitors may continue to register in the open registration.
In order for the LMAC to register for annual conference, their name must be in the church dashboard. We will send by email the link to each individual to register in order to vote at Grove City.
We are asking you to make sure the Lay Member to Annual Conference is complete in the church dashboard Leadership report. Any laity representing the local church (LMAC) must have an email address listed on the Leadership form in the church dashboard by March 1. If someone does not have an email, then enter the local church’s email address and assist them in registering for annual conference.
If you have questions about adding the LMAC to the Church Dashboard contact your district office.
John R Wilson
Volunteers in Mission Training for those who want to lead a mission team is scheduled for Saturday, February 29, 2020 from 10am-3pm at the Conference Center. Register online via the Conference website.
New- Laity Leadership Academy: In 2019 the United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania launched a Laity Leadership Academy designed to empower laity to lead the connection in the ever-changing landscape of congregational life. Participants read some of the greatest books currently available on the topic, experience seminars led by the finest leaders in our Conference, engage with one another in dialogue, and build relationships that provide support for the journey.
Each one of the Academies is structured around two modules. The first module is one year long, experienced together in several weekend retreats held at various locations around the Conference. During these retreats, topics relevant to congregational leadership in the current culture are covered.
The second module is custom designed for each participant, allowing her or him to explore an area of leadership individually for which she or he is especially well equipped. That determination is made after an assessment of the participant’s spiritual gifts and strengths. That module is open-ended; it can be accomplished at whatever pace makes sense to the individual participant.
The next session of the Laity Academy will commence in the late summer or early fall of 2020. Those who need additional information about enrolling should contact the Dean of the Academy, Rev. Joe Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Mileage Rate for 2020 has been lowered to $0.575.
2019 Tax Law Changes And The Possible Effects On Churches Recent tax law changes may affect your church's tax filing this year and your church may be eligible for a refund from the IRS. Learn more.
The Ins And Outs Of Tax Exemption For Your Church We have developed an easy and efficient way for you to verify your ministry's tax exempt status. Understand what an EIN is and the ins and outs of tax exemption. Learn more
UM Women e-news: This FREE monthly electronic newsletter contains information on many topics. Subscribe
Update Your Find-A-Church! People are searching for a peaceful place to celebrate Advent and Christmas, and many turn to Find-A-Church to locate United Methodist churches in their zip code. Your church already has a profile – update it today. Include worship times, ministry opportunities and much more. Don’t wait! It may take a few days for changes you make to appear. Learn how
Parks Release New CD: Tara and Eric Park share their musical gifts on a new CD with several original songs. It's called Feels Like Home. Eric is the Butler District Superintendent. Sales of the CD will benefit WPAUMC Camping and Retreat Ministries. Learn more
The new meeting dates are as follows:
Monday, February 24, 2020 Bridgeville First
Monday, May 18, 2020 Liberty
Monday, August 24, 2020 Greenock
Monday, October 26, 2020 Trinity
All meetings are at 7PM.
Protocol Panel Member to Speak in WPA: Rev. Junius Dotson, CEO of UM Discipleship Ministries and a member of the group which proposed the protocol for separation, will be the keynote speaker at The Current, a gathering to envision a fully inclusive and theologically diverse United Methodist Church. It's scheduled for Saturday, March 28 from 1-5 p.m. at Christ UMC in Bethel Park. Get details.
Pre-GC2020 Protocol Briefings: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, Rev. Alyce Weaver-Dunn, chair of the Western PA Delegation to the General Conference; Rev. John R. Wilson, Conference Secretary, and Donna Vizza, chair of the WPAUMC Connectional Leadership Table, will hold a series of informational sessions on the proposed Protocol for Separation of the denomination at five locations. In addition to the five locations listed below, one of the sessions will be recorded and available on the wpaumc.org website for the convenience of those persons unable to physically attend one of the informational sessions. Details are listed on the March Calendar on the Conference website. The dates and locations are:
Fund Balance Report: These are due in the District Office by Sunday, March 1st. If you need an extension, you must contact the District Office before the deadline.
Clergy Tax Seminar: The UM Foundation of Western PA will offer a Clergy Tax Seminar in two locations to help clergy better understand how to address their unique issues when filing Federal Income Tax returns. Rev. Ed Bailey will lead sessions on Feb. 18 in Altoona and March 3 in Cranberry Township. Get details
Thursday, February 13, 2020 to May 22
Online General Conference Training: Does your congregation need a better understanding of the importance and function of General Conference? Check out the free, self-directed Exploring General Conference online training course. During interactive, multimedia sessions, participants will learn about how the church works, its rich history and its legislative process. Get details
Where: Chapel of First UMC of Washington located at 29 North College St, Washington, PA 15301
Saturday, February 22, 2020 10:00 AM
First UMC of Washington-Chapel
Saturday, February 22 from 10 am-12 pm
Wednesday, March 4 from 6:00-8:00 pm
FREE ALICE Training with Detective Todd Forman, Washington City Police Dept., presenting important public security training. For more information and registration, please contact Sheila at 724-222-2520.
Where: First UMC of Washington
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 to April 10
Where: Crossroads' North Fayette Campus
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Global Mission Revival: Rev. Ron and Bonnie Hipwell will be featured speakers at a Global Mission Revival, scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at Crossroads Church’s North Fayette campus. Go to www.wpaumc.org/Calendar/March 14 for more information.
Where: Christ UMC, 44 Highland Road, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania 15102
Saturday, March 28, 2020 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Join us for inspiring worship, relevant messages, and energizing conversations, as we envision a fully inclusive and theologically diverse United Methodist Church! In preparation for the 2020 General Conference, this event will inform and organize participants who affirm ministry with and for LGBTQIA+ persons.
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries.
Featured Speakers: Mitchell Hortert, Dr. Jane Ellen Nickell, Dr. Steven Tuell, Sarah Gallagher & Sarah Speedy, DS Dawn Hand & DS Eric Park.
This event is free to attend and will be live streamed at facebook.com/thecurrentwpa. Ch
Where: Grove City College
Thursday, June 11, 2020 to June 13
The 2020 session of Annual Conference will be Thursday, June 11th to Saturday, June 13th at Grove City College.
Clergy, plan your vacations, weddings, mission trips, etc. around these dates and plan to attend.
Mini Mission u – April 19-21 Leader: Rev. Dr. Eric S Park Cost: $160/person includes class, two-night stay, and all meals The Gospel of Mark and Radical Discipleship: In Mark’s day and now, Christians are caught in a world of crisis and confusion, a time of uncertainty and fear. There’s a struggle going on and evil appears to be winning: injustice reigns, money and greed measure our living and our dying, divisions deepen and hope is sometimes hard to find. Then and now, part of the crisis is ... read more
Mission Volunteer Openings: Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up) seeking to build partnerships and serve in communities around the world. Mission Volunteer opportunities are diverse and range from working with refugees, children and youth, serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years. Learn more VIM Awareness Weekend is Oct. 20/21! Churches are encouraged to celebrate those... read more
Starting a New Small Group or Ministry Team? Resource UMC offers Seven Creative Icebreakers to help people get to know each other. See them.
Use the 2020 Social Principles in Your Church! The new Social Principles are a resource the whole church can use. Learn how you can use the Social Principles preface and preamble in your pulpit, Sunday school class, and in advocacy. Visit umcsocialprinciples2020.org/resources
Find resources and watch for updates under Resouces/Black History on the Conference Website.
United Methodist Communications can help you communicate all the good you can. Use the new Church Leader Guide to find training courses, outreach tools, marketing support, giving resources, web ministry tips, grant opportunities, information sources, inspirational ideas and more. See guide online
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership’s Top 10 list of trending articles offers you a chance to glean insight and inspiration from the authors and articles most popular with their nearly 20,000 subscribers. See the list
If you’re planning ahead for your youth ministry or looking for something to do next week, Discipleship Ministries recommends the Youth Worker Collective resources. Everything on it is written by people active in youth ministry. Visit youthworkercollective.com/
UMResources: you will find resources to assist you in understanding General Conference and how General Conference works. Also, there is much information on matters that will be addressed 2020 General Conference Session.
Watch new connectional giving videos: A new video series, "Faithful Giving in a Time of Change," features financial leaders from all levels of the church participating in a discussion about connectional giving, including apportioned funds, the current state of funding and giving, and more. Watch now
Glave Featured on Fierce: Rev. Dianne Glave, WPAUMC coordinator of diversity development, is featured in a post on the Fierce: Healthy- Fit-Fabulous website highlighting her advocacy efforts to combat climate change. See post.
Wrestling with Racism Road Trip: The Wrestling with Racism Team, a multi-racial group with members from Pittsburgh First and Warren United Methodist churches and and other communities of faith in the Pittsburgh area, will host a one-day trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC on March 14. The cost is $145 and scholarships are available for those who need financial assistance. Get flyer with details.
The Conference Anti-Racism Team (ART) compiled a list of suggestions for Western PA churches to address racism. Download it from the Conference's Discussing Racism page.
Faith Community Conversations about Race is a resource about race in America that may be used to help your church bring people together to talk about moving forward bravely and boldly in the name of Christ. The free resource is divided into four videos. See Moving Faith Communities to Fruitful Conversations about Race
Shane Hinderliter, a Western PA native currently serving as director of student ministries at a large-membership church in Houston, Texas, will be the new Conference Coordinator of Camping and Retreat Ministries, effective March 1. He follows Jessica Gamache, who left the camping coordinator position Nov. 4 to become executive director of the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries Association. “I am excited to come home,” Shane said. “The camps have always been home to me.” He was a coun... read more
I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. ---- John 17:21 As one of our pastors has often said to me, “Bishop, sometimes unity takes on different forms.” And sometimes to reach unity it takes time, repeated failures, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ... read more
All Conference News - (https://www.wpaumc.org/news)
Keep Up With Upcoming Events - WPAUMC Conference
The website for upcoming events is: http://www.wpaumc.org/events
See all of the upcoming events in Leadership Development.
Mission Insite - (https://missioninsite.com/)
Statistical Reports-Ezra- login required - (https://www.wpaumc.org/ezra)
Diversity Development -(https://www.wpaumc.org/diversity)
Camps and Retreat Ministries -(https://www.wpaumc.org/camping)
Scholarships and Grants -(http://www.umc.org/resources/scholarships)
Also at (http://www.umc.org/resources/scholarshipforms)
Mission Barn - (https://www.wpaumc.org/missionbarn)
UMCOR Relief Supply Network
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See full list of upcoming webinars at -(www.gbod.org/webinars)
Scott Lawrence - February 2
Ed Hanley - February 27
Mike Arnold - February 28