For the last eleven years, we have been a part of a partnership with the Mazimauya United Methodist Church in the Mutasa-Nyanga District located in the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. During this span of time, we have had difficulty keeping the work of this partnership in front of us on a regular basis. But today, I am thrilled to announce that, through your support and hard work in supporting the District Fund, we have been able to pay off the last of the obligation of funds we promised to provide for the Mazimauya United Methodist Church. This means that the financial support that the Mazimauya United Methodist Church needed to help offset the costs of their building project has been provided and they will now be able to complete the work on their church structure.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who has contributed towards our goal of paying down our outstanding obligation, so that in just 13 months we were able to provide over $11,000 to assist them in completing their goal of providing safe space to Worship Jesus Christ. Thanks to your support, and our ability to use some of our Washington District Reserves, we can get this obligation off our financial books and look for new ways to support missions around the world, and create new partnerships with our friends in Zimbabwe.
Let me once again to say thank you for your diligence in this effort to support our brothers and sisters in Christ in Zimbabwe. Please continue to pray for the work of the church in Zimbabwe, and specifically for our friends and siblings in the Mazimauya United Methodist Church as they finish their building project and share the Gospel Message with their community.
May Almighty God continue to bless your own local ministries as you share the truth of scripture, continue to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, and look for new ways to be the hands and feet of God.
In Christ’s love!
Rev. Paul E. Ritchey
Unclutter Your Church! To revitalize, congregations must strip away some vestiges of the past to make space for the new amidst decades of physical and emotional clutter. To the Point: Unclutter Your Church Now from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, helps congregations unshackle from the weight of clutter and disorganization. Read and download to share herehttps://www.churchleadership.com/to-the-point/to-the-point-unclutter-your-church/
Church Real Estate Crisis? While The United Methodist Church debates societal issues — LGBTQ rights, welcoming refugees and the like — its congregations’ real estate is eating away at the denomination and threatening its viability, says Rick Reinhard, who’s worked in economic development and with property matters in the denomination. He offers some ways to address what he describes as a real estate crisis in the church. Read his commentary here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/church-must-tackle-its-real-estate-crisis
2022 Health Insurance Rates: The Conference Board of Pensions approved the 2022 health insurance billing rate to local churches for active clergy. It includes medical, vision and dental coverage. Effective 1/1/2022, the rate will be $1481.00 a month, a $28 per month increase over the 2021 rate. Participant cost shares remain the same at $20 single / $35 two persons / $70 family.
Meet in the Middle! The Conference now has a podcast that explores a broad range of topics and is designed to promote civil discourse for greater understanding, relationship building and common good. It was created by the WPAUMC Antiracism Team. Listen to episodes at meetinthemiddle.buzzsprout.com/
The Power of Podcasts: Podcasts have exploded in popularity, and provide a new way to do ministry. According to PodcastHosting.org, there are now more than 2,000,000 podcasts and 48 million+ episodes. September 30 is International Podcast Day, and throughout the day, UM Communications will unveil new podcast episodes and discussions that can be accessed at the celebration webpage and on their Facebook page. Read press release here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/international-podcast-day-is-september-30?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_pBcrszwZ36JjPXb2H67mFjFHFZBDijb8y4u2nMUgFb6edr4atFFs0Z6e2LXje4AHx1t7r4DXbvLVv0KrRROHFwzR3Yh230uHMqbOPRCjXOdcfA
See resources here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/agencies/communications/church-and-conference-resources/international-podcast-day?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_pBcrs3liKhg5Pht7p7hwvDSssTJKVLkExA_eiuI8aWBwzyNkpIJ38k6ORgOfTOrQX9jdD3FsvGV
Organ Recital and Workshop: International soloist, teacher, clinician and recording artist Dan Miller will offer a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 16 and an organ recital on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17 at Indiana Trinity UMC. He’ll also be guest organist for the church’s 11 a/m. Worship service on Sunday. Download flyer with details. here http://wpa-email.brtapp.com/files/tables/emails/3074725/files/dan+miller+poster.jpeg
Teykl Event Registration Open: Registration is open for the Oct. 23 program with Rev. Terry Teykl at Warren First UMC and the Oct. 24 event at Butler First UMC. Choose your date/location on the registration form. Learn more and register. here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15464740?month=10&year=2021&day=1&display=m
The Conference UMW Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23 at Dutilh UMC. Get details and register. here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/13253923
United Methodist Women’s Assembly 2022 registration is open. The quadrennial event titled “Turn it Up!” is scheduled for May 20-22 at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, with an optional Ubuntu Day of Service on Thursday, May 19. Early-bird registration discounts are available through Nov. 30. Learn more and register here https://assembly2022.org/
Oct. 3 is World Communion Sunday! On that day, United Methodists will join Christians of different traditions to recognize our ecumenical oneness in Christ in a spirit of unity and peace. Prepare for your World Communion Sunday service by exploring the Pastor and Leaders’ Kit, full of helpful resources.Download now https://www.resourceumc.org/en/churchwide/umcgiving/special-sundays/world-communion-sunday-pastor-and-leader-kit
I Wonder As I Wander: Enjoy the beauty of the fall foliage and develop your photography skills during a retreat led by Rev. Dean Ziegler at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center from Oct. 11-13. Get brochure with details https://www.resourceumc.org/en/churchwide/umcgiving/special-sundays/world-communion-sunday-pastor-and-leader-kit
Tekyl to Speak in WPA: Save the date to hear the Rev. Dr. Terry Tekyl, author and “prayer evangelist,” when he’s in Western PA on Oct. 23-24. The Kane District is sponsoring his visit. He’ll offer two sessions on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Warren First UMC and one Sunday afternoon, Oct. 24 at Butler First UMC. Online registration will open Monday on the Conference website. Registration will open on the Conference website next week. Learn more about Terry Tekyl https://prayerpointpress.com/meet-terry-teykl/
Becoming People of One Book: The Rev. Dr. Steve Tuell, James A. Kelso Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament, will present Becoming People of One Book, to begin the annual Albright-Deering event at 10 a.m. on Nov. 3 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. In the afternoon, he’ll be joined by Rev. Chenda Innis Lee for conversation exploring ways in which our shared sacred texts can unite rather than divide. Get details and register. https://www.pts.edu/A-D-2122
"Tuesdays at the Table: Should I stay? Or should I go?" is a new discussion series for United Methodists, presented by the Connectional Table in cooperation with general agencies. As the church faces proposed separation and an ongoing pandemic, the weekly segments will explore topics aimed at helping viewers better understand their faith, their church and themselves. The sessions will premiere at 10 a.m. U.S. Central time Oct. 5-Dec. 21. Read press release herehttps://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/discussion-series-explores-what-it-means-to-be-united-methodist?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_Qj5rcWkuA1VPQF4dTi5fSYR5SMkrM6NHLlz7prVqBtUYXb1h6i0qyCDdL6o6uLhOmGv7rjyVBEZLi10ls8xw7hPsCO6L1dPFppgNXZBmKgoZDg
Advent Prep Event: To help church leaders prepare for Advent, the United Methodist Publishing House will hold a special online event Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern time with three of its most popular authors. The Revs. Adam Hamilton, Matt Rawle and Laceye Warner will discuss their new studies and what inspires them at Christmas.
Read press release and view featured studies here https://amplifymedia.com/advent-2021/?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_N_FccRqhxC4V33-jNrv7hhORBaFUzwfCSbzT7p_ZHQNbC_3JbEnJfCjG8detqAkMcOjkeqdylmfmfP50yhwctb_Fy8s_R51_3qq6uIkB4R0t9w
Register here https://signup.e2ma.net/signup/1951631/1904956/?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_N_FccdHvmKKB9ijYbRfZM2D5dnGbA_SE8kuoOVJjjZxVk596PMc3MQw-EEIyp2PATOnyZQy4JDGqSqGIrysG2fMLYBBONzAIjH9yIltVbO4jFg
Yes, We’ll Gather at the River: Wayne Dickert, a 1996 U.S. Olympic kayaker got in over his head when, while working as a raft guide and instructor at Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC, he asked his boss about holding a riverside worship service. He figured the answer would be “no.” But when it wasn't, Dickert, then a lay person, got help from his senior pastor and youth pastor to launch River of Life.” Now, he’s pastor of Bryson City United Methodist Church, and has conducted riverside services beside the Nantahala River for 15 years. Read more, see photos and a video here https://spark.adobe.com/page/bQzond9YoSdJj/
Safe Sanctuaries and Online Youth Groups: WPAUMC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator Amanda Gilligan offers things for you to consider, as well as resources to help, as you adapt your church’s Safe Sanctuaries policy to include online gatherings. Read her blog post.
Upcoming Youth Events: Mark your calendars for these Conference youth events:
Your church can apply for a Youth Service Fund grant! Need some money to help run or launch a youth-led program or mission trip? Apply at www.wpaumc.org/ysfapplication. Applications are accepted all year long.
50 Ways to Strengthen Your Ministry with Youth: This resource sheet from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is available to read or download in PDF.
YOUNG ADULT OPPORTUNITIES
Seeking US2 Missionaries: United Methodist Global Ministries is now accepting applications for the 2021-23 cohort of Global Mission Fellows on the US-2 track. The Global Mission Fellows program places young adults, ages 20-30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The US-2 track offers the opportunity in the United States. Learn more and apply.
WPA has a Young Adult Council who is available to encourage and resource local churches with your young adult ministry. Contact Amanda Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Connecting with Young Adults: In a recent, Leading Ideas, Discipleship Ministries’ Chris Wilterdink says a critical strategy for engaging young adults is to create discipleship opportunities and build relationships in the online communities where they are active. Within these spaces, the church can provide young adults an opportunity to explore identity, belonging, and purpose. Read more.
Facilities Use Agreement for Scouting: In a Sept. 3 email, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi advised leaders of churches who charter Scout troops not to renew their charter, but replace it with a Facilities Use Agreement. A denominational ad hoc committee has completed work on a Facilities Use Agreement for congregations. Copies are available from District offices. See Bishop’s September 3 email here https://wpa-email.brtapp.com/viewemail/3057321
Read latest on Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case here https://apnews.com/article/business-sexual-abuse-dover-boy-scouts-of-america-52cd5306ba5fffb4c622e91b752d5954
Did Your Church Charter a Boy Scout Troup? Because of the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) bankruptcy litigation, if your church is or ever was a chartering organization, file a proof of claim request. You do that by following the links in the notice on the Finance Announcements page of the Conference website.
The next Greene County Hymn Sing is October 10, 2021 6:00 P.M. at Union Valley UMC, November 14th is to be at First UMC Waynesburg though we have not had that confirmed from them.
Native Americans respond to vandalism: The caucus that advocates for Native Americans in The United Methodist Church said its members would pray for the vandals who tore down flag poles and toppled a memorial stone honoring veterans at a Native American church. The vandals caused thousands of dollars of damage at St. John United Methodist Church. Read story
Helping Afghans Through Ecumenical Partnerships: Despite the disturbing visuals from Afghanistan, one expert in Islamic-Christian relations said perceptions of Islam by Americans have improved over the past two decades. Through ecumenical partnerships on the ground, United Methodists continue to work to improve life for Afghans, as they have since the 1960s. Learn more
Celebrating Asbury’s Impact: The 250th anniversary of Francis Asbury’s crossing of the Atlantic from England to America is being celebrated jointly by the Methodist Church of Britain and The United Methodist Church. Special events were held Sept. 11-12 in Bristol, England, and the celebration will conclude Oct. 30-31 in Philadelphia. Read more from UMNews.
World Methodist Evangelism Celebrates 50 Years: In a global pandemic, World Methodist Evangelism is celebrating its 50th anniversary and continuing its work of equipping people to share Christ's love across continents. That work includes building a social media community around John Wesley's practice of prayer and fasting.
Read UM News story here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/supporting-wesleyan-evangelism-amid-pandemic
UM Men Magazine Celebrates Hanke: The Fall 2021 issue of UM Men magazine celebrates the contributions of Gil Hanke, who is retiring after 12 years as the top executive of United Methodist Men. The issue also includes six facts about John Wesley, Methodism's founder.
Download issue (PDF) here https://www.gcumm.org/files/uploads/UMMen_Fall21_2.pdf?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_ild5_2ELXcwpV456pr3eejJxziQCSY4ZHL1hl5nAamK2yuyXwDCAh-C5R9WHhMH48qJG8iNGxRwi5oZzj_PXSFfDgwbGh-A0jL6XoMKnMNTmnA
Pastoral Care in COVID Unit Leaves Lasting Impact: The Rev. Chris Yost, pastor of Wesley UMC in North Texas, has been spending four hours a week at a local hospital, donning personal protective equipment and providing counseling in the COVID and ICU units. In an essay, he recounts some of the harrowing and poignant scenes he's experienced while praying with patients, families and caregivers.
Read commentary here https://ntcumc.org/news/scenes-from-a-pandemic-leave-a-lasting-impact
10 Things Churches to Know About Cryptocurrency: Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries explains some basics in a stewardship post. Read it. here https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/10-things-your-church-may-need-to-know-about-cryptocurrency
COVID-19 Vaccination Inequities: The Connectional Table, which acts as a church council for the denomination, declared that addressing COVID-19 vaccine inequities is a United Methodist "missional priority." The leadership body hopes the church will target the disease with the same organized zeal as it has malaria and Ebola. Read story here
Black Churches Show Resilience Amid COVID: In June, Gammon Theological Seminary joined with five United Methodist organizations seeking to hear the voices of Black pastors and leaders who have faithfully led and served God's people amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. See what the research found. Read story here
UMMen Respond to Boy Scout Charter Issues: At an Aug. 26 meeting of the Scouting Committee of the Commission on United Methodist Men, attendees were informed that bishops and conference chancellors are advising local churches not to renew their charters with Boy Scouts of America units beyond Dec. 31. There are concerns that local churches may still have a risk of liability for damages in the BSA settlements related to charges of sexual misconduct. This delay gives denominational leaders time to work out an agreement with the organization.
Read UMM story here https://www.gcumm.org/news/united-methodists-urge-churches-to-delay-renewing-charters-with-boy-scout-units?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_R3r7chqGkxwTbJT_q5h-bpQNAfBnGP8DU4XVlQYQGV_y1cws3mlVwCbbLTmkECYg1DVUEuSw_pJ5unOC_DLMOLYS6p5YnJT1qI3TzUa86R6QzQ
UM News: BSA bankruptcy concerns church leaders here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/bsa-bankruptcy-concerns-church-leaders?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_R3r7cQRn276YPKAOi7jNJOdeSqQeXzG5-U7ErLyLH5Z48EJ3TH89E-RymhaHrjy5wCsGwIhL0lgoY92rLxCb0DZVMSZh5FmOAS_XwlBOSbxAgg
WPA Bishop’s Advisory: In a recent email, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi advised church pastors, as well as leaders who may be involved in administrative matters related to Scout troops, to not renew troop charters until the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy filing moves through the courts and more details are available on how any settlement might affect organizations chartering troops. Leaders were advised to only extend a charter to Dec. 31, 2021, or to replace it with a facilities use agreement. A sample of a facilities use agreement will be provided as soon as possible. An ad hoc committee set up by the denomination is monitoring the bankruptcy proceedings and will provide additional guidance when details are available. See the Bishop’s letter. here https://wpa-email.brtapp.com/viewemail/3057321
Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes: While we hear a lot of talk about wages, unemployment, and living from paycheck to paycheck, many in our churches and communities know very little about what it’s really like to live on a poverty-level income. To increase understanding and/or offer a reality check, the Conference Poverty Team invites clergy, laity and community leaders to participate in a Poverty Simulation on Saturday, October 9th at Clarks Mills UMC. Get details and Register now here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15298849?month=10&year=2021&day=1&display=m
Boarding School Healing Project: With recent discoveries of the bones of more than 1,000 children in mass graves on the grounds of church-run boarding schools, the Native American International Caucus of the UMC is calling on the Church to commit to seek the locations and records from the Methodist run boarding schools, search the properties for individual or mass graves, provide surviving family members with the information found, and listen to/collect the oral stories of those whose ancestors were impacted by a Methodist boarding schools. The Boarding School Healing Project designated October 6 as a Day of Remembrance. On that day in 1879 General Richard Pratt took children from First Nations and opened the boarding school in Carlisle, PA. Learn more here https://www.lakelandsinstitute.com/we-are-waiting/
Boy Scout Bankruptcy Affects Churches: As Boy Scouts of America moves through a bankruptcy process, it recently reached a tentative settlement agreement with survivors of sexual abuse. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. An ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations. That committee has some recommendations for chartering congregations as the process continues. Read press release here https://www.umc.org/en/content/bsa-bankruptcy-affects-united-methodist-congregations
Clergywomen Still Under-compensated: Since the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women began monitoring disparities in compensation for UMC clergy by gender, things got worse for women clergy before getting slightly better in 2020. In 2011, clergywomen, on average, made 13% less than clergymen; in 2015, it was 16% less. The 2020 study shows clergywomen made, on average, 11% less in salary. See the details here https://gcsrw.org/MonitoringHistory/WomenByTheNumbers/tabid/891/post/how-far-we-ve-come-and-the-distance-still-to-go-umc-clergywomen-are-still-significantly-undercompensated/Default.aspx
Bishops Fund Balance Improves: With increased giving and cost savings from retirements, the fund that supports United Methodist bishops is in better shape, and bishops will receive their first raise in three years. However, the denomination's financial leaders still warn of possible troubles ahead for the Episcopal Fund. Read story here
See GCFA press release here .gcfa.org/news/2021/august/gcfa-board-meets-virtually-for-summer-quarterly-meeting?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_E_w-8J9jTlcUQFyDEVwEyYlRJgOPi1W-J-vISJS89vNqlYnrK28RFPf4LDwcQ3USyyWxzY_xRO8t6DqAHVyd4EUj6BTn3BC1OQyzR9JdhQ4hyw
New Challenges for GC Planning: After two postponements, organizers continue working to hold General Conference next year. The business manager says staff know how important the coming legislative assembly is as the denomination weighs a potential split. However, the delta variant presents new challenges. Read story here
Road Trail! On September 4, walkers, runners and bikers will gather at 9 a.m. in Franklin to get on the Allegheny River Trail, raising raise funds for camperships and the Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching Camping Campaign. Ask your family, friends or church to sponsor you per mile or per event. Get details here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/2021-bike-a-thon-offers-options-15293087
Don’t forget to register here https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/2021BikeAThon
Download a sponsor form. here https://www.wpaumc.org/files/news/bike-a-thon+sponsor+contribution+form.pdf
Spiritual Growth Study: Registration is open for the new Mission u spiritual growth study -- Bearing Witness to the Kin-dom: Living into the Church’s Moral Witness through Radical Discipleship-- will be offered on four Wednesday evenings in October via zoom. Study leaders will be Deaconess Dr. Judith Pierre-Okerson, President of the Florida Conference UMW who has served on the boards of several General Church agencies, and Joyce Genz, retired dean of graduate and continuing studies at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. Learn more here
Hurricane Ida Flooding: PA Disaster Response Teams have been helping with flood clean-up in the Johnstown area, and Crossroads Church has been coordinating clean-up in Oakdale area.
How Faith Communities Support Migrants in PA: In a Facebook Live discussion, Joyce Davis, Coordinator for United Methodist Advocacy in PA, talked with those leading efforts to welcome and care for migrant children and families in Pennsylvania. Joyce, who is also Susquehanna Conference Lay Leader, led the discussion in her role on the editorial board of Penn Live. Watch and learn here https://www.facebook.com/PennLive/videos/1522600074756626
Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Crisis: The final withdrawal of the U.S. from Afghanistan on Aug. 30 does not mean an end to United Methodist concerns over the humanitarian crisis in that country and the plight of refugees facing resettlement. “There’s a strong mandate for us as Christians, certainly as United Methodists, to support those trying to flee violence and persecution,” says David Wildman, who as staff of the General Board of Global Ministries made occasional trips to meet with humanitarian partners in Afghanistan. Read more from UMCJustice.org here
Join in Active Waiting: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi suggests that United Methodists spend the time leading up to the next General Conference engaging in the spiritual exercise of active waiting. Rather than a time of anxiety and stagnation, active waiting for believers is a time to cooperate with what God is doing among us while preparing for new manifestations of God’s promises. Read her blog post here https://www.wpaumc.org/blogdetail/active-waiting-for-god-15426743
Washington District UMW has CANCELED its annual meeting on September 25, 2021 at California UMC. We are postponing this meeting until March, 2022. I hate to cancel, but I hope and pray that Covid will abate by then. In fact, I hope it will be GONE! When we planned the meeting, the situation was improving, but, unfortunately, that has changed. I will let you know when we have a new date.
The speaker was to be Dr. Barbara Hess and the program was to be "Peace in an Anxious World".
The Conference UMW annual meeting will be on October 23rd at Dutilh UMC in Cranberry. Registration will start at 9:30am, program at 10am, and the meetings ends at 3pm. Price for breakfast and lunch is $12. The program will be a video presentation be Emily Jones from the national office on racial justice. There will be communion and possibly a memorial service. More information will be forthcoming.
Assembly will be in Orlando, Florida from May 2022, 2022. Early registration will begin September 1, 2021 until November 30, 2021. The cost is $330. Our conference is reserving a block of 50 rooms for May 19, 20, and 21. Price per room per night is $198-$203 and can accommodate 4 people. More information will be forthcoming.
Spiritual Growth Study: A new Mission u spiritual growth study -- Bearing Witness to the Kin-dom: Living into the Church’s Moral Witness through Radical Discipleship -- will be offered on four Wednesday evenings in October via zoom. Study leaders will be Deaconess Dr. Judith Pierre-Okerson, a District Lay Leader and President of the Florida Conference UMW who has served on the boards of several General Church agencies, and Joyce Genz, retired dean of graduate and continuing studies at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. Registration opens Sept. 7. Learn more here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15404918?month=10&year=2021&day=1&display=m
The Loneliness Epidemic: Rev. Tom Parkinson, pastor of Dutilh UMC, joined Rev. Chris Morgan of Christ UMC in Bethel Park last week for a video discussion of loneliness in our society and how a relationship with Jesus can cure it. The video discussion was one in a series tied to Christ Church’s year-long Bible Adventure, (https://www.christumc.net/bibleadventure through which the congregation is challenged to read through the Bible, learn the stories and discover God’s plan for them. Watch Video here https://vimeo.com/showcase/7979364/video/591764079
The Loneliness Epidemic is the subject (and title) of Parkinson’s recently published book. here https://www.amazon.com/Loneliness-Epidemic-Church-Gravest-Sickness/dp/B09CF9SYL3/ref=mp_s_a_1_3
Ponderings from the Pastor’s Partner: For 35 of her years as a pastor’s wife, Cheryl Hildbold wrote newsletter articles reflecting on the intersection of faith and family life. She always wanted to share them in a book, but she passed away after a 5-year battle with cancer on June 1. Now, though, her husband Rev. Chuck Hildbold and family have made that book a reality. Learn more at ponderingsfromthepastorspartner.com
The book is available from the publisher through the website, search on Amazon or contact email@example.com.
Upper Room Resilience Conference: Healthy spiritual practices will be explored during an online conference designed to help participants be more resilient in the wake of difficult events like the coronavirus pandemic and racial upheaval. "Resilience: Healing Practices for Mind, Body and Spirit" is set for Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. Learn more here
Challenging the School to Prison Pipeline: The school-to-prison pipeline results from a disturbing trend in which students are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems for minor infractions of school rules. To increase understanding and seek solutions, Rev. Debra Mason will moderate a daylong seminar at Christ UMC in Bethel Park on Saturday, Oct. 9 with an array of knowledgeable speakers including Allegheny County President Judge Kim Clark, Woodland Hills School Superintendent James Harris, Gateway School Board Member Rev. Scott Gallagher. Get details and register at christumc.net/pipeline
Sofa Spirituality: Are you curious about your neighbors’ faith and their spiritual traditions? Would you like to explore your own spirituality? Sofa Spirituality can help you do both — 45 minutes at a time! A joint effort by the JCC Center for Loving Kindness and Christian Associates of SWPA, Sofa Spirituality can help you do both --45 minutes at a time. Join them Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 PM (Eastern) to watch a video and engage in dialogue. For a calendar of upcoming dialogues, registration information, and more: sofaspirituality.org.
Diverse Abilities Retreat: Rev. Sally Jo Snyder, an elder with more than 25 years experience in advocacy, will lead this annual event at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. Scheduled for Oct. 3-5, It’s designed for people living with disabilities and their caregivers. Get details.
How To Set Your Pastor’s Salary for 2022: This memo from the Cabinet and Commission on Equitable Compensation was emailed to pastors and local church leaders last Friday. It’s also available on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/formsandinformation or you can download it directly here. https://www.wpaumc.org/files/finance/forms+and+info/how+to+set+pastors+salary+2022.pdf
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
This event recurs Weekly from Wednesday, August 25, 2021 to Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Register here https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/Pushout
Despite increased attention to the mass and over-incarceration of black men, the plight of criminalized black women and girls is overlooked, underreported and under analyzed. Monique W. Morris' Pushout shows how even with obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities and beyond, and challenges the rest of us to do the same. The 2021 Mission u issue study is based on Morris' book.
Masks or Not? The Center for Disease Control recommends that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in places where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly. In Western PA, current maps show substantial or high spread only in Crawford and Lawrence counties. The CDC also recommends indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide. For more about guidelines and a map by county, see NPR health shots. here https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/07/28/1021795290/cdc-mask-guidelines-indoors-vaccinated-by-county-covid-spread
See what the recommendations mean for WPA at TribLive.here https://triblive.com/local/regional/what-the-cdc-mask-recommendations-mean-for-western-pennsylvanians/
Read GoErie story on Crawford County situation here https://www.goerie.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/07/28/stricter-face-masking-guidelines-could-coming-crawford-county/5398801001/
WPAUMC’s Abundant Health Team leaders continue to recommend following CDC and local health guidelines, considering conditions in your community, and taking steps to protect the most vulnerable during worship and other church activities.
The Cost of Staying Healthy: In a blog post for the Abundant Health Team, B.T. Gilligan looks at the UPMC Health Plan’s Book of Business to assess how making some lifestyle changes might result in better health and lower health care spending. Read his post here https://www.wpaumc.org/blogdetail/health-costs-15319899
Join Chris Kindle on the GAP Trail! Meet Chris and other supporters of our Camping and Retreat Ministries at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 24 to walk, run or ride all or part of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail between Rockwood and Confluence. It's the first of five Saturday outings that make up the 2021 version of the event formerly known as the Campership Bike-A-Thon. Get details and register. here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15304524?month=7&year=2021&day=1&display=m
2021 Bike-a-Thon Offers Options: Registration is open for the 2021 Campership Walk/Run/Bike-a-Thon to raise funds for the Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching Campaign supporting WPAUMC’s camps and retreat ministry sites. This year one-day events will be offered at five rails-to-trails sites in Western PA. Get details here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/2021-bike-a-thon-offers-options-15293087
Does Your Church Have a Safe Sanctuaries Policy? If not, there is a sample template you can use to develop one on the WPAUMC Safe Sanctuaries page. Download it. hee
Clergy Communities of Practice will launch in August. CCOPs are designed to help clergy build community, learn together, share ideas and concerns, and support each other. Clergy who have participated in a CCOP say they have been inspired to refresh their preaching, practice new prayer rhythms, use study material in other small group settings and engage in difficult conversations. Groups are offered all around our Conference, and now include two online groups and two focused on innovative ministry. Each group is limited to 10, so get details and register here
Considering Ministry in the UMC? Register for the Orientation to Ministry offered via Zoom on Tuesday, August 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. The Orientation is a requirement for anyone pursuing licensed or ordained ministry, but the session is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the broad range of opportunities, including service as a Certified Lay Ministry, professional certification, a local pastor, or ordained ministry. There is no registration fee. Get details and register. here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15278320
• CERTIFIED LAY SERVANTS
• The certified lay servant serves the local church or charge (or beyond the local church or charge) in ways in which his or her witness, leadership, and service inspires others to a deeper commitment to Christ and more effective discipleship.
• Provide leadership, assistance, and support to the program emphases of the church or other United Methodist ministry
• Lead meetings for prayer, training, study, and discussion when requested by the pastor, district superintendent, or Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
• Conduct, or assist in conducting, services of worship, preach the Word, or give addresses when requested by the pastor, district superintendent, or Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
• Work with appropriate committees and teams which provide congregational and community leadership or foster caring ministries.
• Assist in the distribution of the elements of Holy Communion upon request by a pastor.
• Teach the Scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of The United Methodist Church.
• Requirements for Certification:
• Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
• Lay Servant Ministries Basic Course
• Lay Servant Ministries advanced course
• District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure (¶668.3) approval
• Requirements for Renewal:
• Annual report and renewal application
• Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
• Lay Servant Ministries advanced course in the last three years
• District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure (¶668.3) approval CERTIFIED LAY SPEAKERS
A certified lay speaker is a certified lay servant whose call has been affirmed by the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure to serve the church in pulpit supply in accordance and compliance with ¶341.1 (2016 Discipline).
The certified lay speaker serves by preaching the Word when requested by the pastor, district superintendent, or Committee on Lay Servant Ministries, in accordance and compliance with ¶341.1.
Requirements for Certification:
Certified Lay Servant
Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
Completion of a track of study as defined in ¶267.3.c:
o Leading Worship
o Leading Prayer
o Discovering Spiritual Gifts
o United Methodist Heritage
o United Methodist Polity
o and/or other courses as determined by the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries
Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries approval after interview with and recommendation from the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries
Requirements for Renewal:
Annual report and renewal application
Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
Lay Servant Ministries advanced course in the last three years
Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries approval every three years after interview with and recommendation from the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries Washington District School of Lay Servant Ministries
Nov. 6th, 2021
8:00 AM. – 2:30 PM
Nov. 13th, 2021
8:30 AM. – 3:00 PM
Closing Service after final class
Pack a lunch to bring each day. Drinks will be provided.
October 1st, 2021
Paid in advance
If you were participating in one of the Spring 2020 classes and still have your textbook, you do not have to repay to take your class.
Advanced Registration Required
First United Methodist Church
29 N. College St
Washington, PA 15301
FALL COURSE OFFERINGS
The Basic Course
Rev. Richard Roberts and RoseMary Ozvath
This course is foundational for all courses in Lay Servant Ministries. Participants are encouraged to discover and employ personal spiritual gifts as God intended and to consider the importance of exercising servant leadership, developing future leaders, remaining rooted in consistent spiritual practices, and being part of a group that holds members accountable in their discipleship.
Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts
Pastor Patty McDaid and Brianna Kadlecik
The early church knew what today’s church is rediscovering: Christians depend on God’s Spiritual Gifts to provide the foundation for their ministry. This course is designed to help the participants learn more about how their spiritual gifts support their lay servant ministries.
Living Our United Methodist Beliefs
United Methodist Heritage
Rev. Michael Airgood and Debbie Moskal
This course will explore the special gifts of theology, witness and organization that The United Methodist Church brings to the church universal, how we got where we are today and how our distinctive emphases are still needed in the 21st-century church.
Wired That Way: How Personality Styles Impact Relationships
Rev. Jeff Vanderhoff
This class would look at the 4 main personality types, help us to identify our own type and tendencies, and to recognize traits in others that impact the way we interact with each other. Participants would learn skills of self-awareness, conflict management, and adaptability to become better communicators and problem solvers. This class will blend together modern psychology as well as Biblical study to see how the ways that God created (wired) us to be will help us (and others) grow as disciples of Jesus.
Leading A Bible Study
There are a variety of ways to lead a Bible Study. This class will explore a variety of ways and methods that will make anyone comfortable with taking the lead or facilitating a group. It will look at how to find resources and use them in settings that make all participants active and engaging.
Class members will participate in Bible study together as a group in order to explore the different approaches.
As the dates of the Fall, 2021 classes approaches, we will appraise what precautions
need to be taken because of COVID 19.
These precautions, if any, will be communicated to all those attending the classes.
FALL 2021 WASHINGTON DISTRICT
SCHOOL OF LAY SERVANT MINISTRIES
Choose One Course:
Rediscovering Spiritual Gifts
Living Our United Methodist Beliefs
United Methodist Heritage
Wired that Way: How Personality Styles
Leading Bible Study
If you were taking this course in spring of 2020 and you still have your textbook, you do not have to repay to take the class. Please check this box.
I am taking this course:
to become or remain a Certified Lay Speaker
to become or remain a Certified Lay Servant
Make checks payable to WASHINGTON DISTRICT.
Please include the registrant’s name and church on the check memo line. Enclose payment with registration and send to:
Washington District Offices
29 N. College Street
Washington, PA. 15301
To register on line, please go to:
To register on line, please go to:
Uth4Mission: More than 50 youth and leaders are registered for Uth4Mission, which runs from July 19-23. Jumonville will be home base for the week of worship, outreach and service, with work sites in nearby communities. Get details at wpaumc.org/youthevents.
UMVIM Summer Mission Academy, an opportunity to learn about the many ways you and your church can get involved in mission, is scheduled for July 27-August 7 online. Sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. See the schedule of program options and presenters here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fIEKejGt6haYUvicjzg5hsAHRXSWUmeP/view
Relaunching Ministry: Thousands of United Methodist churches in the U.S. are coming out from under pandemic restrictions, and amid the happy reunions, they’re assessing what they’ve been through and what comes next. Church leadership experts have become preachers in this moment, imploring clergy and lay leaders not to miss an opportunity for change. Read more here
Clergy Summer Getaway: Olmsted Manor offers WPAUMC clergy the opportunity to have some time away for a personal retreat or to spend time with immediate family with a 50 percent discount on lodging during July and August. Get details here https://www.olmstedmanor.org/clergy-summer-getaway.html
Do Everything for Christ! That’s one of the Top 10 principles recommended by the speaker at a Women’s Leadership Lunch and Learn event presented by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Rev. Dr. Susan Moudry wrote a blog post about it. here https://www.wpaumc.org/blogdetail/key-to-success-do-everything-for-christ-15291985
Welcoming a Woman Pastor: Mark your calendar for GCSROW’s next Women's Leadership Summit Lunch and Learn on Thursday, July 8 at 1PM ET. The discussion will focus on Welcoming a Woman Pastor. Download flyer with connection info here https://www.wpaumc.org/files/news/blogs/lunch+and+learn+july+8%2c+2021.pdf
Note for Local Pastors: Rev. Sara Wrona, the Local Pastor Registrar, is moving to a new appointment. Beginning July 1, all Course of Study registrations and mentoring reports should be sent to her new address: 251 Main Street, Leechburg, PA 15656.
Grants for Rural Churches: Rural churches can apply for $500 grants to be used to respond to specific needs in their communities. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. United Methodist Rural Advocates will notify the 10 grant recipients by Dec. 1. Read press release here http://www.umruraladvocates.org/ministry-awards.html?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF9tbP0fzY85R4E8PnbKLla9MTdI61SoPyCeCi54FIORBJzxgw9hAyZ2uVk-RXiw-gV67JPpVas71aUhiiA6uEUG8xq-FPJvp97GYhPy1GSQ2ciUA
Summer Licensing School: The 2021 Summer Residential Licensing School and CLM Training will be held at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center from Sunday evening, July 25 - Wednesday afternoon, May 4. A completed application with essays and a $100 (non-refundable) deposit must be received by the registrar before July 10, 2021. Priority will be given to Western PA candidates. Download the application at wpaumc.org/forms.
Upcoming Olmsted Events for Church Leaders
Church Admin Training
July 18-20, 2021
Leaders: Rev. Donna Doutt, Rev. Sharon Schwab, Liz Lennox
Youth Ministry Training
September 10-12, 2021
Leader: Dr. Duffy Robbins
Ace-UMC Partnership: The General Council on Finance and Administration has announced Ace Hardware as The United Methodist Church's newest vetted ministry partner. The partnership will allow churches to shop online and in local Ace Hardware stores and receive 10% off purchases. Read press release
Digital Ministry Guidebook: A new guide to copyright licensing and digital media strategies for churches is now available on the Conference website. PDFs will be e-mailed to each local church pastor on Friday. The guide, Navigating the World of Digital Media, was prepared by copyright attorneys with the firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney and funded through a grant from the United Methodist Foundation of Western PA.
See the guide in single-page format
See 2-page spread format
Diverse Abilities Retreat: Always Room for One More is the theme for the 2021 retreat presented by the WPAUMC Disability Concerns Committee and Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. It’s scheduled for Oct. 3-5 at Olmsted. Download a brochure here https://wpa-email.brtapp.com/files/news/e-news/2021+diverse+abilities+trifold+(1).pdf
RESURRECTION POWER-HOPE FOR ADDICTION
Introducing Resurrection Power!
Since 2001, Resurrection Power’s mission has been to “Carry the Message of God’s Love for People Affected by Addiction.” Our primary strategy to fulfill that mission is through the operation of four (4) recovery houses currently located in the city of Washington, PA. In these gender-specific homes, we provide men and women with a safe, supportive, structured, and spiritually focused environment for recovery. We currently serve more than 40 residents who come to live in our houses where they become a community, focused on learning how to live life without the use of drugs or alcohol, and to take their next step in their relationship with God.
We are a Christ-centered, 501c3 nonprofit organization originally co-founded by multiple congregations in Washington County. Our founding and still current Executive Director is Rev. Robert Hedges, who has served local congregations and the recovery community for more than 20 years.
Rev. Hedges would love to meet you to get to know you and your congregation, and to share more about this important ministry. Give him a call, and grab a coffee!
Rev. Robert Hedges, Executive Director
As you know, recognition for Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Speakers are reviewed annually and are required to complete a Lay Servant Ministries ADVANCED course in the last three years. Due to the cancellation of in-person class sessions in most of our WPA districts, our faithful Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Speakers current status should not be penalized.
After lengthy discussion, the Conference Leadership has made the decision to offer a UNIFIED "Grace Period" for WPA Annual Conference Lay Servant Ministries participants to complete required courses and annual reviews.
The UNIFIED Grace Period date is: Saturday, December 31, 2022. (yes year 2022)
Please be aware that the Washington District has cancelled all remaining Lay Classes for the year 2020 and will consider options next year.
The Cove is an arts-based youth drop-in center at Greenstone UMC in Avalon. It is an accessible, magnetically designed space for youth to experiment with various art expressions, all within an environment that cultivates discipleship.
Area young people, ages 12 to 18 are welcomed into the space Monday - Friday, 3pm to 6pm, by artists-in-residence that reside at Greenstone UMC's Home of the Nomad. The Home of the Nomad is an artistic hub for touring musicians & artisans as well, which has facilitated growth in Greenstone's young adult ministry.
Young people continue to be engaged through The Cove's ministry called "Skill Share." These are individual lessons in visual & performing arts that seeks to build disciple-making relationships between a young person and artist.
I am excited to announce that The Cove has a WPAUMC Advance Special Number. To support The Cove, checks can be made out to WPAUMC with the advance special "COVE" or "The COVE Art Center" in the memo line. Mail to 1204 Freedom Road, Cranberry Twp, PA 16066.
Fund Development Training: Space is still available for two events at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center co-sponsored by the United Methodist Foundation to help churches learn to tell their story and successfully fund ministry. The first, Telling Your Story with Charles Maynard is May 9-11. The second, Abundant Resources for Ministry with Dr. Amanda Stewart is June 13-15. There’s a discount if you register for both. Get details at olmstedmanor.org/events.html
Livestreaming and Licenses: During recent Clergy zoom Conversations and in phone calls and emails, church leaders have asked about licenses needed to legally livestream worship services. The denomination offers some guidance. Read article
ResourceUMC.org also offers some discussions and other info like this video
There is more detail in this discussion about livestreaming via multiple platforms.
Online Worship Permissions Extended: The UM Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through July 2021. Read press release
4/8/2021 Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds: Episode 5 of Rev. Chris Kindle’s Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds deals with a question on fingerprinting for those who work with children and vulnerable events. Watch it
NEW: Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds: Episode 4 of Chris Kindle’s series is posted on the Conference YouTube Channel. Watch it.
Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds: The third segment of Chris Kindle’s series is posted on the WPAUMC YouTube channel for you to view and download. See it.
Watch the full Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds playlist
Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds: The second installment of Rev. Chris Kindle's series of 60-second videos on various aspects of Pennsylvania laws aimed at protecting children and vulnerable adults was posted today. It talks about what clearances are needed and how often they must be renewed. See it here.
State Park Chaplains Needed: The Pa Council of Churches invites applications for individuals to serve as chaplains for summer campground ministry in Pennsylvania State Parks. The positions offer stipends of $4,950 for full-time and $2,595 for half-time summer positions, plus travel and other expenses. Candidates must be available from May 24 - Sept. 5, 2021. Get details
Apply at pachurches.org/ministries/campground-ministry/
Talking with God: United Seminary offers a 90-minute live webinar with Pastor Adam Weber, best-selling author and host of The Conversation podcast at 10:30 a.m., Thursday Sept. 13. He’ll share his guidebook on how to truly communicate with God. This is a webinar on prayer for the person who has heard it all, or possibly nothing at all, and simply wants their prayer life to grow. See details and register here https://united.edu/leading-voices/
Ministry with Retirees: Discipleship Ministries offers a webinar at 2 p.m.ET on September 30 exploring how churches can be more intentional about being in ministry with retirees and helping disciples age 50 and older be intentional about living with purpose in a new phase of life. Get details here https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/intentional-older-adult-ministry-with-retirees-and-those-considering-retirement
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 each year in the United States. The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has an infographic with facts about Hispanics' impact on the UM Church and suggestions for ways to celebrate. UM News’ overview about the month is in Spanish, but you can read it in English with Google Translate. See What is Hispanic Heritage Month? https://www.umnews.org/es/news/que-es-el-mes-de-la-herencia-hispana
See infographic https://www.r2hub.org/library/hispanic-heritage-month
A Day of Truth and Repentance: On Oct. 6, 1879, Gen. Richard Pratt forcibly removed First-Nations children from their homes and placed them in the Carlisle (PA) Indian Industrial School, which he founded. This year, the Church is called to observe October 6 as a Day of Truth and Repentance for Our Children. Bishops Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Sandra Steiner Ball suggested some concrete acts we can take as followers of Christ to begin a process a healing. Read more here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/oct-6-day-of-truth-and-repentance-15467482
Poverty Simulation Postponed: The Poverty Simulation scheduled for Oct. 9 at Clarks Mills UMC has been postponed by the Conference Poverty Team. Facilitators hope to reschedule in early 2022.
Risky Discipleship: Watch a video to learn the story of The Village at Glencliff, a unique respite care community for persons experiencing homelessness, and the risky discipleship required by the United Methodists who made it happen. Watch here https://www.umc.org/en/content/risky-discipleship-the-village-at-glencliff
Tips for Building Relationships: Elizabeth Mae Magill wanted to create a food ministry that wasn’t a charity, but a demonstration of Christ’s radical welcome. For months, she did street ministry to get to know food insecure neighbors, hear their stories, and build relationships. In Leading Ideas, she shares nine practical tips for meeting people and learning their needs. Learn more. here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/9-strategies-for-meeting-people-and-learning-their-needs/
Justice, Inclusion Efforts in Erie: An Erie Time-News columnist writes about methods Erie and other cities are using to examine racial justice and inclusion. Read column
Methodists Who Integrated Baseball: The man who integrated Major League Baseball had a little-known ally in his quest. Jackie Robinson had his Methodist faith, something he shared with Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey, who recruited him for the task. Robinson never publicly lost his composure while dealing with death threats, racial abuse and physical danger. Read UMNews story
Discipleship and Anti-Racism: Realize the connection and learn how to have courageous conversations on a difficult topic through a new online course from Discipleship Ministries. There’s no cost. See video and learn more here https://discipleship-ministries.teachable.com/p/courageous-conversations-racism-free
UMC Dismantling Campaign Hits One-Year Mark: The anti-racism work of the UMC is just getting started after one year of a Dismantling Racism campaign, say bishops and others. Upcoming initiatives include an anti-racism social justice agenda, more educational materials and an Advent devotional series. Read story here
2021 Native Immersion Experience: Registration is now open for The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) Immersion, scheduled for October 24-28, 2021 in Oklahoma City. The immersion experience provides history, context, and unique perspectives on Native peoples in the OIMC and their involvement with The United Methodist Church. In addition, their Native communities will proudly share their traditions and culture throughout the event. Learn more here http://www.umc-oimc.org/2021-immersion-experience-registration-now-open/
Expanding the Table is GCORR's new podcast on practicing anti-racism. In episode 2, three Asian-American Christian theologians examine the history and current realities of anti-Asian racism in the United States and what every Christian should know and do.
Listen or Watch video here https://www.r2hub.org/library/podcast
Sweet Hour of Prayer: “The first time I participated in fixed-hour prayer, I felt like I had come home to a place I had never been and yet a place in which I truly belonged,” writes Ruth Hayley Barton. In a Beyond Words reflection, she explains how fixed-hour prayer nourishes the soul. Read more here https://transformingcenter.org/2016/05/sweet-hours-of-prayer-how-fixed-hour-prayer-nourishes-the-soul/
Disciple-Making Resources: Discipleship Ministries offers a variety of free resources for church leaders and individuals to use. See what’s available and download here https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/annual-conference-virtual-presence
Leading Amid Mask and Vaccine Controversy: Navigating the complicated and divisive issues of vaccines and mask-wearing has made ministry during this pandemic even more fraught for many pastors and congregations. Doug Powe and Jessica Anschutz of the Lewis Center say the key question is how we can be God’s ambassadors in the midst of this tension. They outline four strategies to reframe the debate. Learn more here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/leading-amid-controversy-over-masks-and-vaccines/
Need Help with Social Media? Using social media to reach new people might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If your church could use some help with social media marketing, apply to UM Communications to receive free one-on-one coaching and/or Facebook Ads assistance tailored to your church’s unique needs. Learn more and apply here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/agencies/communications/services/local-church-marketing-services
Resource UMC shares a collection educational and practical resources gathered by the Virginia Conference that will boost our understanding and ability to care for refugees. See resources
Church World Service, a UMC partner organization, is one of the agencies actively working to welcome refugees. Learn more here https://cwsglobal.org/take-action/afghan-siv-and-refugee-program/
Rebuilding Church Choirs after a Pandemic: As churches begin to re-open, it's time to think about how we will welcome back our choirs. Several guest writers share their experiences as we plan for rebuilding church choirs after the pandemic. Read More!
New- Clergywomen Still Under-compensated: Since the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women began monitoring disparities in compensation for UMC clergy by gender, things got worse for women clergy before getting slightly better in 2020. In 2011, clergywomen, on average, made 13% less than clergymen did. In 2015, it was 16% less. The 2020 study shows clergywomen made, on average, 11% less in salary. See the details
Boy Scout Bankruptcy Affects Churches: As Boy Scouts of America moves through a bankruptcy process, it recently reached a tentative settlement agreement with survivors of sexual abuse. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. An ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations. That committee has some recommendations for chartering congregations as the process continues. Read press release
Rural Churches Can Thrive! While the demise of small, rural churches sometimes seems irreversible as United Methodist faithful grow older, there are ways to revitalize these congregations by focusing on what their communities most need. Bigger and younger is not always better, say some United Methodist experts. Read story
What’s Critical Race Theory? Our denomination’s Religion and Race resource library has a page that defines the construct and offers some information that Christians should know about it. There’s a video and some helpful infographics to download. Check it out here https://www.r2hub.org/library/what-is-critical-race-theory
World Photography Day: For World Photography Day on August 19, United Methodist Communications offers a variety of photographic resources for local churches. There’s a searchable media library of downloadable images, a training course on Capturing Better Smartphone Photos, a video tutorial on making photo slideshows and articles with tips for taking better pictures. Take a look
Facing Emotional Chaos? Men who find themselves in emotional chaos can find a way out. Prayer, forming an intentional relationship with Christ and engaging in accountability relationships with other men are key steps toward emerging from a dark stretch, the Rev. Rick Vance said during a presentation at a retreat sponsored by the Commission on United Methodist Men. Read report on retreat here https://www.gcumm.org/news/weekend-retreat-helps-men-cope-with-chaos?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-1hiugPzXB2JfmaKdXdz3yeWDg0Wk3wxxERBrKQLm1vLhTsC718rLRmJA_Du78Atdur3iC1qkXHX4qyo7gPwQKrA17mznW6nLTc5KmOnCeYHfQw
Jesus' Model of How to Unplug: When Jesus took time for spiritual renewal, he went into the wilderness, writes the Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter. She suggests that to connect with God, Christians take some time away from their laptops, calendars and smartphones. Read commentary here https://rebekahsimonpeter.com/unplugged-like-jesus?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-0PJRg3cwBGhBsQC4r1PnDITL8AQuO7Zd6JSlr3TTKvDJ0MLLl4ktV_bc4flHe8PfuivbwyrX8_A579JHPhPeunNESo7L8u-JwismZBjWpuIeJw
Talking About Money in Church: Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership writes that churches can promote financial transparency and enhance generosity by addressing the often-taboo subject of money more openly and faithfully. She offers seven practical strategies to improve the tone of your conversation around money and giving. Learn more.here
Cultivating Generosity: One of the best ways to inspire giving to fund ministry is sharing stories of how lives have been changed, but there are pitfalls, says Joe Park of Horizon Stewardship. See what they are here https://www.horizons.net/blog/eight-common-pitfalls-in-offering-talk-storytelling
Discussing Christian Nationalism-Carefully: The Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol spurred a new Courageous Conversations resource from Discipleship Ministries. It is designed to help United Methodists talk about Christian nationalism while maintaining civility. Read more here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/discussing-christian-nationalism-carefully?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-p78nBblPcyPDDZr4NT3JNOticqvBbhoXwNedJM_n_BRuSw7K62eSzM_eqla5pWOlYR0l8l1hH1V0-43Ulsm2kSuJnGnnaIVRU-yOsyl1v7Vh_A
The Caring Congregation offers guidance on the best Christian practices to help people move through life’s challenges. The method of care is based on a team approach that empowers both pastors and laity (serving as Congregational Care Ministers or CCMs) working together to support the congregation and community. Learn more and listen to podcasts at thecaringcongregation.com
Want to Connect with New People? Focus on the people God has already put in your path, says Ann MIchel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Learn more here
Want to Use Zoom to connect with church members and the community? If you don’t already have an account, you can be a part of United Methodist Communications’ Enterprise-level account. Features include up to 500 participants, no time limits, webinar functionality and much more; licenses are valid through April 19, 2022. Get details here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfiEU0OXGR432ZEdD2BjGGReFeptUZIVEQsyAeGzcIsLveFPg/viewform
Facilitating Hybrid Worship: The global pandemic has changed the way we think about and do worship. The new reality is there are congregants who are as comfortable at home in their pajamas as others are sitting in the pews. If you’re trying to figure out a hybrid worship model, Jeremy Steele has some tips. here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/hybrid-worship
NEW - CLERGY TITLES
Earlier this year, because of a number of questions, the Bishop clarified some confusion over the titles used for various types of clergy. Here is a copy of her letter that was distributed. Please use it for your reference and for clear communication:
Pastor - In the United Methodist Church, this title is reserved only for those who are under appointment by a bishop. It also can be used in retirement by those who have been ordained or have completed the Course of Study. This title cannot be used by persons hired by local churches.
Reverend – Use of this title is not necessarily governed by United Methodist polity. However, historically it is reserved for those who have earned a Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies degree or completed the requirements for Associate Membership.
Licensed Local Pastor - This term applies to those who have been issued a license by a bishop in the United Methodist Church.
Minister - This term can be used to refer to persons hired by churches to provide ministerial type services. For example, Minister of Music, Youth Minister, Minister for Pastoral Care would be appropriate for laypersons or clergy from another denomination who are not serving under appointment, but, rather, have been hired by the local congregation. This title can also be used for Certified Lay Ministers who volunteer in local churches or are hired by District Superintendents to provide pulpit supply.
Deacons are a diverse population of clergy. If a Deacon has been appointed to serve as pastor of a local church, the title of pastor is appropriate. If a Deacon serving in extension ministry has been granted sacramental rights, they can be referred to as a pastor. Beyond these absolutes, Deacons can use the title of pastor if they choose because they are, in fact, under appointment in a clergy role. Some Deacons, however, prefer not to be referred to as pastor, so when in doubt, ask. It is always appropriate to refer to a Deacon as Reverend.
I hope that these descriptions provide clarity as we seek to be more consistent and transparent in all that we do as an annual conference. As always, if you have any questions you may ask your District Superintendent. Members of the Board of Ordained Ministry can also answer your questions regarding appropriate titling - particularly regarding changes in the title as persons navigate the ordination process.
-Copyright Extended: The United Methodist Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through December 31. This includes the use of the Common English Bible. Read the press release.
Still in Mission! Katie Peterson, a Church and Community Worker who is director of our Eastbrook MIssion Barn, will be one of the four missionaries featured during Global Ministries’ Still in Mission conversation on September 16. Laity and clergy are invited to connect with missionaries as they share the joys and challenges they’ve experienced. The conversation via Zoom is at 12 noon on Thursday, Sept. 16. Register here https://gbgm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrc-2opj0rHNQohc0qORZEYCLDxZtMtUS_
How to Help in Haiti: In response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on August 14, The United Methodist Committee on Relief has awarded grants to provide urgently needed medical supplies. Read more and see how to help here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/umcor-issues-grants-for-haiti-response-15389681
UMCOR Partners to Aid in Afghanistan: Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief have long-standing partners in Afghanistan, with projects and programs dating back to the mid-1960s. The work has been in partnership with local Afghan communities, as well as other humanitarian agencies. UMCOR is working with these partners to determine what assistance is most helpful at this time and the best avenue for ensuring humanitarian relief reaches the country. Through one project, UMCOR will provide cash assistance to displaced families residing in the Kabul area, enabling them to prioritize urgent needs such as food, shelter or medicine. To support UMCOR’s response in Afghanistan donate online at umcmission.org/advance-project/982450/ or by check sent to Global Ministries/UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068, with Advance #982450 noted on the memo line.
Tennessee Flooding: "When disaster strikes, The United Methodist Church always responds," writes Tennessee Conference Bishop William McAlilly in his blog. In the past 18 months, his episcopal area has endured a tornado, COVID-19, a Christmas Day bombing and now catastrophic flooding that has claimed more than 20 lives. Noting that the area is not yet safe for untrained volunteers to enter, McAlilly recommends that the best way to help right now is to donate money for relief efforts. Read story here
Flooding Reminder: If you have any local flooding that impacts homes or churches, contact your District Superintendent or David Kissinger, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 814-243-3254. The Conference Disaster Response Team(s) are prepared to assist with cleaning homes and helping people that may be impacted by the remains of any Hurricane or storm.
UMVIM Leader Training: Two virtual trainings for certification as a United Methodist Volunteer in Mission Team Leader have been scheduled for the Fall of 2021. The training is designed to equip participants to plan and lead VIM teams locally, nationally, or internationally. The Fall dates are Sept. 25 and October 23; both begin at 10 a.m. Get details at wpaumc.org/VIMTraining
Empowering Women as Leaders: The speaker for the August 7 session in our new Leadership Development webinar series is the CEO of the denomination’s Commission on the Status and Role of Women, but the webinar is definitely not for women only. It’s open to all laity and clergy. Much of the discussion will focus on how to empower women to lead in local churches or other ministry contexts. Get details and register. here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15273991?month=8&year=2021&day=1&display=m
Leadership Development Series: Dawn Wiggins Hare, the chief executive of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, will facilitate the first in a series of Conference-sponsored online Leadership Development Workshops for clergy and laity. It’s scheduled for August 7, 2021. Learn more here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/leadership-workshop-series-launches-august-7-15305017
Get details and register for August 7 /workshop here https://www.wpaumc.org/eventdetail/15273991?month=8&year=2021&day=1&display=m
Leadership Development Workshop: On Saturday, August 7, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., the Conference will launch the first in a series of Leadership Development workshops open to all laity and clergy. The sessions will offer participants a chance to develop skills, mindsets, and knowledge, aimed at increasing capacity for disciple-making in local church ministry. Learn more and Register
We Need Somebody to …! Even after a church leader clearly explains the need for “somebody” to volunteer for a worthy mission or task, many times no one signs up. Doug Powe of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers some far more effective ways to generate interest. Read There are no Volunteers Named Somebody. here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/there-are-no-volunteers-named-somebody/
50 Ways to Increase Active Engagement: Strong and growing congregations typically have a high percentage of people who are actively involved in learning, serving, and leading. This resource offers tips to help you lift up the ministry of volunteering in your congregation. Read, download and share. here https://www.churchleadership.com/50-ways/50-ways-to-increase-active-engagement/
Digital Worship Myths: Tim Snyder of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership says it’s time to set aside some common misconceptions about digital worship. He suggests three that are not borne out in research or practice. Learn more
50 Ways to Strengthen Adult Education: Vital churches provide ways for people of all ages to grow in faith through learning. These 50 ideas from the Lewis Center can help your congregation build a strong program of Christian education for adults. Read or download
#BeUMC: United Methodist Communications, in collaboration with denominational leaders, is building on the People of God campaign with a new hashtag and call-to-action – #BeUMC – invites church members to embody the church’s values, embrace its aspirations, and remain with The United Methodist Church even in difficult times. Read press release
Social Media Rules of Engagement: Social media can be a great place to share faith and build community, but care is required. When engaging on social media, take a cue from John Wesley. Learn more and watch video
Social Media Day: UM Communications will celebrate Social Media Day on June 30 with free learning opportunities throughout the day, including a special live learning session Q&A at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Read press release
At-Home Bible Study for Kids: Illuminate Bible Series is a new daily curriculum that encourages kids to engage with God’s Word while giving them the assurance they need during difficult times and the tools to grow in their knowledge and love for the Lord! Each book contains 32 week-long studies designed to lead students in grades 1–12 to a deeper understanding of the prominent stories and vital teachings found in Scripture. Learn more at Cokesbury.com
What Is God Like? The late author Rachel Held Evans’ first children’s book, released on June 15, a week after what would have been her 40th birthday, is a picture book aimed at ages 3 to 7. It’s full of colorful, whimsical illustrations by Ying Hui Tan and was completed by best-selling children’s author and friend Matthew Paul Turner. Read Religion News Service story here https://religionnews.com/2021/06/15/what-is-god-like-late-author-rachel-held-evans-first-childrens-book-invites-questions/
See WPAUMC’s guide to copyrights and licensing Navigating the World of Digital Media: Practical Copyright Licensing & Digital Media Strategies for Virtual Ministries, prepared by copyright attorneys with the firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney.
It is available in PDF in a two-page reading spread here https://www.wpaumc.org/files/communications/wpaumc_virtualministryguidebook2021-spreads.pdf
or an 8.5x11" single-page format. herehttps://www.wpaumc.org/files/communications/wpaumc_virtualministryguidebook+-2021-singlepageformat.pdf
Do’s & Don’ts of Digital Worship: Tim Snyder of the Lewis Center staff suggests it’s a good time for congregations to reassess their approach to online worship. He offers five “dos and don’ts” for churches looking to make digital worship a permanent element of their ministry. See what they are here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/5-dos-and-donts-to-make-the-most-of-your-digital-worship/
Digital Discipleship: As Christians, we aim to share grace and love wherever we are - even online. Learn how in this Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast episode. here
Copyright Extended: The United Methodist Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through Dec. 31. This includes the use of the Common English Bible. Read the press release. here https://www.umph.org/News/ArtMID/471/ArticleID/56/UMPH-Extending-Permission-to-Use-Resources-for-Online-Worship-through-December-31-2021
Ever Check Your Find-A-Church Page? People sometimes search online for information about churches in your zip code, so take a moment to update your profile today. Extend invitations, share details about worship services and link to your website and social media pages. Visit Find-a-Church here https://www.umc.org/en/find-a-church
7 Reasons Not to Abandon Online Services: Thom Rainer says it is a mistake for churches to give up their digital or streaming services after returning to in-person worship. He outlines seven reasons online worship can augment your place-based worship and reach the community. Read more
Digital Ministry Training: Have you watched UM Communication’s Local Church Learning Sessions? Each session explores a different online ministry tool or topic, such as social media, livestreaming, online giving, Zoom, and text messaging. See what’s available.
Building Relationships in Online Meetings: Virtual relationships can be meaningful, but you have to work a little harder. UM Communications offers some fresh ideas to help. See what they are
Need Help with Online Ministry? UM Communications has seen demand for online church leader training double amid COVID-19 and they’ve stepped up to launch a new set of courses to assist leaders with creating and maintaining engaging online worship experiences in a socially distanced world. Check out what’s offered.
Tips for Connecting in the Digital Realm: As many churches have learned recently, digital platforms provide opportunities to reach more people through listening, prayer, storytelling, and evangelism. Tim Snyder of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers six tips to strengthen digital outreach and build relationships that might be as strong as our face-to-face ones. See 6 Tips for connecting in the Digital Realm
Need a Church Website? If your church doesn’t have a website, you’re invited to apply for a Website Development Package from United Methodist Communications. It includes one year of web hosting and domain name registration, WordPress online training and support,pre-designed templates and email accounts and storage. Get details.
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/
W.W.W is My Parish! Next Monday's session of our Zoom series will focus on connecting with and engaging people in your neighborhood through virtual ministry. Special guests will be the Revs. Kendra Balliet,
John Balliet, Pam Gardner and Karen Rohrer, director of the Church Planting Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Learn more and register.
Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being, a new personal money management curriculum guided by Wesleyan values that seeks to promote financial wellness with clergy and laity, is now available. It was created through the Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative, a United Methodist effort to assist U.S. clergy with financial well-being from the first steps of discerning a call to ministry through retirement. Learn more
5 Ways to Grow New Leaders: Ann Michel of the Lewis Center suggests ways churches can breathe life into stagnant leadership structures by employing simple organic approaches to leadership development. The key is understanding how formal and informal leadership systems can work together in a healthy leadership culture. Read more.
UMW Updates: New application forms for Christian Vocation scholarships, 2021 Mission Today and Mission Study certifications, and a form for the UMW leadership Talent Bank have been posted at wpaumc.org/UMWomen.
Hashtag Hints: Hashtags, those words after a # on social media posts, are where social engagement happens. The goal is to capture the theme or idea behind an event or topic in one or two words. But choosing a hashtag requires some thought. Jeremy Steele offers some best practices.
Need a Website--or a New Look? If your church doesn’t have a website or would like to start over with a fresh, modern website UM Communications offers three Website Development Package options.They include training. See what they are
Feeling Stuck in Sameness? In the latest episode of the "Compass Podcast” from UM communications, Tony Caldwell, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, discusses resilience and how to identify ways we can move forward in hope when so many of our circumstances feel stuck in sameness. Listen to podcast
UMC Education Showcase: If you or a family member is preparing to take the next step in an educational journey, you may want to check out this showcase of United Methodist-related seminaries, colleges and universities.
Assessing Church Security: The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released an easy to use assessment tool to help houses of worship identify and address facility security concerns. Find it and other resources on the Faith Based Organization-Houses of Worship (FBO-HOW) resource page.
Paycheck Protection Program: You still have a day to register for the Conference Zoom meeting with info on the second round of PPP loans on Friday, January 29 at 10 a.m. If your church is considering applying for a second draw PPP loan, refer to this guidance from the SBA to ensure you qualify before making any decisions.
To register for the January 29 meeting, click here
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
Back to School Anxiety and COVID: To help parents and students better understand the issues and the risks involved in returning to the classroom, PennLive and the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg will co-host a “Back to School” webinar at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, featuring educators as well as parents and experts in mental and emotional wellness. Nicole Kirksey, MSW, Associate Lay Leader in the Susquehanna Conference, will be one of the panelists. Joyce Davis, coordinator of UM Advocacy in ... read more
Although Pennsylvania's mask mandate was lifted on June 28, some businesses and public facilities such as mass transit still require masks. Overall, the latest advice from Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the Abundant Health Team still applies: Exercise caution and consider the vaccination rate and other conditions in your area and among your congregation in resuming worship and other group activities. In a May 17 e-mail to church leaders, the Bishop shared guidelines to consider. Here is the ... read more
Conference Announcements Updated Dec. 11, 2020. Our Bishop and District Superintendents urge church leaders to follow current state and local health mandates and guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to consider the risk to the most vulnerable in our churches and communities in determining whether to hold in-person worship services. On Dec. 11, 2020, after Gov. Tom Wolf issued a temporary executive order reducing the number of people permitted to gather both indoors and ... read more
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The Eastbrook Mission Barn is one of six UMCOR Relief Supply Network depots across the United States.
Mission Barn & UMCOR Supplies- Due to Annual Conference in June being cancelled and therefore the UMCOR collection, Mission Barn Director Katie Peterson is looking for a church willing to be the collection point for their district for UMCOR supplies, cleaning buckets, and hygiene kits on a one or two time basis this summer. Preferably they can keep track of what church brought the donations and then store the kits and supplies in a secure location. People can bring the kits and supplies from the collection directly to the barn or the conference center, or she can arrange to send a truck or trailer to pick them up. Contact: Katie Peterson
Laura Saffell - September 30