WPAUMC Welcomes Visitors from Zimbabwe
Learn how to help tornado survivors.
WPAUMC Members Work to Stop Hunger Now.
Disciple-Making Must Be Top Prioirty for Church, Bishop Says
Interlink Printer Ceases Operations
“This disciple-making venture is a very tough nut to crack,” Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton declared in his State of the Church address at a Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference focused on the theme Disciples Making Disciples.
“We have spent countless hours developing theories, statements and catch words that affirm our belief in this theme,” he said on the opening day of the June 13-16 gathering. Yet, he added, we continue to struggle.
“The drive to grow our churches with disciples seems to, at times, be an afterthought in our worship and yearly planning,” the Bishop said.
“On one extreme, we have churches that are so good at getting people to come to church that they downplay that true discipleship is about commitment, theology, stewardship, and clear expectations of what it takes to be a disciple," he noted. “On the other we have churches who state very clearly that they don’t want anyone coming to our church because we like it just the way it is.”
Citing examples of disciple-making throughout scripture, the Bishop noted that biblically speaking, “Disciple-making is about offering someone the possibility of a better life, a way to move beyond our sin into a fresh start. It’s about offering people a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit and a way to understand that conversion is a possibility for even the worst of offenders.”
Although United Methodist theology puts us in a unique position to do this in the 21st Century, the Bishop said, there are “quiet, subtle ways that evil has lulled us to sleep. That presence of evil sitting on the back pews of our churches and lurking quietly in our minds and heart causes us to put more priority on a meeting or piece of legislation than on how we create a posture that will cause us to make disciple-making THE priority of every church meeting and motion we make.”
Bishop Bickerton offered some ways to reposition our congregations to prioritize disciple-making:
“We can’t be leaders who tell our people to ‘do what I say.’ We have to be leaders who invite people in a journey of ‘doing what I do.’… The disciple-making ministry must be driven by clergy who make it a part of every conversation that takes place in the local church you are serving… The disciple-making ministry begins with those who are set apart, ordained & licensed to serve. There is a higher standard set for you – this is what you do – this is who you are.”
"Laity are the best disciple-makers in the world. You are the ones who interact with the people of the world. They are your co-workers, your neighbors, your friends. It is our calling as Christians.” The Bishop cautioned, though, that Sunday piety must be demonstrated throughout the week. He quoted from the old hymn, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
“I do not believe that we are doing what Jesus Christ and John Wesley intended for us to do: communicate the gospel! And, as a result, we have gotten back what we have communicated that we expect….High expectation churches state clearly what it means to be a disciple and, as a result, they grow. We need to raise the level of accountability.”
“We don’t win converts by telling people how bad they are. And, we don’t make disciples by asking little of them. We make disciples when we tell the story: I was down and out and I found Amazing Grace. It becomes magnetic when the culture of your congregation moves from telling the story of how bad it is to embracing the story of how good Jesus is! It multiplies when we tell the story of how little I thought of myself and how much love lifted me!”
“Our struggle in disciple-making in Western Pa. might be summarized very simply: We are not asking anyone to take us up on the offer of Jesus Christ making a difference in their lives. Have you been asked by someone else what difference Jesus has made in your life?”
Potential disciples are hunting for hope, joy, peace, a place of acceptance and love. Churches that have a vision of their churches inviting people into the heart of God and work a plan to do it are churches that grow.
“You can be the best disciple-maker God has ever used if you have a willing heart to let God direct your path, not you.”
Often people are put in leadership positions simply because they are willing. “They may be well trained and have willing hearts. But are they disciples? Do they live a disciple-making life? Do they pray daily for their church to become more inviting? Friends, we need disciples in leadership.”
The Bishop urged pastors and church members to engage people in conversation wherever they go and to “pray with me that somehow something will be said or done that will cause us to go home better able to see the need, sense the call, discern the vision and work the plan of disciples making disciples in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Further, he urged conference members to:
Every day, an estimated 25,000 people die from hunger and related illnesses. United Methodists gathered at Grove City College for their Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference from June 13-16 took time to help do something about it.
Many of the 1800 members and youth volunteered time packing meals for Stop Hunger Now, an international relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other lifesaving aid to countries in need around the world. As of 2 p.m. on Friday, June 14, the goal of 25,000 meals from was reached!
The meals consist of a combination of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and flavoring mix that contains 21 vitamins and minerals. The food is reconstituted with water and can be supplemented with flavorings used in the country receiving them.
The meals are used in developing countries in schools, orphanages and in crisis situations. Each meal costs 25 cents. It sometimes may be the only meal a child or adult receives in a day.
2012 statistics show that there are 66 million primary school-age children who attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone. In addition, thee are 67 million school-age children who do not attend school. Poor households must often choose between sending their children to school or to work the fields, according to the World Food Programme.
Research reported by the World Bank shows that providing in-school meals, mid-morning snacks, and take-home rations through school feeding programs can alleviate short-term hunger, increase children’s abilities to concentrate, learn, perform specific tasks, and has been linked to an increase in the enrolment of girls.
"We do most of our distribution through schools because we can get children into school for the food and education will help them get food for the future," Andrew Sullivan of Stop Hunger Now told members of the annual conference.
The meals are put together in a sort of assemly line, wieghed, sealed in bags, then packed in cartons for shipping.
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton urged members to volunteer 15 to 20 minutes during the conference, even giving permission for members to miss a portion of the business. "It's worthwhile and important and it's fun," he said. "And one of the ways we make disciples is to provide for bodily needs."
Among the first to volunteer Thursday were a group of clergy spouses and youth who were serving as pages for the conference.
When a panicked member of Keystone United Methodist Federal Credit Union rushed into the credit union’s office on a recent Tuesday afternoon, staff members were quick to react.
The member told them he had received a call from his grandson who needed money immediately as bail to get out of jail on drug charges in Haiti. His grandson also told him not to tell anyone else in the family about this incident, but to wire the money to him right away.
The story immediately set off a warning for Darlene Jewett, KUMFCU customer service representative, who was the first person to talk to the member when he entered the credit union’s offices in the United Methodist Conference Center in Cranberry Township.
“He told me he had been praying and praying for guidance about what to do while he was driving to our office,” said Jewett. Suspecting that there was something fishy about the call, Jewett immediately consulted with other staff members.
“We asked him if he was sure that the voice on the phone was his grandson,” said Patti Columbe, CEO. “He thought it was, but wasn’t 100 percent sure.”
Armed with the knowledge that this is a common and increasingly popular form of telephone fraud, officially referred to as the “grandparent scam,” staff members promptly notified local FBI sources who verified that the call was an attempt to steal money from the member.
According to the FBI, the grandparent scam has been around since 2008, but with the increase in popularity of social networking sites and the availability of personal information on the internet, scam artists have become more sophisticated in their ruse.
“As a loving grandparent, this credit union member wanted to do everything in his power to help his grandson, and he panicked,” said Columbe. “I’m just so glad that our staff recognized a scam when they heard the story and reacted quickly to help him.”
For more information about this type of scam, visit http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/april/grandparent_040212.
The Western PA Conference welcomed 13 leaders from the Zimbabwe East and Zimbabwe West conferences to Western Pennsylvania on May 29 for a 20-day visit that will include visits to Western PA ministry sites, churches and landmarks.
After a two days for rest and orientation and touring the Pittsburgh area,each Zimbabwean visitor will be paired with a Western PA counterpart who will act as host for a week. The group includes lay leaders, district superintendents and pastors. All will attend the Western PA annual conference session at Grove City College from June 13-16, then travel to regional sites of interest. Each district will host at least one visitor, usually someone from a partner district in Zimbabwe.
This is the first visit to Western PA for a delegation from Zimbabwe. Western PA leaders participated in a mini-immersion in Zimbabwe in December of 2010, and last summer seven laity and clergy spent six weeks with host families there.
The guests and their host districts include:
Mr. Tinashe Felix Makarau- Harare East-Johnstown
Rev. Joseph Bonga- Chimanimani-Chipinge DS-Greensburg
Mrs. Alice Matiza- Episcopacy Chair, Harare West - Pittsburgh
Mr. Singiyaphumula Doitwell Mlambo- MUMC Chair, Harare West - Connellsville
Rev. Daniel Mutidzawanda- Mutasa Nyanga DS -Washington
Rev. Farirayi Margaret Nyabote – Bulawayo Midlands DS –Erie-Meadville
Mrs. Molly Hlekani Mwayera – ZEAC Lay Leader -Butler
Rev. Musafare Mususa – Masvingo DS -Kane
Rev. Zebediah Tendayi Marewangepo – Assistant to the Bishop- Butler
Mr. Shadreck Mataruka – ZWAC Lay Leader-Indiana
Rev. Pathias Hlahla – Makoni-Buhera DS -Franklin
Mrs. Dianah Chideya – ZWAC Associate Lay Leader- Pittsburgh
Following the conference, Gordon said GBOD will offer ongoing training through webinars and group sharing via multiple media outlets.
A mission education and hands-on mission event co-sponsored by the Western PA Conference and the United Methodist Women. There are program tracks for adults, children accompanied by adults, youth in Grades 6-8 and youth in Grades 9-12. Study and activity options for adults include:
Spiritual Growth Study - Living Sacramentally, Walking Justly
Geographic Study - the Roma of Europe
Issue Study - Poverty
Mission in Action - Volunteers in Mission at work
Hands on Sewing - School Kits
Are you thirsty for challenge and adventure?
If the answer is yes, join us for a week of canoeing and camping in the lakes, rivers, and forests of Ontario's Algonquin Park, where you will see abundant wildlife and stunning scenery.
Prior canoeing and camping experience is helpful, but not necessary.
You must be able to swim.
Special note: Crossing the border into Canada requires citizenship documents. Adults need passports, but minors up to 18 years old may use a birth certificate. Check with deans for more information.
You must be 15 years or older to attend this trip
Cost is $430/ person
Calvary UM Church in Uniontown seeks a preschool teacher for 3 and 4-year-olds on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Salary is negotiable. Call the church office at 724-437-6341 for more information or to apply.
East Lake United Methodist Church (http://www.eastlakeumc.org/), a Christ-centered congregation, worshipping 350 weekly in Palm Harbor, Florida, is looking for an energetic and creative full-time Director of Youth Ministries. The youth ministry program of 40 active youth serves young people from sixth grade through the transition to college. The Director of Youth Ministry will be responsible for a comprehensive ministry that includes fostering discipleship, empowering laity, and partnering with parents in the spiritual development of youth. The DYM will also exercise strong, healthy communication with staff and laity, ensure that all details of the youth program and special events are take care of, and empower adults to be involved in youths lives establishing relationships and shepherding them and helping them develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ. Successful candidates must have a college degree and three years experience as well as a strong personal faith consistent with the United Methodist tradition. Resumes can be sent to email@example.com.
The Chaplain is a member of the interdisciplinary team and focuses on the spiritual needs of patients, families, caregivers and staff, including volunteers. The chaplain provides pastoral care interventions, including pastoral counseling, which are determined by spiritual assessment, the specific setting and sensitivity to a variety of values, beliefs and religious orientations. The chaplain seeks excellence in pastoral care, which requires authentic demeanor, compassion and skill in dealing with the spiritual dynamics of illness, loss and death.
Call for more information: 412-799-2101
Trinity UMC in Brackenridge, PA is seeking a P/T Christian Education Director. Responsibilities include oversight of the Sunday School program, planning Vacation Bible School and coordinating various outreach events. 15 hours/week, $12,000/yr. Applicant must be a Christian believer who works well with people and has a desire to help others grow in their faith. Education background is preferred. Please send resume to Trinity UMC, 847 10th Ave., Brackenridge, PA 15014 Attn: SPRC
The Rev. Dr. Johnnie David Panther, 56, of Butler, a good and faithful servant, returned to the loving arms of his Father May 26, 2013, while surrounded by his loving family.
Pastor Dave served as senior pastor at Butler First United Methodist Church for 21 years, launching the Crossfire Campus in 1999. He had previously served United Methodist churches in Ambridge, Pa., and Clarion, Pa.
Along with being the senior pastor, David was the chairman of the Episcopacy Committee of the Western Pennsylvania Conference.
David received the Paul Harris Fellow Award while active in the Ambridge Rotary, and the Diversity Award from Slippery Rock University. Dave touched many people's lives and will be greatly missed by so many.
Beloved husband, best friend and soulmate of Jana "Janis" (Reid) Panther for 31 years; loving father of Bethany Leigh (Panther) Raraigh and her husband, Douglas Raraigh, of Butler and Jonathan David Panther of Pittsburgh; proud and adoring grandfather "Spud" of Ella Faith and Keira Hope Raraigh; dear son of Johnnie Lee and Patricia Ann Panther; caring brother of Lisa Ann Pontiere and her husband, Ernest; cherished son-in-law of Estella D. Reid; and brother-in-law of William A. Reid. Devoted uncle of William T. Reid, Travis J. Reid, Alexia M. Pontiere, Brooke A. Reid and Elizabeth A. Pontiere; brother in Christ and friend to the First Church staff and congregation.
Friends and family are invited to a time of fellowship, sharing and love from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2 at the First United Methodist Church's Crossfire Campus, 1802 N. Main St. Ext., Butler. A celebration of David's life will follow at 3:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Crossfire Faith Promise Appeal. The family would like to use a portion of donations received to place a memorial Good Shepherd Window, duplicating the one in the downtown sanctuary, at the Crossfire Campus. Checks can be made out to First United Methodist Church with Crossfire Fund in the memo line.
Arrangements were entrusted to Jobe Funeral Home, Turtle Creek, Pa. For more information, go to www.jobefuneralhome.com.
The Rev. Conway Keibler, 85, of Brownsville, peacefully passed away on Saturday, April 27, 2013.
He was the beloved husband of Betty (Bumgarner) for 58 years; loving father of Charles Calvin (Tracy), and Robin Ann (Joe) Ashley; caring grandfather of Nicholas (Heather), Michael, Julia, and Charles Giacobbe, Brandon, Jennifer and Calvin Keibler; brother of Marilyn (Robert) Clarke; uncle of Anita Lawson and Mary Grace (Dan) Griffin.
Conway served as a pastor for over 40 years at United Methodist churches in Braddock, Clairton, McMurray, Ligonier, Washington, PA, as well as at the Smithfield United Church of Christ in Pittsburgh. He was also focused in community development in Ligonier and Brownsville.
Conway was very active in the youth program in Jumonville United Methodist Church Camp.
Funeral arrangements by BEINHAUERS. Friends welcome at 2828 Washington Rd., McMurray, 724-941-3211 on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Additional visitation will be held in Christ United Methodist Church, 44 Highland Rd., Bethel Park, 15102, on Thursday 10 a.m. until time of Memorial Service at 11 a.m. Interment private.
Memorial contributions may be made to BARC or Jumonville United Methodist Camp. Please add or view tributes at:
Rev. Robert Foltz of Pittsburgh died on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at the age of 73.
Dr. Foltz was born in Pittsburgh on December 27, 1939 to the late Joseph W. and Nannette Harris Foltz. He and his wife Nancy Thomas Foltz were married for 48 years.
A 1962 graduate of Westminster College, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. in 1965, and a Master of Social Work degree from The University of Pittsburgh in 1972.
Ordained into the ministry of The United Methodist Church in 1962, he served parishes in Rogersville, Meadville and Pittsburgh. He served as the Protestant chaplain and program director at The George Junior Republic in Grove City, as well as executive director of The Ward Home for Children in Mt. Lebanon. From 1977 until his retirement in 2002, Dr. Foltz served as the CEO and President of Goodwill Industries. He also served as the interim pastor of The Smithfield Church.
He is survived by his wife Nancy; their two sons, Drayton Scott Foltz of Pittsburgh and Nelson Foltz of Brooklyn, NY; as well as a brother, Joseph Foltz and his wife, Dorothee of Sewickley Heights.
A Service of Celebration will be held at the Smithfield United Church of Christ at 620 Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh on Friday, April 19 at 11 a.m. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Goodwill of South Pennsylvania, Robert S. Foltz Building, 118 52nd Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Arrangements by the SMITH FUNERAL HOME, in West Middlesex, PA. See Pittsburgh Tribune news obituary.
A Memorial Service is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, at 4 pm at First UM Church, 73 Clinton Street, Greenville, PA 16125. Calling hours will be from 1-4 pm at the church.
Betty I. Plyler Shaffer, 92, of Brookville, died Thursday, April 4, 2013, at McKinley Health Center, Brookville.
Born Feb. 20, 1921, in Strattanville, she was a daughter of the late Cameron Fike and Mary Shingledecker Fike.
She was married to Ronald E. Plyler, and later to Richard A. Stockdale, who both preceded her in death. In 1993, she married Clarence Shaffer, a widower who served as a full-time local United Methodist pastor from 1972-78 and died in 1999.
She worked as a clerk for South Side Market in Brookville for 27 years.
A member of the Brookville Church of Christ and Brookville Area Senior Citizens, she enjoyed cooking, canning, crafting and planting flowers. She especially loved her grandchildren, nieces, nephews and her bulldogs.
She is survived by two sons, Charles G. (Sharon) Plyler of Natrona Heights and Edward Plyler of Bowie, Md.; 10 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends were received at the McKinney Funeral Home of Brookville. A funeral service was held Monday, April 8, at the funeral home with the Rev. Timothy McConville officiating. Burial was in Temple Cemetery in Warsaw Township.
Due to Annual Conference, there (probably) will be no e-news next week. Look for the next regular edition on June 12. Meanwhile,you can keep up with annual conference happenings and other news at wpaumc.org.
Stop Hunger Now at AC2013: Annual Conference members and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on ministry to help alleviate hunger by packaging nutritious meals for Stop Hunger Now. Meal assembly will be set up near the display area in the Physical Learning Center at Grove City College. Times to volunteer will be printed in the Daily Journal. Conference members will be assigned times according to their legislative sections.
Vanishing Table Advisory: Tables will be removed from the plenary room at Annual Conference following the Friday evening worship service. The intent is to open the space for the commissioning worship service, ordination rehearsal and the memorial service on Saturday. Members should be prepared to participate in Saturday plenary sessions without the use of a table. (Chairs will remain in place.)
Schedule Your Shoot! If you are a member of the Annual Conference and haven’t scheduled a time to have your picture taken for the new director, sign up now. No slots are available for Wednesday and only a few remain open on Thursday (mostly afternoon), but there are a lot of open times on Friday and Saturday. The pictures will be taken by Lifetouch in a racketball court near the Plenary Area in the Physical Learning Center. To make an appointment, use this link: https://www.securedata-trans14.com/ap/westernpennsylvaniaunitedmethodistcenter/index.php?page=10
Men’s Ministry Info and Invite: Ross Brightwell, vice president of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Men, will be at our Annual Conference to share information about the ministry of the United Methodist Men. On Friday, at 11:30 am, he invites anyone interested in developing men’s ministry in their church to come to Room 114 in the Hall of Arts and Letters for a 40-minute discussion on reaching out to men in your churches and your communities. Get your lunch in the Student Union Bldg. and bring it across to HAL to eat during the discussion. Ross, who now lives in Philadelphia, grew up in the Mon Valley in the Fayette City UMC. Ross will be at the UMt Men’s booth in the display area throughout AC2013. Stop by or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connellsville Community Ministries Gets New Director: Chip Rowan is the new executive director of Connellsville Area Community Ministries. Read feature story in Monday’s Connellsville Daily Courier.
PayDay Loan by Any Other Name: Stephen Drachler, executive director of UMAdvocacy PA, is quoted in a Harrisburg Patriot-News story on the latest attempt to allow high cost, short-term loans (a/k/a payday loans) in Pennsylvania. Legislation to allow the predatory loans passed the House last year, but stalled in the state Senate. It was resurrected as Senate Bill 975 with a few changes, including using the name “micro-loans,” and passed the Senate Banking committee yesterday by an 8-6 vote. The annual conference last year passed legislation urging officials to oppose the loans.
Erie Grant for Homeless Service Providers Largest Ever: The Erie Times-News reports that agencies that help the homeless have been awarded $2.2 million in federal funds. One of the agencies is the Erie UM Alliance, which was awarded $341,622 for outreach efforts, case management, and transitional housing for families and veterans who are homeless.
New Appointment Coming Up? The General Board of Discipleship has devoted it “topical sermon series help” for June to issues surrounding changes in appointments. Check out the series of articles by Sarah McGiverin.
Prayers and Resources for Fathers’ Day: The General Board of Discipleship offers planning help for June 15 with prayers, a litany and devotions related to Fathers’ Day.
Metho-Bap-Tyrian Worship: You know those 7/11 praise songs where worshippers sing the same seven (or less) words, 11 times? Nick Chrisohon's not a fan. He says worship leaders are teachers of theology and should understand a church's beliefs when choosing its music. Read his commentary.
Dealing with Disaster: As clean-up from the tornado that struck Moore, OK, continued, a new group of tornados went through Oklahoma on May 31, taking 14 more lives and leaving a path of destruction. To help, support UMCOR’s US Disaster Response. You can donate online at umcor.org or through your local church.
Imagine No Malaria Gains Momentum: When the UM Church set out in 2008 to raise $75 million in seven years to help end deaths from malaria in Africa. It seemed like a daunting challenge. But last month a June benchmark of $40 million was reached ahead of schedule. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton thinks the campaign has reached it’s greatest point of momentum. Read more.
Chuck Knows Stained Glass! Many churches have stained glass windows. Ever wondered why they are used almost exclusively in places of worship. Find the answer in this video from the General Board of Discipleship.
Harvest of Hope Mini-Retreats: Looking for a last-minute mini-retreat for your church's middle or high school kids? Harvest of Hope, the Society of St. Andrew’s, sevice and mission trip program,offers two 3-night events during the last week of July into the beginning of August. Check them out. Read about gleaning, an ancient practice that remains and effective way to combat hunger.
Was Jesus Homeless? People often say he was, but Dave Barnhart doesn’t think so. He has a couple of problems with that assertion. Read more from Ministry Matters.
France Treats Roma Harshly: The Roma people are the subject of the geographic study at Mission u this year and the New York Times reported Monday on how they are treated in France. In the last three weeks, for exampled, police dismantled two encampments and someone set fire to an unused factory where many lived. Read more.
Civil Rights Giant Dies: The Rev. Will D. Campbell, a giant in the civil rights movement, died June 3 in Nashville from complications after a stroke. He was 88. A Baptist, he worked on race relations for the National Council of Churches from 1956 to 1963 and was the only white person invited to the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. Months later, he helped escort nine black students through angry crowds in an attempt to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. He also was the model for the Rev. Will B. Dunn in the comic strip Kudzu. Read obituary.
Medgar and Mississippi: Next Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the shooting death of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in the driveway of his home in Jackson by a white supremicist who wasn’t convicted until 30 years later. Evers’ slaying and other violence grabbed the nation’s attention and galvanized support for the civil rights movement.Read more or hear comments on the situation in Jackson today. Ever’s widow has asked churches in Mississippi and elsewhere to mark the first Medgar Evers Sunday on June 9.
Juneteenth is June 19: The General Board of Discipleship offers worship resources for the oldest known African-American celebration, which recognizes the date slaves in Texas received word of the Emancipation Proclamation. Resources
The New Senior Boomers Webinar: This free June 20 webinar offers tips on ministering to this large Boomer generation. It’s at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Get info and register for this or other free webinars like 2013 Clergy Health Implications for the Church—same time, same day.
Perfect Peace: The Rev. Harold Blair, pastor of Kingsley UMC in Erie, contributed last Saturday’s Reflections column in the Erie Times-News. Read it.
Obituary Feature: Saturday’s Tribune-Review had an obituary focusing on the ministry of the Rev. David Panther, who died Sunday, May 26.
McKnight UMC Dinner Theater: The Tribune-Review published a feature story on McKnight UMC’s upcoming dinner-theater production of Bad Year for Tomatoes. It’s June 7,8 and 9. The annual dinner theater has been held for 22 years.
Zimbabwe Visitors Arrive in Western PA! Thirteen United Methodist leaders from Zimbabwe – and all their luggage -- arrived in Pittsburgh today. They’ll be in the area for nearly three weeks, visiting ministry sites, connecting with congregations and leaders, and staying in partner districts before attending annual conference at Grove City. Read more and see photos.
Picture This! You in a new WPAUMC photo directory! Lifetouch Photography will take photos by appointment during annual conference. All members are encouraged to sign up online for a specific time. Use the link in the confirmation email you received when you registered for annual conference. (You DID register, didn’t you? If not, go to wpaumc.org/AC2013.)
Kits at Annual Conference: UMCOR kits and material for kits will be collected at Annual Conference – in the parking lot behind the REC building. The need is great after tornadoes and other disasters.
Orientation to Ministry: Anyone who wants to learn more about set-apart ministries of the UMC is invited to attend an orientation from 2-5 p.m., Wednesday, June 12 at Sticht Hall in the HAL building at Grove City College. The event is sponsored by the Board of Ordained Ministry. Pre-register by June 10 or learn more by emailing Faith Geer (email@example.com) or Janet Lord (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Service Scheduled for Panther: A celebration of the life of the Rev. David Panther, pastor of First UMC in Butler, will be held Sunday afternoon, June 2 at the church’s Crossfire campus in Butler. He died Sunday at age 56 after a long battle with cancer. Read obituary and get details.
Credit Union Warns of Scam: When a panicked member of the Keystone UM Federal Credit Union rushed into the office to get money to wire overseas in response to a phone call, his story immediately set off a warning to staff members. They reacted quickly. Read more.
Ministry with Children Conference: if you’re involved in children’s ministry—or want to be—consider attending the 2013 UMC Conference on Ministry with Children from July 23-26 in Greenville, SC. It’s sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship. There’s a pre-conference retreat to rejuvenate your spirit. Get details.
Americans Say Religion Losing Influence: Today Gallup announced the results of a survey in which 77 percent of Americans “say religion is losing its influence on American life,” which represents “the most negative evaluation” of religion’s impact since 1970. Writing for Religion Dispatches, Diane Winston wonders about the findings. Two in particular are striking, she says. Read why.
UMC Market: The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, has set up UMCmarket, an online portal that allows United Methodists the opportunity to shop at some of their favorite places while generating a donation to their local church. To learn more or sign up, visit umcmarket.org.
Conflict 101: Alban offers a learning retreat, Dealing with Congregational Discord, from July 30-Aug. 1 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richomond, VA. This event can help pastors and leaders identify the issues that cause tension in congregations and take the steps necessary to constructively engage members and minimize discord.
Tatoos and Spirituality: Listen to the authors of Inked: Choosing God’s Mark to Transform Your Life talk about whether a Christian should get a tatoo. It’s on Ministry Matters radio. You can also hear a book excerpt and download a small group discussion guide.
Boy Scouts Lift Ban on Gay Scouts: Last week Boy Scouts of America leaders voted to lift the organization’s longstanding ban on openly gay youth in the scouting movement. After months of debate and surveys of leaders, scouting officials recommended allowing openly gay scouts, but retaining the prohibition on gay adult leaders. In a secret ballot, 61 percent of the more than 1,400 volunteer local leaders in the group’s National Council voted for the proposal. Read more.
The Fall of Men? By traditional societal measures of success, men are slipping, writes Alex Joyner in a Ministry Matters post. Overall, women still make just 80 percent of what men earn, but the gap is narrowing. They’re more likely to be confused about their role in the family. What does all this mean for the church?
Mental Health Crises Challenge: Rural Pastors: United Methodists who serve churches in rural, town and country settings have a great opportunity to transform their corner of the world, writes the Rev. Roger Grace of United Methodist Rural Advocates. Read more from UM News Service’s series for Mental Health Awareness Month.
Immigration Reform: The Senate Judiciary Committee will send an amended immigration reform bill to the full Senate when it reconvenes in June. Bishop Minerva Carcaño is calling for bishops and other United Methodists to use this crucial time to contact their senators because the bill has “weaknesses that would keep it from being the just and humane comprehensive immigration reform that we have all worked so hard for,” she said. Carcaño, of the California-Pacific Conference, along with the other active bishops of The United Methodist Church, went to the U.S.-Mexican border. Read more.
Interlink Online: The June issue of the the Interlink newspaper is available online at wpaumc.org/Interlink. Shortly before its publication, the printer announced it was going out of business as of this week. Through the summer, the Interlink will appear only online as Conference leaders, staff and Communications Commission explore options.
New Life for Homestead Church: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story about a United Presbyterian church in Homestead found new life through intergenerational programs, won a national revitalization award and is now involving some United Methodist clergy Read more.
Boston for Boston: A high school senior from Greenock UMC organized a 5K race in a three-week time period that drew 130 runners to Boston, PA to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. The Post-Gazette had a story that also mentioned church member Ruth Sabo who offered a prayer to start the race.
The Last Luncheon: After 20 years, Pat Rudy is no longer going to beg for salads. She’s giving up her job of organizing monthly luncheons at Sewickley UMC, the Pittsburgh Tribune reports.
Interlink Printer Out of Business: UMR Communications, which prints and mails the monthly WPAUMC newspaper Interlink will cease operations May 31. The June Interlink, which will be dated May 31, is scheduled to be mailed this week. The board of the independent non-profit UMRC voted on May 16 to shut down due to insurmountable financial difficulties. Read more. Upcoming editions of the Interlink will be posted online in PDF format and news will be posted continuously on the wpaumc.org as Conference staff and leaders explore options for delivery of a newspaper.
Separate the Medium and the Mission: Lovett Weems uses Encyclopaedia Britannica, which has stopped producing bound volumes, as an example of how to remain focused on a mission and grow, while changing with the times. Read more in Leading Ideas.
Pray for Tornado Survivors:Please keep in prayer all those in communities from Texas to Minnesota who have suffered the destructive effects of severe weather over the past week. Especially remember those in Granbury TX, Shawnee OK, Moore OK, where dozens of lives were lost and homes, schools, and medical facilities destroyed in separate events. UMCOR is in contact with the Texas Central Conference and the Oklahoma Conference and asks your prayers for all who have been affected by the Midwest tornadoes.
What Not To Do! Remember that first-responders need to complete their work before volunteers can be of any real help. Do not self-deploy to a disaster area. It takes time for emergency responders to complete their tasks and assess needs. Read more from Disaster Response leaders.
Don’t Underestimate Need for Prayer: Rev. D.A. Bennett, pastor of St. Andrew’s UMC in Moore, OK, and his family were featured yesterday on NPR’s Here and Now. He was one of the anxious parents with children in South Moore High School waiting to hear if his son had survived the May 20 tornado. His words to the reporters were powerful. Like many who were asked what people could do, he called for prayer, saying,. “Do not underestimate how desperately we need prayers.” Read and listen.
How to Help After Tornadoes: With a gift to UMCOR, you can be there to help. UMCOR provides assistance and spiritual support to survivors when they need it most. Donors can be sure that 100 percent of their gifts go directly toward disaster response.
Donating to UMCOR through WPAUMC: To donate to UMCOR by check, mail checks payable to WPAUMC, noting US Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance 901670 –Tornado, to the Conference Treasurer, United Methodist Center, Box 5002, Cranberry Twp., PA 16066-0002.
Buckets and Kits Needed: UMCOR’s material resource ministry provides people who sit in the pew an opportunity to use their hands in a tangible way to respond to disasters and help individuals all over the world when they cannot personally go and volunteer. They are still the hands of Christ that have put the kit together. Get kit recipes. Cleaning buckets and other kits are collected at Western PA’s Eastbrook Mission Barn for UMCOR.
Kits at Annual Conference: Kits and material for kits will be collected at Annual Conference – in the parking lot behind the REC building.
Ministry with Children Conference: Rejuvenate your spirit at a pre-conference retreat July 22, then connect with other leaders at the 2013 UMC Conference on Ministry with Children from July 23-26 in Greenville, SC. It’s sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship. Get details.
Online Classes for Church Members: UM Communications will offer two online courses from June 19-July 31. You can start whenever it fits your schedule and proceed at your own pace. A course facilitator responds to questions in an online forum. United Methodism 101 is for for church members who want to know more about the denomination. It includes four web-based lessions with interactive features that each take about 30 minutes to complete. The cost is $9.99. Register. For those involved in stewardship ministries, Turning Connectional Living into Connectional Giving is a free four-part course worth one CEU. Register.
Cokesbury NEXT: Feeling lost without the Cokesbury store? Don’t know where to get resources for new programs or classes? Cokesbury can still help—whenever you need it. Check out this video to learn how. Cheryl Cotten is our in-Conference representative.
New Grads Get $25 from Credit Union! A Grad Account from Keystone UM Federal Credit Union has everything a new high school or college graduate needs to get started on the next chapter in life. Open to graduates 18-24 years of age, this special account includes a $25 graduation gift, no-fee debit card, free checking with 150 free checks, Visa credit card, online banking, paperless e-statements, and more. Help ensure that the new grad in your life has what it takes to succeed with Grad Account from a financial institution you can trust. For more info, visit www.keystoneumfcu.org or call (724) 252-3200.
Involved in Health/Wellness Ministries? You’re invited to the first conference-wide gathering of parish nurses, health ministers and others involved in health and wholeness initiatives. Join the group at Grove City College for the Thursday, June 13 Laity Academy session A Wesleyan RX for Ministry to the Whole Person at 9:30 a.m. (You must register, but it’s free.) It will be followed by a lunch meeting at 11:30 a.m. Bring your own lunch or buy it at the student union. Get details.
Down to the Wire: May 31 is the last day to log your miles for the Golden Sneaker Challenge. Go to wpaumc.org/walkchallenge. The district with the most miles walked (or equivalent physical activity) will receive the coveted Golden Sneaker during annual conference.
Orientation to Ministry: Anyone who wants to learn more about set-apart ministries of the UMC is invited to attend an orientation from 2-5 p.m., Wednesday, June 12 at Sticht Hall in the HAL building at Grove City College. The event is sponsored by the Board of Ordained Ministry. Pre-register by June 10 or learn more by emailing Faith Geer (email@example.com) or Janet Lord (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tibetan Bon Leader to Visit Pittsburgh: The Menri Trizin, head of one of the world’s oldest religions will visit Pittsburgh Saturday to teach at a fundraiser for a community of nuns in India. The session and dinner to follow will be at First UMC in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside area. Read Post-Gazette story.
The Cosmic Christ and Historical Jesus: Theologian/author/activist Matthew Fox and author/mystic Andrew Harvey will offer the second of 12 ChristPath Seminars at First UMC of Pittsburgh on June 28-30. Harvey and Fox have authored over 60 books on spirituality, Christianity, and culture and will be integrating their combined wisdom on the “The Cosmic Christ and the Historical Jesus. ” Dr. Bruce Chilton, early Christianity scholar and author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography will be their guest on Saturday evening. All three will participate in 10 a.m. worship at First UMC on Sunday. The seminar runs from 7p.m. June 28 to 1p.m. on June 30 and is available on-site or through live streaming. Registration is $50 at www.ChristPath.org.
College Ministers Gathering: United Methodist collegiate ministers will join with colleagues from at least five mainline denominations in Chicago this summer to explore how they can work together in the increasingly diverse and pluralistic atmosphere of the college campus. The event, Shared Space, will begin with a lecture and time of interaction with Diana Butler Bass, author of the best-selling “Christianity After Religion.” The event will be held June 26-29 at Loyola University. Register by May 24.
Censoring the Bible: On Ministry Matters, Dave Barnhart says preachers and teachers use three ways to give people a skewed view of the Bible. By doing so, he argues, they silence God. Read more.
Green Colleges: Allegheny College is among 17 United Methodist colleges listed in the 2013 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges. It was the second year that Allegheny received high marks for improving the quality of life and caring for the enviroment. Mt. Union, Ohio Wesleyan and Dickinson also made the list. Read more.
Thieves Hit Cambria Churches: WJAC-TV reported that Summit Chapel UMC was one of three Cambria County churches hit by thieves over the weekend. Read report.
Facebook Fakes Pose as Pastors: The Centre Daily Times picked up the story about scammers posing as religious leaders on Facebook, using the Rev. Adam Hamilton of the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS as an example.
Greenstone Celebrates 200! The Post-Gazette ran a story on Greenstone UMC’s 200th anniversary. Read it.
Appointment Changes: Several have appeared on our website this week at wpaumc.org/appointments.
Bishops to Oversee UMAdvocacy PA: United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, which provides a voice of faith in the halls of the state capitol, will cease to exist as a non-profit corporation and become a ministry under Pennsylvania’s three bishops, beginning July 1. Learn more.
AC2013: There’s an App for that! You can view the Annual Conference agenda, keep track of the Twitter feed, get a map of Grove City College, and upload your own pictures from the conference session for all to see. Learn more. Register for AC and related events and get updates at WPAUMC.org/AC2013.
Order AC2013 Shirts: T-shirts with the WPAUMC logo AND the Annual Conference 2013 “Disciples Making Disciples” logo, as well as, polo shirts with the WPAUMC logo will be available at annual conference. But you have to pre-order online. They come in a variety of sizes and colors. Get more info.
Retired Clergy Lunch: The annual conference retired clergy luncheon will be held on Friday, June 14, 2013 at noon in a private dining room in the Rathburn Building at Grove City College. (It’s a new building located behind the chapel). All retired clergy and their spouses are invited. The deadline to register and pay has been extended to May 22. Get details.
UMW Dinner: The UMW will hold a dinner on Friday, June 14 during annual conference. Reservations may be made on the Conference website, but payment must be sent to Sharon Gregory by May 31. Space is limited. Get details.
The Marketplace: The Clergy Spouse Brunch at annual conference will provide space for spouses to sell their handmade crafts, culinary creations or home-based business products. The event will also feature musical presentations by harpists Anne Phipps and Emily Hayes. Reservations and payments are due May 25. Learn more.
Orientation to Ministry Event: The Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is sponsoring an Orientation to Ministry event immediately prior to Annual Conference. It will be held on Wednesday, June 12 from 2 – 5 p.m. in Sticht Hall (in the Hall of Arts and Letters) at Grove City College. This event is now a requirement for anyone pursuing ministry, but it is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the various types of set-apart ministry in the UMC. Representatives will be available to speak opportunities including CLM, professional certification, local pastor, and ordained ministry. Pre-registration is requested and can be completed by emailing either Faith Geer (email@example.com) or Janet Lord (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to June 10.
Help Set Up AC Cokesbury Display! Cheryl Cotton, the Western PA customer service representative for Cokesbury, needs volunteers to help with the Cokesbury "store" at Annual Conference. Volunteers are needed to set-up on Wednesday, June 12 and to tear-down on Saturday, June 15. Contact Cheryl at 412-918-0427 or email@example.com
Young Adult Work Team: UM Church Union is forming a young adult work team to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery in Crisfield, MD from August 18-23. Cost is estimated to be $300. Get details. Contact Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and to apply.
Young Adult Oasis: The timing of the above-mentioned young adult mission trip coincides nicely with the NEJ Young Adult event called The Oasis from Aug.16-18 in Washington, DC. Find out more about Restoration Generation and register for The Oasis at www.resgenumc.org
Apply for Mission Key Awards by May 20! Mission Key Awards recognize the efforts of local congregations in the area of missions. Three levels of awards are given: bronze, silver, and gold. Each is dependent upon the church paying its apportionments in full for the 2012 year and the number of mission-related actions from a qualifying list. Check out the qualifying list and download an application or contact Kenneth Haines at 814-842-3857 for the list and application. Send applications to Kenneth A Haines, email@example.com or PO Box 601, Hyndman, PA 15545.
Register for Mission u: Mission u is for adults and youth with a passion for mission and for those who want a family mission experience. In addition to Mission u activities and classes, Conference Mission Coordinator Diane Miller will lead a Volunteers in Mission team during afternoons (Tuesday-Thursday) at Mission u. If you have questions, call Diane at 814-498-2308). To get brochure/registration forms or register online for Mission u, go to the July calendar on the WPAUMC website and click on the event of your choice – Youth Mission u (July 7-12) or the July 8-12 weekday or July 12-14 weekend for adults and children.
Roma in the News: The Roma people of Eastern Europe are the subject of the geographic study at Mission u this summer. The New York Times had a feature article likening the struggle to integrate them into Slovakian life to the efforts to end segregation in the U.S. Read it.
Damascus Gate Demonstrations: Tina Whitehead reports that she was caught in Nakba Day demonstrations at Damascus Gate. “First had to scramble to get out of range of the water cannons. Then came the police on their horses. Then some stone throwing. Later in the evening was surprised by how quiet it was going into Ramallah.” See photos.
How Facebook Changes Affect You: In March, Facebook announced a major update to the news feed. Watch a slideshow to learn about the changes and how you can use them to your church's advantage.
Engage Your Community with Social Media: Rather than waiting for people in your community to find you, try engaging them through social media. Find out how and what NOT to do.
Rethink VBS! Promotion is important for a successful VBS. UM Communications offers some tips from generating interest in your VBS and for keeping people connected after VBS has ended. Learn more.
Golf for a Cause: If you’re not going to annual conference, you can support Family Promise (www.familypromise.org) and The Nyadire Connection (www.nyadire.org) while you have fun playing golf on June 15. Invite your friends to join you for a 4 person scramble with a shotgun start at 9 am at the Ponderosa Golf Course in Hookstown, PA (www.ponderosagolfcourse.com). The event includes lunch at the turn, and after the golf, a dinner and awards reception. Included with your online registration is a 1-year subscription to Golf Digest (a $10 value). Click here to learn more and register.
Golf for a Cause AFTER Annual Conference: The 17th annual golf tournament to support The Refuge, the Erie UM Alliance’s emergency shelter for homeless families, will be held at noon Monday, June 17 at Riverside Golf Course in Cambridge Springs. The cost is $65. It’s a four-person scramble format with skill prizes and a trophies to top teams. Mail checks payable to The Refuge for $65 per person to Cal Close, 10314 Sharp Rd., Waterford, PA 16441.Questions? Call Cal at 814-796-4489 or Jim Renshaw at 814-833-1222.
Blessing of the Riders: Community UMC will host its fourth annual blessing of the riders on Saturday afternoon May 18 at the church on Route 130 in Harrison City. There will be live music, food and lots of bikes from 1-4 p.m., with the blessing about 3 p.m. Check out the promotional video.
Gospel Concert: Garden City UMC’s Spring Full Gospel Concert featuring the Mt. Ararat Men’s Choir is scheduled for 4 p.m., Sunday, June 2 at the church. A free will offering will benefit the Richard Payne Laity Scholarship Fund to develop tomorrow’s Christian leaders.
Poverty as a Childhood Disease: Children in the U.S. suffer from poverty-related conditions, and more professional groups are urging that poverty be treated as a childhood disease. Learn more in a New York Times blog post by Perri Klass, M.D.
Child Advocacy Ministry Event: Join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, in July for the 2013 Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. It offers five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children. Once home to the late Roots author Alex Haley,CDF Haley Farm is the spiritual home of the children's movement
Aldersgate Anniversary: May 24, 2013 marks the 275th Anniversary of John Wesley's Aldersgate Experience. To commemorate the event, the World Methodist Council would like to hear your stories of faith. Here's how to share...
Making Social Principles More Global: Based on a 2012 General Conference directive, the denomination’s Connectional Table is launching an effort to make the Social Principles more global. This is no easy task. Read more and test your knowledge.
Agency Calls Gosnell Actions Reprehensible: The UM Board of Church of Society issued a statement yesterday saying, “Both those who oppose abortion and those who support it find the illegal and immoral actions of Dr. (Kermit) Gosnell reprehensible.” Gosnell was convicted Monday of three counts of first-degree murder. “What he did was not just against the United Methodist Social Principles; it was against the basic laws of this country and edicts of humanity,” the statement said. “Christians should not use this case as an opportunity to point fingers or cast stones at one another. Rather, all members of The United Methodist Church must take seriously our shared responsibility for the sanctity of all human life — at all stages of life.”
No Regrets for Mullen: Martha Mullen, the United Methodist from Virginia who arranged for the burial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamarlan Tsarnaev, says she has no regrets. The United Seminary graduate said she was motivated by her faith and had the support of her pastor. "Nobody is without sin," she told reporters. "Certainly this was a horrific act, but he's dead and what happened is between him and God. We just need to bury his body and move forward. Read more
Press Club of WPA Honors Jones: Dr. Nancy C. Jones, a member of West View UMC who serves on the Conference Communications Commission and is active in the Pittsburgh District UMW, received the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania’s 2013 Service to Journalism Award. She was honored at the May 13 Golden Quill Awards dinner for her contributions to journalism education. Jones worked for newspapers in Virginia and Florida and the Associated Press Louisville bureau before becoming an assistant professor at Penn State’s School of Journalism. Later she chaired the journalism departments at Duquesne University and Point Park College and directed Point Park’s graduate journalism program.
Food Pantry Gets Surprise: Volunteers at the Plum Food Pantry at Holiday Park UMC got a surprise Tuesday night when a local resident walking in with an $8,000 donation, according to a Triblive story.
Pre-Conference Journal Online Now! The 2013 Preconference Journal is now available on the Conference website. It includes proposed legislation, reports from various teams and agencies, and projected 2014 apportionments. Print copies will be mailed to Annual Conference members the last week of May. You can get to it from wpaumc.org/AC2013.
AC2013 Registration Update: Registration for annual conference is proceeding smoothly, with 425 already signed up and only a few questions/issues. To register for the conference, the Lay Academy, child care, Recess, the clergy spouse brunch, etc. go to wpaumc.org/AC2013. Check back often for updates.
Bishops’ Border Immersion: Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton joined other active UM bishops who traveled to the U.S. border with Mexico yesterday to immerse themselves in the reality of life there and sharpen their focus on how the church can be in ministry to those in border areas. The active bishops are meeting in San Diego. Read more or Watch slideshow.
Share the Love, Save Lives for Mother’s Day! Watch and share this video, then make a donation to Imagine No Malaria in honor of a mother, aunt, sister, teacher, friend or a woman who has nurtured you over the years. Your tax-deductible gift will all go to the work of the Imagine No Malaria campaign.
Moms for Moms Advocacy Campaign: The Imagine No Malaria advocacy campaign is asking mothers (and others) to sign on to a "Moms for Moms" congressional petition to preserve U.S. government global health funding. With funding cuts, we risk losing the great gains we have made in our fight against diseases of poverty like malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The petition drive runs through Mother’s Day 2013 and they will be delivered to members of Congress next Tuesday.
Killer in the Dark: UM Communications has released an updated version of the Imagine No Malaria documentary, Killer in the Dark: An Extraordinary Effort to Combat Malaria,” in collaboration with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. Originally produced in 2011, it is about the denomination’s work to help make the world malaria-free. The sequel, set to air on NBC affiliates from now through November 3, reflects new research and scientific advancements in the fight against malaria. Actress Pauley Perrette, who stars in the TV series “NCIS,” narrates the documentary. An active member of Hollywood UMC, she donated her time and services to the effort. The show is set to air on WICU-TV in Erie on June 2. It’s also expected to air on WJAC Johnstown, but a date has not yet been confirmed. Ask your NBC affiliate to air A Killer in the Dark or thank them if it’s already scheduled.
Roma Travel Journal: Volunteers in Mission Coordinator Diane Miller is heading back from 15 days in Eastern Europe, where she led a study team to connect with and learn about the Roma people. Read her latest daily blog posts and see some photos. The Roma are the subject of the geographic study at this year’s Mission u.
Benefit from UMC Advertising! If your church has projects planned for Change the World weekend May 18-19, be sure you register them with Rethink Church. If you don’t, you won’t benefit from the web-based advertising that helps people to see church as more than a Sunday morning activity. Go to Rethinkchurch.org to see what’s listed for your church.
Peace with Justice Sunday is May 26! Gifts to the church-wide Special Sunday appeal change lives in places where the joy of knowing Christ is mixed with the tragedy of violence. Read about some examples and get resources at umcgiving.org .
Are You a Savvy Donor? Many who try to help after a disaster are not. Take UMCOR’s quiz.
Relief Supplies Needed: Relief-supply kits are desperately needed. UMCOR depots are running low in their inventory of layette, sewing, and bedding kits. Visit the UMCOR Relief-Supplies webpage to learn how to assemble these kits and help UMCOR meet needs worldwide. They can be delivered to the our Mission Barn at Eastbrook UMC.
Fair Trade Day is May 11, but Fair Trade events are going on most of the month. Check out this video and make a Fair Trade purchase this month. The newest area in the Fair Trade movement is clothing, especially after last month’s factory collapse that killed 800 in Bangladesh, according to today’s New York Times.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Find info here. Just as Jesus healed people struggling with mental, emotional and physical ailments, United Methodists reach out to their sisters and brothers who seek healing. United Methodist News Service shares stories of individuals and congregations tackling the challenges of mental health through a variety of ministries.
Imagining the Small Church: In his new book, Steve Willis celebrates the simplicity of the healthy small church and the nimble way it can respond to needs. But the book’s energy, writes Lewis Parks, is in the argument that these churches are assailed by “overbearing central culture values” that measure success in terms of size, constant growth, and ability to meet consumer needs and by denominational leaders prone to compromise with those values. Read more from Parks’ review in Leading Ideas.
Like Jesus or the Pharisees? Recent Barna Group research found that more than half of self-identified Christians in the U.S. show attitudes and actions that are more like the Pharisees than like Jesus. Read more.
Offensive Labels? Applying the label “Pharisaical” to certain attributes in Barna report cited above offended the Rev. Taylor Burton Edwards, who was raised a Southern Baptist in a Jewish neighborhood. He says it’s historically problematic to contrast “Christlike” and “like the Pharisees.” Read why.
Cokesbury’s a Click or Call Away: Now that the Cokesbury stores have closed, trained community resource consultants across the United States are providing quick access to resources and friendly customer service. Kind of like your own personal shopper. Ours is Cheryl Cotten. You can reach her at 412-918-0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Browse available materials at cokesbury.com.
How to Welcome New Youth: Each Spring or Summer, new youth pop their heads into the church youth room, ready to get involved in youth ministry. They may be a little scared. Stephen Ingram gives some step-by-step instructions on welcoming “newbies” on OrganicStudentMinistry.com
revGo? REVGO.org is a collaborate effort of United Methodist ministries involving young adults in mission. According to the website, it’s about “revving our missional engines in support of young adults. It’s about reviving generative connections among the many ministries who engage these young people. It’s about revamping the way the church hears about and is invited to support this amazing movement among young disciples. Learn more at revGO.org.
Ministry Beyond the Seniors Luncheon: One important ministry model for congregations seeking to develop a comprehensive older adult ministry is the S.E.N.I.O.R.S. Ministry model, writes Rev. Richard Gentzler, director of the UMC’s Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries. The seven components are Spiritual, Enrichment, Nutrition (Wellness), Intergenerational, Outreach, Recreation and Service. Read more.
Retired Seminary Dean to Face Church Trial: The Christian Post reports today that Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree, professor emeritus at Yale Divinity School and a retired UMC elder, will face a church trial for officiating at his gay son’s wedding last year in New York. UM News Service reported on the situation Monday, and Ogletree himself explained his reasoning on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog today
Dallas Willard Dies at 77: Dallas Willard, a professor and author specializing in Christian spiritual formation, died early Wednesday morning at age 77 after a battle with cancer. Read more
Walk a Day in My Shoes: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat listed some of the choices those living in poverty must make each day as part of a story about the May 21 poverty simulation that will be held at Greater Johnstown High School. Rev. Wayne Cleary is quoted in the article.
Annual Conference Registration Open: Go online to wpaumc.org/AC2013 to register for the 2013 annual conference, as well as child care or Recess for children in grades K-6. You’ll find links to other information on the page too. It will be updated regularly as additional events are announced and registrations open. Lay Academy registration will be ready soon.
Annual Conference Hotels Missing Link: In last week’s enews, the link to the list of Grove City hotels offering discounted rates for annual conference (if booked by May 10) was missing. Here it is.
Reports from the Roma: Conference Mission Coordinator Diane Miller has been reporting back daily from her travels to learn more about the Roma people in Eastern Europe. GBGM Missionary Michael Airgood of Kane, who serves in Ukraine, joined Diane and her group during the early part of the trip. Read her Roma Travel Journal. (Although the posts are listed in descending order, you may want to start reading with #1.)
GBGM Grant to Aid Roma Ministry: Among grants approved by the General Board of Global Ministries last month was $50,000 to support a new building for the oldest United Methodist Roma congregation in Europe. The Alsózsolca UMC in the southeastern Hungarian town of the same name has existed since 1952. Worshiping first in homes and then in a small building, the church began construction of a new structure with worship, education, and community space in late 2010 but ran out of funds before completing it. The Roma–often pejoratively called "gypsies"–are a growing minority in the area.
Connect in Mission: For more information on GBGM’s recent actions, check out the latest ConnectNmission newsletter, with a prayer for peace in Korea, a report on the strides made in Haiti earthquake recovery, and info on changes to the young adult missionary programs.
Youth Worker Awards: Nominate a youth worker for an outstanding achievement award to be presented at the 2013 annual conference by downloading and completing this form. Awards will go to a profession youth worker and a volunteer youth worker. Nominations should be submitted to Conference Youth Coordinator Renaye Hoffman by May 25.
Attitudinal and Architectural Accessibility: Rev. Debbie Hills and Barb Baird of the Conference Disability Concerns Committee will lead a workshop on the need for architectural and attitudinal accessibility for churches in the Erie-Meadville and Franklin districts from 6-9 p.m., Thursday, May 16 at Hickory UMC in Hermitage. Download a brochure.
Committed to Christ Stewardship Webinar: The newest resource on the Stewardship scene is Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life. Author Rev. Bob Crossman joins a May 16 Board of Discipleship webinar to share the journey that led him to create this resource and the impact it is having on churches large and small across the UMC. It’s FREE and it starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Click here to register.
Mittelberg Message Reaches Many: Rev. John Emigh reports that 250 people attended last weekend’s Evangelism Clinics with Mark Mittelberg and more than 650 heard him at worship services at Grace UMC in Indiana. The church ran an ad in the Indiana newspaper and interviewed Mittelberg on a local radio station. Check out photos from the clinics.
Age Discrimination in Clergy Recruitment? The Texas Conference has stirred controversy with proposed changes to its minimum standards for ordained ministry to discourage people over 45 from becoming candidates. Jan Love, dean of the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, says it wouldn’t surprise her to see other conferences move in this direction. The Texas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is seeking feedback through September and won’t make any final decision until October. But the possible changes have sparked debate across the UM blogosphere. Some call it an example of blatant age discrimination, while others hail it as a welcome consideration for serving the needs of tomorrow’s church.
Mission Focus Key in U.S. Protestant Church: The American Protestant church’s great innovation was its voluntary organization, but organization alone did not guarantee success. The real key to thriving is focus on mission, says one of the nation’s top church historians. Read a Q&A on Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership website.
Clergy Peer Groups: When professor and researcher Penny Long Marler told a UM bishop about some positive research on the value of clergy peer groups, he expressed surprise. He said that there didn’t seem to be any point to a group he and some fellow bishops were required to participate in. “All people did was complain,” she quotes him as saying. Marler offers some observations on what makes peer groups successful and why some don’t work in this blog post.
Think Theologically About Digital Technology: Leaders in faith communities need more than primers in building websites and using social media. Christian Theological Seminary offers the New Media Project to help religious leaders think theologically about digital technology. Explore the project on its website. There’s a blog, case studies, and theological essays.
Obituaries: Funeral services will be held Thursday, May 2 at Christ UMC in Bethel Park for the Rev. Conway Keibler, 85, who passed away on Saturday night. Read obituary.
Classifieds: Oakland UMC in Johnstown has joined the list of churches searching for children’s or youth ministry directors. Read our classifieds.
Appointment Changes: Some newly announced appointment changes have been added to the list on our website. Visit wpaumc.org/appointments.
50 Ways to Welcome New Pastor: If your congregation will receive a new pastor this year, you may want to share the updated pdf 50 Ways to Welcome your New Pastor from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. OR—if you only need 40 ways—check out this list on Ministry Matters. Might be fun to compare the two.
The Elephant in the Church: In times of pastoral change—and other times—older, long-time church members may wonder what a young pastor fresh out of seminary can team them. Plenty, writes Lew Parks in a Ministry Matters post. The pastor need only have the courage to point out the proverbial elephant in the room.
Diverse Church in White Suburbs: How’d that happen? Watch this UMTV report about Garfield Memorial UMC in the Cleveland suburbs, which casts a wide net in every direction to welcome all ages, races and socio-economic groups.
Windber Calvary Youth Aid in Flood Recovery: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reported on the Really Outrageous Christian Kids youth group’s Volunteers in Mission trip to help in the on-going flood recovery in the Susquehanna Conference. Read story.
National Day of Prayer Events: Revs. Marvin Watson and Paul Fiedhoff are pictured in the Connellsville Courier along with a story on National Day of prayer events in the Laurel Mountain area. The Tribune-Democrat also ran a story on events slated around Johnstown in conjunction with Thursday’s National Day of Prayer. Read it.
Bridges Out of Poverty: A Tribune-Review story based on an informational meeting at Latrobe UMC tells how the Circles Initiative is helping families move out of poverty in Westmoreland County.
Erie:Trinity Celebrates 50: The Erie Times-News featured the church in a celebration notice.