UMC Offers Prayers and Help in Disasters
Interlink Printer Ceases Operations
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Bishops visit U.S.-Mexico border
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
UMR Communications, which prints and mails Western Pennsylvania's Interlink edition of the UM Reporter, will cease operations on May 31. Finding no viable plan for reversing financial losses of recent months, the board or the Dallas-based nonprofit voted at a May 16 meeting to close.
UMR Communications (UMRC) publishes the United Methodist Reporter in print and digital formats and online, and provides printing and communication services to churches and other nonprofits.
The final Interlink edition of the Reporter will be dated May 31 and included news and features for June. It will be printed and mailed by May 24.
Western PA Conference communications staff will begin immediately to explore alternatives for printing and distributing a monthly Conference newspaper. Until new mechanisms can be put in place, the PDF version of the Conference news section will be available electronically at wpaumc.org/Interlink and news items will be posted as usual on the Conference website.
The vote to cease UMR operations came at a tearful board meeting in Dallas.
“At one time, our ministry produced nearly 300 separate editions of the newspaper which integrated content created by our news staff with content provided by church and conference partners,” said Tom Palmer, board chair. “That number has decreased over the past 10-15 years due to changes in publishing technology. The financial crisis of 2008 had a significant impact on both individuals and institutions. Local church and conference finances were also severely affected. As a result, a growing number of churches and conferences either ceased publishing Reporter editions or changed their publishing frequency. We now no longer receive enough revenue from our publishing and printing operations to sustain the overhead needed to maintain the ministry.”
Closure will cost the jobs of the 26 remaining employees, including some with more than 40 years of service. Thirteen others were laid off near the end of 2012.
Alan Heath, CEO since August, 2011, said the ministry had struggled financially for several years. But the late 2012 loss of a major contract – for printing, as well as for warehousing and shipping curriculum materials – reduced revenue by about 40 percent.
Reporter editions have declined to 45, though UMRC has continued to print other newspapers, as well as doing a variety of specialty printing.
Since the beginning of the year, efforts to cut costs while seeking new income could not keep the ministry in the black. Mr. Heath noted that UMRC has operated as a fee-for-service ministry, with no strong donor base and no direct support from the United Methodist Church.
In recent days, various organizational alternatives were explored internally and with friends of the ministry, Mr. Heath said, but closure became the only realistic step.
“There was no solution that didn’t involve red ink,” he told board members.
Mr. Heath added, “This decision obviously affects not only our newspaper customers, but other customers that have relied on us for printing and mailing services for many other products. We are sorry to leave our partners in ministry who have been so faithful to continue their relationship with us. We will do our best to help these ministries find a new print provider.”
For departing employees, severance and vacation pay will not be available in the short term, for lack of funds, Mr. Heath said. He added that after liquidation of assets, any remaining funds will be used to pay former employees proportionally.
The Reporter has its origins in pre-Civil War Methodist papers in Texas, and was long the main vehicle for news about Methodists in Texas and across the Southwest.
In recent decades, it has covered the full United Methodist Church, offering independent news coverage, features and commentaries. Staff members have regularly won religious press awards.
Mr. Heath said an appropriate home will be sought for the newspaper’s print and online archives.
The UMRC board celebrated communion at the end of this morning’s meeting, led by the Rev. Arthur McClanahan, a board member and director of communications for the Iowa Conference.
Before doing so, he said: “Many of us standing around these ordinary tables have received the gift of grace of people of the UMR family – the grace of an extra day, or days, or more when we’ve needed to send our copy for a paper, the grace of converting stick figure ideas into beautiful designs, the grace of telling stories, offering commentaries, helping us to see beyond our own horizons. And we are the better for the gift that the UMR team is.”
United Methodist Church Union, a ministry agency based on the Northside of Pittsburgh, is forming a young adult volunteer team to work in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in Crisfield, MD from August 18-23. It’s part of the denomination’s Restoration Generation initiative.
There are 20 openings on the team. Participants must be at least 16 years of age.
With lodging in a local UM church, the cost is estimated to be about $300.
"This trip is geared toward young adults and those who want to work with them to restore the generation gaps within our church and restore a sense of missional engagement with world around us," said the Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, associate director of UM Church Union, who is coordinating the trip. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and to apply.
"The timing of this trip pairs nicely with the NEJ Young Adult event called The Oasis from Aug.16-18th in Washington, DC," she added.
Find out more about Restoration Generation and register for The Oasis at www.resgenumc.org
Since its creation, first as A United Methodist Witness in Pennsylvania during the mid-1980s and in recent years as United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, the organization has operated as a non-profit separate from the annual conferences. It had its own board of directors and budget. It maintained a consultative relationship with bishops across the state.
The annual conference retired clergy/spouse luncheon will be held on FRIDAY, June 14, 2013 at NOON in a private dining room in the Rathburn building (a new building located behind the chapel). This building was completed last year and will provide the group with its own dining space, rather than using shared space. This will facilitate group conversation and allow for a brief meeting following the meal.
The building is handicap accessible and some parking is available nearby.
The Rev. John Fanestil said that he began serving Communion in Friendship Park in 2008 to stand in solidarity with families who meet there. “For some families, it’s the only place they get to see loved ones.”The visit was a learning experience for the bishops, who met with Mario Lopez, a representative of the San Diego mayor’s office at San Ysidro and viewed the pedestrian bridge leading into Tijuana. At another stop, they met with Enrique Morones, director of the Border Angels, a volunteer non-profit organization that advocates for human rights and immigration reform through community education and awareness programs.
“The division of families, the division of the church, sisters and brothers here and there, the division of neighborhoods – that was exactly the same. I’m so happy that the church is in ministry here at that border. The congregation meeting there Sunday by Sunday is such a witness that through Christ and in Christ and in God's love, any border does not matter because we know that God's love is for all people and we work for justice so that families can live together.”
The Rev. David Stains, pastor of OakView UMC in Waynesburg, and his team of 10 Volunteers in Mission have returned from a 10-day trip to Colombia, where they worked on an addition to El Camino Church in Sincelejo, an area hard-hit by power struggles over drug trafficking.
The work in Sincelejo is part of a Northeastern Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission Project proposed by the Rev. Clinton Rabb, who died in the Haiti earthquake. Teams are needed to continue the project in Colombia.
In the Sincelejo area, with access to the Caribbean and the money to be made from drug trafficking to Central and North America, groups have battled 50 years for the power to do so. One generation of men is missing due to war. Many sons and fathers are missing or have been killed.
The church and community are made up of many single mothers and their children. While drug traffickers entice children to join them and abuse the young women, the church is teaching the children and women that they are created to be more, to do more and to become more than to serve these battling groups.
The team, along with the pastor and his family and other local Colombians, dug trenches for footers, built forms and poured concrete for six columns, cut and bent rebar and built support cages for the footers and removed dirt from the area to level the ground.
The community surrounding the church is made up mostly of women, children and older men. The addition will serve as a place for the children and women to come together. The women cook and sell food and other items outside the church to generate money for the church. Pastor Rennys continues to teach school because the church does not have the cash to pay him. The addition will give the children a place to meet, play and learn with one another.
The women on Stains' team also held a four-day Bible School for area children. They enjoyed singing, listening to and dramatizing Bible stories, making crafts and just spending time with the leaders and each other.
Before the team left Colombia, they visited the IPS Clinton Rabb Methodist Clinic in Hermosa Vista. The clinic is open; a medical doctor is there all of the time, and a dentist is available. They are set up for minor surgery and to deliver babies. A lab is equipped to test blood and perform other tests. A small number of beds are available for patients and families to stay overnight. Bunk beds are available for teams of medical volunteers.
Donations to the Encounter with Christ in Latin America and the Caribbean will aid this project and other Methodist ministries in the area. Learn more.
One Day Class for Lay Servant School
To help all Lay Servants keep in compliance with the new Book of Discipline we have set up classes for June l, 2013 and hope to offer them again the beginning of Aug.
The classes will be held at the Paradise U M Church in Mt. Pleasant from 8:30-5:00. There will be a few breaks during the day and a 1/2 hour lunch. Lunch will not be provided, so please bring your lunch.
Rev. Steve Moore will teach UM Polity and Rev. Brenda Shaffer will teach Let the Whole Church Say AMEN! Leading in Prayer. If you are taking Rev. Shaffer's class, please bring with you a Bible, Text book, note taking materials and a copy of a church bulletin from the previous Sunday.
We will require a pre-registration by May 15th so books can be ordered. When you register, please indicate what class you are requesting. The cost of the class will be $15.00 - to cover the price of the books.
About a week after registration the books will be available at the District Office. If you cannot pick up your book, please ask the District Secretary to send your book to you.
Anyone taking a class is required to read the book BEFORE coming to class. We are trying to get 5 weeks of work done in 1 day, so we need your co-operation.
We are asking all Pastors to let their Lay Servants know about these classes.
A variety of classes will be offered at the Lay Academy, scheduled on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning of Annual Conference. Both laity and clergy are encouraged to attend.
|The Joy of Tweeting||Dawn Lynn Check|
|The Lay School as Discipleship Training||Bob Penrose|
|Sharing the Gospel on the Back of a Napkin||Kristen Parise|
|Palestine A Year in Review: Are We Any Closer to Peace?||Tina Whitehead|
|A Wesleyan Rx for Ministry to the Whole Person||Barbara Lewis and Joy Conti|
|Corry Together||John Zimmerman|
|Opening Church Doors in Christian Hospitality for All||Jeffery Miller|
|So What?||Anti-Racism Team|
|Now What?||Anti-Racism Team|
|Credit Score Enhancement||Patricia Columbe|
|The Lay School as Discipleship Training||Bob Penrose|
|Sharing the Gospel on the Back of a Napkin||Kristen Parise|
|Palestine A Year in Review: Are We Any Closer to Peace?||Tina Whitehead|
|A Wesleyan Rx for Ministry to the Whole Person||Barbara Lewis and Joy Conti|
|Corry Together||John Zimmerman|
|Opening Church Doors in Christian Hospitality for All||Jeffery Miller|
|So What?||Anti-Racism Team|
|Now What?||Anti-Racism Team|
|Credit Score Enhancement||Patricia Columbe|
|United Methodist Women Telling our Individual Stories||Barbara Hess|
|Who are the United Methodist Men||United Methodist Men|
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
Annual Conference Dinner
DATE: FRIDAY, 14 JUNE 2013
WHERE: MAP PRIVATE DINING ROOM
COST: $8.00 per person
Space is limited.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: FRIDAY, 31 MAY 2013
No walk-ins or payments at the door will be accepted.
You must register by the deadline to attend.
Join UMW Conference Officers, District Presidents and local unit members, for a time of relaxation, learning, fellowship and fun.
Your payment of $8.00 per person (check or money order only), along with a copy of the registration confirmation, must be received by Thursday, 6 June 2012. Consider registering a group of women and sending one check.
Make Check Payable to: Conference United Methodist Women and be sure to mark "UMW dinner, June 14, 2013".
Mail Check or Money order to:
C/O United Methodist Center UMW Dinner
Post Office Box 5002
Cranberry Twp ,, PA 16066-0002
Contact: Sharon Gregory
412-727-1235 (Home) or email@example.com (E-mail)
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newark UMC in Newark, DE is accepting applications until June 1 for a Director of youth/young adult Ministries. The Youth & Young Adult Director will participate in the overall staff team emphasis of discipleship and disciple-making with particular emphasis given to:
For more information, see online posting.
The Brookville Evangelical UMC is seeking a Christian Education Director for all ages. This full-time staff member will plan, develop, implement and manage educational ministries for children, youth, and adults. A Bachelors degree or equivalent experience is preferred. Seeking a person with strong Christian values who has organizational skills, leadership skills and is self-motivated. Salary $32,500 (no benefits). Please send resume and cover letter by June 1, 2013 to: PPRC, Brookville Evangelical UMC, 30 S. White St., Brookville, PA 15825
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
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.
The Rev. Charles D. "Pastor Chuck" Moore, 83, of Elizabeth Township, went home to be with the Lord on Easter Sunday, March. 31, 2013. He was born Oct. 12, 1929, in Dravosburg, son of the late Harold I. and Margaret Norman Moore.
Upon graduation from McKeesport High School in 1949, he joined the Air Force and served them well for 20 years. He was a member of the Strategic Air Command in munitions management. He was stationed in St. John's, Newfoundland, March Air Force Base in California, Westover Base in Massachusetts, Korea, Columbus, Miss., Spangdahlen Air Force Base in Germany and Alpena, Mich. He received several Air Force commendations and medals.
After retirement, he came home and completed his education at California University. He worked for Copperweld Wire and Cable Co. in Glassport for two years before entering the ministry. Chuck attended the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for four years while he served as a student pastor. He served West Side United Methodist in 10th Ward, Arona, Herminie 2, and Middletown UMCs. He also served the two-point Deckards and Sugar Lake charge, from which he retired in 1997.
A member of Central Highlands Community UM Church in Elizabeth Township, he served as co-chairperson in Christian education along with his wife, Emily. He was a member of the former Gospel Singers, CHCUMC choir and was a Sunday school teacher.
Chuck is survived by his wife of 62 years, Emily Lathrop Moore; sons, Charles D. and his wife, Deborah Moore, of Apollo, and Jeffrey D. and his wife, Laurie Moore, of Elizabeth Township; grandchildren, Dana and her husband, Mario Marsinetti, of Apollo, Jeffrey and Lindsay Moore, of Elizabeth Township; great-grandchildren, Alisa and Alaina Marsinetti, of Apollo; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, William and Elaine Lathrop Ross, of Elizabeth Township; and nieces and nephews in Indiana and Oregon.
There was no visitation. A celebration of his life was to be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the: the Rev. Charles D. Moore Scholarship Fund, c/o Central Highlands Community Methodist Church, 100 Timothy Drive, Elizabeth, PA 15037; or the Elizabeth Township Humane Society, Fallen Timber Road, Elizabeth, PA 15037.
Arrangements are by the GILBERT FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY INC., 6028 Smithfield St., Boston, Elizabeth Township. Condolences at http://www.gilbertfuneralhomeandcrematory.com
Rev. Spurgeon Dewitt Witherow, Jr. 87, of Youngsville, Pa., went to be with his Lord and Savior Sunday morning, March 24, 2013.
He was born September 27, 1925 in Brookville, Pa., a son of the late Spurgeon and Hazel Brocious Witherow. Spurg was a WW II Navy veteran serving on the USS Riley destroyer escort vessel as a gunners mate.
A retired elder of the Western Pennsylvania Conference, he served at Evans Memorial, Deckards, Stillwater (Jamestown NY), Youngsville Evangelical, and Erie Simpson UMCs. He retired in 1991. An active member of the EUM Church in Youngsville, he enjoyed running the children's programs for many years.
Spurg served as chaplain for the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #75 of Warren County, and enjoyed fishing, hunting, reading, and spending time with his family. Spurg touched many lives through his many years of ministry and will be missed by all that knew him.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Lucille Causer Witherow, whom he married June 5, 1947 in Duke Center, Pa., a daughter Dorothy L. (Dale) Linton of Utica, Pa., two sons, Terry (Kim) Witherow and Mark (Heather) Witherow, both of Erie, 8 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by 2 sisters, Juanita Buchanan and Imogene Lamb.
A funeral service was scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at the Nelson Funeral Home & Cremation Services. in Youngsville, with the Rev. Anette Gerber, pastor, and the Rev. Thomas Strandburg, Kane District Superintendent, officiating. Burial was to be the Warren County Memorial Park in Warren.
In lieu of flowers the family suggested memorial donations be made to the EUM Church, 18 2nd St., Youngsville, Pa., 16371 or to a charity of choice. Condolences to the family may be made at www.nelsonfuneralhome.net.
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.
Resources for Times of Tragedy: Numerous resources are available from the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) to help congregations deal with the aftermath of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Resources include articles on how to deal with trauma, including how to talk with children about the events in Boston; a list of hymns and songs in response to terrorism; appropriate calls to worship and an act of praise response to terrorism. See resources.
Choose Love Over Fear: Alexx Wood of the New England Conference shares how Old West Church, a United Methodist congregation in Boston’s Hope District, opened its door Tuesday night for people to grieve, pray and find a way toward healing. Learn more. The page includes a link to other stories and a list of services.
May is Mental Health Month: Mental Health Month was created 50 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for all. Our Conference Health as Wellness Team recommends checking out the information and resources available in Mental Health Ministries’spring newsletter.
Addressing Suicide: As the suicide of Rick Warren's son Matthew brings renewed attention to mental health, depression, and suicide, Al Hsu writes on Christianity Today’s website that his case is not uncommon. Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States takes his or her own life. Suicide occurs among Christians at essentially the same rate as non-Christians. Read more from Hsu, author of Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One's Search for Comfort, Answers and Hope
World Malaria Day is April 25: Invite your friends to a party to watch HBO’s new movie Mary and Martha. It stars Hillary Swank and Brenda Blethyn as two women who meet in Africa and work to help raise awareness of the preventable, treatable disease that kills a child every 60 seconds. Learn more and download a party kit.
Concerned About Media Addiction? Consider attending God and the Media, an event aimed at helping individuals and families evaluate the benefits and pitfalls of digital media use by youth and adults. Cabot UMC is hosting the event Friday evening, April 26 and Saturday, April 27. PhillipTelfer, founder of Media Talk 101, a nonprofit ministry aimed at providing biblical help for living in today’s pervasive media culture, will be the keynote speaker.
Explore Open Table Poverty Ministry: Open Table is a ministry that trains church members to partner with individuals and families living in poverty to develop and implement plans to move to sustainability. On May 1, Jon Katov, founder of Open Table, and Charley Hodges, whose church in Jamestown NY is using the model, will be in Pittsburgh to meet with members of Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community and others interested in learning more about the ministry. Anyone interested is invited to drop by Hot Metal on Pittsburgh’s Southside from 9:30-11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1.
The Poor in Ministry: The Rev. Paul Slentz says the poor can be very effective in ministry because the “least of these” are people they know and understand. He is the pastor of Sixty-First Avenue United Methodist Church in Nashville, a small congregation whose membership mostly have incomes below poverty level. Almost all members are engaged in ministries of service. Learn more.
Welfare:What’s in a Name? The name Department of Public Welfare was certainly an improvement over the names of the two Pennsylvania agencies that were merged to form it 90 years ago, says a Philadelphia Inquirer story about efforts to change the name to Department of Human Services. But there’s growing bipartisan support to change it for several reasons. Steve Drachler of UM Advocacy in PA is quoted in the story. Read more.
Erie Alliance Benefit Concert: Erie United Methodist Alliance has a new logo, a new tagline and a new website – and a benefit concert with Tennessee Backporch scheduled for April 26. Its new mission statement: “Centered in Christ's love and compassion, EUMA is a ministry providing hope and the promise of a brighter future to the homeless members of our community.” Those who work and volunteer at EUMA remain committed to its purpose of providing homeless and in-need people with safe shelter, basic necessities, and life skills training as they work toward achieving their greatest potential.
Walk-Ins Welcome at Evangelism Clinics: Organizers of this weekend’s Clinics on Evangelism with Mark Mittelberg say walk-ins are welcome at the events: Saturday, April 20 at Charter Oak UMC and Sunday, April 21 at Lakeside UMC in DuBois. Payment will be accepted at the door from those who have registered online, but did not pay or from walk-ins.
Deaths: Memorial services will be held later this week for Kelly Stranford-Wasser, wife of the Rev. Rex Wasser of Greenville, and the Rev. Robert Foltz, who retired as CEO of Goodwill Industries in 2002. Both died on Sunday, April 14. The celebration of Rev. Foltz’s life will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Smithfield United Church in Pittsburgh. The memorial service for Mrs. Wasser is scheduled for 4 p.m., Saturday, April 20, at 4 pm at First UM Church in Greenville, with calling hours beginning at 1 p.m. See obituaries. A news obituary about Rev. Foltz appeared in Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Tribune.
Gospel Soloist Shea Dies at 104: George Beverly Shea, the son of a Wesleyan minister who helped popularize the hymn "How Great Thou Art," during a decades-long career with evangelist Billy Graham, died Tuesday at 104. The Associated Press offers an obituary.
Annual Conference Info: Letters with registration information and other details on the 2013 annual conference are on the way to clergy and lay members who will represent their church, charge or district. Online registration opens May 1. The 2013 pre-conference reports and a “new member survival guide” are already available online.
Children and Annual Conference: Child care for infants and pre-school age children will be available from Wednesday afternoon through the Sunday morning Ordination service at annual conference. Members can register online. A Recess program for children from K-Grade 7 also will be offered Thursday-Saturday. Registration and details will be online beginning May 1.
Annual Conference Heads-Up: Practice smiling! Photos will be taken during annual conference for a new pictorial directory. You’ll receive more info from Lifetouch photography.
Different Kind of Church Shopper: They are highly committed Christians who believe that God is calling them to different places and different contexts. Rev. Sarah Dorrance calls them “nomads.” Nomads can frustrate some pastors and laity because they seem to have no permanent church home, but they are highly gifted in many areas of the church life, she adds in a Leading Ideas article. Instead of getting mad at them for leaving our congregations, what if instead we helped nomads live into their giftedness?
Calvary to Host Harp Concert: Calvary UMC in Pittsburgh will host a concert by Welsh harpist Clair Jones, who was Prince Charles’ official harpist until 2011. Read more. It’s at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21.