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This season of disaffiliation has been painful for many, especially for those who wish to remain part of the United Methodist Church but are members of churches that have voted to leave the denomination. Conference leadership heard from some of these individuals, and their most common question was, "Where do I go now?"
As conversations evolved about how to best care for those who may be feeling adrift, leadership turned to the connection and researched how other conferences are caring for people who are seeking new UMC homes. In consultation with the Western North Caroline Conference of the UMC, a vision began to emerge about adapting their approach to Western PA. The North Carolina Conference came up with the concept of safe havens that could best care for our own people during this time of grief and discernment.
The Western PA Conference established "Lighthouse Congregations" - local churches in the conference that are particularly well equipped to welcome anyone whose church had closed to disaffiliated and who wish to remain in the United Methodist Church.
As a Lighthouse Congregation, we act as a resting place for those seeking a new United Methodist faith community, with people who will care for an provide a safe haven of peace and grace. The goal is to offer a safe, caring place for Western PA United Methodists to attend while they discern their next steps, rather than to build our membership.
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