March 2021

Wesley UMC welcomes Pastor Martha Ognibene

As Pastor Randy and Janet prepare to retire in June 2021, we are pleased to announce that Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball and the cabinet of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church have appointed Rev. Martha Ognibene as the next pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, effective July 1, 2021.

A message from Pastor Martha: Hello! My name is Martha Ognibene, and I am very excited to be appointed to serve Wesley UMC and the surrounding community. I grew up as a United Methodist pastor’s child and was determined not to get into the ministry (despite marrying a United Methodist pastor!). I worked as a public school teacher and reading specialist while Michael Ognibene and I raised three children. …And then God called me after all! I graduated from seminary and began serving churches in the Little Kanawha and Western Districts. Michael died suddenly in 2001. Two years later I married Bart Thompson, another United Methodist minister in our conference. My children are all grown and married now: Adrienne is a lawyer in Northern Virginia; Jamie is a design manager at a department store in New Orleans; and Kelsey is a medical social worker in New Orleans. Kelsey and her husband Jason just became first-time parents—and me, a first-time grandparent—on January 15! Please join us in welcoming Pastor Martha to our church and thanking Pastor Randy and Janet for their service over the years.

2021 stewardship campaign: The time is now

The Finance Committee has launched “The Time is Now” stewardship campaign with an established budget of $526,282. Commitment cards were mailed out the week of March 1. The collection of the commitment information will help us set expectations on reaching the budget for 2021. There are multiple ways to let Wesley UMC know your financial commitment for 2021 by March 19 so we can report on the totals on Sunday, March 21. The cards can be mailed to the church or dropped off in person to the church office. An online option is also available, which will send an email directly to Financial Secretary Diana Canale.

March 2021 Concert in the Loft

Tom and Fiddle Mike
Sunday, March 14
6 p.m.
Facebook Live

United Methodist Women

The Wesley United Methodist Women invites all Wesley women to consider joining the group for fellowship, service and study. We welcome all women with an interest in missions and serving the community in a church-based organization. We meet monthly to share prayer and information and raise funds for local charities. We oversee a fund bequeathed by a wonderful local woman to Wesley UMW to support Christian mission projects. We have recently
sponsored a Guatemalan children’s scholarship project, a winter readiness and repair project locally, a settlement house founded by the UMW, and an orchard and well project in Sierra Leone among others through quilt sales, flea markets and other fundraising.

We cordially invite you to join us in a brainstorming meeting via Zoom in April (date and time TBD). We will introduce and welcome everyone and discuss ideas for how to move forward with an inclusive and vibrant UMW group. We will discuss what a UMW group is, how we link to the national group of UMWs, what we have done in the past, how we are organized and operate, and how our group can move into the future. Your presence and ideas will be so valuable. We encourage your attendance to join in the discussion. We will send out a brief set of discussion points involving suggestions for leadership, mission and process. We hope to make our church warm and welcoming to members and strangers alike and give women a meeting venue for committed purpose and growing in faith. Please contact Sandra Putnam at 304-210-8865 or to learn more.

Chancel Choir prepares for Lenten season

The Chancel Choir continues to meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. over Zoom. We are rehearsing upcoming anthems to offer during our Lenten services. We always make time for fun, fellowship and devotion, too. If you would like to join our group, contact Lya Stroupe ( for the Zoom link.

Wesley’s Kids learn about God’s covenants

The children of Wesley Church continue to meet every Sunday at 10 a.m. over Zoom for Sunday School. This Lenten season we are learning about God’s covenants. We are painting Noah’s Ark and have many animals to paint and put on the ark. Our Sunday School teachers always have us moving around and engaged in learning! We are also learning the books of the Old Testament. The children have enjoyed being connected and seeing one another. If your children would like to join us, please contact Lya Stroupe ( for the Zoom link.

Special offering: UMCOR Sunday

Your gifts on Sunday, March 21 on United Methodist Committee on Relief Sunday lay the foundation to share God’s love with communities around the world. All support to this fund goes directly to relief efforts for national disasters. Make your gift at

Mon Valley District News

C.O.M.E. fundraiser

While the Celebration of Mission Event will not take place as an in-person event this year due to the pandemic, the Mon Valley District is still planning a fundraiser and collecting tangible goods for mission projects with the Ebenezer Community Outreach Center and New Vision Depot Disaster Response. Information about these projects, including need lists, can be found on the conference website.

Items may be dropped off on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Life United Methodist Church, 3000 Technology Drive. Monetary donations can be made payable to the West Virginia Conference Treasurer and mailed to the MonValley District Office, P.O. Box 307, Kingmont, WV 26578. Last year, the MonValley District contributed $13,659.73 to the C.O.M.E. mission projects.

Spiritual Gifts Advanced Course

The Spiritual Gifts Advanced Course is a six-week course offered Wednesdays (April 7-May 12) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. via Facebook Live. It is taught by Tim Edin at Gateway United Methodist Church. This course helps participants understand spiritual gifts and how the church can use them to fulfill its mission and ministry. Participants will also learn what it means to be a spiritual leader and will be equipped to lead others in exploring and using their spiritual gifts.
Throughout this six-week course, you will learn about spiritual gifts and how we can use them in our personal lives and in the life of the church. Registration deadline is Monday, March 29. Learn more and register.