Bishop Peggy Johnson would like to announce the appointment of the Rev. Steven Morton as the District Superintendent for the North District of the Eastern PA Conference effective July 1, 2018. He will succeed the Rev. Dr. Irving Cotto, who has graciously given permission to allow for the announcement of the appointment of his successor prior to his own placement. Dr. Cotto's next appointment will be forthcoming in the new year.
A favorite son of the West Chester United Methodist Church, Steve answered the call to ordained ministry as a young adult. He prepared for that work by finishing a Religion degree at Grove City College ('81), a Master of Divinity degree at Duke University ('83), and serving student pastor roles at Washington Crossing UMC, West Chester UMC, and charges in Edgecombe County and Pittsboro, North Carolina. Ordained Deacon in the "old" system in 1983 (Elder in '86), he has enjoyed four appointments in the eastern PA Conference: the Kellersville Charge in the Poconos (six months), Reading: Faith UMC, Ephrata: Hope UMC, and for the past twenty years has been the Senior Pastor at Downingtown: Hopewell UMC.
Early in his ministry, Steve was active in denominational missions ministries and directed Confirmation Camp at Gretna Glen. In more recent years at Hopewell, his primary contributions have been in vision-casting, staff development, financial stewardship, and worship. Hopewell UMC today is driven by an intense commitment to community service: its unofficial motto is "Everybody's Gifted, Everybody Serves" - and that theological conviction has led to incredible outreach in South Africa, Haiti, and the current development of a Christian community center in the borough of Downingtown called The Well. The pervasive culture of community service is supported by a worshiping congregation of 550 persons (spread across five regular worship hours), a remarkable staff of twenty-plus, a beautiful campus in Chester County, and long-standing excellence in both Children's and Youth Ministries. At Hopewell, Steve was the genesis of the annual Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth training event and for the past half-dozen years has led the production of a video-based Bible Study series for each new Season of Lent.
Steve has traveled to the Holy lands twice and South Africa seven times. During his time at Hopewell, he has served on the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, the Mid Atlantic Foundation Board, the Board of Trustees at Cornwall Manor, and taught classes in leadership development at West Chester University. He is thoroughly enmeshed in the Eastern PA Conference: summer camp as a child at Innabah, confirmed at West Chester UMC, married at the Albright College Chapel, and served as pastor in four different districts.
Married to Joan since 1989, he proudly supports her career as a registered nurse in Honey brook, PA. Together they have two children (son Jordan, 26, who lives in California and daughter Jessica, 22, a student at West Chester University) and today are also delightfully helping to raise granddaughter Mia, who is 2. Outside the church, Steve's primary interests are Phillies baseball, American colonial history, beaches in the State of Maine, and spending time at the Mortons' home in the Poconos.
He accepts this new role as Superintendent in obedience to the God who never stops calling followers of Jesus to radical, risk-taking discipleship - and as a practical, compelling opportunity in an era of grave church decline to promote leadership development and local church renewal among the congregations of the North District. The scripture verse which undergirds him is from Judges 18:6b: "The mission you are on is under the eye of the Lord." 'Can't wait to see!
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson