April 19, 2021
Online 2021 Annual Conference session approved 
A brief, online special session of the Eastern PA Annual Conference approved a suspension of conference rules on Sunday, April 18, agreeing to hold the full conference business session, scheduled for May 21, by video conference on Zoom once again, as it did in 2020. The special session, held on Zoom at 3 PM, lasted about 30 minutes. The final vote tally was:  Yes442No: 2. Abstain: 2. The four District Conferences met online afterward at 4 PM.

While the Annual Conference business session is scheduled for May 21, the annual Clergy Session and Laity Session will both happen May 20. And the annual Memorial Service and Service of Commissioning and Ordination will both take place May 22 onsite at Olivet UMC in Coatesville. All sessions and services will be livestreamed and viewable on the conference's Facebook page See our Annual Conference 2021 web page for more information.
Court won’t rule in advance on protocol legislation
The United Methodist Church’s top court will not rule in advance on the constitutionality of proposed legislation that would provide a way for some to separate from the denomination.

In Memorandum 1407, the Judicial Council declined jurisdiction in response to a request from the United Methodist Council of Bishops about the proposed Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.

The protocol legislation will remain in the hands of the next General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative meeting — postponed twice because of the pandemic — is now rescheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2022. Learn more...
Mass murder every day
By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

I am certain that all of us are grieved by the uptick of mass shootings that are happening all over the country at the moment.

According to the Gun Violence Archive there have been 2,218 mass shootings since 2013 (in which at least four people are being shot at the same time and location), (www.gunviolencearchive.org).

Almost every day in the cities of Philadelphia and Wilmington there have been homicides and injuries in large numbers. I ponder why that does not get more national news coverage.  We should never take a single violent act for granted; and as Christians we have some responsibility to address this pandemic. Learn more...
Tools for Ministry recordings now online to offer more learning
Like a good toolbox, this year’s Tools for Ministry online leadership academy, held March 13, is still available and useful. At least 26 of the 34 diverse, 90-minute courses, all provided via video conferencing on Zoom, were recorded. A page full of links to those recordings is now available on the conference website

The conference was forced to offer Tools for Ministry fully online for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that alternative presented at least two silver linings: convenient at-home attendance and these recordings made available for those who were limited to taking just two courses that Saturday morning.

Some may want to learn more from other courses; and some may want to review or share with others what they learned that day. Indeed, these recorded courses can be viewed online along with study groups or entire congregations as a collective educational resource. And they may point to online alternative considerations when future Tools for Ministry events are planned.  Learn more...
Also, happening in our conference this week...  
Conference weekly prayer meeting, Tuesday, April 20
Online weekly conference prayer meetings—celebrating a one-year anniversary this month—happen every Tuesday at 12 noon, for a half-hour, on Zoom. The Rev. Dave Piltz, a pastor, campus minister and Young People’s Ministries Coordinator, will lead this week’s gathering. Join us!

Here is the Zoom access information:
Join us on Zoom.
Meeting ID: 591 129 374.
Or Call in: +1 646 558 8656
Weekly Preaching Forum continues April 20
Join us for a conference-wide Preaching Forum on Zoom to help us plan Revised Common Lectionary-based sermons every Tuesday. Enjoy a weekly, one-hour, profitable exchange of ideas, inspiration and information about preaching resources.

Gifted presenters will share their notes on each week’s chosen text and then lead the forum in conversation. We will explore each text’s historical circumstances and present-day perspectives, plus ideas for application and initial thoughts for sermon movements, etc. 

For now, we will focus on texts for the upcoming Sunday. But we may adjust to add more lead time in the future. This initial, experimental preaching forum will run for 12 weeks until June 22. Register Now
Policing in African American Communities, April 22
Join us for an important discussion to benefit our communities…

The Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission’s Fight for Floyd and Beyond Initiative will sponsor a meeting on African Americans and Policing: Developing Healthy Police and Community Relationships on Thursday, April 22, 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom.

Discussion leaders, from Philadelphia, Chester and Montgomery County, will share their insights, experiences and ideas for improving police community relations in communities of color. They include: a police chaplain and pastor; a church and community leader; and a community organization leader. Register Now
Virtual Urban Summit 2021, April 24 & May 1
Virtual Urban Summit Kick off! Featuring dynamic presenters who will share their abundant wisdom, energy and experiences to help stir up our gifts and passion for radical, innovative urban ministry.

Virtual Urban Ministry Youth Summit! Youth will tackle hard facts with faith and strategies in a town hall summit addressing issues of violence, trauma, substance abuse, and other concerns. They will create new ways to become peer advocates and birth innovative youth ministries

Summit Topics:
  • Engaging our Communities in Change
  • Doing Spiritually-Focused Urban Evangelism
  • Pursuing Partnerships, Development & Urban Renewal
  • Combating Violence through Faith-Based Healing