January 19, 2021

by Rev. Mark I. Salvacion, J.D.,
Historic St. George's United Methodist Church
Confluence on Inauguration Day  
By Bishop Peggy Johnson

On Wednesday our country will hold its Presidential Inauguration. It will be in the foreground briefly against a current backdrop of political turmoil, last week’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, and a worldwide health crisis. And more turmoil, more attacks are threatened.  

It is my prayer that on that day we can begin to heal and find ways to mend our chasms of deep division. We all bring converging ways of thinking, believing and being. Read more...
New Cabinet sermon emphasizes wise, timely, courageous leadership
The Rev. Evelyn Kent-Clark, South District Superintendent, offers a new sermon for churches to use in worship on Sunday, Jan. 24, or another appropriate Sunday. Her sermon, "Called for Such a Time as This," is drawn from Esther 4:14 and Mark 1:14-20. It can be viewed on the Conference YouTube channel, and it is downloadable from the Conference’s Dropbox account.

The Cabinet is providing the series of sermons through January to offer busy pastors a needed respite from preaching. (See “Cabinet gifts churches with recorded sermons through January.”)
Federal Paycheck Protection Program Redux
The Small Business Administration issued their guidelines on January 6 documenting how lenders will proceed with the PPP2 applications for non-profits. Presently, only churches who have not yet received a PPP1 loans are eligible to apply; but this process will open up soon for churches that have already received PPP1 grants and can demonstrate a 25 percent decline in their "gross receipts" in at least one 2020 quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2019.

When eligible, churches will be able to apply to local lenders for an amount equal to 2.5 times the 2019 average monthly payroll costs, which include housing allowances and benefit payments made by the church. Many lenders offered online registration links for the PPP1 funds to reserve places in line for later receiving invitations to the grant application website. You need to be continuously monitoring their websites.

What can you do this week?
  1. Contact your lender. - Check with your lender to make sure you know how and when they expect to receive new PPP2 applications. Many lenders had online registration links for PPP1 to reserve places in line for later receiving invitations to the application website. You need to be continuously monitoring their websites.
  2. Analyze your gross receipts. - Determine if your church meets the 25 percent decline in "gross receipts" requirement by comparing the individual quarters and the entire year for 2020 and 2019. If you have a preschool, it would be appropriate at this time to perform the same calculations exclusive of other church receipts.
  3. Consider changing lenders. - Some churches may consider changing lenders for PPP2. This is certainly allowed, but we need to keep in mind that the documents received in PPP1 by a lender are intended to be the same documents used to simplify the application process for PPP2.
  4. View this informational video:  https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=560789121470950&ref=watch_permalink
Further questions? Contact James Brown, Conference Treasurer, at jbrown@epaumc.org, or Jo Fielding, Conference Benefits Director at jfielding@epaumc.org.
Bivocational & Small Church Network to meet
Join a new support group to resource small-church leaders. The Bivocational & Small Church Network will have its first meeting tonght, Jan. 19, at 6:30 PM, via Zoom. This is a group designed exclusively for church leaders of smaller churches, welcoming part-time, bivocational, retired and all other small-church leaders, both clergy and lay,” Learn more… 
Quietly Courageous, by the Rev. Gil Rendle, is the Congregational Development Team’s (CDT) third book to recommend and discuss in its new weekly Book Club. The discussion began Jan. 13, and it continues Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 11 AM to 12 PM, for three more weeks. Register today and join us on Zoom!

Rendle, the author of Quietly Courageous and a former Eastern PA Conference pastor, will facilitate the weekly discussions. The highly regarded consultant and former Texas Methodist Foundation top executive helps denominational organizations address systemic issues and strategies for fostering values-based change and leadership development.
The Eastern PA Conference Congregational Development Team will welcome the Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor emeritus and global church ambassador for Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio, to discuss “The Multi-Site/Satellite Model for Churches” on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at 10 AM. This event will be viewable on Zoom and requires registration in advance. Register for FREE!

Join Slaughter, renowned church innovator and strategist, for a conversation about church growth, sustainability, and connectionalism. Returning us to our Wesleyan connectional roots, he will explore how churches working together strengthens us all. Whether it’s “larger” and “smaller” churches working together, several churches creating a shared cooperative circuit, or developing hub-and-spoke networked ministries, our future lies in reclaiming and re-envisioning our missional heritage.

To prepare for this event Pastor Slaughter asks participants to read The Passionate Church: Ignite Your Church and Change the World (Abingdon Press, 2016). Written by Mike Slaughter and Karen Perry Smith, this valuable resource will assist in discerning and defining your church’s ministries and prime them for organic growth using a multi-stite/satellite model.
Deacons and Deacon candidates are invited to attend an upcoming gathering on Saturday, January 23, 2021, 1–2:30pm, on Zoom, the second in a series of continuing education events on anti-racism. Topic: “Becoming an Anti-racist Community: Intersectionality.” 0.15 CEUs. Register in advance for this meeting.
ALSO, New Lenten Bible Study: Character Matters 
Two new videos available on YouTube promote the new Lenten Bible study being prepared by the Rev. Steve Morton and North District clergy. View the two promo videos, featuring: Bishop Peggy Johnson and  Rev. Jennifer Frey, North District Assisting Elder. Learn more about the series: "New Lenten study to feature North District clergy."

The complete study will be available in early February. To access both the videos and Leader's Guide online, please go to  https://www.epaumc.org/districts/north/ and click on "Bible Studies." If you would like a flash drive with the study mailed to you, please email Deb Boyd at dboyd@epaumc.org. (If needed, a DVD and paper copies can be mailed if you let Deb Boyd know by 2/1 that you will need that format instead).