April 23, 2020
Webinar tonight!
Plan your church’s COVID-19 Recovery Ministry  
View an important, free webinar titled “Planning Your Church’s COVID-19 Recovery Ministry Now!” tonight, April 23, from 7:30 to 8:30 PM (ET) 
Join Ken Sloane , UMC Discipleship Ministries’ Director of Stewardship & Generosity, as he welcomes Clayton Smith , author of the book Growing through Disaster . The two will discuss how churches, during the coronavirus pandemic, can and must begin planning forward-looking recovery ministries for their communities, and be ready to implement them as the crisis comes to an end.

Smith and his co-author Matt Schoenfeld provide a process developed through their significant experience in assisting communities recover from disaster and trauma. The process leads to spiritually-rooted recovery for the people and their community.

Your community will recover from the COVID-19 virus. We are helping with the medical recovery now through social distancing. While the epidemic will continue to capture the headlines, the work of emotional and financial healing necessitates long-term recovery planning that can start now.   Learn more…       Click here to register for this webinar.

More federal CARES Act assistance coming. Churches should apply
Updated 4/21/2020:  The U.S. Senate approved Tuesday roughly $484 billion in new coronavirus aid for small businesses and hospitals and more funding for testing. The deal includes an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill is expected to pass the house on Thursday. Be prepared with your applications!  Learn more…
Eastern PA pastor discusses CARES Act inequity
The General Commission on Religions & Race (GCORR) presented on Facebook Live Wednesday, April 22, a discussion with the Rev. Lydia Munoz, pastor of Swarthmore UMC and social justice advocate, and Ryan Bowers co-founder of Activest,  a voice for fiscal and racial justice in municipal finance. 

Muñoz and Bowers discussed hurdles and inequities that are being experienced by communities and churches of color affected by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of business, particularly when applying for emergency financial assistance through the new federal CARES Act. View the recording   

Tentative General Conference dates set
After the pandemic-caused postponement, the new prospective dates for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference are Aug. 31-Sept. 10, 2021.

The Council of Bishops disclosed the proposed dates, including a Council of Bishops meeting starting Aug. 26, in an email to its members and other church leaders. The proposed dates also were discussed among delegates of at least one jurisdictional conference in late March. General Conference organizers have not confirmed the dates.

Previously, the organizers announced that they resolved to keep the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly in the Minneapolis Convention Center. General Conference was originally scheduled to meet at the convention center May 5-15 of this year.

With the legislative assembly on the calendar, other church gatherings also will get new dates. The Council of Bishops said that once the General Conference dates are official, new dates will be announced for the five jurisdictional conferences —simultaneous meetings where new U.S. bishops are elected. The jurisdictional conferences, originally scheduled for July, are now on hold . Learn more…
 
Public can view UMC Bishops meeting online next week
The UMC’s Council of Bishops will make two days of their annual spring meeting open online to the public next week. “People may want to watch this,” said Bishop Peggy Johnson. “A lot of clarifications will be coming at this meeting.The viewing dates are Wednesday, April 29 and Friday, May 1, from 9 AM to 1 PM.
 
Wednesday’s agenda includes an opening “Centering” period, where bishops will share what is happening in their areas in response to the Coronavirus. Also featured will be the Council President's address and initial, proposed plans for General and Jurisdictional conferences in 2021. Also, how jurisdictional colleges of bishops are preparing for ministry after July 1.
 
Thursday’s agenda is an executive session and will not be open to the public. But Friday’s agenda will include the Ecumenical Officer’s Report to the Council; plus sharing from Council Leadership Teams and the Celebration of Leadership and Passing of the Gavel, when Bishop Kenneth Carter of Florida turns his leadership role over to Cynthia Fierro Harvey of Louisiana.

Learn more at www.unitedmethodistbishops.org  and
 
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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