December 05, 2018
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WHAT'S NEW
Bishop
Peggy Johnson announces the following appointments:

West District:
  • Rev. Paul Miller (part-time local pastor) to serve Hopeland, 3/4-time, effective January 1, 2019. 
See all appointments, assignments, and retirements on our website.
Join 'progressive' conversation on UMC Way Forward Dec. 8
Eastern PA Conference members of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) and the Reconciling Ministries Network will co-host a "progressive" conversation on "The Intersectionality of Race, Sexuality and the Special Session of General Conference 2019: Looking for A Way Forward" on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 PM, at Ardmore UMC, 200 Argyle Road, Ardmore.

A panel of General Conference delegates, led by the Rev. Darryl Stephens, author and director of UM Studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary, will "share our hopes and fears and how we will prepare ourselves and the communities we represent to continue to be a witness for full inclusion in the life of our United Methodist Church."

This event can also be viewed and shared via the online video-meeting resource ZOOM. Join this Zoom Meeting at https://zoom.us/j/513118518 . To join by phone, use one-tap mobile: +16468769923, 513118518# or dial: 1-646-876-9923. Meeting ID: 513 118 518.

The Revs. Lydia Muñoz and Joanne Miles are co-leaders of MFSA.
  Clergy and candidacy mentors to be trained Dec. 13

Conference-wide training will be offered to all clergy in full connection (including part-time local pastors who have completed the course of study) at Wesley UMC in Bethlehem on December 13, from 9 AM to 12 PM.

The UMC Book of Discipline requires that all clergy and candidacy mentors be trained and then retrained every four years. This three-hour open training suffices for both but requires advance registration. To register send an e-mail request to the Rev. Andy Krpata  right away. The training is free and offers .3 CEUs through the Board of Ordained Ministry.

Attendees should bring a wi-fi-enabled device (preferably one bigger than a cell phone) to use during the training. It will cover the basics of mentoring, the process of candidacy, and a preview of UMCares (United Methodist Candidacy and Record Entry System). If you are not already entered into the system, you will be by the conclusion of the training.

Who needs this training?
  • All mentors not trained or retrained in the past four years
  • All mentors assigned to a candidate who have not yet taken the training.
  • Any clergy who have been given access as a UMCares district administrator.
Wesley UMC is at 2540 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA Questions? Call Andy: 267-250-4912

Join Zoom call on ending gun violence, Dec. 13

The South District will focus its second " Zoom Pop-Up" pair of conversations on the topic "Working to End Gun Violence, on Thursday, Dec. 13 . The conversation, using the conference's popular online tool for holding video/audio meetings, will happen twice, conveniently, at 11 AM and 7 PM. The first conversation topic was planning worship for Advent.
Learn how your church can get involved with the work of Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence. Find out how to plan and host one of its "memorials to the lost" that includes displaying empty t-shirt to memorialize gun violence victims.
All are welcome to join the Revs. Dawn Taylor-Storm, district superintendent, and Jim McIntire, and Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Heeding God's Call for this conversation. Join them by using the Zoom links or by conference call.
Advance Daily Christian Advocate out now
The Advance Edition of the Daily Christian Advocate for the 2019 Special Called General Conference is published and now available online in the four languages used at General Conference. Print versions were recently mailed to all the delgates.  Read More
Phila. UM Mass Choir Christmas Concert Dec. 15
It's that time of year again where we have the privilege to gather in worship and praise to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Join The Philadelphia UM Mass Choir on Saturday, December 15th, 5 PM , at Mother African Zoar for their Annual Christmas Concert. There will be a freewill offering that will benefit the Black Methodist Church for Renewal (BMCR) Youth Initiative and Scholarships.

"Bring your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates to be blessed in song, dance, and joy," invites choir director the Rev. Eric Carr. The choir has performed at numerous venues since its founding in 2015, including during the 2018 Annual Conference Memorial Service.
Cabinet workday joins labor of love at Cornwells UMC 
Bishop Peggy Johnson brought her Cabinet to Cornwells UMC at Cornwell Heights in Bensalem for its annual  "workday" in the mission field Nov. 29.

The workday, held during or around Advent season, engages the bishop and her district superintendents each year in hands-on helping ministry at a church or mission institution. The occasion also enables them to visit with staff, members, volunteers, clients and neighbors at each venue and to learn about the ministries that happen there.

The faithful volunteers at 130-year-old Cornwells UMC have operated a food bank and feeding program for many years, and each year the need gets greater, reported Pastor Susan Velez.

Members receive donations from local stores, which they pick up, sort and distribute to neighbors in need. They are a registered food bank with the state and are eligible for some grant money to augment their donated food supply.

Cabinet members helped unload the delivery truck and sort food during their workday. They also signed Christmas cards, which included a $10 Giant Food Store gift card. Cabinet host the Rev. Tracy Bass, East District Superintendent,  announced that the district also donated funds to help the food bank purchase an additional hand truck.

Past Cabinet end-of-year workday venues have included the Methodist Children's Home, the Chester County Prison's Correctional Center (to visit women inmates), the Anchor Breakfast Ministry at First UMC Lancaster, and the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot, operated by Wesley UMC Bethlehem.
Eastern PA pastor joins Governor's commission against gerrymandering
The Rev. Robert Johnson, pastor of Tindley Temple UMC  in Philadelphia, is among 11 members appointed by PA Governor Tom Wolf to serve on the new bipartisan Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission, which will address the problem of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.

The governor recently signed an executive order establishing the commission and appointed David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the non-profit Committee of Seventy, as chairman. Two state senators and two state House members will also serve on the 15-member body. Johnson is the sole representative of a religious body on the commission. See the full roster.

"Pennsylvanians are fed up with our broken redistricting system that puts more power in the hands of partisan politicians," said Gov. Wolf. "Gerrymandering is wrong, and it sacrifices our democracy for partisan political powerplays, and the people of Pennsylvania deserve better.

"To rebuild trust in Harrisburg, voters must have confidence they are choosing their elected leaders, not politicians cherry-picking their voters," he explained. "That must begin with a fair and transparent process for drawing congressional and legislative district maps that places the best interests of communities before the ambitions of a few, connected politicians."

The commission will engage the public, redistricting experts and other stakeholders to make holistic recommendations and emphasize the importance of having elections with integrity and fairness. The governor already held a series of listening sessions across Pennsylvania earlier this year.

The state Supreme Court enacted a new congressional map in February. The Eastern PA Annual Conference joined the state's other two United Methodist annual conferences--Western PA and Susquehanna--in advocating against the state's previous, gerrymandered electoral districts in 2017. All three area bishops cosigned a letter to the governor and state assembly leaders to voice their concerns.

For more information contact the office of Eric Gutshall, Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs, at 717-787-2500 or egutshall@pa.gov.

District working to fund children's eye care in Congo

The South District's is raising $50,000 to provide ophthalmological eye care for children at the new Pediatric Clinic in Mpasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); and they are just $6,000 from their goal.

The clinic is now equipped to care for area children and youth, thanks in part to previous fundraising support from the district. The new effort will make possible ophthalmological care, eye surgery, anesthesiology and advanced surgery for children and families of this area.  The district partnered with Donna and the Rev. Jonathan Baker, former Congo Partnership missionaries who retired in March but continue to promote the mission.

"We will equip, train and develop the Mpasa Hospital to launch cataract, eye surgery and prosthetic missions," said the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, district superintendent.  "In the DRC, eye disease and blindness are rampant, due to contaminated rivers and a lack of clean water. As God's people, we can change this reality and bring healing and new life.

"Truly, we can do more together as a connectional church and our ministry in the DRC is evidence of what the body of Christ can do together," she explained.  "We are so thankful for every small group, UMM, UMW, VBS team, individuals and churches who live out God's call to 'go into all the world.' Together we can help bring sight to the blind."

To support this effort, donations should be addressed to "South District" and mailed to the South District Office, 107 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite B, Downingtown, PA 19335.
Laity to learn church leadership skills, Jan. 19
The West District welcomes all to attend Equipping Church Leaders, a laity training event Jan. 19, from 8:30 to 11:30 AM. The location is Faith UMC in Manheim Township, 1290 Fruitville Pike (enter from Koser Road), in Lititz, Pa.  The contingency snow date will be Jan. 26.

The three-hour Saturday morning event is free. But registration is required and advance registration by Jan. 7 is strongly recommended. Walk-ins will be admitted as space permits.

Planned workshops will cover the following areas: Church Council; Evangelism; Finance; Marketing, Web Design, and Social Media; Missions and Service Projects; Trustees; Stewardship; and Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committees.

All laity serving on church committees in 2019 (and also pastors) are invited to this training to get equipped for their responsibilities. Expert workshop leaders will cover the basics for people newly elected and fresh tips and practical insights for more experienced leaders.

Onsite registration, a light breakfast and fellowship time will happen from 8:30 to 9 AM, followed by the training agenda, which will conclude with a Q&A panel discussion from 11 to 11:30. Questions? Contact the Rev. Jason Perkowski at (717) 333-9238 or jbperkowski@gmail.com.
Register for 2019 FAMLP retreat by Jan. 2
The Fellowship of Associate Members and Licensed Local Pastors (FAMLP) will hold its 2019 annual retreat May 5-7 at the Peninsula-Delaware Conference's Camp Pecometh, 136 Bookers Wharf Road, Centreville, Md.
As always, the retreat is open to all associate members, licensed local pastors, student pastors and certified lay ministers in the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences. Registration is open now. A non-refundable registration deposit of $100 per person is due by Jan. 2. The remaining balance is due by Feb. 4.
The Rev. Jack Shitama, executive director of Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries, will be the featured presenter. He serves on the Peninsula-Delaware Conference Vision Team and formerly chaired the United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries Association Board.
Shitama, a former pastor in Maryland, authored the book Anxious Church, Anxious People: How to Lead Change in an Age of Anxiety , which is the theme for the retreat and his presentation. The book is available at Amazon.com , Bookdepository.com and other booksellers for under $13.
The total costs for the retreat are: $380.00 for single-occupancy room; and $250 per person for a double-occupancy room. Make checks payable to "Union FAMLP" and send payments to: Rev. Cheryl Snyder, FAMLP Treasurer, 280 Rock Church Road, Elkton, MD 21921. See the retreat brochure to learn more.
For more information, contact the Rev. Mark Beideman, Eastern PA Conference FAMLP Chairperson, at 610-585-0575 or umcpastormark@earthlink.net .
View and download the brochure: 2019-FAMLP-Retreat-Brochure.pdf
First Tools for Ministry in Korean language set for Feb. 10
The Rev. Bumkoo (BK) Chung, West District Superintendent, has announced that the Philadelphia Area Korean UM Caucus will hold its first-ever Tools for Ministry church leadership learning academy taught in the Korean language on Sunday, Feb 10, from 3 to 7 PM. The event is tentatively scheduled to be at Lighthouse  Fellowship Korean UMC in Glenside, Pa.

But it may be moved to Delaware, where some caucus members are located.

The need for such a training opportunity for Korean laity in their first language was emphasized, among other concerns, at a recent meeting the caucus had with Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Anita Powell, Eastern PA  Conference Executive Director of Connectional Ministries.

REMINDERS
Next Orientation to Ministry Dec. 12

To those who may be exploring Certified or Licensed Ministry in the UM Church:

Do you feel, deep within, that God might be calling you? Are you trying to discern if you're called to be a deacon or an elder, a licensed local pastor or a certified lay minister? Not sure where God is calling you or how to get there?

The Board of Ordained Ministry now sponsors Exploring Ministry events at several times and places throughout the year. This ministry orientation, required of certified candidates for pastoral  ministry, will help you better understand the diverse ways that you can live out your call in The United Methodist Church. The next orientation, led by the Rev. Michael Roberts, will be on Wednesday, December 12, 10 AM to 12 PM, at Quakertown UMC, 1875 Freier Rd, Quakertown, PA. Register Now!
UMCom Advent resources to help you reach your community

Invite your community to experience a more meaningful Advent and Christmas season using our outreach materials.Resources include: Postcards; Invitation cards; Posters; Banners; Yard signs; Free digital downloads. Whether you are inviting the community to Christmas worship services or promoting special events during Advent, there is a customizable design option for you. Choose from one of the many designs. This promotional offer is limited, so place your order soon!
New Board of Ordained Ministry Web presence

Visit our website's robust new Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) section, which replaces the the board's former independent site. Dig into the three main areas: Exploring the Call to Ministry; Candidacy Process; and Clergy Concerns. They include links to helpful information about financial support, the Vocational Intern Program, continuing education, Ordained Ministry committees and officers, extension ministries, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and more. BOOM leaders will be updating and adding to their new site; so please visit, pass the word, and come back often. Learn more...

New book looks looks back on issues related to UMC Way Forward


Disagreements in The United Methodist Church about human sexuality extend as far back as the birth-control movement of the 1920s, writes Ashley Boggan Dreff in Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality. Published by the UM Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the new book covers the attitudes of U.S. Methodists about sexuality since World War II. Explore our growing list of helpful resources on the UMC's Way Forward on our website.
Restoration 2019! Bishop's Mid-Winter Retreat

January 24-26, 2019, at the Holiday Inn Ocean Front, 6600 Coastal Hwy., Ocean City, Maryland. Featured speakers: Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, Baltimore-Washington Conference; Tracy Radosevic, expert biblical storyteller; and the Rev. Rob Townsend, Salisbury District Superintendent in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. Workshops: Story as Preaching; Story in Song; Story Art-Healing through Storytelling; and Spouses Have a Story. Registration deadline: January 2, 2019. Online registration is preferred www.etouches.com/Restoration2019.  2.0 CEUs available. Download the brochure to learn more.
2019-20 Local Pastor Licensing School schedule

Register now if you are interested in Pastoral Ministry as:
  • A Certified or Licensed Local Pastor  
  • A Growing Church Licensing School Pastor
Come to a Licensing School sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and held at teaching pastors' churches and at the Eastern PA Conference Center. Cost: $1,100 for all five segments toward licensing or $250 per segment.

Course instructors are clergy in the Eastern PA Conference and/or from PATH 1, a church growth initiative of Discipleship Ministries, UMC.  Download the 2019-20 Schedule and Application Form

Get the 2018 Journal at your Fingertips

November means slowly falling leaves, a crisp chill in the air, suddenly pumpkin spice everything, and the annual printing of the EPA Journal. This year, the Conference is excited to introduce on-demand printing for the 2018 Journal. In past years, the Conference office has been saddled with cartons of unused Journals. This environmentally-friendly printing process will significantly reduce costs and waste while allowing readers to receive their Journals quickly and easily.

With on-demand printing instead of ordering Journals online with a credit card and having them mailed from the Conference office, you will be able to order online directly from our printing partner Lulu Press. Fear not, if you would like to purchase your Journal with a check you can still contact Regina Raiford Babcock in the Conference office at rbabcock@epaumc.org or 610.666.9090 ext. 1002 to order a 2018 Journal. For your convenience, the 2018 Journal will also be available for reference on our website at https://www.epaumc.org/resources/conference-journal/

The 2018 Journal can now be ordered for the new, low price of $15. We are all excited about this new streamlined way of offering the Journal to you. Please contact the Conference office for any additional Journal questions or concerns. Note: the 2018 Journal will not be available in pumpkin spice.

Order your physical copy here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/eastern-pa-conference-umc/2018-journal/paperback/product-23861476.html
Bishop Johnson's schedule of spring town hall meetings

Bishop Peggy Johnson will hold special town hall meetings on the four districts in March 2019, to address legislation enacted at the 2019 Special Called General Conference in February. Please save these dates now:
  • Mon. March 25, 2019 - 6:30 pm - East District
  • Tue. March 26, 2019 - 6:30 pm - North District
  • Wed. March 27, 2019 - 6:30 pm - South District
  • Thu. March 28, 2019 - 6:30 pm - West District
Locations will be announced later.
Let's stay connected. Send us your newsletters
Please add our  Communications Office to your church newsletter's digital and/or print mailing lists. We find much of our news in church newsletters (when we find time to read them), and we try to report local church news and events as much as possible. (We also love seeing Conference news reported in your newsletters. Thanks!) However, we want to receive only your church newsletters please, not other e-mailed church announcements. Thanks!
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of UMC.org, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digestShare this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
SAVE THE DATES
2019
  • Jan. 19: Equipping Church Leaders
  • March 2: Tools for Ministry
  • March 16: VIM & (Volunteers in Ministry) ERT (Early Response Team) training event
  • March 16: Eastern PA Conf. Youth Rally: Wesley UMC Bethlehem
  • April 5-7: Changing Racism Workshop
  • April 9: The Art of Preaching, West Lawn UMC, $20 registration.
  • May 5: District Conferences
  • June 1: Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Ministry Workshop
  • June 13-15: 2019 Annual Conference
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
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