November 21, 2018
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Homecoming: A Thanksgiving homily

Many will travel home or welcome family and friends home this week. The profound gratitude we feel for home and for reuniting with loved ones, are a big part of Thanksgiving's timely importance to us.  Homecomings, home-goings and home-leavings are all a part of our biblical heritage as Christians and also a part of our present-day human experience. And while some of these are happy occasions, many are not.

Many have lost or had to leave their homes, escaping the horrors of raging fires and rampant violence from California to Central America. And for many families, the Thanksgiving dinner table becomes a setting for family conflict and divisive, hurtful arguments, especially in today's hyper-political milieu.

But as we look forward to the promised day when Jesus welcomes us to our heavenly homecoming, we should live and strive to please God through "Thanks-living," by combining genuine gratitude with gracious generosity every day of our lives.  Learn more...

Fulfilling our ministry 'received in the Lord'

By Bishop Peggy Johnson

In one of his inspiring letters penned while in prison, Paul wrote to a faltering believer, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord." His challenge speaks to us today and to the striving young collegians we support through our United Methodist Student Day offerings.

Through their generous gifts on this Sunday, Nov. 25, congregations will enable many students to receive higher education and pursue future careers in Christian leadership. Nothing could be more important for us as a church. Learn more...
Support higher education on UM Student Day

Through the Student Day offering we bring hope to the lives of young United Methodists pursuing their educational goals and faith journeys. Please give generously to help our students. United Methodist Student Day is officially observed on Nov. 25, but churches can celebrate this Special Sunday with offerings on any day they choose. Funds collected provide scholarships for United Methodist college, university, seminary and graduate students. Get resources. Learn more...
Emotional Intelligence & You: Jesus' Approach--Dec. 1

Register by November 26!

The Eastern PA Conference Commission on Religion & Race and Office of Connectional Ministries will offer a first-time Emotional Intelligence workshop that focuses in part on interacting with others in a racially and/or culturally diverse environment. While applicable in general situations, this training is an ideal resource particularly for clergy and laity engaged in or planning for cross-racial or cross-cultural ministry.  It is for anyone interested in creating an inclusive, nurturing church!  
  • Where? Christ UMC Lansdale
  • When?: December 1st, 9:30 AM - 4 PM
  • How much? Cost: $10
  • Who (Presenters): The Rev. Dr. Anita Powell and the Rev. David Piltz
  • 0.6 CEUs available.  

Download the bulletin insert to share! Contact David Piltz at 814-883-0118 or with questions. Download and share the flyer. Learn more and register today...

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...
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!

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  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

ZOOM Pop-up Conversation: Working to End Gun Violence 

2 Opportunities
Dec. 13 @ 11 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Learn how your church can get involved with the work of Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence and host the Memorial to the Lost.
Join with DS Dawn, Rev. Jim McIntire, Bryan Miller, Exec. Director of Heeding God's Call for this conversation. Join us via the ZOOM link below or by conference call. Offered both day-time and evening. All welcome.

Download ZOOM to your computer (it's free: ) or phone in and then click on the link below on Dec. 13 @ 11am:

To join " Ending Gun Violence" at 11 AM EST on Dec. 13:
Dial by your location: +1 646 558 8665 US (New York), or find your local number:
Meeting ID: 441 237 233

To join "Ending Gun Violence" at  7 PM on Dec. 13:
Dial by your location: +1 646 558 8665 US (New York), or find your local number:
Meeting ID: 819 726 571
Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence

Inspiring Hope, Raising Voices,
Taking Action to End Gun Violence.

God is calling us to act to end the violence, trauma and despair. Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence® is a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence. We unite people of faith in the sacred responsibility to protect our brothers, sisters and children.
Discipleship Ministries chosen as one of seven 2019 religious fundraising seminar sites

UM Discipleship Ministries has been selected by the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving to host an intensive fundraising training seminar for church leaders Aug. 5-8, 2019. At the end of the event, participants will earn the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) by the Lake Institute, part of the prestigious Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

The event is a four-day intensive course with a practical application project. It provides the research, tools, and customized training to meet the growing needs of leaders in religious communities and fundraisers of faith-based organizations. The focus of the ECRF is on the cultural, organizational, and philanthropic practices unique to religious institutions. These practices in turn enable donors motivated by spiritual and religious values to experience the joy of generous giving.

Classes are designed for religious leaders in faith-based organizations and institutions who wish to learn more about the spirituality of fundraising and gain a core foundation in fundraising principles.

Registration is now open. Class size is limited to 26 participants. An early-bird registration price of $1,300 is available until June 10, 2019. The full price of $1,550 goes into effect after that date. For questions regarding registration, wait list or refund, contact Soyoung Kim at or 615-340-7028. For questions regarding the curriculum, go to the ECRF page. You can also contact Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at or 317-278-8998. Learn more...

Financial Wellness Workshop Cancelled

The Financial Wellness Workshop scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th, 2018, at Bethel Hill UMC has been cancelled.
Apply for Urban Alliance & Urban Initiative grants by Nov. 30 

Churches in 10 urban areas can apply for Eastern PA Conference Urban Ministry grants by Nov. 30. For Urban Alliance partners and individual urban churches.
Christ Servant Ministry (CSM) BASIC course

Location: West Grove UMC
Dates: November 30 and December 1, 2018.
Download the Registration form: CSM Basic 11.30.18 Registration
For more information, contact Judy Ehninger at
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 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

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:
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.
Event to help clergy serve veterans' mental health needs

An upcoming event to improve mental health service to veterans is open to participation by our clergy

The VA Community Clergy Training Program, which resources the faith community in service to military veterans, will meet in the Philadelphia area Dec. 3-4. This is a free, interactive training at Cranaleith Spiritual Center with breakfast and lunch paid for by the Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia. The center, at 13475 Proctor Road, Philadelphia, will cosponsor the training with the National VA Chaplain Center. Contact hours will be offered for completing this training. Registration is limited to 50 participants and ends Nov. 26. Register online now. 


Many Veterans and their family members seek help for their problems from clergy because they feel the faith community can provide anonymity, confidentiality and a stigma-free environment. Yet clergy members sometimes have limited knowledge about readjustment difficulties and the unique health issues such as post-traumatic stress, or depression common to returning warriors. This event can help prepare you to support them.
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, 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 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 Thanks!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  |
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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