November 9, 2018
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Conference VIM team brings recovery aid to Puerto Rico

The first Eastern PA Conference Volunteers in Mission team to work onsite helping Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria is there this week restoring a home in Arecibo. The nine-member, clergy and lay team, from six churches, arrived Saturday, Nov. 3, worshiped on Sunday at La Roca Methodist Church in Camuy, and began their labors on Monday morning.

The interracial team-with white, black and Latino members-is replacing a damaged roof, removing drywall ceilings infected with black mold, and removing extensive debris. They are lodging at a Methodist camp, along with two other United Methodist teams. They are rushing to complete their tasks by Friday and will return to Eastern PA early Saturday morning.

Led by the Rev. Nicholas Camacho, the team arrived bearing gifts: first, a $90,105 check to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico (IMPR-Iglesia Metodista de Puerto Rico) from funds raised all year by the Eastern PA Conference through gifts and offerings. While the bulk of it will support the IMPR's overall, extensive recovery efforts across the island, $5,105 is to be used specifically for critical, unfunded work being done by La Roca Methodist Church in Camuy. Learn more...
Ebony Bishops' Statement to the Council of Bishops

Ebony Bishops' Statement to the Council of Bishops and the People Called United Methodists on the Resurgence of Racism in the United States

Adopted by Council of Bishops on November 6, 2018

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free." (Luke 4:18 NRSV)

Racism is harmful to all of society.  And we are alarmed by its recent resurgence in the United States.  In the United States the culture of racism, white privilege, and white supremacy controls the thoughts and actions of Anglos as well as people of color. It is a form of bondage for people of color and Anglo persons alike. Racism is so insidious that often those who are in bondage to it are not even aware of their chains. It is a persistent sin and evil that infects all it touches.  We are grieved that a culture of racism is institutionalized even in our beloved denomination. Learn more...

Four Stations of the Holy Spirit workshop, Nov. 17

Last day to sign up is Wednesday, November 14!

The conference Congregational Development Team will host its fourth Four Stations of the Holy Spirit Training event on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 2:30 to 8 PM, at Bethany UMC , 3801 Brookside Rd., in Macungie Pa. The training will be in English and Spanish and will include a light meal and worship at 5 PM, with the Rev. Elena Ortiz, lead pastor of New Birth (Nuevo Nacimiento) UMC Lebanon, as the guest preacher. 

The $15 cost includes a book and other sacramental elements for the training. To attend please email the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, coordinator, at or call him at 267-258-9507 by November 14.

Domestic Violence:
The Faith Co m m un ity Responds, Nov. 17

Register by November 12!

FaithTrust Institute is a leading partner in the quest to educate and engage faith communities, including churches, in responding effectively to the life-threatening and often lethal scourge of domestic violence that afflicts family and community life in our nation.

Many churches are fearful or uncertain of how to address this universal but all-too-hidden problem. So they remain on the sidelines, doing little or nothing when their involvement is not only gravely needed but resonant with the call of Jesus Christ to save lives as well as souls.

At best, some churches may support local, residential shelters for victims of dom estic violence. But more can and must be done to educate members and neighbors of all ages about DV-how to help prevent it and how to respond to it.

The Eastern PA Conference's new Domestic Violence Committee will sponsor a learning and advocacy seminar on Saturday, Nov. 17, at West Lawn UMC in Reading, from 9 AM to 2 PM. The Rev. Lydia Mulkey from FaithTrust Institute will keynote the event and teach a workshop.   Learn more...
Native American Worship Service, Nov. 18

Join the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) for their fall worship, information and fellowship gathering    Sunday, Nov. 18, at 4 PM, at Camp Innabah, 9712 Pughtown Road, Spring City.

The Rev Dennis Keen, pastor of Nantmeal UMC, will share his experience visiting Dupree School in South Dakota, which Nantmeal has been supporting for years.  A light meal will be included after the presentation.  Please RSVP to
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:
CSM BASIC Introductory 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
Financial Wellness Workshop Cancelled

The Financial Wellness Workshop scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th, 2018, at Bethel Hill UMC has been cancelled.
How to support the military on Veterans Day and beyond

By Tricia Brown |

According to the Department of Defense , about 20 American veterans kill themselves each day. Those are frightening statistics; the numbers are staggering. As many as 20 percent of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, while many others are diagnosed with depression. And these numbers don't take into account the myriad other problems that our military personnel and their families face as a result of their service. How can the church help service members and their families?    Learn more...
Bishops: Don't villainize migrants

By Heather Hahn
Nov. 8, 2018 | ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS)

United Methodist bishops have joined other Methodist bishops in calling on their congregations "to be agents of God's mercy to migrants."

The United Methodist Council of Bishops, meeting this week, joined with Methodist bishops in Mexico and El Salvador in responding to the caravans of people traveling from Honduras to seek asylum in Mexico or the United States.

"These migrant sisters and brothers have been villainized," the bishops' statement said. "Yet as we have sought to minister to them along their perilous journey, what we have seen on the whole is human beings of great courage and deep faith who have placed their lives in God's hands." Learn more...
A welcome and a call: Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.

A Feature by Joe Iovino*

I would like to think 'Open Hearts' reflects our grace-based theology," says the Rev. David Collum, pastor of Open Hearts Bolivar (Missouri) United Methodist Church.

"We've always had a lot of members who deeply care for each other and deeply care for people in the community," adds church Lay Leader Ed Kurtz. "I think [the church's name] is an opportunity for us to make a display of that."

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.
Since 2001,  our brand promise, "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." has been featured on billboards, television ads, and computer banners promoting The United Methodist Church.  Learn more...
NEJ Deaf Ministries fall retreat, Nov. 9

The Northeastern Jurisdiction Deaf Ministries component of the UM Congress of the Deaf will hold a fall weekend retreat Nov. 8 -9, at the Best Western Hotel in Linthicum, Md., near Baltimore's BWI-Marshall Airport. The retreat will include a Certified Lay Servants (CLS) class (10 hours) to support Deaf lay ministries in the NEJ, in addition to a Wesleyan Ministry training and historical tour. The CLS training will use a curriculum approved by UM Discipleship Ministries that is designed for Deaf and hard of hearing people. Registration is $25 (non-refundable). For more information download the flyer  and the Schedule/Registration form , or contact Darlene Koontz. ( ).
Holy Land pilgrimage for young leaders

The UMC's Young People's Ministries office, a unit of Discipleship Ministries, will take a small cadre of UM young leaders-one from each UMC jurisdiction or central conference-on a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land August 4-14, 2019. They are accepting applications for this adventure until Nov. 9.

The pilgrimage is open to young UM leaders, 18-35 years old, endorsed by their bishops or cabinets. Selected participants will receive lodging and other program benefits paid for by a grant from the UMC's Young Clergy Initiative. U.S. participants would have to arrange and pay for travel, including visas, to and from Israel's Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV). This pilgrimage will involve a lot of hiking, averaging about 7-8 miles per day.

Applications are due by Nov. 9. Those accepted for this opportunity will be notified by Nov. 20. Questions? Send an email to Download the sample endorsement form and the application.

3 local churches host youth ministry leadership
training events

Anyone who works with youth in the church and/or community is invited to attend free training events for youth ministry workers at three Eastern PA Conference churches in November. Pastor, college professor and veteran youth ministry leader David Burke, who coordinates the Peninsula-Delaware Conference's annual Youth Rally in Ocean City, will share "30 Things I Have Learned in 30 Years."  

The training and equipping events will be humorous yet informative and challenging, providing "tricks of the trade" and other "stuff that works" to have a relevant youth ministry for all ages. All three events, from 7 to 8:30 PM, will include an hour of training and a question and answer session. The locations are:
  • Nov. 5:  East Stroudsburg UMC, 83 S. Courtland St, East Stroudsburg.
  • Nov. 8: Bethel Hill UMC, 2000 Bethel Rd., Lansdale.
  • Nov.12: Bethany UMC, 1208 Brookside Rd., Wescosville (Allentown)
These events are intended to help promote the Pen-Del Youth Rally to Eastern PA Conference youth ministry leaders. For more information call 302-363-2997. Download and share the event flyer.
revitup! An Event for Young Clergy!

"Revitup! For a Lifetime in Ministry" is an annual event hosted by Wespath Benefits and Investments for clergy under the age of 39. Young adult clergy are invited to this year's event Nov. 12-14, at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel in Pensacola Beach, Fla., where they can:
  • Strengthen personal, financial and leadership skills that can improve their life and sustain their ministry
  • Network with other young clergy from across the denomination
  • Participate in one-on-one consultations with class instructors/field experts (benefits consultants, pastoral counselors, financial planners, tax consultants, wills and estate planning experts, and more!)
  • Go home with practical new ideas, resources and knowledge
Scholarships are available to help send young, first-time attendees. And complimentary childcare is offered, too. For more information visit the Wespath website or contact Renee Smith-Edmondson at, 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4273.
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.  Learn more:  Application for Urban Alliance / Urban Initiative Grants [.doc]

Emotional Intelligence and You: Jesus' Approach

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...

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
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