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April 22, 2022

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Creating, sustaining lay care teams in the local church 

Want to start a Lay Care Team in your church to help persons with various needs? Learn how in the workshop “Creating and Sustaining Lay Care Teams in the Local Church” on Zoom April 26, on Tuesday, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. All are welcome at no cost.  


Lay Care Ministers (LCM’s) are persons who have received special training in the most appropriate methods and techniques of providing pastoral care to individuals. Learn why an organized ministry can be important for your church, and how to get started.  


“We’ll discuss the basic components of a comprehensive care ministry, and we’ll provide resources to strengthen your programs,” said the Rev. Tawny Bernhardt, Pastor of Children’s Ministry at Christ UMC Lansdale. She will teach along with Marge Kramer, Director of Congregational Care and a Certified Lay Minister there. Learn more. 

Honor, protect God’s Creation on Earth Day weekend 

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Many communities observe Earth Day April 22, and churches may choose to celebrate it on Sunday, April 24. The Sunday closest to Earth Day is when many churches celebrate the Festival of God’s Creation, honoring God’s gracious work in creating the earth and all living things. Many congregations recognize the day in worship; others have special events or projects to observe it. This weekend is a good time to reflect on the goodness of God’s creation and our human responsibility to steward it through worship, education and action. Read more.  

Bishops to chart future of UMC, welcome new leaders 

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In the wake of disruptions and postponements due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the more than 100 United Methodist bishops of will meet virtually April 25-29 to discuss the future course of the denomination. The spring meeting of the Council of Bishops will also welcome a new slate of leaders, including the new council president, Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the New York Area. The April 25 and 29 meetings will be livestreamed to the public on the bishops' Facebook page beginning at 9 AM. Read press release.

Watch livestream

More things you should know...

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1. What is Easter Season for? And what comes next? 

For Christians, Easter is not just one day but a season of 50 days until Pentecost. Eastertide gives us time to rejoice and experience what we mean when we say that we are the body of our risen Lord. It’s a season to focus on the core doctrines and mysteries of our faith and engage in the ministries the Holy Spirit of Pentecost empowers us to undertake in Jesus’ name. Read more.

2. Resurrection as a Call to Action 

Many congregations that haven’t celebrated Easter in person since 2019 are relishing the joy of returning to the comforts of pre-pandemic church life. But Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff says we can’t allow our Easter celebrations to divert attention from the challenge of renewing the church. Drawing on the biblical narrative, she writes that Easter is not an end point but rather a call to action. “The resurrection isn’t the end of the story,” Michel writes. “In fact, the truly hard work was just beginning for those disciples thrust into the leadership of the nascent church movement. To proclaim resurrection hope is to affirm the possibility of change.” Read her commentary

3. Pocono Plateau seeks food service manager now

Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Center is accepting applications for a new full-time Food Service & Hospitality Manager now, as they prepare for the start of Summer Camp in June. Housing is provided. For more information email director@poconoplateau.org .

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4. EPA Women’s Spiritual Life Retreat May 14

EPAUMC’s United Women in Faith, formerly United Methodist Women, will sponsor their annual  Spiritual Life Retreat on Saturday, May 14, on Zoom, at 9:30 to 11:30 AM. The theme is “Seeking Water in Spiritual Deserts.” The keynote speaker will be retired missionary and pastor Dorothy Killebrew, Write to 2022UMWretreat@gmail.com to learn more and pre-register. Contact: Polly Riddle, UWF Spiritual Growth Chair, 215-674-9049. Event Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81712071757?pwd=VW9PQ1BVTUxNcjBDVW43V0ZiVHBmUT09. Meeting ID: 817 1207 1757. 

Passcode: 420555.

5. Correction to recent Justice for Our Neighbors story  

Our recent website story “As JFON’s immigration cases grow, so does its need for help” reported that the Swarthmore UMC location of legal clinics offered by Justice for Our Neighbors of the Delaware Valley was “temporarily inactive.” That information was inaccurate and is corrected in the following paragraph: 

JFON-DV has operated immigration legal clinics at two EPA sites: Haws Ave UMC in Montgomery County, and Swarthmore UMC in partnership with El Buen Samaritano in West Chester. New Life UMC in Upper Darby is also considering hosting clinics in the future. JFON-DV continues to follow up with individual clients but has put a pause on clinics while the organization builds its capacity to help a larger number of clients. 

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6. More flexibility coming for retirees

New options are coming for United Methodist retirees through the LifeStage Retirement Income program announced by Wespath Benefits and Investments. New possibilities include an annuity contract that guarantees an annual income from age 80 until death and a plan to increase Wespath retirement payments until participants earn their maximum Social Security benefits at 70. Read press release.

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7. UMCOR collaborates to relieve suffering of Ukrainians 

The United Methodist Committee on Relief along with Ohio Health and a Texas-based humanitarian organization focused on Ukraine are collaborating to send 47,895 pounds of medical supplies and equipment worth $935,000 to three hospitals in Kyiv, Ukraine. The first two of three shipments have been delivered. "UMCOR is pleased to facilitate both the procurement and the transportation of essential medical supplies to war-torn Ukraine," said Roland Fernandes, top staff executive of UMCOR and its parent organization, Global Ministries. "We multiply our own efforts and the generosity of our contributors when we engage in creative service partnerships." Read more. 

8. Easter prayer for Korean peninsula

The National Council of Churches in Korea has published a “2022 Easter Prayer for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula” with a message of reconciliation and unity. “Lead us on paths of justice and peace,” says the prayer. “Help us to realize peace all over this world through peace on the Korean peninsula.” Read prayer in English.

9. UM Interagency Net-Zero Coalition reports progress 

The United Methodist Interagency Just and Equitable Net-Zero Coalition has published its first progress report a year after setting a goal of just and equitable net-zero emissions by 2050. On Earth Day 2021, a group of UM general agencies and commissions announced a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their ministries, facilities and operations and to do so through a lens of justice and equity. The coalition is working together as they learn to measure greenhouse gas emissions generated through their ministries and identify emission reduction strategies that support the flourishing of all communities. Read more. 

10. Wespath will offer “Delivered to You” April 25-26.

The online event, from 2:00 to 5:30 PM each day, will focus on five dimensions of well-being and provide information that will inspire and encourage clergy of all ages and stages in ministry. Get tips to manage your mental-emotional, financial, spiritual, social and physical health and learn about benefits plans and resources and services available to you.  Register now! More information is available here. 

Reminders

Look for updates of Appointments, Retirees and Open Churches on Sundays after 1 PMClergy should indicate their interest in new pastoral openings to their district superintendents by Monday at 9 AM, so DSs can share that information at Tuesday Cabinet meetings. See the Appointments page on our website for weekly updates.


The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton, is our “Learning for Leaders” Book Club selection for May We will meet on Zoom on Wednesdays, May 11, 18 and 25, from 11 AM -12 noon. Hinton was exonerated and released from death row in Alabama in 2015, with the assistance of the Equal Justice Initiative. He had served 30 years for two capital murders he did not commit. Come hear him tell his story. Learn about critical problems that plague our criminal justice system and how you can help make needed changes. Learn more and register


Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses, Spring 2022 Choose between two Zoom sessions: Saturday, April 30, 9:30 to 11 AM, or Thursday, May 5, 7 to 8:30 PM. This workshop is a 90-minute Zoom panel discussion for clergy spouses only . Co-Sponsored by Artos Retreats & the EPA UMC Board of Benefits. View the flyer! Registration deadline is April 27. Contact Julie Anderman, (717) 492-4238, or Julie@ArtosRetreats.org.  

Calendar

April 22-24 

Dismantling Racism – Level I – Spring 2022. Develop skills for addressing and changing attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate bias, discrimination, and other obstacles to equity. This weekend training, mandatory for all lay and clergy ministers, is on Zoom. Learn more.  

April 26 

Creating and Sustaining Lay Care Teams in the Local Church.  6:30-8:30 PM, via Zoom. Learn more and register.

April 30  

North District Conference (1 of 2 dates). 10 AM, in-person, at Frackville UMC. Learn more.

May 1

East, West, and South District Conferences at 3 PM, via Zoom. Learn more.

North District Conference (2 of 2 dates). 3 PM, in-person, at Moore Township: Covenant. Learn more.

May 1

Native American Ministries Sunday. Learn more.

May 4

2022 Clergy Session, 9 AM – 12 PM. In-person at St. Matthew's UMC of Valley Forge. Register.

May 4

Listening Session with Bishop Schol, via Zoom, 3 PM or 6:30 PM. Register.

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