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April 29, 2022

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EPA delivers ‘Undies for Easter’ to grateful prison staff 

Eastern PA Conference members delivered a modest but much-appreciated Easter gift to the Philadelphia Correctional Facility complex April 12. A team delivered 2,123 men’s briefs, 2,264 men’s undershirts and 625 women’s briefs for persons incarcerated there, bearing fruit from the conference’s Undies for Easter underwear donation campaign. Read more. 

Black-Brown Youth Retreat explores identity, relationships 

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Black, brown, black, brown, black, brown.” That’s how the Rev. Will Brawner instructed the youth at the Black and Brown Youth Retreat, April 1-3, to sit in chairs encircling Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center’s largest meeting room. He mixed them up throughout the event—nearly 50 African American and Latino/Latinx youth and some young adults—so they would learn to see one another more closely. 


That was one of three goals for the first-time cross-cultural retreat. The others were for attendees to learn to see themselves more closely and to learn how God sees them. Read more. 

Support Native American Ministries May 1 and beyond

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As we support EPAUMC’s efforts toward Dismantling Racism, we can learn more about Native American heritage, culture, concerns and faith expressions–especially on Native American Ministries Sunday, May 1, and beyond. Visit our Native American Ministries web page to view recent Committee on Native American Ministries recordings, including its April 3 program about efforts to restore and preserve Native languages. 


Churches can access resources online from the Native American Ministries Pastor and Leader Kit. And relevant, upcoming special events include: the 8th Annual Pow Wow on Manatawny Creek in Pottstown this weekend; a documentary on sports mascots, “Fighting Indians,” airing May 1; and a free webinar on human trafficking, featured on the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons, May 5. Learn more.

More things you should know...

1.  Apply for Education Society higher education grants by May 9

The Education Society of EPAUMC began this week accepting applications for grants to help defray the cost of higher education for the next school year. The application—which must be submitted by May 9--is available on the Conference website as Grants to Defray Higher Education Costs.” Learn more.

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2. Dismantling Racism Level II, Saturday, May 7

“Congregational Racial Audit: Are you Ready?”  9 AM – 12 PM via Zoom.  The congregational racial audit training will help congregations engage in self-examination, as they “conduct courageous conversations on race.” Such conversations must involve relationship-building to help leaders recognize and reveal to their congregations where they are on the journey toward racial awareness, justice and reconciliation, as they pursue the ideal of becoming “the Beloved Community.” Learn more.  REGISTER  

3.  Bi-Vocational & Small Church Network explores small churches May 10

Insights on the Small Membership Congregation. 6:30 PM The Rev. Steve Morton, North District Superintendent, will reflect on his learnings about, and outlook for, small-membership churches. Join our meeting on Zoom.  Passcode: 651396.  One tap mobile: +16465588656,,94667752196# US (New York)

4. Transition Workshop for New Pastoral Appointments, May 14 

9 AM – 12 Noon, via Zoom.  Led by the Rev. Dr. David Woolverton.   Download the flyer.   This workshop assists church Staff/Pastor-Parish  Relations teams, clergy and spouses to facilitate positive transitions for new pastoral appointments. It’s helpful, proactive, dynamic, relational and even, at times, humorous. If you’re moving to a new church, or you’re a church receiving a new pastor, this workshop is for you!  REGISTER ONLINE  

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5.  DePaz to staff EPA’s Latino Commission   

Maria Quesada “Lisa” DePaz, Pastor of Haws Avenue UMC in Norristown since, will become Coordinator of the Eastern PA Conference Latino Ministries Commission July 1. Currently the commission’s secretary, she succeeds the Rev. Lillian “Luky” Cotto, who will retire from that part-time staff position. Read more.

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6. Webinar to inform about student loan forgiveness 

Clergy and employees of not-for-profit organizations engaged in faith-based work may now qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Someof the PSLF Program's normal eligibility requirements have been temporarily suspended. However, the more favorable temporary rules expire Oct. 31. 


The U.S. Department of Education’s PSLF Program was designed to “forgive,” or eliminate, the debt remaining from certain student loans after qualifying individuals have made 10 years’ worth of qualifying payments, while working full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a local church. Wespath will provide information in a webinar, offered twice, about who qualifies, the application process, the upcoming deadline and where to find practical guidance on next steps. . 

Register today! May 9 at 3:00 PM or May 11 at 1:30 PM

7.   You Gotta Have Online Giving!

The Internet and online shopping have revolutionized the way people spend, save and give; and we in the church need to keep up. Studies show that people carry much less cash in their wallets and hardly ever write checks these days. So if your church only passes a plate on Sundays, you are missing a huge and growing source of income: online giving. Churches must expand the ways in which people can contribute to their ministries. That includes credit cards, direct deposit, giving by text” and other options. Learn more in an article published by the Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation on its website.

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8.  Annual Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Workshop , June 4 

This workshop for pastors and church leaders beginning or already engaged in Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural (CR/CC) ministry together will happen on Saturday, June 4, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM via Zoom. Pastors, Administrative Council and Staff-Parish Relations Committee members in CR/CC ministry contexts are especially urged to attend to deepen their intercultural competency and understanding of relationship dynamics, and to be equipped with practical communication tools, Download the flyer. REGISTER

9.   Basic Sexual Ethics, June  25,  10 AM – 1 PM via Zoom.  Where do I Draw the Line: Maintaining Boundaries in Life and in Ministry.  Cost $25.

Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary. The goal of this training is to increase awareness of the need for healthy boundaries in life and in ministry. Presenter:  The Rev. Alice Fadiora, MDiv, LAMFT  Contact the Rev. Jacqueline Hines for more information at 410-963-1721.  REGISTER

10.  SBC21, Path 1 join forces

Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century is collaborating with United Methodist Discipleship Ministries' Path 1 on a strategic covenant agreement designed to develop ministry tools and promote best practices for church revitalization and new church development. Path 1 trains and equips new church planters to start new congregations throughout the United States. Read press release.

GOOD NEWS!

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Exton UMC to feature Storytelling from Centralia

Exton UMC (181 Sharp Lane, Exton) and the North District will present Storytelling from Centralia on Sunday, May 15, at 3 PM. Rev. Rose Marquardt, a North District pastor, will share colorful, personal memories of her connection to Centralia, whose history and generous donations helped establish Exton UMC. Refreshments will be served

Reminders

Look for updates of Appointments, Retirees and Open Churches on Sundays after 1 PM. Clergy 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.


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.


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


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.

Calendar

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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