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May 14, 2022

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Transformational Leaders:  

EPA honors churches, leaders for the fruit they bear  

The EPA’s Annual Conference, May 20-21, will honor with annual awards leaders and congregations that strive to inspire and nurture life-changing discipleship in Jesus Christ--or in Jesus’ words, to “bear fruit that will last.”  Learn about recipients of the Harry Denman Evangelism, Herbert Palmer Urban Ministry and One Matters Discipleship awards. Read more.   

Ordinands’ fruitfulness projects respond to individual, church, community needs

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As the COVID pandemic in late 2020 took a heavy toll on many lives—including health, housing, businesses, jobs and family incomes—members of Wooddale UMC in East Stroudsburg and nearby rural Analomink UMC saw their communities increasingly in dire need of food. Fortunately, their pastor, the Rev. Jennifer Miller was in need of a project…specifically a “Fruitfulness Project.” 


The UMC requires candidates for ordination to complete a project demonstrating fruitfulness in carrying out the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Miller and three other clergy reported to their peers at Clergy Session this week about their ministry projects prior to their ordination May 21.  Read more.

Charles Yrigoyen remembered as pastor and scholar

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The Rev. Charles Yrigoyen Jr., a leading United Methodist historian and EPA clergy member, oversaw the denomination's Commission on Archives and History for nearly 24 years. Bishop John Schol joins some of Chuck's friends and fellow scholars in remembering him for making Methodism's story accessible from the academy to the pews. He died May 9 at age 84.  Read more.

Ten more things you should know...

1.  Conference Office closed to meetings 

The Conference Office is closed to meetings, and staff are working primarily from home until further notice. The closure is due to the recent increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations in PA. Accounting Office staff continue to work in the building on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The office will be closed during Annual Conference May 20-21 and also on the Monday after, May 23.  

2. Church court: Conferences can't exit unilaterally

The Judicial Council, the UMC’s top court, ruled this week that current church law does not allow annual conferences in the U.S. to withdraw from the denomination. The ruling answers questions from the UMC’s bishops, who are dealing with the ramifications of a splintering denomination. Read story.  Read press release: “Council of Bishops welcomes decision.”  

3. Gifts of the Spirit workshop to help develop spiritual gifts

This event, May 28, 9:30–11:30 AM, will explore the foundation for the Gifts of Spirit, then offer practical ideas to encourage the use of these God-given gifts in ministry contexts. The Rev. George Matthew Clash, who leads Outreach and Discipleship Ministries at The Crossing UMC in Washington Crossing, PA, will lead the workshop. Learn more and register.   

4. Next Orientation to Ministry class Saturday Aug. 13

The Board of Ordained Ministry’s next Orientation to Ministry class will be on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 10 AM to 12 PM at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem. Registration coming soon. Questions? Contact the Rev. Karyn Fisher at karyn.fisher3@gmail.com.

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5. Both women’s and men’s UMC organizations rebrand

The two UMC organizations that resource and represent the connectional interests of laywomen and laymen are each rebranding. The former UM Women has changed its name to United Women of Faith. Read  Women’s agency hits refresh, expands welcome. The UM Men are launching a “new program and brand,” United Men’s Ministry.  

6. Resources for Asian American, Pacific Islander month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, for celebration and recognition of the cultural and historical contributions of Asian Pacific Americans to the United States. Resources, including hymns, history articles and prayers, are available to help with the celebration.  See resources.

7.  GNJ's Breakthrough worship series goes global 

When the Breakthrough worship series was first originally launched, the idea was to provide consistent worship and small group experiences across the Greater New Jersey Conference. Little did its creators know that churches across the country, in other countries and in other denominations would be picking it up. Emily Wilton has the story.  Read story View Breakthrough resource

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8. New antiracism podcast premieres

“The Unfinished Church” is a new podcast focusing on the holy work of antiracism. Hosted by United Methodist Bishops LaTrelle Easterling, Michael McKee and Gregory Palmer, the podcast is a place for dialogue, learning and transformation as people of faith come together to build a world in which racial prejudice has no power. The first episode with guest Nadia Bolz-Weber premieres May 19. Listen to podcast See the flyer on Facebook page.

9. Federal report details US Indian boarding schools 

The United States operated 408 boarding schools for Indigenous children across 37 states or then-territories between 1819 and 1969 — half of them most likely supported by religious institutions including United Methodist predecessors. Emily McFarlan Miller reports on the first volume of an investigative report by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Read story   UM News: Pastor reflects on abuses at Indian boarding schools 

10. Webinar examines migration and racism

United Methodists will discuss the topics of migration, immigration and racism as part of the “Raise Up Your Voice Against Racism” webinar May 24 at 8 PM. The webinar is part of a series that seeks to dispel the notion that racism just affects Black people. Organizers include the Asian American Language Ministry, the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.  Learn more To register

GOOD NEWS!

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Arch Street awarded $1 million

for building improvements 

Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia has been awarded a $1 million grant from the state to help it install new bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities, replace an outdated HVAC system, make accessibility upgrades, and restore its iconic steeple. The grant is part of nearly $6 million for improvements for key Philadelphia sites. 


“Year after year, decade after decade, the community and congregation of Arch Street UMC have made the church a movement space where those fighting for justice and equality in our hurting city and hurting world could turn for a welcoming and supportive sanctuary,” said PA Senator Nikil Saval in congratulating the church.


The Rev. Robin Hynica, lead pastor, has been laboring for years to raise direly needed funds for the church and its frontline community ministries. Saval said supporters in the community must ensure that the historic church can continue its ministries of justice and compassion for “the health and vitality of our city.”  

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.


Transition Workshop for New Pastoral Appointments, May 14  9 AM – 12 Noon, via Zoom.  Led by the Rev. Dr. David Woolverton.    This workshop assists church Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations teams, clergy and spouses to facilitate positive transitions for new pastoral appointments.  If you’re moving to a new church, or you’re a church receiving a new pastor, this workshop is for you!  Register   


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.

3 Annual Conference offerings, 3 ways to give 

The 2022 Annual Conference, May 20-21, will again receive offerings to provide crucial support to conference youth and young adult ministries and scholarships for higher education—both undergraduate and seminary. 

While the Annual Conference will take place online for a third year due to the lingering COVID pandemic, there are again opportunities to give to these offerings easily by cell phone texting, postal mail and online use of the conference website. Gifts may be made before, during and after the Annual Conference session. Read more. 


The Sun Does Shine book study continues on Wednesdays, May 18 and 25  

Author Anthony Ray Hinton led the study of his book May 11. Members of the Equal Justice Initiative that helped free him from Alabama’s death row will speak about their work and challenges May 18. On May 25 local criminal justice advocates will discuss problems that plague our PA criminal justice system and how we can help make needed changes. Learn more and register


Annual Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Workshop    

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 

Calendar

MAY 14

Transition Workshop for New Appointments,

& Relating with Clergy Spouses,

MAY 14

Conference UMW Spiritual Life Retreat.

MAY 18, 25

The Learning for Leaders May Book Club, featuring The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton,

MAY 20-21  

Annual Conference, via Zoom.  

MAY 28

Gifts of the Spirit workshop, 9:30–11:30 AM.

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