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May 19, 2022


Conference to consider pathways to future now    

“Now is the time” may be the clarion call heard at West Chester UMC on Friday at 8:30 AM, when the Eastern PA Conference convenes its 236th annual session. Indeed, the session’s theme is “Now,” drawn from Romans 13:11b: “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now, our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” 

About 60 conference members, staff and volunteers will gather onsite to participate on Friday and Saturday, May 20-21. The conference proceedings will engage registered, voting clergy and lay members in videoconferencing via Zoom. Non-members can view it via video-livestream on the conference’s YouTube channel, either live or later as a recorded program.  Watch the livestream via YouTube.    Visit our Annual Conference web page to see the full agenda. 

Ten more things you should know...

1. Correction: Conference office to be open May 23, closed May 27 

The May 14 issue of NEWSpirit Digest reported that the conference office will be closed during Annual Conference May 20-21 and also on Monday, May 23. However, the office will be open on Monday, May 23, for staff and visitors, although no meetings of outside groups can be hosted there at this time due to the ongoing pandemic. The office will be closed on Friday, May 27.   

2.   Sunday, May 22, is Heritage Sunday

Heritage Sunday provides an opportunity for reflection on heritage, celebration of where the Church has been, how it understands itself as it shapes us today, and the meaning of Christian conferencing. Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God. The theme for Heritage Sunday 2022 is “Splits, Separations, and Reconciliations.” Read more

3.  Churches condemn hate, urge action after shootings

After what officials quickly identified as a racist attack, United Methodists are responding with prayers, counseling and condemnations of hate. Many church members in Buffalo are also grieving after the mass shooting at a grocery store claimed the lives of friends and loved ones. United Methodists also are responding after a gunman opened fire at a Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods, Calif.

Read story

4. Resources for responding to racism

As people in the U.S. struggle to understand deadly shootings at a New York grocery store and a California church, United Methodist Discipleship Ministries is suggesting resources to help leaders undo the work of racism. Recommendations include videos on decolonizing the church, a book edited by prominent UM pastor the Rev. Rudy Rasmus and an online anti-racism course from the UM Commission on Religion and Race. Read press releaseUM News: Churches condemn hate, urge action after shootings

5.  Deadline for landmark status expanded

The deadline to apply for United Methodist Heritage Landmark status has been pushed back to July 1, 2022, because of the delayed General Conference. Heritage landmarks in the church are buildings or locations related to significant history of The United Methodist Church or its antecedents. COVID-19 and related travel restrictions have led to business of the 2020 General Conference being delayed until 2024. Read press release  For guidelines and to apply

6.  Minority climate fellowships available 

Black, Indigenous and other people of color across the U.S. are invited to apply for a Faithful Climate Action Fellowship. Fellows will take part in seven weeks of online training about how faith traditions can support and guide climate activism. United Women in Faith is one of the partners of the effort. Applications are due May 23.   Read press release 

7.   Bishop Hagiya responds to mass shootings 

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya, who leads the California-Pacific and Desert Southwest conferences, called for prayer and more action on gun violence after the mass shootings in New York and California. “Find ways to connect with others who want to work toward healing and wholeness for all who suffer,” he wrote. Read statement. UM News: Churches condemn hate, urge action after shootings 

8.  Survey seeks Black views on church future

United Methodist Gammon Theological Seminary is collaborating with several Black United Methodist organizations to understand the perspectives, issues, concerns and hopes of Black clergy and laity about the future of The United Methodist Church. Insights from this research will be shared with United Methodist general agencies and various ministries to amplify the voices of Black United Methodists To take survey  UM News: Research shows Black churches’ resilience

9.  Asking the hard questions about race

The Rev. Giovanni Arroyo poses a difficult question to white United Methodists who say they want an end to racism. “Do you want racial justice enough to voluntarily relinquish some of your power?” A native of Puerto Rico, he knows firsthand what it’s like to be a minority in America, and that experience informs the way he pursues his mission as The United Methodist Church’s point person on inclusion. Jim Patterson has the story.   Read story. Listen to Our Conexión podcast with Arroyo on racism and Christianity

10.  Accessibility Conversations: Widening the circle of love  

The Gospels share more than 25 accounts of Christ’s interactions with people with some form of medical condition and/or disability. The Rev. Dr. Leo Yates Jr. writes about how the Baltimore-Washington Conference’s monthly Accessibility Conversations webinars seek to follow the example of Jesus.   Read commentary 


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.

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. 

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.

The Sun Does Shine book study continues on Wednesdays, May 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 spoke 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 


MAY 20-21  

Annual Conference, via Zoom.  

MAY 28

Gifts of the Spirit workshop, 9:30–11:30 AM. Read more and register.

JUNE 25  

 Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop. 10 AM–1 PM  via Zoom. Register 

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