new appointments and retirements,
effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:
- Rev. Dr. Gary George (Full Elder) from Phila: Grace to Phila: New Vision (3/4 time) and Phila: Emmanuel (1/4 time)
- Rev. Towanda Tilson (Licensed Local Pastor) to Phila: Emmanuel (1/4 time)
- Rev. David McMillan (Full Elder) from Lincoln Park: Community to Wilmington, DE: St. Paul's UMC, On-Loan to Peninsula Delaware Conference
future North and West districts)
- Rev. Brunilda (Bruny) Martinez (Part-Time Local Pastor) from Allentown: La Trinidad UMC (Northeast District), 1/2 time, and Wind Gap: First UMC (Northeast District), 1/4 time; to Lebanon: St. Lukes UMC (Northwest District-West District), 1/2 time.
- Rev. David J. Davis (Elder) from Coatesville: Olivet UMC (Southeast District) to Frackville: First UMC (Northwest District-North District)
(Future South and East districts)
- Rev. Jose Tirado (Local Pastor) to Avondale UMC (1/4 time) and New London UMC (1/4 time).
New stories on our website this week
Eastern PA Conference leaders announced a new Vision Statement and Mission Statement in a letter to members April 11. They will present those statements formally to the 2017 Annual Conference... Read more
The Eastern PA Conference Latino Commission will hold its annual Holy Convocation (Santo Convocacion) on Saturday, April 15, from 7 AM to 3 PM, at Buen Samaritano UMC (at West Chester UMC) in West Chester,... Read more
Holy Week, lasting from this Sunday, April 9, to Saturday, April 15, is the "heart of the church's ritual, theological and missional life. Everything we do in worship, doctrine and... Read more
"What keeps me awake at night? Dying churches keep me awake." That was the Rev. Denny Emrick's response to the question, "So what concerns you?" Read more
UMC bishops mourn with Coptic Church
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is grieving with the Coptic Orthodox Church over the recent terrorist bombings that targeted Coptic churches in Egypt, killing at least 47 people as members celebrated Palm Sunday. The Coptic Church is the largest Christian Church in Northeast Africa and the Middle East.
The United Methodist Church bishops expressed, in a letter sent to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St. Mark, sincere sympathy with the Christian brothers and sisters.
"Please know The United Methodist Church grieves with you. As a part of the Universal Body of Christ, we acknowledge your pain is our pain, and we stand with you in this dark time," said the letter signed by Bishop Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops and Bishop B. Michael Watson, UMC Ecumenical Officer. Read the full letter from the Council of Bishops here.
Commission ponders structural changes
The 32 members of the Commission on a Way Forward are getting down to the business of doing what their name says - finding a way for a denomination deeply divided over homosexuality to move forward together. On the table are looser ways to be in connection.
Our churches celebrate Holy Week
Holy Week, lasting from this
Sunday, April 9
, to Saturday, April 15, is the "heart of the church's ritual, theological and missional life. Everything we do in worship, doctrine and mission springs from this week" according to Discipleship Ministries, which offers worship resources, including its "Through Death to Life" series.
Many of our Eastern PA Conference churches will celebrate this special week in creative, inspirational ways, through prayer and worship, Christian education and spiritual nurture, community feasts and fellowship, and even some fun, including the usual Easter egg surprises. Visit our special
Local Church Lenten Events page
to learn more.
Flickr photo page
to enjoy an album of photos from
Berwyn UMC's 2016 Prayer Stations of the Cross.
Last year on Good Friday, the church decorated its entire sanctuary with artistic, inspirational prayer stations arranged to symbolize Jesus's cross-bearing journey to Calvary. This year Berwyn invites all to come journey in guided prayer and meditation along the Way of the Cross
any day of Holy Week
and ending on Good Friday, April 14.
Come at any time during the day, alone or with a friend, to explore prayer stations representing the final week of Jesus' life, where "He gave himself over to death; so we know that God is with us even unto death. We are not alone." Berwyn UMC is at 140 Waterloo Avenue, Berwyn.
Contact the church for visiting times at (610) 644-5555 or
Convocation to focus on immigration
The Eastern PA Conference Latino Commission will hold its annual Holy Convocation (Santo Convocacion) on Saturday, April 15, from 7 AM to 3 PM, at Buen Samaritano UMC (at West Chester UMC) in West Chester, Pa. With the theme "Cristo el Immigrante" ("Christ the Immigrant"), their program will feature immigration issues workshops for adults and youth, and a testimonial message by special guest the Rev. Emma Lozano (above), immigration activist and co-pastor of Lincoln UMC in Chicago.
Lozano and her husband, the Rev. Walter Coleman, both serve Lincoln, a
popular Sanctuary church that offers undocumented persons refuge from immigration enforcement, along with spiritual nurture and other assistance. She has fought for immigrant rights for over 30 years. View a CNN report about Lincoln UMC's ministry efforts and recent retaliation attacks. "
Chicago 'sanctuary church' shelters immigrants, endures hate speech
The full-day Holy Convocation, which annually occurs around Easter, will also feature a dialogue between adults and youth, three praise and worship services, a prayer-witness march around the community, breakfast and lunch, and Holy Communion with Bishop Peggy Johnson to end the day. All are invited, and some English language interpretation will be available. For more information, contact the
Rev. Esdras Seda
, Conference Latino Ministries Coordinator.
New Advance Special applications due by
for approval as a 2017-18 Advance Special project, in order to receive local church donations, is available on the
Missions & Outreach page
of our website. Advance Special projects are endorsed by the Annual Conference for second-mile giving by local churches that have fulfilled their apportioned giving responsibilities. Completed applications must be received by
no later than April 15
The application includes a cover letter addressed to pastors, agency and program directors, and local church leaders of mission and ministry--all of whom are eligible to apply. Applications received via e-mail, postal mail or fax by the
April 15 deadline will be considered by the conference missions board and, if selected, may be included in a resolution for approval at Annual Conference,
June 15-17. Approved projects will be eligible for Advance Special funding immediately after Annual Conference.
"Please start now, and make sure we receive your completed application forms before the
April 15 due date," writes the Rev. David J. Davis, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.
Native American Ministries Sunday April 30
United Methodist churches together will celebrate
Native American Ministries Sunday
, April 30 and will contribute to the special offering that offers hope and healing to improve the lives of Native American brothers and sisters in churches and communities nationwide. The downloadable
Native American Ministries Sunday Pastor and Leader's Kit
(with social media images, videos, an e-book and other tools) has everything churches need to get members excited about celebrating this UM Special Sunday.
The offering supports Native American outreach ministries and provides scholarships for UM Native American seminarians. In this way, we can support Native American congregations efforts to minister to their communities with the love of Christ.
Access your Pastor and Leader's Kit now! For more information, visit www.umcgiving.org/NAMS
on April 30
, our conference
Committee on Native American
will host its quarterly fellowship gathering, this time at the Conference Office (980 Madison Ave., Norristown, PA.) rather than the usual Camp Innabah location. They invite everyone to come enjoy a special, creative worship service, a delicious fellowship meal and insightful discussion about encroaching oil pipeline threats to our environment and to Native American sacred sites.
In particular, guests
Malinda Clatterbuck and Tim Spiese will discuss the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline near Lancaster, PA. The 2-hour event will begin at 4 PM on Native American Ministries Sunday.
Other April 2017 Planned Events
April 22: Order of Deacons Meeting
Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses
from 10 AM to 2 PM, at The Village Library Meeting Room in Morgantown, PA. Lunch is included. A workshop for spouses of clergy undergoing a 2017 transition in appointment, assignment or pastoral supervision.
April 23-25: Fellowship of Associate Ministers and Local Pastors (FAMLP)
at the Black Rock Retreat Center, 1345 Kirwood Pike, Quarryville, PA. For Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors as well as Certified Lay Ministers. Topic: "The Authority of Scripture," taught by the Rev. Rodney Shearer, Ph.D. Registration is closed.
SE District to birth new Latino church, May 1
The Southeast District will launch a new church
start in Coate
sville May 1, using historic Olivet UMC as a launch site. "After a year of prayer, dia
logue, research and more prayer, we rejoice that a new church start will begin on the Southeast District," announced the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, District Superintendent. "We give thanks to Olivet UMC for having the vision of kingdom building and for granting use of their space for an office and eventually a worshiping community."
The Rev. Elena Ortiz, pastor of New Birth (Nuevo Nacimiento) UMC in Lebanon, and the conference's Congregational Development Team are resourcing the new church start, as it focuses on reaching the growing Latino population in Coatesville and surrounding communities.
The fledgling faith community will begin with small-group Bible study and community celebrations, led by four church planters. "We have found that church planting is very isolating work, and this new model is designed to care well for our planters as they engage in ministry," said Taylor-Storm. "We also give thanks for the churches on the Southeast District who provided funding to enable this new ministry. Indeed, we are the church together."
If your church wants to participate offer its support for this new ministry, contact
. All are invited to attend a
Celebration and Prayer Service
for the Church Planters-the Rev. Elena Ortiz, Ivelisse Berrios, Luz Aponte and Madeline Amil-on Monday,
, from 2 to 3 PM, at Olivet UMC, 310 E. Chestnut Street, Coatesville, PA.
"We will pray for this new ministry," said their enthused superintendent, "and give thanks to God for our Church Planters who are living out the Great Commission."
All invited to Certified Lay Ministers graduation May 7
All are invited to a Service of Recognition honoring graduates of the Spring
2017 Class of Certified Lay Ministers on Sunday, May 7, at 3 P.M. The ceremony, always an inspirational occasion, will occur at Montgomery Square UMC, 1900 County Line Road, North Wales, PA. Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach and assist Program Director Judy Ehninger in awarding well-earned certificates to the newly minted Certified Lay Ministers.
Bringing Communion to Life
The Rev. Michael Johnson, a Certified Spiritual Director, will share his approach to using dynamic prayers to bring the experience of Holy Communion to life at a Communion Workshop on Thursday, May 11. Registration is at 9 AM. The program begins at 9:30 AM. First UMC of Phoenixville (856 S. Main Street, Phoenixville) will host this workshop, sponsored by the Order of St. Luke. RSVP to the Rev. Bron Yocum at
Johnson has a passion for making Communion more contextually relevant by preparing original prayers including the Great Thanksgiving. His prayers range from traditional to musical responses, including a rap-music version, to a wordless prayer offered entirely in video and photos. The event ends at noon with Communion.
Claiming Sabbath for Clergy Spouses retreat May 13
Clergy spouses are invited to attend the next Claiming Sabbath retreat for learning, fellowship and candid but confidential sharing on Saturday, May 13, from 9 AM to 4 PM, (lunch included) at Daylesford Abbey, 220 S. Valley Rd., Paoli, PA. These innovative, lively retreats are offered by and for clergy spouses to help them learn to celebrate true Sabbaths and resolve problems in their challenging roles, while reducing the isolation often caused by their circumstances. Julie Anderman, a skilled trainer and longtime clergy spouse, leads a leads a team of creative, experienced facilitators.
The fee is $50, but a limited number of $25 scholarships are available from a Pastoral Excellence Network grant. All payments-by credit card or check (make out and mail to: Artos Retreats 607 Rose Petal Lane, Mount Joy, PA 17552)-must be received by May 7. Learn more and register on the
or write to Julie Anderman at
These retreats are provided to clergy spouses by the conference Cabinet and Board of Health & Pension Benefits.
Dialogue on Religious Freedom Resolution, May 20
Bishop Peggy Johnson will convene on Saturday, May 20,
a one-time dialogue on the Religious Freedom Resolution
#2016-18), which was debated but not voted on at the 2016 Eastern PA Annual Conference. The resolution was committed to the bishop with a request for representative dialogue and a report in lieu of legislative action. The dialogue will take place at Asbury UMC in Allentown (1533 Springhouse Road), on Saturday, May 20, from 9 AM to 12 noon.
See what's coming up at Camps & Retreat Centers
: Spring Flower Sale orders due. Pickup May 6, 9 AM - 12 PM
April 29: Work Day,
9 AM -1 PM Come, help get our camp ready for the season. Lunch provided. Please call to RSVP.
Open House and Flower Sale Pickup. Come get a tour and a chance to win camp gear.
May 13: Disciple Training
, 9 AM - 1 PM.
Little Critters Preschool Camp Visit, 9:30 - 11 AM. Free. Call to register.
May 6: Spring Work Day,
9 AM - 4 PM. Come join us for a day of helping to get camp ready for the summer. This is a great opportunity for youth groups, church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, families, or individuals to work together on service projects, landscaping, painting, cleaning, and other projects around camp. Lunch will be provided.
May 20: Spring Open House
10 AM - 3 PM. Live music, games, silent auction, hayrides, canoeing, s'mores, site tours, meet the staff, and much more!!
Dangerous Retreat for Boys (and Dads)
For boys (grades 3 to 9) with their dads. Learn more...
10 AM - 3 PM. A
day of free fun, food and community-building with family and friends amidst God's beautiful creation. Enjoy Camp Tours, a Hot Dog Roast, Boating & Canoeing, Children's Games, a Climbing Tower, Hayrides, Fishing (Bring your own equipment), Hiking and more. SpringFest Flyer
Spring Work Day, 8 AM - 5PM. A great opportunity for families, youth groups, or individuals to work together on service projects. Opportunities include cleanup, construction, landscaping, and other projects around camp. Lunch and dinner are provided for our volunteers.
Free Youth Group Night. Gretna will hold its final Sunday evening free youth event of the season from 4 to 6:30 PM. Youth in grades 6-12 can come with their church youth group and enjoy a sample of the summer camp experience, including games, speakers, worship, and camp fun!
May 9: Spring Fling Senior Adult Day,
9:30 AM - 3 PM.
May 13: Gretna Gritty 5K Mud Run, 7 AM. Join us for our annual Mud Run fundraiser! Climb, crawl, run and jump through our 3-mile course as we raise money to support the ministry of Gretna Glen. Competitive, recreational and kids run make for all levels of action where everyone can be involved. You can visit our
or register today!
May 20: Open House, 10 AM - 4 PM.
Bring your friends and family have fun, check out the site and learn about the great programs that Gretna Glen has to offer. Tours will be available upon request.
Event to focus on faith, family response to addiction
Philadelphia's 11th annual Faith and Spiritual Affairs Conference, on Friday, April 28, from 8 AM to 4 PM, will focus on empowering families and communities to respond to the opioid epidemic. The event will happen at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. Philadelphia, PA.
An estimated 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and about 20 percent smoke cigarettes. Addiction results in numerous health problems, disrupts families and relationships, and can lead to behavioral health challenges such as isolation, depression and suicide. Nevertheless, countless individuals confront and overcome their addictions every year, often with the help of their faith, family, community, healthcare professionals and treatment programs.
Co-sponsored by several agencies, this conference, with the theme "Have Faith in Recovery: Treatment and Recovery" will provide workshops and presentations by foremost authorities in the addiction field. Topics will include evidence based treatments, inclusion of spirituality as part of treatment, medicine management and family empowerment.
'Hearts on Fire' to promote justice, social holiness
Faithful Christians from around the Eastern PA Conference, whether committed to or just concerned about biblical and Wesleyan values of peace with justice, are invited to gather on Saturday, May 13, at Holy Cross UMC in Reading, Pa. There they will explore and engage hearts and minds in their shared struggles against racism and other forms of oppression.
"Hearts on Fire: Stories of Shalom and Social Holiness" is planned as a major learning, networking and mobilizing event, unlike any before it, to create "a diverse network of people connected by story, committed to justice and collaborating for peace." The theme is inspired by the Apostle Paul's encouraging admonition in Romans 12:11-13: "Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with God's people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes."
9 AM to 2 PM, the gathering will hear topical "TED talks"* by justice ministry practitioners and engage in small-group discussions, networking activities, biblical reflection and worship. Inspired by Christ's gospel, they will "learn and work together as leaders to help create
social change and build thriving communities of shalom." Speakers will share creative ideas and practical applications that work "on the ground." Learn more
Changing Racism: Continuing the Conversation
Commission on Religious & Race will offer a second opportunity for leaders who have taken the required Changing Racism course to share and extend their learning, as they continue the conversation on race and racism. The optional, informal gathering will happen on Saturday,
e 24, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Grove UMC, 490 West Boot Road, West Chester PA.
elve more deeply into the history, dynamics and ramifications of racism in the USA. Learn and practice behaviors and strategies for dismantling the damaging effects of racism and seeking equity.
Registration is online
by June 12, with a fee of $15. Lunch is provided. NOTE:
This workshop is open to all who have completed the Changing Racism Workshops or the Healing the Wounds of Racism Workshops at any time. For more information
contact the Rev. Susan Worrell at
or the Rev. Alicia Julia-Stanley at
Three Christ Servant Ministry classes offered in May
The Eastern PA Conference offers 3 Christ Servant Ministry classes in May.
Basic Course taught in Spanish
by the Rev. Brunhilda Martinez is being rescheduled for
for the fall at Emmanuel UMC
in Allentown. This course needs at least 12 participants and is limited to the first 20 registrations. Cost: $35.
for the registration application.
A Basic Course in English, taught by Judy Ehninger, is scheduled for May 12-13 at Asbury UMC in Allentown. This course needs at least 12 participants and is limited to the first 20 registrations. Cost: $35.
for the registration application.
A Speaking 1 Course, taught bythe Rev. Harold Burkett, is scheduled also for May 12-13 at Asbury UMC in Allentown. This course also needs at least 12 participants and is limited to the first 20 registrations. Cost $35.
for the registration application.
For more information contact Northeast District Director, Judy Ehninger at
EPA Annual Conference 2017 to 'Rise Up' in prayer
Rise Up and Pray! is the elevating main theme of the 2017 Eastern PA Annual Conference, which will return to the spacious
Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., from Thursday to Saturday
, June 15-17.
Preachers, prayers, musicians, liturgists and others will center the gathering in the practice and power of prayer, no doubt invoking the God of eternal grace to "Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour." That focus will also receive special attention when special guest the
Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room Chapel in Nashville, offers a Friday teaching session on prayer.
Three bishops will preach during this annual conference session including two familiar voices and a new voice on the NEJ College of Bishops. Resident
will preach for the Opening Worship and Eucharist Service on Thursday afternoon. New
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
, who leads the neighboring Baltimore-Washington Conference, will preach for the Ordination Service ("Rise Up and Lead!") on Friday night.
Bishop Peter Weaver
, a retired former leader of our own conference and the Philadelphia Episcopal Area, will preach during the Memorial Service ("Rise Up in Glory!") on Saturday morning. Learn more...
Denman Evangelism Award nominations sought
When you experience God's love, you want to share it with everyone!
The United Methodist
Foundation for Evangelism
helps annual conferences annually honor extraordinary clergy, youth and adult laypersons with the
Harry Denman Evangelism Award
for sharing with everyone God's message of love through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we work in a variety of ministries and contexts with a common goal to build up of God's Kingdom.
This year, until May 5, the Eastern PA Conference's
Congregational Development Team (CDT)
is pleased to accept your nominations of persons to receive the 2017 Harry Denman Evangelism Award. That noteworthy award signifies a remarkable commitment to introducing others to the living gospel in ways and places where "new believers can encounter Christ."
All completed nominations with comments should be submitted to the CDT by May 5.
Please send e-mail nominations to
addressed to the EPAUMC/Congregational Development Team, c/o of Suzette James/. Attn: Denman Award Nomination. Or mail them to the Eastern PA Conference Office, ATTN: Dr C. Kurien (identified as "2017 Denman Nominee"), P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.
Applications can be downloaded by visiting:
Changing Racism Workshop 2017 dates
This year's dates
Changing Racism Workshops, led by
March 31-April 2
The March location will again be the Daylesford Abbey, 220 South Valley Road, Paoli, PA. Visit our
Changing Racism Workshops webpage
to learn more and to register.
Wake up, God's People!...
All-day Eastern PA Youth Rally, April 22, 2017
Plan to attend the 3rd Annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally on Saturday, April 22, 2017. For the first time, this youth rally will last all day, from 9 AM to 4 PM. We're planning fantastic features, with dynamic speakers, soul-stirring music, fun games, powerful prayers, laugh-out-loud humor, great food and hospitality, and enough friendship and fellowship moments to give you a lifetime of memories. Don't dare miss it!
See and share the flyer,
and look for more details, coming soon.
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 UMC.org, 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 www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digest. Share 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
|2017 Academy for Laity
Aug. 4-6 (Fri.-Sun.) at Cedarville UMC Pottstown. New dates, new location, new courses. Theme: Embrace the Journey: Step Up, Step Out." More details to come.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403