April 21, 2017
Website  |   Calendar  |   Directory  |   Forms  |   Blogs  |   Contact Us
Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments and retirements,
effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:

Northeast ( future North district)
  • Rev. Charles Richard Edmund (full-time associate member) from Pen-Del Conference to Chapman Quarries & Bushkill UMCs (two point charge) as of July 1, 2017.
  • Rev. Jessica Ross (provisional elder) from Tobyhanna UMC  to Pocono Lake UMC as of July 1, 2017.
Youth Rally to 'Wake Up God's People'
There's a lot happening in our area this Saturday, April 22, but no doubt, nothing will offer young people more fun in the sun, along with engaging fellowship and faith formation, than the third annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally. It will happen all day, mostly in the outdoor amphitheater of Hopewell UMC (852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA) from 10 AM to 4 PM.   Learn more...

7 questions when starting a youth ministry
What's the first step in starting a youth ministry? Brad Fiscus of the Tennessee Conference says it's to get all the stakeholders - youth, their parents, other adults and key leaders - to discuss possibilities and frame a vision. In a commentary for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, he suggests seven questions to frame the conversation. Read commentary.  
Rev. Timothy Thomson-Hohl, pastor of Ardmore United Methodist Church, rejoices in the Easter Sunday unveiling of four stained glass windows of gospel-writing saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that came from Bala Cynwyd UMC after it closed and merged with his congregation. The 1931-era windows, depicting the Gospel-writing saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in brilliant blue, green and purple, were from the shuttered United Methodist Church of Bala Cynwyd. Learn more...

Church braces for judicial ruling on gay bishop
Prayer vigils and a flurry of press releases are just some of the signs of interest in and concern about a Judicial Council hearing set for Tuesday, April 25. The case before the denomination's top court could affect the standing of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly gay pastor elected to the United Methodist episcopacy. Sam Hodges reports on the pre-hearing activity.   Read story

Preview to Judicial Council hearing
The United Methodist Church's top court faces a number of questions about the election of the denomination's first openly gay bishop - including whether it should weigh in at all. Heather Hahn summarizes some of the legal arguments going before the Judicial Council next week.    Read story

Clergy react to Arkansas execution
Legal challenges stopped three of the four planned executions in Arkansas this week, but Ledell Lee was put to death on April 20. United Methodist clergy are among those who spoke out against the multiple executions.    Read story 

Celebrate Native American
Sunday April 30
Native American Ministries Sunday on April 30, 2017, is one of The United Methodist Church's six special Sundays designated by General Conference to recognize and support particular ministries annually with a special offering. This observation focuses the attention of church members on the gifts and contributions of Native Americans to society and the denomination. Read Interpreter magazine story.  Read story   Get resources 

Do you know why we are called United Methodists?
There have been many nicknames for the band of believers who followed the lead of John and Charles Wesley in their early ministry in England. On April, 23, 1968, United Methodists got their current moniker on what was the denomination's official birthdate.   Read story

Bishop: Church must stand for peace in Korea 
Wisconsin Area Bishop Hee-Soo Jung says United Methodists must stand for peace in the face of tensions on the Korean peninsula. "Let us join together in solidarity with our Korean brothers and sisters in this sacred task of peacemaking, peacekeeping and restoration," writes Jung, who was born in Kwang hwa do, Korea. Jung also details the denomination's official statement on Korea in the Book of Resolutions and urges President Donald Trump and other officials to use "caution, discretion and patience."
Read commentary
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.

Also  on April 30, our conference Committee on Native American
Download the flyer
Ministries ( CONAM) 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 

April 22: 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) 
Retreat 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.
April 29: Tools for Ministry   in all six districts.

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 Taylor-Storm. 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, May 1, 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." 

Please register   online for the new church launch celebration (at no cost).
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 bronyocum@gmail.com

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
event webpage , or write to Julie Anderman at artosretreats@gmail.com. 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.  Learn more ...   

See what's coming up at Camps & Retreat Centers

April 29: Work Day, 9 AM -1 PM Come, help get our camp ready for the season. Lunch provided. Please call to RSVP.
May 6: 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.
May 13: 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!!

April 28-30: Dangerous Retreat for Boys (and Dads) For boys (grades 3 to 9) with their dads. Learn more...
May 20:   SpringFest/Open House , 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 
April 22: 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.
April 23: 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   information page   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. Registration is open.

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.   Learn more ...    

'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." 

Scheduled for 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   

The Conference 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, Jun e 24, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Grove UMC, 490 West Boot Road, West Chester PA.

Come, d 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 rev.s.worrell@gmail.com or the Rev. Alicia Julia-Stanley at rev87mom@gmail.com .     
Three Christ Servant Ministry classes offered in May
The Eastern PA Conference offers 3 Christ Servant Ministry classes in May. 

A 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.   Click here   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.   Click here   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.  Click here   for the registration application.

For more information contact Northeast District Director, Judy Ehninger  at  ehninger@ptd.net  or 610-442-3140.
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 Bishop Peggy Johnson 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  sjd624@ymail.com
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: 
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-digestShare 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 communications@epaumc.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
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
Website  |   Calendar  |   Directory  |   Forms  |   Blogs  |   Contact Us