April 28, 2017
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Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments and retirements,
effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:

East District
  • Rev. Steven M. Pittman, (to be Commissioned at Annual Conference) from Philadelphia: Green Lane UMC to Philadelphia: Grace UMC
  • Rev. Elisandra Garcia (Part-time Local Pastor) from Coaldale and Summit Hill UMCs to Philadelphia: Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit) UMC (1/2-time). 
Northeast/North District
  • Rev. Esdras Seda (Local Pastor) - from Philadelphia: Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit) UMC and Latino Ministries Coordinator to Allentown: Emmanuel UMC and Allentown: La Trinidad UMC (two-point circuit)
  • Rev. Edward S. Unangst (Part-time Local Pastor) from Michaels UMC to Michaels UMC and Weatherly: Centenary UMC (two-point circuit)
Now get e-mail notices to follow the Bishop's Blog
Do you enjoy reading Bishop Peggy Johnson's Bishop's Blog? Want to read her timely, thought-provoking, heart-touching essays as soon as they're published? Well, now you can. Right under her "About Me" brief profile in the right column, you'll find the words "Follow By Email." Just fill in your e-mail address, select "Submit," and you should receive an e-mailed notice whenever there's a new essay to read. Enjoy it right away and even respond to if you'd like. And beneath that field you'll find the Blog Archive, where you can find past essays to read again or for the first time. 
Native American Ministries  Sunday  funds scholarships
Through Native American Ministries  Sunday, we are able to equip and empower Native American pastors, congregations and seminary students to authentically worship and serve Jesus.  Read more 

Share stories about how the generosity of United Methodists is affecting Native American communities in positive ways. Over the past decades members of a Committee on Native American Ministries have worked with descendants of the Sand Creek Massacre on the Sand Creed Massacre Spiritual Healing Run and other initiatives. Partnerships like this one are only possible when United Methodists give generously on Native American Ministries  Sunday.

The offering also supports Native American seminarians, and it helps develop and equip Native American rural, urban, and reservation congregations, ministries and communities and annual conference Native American Ministries. Visit  www.umcgiving.org/NAMS  to read more stories of the impact United Methodists are making through their generous giving. Also see the UMNS story:  Native American teen embraces Choctaw language, culture , about Madeleine Freeman, 2016 Miss Indian Oklahoma City Princess, who speaks Choctaw and aspires to attend Yale University in the fall.
CONAM to hear about resistance to gas pipeline in Lancaster
Several online advocacy publications have been reporting on public resistance to plans for installing the Atlantic Sunrise Natural Gas Pipeline in Lancaster County. Our conference's  Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will welcome two courageous leaders of that resistance to its spring gathering on  Sunday, April 30, at 4 PM, at the Eastern PA Conference Office (980 Madison Ave., Norristown, PA).

Everyone is invited to come join in worship, a light meal and a presentation and discussion led by  Tim Spiese and Malinda Clatterbuck of the growing Lancaster Against Pipelines movement.

The event is timed ideally to occur on The United Methodist Church's  Native American Ministries Sunday. That's when churches are encouraged to recognize and support advocacy by and for Native Americans, including concerns for the safety and sacredness of our natural environment--concerns that affect and should involve all of us.  Learn more...
Philadelphia church, worthy of its name, delivers clean water to Flint, Mich. 
The Rev. Margaret Trice, pastor of
Servants of Christ UMC in Philadelphia,
had an immovable burden on her heart for the people of Flint, Mich., many of whom still suffer from the polluted water crisis that first came to the nation's attention in 2015. She couldn't let go of the desire, the need to do something. So on Thursday, April 27, she led three church members and a friend from Enon Baptist Church on a mission of mercy. Having collected about 200 cases of bottled water, mostly purchased but some donated, they rented a van and drove nearly 10 hours to Flint to deliver most of them to a Baptist church there that was happy to receive the gift. 

They loaded the van full, nearly to the ceiling, that morning, squeezed themselves and their luggage inside, and embarked on their journey. They spent the night in Flint, and are expected to return to the church Friday evening."We have a small congregation but we worked very hard and long to make this happen," said Trice, a local pastor who came to the church in 2014. "The church is very excited about this project." Indeed, with their blessed mission and safe return, Sunday's worship service should be especially joyful and celebratory.
UM loans and scholarships key dates in May

The UMC's Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the UM Church Development Center want churches to know about loans and scholarships available through GBHEM for higher learning, so they can increase the impact of available financial support. Read more.  Also take note of these upcoming close and open dates for college loan applications to the board.  
  • 2017 Spring/Summer Loan Application closes May 2     
  • 2017 Fall Loan Application opens May 5
  • Scholarship notifications will be emailed beginning June 1.  
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).
Special 2019 General Conference date set
The UM Council of Bishops announced the call to a special General Conference on  Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis. The special meeting will be limited to dealing with a bishops' report based on recommendations related to fostering church unity amid deep differences around homosexuality.  Read story
What does it mean to be evangelical?
Plenty of United Methodists of varied theological perspectives claim the name evangelical. No less than John Wesley himself applied the term to the Methodist movement he founded. Heather Hahn reports on the difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists. Read story
Wanted: 'Chaplains for a Day' at four summer camp sites
Calling all pastors who would love to spend a day at camp, but can't spend a full week.  The Camp & Retreat Ministries Board wants to try a new program this summer that invites you and your family to spend a full day,  on Monday through   Thursday, at one of our four camps between  June 25 and August 12.

Pastors could arrive any time after  8 AM and be treated to three great meals of camp food, complete with a sumptuous salad bar. You could lead a staff Bible study or devotions, meet with staff and volunteers or with campers who need spiritual counsel or support, participate in any camp activities going on that day at your discretion, and then return home to sleep in your own comfortable bed. Your children could choose to participate in one of the camp experiences and your spouse could accompany you for the day or just "do their own thing." 

If you're interested, visit our Camp & Retreat Ministry webpage  to contact the camp site you'd prefer, arrange for the best date and finalize the details. 

By the way, Summer Camp registrations are going on now, and staff are visiting local churches to promote and sign up children and youth for this life-changing experience. Check our our new YouTube video featuring two excited camp staff members telling how camp changed their lives and can change yours too:  "Two Testimonies: Summer Camp transforms lives!"
Young adult summer mission adventure returns to Reading
The  Rev. Nick Camacho at West Lawn UMC shares this news about a great-looking young adult outreach ministry returning to Reading, PA, this summer from June 7 to July 31. The QuadW Missional Internship is paid 8-week summer internship with all housing and living expenses taken care of, There are sites all over the country including in Reading. The program's goal is for college-level young people to relationally serve others, build bridges and be transformed, while serving communities in need. West Lawn's Alex Bryan participated in the program in 2015 described it as "an incredible, enriching, and fulfilling experience." Learn more about it in an August 2015 Reading Eagle article, Berks County welcomes QuadW Missional Program interns .
"I am looking for candidates who have solid convictions," writes Nick, "who love to work with children and homeless persons, want to learn and grow as Christian leaders, and want to have a wonderful urban missionary experience." Those who choose Reading will find it a "wonderful, multicultural, poor city that needs a lot of our love!" Interns will lodge in the city in a home provided by Freedom Gate Ministries, a Christian halfway house for men coming out of prison. They will work primarily with children and homeless adults, while forming relationships with each other and those they serve and learning "a lot about our Lord as we together work on our relationship with Him and watch Him at work here in Reading."  Read the brochure , visit the website and consider applying for this personal growth opportunity.
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 
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.

'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
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