April 30, 2021
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following appointments & assignments, effective July 1, 2021, unless otherwise stated:
Cooperative Parish
  • Rev. Nelson Alleman (Full Elder) to serve as Lead Pastor of a cooperative parish to include Thornton: Bethlehem UMC in Chester County, PA (South District) and Oak Grove UMC in Paxinos, PA (North District), beginning May 1, 2021.

South District
  • Ms. Margaret Perry (Lay Supply) assigned to serve Fremont: Union UMC, quarter-time, effective April 17, 2021.

North District
  • Rev. Ralph Saunders (Part-Time Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Lewistown Valley: Calvary Evangelical UMC, from quarter-time to half-time
  • Ms. Monica Romberger (Lay Supply) assigned to serve Clark’s Grove UMC, three-quarter time.
  • Rev. Wendy Bellis (Retired Full Elder) to serve Cherry Lane UMC, half-time.
  • Rev. Zabdiel Khan (Retired Full Elder) to serve Saylorsburg: St. Peter’s UMC, half-time.
Virtual Urban Summit: Part 2 to happen in 2 parts Saturday May 1, 10 AM & 12 PM
  • Urban Summit Part 2, 10 AM to 12 PM, is for all ages. Register
  • Youth Summit, 12 PM to 2 PM is for youth only. Register Now.
Pursuing Urban Partnerships, Development & Renewal

The Rev. Joseph W. Daniels Jr., Lead Pastor of Emory Fellowship UMC in Washington DC, will share his empirical wisdom about “Pursuing Partnerships, Development & Urban Renewal.” Daniels is well-known for successfully shepherding Emory’s major, innovative redevelopment of the church and its surrounding community, including development of affordable housing and small businesses, through its affiliated, 501c3 nonprofit Emory Beacon of Light. Emory Fellowship is a vibrant, intergenerational, predominantly Black congregation that works for justice and development opportunities in its community through effective partnerships.
Combating Violence through Faith-Based Healing

The Rev. Myra Maxwell is Lead Pastor of Trinity UMC in South Philadelphia and co-chairperson of the Conference’s Urban Commission, which sponsors the annual Urban Summits. A 2021 Denman Evangelism Awardee, she also directs Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement for Survivors of Homicide (CARES) for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, having previously done similar work on behalf of crime victims for other agencies.
Urban Youth Summit (12-2 PM)

The afternoon Urban Youth Summit will tackle hard facts of urban life with faith and strategies in a town hall-style discussion that addresses violence, trauma, substance abuse, peer pressure and other concerns. In a safe environment, the youth will voice their ideas on urban challenges, including race relations and internalized oppression, and economic and educational inequalities. And they will begin to envision ways to become effective peers, justice advocates and youth ministry entrepreneurs.
Facilitating the interactive youth summit will be: the Rev. David Piltz, Conference Coordinator of Young People’s Ministries and a campus ministry; the Rev. Jose Tirado, a father of five and pastor of Nuevo Creacion (New Creation) UMC in Lancaster; and Andres Gutierrez, a longtime youth leader at Nuevo Creacion.   Learn more...
Rev. Jose Tirado
Andres Gutierrez
Seeking gun violence remedies, policing reforms
By John W. Coleman for UM News 

For the Rev. Myra Maxwell, a pastor in Philadelphia, the city’s escalation in shootings and murders hits hard and close to home. She has lost a family member and friends to violence.

The City of Brotherly Love recorded 499 homicides last year, a 40 percent increase from 2019 and the second most since 1960. By mid-March this year, there were more than 112 firearm murders and nearly 400 shootings, including many child victims. 

And this city isn’t suffering alone. Across the country there were 4,000 more homicides last year than in 2019 — a bloody carnage that far exceeds that of the mass shootings occurring recently in other cities. 

Maxwell serves Trinity UMC in South Philadelphia. She also directs District Attorney Larry Krasner’s CARES program — Crisis Assistance, Response and Engagement for Survivors — that helps the distressed families of homicide victims. Learn More
Bishops, delegates called to mission focus
(UM News) — Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey challenged bishops and General Conference delegates to focus on shared mission, not frustrations. In her second public address as Council of Bishops president, Harvey spoke to church leaders dealing with the crisis of a potential church split and the second pandemic-caused General Conference postponement. Read more…
Celebrating our United Methodist connection
In a new UM Communications video on https://www.umc.org/, United Methodists around the world talk-- accompanied by lively gospel music-- about why they choose to be members of The United Methodist Church. This is a video to see, hear and share! Also view on YouTube.
May 5: National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
*Even with so much attention focused on Indian Country’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot forget that May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls (MMIWG).

Social distancing and “shelter-in-place” guidelines may prevent in-person MMIWG activities; but Native communities and programs (and supporters) are encouraged to creatively participate in this year’s National Day of Awareness.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the murder rate of Native females is more than ten times the national average on some reservations. Often, these murders or disappearances are connected to crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking.

The National Day of Awareness highlights the need for ongoing grassroots advocacy and changes to the laws, policies, and increased allocation of resources to end these injustices. Individual and/or joint actions are encouraged at the local, tribal, state, and national levels.

TO LEARN MORE, watch a special webinar about MMIMG on Thursday, May 13, at 7 PM, shared by the Baltimore Washington Conference Committee on Native American Ministries. Register for the free viewing Learn more…
Get Ready for Hurricane Season
FEMA will present the webinar " Get Ready for Hurricane Season" on Tuesday, May 11, 11 AM to 12 PM. This webinar will cover hurricane basics, information resources, and how to find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Learn preparedness measures for people living in hurricane-prone areas, such as emergency supplies, insurance, preparing your home, and making an individual or family hurricane plan. All should try to attend?  Registration link: Get Ready for Hurricane Season (connectsolutions.com)
Death Notice: Mrs. Frances Legg
We received word of the death of Mrs. Frances Legg, who died on April 25, 2021. She was a staff member for the Eastern PA Conference, from 1985 to 1991.   

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to her daughter, Mrs. Janice Legg at 45 Anthony Wayne Drive, Wayne PA 19087. No additional information is available at this time.
Some HealthFlex participants eligible to share in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement Proceeds
Wespath will send correspondence to HealthFlex primary participants in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) network this week to inform them that some participants are eligible to share in the settlement proceeds stemming from a class-action lawsuit against the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). The proposed settlement agreement includes a fund of approximately $1.9 billion after attorneys' fees, administration expenses and other costs are paid.

BCBSA is the national association of 35 independent, locally-operated Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. BCBSIL, one of HealthFlex's third-party administrators, is a member of the BCBSA. The lawsuit alleges that the BCBSA companies violated antitrust laws. Primary participants who were enrolled in HealthFlex's BCBSIL network between Sept. 1, 2015, and Oct. 16, 2020, are eligible to submit a claim to share in the settlement proceeds. Learn more…
Laboring with God for the kingdom on earth
GASTONIA, N.C. — In a devotion for the Asian Ministries Network, the Rev. David Jong-Hyun Lee reflects on Asian Americans' place in the U.S. and the church. "This is not a struggle just for Asians or Blacks or Hispanics or any other race, gender or orientation," he writes. "This is a fight for the sacred worth of every human being who has been created in the image of God." Read commentary
MISSION & MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES
How churches can help former inmates adapt
(UM News) — This is National Reentry Week focusing on released inmates returning to freedom from prison. “Released: I’m Home, Now What?” a series of webinars offered this week, April 26-30, offers advice to church members on how to support former prison inmates. Recordings of those webinars are now available for viewing. They are intended to inspire, educate and help activate clergy and laity engaged in prison or justice ministries. The information and resources provided can help advocates transform their communities into welcoming places and improve the lives of persons who need a second chance.

"I see this as a ministry that the church really needs to embrace because 600,000 returning citizens come every year, and guess what? They’re coming to our communities," said the Rev. Michael L. Bowie, national director of Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, sponsor of the program. Read story. View the program recordings.
Ebony Exploration at Gammon Seminary
Gammon Theological Seminary, the United Methodist Theological School of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) is partnering with the National Network of Young Adults to host Ebony Exploration at Gammon/ITC Immersion 2021 on Tuesday, May 4, from 2 to 5 PM. Gammon’s Admissions team wants to learn about persons--especially young adults-- interested in graduate theological education. 

Then on May 13 at 7 PM join in a Q&A cyber cafe session to help in the discernment process. Here are two important dates to remember: May 13--Gammon Cyber Cafe with Dr. Jacqueline Davis-Gines (Gammon Recruitment Director); and July 1--Applications for Admission are due. Read More

LEARNING EVENTS
‘We Are Still Here!’
CONAM to honor outstanding Native leaders, May 2
For its annual spring fellowship and educational gathering, the Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will present “We Are Still Here!” on Sunday, May 2, at 4 PM, on Zoom. Members will offer a compelling virtual presentation in words and images about “outstanding Native Americans today.”

“The First Peoples of this land are still here,” says CONAM, which sponsors educational events for the conference annually in the spring and fall, usually at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center.

“They live on reservations, in urban areas and in the countryside. You will find them in business, in the U.S. government, in cultural endeavors and all professions. We honor them and celebrate their rich heritage of understanding about the natural world and how we can live together in a community that honors each person and their gifts.”

This gathering will celebrate influential and resilient Native persons, including new U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, a Pueblo of Laguna, from New Mexico. She made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a U.S. cabinet secretary.
 
Sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries. Learn more...
Next CDT Book Club study: From Franchise to Local Dive, May 5-26
The Eastern PA Conference’s Congregational Development Team will sponsor its next CDT Book Club study and discussion on Wednesdays, May 5-26, at 11 AM. The next selection is From Franchise to Local Dive, by Jason Moore and Rozario Picardo. They will introduce their book and lead all four dialogue sessions. 

Many local churches are stuck in a rut, have reached a plateau, or--worst of all--are declining. The temptation is to serve up the same exact ministry models that worked in another time and space and that feel safe to existing churches. Like ordering from a menu at the franchise chain restaurant and expecting the meal to be palatable in the local context, many churches start something new by serving up the same old thing, failing to discover what their local community is actually hungry for.

From Franchise to Local Dive explores what it means to multiply ministry by cooking with local flavor. Whether you want to start a new service or a brand-new campus, this workshop will help you discover how to make a ministry recipe that will keep people coming back for more

Jason Moore and Rosario Picardo have a respected track record of creating and leading groundbreaking ministries that unchurched people can relate to. And we get to hear them share their wisdom with us first-hand. Download the flyer. Be one of the first 25 to register and receive a free copy of the book.
FAMLP Retreat May 2-4 at Camp Pecometh
The Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors of Eastern PA and Peninsula Delaware conferences will gather for their annual joint retreat May 2-4, at Camp Pecometh, 136 Bookers Wharf Road, Centerville, MD. “Seeing Your Community as Your Church” (from Nehemiah 2:11-18) is their theme.   
The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Eastern PA’s Director of Connectional Ministries, will keynote the weekend event. The retreat is open to all Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors and Certified Lay Ministers. CEUs are available for attending the full event. The total cost is $232, which includes room and board.  Register today
Weekly Preaching Forum continues May 4
Join us for a conference-wide Preaching Forum on Zoom to help us plan Revised Common Lectionary-based sermons every Tuesday. Enjoy a weekly, one-hour, profitable exchange of ideas, inspiration and information about preaching resources.

Gifted presenters will share their notes on each week’s chosen text and then lead the forum in conversation. We will explore each text’s historical circumstances and present-day perspectives, plus ideas for application and initial thoughts for sermon movements, etc. 

For now, we will focus on texts for the upcoming Sunday. But we may adjust to add more lead time in the future. This initial, experimental preaching forum will run for 12 weeks until June 22.
Implicit Bias online training, May 14-15
Register now for this weekend workshop on Zoom, hosted by the Peninsula Delaware Conference, but open to members of our Conference also.

Friday, May 14, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, and Saturday, May 15, 9:00 – 12:45 PM

Who Should Attend: Everyone!!!
·   Newly appointed pastors
·   Pastors serving in Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Appointments
·   Persons in key leadership positions,
·   Other interested clergy and laity

You will grow in self-awareness, especially about racial/cultural realities. And you will learn how to improve your intercultural competency for the building of God’s beloved community.

This is a free workshop on Zoom! But pre-registration is required by May 8 online at https://pendel-reg.brtapp.com/CRCC2021. Download and share the flyer.
Seminary offers Bivocational Ministry course 
Is your congregation considering a part-time pastor? Are you considering a career in ministry alongside a secular job? Then the new online course, Bivocational Ministry for Congregations and Pastors, may be just what you need. The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Seminary will offer the six-week, online course on Wednesday nights, May 26–June 30, 7–8:30 PM.
 
The Rev. Darryl W. Stephens, will teach the course via Zoom. He is director of the academy and UM Studies at the seminary. The class offers 2.5 CEUs and costs only $100 per participant (or $50 for auditors, no credit), thanks to “generous grant funding.” See registration and instructions for payment.
A new author-led book study: The Bible With and Without Jesus
The Eastern PA Conference Congregational Development Team (CDT) Book Club will sponsor a new weekly book study on Zoom—and its first study led by a woman author—in June when it welcomes Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Levine will help us explore her new work, The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differentlyco-authored in 2020 with Marc Zvi Brettler, on Wednesdays, June 9, 16, 23 and 30, 11 AM to 12 Noon. 

She will offer an introduction and then focus on four main topics:
  • June 9: The virginal conception and the pregnant young woman. (Isaiah 7:14)
  • June 16: The “suffering servant”—Jesus and many others. (Isaiah 53)
  • June 23: Adam and Eve—original sin and original opportunity.
  • June 30: The “cry of dereliction” (Psalm 22) spoken by Jesus and by Esther 

Once again, CDT will purchase and offer free books for the first 25 registrants; but those purchases will be of Kindle e-books, ideal for use on mobile devices. REGISTER NOW for free.

Levine’s previous books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and Short Stories by Jesus. She also co-authored four children’s books and other works: The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III); and The Jewish Annotated New Testament (co-edited with Marc Zvi Brettler). In 2020 she published Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

She is the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. In 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “AJ” describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches New Testament in a Christian divinity school in the Buckle of the Bible Belt. 
RESOURCES
Our event recordings now in one place for viewing
We’ve just added another convenient resource page to our new Conference website: Event Recordings. Visit the page to view recordings of some of our outstanding recent events, including: 

  • Policing in African-American Communities; 
  • Vaccines, Variants, and the Road Ahead; 
  • State of the Black Church; 
  • 2021 Tools for Ministry, and more.

What Approach to Digital Worship is Best for Your Church?
Tim Snyder of the Lewis Center staff outlines the pluses and minuses of two platforms commonly used for digital worship — broadcast platforms and video conferencing. Each has its own logic, possibilities, and limitations that must be considered in deciding what is right in your setting.

Churches most commonly use one of two basic platforms for digital worship. Some use a broadcasting platform to deliver prerecorded video worship or to livestream a worship experience. Others offer worship through a video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Google Meetings, or Skype. Neither of these approaches is inherently better than the other. Learn more…

This article is derived from Participation and Presence: Leading Meaningful Digital Worship, a free online webinar offered by Dr. Tim Snyder through the Lewis Center for Church Leadership on March 23, 2021. Watch now.

Related Resources  
AROUND THE UM CONNECTION
Megachurch seeks exit over appointment strife   
The largest congregation in the North Georgia Conference announced April 26 that its senior pastor is surrendering his credentials and it plans to leave The United Methodist Church. Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, made the announcement following a weeklong public protest over its pastor’s transfer away from the congregation.

What exactly happened is a matter of dispute. Mt. Bethel leaders — including Jody Ray, its pastor — say the conference did not follow the normal consultative process for new appointments. Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, who leads the North Georgia Conference, said the church never gave the conference a chance to follow that process. Read more...
Bishop shares concerns over gun bill
ST. LOUIS — United Methodist Bishop Robert Farr joined Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Catholic Church and other faith leaders April 28 to express opposition to Missouri House Bill 944. The bill would allow people to bring weapons into a church without the permission of the congregation's leader. "I worry for our children. I worry for my colleagues in ministry, the laity in United Methodist churches and our brothers and sisters in Christ all across this country," said Farr, who leads the denomination’s Missouri Conference. Read story Watch press conference
Native caucus calls out 'damaging' comments
NEPTUNE, N.J. — The Native American International Caucus has issued a statement in response to former Sen. Rick Santorum's comments about Native American culture, calling his remarks "yet another inaccurate and divisive comment that reinforces how Native people are made invisible and blatantly attempts to erase our history." Read statement (PDF) Read USA Today story
Religious leaders decry hatred toward Asian Americans
NEPTUNE, N.J. — The Greater New Jersey Conference joined partners in the New Jersey Coalition of Religious Leaders to denounce rising instances of hate and violence directed toward the Asian American community. Highlighting the March shootings in Atlanta that killed six Asian women and the April 15 shooting in Indianapolis where four of the eight victims were Sikh Americans, the statement calls upon New Jersey's congressional representatives to support a pair of hate crime bills currently under consideration. Read press release (PDF)
Korean, Native faithful join to fight virus
OKLAHOMA CITY (UM News) — When the National Network of Korean United Methodist Women connected with the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, few anticipated the spirit of generosity that would flourish in Native communities affected by COVID-19. Some of the conference's churches also have been serving as vaccine sites. Barbara Dunlap-Berg and Ginny Underwood report. Read story
Homeless ministry offers compassion in Kenyan slums
NAIROBI, Kenya (UM News) — United Methodists are helping homeless women and children overcome challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. Along with receiving shelter, food, clothing and medical attention, vulnerable children and youth find love and understanding through the church's Homeless Compassion Ministry. Gad Maiga reports. Read story
REMINDERS
Church needs VIMs to make floors safe for children
There is pent-up energy among the UM Volunteers In Mission community right now. Because of the pandemic, the possibility of an UMVIM journey abroad is zero. And even movement around the nation is not prudent. But opportunities are opening up within our conference boarders. 

One such opportunity is El Mesias (The Messiah) UMC, at 3200 N. Front St (at Allegheny Avenue), Philadelphia, PA. The Rev. Efrain Cotto is the pastor.

The City requires that the floors in classrooms used by the BrightFutures Preschool program be covered to address an unsafe flooring concern. The parents of many of the enrolled children at the preschool are essential workers. Having affordable care available for their children is essential, too. 

Installing floating floor tiles is the best answer. They require few tools and only basic skills. So we need VIM teams ready and able now to come participate in this vital mission effort. This is an urgent need for this small church and the children and families it serves. Please help. Learn more…
Adaptive Stewardship in the Post-Pandemic Church, May 11
Webinar: Adaptive Stewardship in the Post-Pandemic Church

May 11, 2021 06:30 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

Discipleship Ministries is thrilled to host this virtual event featuring a panel discussion examining the realities for funding ministry and leading churches in the world we are moving into as we come out of the pandemic. After a brief presentation on Adaptive Leadership in the face of our present leadership as well as congregational research gathered throughout the days before and during the pandemic, discussion will focus on trends for the church’s future as well as time to respond to questions from the audience. Our panelists will include:

  • Melvin Amerson, Resource Specialist for the Texas Methodist Foundation.
  • Lisa Greenwood, Vice President of Leadership Ministry with Texas Methodist Foundation and Executive Director of the National Association of United Methodist Foundations (NAUMF).
  • Joe Park, CEO of Horizons Stewardship.
  • Melissa Spas, Managing Director, Education and Engagement at Lake Institute on Faith & Giving.
  • Panel Moderator will be Ken Sloane, Director, Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries

Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age  
Next Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop: June 19

The next Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop is set for Saturday, June 19, 10 AM–1 PM. The title is “Where do I Draw the Line? Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age.”
 
Setting boundaries is important, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become crucial. While the virus has reminded us of our need for setting physical boundaries, it has left us no choice but to work from home and communicate virtually, ushering us into a world with no boundaries or borders. As a result, the lines have become blurred, and now more than ever, it is difficult to separate work life from home life.
 
The goal of this training is to increase awareness of the need for healthy boundaries in the clergy-congregant relationship especially in light of the new post-pandemic normal. The goal of this training is not only to prevent sexual misconduct, but to promote life-giving, invigorating ministries that don’t just survive but thrive
 
This workshop will combine synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous workshop time will be Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 10 – 1pm EST, via Zoom. Asynchronous learning will occur via personal reflection guided by a set of questions. Participants will return their answers to the presenter by May 19. Learn more...
Tools for Ministry recordings now online to offer more learning
Like a good toolbox, this year’s Tools for Ministry online leadership academy, held March 13, is still available and useful. At least 26 of the 34 diverse, 90-minute courses, all provided via video conferencing on Zoom, were recorded. A page full of links to those recordings is now available on the conference website

The conference was forced to offer Tools for Ministry fully online for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that alternative presented at least two silver linings: convenient at-home attendance and these recordings made available for those who were limited to taking just two courses that Saturday morning.

Some may want to learn more from other courses; and some may want to review or share with others what they learned that day. Indeed, these recorded courses can be viewed online along with study groups or entire congregations as a collective educational resource. And they may point to online alternative considerations when future Tools for Ministry events are planned. 
Can you remember the last time you sang full voice in worship? It seems impossible that it was over a year ago that our houses of worship closed, and we switched to online worship; and we were advised not to sing in public. Study after study showed that singing is many times more likely to spread the virus than simply talking.

It is no wonder we are all SO ready to get back to our favorite place to sit in our worship space, even as we allow for distancing and singing! Before you make that leap, however, you should consider the following. The CDC advises that while churches are opening up, the people should remain masked and not sing until herd immunity has reached at least seventy to eighty-five percent of the population.


Scholarships available for interfaith gathering
WASHINGTON — The Parliament of the World's Religions has announced that its eighth global gathering is planned for Oct. 17-18 online. The United Methodist Council of Bishops will offer scholarships to cover the cost of registration for 15 United Methodists. Scholarship applications are due May 1. Learn more about event Scholarship application form (PDF)
Higher Education grants available until May 10
Today, April 26, the Education Society of the Eastern PA Conference will begin accepting grant applications to assist eligible individuals with defraying the cost of higher education for the 2021-2022 school year, reports Al Adey, who chairs the Education Society A new 2021-22 Education Society Grant Application is available on the Conference website’s Higher Education Scholarships & Grants page. The application deadline is May 10.

Grant recipients will be randomly selected. This financial aid information should be shared with church members who plan, or know of United Methodists planning, to attend an institution of higher learning in the fall of 2021. Contact Al Adey with questions at ahadey@verizon.net.
UMW Spiritual Life Retreat May 15
The Eastern PA Conference UM Women will hold their annual Spiritual Life Retreat May 15, 1:00– 3:30 PM on Zoom. The theme is Spiritually Aligned from the Inside Out. Toni Warner-McIntyre (PhD, MSW, Med), a licensed mental health professional based in Willow Grove, PA. is the featured speaker. "Dr. Toni," a mom of three, is a transformational life and wellness coach for the ambitious, and a psychotherapist for the high-achieving, stressed and anxious. She has been in the helping profession field for over a decade.
Pre-register here and receive the Zoom link for this program. Download the flyer. Learn more...
Latino Commission Holy Convocation and Assembly
The Eastern PA Conference Latino Commission’s annual Holy Convocation and Assembly will happen on Saturday, May 29, 9 AM – 3 PM, hopefully onsite at the newly merged Casa del Rey UMC in Allentown. For more information, contact the Rev. Lucky Cotto at llcotto@epaumc.org
New Urban Ministry grant applications due May 31
The Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission will award a new round of grants this spring to assist in funding Urban Alliances or Urban Church Initiatives. Churches located in listed urban centers are encouraged to apply. That list includes several newly designated urban areas. 

Urban Alliances comprise two or more congregations working together in collaborative ministry, preferably along with community and civic partners. The Urban Ministries Coordinator will assist in the formation of Alliances and the administration of funding. Urban Alliances, because they involve multiple partners, may apply for funding up to $6,000.

Urban Church Initiative grants support new or expanding ministries within individual urban congregations. Local Churches Initiatives may apply for funding up to $2,500.  The Commission tries to offer grants twice a year. Application deadlines are May 31 and Nov. 15. Learn more...
Virtual One-on-One Meetings with Wespath
In past years the Board of Benefits has offered one-on-one interviews with a Wespath representative during Annual Conference. While we hope to return to this model in the future, during this new season of continued distancing, we are able to provide you with virtual one-on-one meetings!  

Please CLICK HERE to schedule your virtual meeting anytime between now and May 31st, 2021 to meet with a Wespath Benefit Educator.
Bivocational & Small Church Network to meet bimonthly. Next meeting: May 11 
The next gathering of the Bivocational & Small Church network is May 11 at 6:30 PM. The group plans to gather every other month on the second Tuesday at 6:30 PM. More people are showing interest in joining this sharing and support group that helps bivocational clergy and also pastors and members of small-membership churches. 

“Small churches are the backbone of The United Methodist Church,” said the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Connectional Ministries Director, “and we want to provide a bimonthly small group for conversation that relates to the unique opportunities found in our small, vital churches.” Learn more and register...
UMCOR grants to help churches aid local refugees, migrants
UM churches across the U.S. can receive grants of up to $2000 to help refugees and migrants living in their communities, thanks to a new grant program from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The “Mustard Seed Migration Grants” continue the agency’s 80-year tradition of helping refugees, immigrants and migrants seeking to build a new life. 

The Mustard Seed Migration Grants, inspired by the well-known parable about growth, will provide 50 congregations with up to $2,000 in funding to support one-time, community-based service projects. Churches will have the opportunity to assist refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented persons and migrants of all types in their own cities and towns. Learn more...
Updated church reopening guidelines
Reminder re: email spoofing
Email spoofing is once again at work identifying Bishop Johnson as the sender. Remember, spoofing is when the sender of the email forges (spoofs) someone's email address, so that the message appears to come from a legitimate email address. Please do not respond to any email from Bishop Johnson requesting money, your time, an email response, etc. To learn more, see: What you need to know about fake e-mails from Conference Leaders
Conference Leadership Opportunities for all!
The Conference Leadership Committee asks all clergy and lay members to use this Leadership and Service Interest Form to indicate how and where they are willing to serve on. Learn more...
UMM Day of Worship
The United Methodist Men of the Northeastern Jurisdiction will sponsor a National Day Of Worship on Saturday, May 27, 1 to 3 PM, on Zoom. The theme is “Making Our Presence Known to Make God’s Presence Known.” Click here to download and print the flyer. Zoom access links are found there. Help spread the word. This event is open to men and women everywhere. 
Visit our Local Church Resources webpage
Do you find yourself wondering where you can obtain a 501(c)3 letter? Clergy W-2s? Various other bits of information that is crucial for churches? Look no further than the Local Church Resources page under the Administration tab on the EPA website and you can answer these questions.
Let's stay connected. Send us your newsletters
Please add our Communications Office to your church newsletter's digital and/or print mailing lists. We find much of our news in church newsletters (when we find time to read them), and we try to report local church news and events as much as possible. (We also love seeing Conference news reported in your newsletters. Thanks!) However, we want to receive only your church newsletters please, not other e-mailed church announcements. Thanks!
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 communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
SAVE THE DATES
May
  • May 1: "Relating with Clergy Spouses" workshop by Artos. From 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM on Zoom. Download the flyer. Register.
  • May 2: CONAM Spring Fellowship Event (Zoom) 4 PM. Register.
  • May 2-4: FAMLP Retreat at Camp Pecometh. Register.
  • May 8: This Holy Mystery: A UM Study of Holy Communion - Part 2. 9 AM - 11:30 AM via Zoom. Register.
  • May 11: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer. 12 Noon on Zoom. Join.
  • May 11: Weekly Preaching Forum. 2 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • May 15: UMW Spiritual Life Retreat. 1 PM - 3 PM, via Zoom. Register.
  • May 15: Clergy Transition Workshop led by Dave Woolverton.9 AM - 11 AM via Zoom meeting. Download the flyer.  Register.
  • May 18: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer. 12 Noon on Zoom. Join.
  • May 18: Weekly Preaching Forum. 2 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • May 20 - 22: 2021 Annual Conference. Register.
  • May 25: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer. 12 Noon on Zoom. Join.
  • May 25: Weekly Preaching Forum. 2 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • May 29: Latino Holy Convocation and Assembly

June
  • June 5: Cross Cultural Cross Racial Ministry Training for all laity and clergy involved in Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural ministries. Download the flyer. 9 AM - 12:30 PM, via Zoom Meeting. Register.

August
  • August 6 - 8: Laity Academy

October
  • October 15 & 16: Domestic Violence Workshop. Friday October 15 from 7 PM – 9 PM & Saturday October 16th from 9 AM – 12 PM. Further details TBA.
  • Oct. 23:  Faith Sharing Evangelism Training w/ Olu Brown
  • Oct. 29 - Nov 1: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403