April 9, 2019
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2019 appointments and assignments– effective July 1, 2019,  unless otherwise noted:
North District Appointments:
  • Correction--Rev. Misty Fuller (Elder) from Phila: Sayers Memorial and Phila: Berry-Long Memorial to serve Clark's Grove and Shamokin: Zion, full-time.
  • Rev. Larry Mark (Retired Elder) to serve Cherry Lane, half-time.
  • Calvin Collins (Candidate for Ministry from the Pen-Del Conference) to serve Conyngham 3/4 time.

South District Appointments and Assignments:
  • Rev. Brenda Del Rosario (Licensed Local Pastor) from Clifton Heights UMC to Havertown: Union United Methodist Church, 25% time as Youth, Family and Outreach Coordinator, effective April 1, 2019.
  • Lay Pastor Audrey Blackwell-Watson Washington assigned to Phila.: Sayers Memorial UMC, 50% time.
  • Lay Pastor Carl Everett assigned to Phila.: Berry-Long Memorial UMC, 25% time.

South District Retirements:
  • Rev. John Neider (Local Pastor) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve Romansville UMC and Glen Moore UMC.
  • Rev. Terrence Cooney (Local Pastor) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve Birdsboro: Christ UMC and West Lawn UMC.
  • Rev. Mark Dricker (Local Pastor) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve Fleetwood: Emmanuel.
  • Rev. Steven T. Cherry (Elder) from Extension Ministry: Wesley Enhanced Living at Heritage Towers.
  • Rev. Maridel Whitmore (Elder) from Havertown: Hope, effective January 1, 2019.
  • Rev. William H. Phillips Jr. (Elder) from Military Health Network -Government Services.
  • Rev. Stephanie Brown Wilson (Deacon) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve Phila.: Sayers UMC and Simpson House Senior Residence.

West District Appointment:
  • Rev. Kevin Kresge (part time local pastor) to Hempfield, part-time, effective July 1, 2019.

Seminar profs to teach Art of Preaching, April 9

The Eastern PA Conference Cabinet will offer a half-day seminar titled The Art of Preaching on Tuesday, April 9, 8:30 AM to 1 PM, at West Lawn UMC , 5 Woodside Avenue, Reading.
The Rev. Thomas Long , Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, will keynote the seminar’s opening plenary. The celebrated Presbyterian clergyman has studied, taught and written extensively about contemporary-style preaching and homiletics for many years. His book, The Witness of Preaching , was named “one of the 25 most influential books on preaching for the last 25 years” by Preaching Magazine in 2010. It is widely used in theological schools around the globe in multiple languages.
Other noteworthy preachers will teach morning workshops on the art and craft of proclaiming God’s word and Christ’s gospel in a new age and in diverse communities. They include:

  • the Rev. Catherine Williams, Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lancaster Seminary, and
  • Bishop (retired) Alfred Johnson, formerly of the Eastern PA Conference and now a research professor and Director of the Urban Research Center at New York Theological Seminary.
CANCELLATION: The training for clergy & laity as First Responders to the Military and Veteran Population, set for May 11 at First UMC Phoenixville, has been postponed. A new fall date will be announced.
Elouise Cobell:  Native leader took the U.S. to court and won

The late Elouise Cobell, of the Blackfeet tribe, is a hero to her people for the lucrative justice she won for them in 2011. As Sherry Wack of CONAM reports, Cobell spent 14 years battling the U.S. government in court over decades of missing and shortchanged Indian Trust Fund payments to 300,000 exploited Native landowners. She and the Native American Rights Fund fought an uphill battle, outnumbered and often hindered by their opponents. But they won $3.4 million for their clients in the largest successful class action suit ever brought against the U. S. government. That story is told in a new documentary on Netflix. Learn more…
CONAM gathering to learn about missing, murdered Native women
The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will sponsor its annual Spring worship service , along with a light supper and fellowship, at Camp Innabah on Sunday, April 28, 4 to 6 PM . Innabah is located at 712 Pughtown Road, Spring City PA.  

This could be a great opportunity for anyone to celebrate United Methodist Native American Ministries Sunday (May 5) early by attending this event with fellow church members. CONAM sponsors spring and fall worship, learning and fellowship events, among other ministries, with funds it receives from our conference's participation in the churchwide Native American Ministries Sunday offering.
The April 28 program will present a video interview with Annita Lucchesi , creator of the only national database to track abducted and killed Native American women. Viewers will see her illustrated report, titled Native Crisis: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.   Learn more… 
Two UMW events inform, inspire, involve all ages

The Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Women had a busy March with two major events that spanned generations, including a celebration of its Sesquicentennial—that is, the 150 th anniversary of its worldwide UMW organization.

More than 40 women from 21 churches attended the UMW annual Leadership Development training and fellowship event March 23 at West Chester UMC. The date coincided with the national UMW Day of Giving and the founding date of the original Women’s Missionary Society in Boston 150 years ago.

Two weeks earlier, 11 teenage girls from five churches, accompanied by three adult chaperones, attended the UMW’s Girls on the Go retreat, March 9-10, at scenic Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center. They heard Margaret Keefer, a youth pastor, teacher and retreat and worship director, inspire and challenge them to “live the life God intended for them. Learn more…
Global church wrestles with post-GC2019 pain
Following the 2019 General Conference global UM leaders are still reckoning with the conflicts and anxiety of that event. About 75 leaders from four continents recently suspended a joint meeting to plan 2020 General Conference legislation so they could discuss what happened at GC2019. The denomination’s special legislative session was supposed to forge unity amid longtime divisions over homosexuality. It seems instead to have left the denomination even more polarized and uncertain of what the future holds for a denomination struggling to be both democratic and global in nature. Learn more…     
Connectional Table ponders role post-GC2019
As conversations happen across The United Methodist Church about possible denominational splits, the Connectional Table wants a place at the table. Heather Hahn reports on discussions within the body that coordinates the denomination’s mission and ministry. Read story Read press release
Denomination’s future under discussion — quietly
Discussions about the future of The United Methodist Church are quietly occurring among denomination leaders after a recent General Conference that underscored deep divisions over homosexuality. Centrists and progressives have begun to meet, and separate talks are underway between some who backed the Traditional Plan and some who favored the One Church Plan. Sam Hodges reports.   Read story
Resistance to GC2019 spreads
DALLAS (UMNS) — Resistance continues to the passage of the Traditional Plan at the recent United Methodist General Conference. It’s taking different forms and drawing in people who haven’t spoken out before. Sam Hodges reports. Read story
Church embraces cyclone survivors in Zimbabwe
The United Methodist Church has rallied to provide relief to those affected by Cyclone Idai, which ravaged parts of Zimbabwe two weeks ago. Eveline Chikwanah and Kudzai Chingwe have an update on how the church is providing physical and emotional support to survivors.   Read story
Caring for pastors in times of deep stress
These are stressful times for United Methodist churches and their pastors, with tensions and uncertainty after the recent General Conference in the midst of Lenten and Holy Week plans and activities. And some are still recovering from natural disasters and other tragedies, As many continue to look to their pastors for spiritual and emotional support, many of those pastors may need support themselves, something that is easy to forget. Here are some ideas to help. Learn more
Bishop White: Strong convictions, gentle touch
As a fierce advocate for peace and justice, United Methodist Bishop C. Dale White tackled some of the big issues of recent decades with a "gentle fearlessness" that many people found engaging. This story has been updated to include a contact address and information on the surviving family members of White, 94, who died March 29. A memorial service will be set at a later date.  Read updated story

The UMC’s Board of Global Ministries celebrates its bicentennial in Atlanta, marking its first mission work among Native Americans and prospects for its future in changing times… Read more
INSPIRE-- Helping your church heal after General Conference

The 2019 General Conference’s divisiveness has spread to churches, igniting difficult emotions and conversations. So, how can we stimulate healing and reconciliation while continuing to serve in ministry together? Learn more…
INVOLVE -- Teaching children about Holy Week

The story of Holy Week may not be family-friendly, but some say we should still carefully share Jesus’ painful journey to the cross with children as part of the Easter story. Learn more...
Focus Group for Spouses of Part-time Pastors

Artos Retreats will facilitate a focus group discussion on Sunday, April 28 , 6:30 to 8 PM, at Cranaleith Spiritual Center, 13475 Proctor Road, Philadelphia. Eastern PA Conference clergy spouses are invited to come participate in this interesting small group conversation and help shape future clergy spouse programs to include their unique needs. Share your experiences, tips, and suggestions in the following areas:

  • Boundaries
  • Rearing children
  • Balancing more complex demands of living with a bi-vocational spouse

Rest assured; only summarized and anonymous comments will be shared outside of the focus group meeting. Healthy snacks provided. There is no charge for this event; but you must register soon because space is limited.
Help for arriving pastors & churches with clergy spouses

Two Eastern PA Conference workshops for two groups: one to help pastors transition into new appointments; the other to help Staff-Pastor/Parish Relations committees (SPPR) and other church leaders understand and relate well to clergy spouses. Both events--”proactive, dynamic, relational and even, at times, humorous”--will happen June 8 at Holy Cross UMC , 329 N. 5th Street, Reading, PA.

  • Session 1: Transitioning Clergy Workshop, led by the Rev. Dave Woolverton, will be from 9 AM to 12 PM. It will help clergy spouses, clergy and SPPR teams facilitate positive transitions with their new appointments.
  • Session 2: Relating With Clergy Spouses, led by Julie Anderman, longtime UM Clergy Spouse, will be a Lunch & Learn session from 12 to 2 PM. Solid expertise will help church leaders start a healthy relationship with their new pastor’s spouse. (There is a $5 fee to cover sandwiches and salad from Panera Bread.)

Registration Closes on May 24, 2019.
Bilingual edition of mentoring guide available

"Mentors as Instruments of God's Call: Biblical Reflections" by Justo L. González is now available as a special bilingual edition. Readers can follow along in English or Spanish in the new edition of this mentoring guide published by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  Read press release
Video series can help win disciples

A new teaching series offers instruction in making disciples for Christ by emphasizing relationships and stopping attempts to fix churches. The "See All the People: Discipleship Begins with Relationship" course is free and available through the internet.  Read press release   Enroll
Princeton Seminiary Forum on Youth Ministry, April 23-26

Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute for Youth Ministry will sponsor its Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry April 23-26 at the seminary (64 Mercer St, Princeton, NJ) with the theme Movement: Mission, Body, and Justice.

The event for Christian leaders who work with young people will engage “thought leaders,” pastors and scholars in four days of lectures, seminars and worship, while creating “space for ministry leaders to network, rest, and learn.” Rachel Held Evans a New York Times best-selling author and popular blogger who writes about faith, doubt, and life in the Bible Belt, and faith-focused singer/songwriter Audrey Assad will be special guests.

Find out more at https://iymforum.ptsem.edu , or email Abigail Visco Rusert, director, at abigail.rusert@ptsem.edu . Use and share the flyer .
Celebrate Innabah's 90th birthday with t-shirt, 5K race, Easter egg hunt
Do you love the experiences and memories you've had at Innabah? Want a special souvenir to honor this serene and beautiful space where many lives have been changed? Then join in Innabah celebration of 90 years of camping ministry by purchasing their one-of-a-kind t-shirt by April 11. After their current fundraiser ends on that date, it won't be available again.

Also, register today for Innabah’s Spring 5K Trail Run/Walk on Saturday, April 13 . Starting time is 9 AM. You'll be able to enjoy a delicious pancake and bacon breakfast after the race. Spend some time walking (or running) around the gorgeous trails at Innabah! 

Then stick around after the 5K, or come at 11 AM on April 13 for our Community Easter Egg Hunt. Thousands of eggs will be collected and hidden, with age-related search party groups for everyone. This event will happen rain or shine (but of course the sun will be shining!).

Learn more about all three of these opportunities to support and enjoy our 90-year old jewel of a camp.
Pocono Plateau events for men and boys

Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Center wants men to sign up now for its next annual men's weekend retreat , Friday, September 27, (8 pm) to Sunday, September 29 (1 pm). This year’s theme is "Worthy Competitors." 

Living and surviving in our demanding, competitive world can be exhausting and distracting. How do we stop the cycle and begin to view the world less competitively and more compassionately? Come to this men’s retreat in September to find out, as you learn how to play the “infinite game of faith.” Speaker: the Rev. Eddie Cameron  Learn more.  

Also, coming April 26-28: the annual  Dangerous Retreat for Boys & Dads. For boys in grades 3 - 10 with their dads. Cost: $99 for boys, 89 for Dads. www.poconoplateau.org
What Are You Doing This Summer?

All of our Camp & Retreat Centers are signing up young campers and searching for staff and volunteers for another summer camp extravaganza. Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center invites interested, eligible persons to apply for positions there.

“Our mission for the summer staff team is to provide opportunities that will bring out your God-given talents, strengthening you through training and hands on experiences,” says Gretna Glen director Apryl Miller. View their Summer Staff Promo Video,  titled “This Could Be You!” Then come spend your summer spreading Christ's love, being a role model, learning lifelong skills and building lifelong friendships. Learn more.

Register for summer camp by March 30 to receive a 2019 themed t-shirt Free! Also, check out these upcoming events :

  • MAY 18: Open House, 10 AM - 4 PM
Basic & Advanced Sexual Ethics 2019 Workshops

Advanced Sexual Ethics April 30th 2019 at Asbury UMC in Allentown led by Rev. Beverly Andrews and Mrs. Elaine Spanger. Cost is $35. Lunch is provided.

Contact Jacqueline Hines for more info at pastorjacquelineumc@gmail.com or 410-963-1721.

 Download the flyer for the full 2019 Sexual Ethics Workshops Schedule . Or visit the schedule on our special Board of Ordained Ministry webpage.

Rekindle the Flame: Children’s Ministry Conference, May 4

Saturday, May 4, 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, at Cedarville UMC
(1092 Laureltown Road, Pottstown, PA)

Plan and register now to attend the conference’s next Children’s Ministry Conference for training, networking and resourcing with church staff and volunteers who work with children.
Mentoring Sessions will focus on:
  • Creating discipleship pathways for children and families with Kathy Pittenger
  • Pursuing racial unity with Melanie Gordon
  • Creating and maintaining inclusive children’s and family ministries with Elizabeth Christie
Youth Diversity Retreat, May 3-5

Plan and register now to attend the conference’s second Youth Diversity Retreat, May 3-5, for youth in grades 8–12, at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center.

This weekend is designed to explore the concept and possibilities of diversity in human relationships. Youth will learn to:
  • Define and understand Diversity
  • Identify where Diversity creates inclusion and division in their lives
  • Use social tools to discover the power of Diversity in their lives and relationships.

The retreat begins Friday at 7 PM and ends Sunday at 2 PM. Activities will include worship, diversity games and simulation exercises, a campfire with singing and s’mores, recreation and meals that reflect cultural diversity. Bishop Johnson will join the retreat on Saturday.

Cost is $95 (a $20 discount) with available scholarship help if needed. Register online at www.gretnaglen.org, or call the Gretna Glen office at 717 -273 -6525!Contact Dave Piltz at dpiltz@epaumc.org or Carlen Blackstone at blackstonec@verizon.net for more information.

Download and share the event brochure
Denman Evangelism Award nominations sought now
Deadline extended to May 15

It is time again to recognize persons from our Annual Conference—clergy, laity, and youth—who have made an impact by sharing their faith and coming alongside others to encourage a relationship with Jesus. The conference Congregational Development Team (CDT) invites nominations from anyone for the Harry Denman Evangelism Award by May 15. Information and applications can be downloaded by visiting the UMC Foundation for Evangelism website.

Forward entries to the Congregational Development Team (CDT) via email to Suzette James at sjd624@ymail.com or via postal mail to Eastern PA Conference UMC, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820. ATTN: Gordon Hendrickson or Mike Netznik (CDT Chair). Download the flyer.

The Foundation helps annual conferences honor extraordinary clergy, youth, and adult laypersons with this annual award to promote the importance of sharing with everyone, through a variety of ministries, God’s message of love through Jesus Christ. Please nominate persons to receive the 2019 Denman Evangelism Award, which signifies a remarkable commitment to introducing others to the living gospel in ways and places where “new believers can encounter Christ.”

2 Christ Servant Ministry courses offered May 17-18

Two Christ Servant Ministry courses will be offered May 17 and 18 at Asbury UMC Allentown (1533 Springhouse Rd.).

Judy Ehninger will teach “Introduction to Christ Servant Ministry” for persons who want to learn about how Christ Servant Ministry can help members grow in a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Rev. Harold Burkett will teach “Speaking 1.” This advanced course is open to members who feel called to witness by effectively telling others how God's Holy Spirit is working in and through their lives.

A $35 registration fee for either class helps pay for class materials and light refreshments. Registration is required. Additional information and /or registration materials, are available from George Hollich by email at hollich@comcast.net or calling 717-838-2812.  

Registration forms:
UM Advocacy Conference Weekend: May 18-20, 2019

United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania will sponsor “Change the World,” a conference on Faith and Politics, May 18-20 , in the capital city of Harrisburg, Pa. Organizers hope to draw hundreds of not only United Methodists but others who believe in the key role that an active faith must play in civic life, from local communities to the halls of government.

  • “Change the World through Knowledge” will be the focus of events on Saturday, May 18, at Paxton UMC. Those gathered will have opportunities to learn about current issues, including: How Laws Are Made, Climate Change, Human Trafficking, the Meaning of Justice, Legislative Redistricting Reform, Criminal Justice in PA, and more.
  • “Change the World through Service” events on Sunday, May 19, will be centered in downtown Harrisburg. There will be opportunities to tour the State Capitol building, join in environmental service projects, participate in an ecumenical environmental-based worship experience, and learn how to communicate with lawmakers.
  • “Change the World through Your Voice” on Monday, May 20, will offer opportunities to make legislative visits in the morning. Participants interested in special topics will be guided to appropriate contacts. The event will conclude with a 1 PM news conference inside the Capitol.
Register at SUSUMC.ORG/CHANGE . Registration for the conference does not require participation on all three days.

The Rev. Dai Morgan, who lives in the Pittsburgh area, is coordinator of UM Advocacy in Pennsylvania for all three PA conferences and bishops.
2019 EPA Conference Laity Academy

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch….“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” –Luke 5:4,10b

Are you prepared to navigate the deep waters? Our lives and ministries are constantly bombarded by the waves that distract us from our commitment to Christ. When you are asked to cast your net and fish for disciples, do you know where to start? Do you know what to say?

Come join us at the 2019 EPA Conference Laity Academy, August 2-4 , on the scenic campus of Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., for an exciting weekend of classes, fellowship, worship, entertainment, food and service. Learn how you can Gather Disciples and Grow your Ministries. There are many more new classes this year including topics in Ministering to an Aging Congregation, Working With Conflict: Making the Most of Diversity, and more to be announced.

Watch for registration details.  Sign up to be notified when the registration is open!  If you have any questions contact Rick Wrisley, Laity Academy Dean, at rickwrisley@verizon.net.

Following General Conference 2019, many are contemplating what the future of The United Methodist Church will look like. It is easy to forget the shared values and ministry that bring us together. A new campaign, “The Movement Continues,” reminds us of our commonality by illustrating different ways God’s call moves us to action. Local churches can participate in the movement via a small group discussion guide, imagery and more.  Learn more…
Discontinue use of “Mission ConneXion” name

By order of Bishop Peggy Johnson, we are no longer to use the term "Mission ConneXion" or any derivation thereof, in our published media, due to recently revealed copyright infringement. Rights to the term are owned (since 2004 allegedly) by another Christian missions and education organization in Oregon, and their attorney has issued a cease and desist letter to one of our churches.

At this point, it may not be necessary to remove the term from already published online content. But please STOP using "Mission ConneXion" anywhere on church websites, newsletters, Facebook posts, etc.
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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!
  • April 9: The Art of Preaching, West Lawn UMC, $20 registration.
  • May 4: UMW Conference / Spiritual Life Retreat
  • May 5: District Conferences
  • June 1: Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Ministry Workshop
  • June 13-15: 2019 Annual Conference
  • July 19-20: "Mission u" at The Inn at Reading
  • October 19: UMW's 46th Annual Celebration
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403