August 13, 2015
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'Enough is enough,' church leader pleads
Last Sunday, Aug. 9, marked one year since young Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., policeman Darren Wilson. A grand jury cleared Wilson of any liability for Brown's death.  Over the past year news reports, dialogues, protests and prayer vigils have followed too many heart-breaking incidents of beatings and shootings, usually fatal, of black and some Latino victims by white police officers and by other, racially motivated assailants.

Erin Hawkins, head of the UMC's General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR), has written a deeply personal essay, titled "Enough is enough," that offers ideas for how we can challenge and perhaps ultimately dismantle longstanding, systemic racism in our church and society. Hawkins led Intercultural Communication Conversations among clergy and laity on several of our districts earlier this year. You can see a photo from one of those conversations and also access Erin's essay from our Website .

Bishop Peggy Johnson joins GCORR in asking all of us to read this reflection , discuss it and share it with others. Peruse comments and add your own on GCORR's Facebook or Twitter pages, or on ours. Join in this important conversation, but also seek ways in which you can be a part of the change we want to see in the world. As Erin says, "Enough is enough"  when it comes to unbridled hatred, anger, violence and rejection towards others; but also enough is enough when it comes to fearful silence and apathy. It's time to speak and live the truth in love.

Also on our home page you'll find links to related UM News Service stories: 
UM Night at the Union soccer game this Sunday, Aug. 16!
By Ross Brightwell, UMM President

Soccer is growing across the USA.  We now have leagues for children, youth and adults. We have churches sponsoring teams and leagues.  Here in the Philadelphia area we now have a pro, Major League Soccer team, the Philadelphia Union, which plays home games at PPL Park off I-95 at the Commodore Barry Bridge exit in Chester, Pa.

When I met with the Philadelphia Union staff several weeks ago to arrange for our United Methodist Night on August 16 (at 7 PM), there were hundreds of kids all over their stadium participating in soccer camps.  Here in my township we have hundreds of kids playing soccer at our fields every Saturday.  United Methodist Night at the August 16 Union game was inspired by the youth group at my church, Jarrettown UMC, which will attend the game. The youth director is finding it much easier to get kids to go to the Union game than to Phillies baseball games.  Folks, we'd better go where the young people are.

For discounted tickets, use the code “ UMM15 ″ at Tickets are available for $25 in the corner, with $5 being donated back to support United Methodist ministries. Groups of 10 or more receive additional savings. Fundraising options are also available. For help with a group order, call 610-497-9909 or write to today.  Visit our event webpage for complete location and ticketing details, and download the flyer to share with your church. Contact me, Ross Brightwell, at or 215-643-1269 with questions.
Support urged for Campus Ministry Sunday

Download the 2015 Campus Ministry Sunday flyer!

Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Eastern PA Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry are urging churches to observe Campus Ministry Sunday and receive the special offering on August 23 or any Sunday from now through September. While August 23is the official observance date, it is also a time of transition for many churches, with many members not yet back from summer breaks and students just leaving for school. The best time for many churches to celebrate and support campus ministry may be on subsequent Sundays. Learn more...

Celebrate UM Day at the Philadelphia Zoo August 29
By Ross Brightwell, UMM President

The Eastern PA Conference UM Men will again sponsor United Methodist Day at the Philadelphia Zoo Saturday, August 29.  Please use the attached coupon to purchase tickets in advance or when you arrive at the zoo ticket booth.  The Philadelphia Zoo is a great place for families, youth groups, young adults, senior citizens and Sunday School classes (what better place to teach about God's Creation or Noah and the ark). It's a great venue for couples on a date, too. The regular cost for admission is $20; but the coupon is worth a 20 percent discount at only $16. Children under age 2 get in free. The zoo is open from 9:30 AM to 5 PM. 

Here is a great opportunity for church members to reach out to their communities by making copies of our UMC coupon and passing them out to friends and neighbors. Leave some at your local stores, community centers, barber shops and beauty salons. Offer rides in your church bus. When you arrive, stop by and let us greet you at our UMC booth inside the zoo entrance. While you're in the area, you can also visit the oldest UM church in America, Philadelphia's historic St. Georges UMC .  Call them at 215-925-7788  to schedule a visit. For questions call me at 215-643-1269 or e-mail me at
Conquering Grounds MusicFest benefit Sept. 12

A benefit concert to help in the fight addiction. Sept. 12, from 12 noon to 6 PM, at the Christian Life Center, 3100 Galloway Rd., Bensalem, PA. Co-sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Work Team and UM Men.

Thousands of families in the Philadelphia area suffer from drug or alcohol addiction of family members, who often commit crimes and face imprisonment. Christian Life Prison and Recovery Ministries in Southampton, Pa., (215-833-2512), cares and seeks to help and offer healing to those who struggle with addiction and imprisonment.

On Sept. 12 people from all over the region will come to the annual MusicFest in Bensalem to hear great music and the stories of people who have overcome addiction. The concert is free, but you can make donations at the Gate or through the MusicFest website , or send a check to: CLPRM Po Box 1624, Southampton, PA 18966. They also need volunteers and sponsors to help bring families in the midst of the trauma of addiction and incarceration to the concert. Moreover, they will have a Children's Area at MusicFest with a moon bounce, puppet show, face painting, crafts, games, and a Gospel tent--all run by the Youth Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Contact Bob Sofronski to learn how you can become a sponsor.

Headline artists include contemporary Christian rock bands Among The Thirsty and Dana Isles and FaceDown (the ultimate posture of worship). Also, Steve Arterburn, founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the top nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show "New Life Live," will be the headline speaker. There's plenty more information on the event Website
Episcopal/Methodist Theology Day at Drew Univ., Sept. 17
UM-related Drew University  Theological School (36 Madison Avenue, Madison NJ) will celebrate Episcopal/Methodist Theology Day Thursday, Sept. 17, from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Learn more about the latest theological developments from the dialogue team of The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church, which is studying key issues for joining in full communion. Join them in worshiping together as one Body of Christ. In preparation for the dialogue, attendees are encouraged to read the statement “ A Theological Foundation for Full Communion between The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church ,” (at and the book That They May Be One?: The Episcopal-United Methodist Dialogue by C. Franklin Brookhart and Bishop Gregory V. Palmer available at Please email the Rev. Lynne Bleich Weber at to register or request more information. Admission cost is $10 for registration and meals. This event is sponsored by: The Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission of the Diocese of Newark and the Commission on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relationships of the UMC's Greater New Jersey Conference. 
10,000 Men in Unity Rally, Sept 19
The Eastern PA Conference UMMen are supporting the 10,000 Men in Unity Rally, scheduled for Saturday, Sept 19, at the new PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa. (701 Hamilton St.), from 8 AM to 10 PM.  Planners, who met with our UMM months ago, are expecting thousands of Christian men to gather at the stadium for fellowship, passionate praise and worship with inspiring messages and music to help them "find purpose for their lives." Bishop Peggy Johnson and EPA Conference clergy, like the Rev. Jim Brashear of Bethany UMC, have endorsed the event. Check out the event Website and Facebook page (10,000 Men in Unity). Prices are $22 each, plus a $5 handling fee if they are purchased online or by phone using a credit card. Bring your church's men's group to experience this powerful gathering.
UM Advocacy in PA plans legislative prayer breakfast 
The Rev. Dai Morgan, coordinator of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, reports that planning is underway for a United Methodist prayer breakfast with state lawmakers on Tuesday, Sept. 22.  All 253 lawmakers have been invited. Such a prayer breakfast of this scope has not occurred in Harrisburg for a long time, he says. The three PA UMC bishops (for the Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh episcopal areas) asked for the event and have agreed to send their representatives.
Although the deadline has passed, completion of the 2016 state budget has been the main,unfinished legislative issue in Harrisburg, this summer, said Morgan, who addressed the Eastern PA Annual Conference in May. The stalemate between Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republican-led legislature could go on for months; but negotiations are underway between The Governor, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, both Republicans. All three are United Methodists. Morgan has sent them messages of encouragement for success in the budget process, which includes broad disagreement in the amount and format for state funding of education, especially for struggling public schools in low-income communities. Please visit and "like" the United Methodist Advocacy in PA Facebook page

Please reserve your hotel room for AC 2016 now!
We're trying to gain favor at the Lancaster Marriott for our 2016 Annual Conference, and you may be able to help. We really need members who plan to attend Annual Conference to start making room reservations now for the June 16-18 session. As more early reservations are made, we can get more leverage with the hotel staff for our meeting and hospitality needs.

So if you can, please reserve your rooms now at the Lancaster Marriott, Penn Square, 25 South Queen Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 ( 717-239-1600 ). The online  room registrations  rate is $129/day. Discounted parking in the garage is $7/day. Book your hotel room now
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 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 Thanks!
Adjourned Session of Annual Conference
Save the Date! Nov. 14, 2015:  The Adjourned Session will be held at the Macungie campus of Bethany UMC, 3801 Brookside Road, Macungie, PA 18062.
Please Save These Dates! 
Aug. 14-16, 2015: Laity Academy,
The Inn at Reading (PA)  

Sept. 9-12, 2015: Laity Retreat

Oct. 2-4: Northeastern Jurisdiction Lay Leadership Event, Hershey, PA

Oct. 8-28: Bishop's Days on the Districts
  • Oct. 8: Southeast District
  • Oct. 13: Central District
  • Oct. 14: East District
  • Oct. 20: Northeast District
  • Oct. 22: Northwest District
  • Oct. 28: Southwest District
Nov. 14, 2015: Adjourned Session of Annual Conference, Bethany UMC, Macungie, PA

May 10-20, 2016: UMC General Conference, Portland, OR

June 16-18, 2016: Eastern PA Annual Conference, Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Lancaster, PA

July 10-16, 2016: EPA Conference to host the 2016 UMC Northeastern  
Jurisdictional Conference Lancaster County Convention Center and the Penn Square Marriott Hotel. Each district will serve as the Hospitality Team for one day.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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