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WHAT'S NEW
August 16, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new pastoral appointments or assignments

 

Southeast District

  • Rev. Dennis Keen (Retired Elder) to Nantmeal UMC, part time, effective September 15, 2016.
See the full list of appointments on our website.
UM Day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
On  Saturday, August 20, journey with us to  Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom   for our annual United Methodist Day, to enjoy thrilling rides, musical performances and other exciting activities, or to just relax with families and friends. Tickets are only $34, which is a $23 discount, with the UM Day coupon.   A portion of the proceeds benefits the United Methodist Men's ministries. Learn more...
Campus Ministry Sunday is August 21
Eastern PA Conference churches are asked to celebrate Campus Ministry Sunday on August 21 (or a more convenient Sunday). The Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry invites congregations to highlight the importance of church and campus ministries that involve and impact college and university students. The board works with campus ministers primarily at four schools in its bounds: Drexel, Millersville, Lebanon Valley Christian College and Albright College. But it is exploring relationships with other institutions also. Please plan to receive a Campus Ministry Sunday special offering on or near August 21, and remit at least half of it to the Conference Treasurer's Office to help in our supportive outreach to college and university students. 
All suggestions for Safe Sanctuaries & Church Computer Use policies are needed by Aug. 19
If you have suggestions for further improving Eastern PA Conference's Safe Sanctuaries Policies, a current work in progress, the task group with that responsibility needs to hear from you by no later than August 19. The Safe Sanctuaries Committee has posted its updated resolution of policy revisions on our website. Revisions suggested at Annual Conference in June are highlighted in yellow. The committee wants to receive all additional suggestions by August 19 to consider when it meets next week to finalize the revised resolution for the Conference Adjourned Session on Oct. 1.

Please review the current  Safe Sanctuaries Resolution   to Annual Conference, with highlighted changes, and send any suggestions for further changes to the Rev. James Wilkin, committee chairman, at pastorjimwilkin@gmail.com, by no later than August 19.

Please also review the  Computer Network and Internet Access Policy Resolution and send any suggestions for further changes to the Wilkin at pastorjimwilkin@gmail.com, by no later than August 19. This resolution is offered jointly by the Safe Sanctuaries Committee and the conference's Communications Ministry Team.
The NEWSpirit Summer issue is now online. Read on!
See a full array of interesting articles and colorful photos on recent and upcoming events:
  • Full coverage of the Annual Conference and Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference with in-depth, insightful articles and evocative photos.
  • Bishop Peggy Johnson's response on her return to the Philadelphia Area.
  • 'Sabbath: Break ... or Brick?' A new retreat for clergy spouses by Julie Anderman.
  • Mission u academy opens minds, hearts to serving Christ
  • 'Re-envisioning' Congregational Development, Part 2, by Gordon Hendrickson
  • Summer camps offer 'God's Love without Boundaries'
Also, see our great photo of ordained clergywomen of the Eastern PA Conference, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of ordination and full-membership rights for clergywomen.   Learn more...
Register now for Adjourned Session, October 1
Register online by September 23 for the 2016 Adjourned Session of Annual Conference at Bethany UMC Macungie, Pa. Members will ratify the 2017 Conference Budget, hear more about a proposed New Apportionment Formula for funding ministry, and vote on these resolutions:
  • A redistricting proposal (previewed in April) to reduce districts from six to four and save about $400,000 a year in conference spending
  • Revised Safe Sanctuaries policies 
  • A new Computer Network and Internet Access Policy
  • A proposed Ad-Hoc Study Committee to Evaluate Alternative Fair Voting Methods for Electing Members to Committees and Delegations.
  • The annual Comprehensive Funding Plan for clergy and staff benefit obligations
Onsite registration is at  8:30 AM. Worship and Holy Conferencing begins at  9 AM. Session ends by  3:30 PM. There will be no formal lunch break; so bring snacks. (Bethany UMC will sell hot dogs again.) A special offering will be received to fund scholarships for clergy and laity to attend Changing Racism Workshops.   Learn more...
NEJ Conference statements on racial progress and 

College of Bishops' update 

At the groundbreaking 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 11-15, the 10 member annual conferences affirmed their "Quilted Connection" in significant, even historic ways. They elected two African American clergywomen to the episcopacy, participated in a landmark Act of Repentance toward Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and affirmed two potentially pivotal calls for action to pursue justice, peace and racial progress while dismantling institutional racism across the jurisdiction.

One call for action, issued by the NEJ College of Bishops, was a powerful statement of their own responsibility and intended accountability to foster real systemic change. The other, offered by NEJ African American leadership groups and affirmed by all the delegations, also called for systemic changes to root out racism, white privilege and long-term inequities, and to help strengthen and develop black churches and black leadership across the jurisdiction.

Here are those two statements, followed by an August 12 update by the College of Bishops reporting initial progress and plans in their new journey to foster greater inclusiveness and transformation. Learn more ...
See more news & views on our Website
Pastor's daughter wins national TV cooking prize
The 9-year-old daughter of one of our clergy won the top prize on a nationally televised children's cooking competition show. Lucy Chelton, whose parents are on the ministry staff of Christ UMC Lansdale, is the delightful winner of Food Network's Chopped Jr. culinary competition. She shared part of her $10,000 prize with FISH, a program that provides food, clothing, school supplies and other needs to low-income families with children in Pennridge. UM News Service highlighted Lucy's story in their daily and weekly News Digests and on www.umc.org last week. Learn more...
 
Study reveals burdens of black-led Phila. nonprofits 
The Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) recently published a research study on the uniquely critical role African American-led nonprofit service agencies play and the challenges they face in serving African American communities. The Rev. David W. Brown, a deacon serving at Wharton-Wesley UMC in Philadelphia and co-chair of the forum, offers an overview of the report, titled How African American-Led Organizations Differ from White-Led Organizations.While black churches were not included in the study, he shares insights about the resourcing challenges they face in serving their communities. Learn more...   
To those who have been given much    
"The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are an amazing event, full of wonderful stories of people overcoming adversities and adversaries with sacrifice, determination and love," writes Bishop Peggy Johnson in her new Bishop's Blog essay. "Every one of us, on some level, has been gifted by God with talent, means, strength, and insight. But it has not been given to us to keep to ourselves. Jesus said, 'From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.'" (Luke 12:48b) Learn more...
Pocono Plateau to sponsor race benefit
The 3rd Annual Hero Dash & Fun Run will begin Saturday, Sept. 17, at 10 AM.

Join the Hero Dash 5K road/trail hybrid race on grassy paths, rocky trails, open fields and stone roads, as you enjoy the beautiful lakes, creeks and wooded hills of Pocono Plateau. The 1-mile Fun Run is also open to any runner or walker. Registration begins at 9 AM. This is a fundraising event for their "Pathway to Our Future" funding initiative.  Racers should solicit sponsors to raise at least $50 in donations. Youth groups can stay overnight in their cabins the night before for $10 more. All participants who register by Sept. 1 receive a race shirt.  Learn more... 
Lupus Education event to raise awareness, funds
Arch Street UMC (55 North Broad St., Philadelphia) will host a Lupus Education Conference and Luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 10 AM to 2 PM in memory of Weslia Hynicka and Robin Whaley. Weslia, the late wife of Arch Street's pastor, the Rev. Robin Hynicka, struggled with Lupus for over 20 years before complications from the disease ended her gracious, courageous life this year. This event, which will involve health professionals and invited elected officials, is designed to provide information on Lupus and to raise funds for the Lupus Foundation as well as the
educational outreach ministry of Arch Street Church.  See the event flyer for more information. Cost for the luncheon is $20. To register for the event, contact Virginia Brown at  215-240 1148 or  ginnybrown617@verizon.net . Or contact  the church office at 215-568 6250 or  secretary@archstreetumc.org
Methodists Make News
We're always looking for news about our churches, pastors and members that appear in local media. Please, please send us more news story sightings to add to our Methodists Make News collection. Here are two recent stories:
Scottsville UMC celebrates 150th anniversary 
Scottsville UMC in Langhorne, where the Rev. Don Keller, pastor, grew up and was married,  celebrated its 150th anniversary in May, a much-anticipated milestone featured in local newspapers. Church historian Alma Willits, 94, a member of Scottsville since 1949, fondly describes her church as "a wonderful place... There are people who care." Learn more...
The Rev. Quentin Wallace has enjoyed a warm welcome in his first year at Covenant United Methodist Church
The Rev. Quentin Wallace, just 13 months ago, became the first African-American pastor of Lancaster Covenant UMC, home to a mostly older, mostly white congregation. Read Lancaster Online writer Earle Cornelius' uplifting August 12 article on how this pastor and his active congregation got to know and like each other, including his impassioned preaching style. See how they're facing challenges that are all too familiar to struggling churches today.  Learn more... 
Across the Connection
Louisiana flooding prompts rescue efforts
FYI: The unprecedented flooding in Southern Louisiana, deluged by heavy rainfalls since last week, has claimed at least seven lives and led to the rescue of more than 20,000 people. Thousands filled up shelters, and even Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his family had to leave the Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge because of flooding and loss of electricity. Pastors and members of UM churches in hard-hit areas like Baker, Denham Springs,  and Zachary, La., are trying to help survivors in various ways. Meanwhile, the Rev. Joe Connelly, pastor of historic Wesley UMC in downtown Baton Rouge, has been using his own boat to rescue residents in neglected low-income communities and help some return home to retrieve medicines and other critical items. As rain and flooding is forecast to continue, President Obama has declared the area a disaster. Read about recommended ways to help during this rescue stage and the recovery stage to follow.  
Bishop asks prayers for Milwaukee  
Wisconsin Area Bishop Hee-Soo Jung asks United Methodists to pray for Milwaukee, where riots have followed a police shooting of an armed suspect. "Pray not only for peace, but pray for the systems that are in place that need changing," the bishop writes. "Pray for restorative and racial justice for Milwaukee and all Wisconsin communities."  Read statement  
African bishop glad to be leading `broader Methodist family'
Bishop Ivan Abrahams has since 2012 been top executive of the  World Methodist Council, whose members include The United Methodist Church and scores of other groups with a Wesleyan theology and tradition. Abrahams is just the fourth person to lead the council, and the first South African. He previously was presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
  
Abrahams will be in the spotlight during the  World Methodist Conference, set for Aug. 31-Sept. 3 in Houston. That once-every-five-years meeting draws Methodists from all over the world. Learn more...
REMINDERS
Register online now for fall Laity Retreat
You can now register online for the fall Laity Retreat to be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM, in the fellowship hall of Jarrettown UMC in Dresher, Pa. The $25 cost includes retreat materials and meals. The theme is "Perceiving,  Believing and Receiving Our Blessedness." This event is sponsored by the Board of Laity. "Come for the blessing ... wonderful speakers ... spirit-filled fellowship... renewal ... relaxation ... revival." For more information contact Suzette James, Assistant Conference Lay Leader at suezyq@earthlink.net
Come learn about Radical Disciple-Making Oct.  8
Don't miss a dynamic learning event that could become pivotal in transforming your church's discipleship efforts from routine to radical.  Thorndale UMC  (3503 Lincoln Highway, Thorndale, PA. Phone: 610-384-2433) will host a Radical Disciple-Making Seminar  on  Saturday, Oct.  8 , from 8:30 AM to 3:45 PM.
 
The seminar will be led by the  Effective Church Group, directed by renowned church growth author, coach and discipleship development expert Bill Easum.  It will offer practical strategies and profound insights to teach participants how every church can grow to become a radical disciple-making force for Jesus Christ. Read  Bishop Johnson's letter  and visit the  seminar website  to find out more.You can register online at www.radicaldisciplemaking.com.  Contact the Rev. Mark Moore of Thorndale UMC with questions at   mark.moore@thorndaleumc.org.
Hopewell's Planting Seeds event set for Oct. 22
Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth , presented by Hopewell UMC, Downingtown, PA, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22, from 2 to 6:30 PM.  This year's focus is Kingdom Building, with keynote speaker and workshop presenter Reggie McNeal.  

Dr. McNeal, a widely respected author and speaker on the church and its future, will address "Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church-and What We Should Do Instead."  Additional workshops will be led by the Rev. David Woolverton (St. Mark's UMC, Mount Joy), and Dr. Peter Loedel (West Chester University).  Online registration for the event will open in August at  www.hopewellumc.org.  For more information, contact Deb Boyd at boyd@hopewellumc.org. Learn more...
Bishop's Days on the Districts
NW District--Sept. 27; SE District--Oct. 3; SW District--Oct. 4; Central District--Oct. 17; NE District--Oct. 19; and East District--Oct. 20.  
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!
SAVE THE DATES
Please Save These Dates! 
 
August 17-20: School of Congregational Development 2016  ("Into the Deep") in Evanston, Illinois. The premier event for equipping conference leaders, clergy, and laity to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year's event is being hosted by the Northern Illinois Conference and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  Register here
 
August 21: Campus Ministry Sunday

August 29-31: Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering,   Houston, Texas, Theme: "ONE: Birthing a Worldwide Church."  Learn more...
 
Sept. 10: Children's Ministry Training Event, West Lawn UMC
 
Sept. 17 Laity Retreat 

Oct. 1: Adjourned Session of Annual Conference, Bethany UMC Wescosville

Oct. 8: Radical Discipleship Workshop, led by Bill Easum, at Thorndale UMC. Save the date and don't miss it! More info coming.

Oct. 28-30 2016: Changing Racism Training,  at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.  Register online . The cost is $300.
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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