August 22, 2015---Revised (The corrected issue date here is the main revision. Our apologies for having to republish this issue.)
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Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new clergy appointment changes

  • Rev. ​Mollly Dee Rounsley to West Chester UMC, Associate Pastor (part time).
See complete list of 2015 Clergy Appointments.
4 new articles posted on Conference Website this week
Please visit our Website or use the links below to check out four new articles posted there. The first two relate to events happening this weekend, as many churches will celebrate Campus Ministry Sunday (on Aug. 23 or sometime before the end of September), and as the conference hosts a Launchpad training event for new church planters at New Birth UMC in Lebanon.

The conference Congregational Development Office has also begun training church leaders interested in starting LifeTree Cafe ministries to reach and engage unchurched persons. And Bishop Johnson shares personal and denominational views about life in conflict with life--abortion and the death penalty--in a compelling Bishop's Blog reflection that is attracting widespread attention from the UM News Service and others.  

Annual Conference minutes now on Website

Minutes from the proceedings of the 229th Annual Conference, May 14-16, 2015, are now available as a PDF document on the conference Website, accessible from the Resources section's Conference Journal page. The minutes cover everything from the opening worship service to the session's adjournment, including numerous reports, presentations, legislative debate and votes, and election of General and Jurisdictional conference delegates (which will be repeated at the November adjourned session).
229th session of Annual Conference Proceedings (PDF)
Healing Communities Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice event Oct. 10
Three Eastern PA Conference work teams--Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice, Church and Society, and Healing and Wholeness-- together will sponsor a Healing Communities training Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9 AM to 4 PM (with a working lunch) at St. Matthews UMC of Valley Forge, 600 Walker Rd, Wayne, PA. Healing Communities is a proven, national model of engaging congregations and communities in restoring relationships among those who have been impacted by crime and the criminal justice system. Created by faith leaders along with the Annie Casey Foundation, it offers a framework for developing ministry among persons returning from or at risk of incarceration in cooperation with their families and communities. It challenges congregations to become “Stations of Hope” by using their resources in accessible ways to assist persons affected by the criminal justice system.

Register online or by mail now . The cost is $25, including training materials, continental breakfast and a light lunch. Bring your pastor and three or more team members. Trainers will be Doug Walker, National Coordinator of Criminal Justice Reform for the UM Board of Church & Society, and Linda Van Til, CLM, of the Conference Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Work Team. The training is sponsored by the following work teams of the UMC EPA Conference:  Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Team.   Learn more
Will you engage Catholics during Pope's visit and world families event?

Philadelphia will be on the global stage Sept. 22-25, when it proudly welcomes Pope Francis and 1.5 million members of the Roman Catholic Church to the region's largest gathering ever for the church's World Meeting of Families. Their theme is Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. There will be renowned speakers leading discussions on what can help strengthen the sacred bonds of families across the globe. We're wondering if any Eastern PA Conference churches plan to engage or offer hospitality to these international guests (among the many Catholics who live in our area), or if any of our churches plan to focus on the same topic of families during September in recognition of this momentous event?
Please let us know at or post a message about your plans to our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Church growth expert to teach use of MissionInsite Oct. 5-6

The Rev. Thomas Bandy, a renowned expert in strategic church and leadership development, will teach four workshops here, Oct. 5-6, on using MissionInsite's demographic and lifestyle research to learn community needs and spur congregational growth. The international lecturer, author, consultant and coach, has created planning tools to help churches benefit from MissionInsite's targeted research that has proven helpful to many congregations in their outreach and adaptive ministry endeavors. Of his 25 published books Bandy's two latest--See, Know and Serve the People within Your Reach and Worship Ways for the People within Your Reach--suggest ways to understand and engage demographic trends and population lifestyles in planning for strategic ministry, including worship design and discipleship nurture.

Bandy will teach on Monday, Oct. 5, at the conference center from 10 AM to 2 PM, and at New Hanover UMC from 6 to 9 PM. The evening session at New Hanover will be video broadcast via live-stream. He will also teach on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the conference center from 10 AM to 2 PM and at Church of the Good Shepherd UMC from 6 to 9 PM.  Attendance at the Oct. 6 session at the conference center is by district superintendents' invitation only; but it will also be broadcast via live-stream video. Live-stream details to come.

Clergy invited to  Interim Ministry Seminar in Upper NY

Bishop Mark Webb, of the Upper New York Conference, invites Eastern PA Conference clergy to join in a three-phase, six-month specialized training for clergy interested in serving in short-term transitional or interim ministry. The Transitional/Intentional Interim Ministry Seminar (TIIMS), led by the Intentional Growth Center (IGC), an affiliate of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, addresses a growing need for specially trained clergy able to serve in various transitional ministry situations  The first session will be held Nov. 11-13 at Upper New York’s beautiful Casowasco Camp and Retreat Center. The registration deadline is Oct. 1. For more information contact the Rev. William Gottschalk-Fielding (

2016 Midwinter Clergy Retreat
set for Jan. 12 in Lancaster

  The 2016 Midwinter Retreat for all clergy (elders, deacons and local pastors) and their spouses is set for Jan. 12, 2016, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, PA.  Our guest speaker is retired Chaplain, Brigadier General Charles R. “Ray” Bailey. Sharing his experiences, he will discuss reaching outside our walls to share the Good News. Chaplain Bailey, a UM elder, served churches in Texas before becoming a U.S. Army chaplain in 1982. In 2011 he became the Army's 24th Deputy Chief of Chaplains and has a powerful, personal testimony of the faith and courage of our military heroes. Please registerby Dec. 7 (due to hotel requirements). For questions contact Amy Botti . Please note that there are only 20 openings for commuters at this event. 

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. Visit the event page on our website for complete details.
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.  Visit the event Website  for full information.
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.
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! 
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

January 12-14, 2016: Midwinter Retreat, DoubleTree Resort, Lancaster, PA. Online registration now open

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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