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December 16 , 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new pastoral appointments and assignments:

Southwest District
  • Mrs. Fran Keller (lay supply) to Lancaster: Ross Street UMC  1/4 time - effective January 1, 2017.
Even in frigid Philly, 'church can happen anywhere'
We believe that for United Methodists "church can happen anywhere," and it's happening this weekend in and around Philadelphia's chilly Center City. But we really need more volunteers to come share some heartwarming love over hot cocoa. Yes, it was cold  Thursday and  Friday-very cold-and it's supposed to be wet, although warmer,  on Saturday and  Sunday. But that's when hot cocoa and warm, welcoming smiles can do the most good.

Our young "Ambassadors of Cheer" are pouring free cocoa for surprised passers-by at popular Philly tourism spots with lots of foot-traffic. Meanwhile, church volunteers greet visitors warmly and hand them colorful postcards inviting them to find and visit their friendly neighborhood United Methodist church at Christmas time or whenever. But "the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few." Please come help us.  Learn more...
Churches celebrate Advent, Christmas in many ways
It's beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas. Not so much from the wintry weather arriving this weekend, but from the Advent activities happening all over the Eastern PA Conference. From hanging of the greens nearly everywhere, to a free Christmas community meal and movie night at Jarrettown UMC ( Dec. 17), to La Posada celebrations at Lehman and Arch Street UMCs ((Dec. 16), to Conshohocken UMC's annual Christmas Village with caroling and a live Nativity at its Jillian's CafĂ© ( Dec. 22-23).  Learn more...
Preach Social Justice on 
Sunday, Jan. 15
In the spirit of Advent, Bishop Peggy Johnson calls on all of us to focus on social justice in 2017 and for preachers to preach on this growing concern on Sunday, January 15, 2017. That will be civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. "The coming of Christ is forever connected to fostering right relationships between people," Johnson writes in her new Bishop's Blog essay, "and it is a key part of the gospel that we need to preach in our pulpits and model in our ministries. John Wesley, our Methodist founder, said, 'There is no holiness but social holiness.'"  Learn more...
Order your 2016 Conference Journal before they're gone!
A limited number of printed 2016 Eastern PA Conference Journals are available.  Order yours today for only $30 each. You can  order and pay online or send a check, by USPS, to: EPA UMC, Attention Gloria Knoeller, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.

What's in the Journal?  A lot! Contact information for Conference staff, clergy, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Boards and Agencies.  Also, clergy appointments, pastoral salaries and service records.  Plus, all about the 2016 Annual Conference; Conference statistics for 2015; historical highlights; and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff, and others. Questions?  Please contact Gloria Knoeller at
Lifetree Cafe Orientation & Training, 
January 4
The Congregational Development Office will hold a Lifetree Cafe Orientation & Training (Part 2) on January 4, from  6:30 to 8:00 PM, at the Conference Office. Contact the Rev. Gordon Henderson, Coordinator, at or call him at 267-258-9509 if you wish to attend. Learn more...
Disability Awareness 
Sunday , awards for Disability Ministry
Plan now to celebrate Disability Awareness  Sunday in our conference  Jan. 22, 2017. The UMC's Book of Discipline calls for every conference and church to celebrate a Disability Awareness  Sunday annually. So our conference's Disability Ministry Committee wants to have as many churches as possible observe this special  Sunday, preferably with a special offering for UMCOR's "Disability Ministries" Advance Special (# 3021054), on  Jan. 22 (or on any other  Sunday). You can find information and  resources online at Also visit the  committee's webpage for more information. 

Pastors and lay leaders may contact Disability Ministries Committee members in their districts to get disability awareness promotion ideas. (See the list on the Disability Ministry webpage.) Or contact committee chairwoman Barbara Skarbowski at  bskarbowski@gmail.comor 717-584-6170.

Also, see if your church can qualify for a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Disability Ministry or even the new "Bishop Peggy Johnson 4A's Award for Disability Ministry." The conference Disability Ministry Committee established that award to give recognition to one "Congregation of the Year"  and one  "District of the Year"  that have made great strides toward being in inclusive ministry with persons and families who experience disability. Additionally, all conference churches are eligible to receive a  Certificate of Excellence  in outstanding disability ministry after meeting certain criteria.  Learn more...
Check out our Local Church Events. Send us yours!
Many churches have informed us of special events they are planning (Thank you!), so we can inform visitors to our conference website. You never know who might show up after seeing your announcement on our Local Church Events page or our Advent & Christmas Events page. Check out our listings of upcoming church events. And please send us news of yours, so we can share that good news of what God is doing through your church. You can simply use our Submit News page (preferably) or e-mail information to us at Thanks in advance.
Pen-Del Youth Rally 2017: "This Is Love"
The annual Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally will return to the Ocean City (Md.) Convention Center January 6-8 (from Friday evening to Sunday morning).  Thewinter weekendrally and retreat will offer praise and worship, learning and laughter through games, fellowship and plenty of fun. 
Register early online by Nov.15 for $67
or by Dec. 15 for $77 at
The theme is  "This Is Love" from 1 John 4:10. Featured guests will be motivational speaker and "champion for youth" Steve Fitzhugh, along with Rend Collective, Zealand Worship Band, Dave & Brian, and a full concert by gospel singer Tasha Cobbs.
Restoration 2017: "Prayer, Praise and Presence"
The Restoration 2017 Retreat is Bishop Peggy Johnson's invitation to clergy and lay members of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences, to gather in retreat January 26-28, at the Sands Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The theme is "Prayer, Praise and Presence." The purpose: "Finding new life in the spiritual disciplines to bring strength to our Christian journey." This event replaces the former Mid-Winter Retreat for Clergy and Spouses that had drawn fewer participants over the past several years.
The focus of this Restoration retreat is to bring to light aspects of ministry, life, and community that need to be restored within us on our journey of making disciples. Our guest speaker will be the Rev. Junius Dotson, the new General Secretary of UM Discipleship Ministries.
All are invited to join in this gathering to pray, praise and worship God in the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Worship will begin the retreat Thursday evening and end it Saturday morning. In-between there will be ample time for prayer and personal reflection, workshops, fellowship and meals together, and even laughter inspired by a guest comedian. Two (2) CEUs will be granted for attendance.
Online registration will be available once all the program details are finalized. With October being Clergy Appreciation Month, Bishop Johnson is asking churches to consider showing appreciation and care for pastors and their families by gifting the cost of their registration for Restoration. 
Faith-Sharing Training Event  
Our 2017 annual Faith-Sharing Training Event will happen March 18, from 8:30 AM to 2 PM, at New Hanover UMC. Our guest presenter is the Rev. Terry Teykel, a leading "prayer evangelist" and popular speaker and author. He travels the world encouraging churches to develop and strengthen prayer ministries as a means of revival and transformation.
Teykel, the founder of Renewal Ministries and Prayer Point Press, has authored several books, including The Presence-Based Church, My Most Wanted: 40 Days to Pray for the Lost, and Pray the Price: United Methodists United in Prayer. He has spent his life teaching churches how to develop a heartfelt, meaningful relationship with the Lord. His warm, humorous style makes him a much-sought after speaker and seminar leader.
"We believe that when prayer and evangelism are reunited the Church will emerge as a powerful force for reclaiming the land and setting the captives free."      -Terry Teykl. 

Learn more about this passionate, powerful speaker and man of God.
Clergy Lenten Day Apart
And on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the day before Ash Wednesday, clergy across the conference will gather at locations in their respective districts for a Clergy Lenten Day Apart. They will pray, worship and fellowship together in preparation for the beginning of the Holy season of Lent.  
Wake up, God's People!... 
All-day Eastern PA Youth Rally, April 22, 2017
And for the trifecta of upcoming youth events, plan to attend the 3rd Annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally on Saturday, April 22, 2017. For the first time, this youth rally will last all day, from 9 AM to 4 PM. We're planning fantastic features, with dynamic speakers, soul-stirring music, fun games, powerful prayers, laugh-out-loud humor, great food and hospitality, and enough friendship and fellowship moments to give you a lifetime of memories. Don't dare miss it! See and share the flyer, and look for more details, coming soon.
More prayer, praise and study events coming in the Spring:
  • April 22: Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally. 9 AM to 4 PM at Hopewell UMC, Downington, PA. Theme: "Wake Up, God's People! God's People, Wake Up!"
  • April 23-25 - Local Pastors and Associate Members Retreat. At Black Rock Retreat Center, Quarryville, PA. Theme: "The Authority of Scripture."
  • April 29: Tools for Ministry (possibly including classes on prayer, worship and other spiritual disciplines). Times and locations determined by districts.
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, 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 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!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  |
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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