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WHAT'S NEW - December 3, 2015
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new clergy appointments

East District

  • The Rev. John Cordes (Elder) from full-time at Philadelphia: Fox Chase UMC to 3/4-time at Philadelphia: Fox Chase UMC and 1/4-time at Croydon: Wilkinson Memorial UMC, effective Jan.1.
  • The Rev. Thomas Chadwick (Retired Elder) completes his 1/2-time appointment at Croydon: Wilkinson Memorial UMC, effective Dec. 31. 
Bishops ask for prayers after Calif. killings
In the wake of yesterday's tragic shooting incident in San Bernardino, Calif., where 14 people were killed, Bishop Peggy Johnson asks members and friends of the Eastern PA Conference to join Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, of the California-Pacific Conference, and other United Methodists there in earnest prayer tonight, Thursday, Dec. 3, at 9 PM, ET, (6 PM Pacific Time). During that time a prayer vigil will be held at St. Paul’s UMC. Bishop Carcaño, District Superintendent the Rev. Jan Wiley and several United Methodist pastors in the San Bernardino area will lead the congregation in prayer. Please remember the victims and their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
What's Happening This Weekend? Plenty!
Check out some of the special events featured on our Local Church Events page
happening this weekend and beyond
Church Communicators to network and learn together Saturday 

The Eastern PA Conference Communications Team will hold an introductory networking event for local church communicators this Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9 to about 11:30 AM at the Conference Office. This will not be a training event, but simply a conversation to share helpful ideas, information, questions, strategies, problems and possible solutions. You can drop by or call in on our free conference call line at 218-632-0322. For the access passcode please e-mail us at communications@epaumc.org or call or text 443-745-5654 at anytime.

If you produce communications for your church (newsletter, Website, social media, e-mail photography, video, etc.) please contact our office at communications@epaumc.org, let us know who and where you are and how to reach you. And please try to attend or call into this meeting for as long as you can participate. We will use the information gained to plan future conversation and training events for 2016. For this session, we hope to cover helpful tools and tactics of local church communications, suggest resources and make valuable connections among peers. 

#BlackChurchesMatter support building

In less than a month #BlackChurchesMatter, the GoFundMe online fundraising campaign to support the ministries of Eastern PA Conference black churches, has so far raised $3,555 of its $5,000 goal from 36 people. Support is slowly growing, including words of encouragement from donors. "Black churches are vital for the preservation of the black culture," Aneita Duglas wrote. "Values, long lost, are still being maintained in our churches." The campaign Webpage features photos of church ministries, including Mt. Zion UMC Philadelphia's bevy of backpacks collected and blessed for kids going back to school in September. "Let's continue to give so that churches such as these can continue their ministries," writes campaign manager Bethany Sutton, who staffs the sponsoring Urban Commission office. "Please keep the donations coming!"

Lititz UMC gifts homeless students on White Gift Sunday 

Lititz UMC will continue a tradition on White Gifts Sunday, Dec. 6, collecting white-bagged gifts during worship services to give to homeless students. Each year the gifts benefit more than 800 students in Lancaster's Homeless Student Project. Program directors say the most direly needed items include book bags, school supplies, personal care items and school uniforms (which are required and strictly regulated there). Toys for the children will be provided from the Toys for Tots program. Donors are asked to not wrap the gifts but instead use white paper bags provided onsite. For more information or to donate, call Mary Ann Stuckey at717-626-4426. Checks can be sent to Lititz United Methodist Church, 201 Market St, Lititz, PA 17543. Phone: 717-626-2710.

Important Reminders--Upcoming Deadlines!
Open Enrollment for 2016 Health Benefits  
Open Enrollment ends this Sunday, Dec. 6.  You must complete the on-line enrollment to receive insurance benefits in 2016. If you are waiving coverage, you must still enter that information.  Click here for FAQs, and click here for BSWIFT.   

Also, a correction to previous dental coverage information for dependents to age 23:  The UCCI dental insurance will cover eligible dependents to  age 26  regardless of student status to align with our health care insurance.  If you would like to cover your dependent children to age 26, log in and edit your enrollment prior to Dec. 6.
  The 2016   Pen-Del Youth Rally 
The annual Youth Rally registration deadline is extended to Monday, Dec. 7.  The  Jan. 8-10  rally, titled “Word,”  will be held in Ocean City, Md., Get the brochure:   2016 "Word" Youth Rally.   For those of you who have already registered your youth, we thank you for serving our young people, and we look forward to seeing everyone in Ocean City. 

We're planning a fantastic  Eastern PA Conference Youth Gathering  during the rally, focused on  "Word Play."   Experience the power of WORDS in your life! From testimonies to YouTube videos to short stories -- experience and share the power of WORDS.  Through activities participants will uncover the unique meaning WORDS have in their life and how WORDS affect their faith! Come prepared to create your own WORD that describes your own faith! #wordplay #wordsoffaith #EPAwords #wordsofEPA
We will have special souvenirs to give away, too. If you have not registered or need to "add on" to your registered number, please click  Youth Rally Registration 2016. But do it by Monday!

--David Piltz, Coordinator, Eastern PA Conference Young People's Ministries
Mid-Winter Retreat for Elders, Deacons, Local Pastors and Spouses
Register by Dec. 7 for the Bishop’s Mid-Winter Retreat for Elders, Deacons, Local Pastors, and their Spouses. Enjoy fellowship and renewal at the beautiful, comfortable DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Willow Street. The guest speaker is retired Chaplain (Brigadier General) Charles R. “Ray” Bailey, who will share from his experiences of ministry in our nation's military and suggest ways to reach outside our walls and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Click here for complete info and to register. 
6 Months of prayer for General Conference begins Dec. 6
Our conference will embark this Sunday, Dec. 6, on 6 months of intentional prayer to help prepare for General Conference 2016.  Six churches on our six districts are setting specific dates and times to pray, and they invite you to join them. These prayer meetings are not meant to be partisan but humbly surrendered to the movement of the Holy Spirit. You may attend any and all district prayer gatherings during the six months. The Southeast District will host the first, this Sunday, 6 PM in the sanctuary of Thornton: Bethlehem UMC, 4 Westtown Road, Thornton, PA. The Northeast District will host the next prayer gathering Wednesday, Jan. 6, 7 PM, at Bowmansville: Faith Alive UMC. More dates and locations to be announced.
REMINDERS
Connectional Ministries to host video talk about race
The Eastern PA Conference Connectional Ministries Office will join churches and districts in a recent trend by hosting a discussion about race and racism at the Conference Office on Tuesday, Dec. 8, starting with dinner at 5:30 PM. Participants will view a 1-hour YouTube video about white privilege, titled "White People," produced by Jose Antonio Vargas, and then discuss its implications along with other related concerns. 
Learn about Global Mission Fellow US2s 

The Central District has a Global Mission Fellow US2, Rachel Ternes, who came on-board this past summer.  She is engaged in various outreach ministries, offering her talents while exploring her passion  and call to ministry. This vital young adult missionary program has been hosting a series of informational webinars for other young adults who might be interested in joining their peers. Global Mission Fellows work with global organizations that address human trafficking, worker’s rights, collegiate ministry, youth and children, women’s rights, and many other issues. Click here to see what other social justice issues are being addressed.  If you have young adults in your church or community (ages 20-30) who might be interested in serving in mission for the next two years please pass along this information in worship bulletins, announcements, social media, etc.  If you want Rachel to come speak to your congregation contact Darlene DiDomineck, Central District Resource Assistant, and she will be happy to make the arrangements. Upcoming Webinar date: Dec. 10.

Boehm's Chapel to feature chalk talk artist in Advent program
Historic Boehm's Chapel (13 West Boehm's Road, Willow Street) will combine a holiday "chalk talk" presentation by Lancaster County artist Josiah Hurst with its traditional Lessons and Carols Advent candlelight program, Dec. 6, at 3 PM. Hurst, will present a “History of the Carols,” using  prerecorded narration to explain the origins and events surrounding the writing  of  some of the most well-known Christmas carols.  Hurst's presentation will combine, lights, music and chalk to produce an inspired piece of art. Black light and colored lights are used to illuminate the artwork and create a surprising, added dimension.   The multiple elements of the chalk talk interpretation will help these beloved carols become even  more meaningful. The congregation will participate in a capella singing of traditional carols, as the story of Christ's birth is related through Scripture.  The program is open to the public and is suitable for all ages.  A love offering will be received. 
Faith Sharing Event speaker to meet with Phila. Area churches March 18
The Rev. Romal Tune, our guest speaker at the 2016 Faith Sharing Event on Saturday, March 19, (9 AM to 3 PM at New Hanover UMC), will also speak the evening before in Philadelphia, targeting his message particularly to racial-ethnic congregations. Bickley's New Beginning UMC, at 6239 N. 6th St., will host the event, beginning with a meal at 6:30 PM.  Young people especially are encouraged to attend to hear this dynamic, sought-after young speaker who voices his passion, intellect and faith in fresh, challenging ways. Tune authored the book God's Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens  in 2013 and recently completed a companion devotional guide.
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

Apply for Rethink Church 2016 Easter Digital Advertising Grants
RETHINK CHURCH helps local churches reach "seekers," the 42 percent of adults who aren't currently active in or committed to a church but are searching to give their live deeper meaning. UM Communications is accepting applications for its Rethink Church Digital Advertising Grants for displaying on Websites during the 2016 Easter season (February to March). The grants can help a church raise awareness of its community presence by displaying on various high-traffic Websites UMC-branded ads that are linked to the local church’s Website and geo-targeted to its community. This is not a monetary grant; ads will be purchased and placed for the churches by UMCom.  UMCom will also provide a follow-up report on click-through rates and site visits to each church during the advertising period. Attached is our FAQ that should help answer questions about the digital grant process. Deadline to apply is Jan. 7, 2016. Learn more…

Also, Rethink Church has many UMC-branded resources available to help churches with customizable Advent season  TV spots, worship resources (bulletin covers, graphics, etc.) and outreach resources (low-cost direct-mail postcards and free door hangers and invitation cards). The ordering deadline is December 1.
Time to order your 2015 Annual Conference Journal

A limited number of 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference Journals will be available in early to mid-November. Order yours today for $25 each. You can pay online or send a check by postal mail to EPA UMC, Attention Ms. Gloria Knoeller, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.

What's in the Journal? Contact information for Conference staff, clergy, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Church boards and agencies. Also clergy appointments, pastoral salaries and service records; and conference board and committee assignments. Plus, all about the 2015 Annual Conference; conference statistics for 2014; historical highlights; and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff, and others. Questions? Please contact Gloria Knoeller at gknoeller@epaumc.org.

Order your copy now:
https://epaumc.churchcenteronline.com/registrations/events/8672

Associate Members and Local Pastors plan 2016 retreat

The Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences will retreat together April 24-26, 2016, at Black Rock Retreat Center, 1345 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, PA. Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors and Certified Lay Ministers are all invited to attend and may earn 2.0 CEUs. Online Registration is open now. For more information contact Mark Beiderman at 610-585-0575. Download the brochure, which contains a registration form.

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 https://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!
SAVE THE DATES
Please Save These Dates! 
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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