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WHAT'S NEW - December 9, 2015
Recent deaths of 2 noted lay members
Eleanor Schol , the mother of Bishop John Schol, who leads the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, entered life immortal on Dec. 4, 2015. She was a longtime member of the former St. James UMC and a recent member of Crescentville UMC. Bishop Schol is a former clergy member of the Eastern PA Conference.

Mrs. Schol died of congestive heart failure at the age of 85. A service celebrating her life and resurrection will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 1:30 pm at Wesley Enhanced Living in Pennypack Park, 8401 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia PA.  Memorial gifts may be given to The Mission Fund Campaign at 1001 Wickpecko Drive, Ocean, NJ 07712. Please keep all Mrs. Schol's children–Susan, Stephen, John–and her entire family in your prayers.

Gilbert R. Rendle, Sr ., 93, a well-known Eastern PA Conference layman, died in Lancaster, Pa., on Nov. 30, 2015. A longtime member of First UMC Lancaster, he was the father of conference clergy member the Rev. Gil Rendle Jr. A leading banker for 40 years, he was president of three banks and a member of the Pittsburgh branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. A memorial service will be held at First UMC on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 11 AM, with visitation at 10 AM. Besides Gil Jr., Rendle is also survived by a daughter, Ruth, and the spouses and families of his children. Memorial contributions may be made to the Memorial Fund of First UMC, 29 E. Walnut St., Lancaster, PA 17602, or to Camp Innabah, c/o Eastern PA Conference UNC, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482.

2015 Conference Journals are here, but cost is now $30

A limited number of 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference Journals are now available for sale. If you want a Journal and have not yet ordered it, please order yours now at the $30 cost.

If you have already ordered and prepaid $25 for your Journal the new cost is now $30. Originally the 2015 Journal was priced at $25; but additional necessary content has increased the usual number of printed pages. Thus, we now need to charge an additional $5 per Journal. If you have already ordered and pre-paid for your Journal(s) at $25 each, there is now a "Price Change" section in the online orders page that will enable you to add an additional $5 per Journal to your payment. Or you can send a check for an additional $5 per ordered Journal to the Conference Office to be added to your payment.

You can pay the additional cost online or send a check by postal mail to EPA UMC, Attention Ms. Gloria Knoeller, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820. If you already prepaid but do not wish to pay the additional $5, then we will refund the original $25 purchase price to you. For refunds please write to Ms. Gloria Knoeller at PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820 or by e-mail at

The Conference Journal offers contact information for Conference staff, Clergy, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Church boards and agencies. Also clergy appointments, pastor's salaries and service records; and conference board and committee assignments. Plus, reports and information from 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

Portions of the Conference Journal are accessible electronically on our Website, with the exception of sections that are restricted from online access by the general public.

A Wesleyan response to mass shootings
There have been hundreds of mass shootings in the U.S. this year, with reportedly 462 people killed and 1,314 wounded, the latest tragedy occurring recently in San Bernardino, Calif. UM News Service's Heather Hahn reports on a question many Americans are asking in politically charged debates: "Should we be calling for prayer or action in response to rampant gun violence?" The answer is both, say many United Methodists who point to Methodism’s founder John Wesley as leading the way.  Learn more...  
Camp & Retreat Centers welcome winter’s wisdom

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose,” wrote Thomas Wentworth Higginson in 1861, “if there were no winter in our year!” Our year-round camp and retreat centers are getting a head start on the big chill, welcoming guests of all ages to discover “lessons of faith and beauty” at their winter retreats. Titles like “Winter Blast” and “Winter Jamboree,” along with themes like “Growing Your Faith” and “Discover: Light for the Journey,” promise an ideal mix of sense and sensibility, as participants explore both the outer and inner dimensions of God’s creation. Learn more... 

Other Web stories worth reading
Check out the other provocative stories featured on our Website (and taken from NEWSpirit newspaper), including:
Read and reflect on our special Advent features

Take a look at the second tier of our Website home page and you'll see that we're celebrating the season of Advent in our three special features sections. Our INFORM section connects you to answers to the question What is Advent?  with insights on how we can anticipate and prepare for the coming of Christ. The INSPIRE section features Advent devotionals authored by Pastor Vicky Allen and members of First UMC in Fairless Hills, including Rob Wilhelm's “Prepare the Way”  (See the full Advent Devotionals Series.)  And our INVOLVE feature section links you to UMCom writer Joe Iovino's helpful suggestions in Preparing for Christmas: Tips for keeping the holiday season holy. We'll follow these with a new batch of articles next week. So try to read and reflect on these offerings now, as you seek to embrace the spirit of this sacred season.

New publication from Health & Healing Council

Read the inaugural issue of Wellspring, a sharp, informative but easy to read quarterly publication from the Eastern PA Conference Health & Healing Council created to help churches learn and teach others about wellness. Articles on stopping the flu, caring for caregivers and surviving a blue Christmas  are the just the beginning of a valuable and timely resource for pastors, lay members and health providers to read, make copies, feature in church newsletters, and pass on to others. The council will distribute a Congregational Health Survey in January 2016. For more information visit the Health & Healing Webpage or contact Mary Wilson, RN, Faith Community Nurse and Health & Healing Ministries Chair, at  ​

UMW report to 2015 EPA Annual Conference

Two Eastern PA Conference leaders of United Methodist Women--Joy Frazier, treasurer, and Susan Dziuk, co-president-- reported on their year in ministry to the Annual Conference Adjourned Session, Nov. 14. Their PowerPoint presentation highlighted recent activities and advocacy concerns, as well as the worldwide organization's 145-year history. "The United Methodist Women has fed the hungry, healed the sick, educated millions, changed laws and policies, and transformed lives," they told the assembly. "Our ministries, our faith, hope and love in action with women, children and youth have made this possible.  We have inherited a great legacy."  Read their UMW Report Script or view their visual UMW Presentation on the UMW page of our conference Website.  

New Lifetree Café Orientations in January 

The Congregational Development Office has scheduled a new two-part orientation series on how to organize Lifetree Café outreach ministries (for a church or church cluster or Mission Connexion). Anyone may attend Part 1 on Jan. 4 or 6, and then attend Part 2 on Jan. 25 or 26.  Each training will take place from 6:30 to 8 PM at the Eastern PA Conference Office, 980 Madison Ave., Norristown. Just choose one date for each part, but please let Gordon know when you will attend at

Read Gordon's NEWSpirit article for more information and insights about Lifetree Café.

Simpson House celebrates 150 years of venerable service

Simpson House, the oldest operating retirement community historically related to The United Methodist Church, will end its yearlong 150th Anniversary celebration this month in grand style, as the star of the PECO Building's Crown Lights in downtown Philadelphia Dec. 14-16. Dazzling, illuminated displays atop the PECO Building often announce events, celebrations and milestones.  Simpson House will be featured with the message: "Simpson House–Celebrating 150 Years of Service to Senior Adults 1865-2015." The honor comes at the end of a yearlong celebration that has featured numerous events, including the final special occasion happening next Tuesday, Dec. 15. Learn more... 

Interpreter spotlights 2 Eastern PA leaders for evangelism

Have you seen the September-October issue of Interpreter magazine yet? Check out the article "Evangelism: Witnessing through Serving" on page 38 and you'll see a familiar face. Bishop Peggy Johnson is flanked there on her right by John Schadler of First UMC in Fairless Hills and on her left by Jose Albarran of Nuevo Nacimiento (New Birth) UMC at the 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference in May. Schadler had just received the Harry Denman Award for Lay Evangelism. Unfortunately, the photo caption misidentifies Albarran, who had just received the One Matters Award from Discipleship Ministries along with his pastor, the Rev. Elena Ortiz. Instead, the photo identifies him as the Rev. Maxine "Max" Jaouen, who had just received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for clergy. 

The article, about Schadler's remarkable devotion to serving his church in various roles, was inspired by one we published in the summer issue of NEWSpirit, titled "Two 'role models' receive Denman Evangelism Award." We sent the story and the photo (page 10) to Interpreter with the correct identifications, but oh well... These things happen. Anyhow, major kudos to John, Pastor Max, Jose and Pastor Elena for all your efforts to "make disciples of Jesus Christ," and kudos to the conference Congregational Development Team for recognizing them with these awards.

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, 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

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 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!
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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