Website  |   Calendar  |   Directory  |   Forms  |   Blogs  |   Contact Us
February 10, 2017
Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new pastoralappointments and assignments:

Central District
  • Rev. Ricky Ayala (Licensed Local Pastor) from Conshohocken to New Hanover (3/4 time appointment and 1/4 time direct hire).
  • Rev. David R. Carey (Full Elder) from Phila.: Church of the Good Shepherd to Huntingdon Valley.
Southwest (West) District
  • Rev. Chris Eden (Full Elder) from Willow Street: Boehm's to Quarryville: Memorial full-time. 
NEWSpirit Winter 2017 issue is online and in the mail.
Read the new issue of NEWSpirit newspaper on our website. It's full of dramatic news, commentary and colorful photos on diverse topics-from revealing district dialogues about race and racism; to the exciting, mind-and heart-opening Pen-Del Youth Rally; to more stories of churches supporting missions in Africa. Bishop Johnson inspires us to "Celebrate Women in Ministry," the Rev. Chris Kurien teaches us about "Transformation through Prayer" and Congregational Development Coordinator Gordon Hendrickson urges us to "Network! Network! Network!" to generate new vision and vitality in our outreach ministries. Read NEWSpirit online at your leisure; but to enjoy the full, vivid effect of our newspaper get it in hardcopy. If you don't have a subscription, just send us $12 and we'll send you four issues this year, each packed with news and views you don't want to miss.  Learn more ...
New online church website, marketing courses offered
United Methodist Communications is offering leaders new online training courses to help their churches really shine. Your Church Website ($39.99) introduces tools to plan, build and launch a successful online strategy, meaning a website and more, that helps people connect with local churches in a new, more immediate way. Effective Church Marketing ($29.99)course leads participants through a process of examining, dreaming, planning and promoting ministries that make an impact. When they finish, church teams will have a complete marketing plan ready to put into action. Both new courses will be offered year-round. And both are open-enrollment, meaning students can register for them at any time.

UMCom also offers three more courses that can help leaders boost church vitality, improve communication and enhance evangelism: 
  • Welcoming Ministry is all about hospitality and how churches can best fit into the landscape of their community in order to serve it better. ($29.99)
The first session of these courses begins Feb. 22 and ends April 22. Register until Feb. 19. But there will other sessions throughout the year. Course fees vary. Learn more... 
Seeking persons to serve in conference leadership
Do you feel called to serve in ministry beyond your church? Or can you recommend someone who has a desire for servant leadership that can affect many persons, churches and communities? The Committee on Nominations will receive nominations until March 1 for gifted, dedicated persons to serve on Conference boards, committees and other leadership bodies. All persons who want to serve must complete and submit the online Leadership Service and Interest Form by March 1. You can nominate yourself to put your unique spiritual gifts into action for others. Or you can invite, recommend and encourage the nomination of others. The committee is committed to diversity among members who serve, welcoming young people, people of color and people with handicapping conditions especially.

See a list of service opportunities, and use our form on the Conference website. (The new due date is March 1, 2017.) Or you may call (215-844-9564) or write to the Nominations Committee chairperson to recommend someone else. All potential nominees will be contacted by the committee prior to any commitment to serve. 
Dewees Grant spring applications due March 1
Grants of up to $5,000 are available twice a year from the Conference Board of Trustees to fund start-up mission projects, new ministry initiatives, camp or retreat scholarships, racial-ethnic ministries, etc.,  but not for building expenses or salaries). Deadline for Spring grants is March 1. See the grant Dewees Grant Requirements and the Dewees Application Form to learn more.
Music in the Black Church Experience
Tindley Temple UMC invites choirs throughout the Philadelphia area to come participate in Music in the Black Church Experience on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 3:30 PM. To participate call 215-735-0442. There will be inspirational gospel music and guest performers. Learn more: Music in the Black Church Experience Flyer
Youth invited to confirmation camp at 2 sites
Gretna Glen and Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Centers both invite churches to have confirmation classes in their neck of the woods, learning all about faith in the midst of God's creation.

Gretna Glen's three Confirmation Camp weekends- March 31-April 2, April 7-9 and October 13-15-will focus on the five vows of affirmation: prayer, witness, gifts, service, and presence, say planners. "Each vow comes alive as confirmands participate in hands on activities, discussions, and reflections that help draw connections from the act of confirmation as the start of a full-time life of faith." Cost is $90. Register using their Brochure.

Pocono Plateau will have its UM Confirmation Retreat Feb. 24 to March 11 (Friday at 7 PM to Wednesday at 1 PM. Their theme: "Discover: Light for the Journey." Be sure to read Bishop Peggy Johnson's article about summer camp, " Our camps-changing seasons and young lives." 
Vital Church Mergers and More
Churches that feel the Holy Spirit moving them to take a serious, open-minded look at their mission and future in ministry, in addition to churches identified by their district superintendent, are urged to send teams to attend "Vital Church Mergers and More" March 25, from 8:30 AM to 12 PM, at Christ UMC Lansdale (1020 S. Valley Forge Road). Cost: $10 per church (payable to Eastern Pa. Conference of the UMC). Pay onsite. Each church attending should first read Dirk Elliot's book Vital Church Mergers.  District Superintendents have copies available. The Congregational Development Office has 30 copies. Please pray daily for vision from the Holy Spirit to help you see where God is leading your church. Contact the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson at 267-258-9507 or
Sign up your church for
the Abundant Health
10,000 Church Challenge
The Conference Health & Healing Council urges all churches to join the 10,000 Church Challenge, initiated by the UMC's Global Ministries as part of its new Abundant Health initiative. 

Bishop Peggy Johnson is promoting this effort in both of her Philadelphia Area conferences, Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware. Your church is invited to help increase opportunities for healthy lifestyle choices by promoting: Physical Activity; Healthy Diet and Nutrition; Tobacco-free and Drug-free Living; and Mental Health Education and Promotion. 

One of our four denominational goals is to improve Global Health. After raising over $68 million to fight malaria in the "Imagine No Malaria" campaign, it is time to broaden the focus of "Abundant Health." Global Ministries' goal is to sign up 10,000 churches across the connection, asking each to choose a health focus for its congregation and community. Every church that signs up will receive ideas about education, treatment and prevention; and when it implements ideas and activities it will be designated a Health Promoting Church .  Sign-Up Today  . Get more information. Deaconess Sharon Hachtman,RN, FCN, is Health & Healing Council, Co-Chair and campaign contact. Visit the council webpage to learn more. 
Free Lenten Study Resource from Hopewell UMC
A New Lenten Study Curriculum is being produced by Hopewell UMC for use in 2017 free of charge by any and all UM churches. Contend for the Faith: Lessons from Jude. Within the brief but rich Epistle of Jude, we find marvelous encouragement for a 21st-century church in America, which is itself in need of defense, purification, and hope. This seven-week study designed for group participation will feature Elders from the Eastern PA Conference who have written the curriculum and are featured in the DVD presentations. For more information contact: Deb Boyd, Director of Lay Ministries, Hopewell UMC at or check out Hopewell UMC's website.
Gilbert Caldwell: Voice for Justice and Human Rights
UM Communications has featured the Rev. Gilbert Haven Caldwell, a former Eastern PA Conference pastor and district superintendent, in a number of videos, often during Black History Month. They have done so again this year with "Gilbert Caldwell: Voice for Justice and Human Rights," an intimate 5-minute visit with the enduring leader and advocate of civil--and not just racial--rights. 

Named, in part, after a white abolitionist bishop, Caldwell, who resides now in Asbury Park, N.J., has served black and white United Methodist churches in the Northeast and Western jurisdictions. As a young seminary student he met and later marched with civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  The lifelong Methodist says the civil rights movement inspired his ministry and taught him to advocate for causes beyond race. For some years, he has advocated for greater acceptance of LGBTQ people in his denomination.  "I guess my hope is that the church of the future will be more humble," he says, "more Jesus-like, more willing to admit its flaws and the fact that God's, you know, not finished with us yet."   Learn more... Also enjoy other UMCom videos and articles for Black History Month.  
Young black writers sought for worship resource
Young African-American United Methodists are being sought to write liturgies, prayers and calls to worship for an updated Africana worship series that will focus on the emerging music and worship practices in black congregations from the voices of young people. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries is leading the project. Read press release.  
2017  Local   Pastor   Licensing   School  schedule
We have posted the 2017  Local  Pastor  Licensing  School schedule on our website on the Ordained & Licensed Ministry page:
News Briefs 

Registration open for national men's gathering
INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Registration is open for the United Methodist Men's 12th National Gathering, set for   July 7-8  at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Speakers include Bishops James Swanson Sr. and Jonathan Holston, as well as the Rev. Kevin Watson, Candler School of Theology professor, and Shan Foster, national director of the YWCA program combatting domestic violence.    To learn more

University offers theology program for high-schoolers
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (UMNS)  -  The University of Evansville, a United Methodist-affiliated school, is hosting "Open Table," a weeklong theology institute for high school students. Students live in the dorms and learn about the Christian narrative and other faith traditions. Through a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, tuition is covered for the  July 16-23  program, though students are responsible for travel costs.   For application information

Scholarships available for ecumenical event
The Council of Bishops is offering scholarships for young adults, ages 21-35, to attend the National Workshop on Christian Unity and United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training. The gatherings will be  May 1-4  in Minneapolis. The deadline for scholarships is  Feb. 28.   Read press release
Ten Eastern PA Conference clergy spouses gathered in November 2016 to enjoy a full-day Sabbath retreat designed just for them. Those who missed it will get another chance at the next retreat on Saturday,  May 13, at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli. The 10 participants in "Claiming Sabbath for Clergy Spouses," offered by  Artos Retreats, were diverse in age and tenure as clergy spouses, but all extolled the value of the experience. "We all wanted to be able to express ourselves authentically and safely, but with the positive intent to create connection and support," said one.  Learn more...
NEJ VIM/UMCOR Training Academy, March 26-29
UMCOR (UM Committee on Relief) and the Northeastern Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission will provide training  March 26-29 for persons wanting to lead the church in disaster response and in its wider mission in God's world. Our own Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Center will host the classes, ranging from beginner to advanced, including: UMCOR's Foundations; Early Response Team Advanced (201-level) Training; using the Connecting Neighbors curriculum; Spiritual and Emotional Caregiving; and more. There will also be workshops on Global Health, Communication Technology, Race and Privilege, Asset-Based Community Development, Caring for Creation, and other mission topics. No prior qualifications are necessary. CEUs are available. Register now. Early-bird rates apply until  Feb. 26. For more information contact the Rev. Tom Lank, UMVIM-NEJ Coordinator, at 919-428-0461,, or visit

Eastern PA is the host conference. So we will be looking for hospitality volunteers to assist with welcoming participants to Pocono Plateau and to help with shuttle service to/from the Avoca airport and the Allentown airport. Contact: Rev Greg Ellis
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
  Premarital/Marital Counseling Training   
Rev. Lloyd Speer will conduct several training workshops in 2017. The next will be  Feb. 23 at Christ UMC Fairless Hills. To register, go to to fill out and mail a printable registration form. The cost is $220, and includes certification, lunch and materials. For more information, contact Lloyd Speer at 215-943-2343, or
March 28, 9 AM - 3:30 PM, at  Grandview UMC (888 Pleasure Road, Lancaster, PA). Participants pay $35 to participate, which includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Presenters are the Revs. Andrea Brown and Jose "Ricky" Ayala.  Find out more ยป 

Fresh Expressions Vision Day Training 
April 19 AM - 3:15 PM, at Mount Carmel UMC (2203 Harmonyville Road, Elverson, PA). Changing Church for a Changing World. Fresh Expressions is a movement that is cultivating new forms of church alongside existing congregations in order to reach a changing world. It offers to empower and equip God's people to develop creative expressions of church that can reach the increasing diversity of our society. Eastern PA Conference is a co-sponsor of this event. Cost: $30.  Learn more...

Basic Sexual Ethics 
July 15, 9 AM - 3:30 PM, at  Conshohocken UMC (20 W. Sixth Ave., Conshohocken, PA).Participants pay $35 to participate in this class. The fee includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Presenters are Rev. Jose "Ricky" Ayala and a female presenter to be named.  Find out more
Changing Racism Workshop 2017 dates
This year's dates  for  Changing Racism Workshops, led by  Visions, Inc., are   March 31-April 2  and   October 27-29.  The March location will again be the Daylesford Abbey, 220 South Valley Road, Paoli, PA. Visit our  Changing Racism Workshops webpage to learn more and to register.
Palmer Seminary to host fall alumni reunion
Palmer Seminary at Eastern University will host a UM alumni reunion on Friday, Oct. 20, with a morning program followed by a luncheon.  Bishop Peggy Johnson will keynote the gathering, and Bishop Violet Fisher has been invited also. Plans are still developing. For more information contact the Rev. Bron Yocum at or the Rev. Andrew Foster at
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.
Wake up, God's People!... 
All-day Eastern PA Youth Rally, April 22, 2017
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 events coming in Spring:
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
Website  |   Calendar  |   Directory  |   Forms  |   Blogs  |   Contact Us