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February 12, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson Announces New Appointments & Retirements:

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2016 appointments, effective  July 1, 2016 unless otherwise noted. 

  • John Cordes, FE, from Croydon: Wilkinson Memorial and Phila: Fox Chase to New Berlinville: St. Andrews
  • Rev. Gary David Knerr (Elder) from Lansdale: Christ UMC to Senior Pastor, Grove UMC.
  • Rev. Kevin M. Rutledge (Elder) from St. Georges UMC in Peninsula Delaware Conference to Associate Pastor, Springfield: Covenant UMC. 
  • The Rev. Dr. Sharon Barley (Full-time Local Pastor) to Half-Time Extension Ministry at Samaritan Counseling Center as Director of Clergy & Congregational Care, effective Feb. 1. Also continuing in her current half-time appointment as Senior Pastor at Neffsville: Long Memorial UMC.
  • Rev. Charles Rothermel (Elder) from Extension Ministry, Crossways Counseling to Retirement, effective July 1, 2016
Conference Lay Member Deaths 
(Note: Deaths of clergy and clergy spouses are reported in individual e-mail alerts. All reported deaths are also announced on the conference Website's Death Notices pages.)

Glenn Colliver, 88, longtime Lay Member to Annual Conference, died Feb. 9, 2016. A member of Lansdale UMC, he served on conference and district committees and was Conference Historian and Archivist. His Celebration of Life service will be Feb. 13, at 2:30 PM, at Dock Woods Community Chapel, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale. Visitation starts at 1 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to Lansdale UMC, 300 N. Broad St., Lansdale PA 19446. He is survived by his wife, Verna Colliver, and other family.

Grace Southwell McIntire  (nee Hallman), 91, died Feb. 10, 2016. She served 32 years as a member to Annual Conference from the former Tacony UMC in Philadelphia, which closed in 1999. She is survived by her 3 adult children, John McIntire, Patricia Briggs and the Rev. James McIntire, pastor of Hope UMC in Havertown, along with eight grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.  Grace's  Service of Death and Resurrection  will be held at her church, Neshamony UMC in Hulmeville, Pa., on Tuesday, Feb 16, at 11 AM, with visitation at 10 AM.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to "Lindsay's Gift," a family fund providing accessibility grants to churches, c/o Rev. James F. McIntire, 200 Treaty Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026, .

Edward T. Fell, a Lay Member to Annual Conference since 2005, died February 4, 2016. He was a member of Calvary UMC in Philadelphia, University City. A service in his memory will be held at Calvary UMC, 801 S. 48th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143, on  Saturday, Feb. 13, at  10 AM, with a viewing at  9 AMAn academic scholarship fund has been created by Ed's family. Donations made payable to the Edward T. Fell Memorial Scholarship Fund should be sent to: PNC Bank, 6855 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19135, to the attention of Debra Thomas-Meredith, VP Branch Manager. Condolences may be sent to the family, in care of Ed's niece, Clarice Spann, 1748 Scattergood St.  Philadelphia, PA  19124.
What's on the Web?
Many Eastern PA Conference churches welcomed worshippers for Ash Wednesday service Feb. 10 to signify the beginning of Lent, a season of sacrifice and sacred commitment to follow and focus on Christ above all else. Making the sign of the cross with their thumbs, pastors adorned waiting foreheads with symbolic ashes and uttered words of remembrance, repentance and recommitment. So what is meant by this time-honored religious practice? UM News Service writer Joe Iovino interprets for us the words spoken and the important meaning of Ash Wednesday. 
Be sure to read Bishop Peggy Johnson's new Lenten essay, "House Cleaning, Heart Cleansing," written for NEWSpirit. Reflecting on Robert Boyd Munger's book My Heart-Christ's Home , she advises us to clear and recycle the refuse and clutter from our spiritual closets and to seek the cleanliness that is surely next to godliness.
The Easter PA Conference's Health and Healing Council needs just a few minutes of your time. They have designed a short, simple survey questionnaire about health needs and ministries for lay and clergy members to complete by Feb. 22.  You can either complete this Wellness Survey online using their Survey Monkey questionnaire, or you can download, print, fill out and mail in a hard-copy survey form. Use the online survey completion link , or print and use the hard-copy version on their Conference Web page .  With only eight questions, either method should take no more than 5 to10 minutes.   
Praising God in Worship at General Conference
Bishop Peggy Johnson asks us to lift up the ministry of worship, in both music and message, at General Conference 2016 and to pray that it edifies the collective body and each person present. The worship director will be the Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett, a Deacon in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.  
Bishop Young Jin Cho, Episcopal Leader of the UMC's Virginia Conference, delivered a deeply spiritual keynote address at the 2016 Lenten Day Apart for clergy members of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area. 
The Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Men will again sponsor United Methodist Night at the 76ers on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 PM. They're urging churches to come out in force to the Wells Fargo Center to see the Sixers battle the Detroit Pistons. Order your discounted tickets online at the "Methodist" rate, or buy specially priced group tickets directly from the 76ers office.
Latino church needs van for ministry
New Birth (Nuevo Nacimiento) United Methodist Church, a struggling but growing Latino church in Lebanon Pa., needs a 15-passenger van for their transportation ministry. Their old, 1984 van, which they have used for 25 years, no longer works. They are praying for a donation of either a used or new van but are willing to purchase an affordable used one. If you can help them, please contact the Rev. Elena Ortiz at (717) 644-7055 or
Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally set for April 24
The next Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally will happen Sunday, April 24, from 3 to about 7 PM at Hopewell UMC in Downingtown. This 2nd annual rally will feature Todd Waites, an extraordinary one-armed keyboardist for the Christian music group ApologetiX, who often shares with concert audiences his story of how Christ enabled him to overcome adversity. Also appearing will be Hopewell's own #JesusTrending Christian youth band, and presentations from several remarkable youth and young adults. More information to come from David Piltz, Conference Coordinator of Young People's Ministries.  
Basic Training for Worship Planters
Class begins tonight Feb. 12, from 4:30 to 9 PM, for Basic Training for Worship Planters for those who feel called to create new worship services for new people and want to know how. The training at Boehm's UMC (13 W Boehm's Road, Willow Street) continues Saturday, Feb. 13, from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Church-planting coaches Jim and Kim Griffith will teach about identifying people, gathering them together, and planning compelling worship services that move people. Costs, schedule, and registration are online at event is co-sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference, the Southwest District, and Boehm's UMC.
Hopewell offers new Lenten resource
Hopewell UMC's new Lenten small-group Bible study begins next week and is available to all Eastern PA churches free of charge.  Ponderings of the Heart: A Mother's Reflections  featuring seven clergy narrators, considers what the discipleship of Jesus' mother, Mary, means for our lives today.  The study concludes the week following Easter.  To receive a  free  study kit with a DVD, order at ; or contact Hopewell UMC at  610-269-1545 ; or e-mail Deb Boyd at  
Lent, Easter outreach, worship resources available
More resources are available to promote dialogue and discipleship during Lent and Eastertide. Imagine No Malaria Lenten resources feature downloadable materials , including sermon starters, videos, children's messages and a sacrificial giving calendar.  Imagine No Malaria  is a UMC initiative to end malaria.

UM Communications' Rethink Church ministry has new Easter resources for outreach and worship that focus on the search for for meaning and new beginnings. Available in different designs so churches can select messages that best connect to their communities the customizable resources include targeted postcards, door hangers and invitation cards (order by March 1). Also order free social media  graphics and worship materials.

Rethink Church 's national advertising effort will begin March 7 , with the message, "If changing how we think about Easter truly made it a time of new beginnings, that could change everything."  The campaign builds awareness of The United Methodist Church, but it also seeks to support local churches as they reach out with a message of faith and hope. Customized video advertisements are available through March 1.
Black History Month News
Stamp of AME founder unveiled
United Methodists joined others at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia Feb. 2 to celebrate the unveiling of the "Forever" commemorative stamp to honor Bishop Richard Allen (1760-1831), founder and first bishop of the first black Methodist denomination. Among those at the unveiling was the Rev. Fred Day, General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History, who represented his agency and Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson. Read story 
African American Museum to feature freed slaves' records
The African American Museum in Philadelphia will host a Freedmen's Bureau Project event on Thursday, Feb. 18, from 7 to 8 PM.  The project is a volunteer effort to index the records of freed slaves and make them available in a free, searchable, online database. The partnership involves FamilySearch, the world's largest genealogical organization (a service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the National Archives, the Smithsonian, and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. The community is invited to come learn about "unlocking" the histories of freed slaves and bringing stories of millions of Civil War-era African Americans to light. Download and share the flyer .
Delaware governor signs apology for slavery
Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed the state legislature's symbolic resolution Wednesday, Feb. 10, apologizing for the state's role in slavery and the wrongs of the Jim Crow era, thus atoning for nearly two centuries of systemic injustice. The state assembly approved the measure two months ago.
Markell also presented a proclamation recognizing African American History Month and helped unveil an exhibit commemorating the 125th anniversary of historically black Delaware State University. He had earlier called for a pledge "to fix the long legacy of damage that continues to result in inequality and unfair obstacles for countless citizens because of their race." Delaware was a Union state in the Civil War but upheld its right to own slaves until the practice was abolished nationally by  the 13th amendment in 1865.  Learn more...
Read our compilation of observance ideas in  
Why Myths Matter to Americans
What is the difference between history and myth? In what ways do our understandings of history get distorted by racial and cultural prejudices? What role do debates about our nation's origins play in contemporary battles to define who is a "true" American? Arch Street UMC (55 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia) will host a community forum to address those and other questions on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 7 to 8:30 PM. The Rev. David Krueger (Deacon) will discuss his new book Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America. A panel of respondents will add to the discussion:
  • The Rev. James McIntire, pastor of Hope UMC in Havertown;
  • Dr. Jon Pahl, who teaches History of Christianity at The Lutheran Theological Seminary; 
  • Dr. Katie Oxx, who teaches the History of Christianity at St. Joseph's University; and
  • Dr. Nathan Wright, who teaches the Sociology of Religion at Bryn Mawr College.
Give to One Great Hour of Sharing March 6
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) happens Sunday, March 6 . This Special Sunday with offering enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) alleviate human suffering and respond to natural or human-caused disasters across the U.S.  and around the world. Your gifts make it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of donors' gifts for the projects they specify, instead of administration or fundraising. UMCOR does not receive World Service or apportionment funds; so without your offerings, UMCOR would not exist.

Download and share the OGHS
church bulletin , poster , the Pastor and Leader's Kit , and the e-book, " How to Promote One Great Hour of Sharing in Your Congregation."
Southwest District Prayer Post: March 30
The Southwest District will gather members at its General Conference Prayer Post to engage in prayer for the worldwide legislative body on Wednesday, March 30, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, at Ruhl's UMC in Manheim  (4810 Elizabethtown Road). Learn more...
Central District Prayer Post: April 2
The Central District will gather members at its General Conference Prayer Post to engage in prayer for the worldwide legislative body on Saturday, April 2, at 6 PM, in West Lawn UMC's Community Center Main Hall (101 Woodside Ave. Reading). Learn more...
Certified Lay Minister Graduation April 17
All clergy and laity are cordially invited to a service of recognition honoring the Eastern PA Conference Certified Lay Minister Graduates, Spring Class of 2016, on Sunday, April 17, at 3 PM at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Avenue, Reading, PA. Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach.  
Cross-Racial Cross-Cultural Appointments Part II Training: April 23
Location: To Be Determined  Do you serve in a Cross-Racial or Cross-Cultural appointment? Are you a congregational leader serving with a pastor in a Cross-Racial or Cross-Cultural appointment? Then this training is for you. The full-day training continues our fall event and will be facilitated again by our partners at the General Commission on Religion and Race. 
Associate Members & Local Pastors Retreat: April 24-26
The Fellowship Of Associate Members And Local Pastors will hold their annual retreat April 24-26, at Black Rock Retreat Center, 1345 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, PA. Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors and Certified Lay Ministers of both the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences are encouraged to attend and to register online now . The  $275 price includes 2 nights, 5 meals and 2.0 CEUs. For more information contact Mark Beiderman at 610-585-0575.  Download the brochure for a registration form.

The keynote speaker is the Rev. Dr. Charles Yrigoyen Jr., of Lancaster County, the author or editor of 16 books, mostly on Methodism and its founders, the Wesleys. A clergy member of the Eastern PA  Conference since 1960, Chuck has academic degrees from the Wharton School of Business, several local seminaries and Temple University, where he earned a Ph.D. He has served churches in Lancaster County and Philadelphia, was Chaplain and Professor of Religion at Albright College, and led the UMC's General Commission on Archives and History as General Secretary for 24 years. The longtime editor of Methodist History, the denomination's historical journal, he was taught church history at Drew University's Theological and Graduate schools and has also taught at five other area theological seminaries. He presently teaches in the Course of Study program for Wesley Seminary.
Disaster Early Response Team Training: April 30
The Peninsula-Delaware Conference Disaster Response Committee will offer a spring training in Early Response Team (ERT) work for new trainees and others needing recertification. Interested Eastern PA  Conference members are invited to attend the training Saturday, April 30, 8 AM to 5 PM, at Whatcoat UMC, Dover, Del. Clergy CEUs are available. Download the information flyer and registration form  [PDF].

Although not first-responders, ERTs do respond early to disasters, going in to clear, clean and secure damaged homes and to provide other aid to survivors, along with a caring presence, but not to repair or rebuild structures. ERTs work in coordination with Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM). 
Read "Seven 'Fast Facts' about UMCOR Training" now to learn more . Gifts to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response, Advance #901670 , support these training programs, as well as aid in disaster recovery.  
General Conference guide available online
The 2016 General Conference Guide contains helpful information about the denomination's legislative assembly. Along with an overview, special events details and schedules, the 50-page guide also explains the legislative process, highlights major issues and offers basics about United Methodism. Compiled by the Rev. Joan Gray La Barr of Dallas and edited by United Methodist Communications staff, the resource is available as a PDF. Get this resource
Learn about Lent at
Denominational Website offers articles with ideas, stories and resources to help you prepare for the six-week season of Lent. Features include: " Beyond fasting: 10 tips for a more meaningful Lent," where you can find links to other articles as well; " 40 Days of Lent: Find your own spiritual path"; " Lent: A Time to Fast and Pray";  the popular " Lent Quiz: Test your knowledge of the season" and   "FAQs: Lent & Easter,"   which answers questions like "Why do we observe Lent before Easter?" and "Why do people give up sweets or caffeine for Lent?"
Preaching with Power:
UM Night worship to feature Bishop Fisher, new mass choir
Janes Memorial UMC in Philadelphia will host what promises to be a powerful worship experience in sermon and song on Tuesday, March 15,at 7 PM. "Preaching with Power" will feature Bishop Violet L. Fisher (retired) as one of seven guest pulpiteer s for the 2016 Forum on Black Preaching and Theology, sponsored by the Urban Theological Institute of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. The annual forum, March 13-17, will include four days of workshops and worship services with noted African American preachers at several locations. The traditional United Methodist Night worship service, March 15 at Janes Memorial, will feature not only Bishop Fisher but also the new Philadelphia United Methodist Mass Choir, comprising singers from several local, predominantly black UM churches.
"This mass choir calls upon all singers of United Methodist Churches in and around the Philadelphia area to join together in music ministry not only for this event but also for other possible ministry opportunities that God brings our way," writes the Rev. Eric Carr Jr., choir director and also the pastor of Wharton-Wesley UMC. "My prayer is that through this ministry we might form an even greater connectional bond and fellowship while being a great representation of United Methodism." Mass choir rehearsal dates for the March 15 service will be on Tuesdays, Feb. 16, March 1 and March 8 at 6:30 PM, at Wharton-Wesley UMC, and on Feb. 27, at 11 AM, at Mother African Zoar UMC.  Learn more...
Faith-Sharing Seminar speaker to speak to Phila. 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.   
Pray for peace in Syria
The head of the denomination's mission agency is calling on all United Methodists and peace lovers to pray for the efforts to negotiate peace in Syria. Thomas Kemper said the war has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.  Read press release
Listening, discernment sessions in April
The Eastern PA Conference delegation to General and Jurisdictional conferences will sponsor in April four Listening Sessions. titled A Time for Listening and Discernment. The sessions are offered every four years in preparation for General Conference to hear from members of the annual conference about their concerns and to clarify understanding about proposed legislation coming before the global legislative gathering. The dates of sessions to choose from are:
  • Monday, April 11, from 7 to 9 PM, at Wesley UMC in Bethlehem;
  • Saturday, April 16, from 10 AM to 12 noon, at Simpson House in Philadelphia;
  • Wednesday, April 20, from 7 to 8:30 PM, at Church of the Good Shepherd in Lebanon; and
  • A telephone conference call-in session on Saturday, April 23, from 9 to 10:30 AM.
Information regarding arrangements, resolutions and guidelines for the sessions will be published prior to the sessions in conference and district newsletters and on the conference Website .
Follow United Methodist news on Facebook and Twitter
Want to follow developments as the 2016 General Conference approaches? You can find the latest news on the UMNS Facebook page and Twitter feed.
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New Conference committee leaders needed. Nominations by Feb. 15 
The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is seeking resourceful and committed persons who have vision, leadership skills and a passion to serve on Conference boards, committees and ministries for the 2016-2020 Quadrennium.  The EPC  Nominations Committee requests that you indicate your willingness to serve or nominate other possible leaders.  More information and forms at . The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15.

All persons who want to serve or recommend someone for service must submit an online Leadership and Service Interest Form or contact the Nominations Committee directly by Feb. 15. All potential nominees will be contacted before making any commitment to serve. Learn more and download the Brochure and mail-in form, "Ways to Serve. " Also see the Descriptions of Conference Committees & Agencies.
Annual Sistas' Tea About HIV 
March is National Women's History Month and March 10 is National Women & Girl's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The H.U.B. of Hope, a multi-faith HIV/AIDS Ministry affiliated with the Eastern PA Conference, will convene its 5th Annual Sistas Tea about HIV for women and girls over age 14 on Saturday, March 12, from 2 to 4 PM, at Milestone Events, 600 E. Market Street in West Chester. The program will feature guest speakers, table decorations and prizes, music and dance. Free rapid HIV Testing will be offered from 1 to 3:30 PM by the Chester County Health Department. Tickets ($8.75 per person or $70 for a table of 8) are available from the UM Church of the Open Door, 210 S. Broad Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348; Attn: Rev. Dr. Deborah Tanksley-Brown. See and share the event flyer. 
Register now for Faith-Sharing Seminar, March 19
Register now to attend the Eastern PA Conference's 4th Annual Faith Sharing Seminar March 19, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at New Hanover UMC, 2211 Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville, PA 19525. Bring a team of your church and community leaders to hear the Rev. Romal Tune, a dynamic, daring, faith-inspired speaker, movement leader and author. The pre-registration deadline is March 3, and the cost is only $10 per personLearn more...
Ads sought for NEJ Conference Program Book
The Eastern PA Conference is soliciting ads for a souvenir program booklet it will publish for the UMC Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 11-15, which we will host at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square in Lancaster, Pa. A letter of invitation and ad submission form, offering various ad sizes and prices, was e-mailed widely today, with an April 30 deadline for submissions. Proceeds from advertising space purchases will help fund two United Methodist mission causes and help cover conference costs. The mission causes are: the Imagine No Malaria campaign, the denomination's effort to eradicate a disease that has taken countless lives especially among children in Africa; and LUMINA, Lancaster United Methodist Inner-City Alliance, which serves individuals, families, and youth. Learn more...
2016  Changing Racism Training Events
Two Changing Racism Training Events will be held in 2016,  April 1 - 3 and  Oct. 28-30,  both at the  new location,  the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.  Register online . The cost is $300.
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!
Please Save These Dates! 
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
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