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February 19, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson Announces New Appointments & Retirements:

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

Central District
  • Rev. Gary Nicholson (Elder), from full-time Northwest District Superintendent to full-time Lansdale: Christ UMC (Senior Pastor)
East District
  • Steven McComas, Elder, from Hatboro: Lehman Memorial to Pipersville: Rolling Hills as Retired Supply.
  • J. William Lentz, Elder, from Lafayette Hill: Messiah (Central District) to Hatboro: Lehman Memorial as Senior Pastor
Health & Healing Council needs your input by Feb. 22
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 go to the  Conference Webpage   to download, print, fill out and mail in the survey form to Nancy Kraft, RN, 34 Kraft Lane, Schuylkill Haven PA  17972. Your answers can help promote health, healing, and wellness in our churches and communities. 
Phila. interfaith coalition to launch suburban wing
The Philadelphia interfaith social justice coalition POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild) will inaugurate a suburban wing known as POWER Metro this Sunday, Feb. 21. The "founding convention" will happen from 3 to 5 PM at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1000 Main St., Lansdale. Leaders from many houses of worship, including churches, mosques and synagogues, will gather as one non-partisan voice for socio-economic change in their communities.

The Rev. Jeffrey Tatgenhorst, pastor of St. Luke UMC in Bryn Mawr, has been working to invite more UM churches to participate. He will help chair the convention. POWER Metro will address statewide concerns about public education funding and the need for a higher minimum wage to Gov. Tom Wolf and legislators in Montgomery County. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend the convention. Please let Tatgenhorst know if you plan to attend. Find more information about POWER Metro and the issues they are addressing on their Website . Also download and share this event flyer.  Learn more...  
Deadline Extended! Still seeking a few good leaders
The deadline has been extended to March 1 to receive urgently needed nominations for leaders to serve on annual conference boards, councils and committees. The conference's Nominating Committee must find the best leadership to serve this conference for the next four years. They will accept Interest Forms from laity and clergy in every district who are interested in serving. Nominees who accept will be voted on for the next quadrennium by the 2016 Annual Conference and will begin their four-year terms of service July 1. Visit the Nominations Committee Webpage  for more information, the Nomination Form, and descriptions of the various committees, etc. Nominations may also be submitted online .  
Advance Special Mission Project application
for 2016-2017
The 2016 application for Annual Conference approval as an Advance Special mission project for 2016-2017 should be completed and submitted to the Rev. David Davis, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, by no later than March 15. Pastors, project coordinators, agency directors and missions leaders may submit applications.

Ministries, agencies or programs should represent our conference's overall goals of calling people to Christ, nurturing discipleship, developing leadership, dismantling racism and poverty, and seeking justice. Also, they must have policies in place to prevent and address sexual harassment, as well as clearances for staff and volunteers according to the Safe Sanctuaries policies of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
Intro to Live Streaming Worship

Watch the Webinar, "Quick and Dirty Intro to Live Streaming Worship" Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 to 8 PM. This session will provide an overview of how to live stream church services and events. Discussion will include necessary hardware, hospitality issues (including chat rooms), and whether to upload print content. Practical Resources for Churches, an ecumenical group, presents this webinar. Details

Discussion guide available for 'Vital Conversations'
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race presents a discussion guide to go along with its "Vital Conversations" video series. The Rev. Dianne Glave of the Western Pennsylvania Conference wrote "Vital Conversations on Realities of Race and Racism: A Guide to Small-group Discussions" about the video series.  See guide and related videos
Center honors black United Methodists' history
MADISON, N.J. ( -The African American Methodist Heritage Center is preserving the story of the African Americans who stayed, despite hardships, with what became The United Methodist Church. The center appeals to churches and families to  donate items to the African American Heritage Center , so the stories of those who built the church will remain alive for future generations. Featured in the YouTube video are scenes from UMCom's historical videos about Mother African Zoar and Tindley Temple UMCs and comments from the Rev. Fred Day, Eastern PA Conference clergy member and head of the General Commission on Archives and History. Watch video 
Hopewell men to discuss ethics over breakfast
Hopewell UMC's Man to Man Ministries presents breakfast with Aaron Beam, a former health industry top executive who was jailed because of illegal business practices but now speaks and writes about ethics, on Saturday, March 19, 8:30 AM. Beam will speak at Hopewell UMC, 852 Hopewell Road Downingtown, on "Why it is so hard to do the right thing!" The topic addresses the issue of ethics and the things that can hinder one from following them. Register online for this free event at . View the flyer and a video .
Camp & Retreat centers are ministry in motion
Our four conference-owned Camp & Retreat Centers are accepting registrations for Summer Camp 2016, as well as applications for staff and volunteers. The 2016 theme is God's Love without Boundaries .

But we've still got plenty of excitement happening during these winter and  spring months. From n ow  through May, our camps are hosting: Pocono Plateau's Confirmation Class this weekend and its upcoming Music Camp; Innabah's 5K Trail Run and Easter Egg Hunt; Gretna Glen's Winter and Spring Blast retreats and annual Mud Run; and Carson-Simpson Farm Christian Camp's Disciple training for young leaders.
And there are more retreats galore: for boys and dads, moms and daughters, youth, young adults, even women with creative hearts in need of renewal, and much more. Look for more information and dates on our Website, and visit the individual Camp & Retreat Center's Websites too.

Meanwhile, Gretna Glen will try something new the weekend of March 11-13: an intentional Diversity Retreat to help UM youth in grades 8 to 12 develop cross-racial, cross-cultural encounters while building "beloved community." They'll explore their unique backgrounds and common interests while enjoying fun activities, group fellowship, diverse worship experiences and special foods. The cost for the full weekend including two nights and five meals (from 7 PM Friday to 2 PM Sunday) is $110.  Scholarship help is available.  Register directly on the Gretna Glen website at . Contact Gretna Glen at 717-273-5625 or Carlen Blackstone at for more information.
Beyond Fasting: Ideas for a more meaningful Lent
Lent is a season of self-reflection and examining your relationship with God. In this resource,  "Beyond Fasting: 10 Tips For A More Meaningful Lent,"  learn different ways  of observing Lent that can add more personal meaning beyond simply fasting or giving up something you enjoy. You can serve someone in need, apologize to someone, and visit those in prison or shut-in due to illness. Take your Lenten observance to another level by acknowledging what the Scriptures qualify as true worship and fasting in  Isaiah 58 .
Also, browse through more Lenten resources, including devotions, sermon starters, and books from Cokesbury, Upper Room, Rethink Church, and Imagine No Malaria.
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  
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
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...
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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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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