February 19, 2021
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following appointments & assignments effective July 1, 2021, unless otherwise stated:
West District
  • Rev. Janet Saddel (Elder) from Lancaster: First to Lebanon: Church of the Good Shepherd, full-time.
  • Rev. Elaine Bortman (Retired Elder) from New Holland: Rancks, full-time, to New Holland: Rancks, half-time.
  • Rev. Thomas Fries (Retired Elder) from Leola, full-time, to Leola, half-time.

East District
  • Rev. Barbara Seekford (Elder) from Yardley UMC to New Berlinville: St. Andrew UMC, full-time.
Bishop Johnson one of 16 U.S. bishops planning to retire
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson has announced her plans to retire after the Northeastern Jurisdictional (NEJ) Conference. “I have prayerfully considered this decision,” Bishop Johnson wrote in an open letter Feb. 13, “and I feel that it is in the best interest of the church and my family not to take another episcopal assignment in order to continue serving until 2024 (my mandatory retirement date).”

Johnson is one of 16 U.S. bishops who plan to retire as soon as possible or already have taken on new roles with the Council of Bishops, according to UM News. That total is more than a third of the UMC’s 46 active U.S. bishops. The UM Council of Bishops has urged General and Jurisdictional conference delegates to elect no U.S. bishops until 2024. Learn more...  

Read Bishop Peggy Johnson’s letter announcing her plans to retire.
A national focus in February on teen dating violence
President Joseph Biden has continued a recent, annual tradition with a White House Proclamation that observes February 2021 as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Announced Feb. 3, the proclamation reads in part:

This February, during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we stand with those who have known the pain and isolation of an abusive relationship, and we recommit to ending the cycle of teen dating violence that affects too many of our young people. Together, it’s on all of us to raise the national awareness about teen dating violence and promote safe and healthy relationships…. Read More
Lay Servant Ministers to gather on Zoom Feb. 23
Eastern PA Conference Lay Servant Ministers will gather for fellowship and information-sharing on a Zoom call Feb. 23, 7 to 8:30 PM, hosted by George Hollich, Conference Director of Christ Servant Ministries (CSM), and Judy Ehninger, Coordinator of the Certified Lay Ministry (CLM) training program.

“It goes without saying that our way of life has changed over these past 11 months,” wrote the two leaders in an invitation letter. “The challenges presented to those of us involved in Lay Servant Ministry have been numerous.”

Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries, will join the group conversation, as participants share what is happening in their churches and ministries and how they can best support each other in their “ongoing journeys.”

To learn about the Christ Servant Ministry visit the website www.ChristServantMinistries.net. Judy Ehninger, Coordinator can be reached at ehninger@ptd.net or 610-965-2209.  
UMC bishops offer Lenten Season Devotions
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church offer a weekly devotion during the Lenten season which begins this week. Each Wednesday during Lent and every day during Holy Week, a 15-minute recorded devotion, led by a bishop and leaders from their episcopal areas will be released. 

“We are offering this Lenten Devotion Series on Dismantling Racism in the hope that the church can engage in honest reflection about the realities of racism, colonialism and tribalism. All of these sins persist in the church, our local communities and the world. Lent is the time to humbly acknowledge this reality, to pray, to learn and ultimately work to reshape our world as it is in heaven,” noted Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Annual Conference, who chairs the Council’s Task Force to End Racism. Learn more...
LEARNING EVENTS
Dismantling Racism II to explore Latinx experience with racism
The Conference’s next Dismantling Racism—Level 2 training event will explore “The Hispanic/Latino (Latinx) Experience—Racism: the Struggle is Real! All are invited to participate in what should be a fascinating, three-hour webinar on Zoom, on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 AM to noon. Register online now!
 
Sponsored by the Conference’s Healing the Wounds of Racism Core Team, this timely seminar will feature several experts who will offer diverse cultural, social, historical and personal perspectives on the racial experiences of Latinx people and the intersection with their faith and religion.

Invited speakers are:


The Rev. Irving Cotto, a pastor and co-chairman of the Conference’s Latino Commission, and the Rev. Alicia Julia-Stanley, a pastor who co-chairs the Conference Commission on Religion and Race, will co-host the webinar. Register online now!
MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
A global virtual visit to orphans via Zoom    
The Rev. Wendy Bellis invites other churches and members to join Morrisville UMC in a global, online “Vision Mission Trip,” a virtual visit to orphans in three countries through the convenience of Zoom. The orphans are served by Zoe Empowers, a multinational mission supported by United Methodists through UM Global Ministries Advance (Advance Project #982023). Bellis calls it “a great organization.”
 
“We equip orphans with tools and training to overcome life-threatening poverty for good,” is Zoe Empowers’ mission statement. Morrisville UMC sponsors an orphan group of nearly 80 children in Liberia through Zoe, a Greek name meaning “Life” that is found in the Bible. The organization helps empowers destitute orphans and their siblings, living on the streets, by shepherding them through a three-year process of self-development that nurtures their independence and faith.
 
Zoe Empowers started as a relief mission responding to the 2004 HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa that left hundreds of thousands of children without one or both parents. Zoe began in Zimbabwe and then moved to other countries, providing food, medicines and activities for orphaned children through schools, churches and government entities. It then was inspired to focus more on helping children gain life and labor skills to eventually care for themselves.
 
“We are sponsoring a vision and mission trip, through Zoom, where we connect to an orphan group from one country a day for three days,” said Bellis in her invitation. “So, pack your bags for a virtual trip to Liberia, Kenya, and India! Glimpse the kingdom of God with orphaned and vulnerable children around the world lifting themselves permanently out of poverty.” Learn more…
Four missionaries to continue #StillInMission virtual visits, March 4
Join other mission-minded members to explore the transforming work of UM missionaries serving around the world. The UMC’s Global Ministries agency will host virtual itineration visits with four of its missionaries in the next #StillInMission episode (#28) on Zoom, on Thursday, March 4, at 1 PM.  

Hear briefly from all four mission personnel, and then learn more details from any one of them in a breakout group. Find out more at www.umcmission.org.

  • Anaclet Ndayikunda is a Social Educator with the Methodist Foundation for Social & Cultural Action in Brazil.
  • Kenneth Nkando serve as the Mission Financial Officer & VIM Coordinator for the East Angola Annual Conference in Angola.
  • Tendai Manyeza is a medical doctor with the UMC’s General Hospital in Kissy, Sierra Leone.
  • Nan McCurdy is Director of Training, Promotion, & Interpretation at Give Ye Them to Eat in Mexico.
 
Registration is limited. A confirmation is emailed once a registration is accepted. This event is free.
RESOURCES
Applications open for ecumenical course
BOGIS-BOSSEY, Switzerland — Applications are now open for a new online course offered by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. The course, titled "Together Towards Unity. Being Church in a Fragmented World," runs April 5-June 12. Deadline to apply is March 1.
AROUND THE UM CONNECTION
Churches serve as warming centers, shelters
United Methodist churches scrambled to open as warming centers and overnight shelters with historic winter storms having left nearly 3 million homes in Texas without electricity in subfreezing temperatures.

“We’ve been saying for the last year, during the pandemic, that the church is not the building, yet the building is what people need in terms of having shelter,” said the Rev. Clayton Oliphint, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas. His church and others — across Texas as well as Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri — offered people a place to warm up, charge devices and get something to eat.

The weather emergency has coincided with Ash Wednesday and kept some churches from having drive-thru events where clergy administer ashes. Other churches had planned to have an in-person Ash Wednesday service — with limited, spaced seating because of the pandemic — but had to go to online only. Learn more…
African group opposes denomination split
JALINGO, Nigeria — Africa Voice of Unity, a group of United Methodist clergy and laity from different annual conferences in Africa, has issued a statement opposing any breakup of The United Methodist Church. Read statement
Traditionalists urge protocol be taken up
An international coalition of traditionalist leaders announced its continued support for the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation. The coalition also urged that the Commission on the General Conference, working with the Council of Bishops, find a way for General Conference to take up the protocol legislation as soon as possible. The Commission on the General Conference is meeting Feb. 20Read coalition statement (PDF)  Read WCA release
Backers of Christmas Covenant launch website
HARARE, Zimbabwe — An international group of church leaders has launched a website to answer questions and offer testimonials about the Christmas Covenant, the first major restructuring proposal to originate in the central conferences — church regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines. The legislation aims to transform central conferences into regional conferences and create a U.S. regional conference. Read press release  See website
REMINDERS
Readers flock to CDT's new book study of Caste
On Feb. 23 Eastern PA Conference members—nearly 90 so far—will dig together into a fascinating, possibly cathartic new book that unearths the skeletons of America’s racial caste system through keen social analysis and evocative storytelling. The timing couldn’t be better for the Conference Congregational Development Team’s next CDT Book Club selection: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (2020), the celebrated new “masterpiece” by writer Isabel Wilkerson.
 
As Christians enter the holy wilderness season of Lent, seeking self-discovery, renewal and repentance for sin, much of America is experiencing a new awakening to its lasting legacy of racial injustice. That sinful legacy is founded upon centuries of systemic prejudice and subjugation against people of color, the depth of which many White people are only now becoming aware. Wilkerson examines the unspoken caste system of race that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
 
For five weeks on Tuesdays, Feb. 23 to March 23, at 11 AM to noon, CDT Book Club participants will read and discuss what critics have described as a “masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America” with “an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people.” An interracial team—the Revs. Alicia Julia-Stanley, who co-chairs CORR, Victor Gimenez and Tamie Scalise, a member of CORR and the Whites Confronting Racism group—will co-facilitate the dialogue sessions. Learn more…
Online Tools for Ministry coming March 13
The Eastern PA Conference’s 2021 Tools for Ministry, March 13, from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, will make history by being totally online for the first time, rather than being held in onsite district locations. Offering virtual classrooms on Zoom for this annual, half-day academy of learning for church leaders is yet another way the Conference is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming required social-distancing restrictions against large gatherings. 

Ironically, that adaptation is bearing fruit in allowing the Conference to offer a cornucopia of 35 diverse, online courses taught by expert faculty, all for a nominal registration fee of only $5. Visit the online information page and register today. Also, download the flyer and the full brochure with workshop descriptions. Learn more…
Church & Society webinar: Justice Talks —A Look Ahead
Join the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, for a special conversation about our United Methodist witness on Capitol Hill. Church and Society leaders will discuss how we are advocating for peace and justice in a changing landscape. Wednesday, Feb 24, at 4 PM. Register for this free event. Learn more…  Please submit any questions to: gbcszoom@umcjustice.org
Worship leadership, liturgy course offered online
The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary will offer a new, online, six-class course, Introduction to Worship Leadership and Liturgical Practices, April 10 to May 15

Taught by the Rev. Marty Kuchma, this class will prepare worship leaders to plan, prepare, and practice congregational worship, rites, and rituals, especially baptisms, weddings and funerals/memorial services.

Five classes will meet on Saturdays from 10 AM to noon. One class will meet on Thursday, May 6 from 6-8 PM. Earn 2.5 CEUs. The cost: $325, all inclusive. Register now! The Rev. Darryl Stephens, PhD,, a Lancaster Theological Seminary faculty member and chair of the Eastern PA Conference Order of Deacons, is director of the academy. 
Black History Month resources available
NEW YORK — United Methodist Women has put together a list and links to church resources for observing Black History Month, including prayers, worship resources and a United Methodist Black History Quiz. See resources Take quiz
Reflecting on racial injustice for Lent
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — A study course to help dismantle racism is offered by Bishop Hee-Soo Jung of the Wisconsin Conference. "Together in Christ: A Lenten Study on Beloved Community" includes eight sessions of prayers, lessons and discussion questions. Read curriculum (PDF)
Free video study on talking about faith, race in your church
Moving Faith Communities to Fruitful Conversations about Race is a dialogue about race in America and may be used to help your church bring people together to talk about moving forward bravely and boldly in the name of Christ. The resource is divided into four 15-minute videos which may be used in one or more sessions. From the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Watch now.
Scholarships available for UM students
The March 1 deadline is fast approaching for students to submit applications for scholarships from the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. Applicants must be members of The United Methodist Church and planning to attend a United Methodist-related school full-time for the 2021-22 school year. Read press release. To apply
Celebrating Methodist Mission at 200
Two years ago, the UMC's Global Ministries agency began its celebration of the 200th anniversary of organized mission in what is now the UMC.

Methodist Mission at 200: Serving Faithfully Amid the Tensions commemorates this bicentennial and invites reflection on mission past—positive steps and missteps—and consideration of present and mission future. It is edited by former general secretary Thomas Kemper and Dr. David W. Scott, director of mission theology. Order now
Denman Award Nominations due by March 5
Eastern PA Conference, The United Methodist Church
Congregational Development Team (CDT)
Evangelism in the midst of COVID…

Psalm 89:37 reminds us of the faitful witnessing of the moon, the most visibly celestial reflector of light God created. The church is the same in the eyes of God. Our light–the light of the church–is to be a reflective witness of the love and grace of God.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Harry Denman Evangelism Award, which honors United Methodists engaged in the exceptional ministry of Evangelism.

…Evangelism is expressed in Word (what), Sign (why) and Deed (how). It is the very act of bringing people into life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our conference joins the Foundation for Evangelism in recognizing:
  • one Youth member,
  • one Clergy member,
  • one Lay member.

To learn more about the award or to download nomination forms visit Denman Evangelism Award page of the Foundation of Evangelism website. Or visit the Congregational Development page of the Eastern PA Conference website.

Download nomination forms, complete and e-mail them by March 5 to Suzette James at suezyq@earthlink.net. Or mail them to the Eastern PA Conference, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482, in care of Suzette James. All nominations must be received no later than March 5 to be considered for the 2021 awards. The presentation of Denman Awards will be video-recorded March 27 and shown during the Annual Conference session May 21.

Rev. Lloyd Spears and Suzette James, CSM, Co-Chairpersons, CDT
Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director, Connectional Ministries

New Paycheck Protection Program resources
With a fresh round of U.S. Paycheck Protection Program loans available, United Methodist financial leaders have updated information for ministries considering applying. The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, and Wespath Benefits & Investments, the denomination's pensions agency, answer frequently asked questions. Read FAQ Read guidance for loan-forgiveness applications
Character Matters: North District's new Lenten Bible study is available now
The North District’s new Lenten Bible Study, titled Character Matters, is ready and available for use. The Rev. Steve Morton, District Superintendent, developed and produced the eight-session, multi-media resource. It includes video presentations featuring district Elders, plus worksheets and a leader’s guide, all available on the North District’s website. Bishop Peggy Johnson also recorded a special Easter message to culimate the series.

The videos can be accessed online or mailed to those who request them as stored media on a jump drive or DVD. Use the flyer to promote the study to your congregation and share it with others. Questions? Contact District Resource Assistant Deb Boyd with any questions. Download the flyer.
UMC program livestreams weekly talks on Black Church 'resilience'
The UMC’s Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Initiative (SBC21) is honoring Black History Month with a series of discussions livestreamed on Monday nights at 7 PM on its Facebook page. “Resilience: The Staying Power of the Black Church” is the series title. Future topics during February (Mondays at 7 PM) will focus on the Black Church and...: Activism; Political Power; and Economic Strategies to Empower Underserved and Marginalized Communities.
CE youth ministry workshop on Zoom, Feb. 24
Longtime youth ministry leader Christian Endeavor (CE) will host its Intentional NextGen Discipleship Workshop on Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and it invites Eastern PA Conference youth leaders and ministers to attend. The 90-minute session begins at 12 PM. Dave Coryell, an ordained Deacon, is executive director of the Gilbertsville, PA-based organization. CE says:

This workshop specifically equips people to make discipleship more than programs and events. You will capture a vision for inspiring the next generation to live for Christ daily and gain an intentional system to make this happen. You will be taught how to apply this process in your local setting while intentionally caring for the spiritual vitality of yourself and other adults on your ministry team. Learn more...
"Reclaiming and Living Covenant," a new adult Lenten study published by the Baltimore-Washington Conference, is a deep dive into biblical covenant and hope that can lead to reconnecting relationships. That's according to its two authors, who say the study is designed to help people on their spiritual journey toward Easter. Read story
‘Come to the Water’ 
Baptism photos, videos sought for Annual Conference
With the theme “Come to the Water,” the Eastern PA Conference’s Connectional Ministries will celebrate the ministry of baptism and confirmation in our Annual Conference in 2021. We would love to share photos, videos and stories of church baptisms and confirmations, if permitted by the families involved, as part of our celebration at Annual Conference and throughout the year.  

If you have or can obtain photos or videos of baptisms or confirmations performed by your church, please share them with us. Send them to our NEWSpirit Communications office at communications@epaumc.org. Photos of confirmation classes on Zoom are welcome, too.  

A selection of submitted baptism and confirmation photos and video scenes received by April 5 may be used in our Connectional Ministries video report to Annual Conference on May 21. Others may be used throughout 2021 in ongoing promotion of our theme “Come to the Water.” Learn more…
Virtual Urban Summit 2021, April 24 & May 1  
The Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission will sponsor its next Virtual Urban Summit with “Kick-off Events” on two Saturdays, April 24 and May 1, 10 AM to 12:15 PM on Zoom. With the theme “God Has Not Left Our Cities,” the two-day event will include a Virtual Urban Youth Summit and precede a series of three mini-Urban Summits being planned for later in the year. 

The main summit will feature “dynamic presenters who will share their abundant wisdom, energy and experiences to help stir up our gifts and passion for radical, innovative urban ministry,” say event planners. The Youth Summit will “tackle hard facts with faith and strategies in a town hall summit addressing issues of violence, trauma, substance abuse, and other concerns. They will create new ways to become peer advocates and birth innovative youth ministries.” A healing service will involve adults and youth serving in healing ministries in urban communities. 

Presenters confirmed include the Revs. Rudy Rasmus, Joseph Daniels, Myra Maxwell and Rashawn Clark. Breakout groups will explore an array of urban concerns and ministry opportunities.

The Summit is being planned for pastors, laity, deacons, youth, district superintendents, missioners, and other persons interested in Urban Ministry and being in ministry with the poor. A series of mini-Urban Summits on Zoom will follow in July, September and November 2021. A flyer and registration page will be published online next week.
This Holy Mystery: UM Study of Holy Communion   
The Eastern PA Conference Board of Ordained Ministry offers a new study of Holy Communion led by the Revs. Candy LaBar and Gary Knerr, in two sessions on Zoom: Saturday, April 24, 9:00-11:30 AM and Saturday, May 8, 9:00-11:30 AM
 
This Holy Mystery: A UM Study of Holy Communion, via Zoom, is designed to help all church leaders -- and in particular, licensed local pastors and lay-supply pastors -- to wrestle with this theological foundation of Holy Communion. 
 
To participate, individuals should read Gayle Carlton Felton's book This Holy Mystery (available at cokesbury.com), including Wesley's sermon, “On the Duty of Constant Communion” (in the workbook). The registration deadline is Tuesday April 6. 0.5 CEUs will be offered to those who complete this course. You must participate in BOTH classes as they will not be recorded. Register today. Learn more…
Free GCORR small-group resource for Lent
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) has a free Lenten resource to help small groups grow closer to God. Roll Down, Justice!, a Lenten Biblical reflection written by Faye Wilson, features music and reflections by Mark Miller and poses the following questions to believers: 
  • What are you prepared to give in order to have a closer walk with God?
  • What can you give in order to embrace anew the work of justice?

Miller has written a collection of songs, lyrics, and music, which remind us of the work we each have to do to “seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Roll Down, Justice! is based on six songs in a book/CD set. The songs are offered as six videos, each with a study guide. Learn more…
Using hashtags effectively for engagement
Hashtags, those words or phrases with a tic-tac-toe symbol at the front, are where social engagement happens. The goal is to capture the theme or idea behind an event or topic in one or two words. The Rev. Jeremy Steele, associate pastor at Los Altos United Methodist Church, offers some best practices. Read tips
Saving Grace offers guide on personal finances
Wespath Benefits and Investments and the United Methodist Publishing House have released "Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being," a new personal money-management curriculum guided by Wesleyan values that seeks to promote financial wellness with clergy and laity. Resources are available through the Publishing House's online platform, AmplifyMedia.com. They also can be purchased on Cokesbury.com and Amazon.com. Read press release To see videos To order Saving Grace curriculum
UMCom scholarship, fellowship, apply by March 15
Persons interested in pursuing a career in religious communications can receive higher education support from United Methodist Communications. March 15 is the application deadline for a UMCom scholarship and fellowship. 

“We believe it is vital to have professional communicators who reflect the diversity of the global United Methodist Church,” shares Gary Henderson, UMCom’s Chief Relationship Officer. “Our fellowship and scholarship...provide critical training and experience for people interested in serving the church in this way.” The agency’s annual financial assistance options include:
  • The $6,000 Stoody-West Fellowship assists one United Methodist student in their post-graduate study at an accredited U.S. college or university who intends on pursuing a career in religious journalism. 
  • The $2,500 Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Racial Ethnic Minority Students is awarded to an ethnic minority UM undergraduate pursuing religion journalism or mass communications at an accredited U.S. college or university. 

Details and application information are available at www.ResourceUMC.org in the Communications section.  
The federal government’s new PPP2 loans are available first to applicants, including churches, who did not receive a PPP1 loan last year. But eligibility for the aid will expand soon for churches that have already received PPP1 grants and can demonstrate a 25 percent decline in their “gross receipts” in at least one 2020 quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2019. Learn more...
2020 Statistical Reports due April 30
The Conference Treasurer’s Office e-mailed its Statistical Reports letter to churches this week, Completed reports are due by April 30, using the EZRA Data Management System of the UMC’s General Board of Finance and Administration at http://ezra.gcfa.org. Each church’s online username is its six-digit GCFA ID Number, which can be found on its monthly remittance statement or its 2019 Statistical Report. 
 
There is one username per church; but more than one person can enter data by using the same password. For a password, type in “stat2020” (without quotation marks), using all lowercase and no spaces. Churches should contact their District Office if they need assistance . Learn More
New Houses of Worship Security Self-Assessment Tool
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides this Houses of Worship Security Self-Assessment Tool. Prepared by the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), it is a security planning resource useful for church facilities. This tool along with other faith-based resources are located on the Faith Based Organization-Houses of Worship (FBO-HOW) resource page,  Learn more…
Living with faith and doubt
Does being faithful mean being doubtless? The Rev. Brian McLaren talks on the Compass Podcast about his new book "Faith After Doubt." The podcast is a ministry of United Methodist Communications aimed at reaching spiritual seekers. Listen to podcast
Easter outreach resources available for churches
Many people in your community will be searching for a place to find renewal and hope this Easter. United Methodist Communications sells a wide variety of customizable outreach resources to invite people to church, including postcards, banners and digital tools. Use code “UMCEA21” to receive $150 off an order.  To order
Vanco now offers software for child care
Vanco, a digital-giving platform for churches, has acquired Smartcare, a provider of software specifically for child care centers. Vanco is part of the General Council on Finance and Administration's ministry partner program for churches. Read press release
Conference prayer ministry inspires weekly communal sharing
The Eastern PA Conference’s weekly prayer meetings on Zoom continue on Tuesdays at noon, with participants sharing the honors of leading the half-hour sessions. The Rev. David Piltz, Coordinator of Youth & Young Adults Ministries, started the ministry last April as the COVID-19 pandemic became more daunting, taking a growing toll on many lives through infections, deaths and social distancing.

Each week's sharing of personal joys and concerns, followed by intercessory prayers, seems to offer a communal balm of spiritual healing and hopefulness for some participants. The online gatherings have drawn as many as several dozen attendees.  Learn more...
Conference Leadership Opportunities for all!
The Conference Leadership Committee asks all clergy and lay members to use this Leadership and Service Interest Form to indicate how and where they are willing to serve on. Learn more...
Advance Special application deadline March 5
Now is the time for eligible ministries to submit applications for approval as Eastern PA Conference Advance Specials for 2021-2022. Approved applications must be submitted as a special resolution to the May 2021 Annual Conference for a vote. Please complete the application and return it electronically to Deaconess Barbara Drake at bedrake15@aol.com. The deadline is March 5. Download: 2021 Advance Special Application.  
 
See the roster of 2019-2020 Conference Advance Specials approved by the 2019 Annual Conference. There were no projects approved in 2020. Conference Advance Specials is a missional stewardship program of second-mile giving by generous churches, groups and individuals to support primarily local ministries. Churches that want to give to support Conference Advance Specials should first fulfill their primary connectional stewardship commitments to the conference and general church by remitting apportioned funds and direct bill payments.
Church and Society Ethnic Young Adult internship
Apply today for the summer Ethnic Young Adult Internship Program! Do you know a young person who wants to put their faith in action? Apply by March 1. Program runs from June 5-July 31. The Ethnic Young Adult Internship (EYA) program is for young justice seekers willing to unpack their faith and identity while working with an organization engaged in addressing social injustices. 

Interns are placed with advocacy, public policy, nonprofit and grassroots organizations where they work four days a week. They engage in weekly seminars designed to explore a wide variety of social issues, while also learning about the UMC’s history of pursuing social holiness. 
Visit our Local Church Resources webpage
Do you find yourself wondering where you can obtain a 501(c)3 letter? Clergy W-2s? Various other bits of information that is crucial for churches? Look no further than the Local Church Resources page under the Administration tab on the EPA website and you can answer these questions.
Let's stay connected. Send us your newsletters
Please add our Communications Office to your church newsletter's digital and/or print mailing lists. We find much of our news in church newsletters (when we find time to read them), and we try to report local church news and events as much as possible. (We also love seeing Conference news reported in your newsletters. Thanks!) However, we want to receive only your church newsletters please, not other e-mailed church announcements. Thanks!
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
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 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
February.
  • February 13: Connectional Table Meeting (on Zoom)
  • Feb. 16, 23 & March 2, 9, 16, 23: CDT Book Club Discussions on Caste, Tuesdays 11 AM to noon,
  • February 27: Dismantling Racism Level II. Further details TBA.

March
  • March 5: Deadline for AC2021 Resolutions
  • March 5-6: Advanced Sexual Ethics: Ministry with Sex Offenders. Friday from 6:30 - 8 PM, and Saturday from 9 AM to 12 Noon. Via Zoom. Register.
  • March 9: Bivocational & Small Church Network 2nd Meeting
  • March 13: Tools for Ministry. Download the flyer. Register.
  • March 18: State of the Black Church Meeting (with Pen-Del Conference)

April
  • April 16-18: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.
  • April 24 & May 1: Urban Summit. April 24th from 10 AM – 12 noon and May 1st from 10 AM - 12 Noon for Adults. May 1st from 12 Noon - 2 PM for the Urban Youth Summit.

May
  • May 1: "Relating with Clergy Spouses" workshop by Artos. From 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM on Zoom. Download the flyer. Register.
  • May 2: CONAM Spring Learning & Fellowship Event (Zoom)
  • May 15: Latino Holy Convocation and Assembly
  • May 15: Clergy Transition Workshop led by Dave Woolverton.9 AM - 11 AM via Zoom meeting. Download the flyer.  Register.
  • May 20 - 22: 2021 Annual Conference 

June
  • June 5: Cross Cultural Cross Racial Training for New CR/CC Appointments. 9 AM - 12:30 PM, via Zoom Meeting. Register.

August
  • August 6 - 8: Laity Academy

October
  • October 15 & 16: Domestic Violence Workshop. Friday October 15 from 7 PM – 9 PM & Saturday October 16th from 9 AM – 12 PM. Further details TBA.
  • Oct. 23:  Faith Sharing Evangelism Training w/ Olu Brown
  • Oct. 29 - Nov 1: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403