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February 26, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson Announces New Appointments & Retirements:

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

  • Rev. Timothy Smith (Elder) from Leola UMC to Mount Joy: St. Mark's UMC
What's new on our Website?

The new 2016 Annual Conference page offers initial highlights, details and deadlines for the 230th annual session, to be held June 16-18 at the Lancaster Marriott and Convention Center. Registration begins March 7 and lasts till May 13. The cost is $225 for all members. Learn more... 

Check out the new Winter issue of NEWSpirit now online Several stories are also featured on our home page, with more to come next week:
If you want to see more of our Pen-Del Youth Rally photos large and in living color, view  them at  "WORD PenDel Youth Rally, Jan. 8-10, 2016" in our new Google Photos gallery.

We have also updated and added resources to the Native American Ministries page to assist conference members in preparing for the Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous Peoples that we will observe at Annual Conference. Read " Preparing the path to repentance." Use Sherry Wack's Giving Our Hearts Away Lenten Study Resources or come join her weekly Monday night class during Lent at Evansburg UMC. Watch the informative video Stories from the Circle of Life and use the other growing list of resources found on that page. Look for the Act of Repentance Resources link under the main Resources tab.
March  is Women's History Month
March  is Women's History Month. The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women offers  worship resources.   And watch our Website next week for a story about the Rev. Mindy McKonley, as we celebrate clergywomen in our conference.who have faced and overcome barriers to respond to God's call to ministry and leadership. 
Still seeking a few good leaders by March 1 deadline
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 .  
'Girls on the Go' to show path to happiness March 5-6

The Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Women will gather their girls again for the 14th annual "Girls on the Go" next weekend, March 5-6, at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center. The yearly teen summit, also known as Teens United for Mission in the 21st Century, will begin Saturday at 11 AM and end Sunday at 3 PM. Their theme is  "Created For Happiness: Understanding Your Life in God," the title of the UMW's Spiritual Growth Study at mission U. Praveena Balasundaram from the National UMW staff will help participants discover themselves in their search for happiness and learn to be prayerful, patient and persistent in exploring the gifts of God's grace and love. Included will be Bible study, arts and crafts, worship and activities to equip the young ladies for leadership. Cost is $60. 

For information, contact Mary Ann Repsher at
Tools for Ministry
 sessions start next Saturday

Our six districts begin prying open their full, discipleship tool chests again next week to make (and yes, repair) disciples of Jesus Christ for more effective ministry that can transform the church and the world. 

the full line-up of Tools for Ministry   sessions schduled for Saturdays  beginning March 5 in four districts (Central, East, Southeast, Southwest) and continuing in the Northern districts on March 12 (Northeast) and April 30 (Northwest). We'll post an article next week that looks at some of the creative topics being taught across the conference.
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."
Youth Diversity Retreat at Gretna Glen, March 11-13
Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center welcomes United Methodist youth in grades 8-12 who want to develop relationships across racial and cultural lines to a memorable weekend Diversity Retreat March 11-13 (from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon). Young people will share and appreciate unique qualities during creative community-building activities that feature diversity in  games, fellowship, learning, worship experiences and special foods. The cost is $110. Scholarship aid is available.  Register directly on the Gretna Glen Website at .  For more information contact Gretna Glen at 717-273-5625 or Carlen Blackstone at .
Register now for YES Youth Retreat April 16
The next YES Youth Retreat to help youth ( in grades 9 to 12) seek and embrace God's purpose for their lives will be Saturday, April 16, from 10 AM to 5 PM, at Cedarville UMC, 1092 Laurelwood Road, Pottstown, PA. God is calling youth into various, important fields of ministry--lay, licensed and ordained. Are your young people listening and tuned into God's voice? Youth at this all-day retreat will be exposed to many creative ministry options to serve God--whether as pastors, chaplains or youth ministers, or in a foreign mission field or college or seminary. Yes, even in business, nonprofit and agricultural careers. 

The day will feature worship, dramatic portrayal of biblical call stories, self-expression and lively interaction with other young people, fun indoor and outdoor games and activities, lunch and snacks, and encounters with people involved in various fields of ministry, including  Bishop Johnson and members of the Cabinet and committees on Ordained Ministry. Individual youth or senior-high groups or classes are welcome. Cost is $10. Questions? Contact the Rev. Matt Heckman at or 717-679-8346 . Register online today.
Young adults answering God's call on the Hill
A promising cadre of Ethnic Young Adult interns will soon begin their 2016 summer of making a difference Washington D.C., and the time to apply is now. Each year General Board of Church and Society interns come to the nation's capitol to gain valuable advocacy experience, increase their leadership skills, and above all, develop and strengthen the connection between being servant of God and serving community. The Ethnic Young Adults application deadline is March 15. Applicants are young adult UM persons of color in their sophomore, junior or senior year of college. For details visit:
Advance Special Mission Project application for
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.
Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop  March 19, 9 AM to 3:30 PM at Ridley Park UMC, 501 N. Swarthmore Ave., Ridley Park, PA.  This mandatory workshop provides essential, ethical and legal dimensions of appropriate boundaries for persons serving in ministerial roles. Its main purpose is to teach participants how to incorporate such boundaries into their professional and personal behavior. Register today.

The next Advanced Sexual Ethics Workshop: "Leading Between The Lines"  will  be on  Tuesday, April 26,  9 AM - 3:30 PM at West Lawn UMC.
Prayers in abundance for General Conference
We have two more District Prayer Posts scheduled to gather conference members in collective prayer vigils for the 2016 General Conference. The Southwest District Prayer Post happens Wednesday, March 30, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, at Ruhl's UMC in Manheim  (4810 Elizabethtown Road). The Central District Prayer Post happens April 2 at 6 PM, in  West Lawn UMC 's Community Center Main Hall (101 Woodside Ave. Reading).
But there is also a broader General Conference Prayer Ministry that designed  a "60 Days of Prayer"  daily prayer book that runs March 31-May 29  so church members can connect through the same Scripture, meditation and prayer for each day. The Rev. Tom Albin, Director of Upper Room Ministries, invites all United Methodists to blanket the entire proceeding and all 864 delegates with intentional prayer. Read story and post a comment. Visit the   60 Days of Prayer Website .
Also,  UM Communications offers "Exploring General Conference," a free online course designed to help participants learn more about the official decision-making body of The United Methodist Church. The course is ongoing through June 30.  Learn more
New anti-violence resource needs church feedback 
The Rev. Sandra L. Strauss, Director of Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches , based in Harrisburg, would like a few churches to pilot-test and give feedback on a new anti-violence curriculum she has developed titled "Loving Our Brothers and Sisters: A Study for Youth on Bullying, Violence, and Prevention in a Christian Context." It is designed in three sessions to be used over three weeks and contains links to videos and other ideas for engaging youth. A Lancaster Seminary intern helped with research for the new resource several years ago, supported by Eastern PA Conference Advocacy funds. If your congregation wants to test and comment on the curriculum before it is widely released, contact Strauss at (717) 545-4761   or .
Liberia UMC divorce rule and connectionalism
LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) -Not since its founding in 1968 has The United Methodist Church formally condemned divorce. How is it then that a United Methodist conference in Africa has upheld a rule banning divorced clergy from running for bishop? What does this mean for the worldwide nature of The United Methodist Church and its sense of connectionalism? The Rev. Darryl W. Stephens, Director of United Methodist Studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary, considers this question.  Read commentary and post a comment
Abundant Health: Our Promise To Children
Worldwide, 6 million children under five years of age die annually from preventable illnesses such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, or birth complications. Global Health, a unit of Global Ministries, is promoting children's health and wholeness through "Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children," a new signature health initiative that aims to provide life-saving health intervention to a million children by 2020.  Watch this video to learn more about the program.
Online UMC courses to help grow your church
You're invited to participate in United Methodist-specific online courses, designed to better equip you and your ministry. Registration ends March 8, so get in while there's room.

Increase the Vitality of Your Church
Get ideas that work for engaging your local and global community, develop a realistic plan toward more vitality, and get consultations from a vitality coach. This is an online, six-week self-paced course designed specifically for United Methodist pastors. Upon successful completion, you will receive two continuing education credits. Upon successful completion, you will receive 2 ALLLM CEU.  Learn more

Engage your church and community digitally
Use current and emerging communication tools to communicate your faith relevantly and effectively. Learn to craft and share powerful and personal stories of faith and engage with social media platforms to reach out to your local community and beyond. Upon successful completion, you will receive 1 ALLLM CEU. Learn more
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.
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. 
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.    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 .
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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