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February 4, 2017
Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new pastoralappointments and assignments:

East District
  • Rev. Catherine Bowers (Full Elder) from Warminster: St. Andrews to Ambler: Calvary as an Intentional Interim Pastor.
  • Rev. John Lutz (Full Elder) from Langhorne to Warminster: St. Andrews
Southeast/South District
  • Rev. Shauna Ridge (Provisional Elder) from Quarryville: Memorial UMC to Thorndale UMC, effective July 1, 2017.
Northeast/North District
  • The Rev. Robert C. Timlin (Elder) from Manheim: Ruhl's UMC toBowmanstown: Faith Alive UMC, effective May 1, 2017.
  • The Rev. Nelson Alleman (Provisional Elder) from Lebanon: Bethany UMC to Wescosville: Bethany UMC as Associate Pastor, effective July 1, 2017
Southwest/South District
  • Rev. Mike Byrd (Part-Time Local Pastor) to Mt. Joy: Chiques (3/4 time) effective July 1, 2017.
Death Notice: Karen K. Troutman
Karen K. Troutman , surviving spouse of Gene Marlin Troutman, passed on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Her husband was a longtime director of Innabah Camp & Retreat Center, from 1984 to 2000.  Condolences may be sent to the Troutman Family, at 4657 Johnny Cake Landing Road, Frederica, DE 19946. Mrs. Troutman's memorial service was scheduled for Saturday, Feb. at Wyoming UMC, Dover, DE.
Prayers for Bishop Felton E. May
It was announced this week that Bishop Felton Edwin May has pancreatic cancer and is receiving hospice care at home. May was Bishop of the Harrisburg and Washington, DC, episcopal areas before retiring in 2004 and then continued serving in various creative ministry roles. His friend and former communications director Stephen Drachler aptly describes him as "a lion of 
The United Methodist Church, a prophetic voice for justice for the poor, the marginalized, and the outcast."

Bishop May and his wife Phyllis May ask for prayers as they journey through the course of this disease, "treasuring and celebrating the gift of life." Cards and letters of support may be sent to them at 3315 Oak West Drive, Apt 123, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043.
NEJ Bishops urge welcome for immigrants, refugees

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, . . ."

Bishops of the UMC's Northeastern Jurisdiction quoted poet Emma Lazarus's words found on the Statue of Liberty (also known as "Mother of Exiles") this week in calling upon the church to "welcome the foreigner" and reject a controversial new U.S. immigration policy. In a letter to their episcopal areas they denounced President Donald Trump's recent Executive Order, a dubious anti-terrorism measure that bars entry by immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and bars all refugees for at least 120 days and Syrian refugees until further notice. A district court judge in Washington state has since issued a temporary injunction against that order, finding it to be unconstitutional.

The NEJ College of Bishops met in downtown Lancaster, Pa., which they discovered is America's refugee capital, with 20 times more refugees per capita than the rest of the United States. The College said it was time "for the church to do what it does best - love our neighbors as we ourselves have been loved." Their letter included two prayers, including one composed by the Rev. Michael Johnson, husband of Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson.  Read the College of Bishops letter and Prayer to the Immigrant and Refugee.  

Also during the meeting, Bishop Johnson visited the Lancaster office of Church World Service, joined by her Pennsylvania episcopal colleagues: Bishops Jeremiah Park of the Harrisburg Area and Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Pittsburgh Area, along with retired Bishop Violet Fisher. The Lancaster CWS office serves about a 100-mile radius and is the largest CWS office in the country.

"The trip to CWS was riveting," said Johnson. "We talked to case workers who are working with immigrants who have been painfully impacted by this presidential executive order." The bishops also visited a peaceful protest against the new immigration Executive Order in Lancaster's Penn Square.
Johnson shared her own sentiments about the new administration's action in "An Appeal to Conscience," e-mailed to Philadelphia Area members and churches earlier this week. UM News Service included her letter in a national overview of faith leaders' reactions to the President's order. Read the story,  Faith leaders urge all to welcome strangers, refugees .

"This action by our President does not make our country safer," Johnson wrote. urging members to "have conversations in your churches about this situation, mobilize to write letters, speak to your senators and legislators, and most importantly pray. Pray that our country does not close its borders to innocent people who are living in dire and life-threatening conditions in their home country." Read the full story...

Collecting food for the
Souper Bowl of Caring?
Tell us how you did.
The long-awaited Super Bowl Sunday is here. But what many churches and local food banks have been waiting for is the simultaneous Souper Bowl of Caring food drive. They depend on the generous donations of non-perishable food that replenishes their depleted shelves and helps them feed countless hungry neighbors. Many of our churches participate in this undertaking as a crucial, often youth-led outreach ministry to respond to a growing epidemic of hunger and "food insecurity" in many areas--even in middle-class communities.

Covenant UMC in Springfield got into Souper Bowl of Caring two decades ago and has since spawned one of the largest food collection operations in the state, involving hundreds of people in Springfield and other nearby communities. Their recipe for success? An army of youth and adults distribute 10,000 front door hangers in advance, pick up curbside donations, and then collect more food and funds from the congregation during (Super Bowl) Sunday worship. 

Last year Covenant and its partner churches, schools, community groups and individuals collected over 35,000 containers of food, in addition to cash donations for donation to the local Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, reported co-coordinator Don Cadge . We'll tell you how they did it and more in an article with photos on our conference website next week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, please tells us how your church scored in the 2017 Souper Bowl of Caring. Send us descriptions and photos of your efforts, so we can share your story with the conference, too. E-mail us at  
Capital Campaign ends in unfinished success
The Eastern PA Conference's " Fulfilling Our Covenant" Capital Campaign officially ended in December 2016 and has raised $3.2 million in gifts and pledges so far, surpassing its ambitious $3 million goal. However, the campaign committee is asking churches that have not finished paying on their pledges to do so during this "wind down" period until March 31.
While the campaign surpassed its goal, the pledge fulfillment rate so far is about 82 percent. Campaign leaders want to see that rate increase with additional fulfillment of pledges by churches and individuals by the end of March. A more detailed report on the campaign and participating churches will be published in a NEWSpirit special supplement inside the Spring issue in May. Learn more...
Sign up your church for
the Abundant Health
10,000 Church Challenge
The Conference Health & Healing Council urges all churches to join the 10,000 Church Challenge, initiated by the UMC's Global Ministries as part of its new Abundant Health initiative. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern PA is the host conference. So we will be looking for hospitality volunteers to assist with welcoming participants to Pocono Plateau and to help with shuttle service to/from the Avoca airport and the Allentown airport. Contact: Rev Greg Ellis
Order your 2016 Conference Journal before they're gone!
A limited number of printed 2016 Eastern PA Conference Journals are available.  Order yours today for only $30 each. You can  order and pay online or send a check, by USPS, to: EPA UMC, Attention Gloria Knoeller, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.

What's in the Journal?  A lot! Contact information for Conference staff, clergy, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Boards and Agencies.  Also, clergy appointments, pastoral salaries and service records.  Plus, all about the 2016 Annual Conference; Conference statistics for 2015; historical highlights; and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff, and others. Questions?  Please contact Gloria Knoeller at
Sign up for a free church branding webinar
Branding matters because a logo can influence behavior. Just ask Apple, Nike and Starbucks. On  Feb. 8, at  2 PM, UM Communications will host a free webinar: "3 Reasons Your Church's Brand Matters." During this 45-minute event, you can ask real-time questions of our specialists and learn about:
  • Why churches should care about branding
  • How branding has helped our denomination - and the numbers that prove it
  • Ways United Methodist Communications can serve your church
Sign up today! Attendees will receive a quick-reference branding guide as our thanks.
Premarital/Marital Counseling Training  
Rev. Lloyd Speer will conduct several training workshops in 2017. The next will be  Feb. 23 at Christ UMC Fairless Hills. To register, go to to fill out and mail a printable registration form. The cost is $220, and includes certification, lunch and materials. For more information, contact Lloyd Speer at 215-943-2343, or
March 28, 9 AM - 3:30 PM, at  Grandview UMC (888 Pleasure Road, Lancaster, PA). Participants pay $35 to participate, which includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Presenters are the Revs. Andrea Brown and Jose "Ricky" Ayala.  Find out more ยป 

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

Basic Sexual Ethics 
July 15, 9 AM - 3:30 PM, at  Conshohocken UMC (20 W. Sixth Ave., Conshohocken, PA).Participants pay $35 to participate in this class. The fee includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Presenters are Rev. Jose "Ricky" Ayala and a female presenter to be named.  Find out more
Changing Racism Workshop 2017 dates
This year's dates  for  Changing Racism Workshops, led by  Visions, Inc., are   March 31-April 2  and   October 27-29.  The March location will again be the Daylesford Abbey, 220 South Valley Road, Paoli, PA. Visit our  Changing Racism Workshops webpage to learn more and to register.
Palmer Seminary to host fall alumni reunion
Palmer Seminary at Eastern University will host a UM alumni reunion on Friday, Oct. 20, with a morning program followed by a luncheon.  Bishop Peggy Johnson will keynote the gathering, and Bishop Violet Fisher has been invited also. Plans are still developing. For more information contact the Rev. Bron Yocum at or the Rev. Andrew Foster at
Faith-Sharing Training Event  
Our 2017 annual Faith-Sharing Training Event will happen March 18, from 8:30 AM to 2 PM, at New Hanover UMC. Our guest presenter is the Rev. Terry Teykel, a leading "prayer evangelist" and popular speaker and author. He travels the world encouraging churches to develop and strengthen prayer ministries as a means of revival and transformation.
Teykel, the founder of Renewal Ministries and Prayer Point Press, has authored several books, including The Presence-Based Church, My Most Wanted: 40 Days to Pray for the Lost, and Pray the Price: United Methodists United in Prayer. He has spent his life teaching churches how to develop a heartfelt, meaningful relationship with the Lord. His warm, humorous style makes him a much-sought after speaker and seminar leader.
"We believe that when prayer and evangelism are reunited the Church will emerge as a powerful force for reclaiming the land and setting the captives free."      -Terry Teykl. 

Learn more about this passionate, powerful speaker and man of God.
Wake up, God's People!... 
All-day Eastern PA Youth Rally, April 22, 2017
Plan to attend the 3rd Annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally on Saturday, April 22, 2017. For the first time, this youth rally will last all day, from 9 AM to 4 PM. We're planning fantastic features, with dynamic speakers, soul-stirring music, fun games, powerful prayers, laugh-out-loud humor, great food and hospitality, and enough friendship and fellowship moments to give you a lifetime of memories. Don't dare miss it! See and share the flyer, and look for more details, coming soon.
More events coming in Spring:
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing Thanks!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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