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February 5, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson Announces New Appointments:

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

  • Rev. Thomas Daniel (Full Elder), from Holly Oak: Calvary UMC (Wilmington District, Peninsula Delaware AC) to Geigertown : St. Paul's (Central District)
  • Rev. Robb Faller (Elder) from New Berlinville: St Andrews UMC, to Ono UMC
  • Rev. David Woolverton, elder, from Full-Time Senior Pastor at Mt. Joy: St. Mark's UMC (SW) to Full-Time Senior Pastor at Elizabethtown: St. Paul's UMC (SW)
  • Rev. Walter Untergerger, provisional elder, from Three-Quarter Time Associate Pastor at Jarrettown UMC (EA) to Full-Time Senior Pastor at Colemanville UMC (SW)
  • Rev. Keith Buckbee, part-time local pastor, from Quarter-Time Senior Pastor at Oregon UMC (SW) to Half-Time Pastor of Discipleship at Hempfield UMC (SW)
Northwest District to host 3rd prayer vigil for General Conference
The  Northwest District will host its prayer vigil as a Prayer Post for General Conference this Sunday, Feb. 7, from 3 to 4 PM, at Church of the Good Shepherd UMC , 1500 Quentin Road, Lebanon (telephone: 717 272-7741). It is the third in a six-month series of district-hosted prayer services called to gather Eastern PA Conference members in collective prayer for the 2016 General Conference. The quadrennial legislative meeting of 864 United Methodists from around the world will convene in Portland, Ore., May 10-20, to grapple with what may be some of the most conflictual debates and challenging decisions in the denomination's 232-year history.
"It is my belief that the Spirit of God that united and anointed the early apostles in all their diversity," said Bishop Peggy Johnson, "will do the same for us as we devote ourselves now to this kind of prevailing prayer." She urged conference members in the Northwest and beyond to  participate in the remaining services. The Southwest District will host the next prayer service on Wednesday, March 30, at 6:30 PM at Ruhl's UMC, 4810 Elizabethtown Road, Manheim. 
Other important upcoming events
Feb. 7 (Sunday) Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. 2016 theme: "I Am My Brother's and Sister's Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS!"  Learn more and find resources at or Also learn about the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released in July 2015: National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020. More upcoming HIV/AIDS Awareness Days include:
  • National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 10
  • National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 20
  • National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day - April 10
  • National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - May 19
See the entire awareness days calendar and HIV/AIDS-related information about various population groups at

Feb 5-7:  Camp Innabah Challenge Camp A weekend of fellowship, fun and food for Challenge Campers of any level. Only $130.

Feb. 7, 1 PM: Celebration of Christ Servant Ministers and Local Church Servants at Ash Grove UMC, 16 Lilac Rd. (just off Rt. 61), Paxinos. The Shamokin Area Mission ConneXion, aka MU, invites members of these two ministry groups, as well as pastors, to a celebration involving "folks from other ConneXions to discover what we have in common and would like to accomplish as CSMs and LCSs."  Contact Patty Korbich (CSM/MU), Clarks Grove UMC.

Feb 8, 8:30 AM- 12 PM:  Bishop's Lenten Day Apart for All Clergy   For Eastern PA Conferences and Peninsula-Delaware clergy (elders, deacons and local pastors). Aldersgate UMC, 2313 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE Schedule. Guest speaker/preacher: Bishop Young Jin Cho.

Feb. 10: Ash Wednesday. Churches throughout the Conference will offer Ash Wednesday services to inaugurate the Christian season of Lent, and many will participate with other churches in mid-week Lenten services through Holy Week (March 20-26).  United Methodist Discipleship Ministries has worship resources for this day.
Learn about Lent at
Denominational Website www.umc.orgoffers articles with ideas, stories and resources to help you prepare for the six-week season of Lent. Features include: " Beyond fasting: 10 tips for a more meaningful Lent," where you can find links to other articles as well; " 40 Days of Lent: Find your own spiritual path"; " Lent: A Time to Fast and Pray";  the popular " Lent Quiz: Test your knowledge of the season" and   "FAQs: Lent & Easter,"   which answers questions like "Why do we observe Lent before Easter?" and "Why do people give up sweets or caffeine for Lent?"
Health ministry 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 you can download, print, fill out and mail in a hard-copy survey form. Use the online survey completion link , or print and use the hard-copy version on their Conference Web page .  With only eight questions, either method should take no more than 5 to10 minutes.  

The council asks each church to have several key people complete the survey. "The more responses we receive, the better we can provide for the needs of our churches," said Nancy Kraft, RN. Mail hard-copy survey forms to her at 34 Kraft Lane, Schuylkill Haven PA 17972. "Once the responses are tabulated we will be able to plan and provide health and wellness programs and information for every church in our Conference."

How will you celebrate Black History Month in February?
  • Engage in an interracial and intergenerational dialogue about race and racism.
  • Teach a class, create a display, or research and report on important contributions and concerns of Black Americans (and plan to do the same with other racial-ethnic groups in American society during their history recognition months).
  • Try to arrange for a joint worship service, mission project, dialogue or fellowship event with a predominantly African American church--if not United Methodist then perhaps African Methodist Episcopal (AME) or African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) or Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) denominations.
  • Learn about the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which celebrates its bicentennial this year, and about its courageous founder, Bishop Richard Allen, who was honored this week with a U.S. postal stamp. The AME Church will have its General Conference this July in Philadelphia, where it was born out of protest against racist mistreatment suffered by black members at Historic St. George's (UM) Church. That painful past has since been reconciled by the two sister churches, and AME Church delegates will visit St. George's during their conference.
Please, please write to us and let us know what your church does, either before (preferably) or after, to celebrate Black History Month. And send us some more ideas for this month, as well as Women's History Month in March and the other history months throughout the year.
The importance of Disability Awareness Sunday
United Methodists are asked to observe Disability Awareness Sunday at least once a year. The Rev. Leo Yates Jr., a pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, is a member of the UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries and the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities. In his blog commentary, Yates challenges us to observe who is not present in our churches and tells us how churches can welcome people with disabilities and their families who are too often absent but can be a valuable part of any congregation's ministry. Yates also points us toward several Web sites with ideas and resources for observances. While some conferences, like his, will celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday Feb. 7, churches may choose any Sunday that is appropriate for this occasion. Read his commentary.   Also check out the full UM Disability Blog. 
Celebrate UM Night at the 76ers March 12
The Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Men will again sponsor United Methodist Night at the 76ers on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 PM. They're urging churches--men, women, youth and kids--to come out in force to the Wells Fargo Center to see Philadelphia's pro basketball team rev up its engines to battle the Detroit Pistons. Order your discounted tickets online at the "Methodist" rate. Or better yet, buy specially priced group tickets directly from the 76ers office so you can sit and cheer the home team together. Be sure to also cheer our conference's name when we're welcomed on the stadium's big screen. Ticket prices are $45 for Lower-Level Corner Rows or $15 for Mezzanine-Level End Rows. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the ministries of UM Men. Contact the Sixers' Caroline Kasper at 215-558-2758215-558-2758 or to reserve group seats or ask any questions.
Preaching with Power:
UM Night worship to feature Bishop Fisher, new mass choir
Janes Memorial UMC in Philadelphia will host what promises to be a powerful worship experience in sermon and song on Tuesday, March 15,at 7 PM. "Preaching with Power" will feature Bishop Violet L. Fisher (retired) as one of seven guest pulpiteer s for the 2016 Forum on Black Preaching and Theology, sponsored by the Urban Theological Institute of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. The annual forum, March 13-17, will include four days of workshops and worship services with noted African American preachers at several locations. The traditional United Methodist Night worship service, March 15 at Janes Memorial, will feature not only Bishop Fisher but also the new Philadelphia United Methodist Mass Choir, comprising singers from several local, predominantly black UM churches.
"This mass choir calls upon all singers of United Methodist Churches in and around the Philadelphia area to join together in music ministry not only for this event but also for other possible ministry opportunities that God brings our way," writes the Rev. Eric Carr Jr., choir director and also the pastor of Wharton-Wesley UMC. "My prayer is that through this ministry we might form an even greater connectional bond and fellowship while being a great representation of United Methodism." Mass choir rehearsal dates for the March 15 service will be on Tuesdays, Feb. 16, March 1 and March 8 at 6:30 PM, at Wharton-Wesley UMC, and on Feb. 27, at 11 AM, at Mother African Zoar UMC.  Learn more...
Faith-Sharing Seminar speaker to speak to Phila. churches March 18
The Rev. Romal Tune, our guest speaker at the 2016 Faith-Sharing Event on Saturday, March 19, (9 AM to 3 PM at New Hanover UMC), will also speak the evening before in Philadelphia, targeting his message particularly to racial-ethnic congregations. Bickley's New Beginning UMC, at 6239 N. 6th St., will host the event, beginning with a meal at 6:30 PM.  Young people especially are encouraged to attend to hear this dynamic, sought-after young speaker who voices his passion, intellect and faith in fresh, challenging ways. Tune authored the book  God's Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens  in 2013 and recently completed a companion devotional guide.   
Pray for peace in Syria
The head of the denomination's mission agency is calling on all United Methodists and peace lovers to pray for the efforts to negotiate peace in Syria. Thomas Kemper said the war has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.  Read press release
Lancaster Online features UMW group, new UM pastor
We love it when our churches are not only the source but also the subject of "good news." We would love it even more if more churches would send us articles that feature their members or ministries so we can share that good news in our media. When your church is featured in the news please let us know at  
Lancaster Online, the city's major news source, featured United Methodists in back to-back issues recently. On Jan 30 Correspondent Diane Bitting spotlighted the United Methodist Women of St. Paul's UMC Elizabethtown, who will join their UMW sisters around the nation this Sunday in using the NFL's Super Bowl to raise awareness and action against the scourge of human trafficking. UMW groups locally and across the connection are using the "Umbrella Defense" during this year's big game to protest the exploitative practice of forcing people--mostly girls and women--to perform labor or sex work for customers who pay their traffickers.
The Super Bowl is a prime venue for the trafficking of sex workers and menial laborers. Many UMW members will go to the site to join the "Intercept the Traffickers" photo campaign. They will open their umbrellas to form a "virtual line of defense" around the stadium, symbolizing protection and hope for those victimized by this modern-day slavery. Those who can't go are sending in photos of their groups, including 28 members of St. Paul's, holding umbrellas with the message "We are United Methodist Women opening umbrellas to intercept human trafficking." Photos are also being shared on social media.
Read Bitting's story, " United Methodist Women using the Super Bowl to draw attention to human trafficking," to learn more. (NOTE: An estimated 20.9 million people worldwide are trafficked in the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, according to a UMW. Find out more at .)
Also, on Jan. 31 correspondent Lynn Commero reported on new pastor in town, t he Rev. Jonette Gay, a Texan who became the pastor of 111-year-old Otterbein UMC and 175-year-old Pearl Street UMC Jan. 1. The full profile of Gay, who lives on a farm in Pequea, revealed her pastoral experience, her favorable impressions of Lancaster (its culture and diversity), her reaction to seeing Amish residents and her feelings about preaching and pastoral ministry. Learn more: Texas native, the Rev. Jonette Gay, will pastor Pearl Street and Otterbein United Methodist churches      
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 .
Order Society of St. Andrew Lenten devotions 
Lent begins this year with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 10. The Society of St. Andrew in Big Island, Va., a United Methodist partner, offers Lenten daily devotions, written by pastors and lay people from all walks of life. The booklets are titled "While Still Far Off." The society asks for orders by Jan. 29 for timely delivery.  To order  
Southeast District UMW to examine U.S. immigration

The Southeast District United Methodist Women will host a leading immigration justice advocate to address this critical issue on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Marshallton UMC in West Chester. Janis Rosheuvel is Executive Secretary for Racial Justice for the global UMW, based in New York.  An expert in international development, migration and crime, conflict resolution and gender rights, she formerly directed and led organizing for a New York-based network of immigrants resisting mass incarceration and deportation. Born in Guyana, South America, she was a Fulbright Scholar and documented the work of social movements organized by migrants, shack dwellers and other working class activists in South Africa. The event will begin at 9 AM with a brunch, followed by a discussion at 10 AM. Contact: Barbara J. McIntosh at  610-524-1448 610-524-1448 or
Follow United Methodist news on Facebook and Twitter
Want to follow developments as the 2016 General Conference approaches? You can find the latest news on the UMNS Facebook page and Twitter feed.
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New Conference committee leaders needed. Nominations by Feb. 15 
The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is seeking resourceful and committed persons who have vision, leadership skills and a passion to serve on Conference boards, committees and ministries for the 2016-2020 Quadrennium.  The EPC  Nominations Committee requests that you indicate your willingness to serve or nominate other possible leaders.  More information and forms at . The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15.

All persons who want to serve or recommend someone for service must submit an online Leadership and Service Interest Form or contact the Nominations Committee directly by Feb. 15. All potential nominees will be contacted before making any commitment to serve. Learn more and download the Brochure and mail-in form, "Ways to Serve. " Also see the Descriptions of Conference Committees & Agencies.
Basic Training for Worship Planters
Are you interested or feel called to create a new worship service for new people? Do you want to know what goes into a successful new worship launch?  Come learn at the Basic Training for Worship PlantersFeb. 12, from 4:30 to 9 PM, and Feb. 13, from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, at Boehm's UMC, 13 W Boehm's Road, Willow Street. This two-day training led by church planting coaches Jim and Kim Griffith will teach about identifying people, gathering them together, and planning compelling worship services that move people from guest to committed disciple. Open to teams and individuals. Costs, schedule, and registration are online at This event is co-sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference, the Southwest District, and Boehm's UMC.
Hopewell offers new Lenten resource
Once again, Hopewell UMC is offering a new Bible study for Lent to all Eastern PA churches free of charge.  Ponderings of the Heart: A Mother's Reflections  features seven Elders from the Southeast District who help us to consider what the discipleship of Jesus' mother, Mary, means for our lives today.  The study is designed to begin after Ash Wednesday and conclude in the week following Easter.  To receive a  free  study kit which includes a DVD, leader guide, and worksheets for small group study, order at ; or contact Hopewell UMC at  610.269.1545 610.269.1545 ; or e-mail Deb Boyd at
Annual Sistas' Tea About HIV 
March is National Women's History Month and March 10 is National Women & Girl's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The H.U.B. of Hope, a multi-faith HIV/AIDS Ministry affiliated with the Eastern PA Conference, will convene its 5th Annual Sistas Tea about HIV for women and girls over age 14 on Saturday, March 12, from 2 to 4 PM, at Milestone Events, 600 E. Market Street in West Chester. The program will feature guest speakers, table decorations and prizes, music and dance. Free rapid HIV Testing will be offered from 1 to 3:30 PM by the Chester County Health Department. Tickets ($8.75 per person or $70 for a table of 8) are available from the UM Church of the Open Door, 210 S. Broad Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348; Attn: Rev. Dr. Deborah Tanksley-Brown. See and share the event flyer. 
Register now for Faith-Sharing Seminar, March 19
Register now to attend the Eastern PA Conference's 4th Annual Faith Sharing Seminar March 19, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at New Hanover UMC, 2211 Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville, PA 19525. Bring a team of your church and community leaders to hear the Rev. Romal Tune, a dynamic, daring, faith-inspired speaker, movement leader and author. The pre-registration deadline is March 3, and the cost is only $10 per personLearn more...
Ads sought for NEJ Conference Program Book
The Eastern PA Conference is soliciting ads for a souvenir program booklet it will publish for the UMC Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 11-15, which we will host at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square in Lancaster, Pa. A letter of invitation and ad submission form, offering various ad sizes and prices, was e-mailed widely today, with an April 30 deadline for submissions. Proceeds from advertising space purchases will help fund two United Methodist mission causes and help cover conference costs. The mission causes are: the Imagine No Malaria campaign, the denomination's effort to eradicate a disease that has taken countless lives especially among children in Africa; and LUMINA, Lancaster United Methodist Inner-City Alliance, which serves individuals, families, and youth. Learn more...
2016  Changing Racism Training Events
Two Changing Racism Training Events will be held in 2016,  April 1 - 3 and  Oct. 28-30,  both at the  new location,  the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.  Register online . The cost is $300.
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs.   If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Associate Members and Local Pastors plan 2016 retreat 
The Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences will retreat together April 24-26, 2016, at Black Rock Retreat Center, 1345 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, PA. Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors and Certified Lay Ministers are all invited to attend and may earn 2.0 CEUs.  Online Registration is open now. For more information contact Mark Beiderman at 610-585-0575.  Download the brochure, which contains a registration form.
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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