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January 13, 2017
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new pastoral appointments and assignments:

Central District

  • William Brawner, lay supply, to Haven-Peniel, 1/2 time, effective Dec. 18, 2016.
  • Rev. Eric Carr, Part-time Local Pastor, to Midtown Parish, 1/4 time, effective Jan. 1.


  • Mr. John Vidal (Lay Supply) to: Zionsville: Salem effective Nov. 20, 2016.
  • Rev. Kimberly Leskowich (Part Time Local Pastor) from: Nesquehoning: Meeds To: Nesquehoning: Meeds & Audenried-Jeansville (NE District) effective Dec. 11, 2016.
  • Rev. Dick Wilcock (Retired Elder) from: Bowmanstown: Faith Alive To: Full Retirement (NE District) effective Dec. 31, 2016.
  • The Rev. Adhurim Xhemajli (Part-time Local  Pastor) to Schuylkill Haven: First as an Associate Pastor (25%) effective Jan. 1.

2017 Retirements

Effective as of July 1, 2017 unless otherwise noted:
  • Rev. David M. Lewis (FE) from New Hanover, Central District
  • Rev. Zabdiel Y, Khan (FE) from Royersford, Central District
  • Rev. Maxime R. Jaouen (FE) from Lansdale: First, Central District
  • Rev. Mark Moore (FE) from Thorndale , Southeast District
  • Rev. Beverly Andrews (FTLP) from Mt. Joy: Chiques, Southwest District
  • Rev. Millard Fisher (FE) from Indiantown Gap: Emmanuel, Northwest District
  • Rev. Evelyn A. Stupp (FE) from Springtown: Salem, Northeast District
  • Rev. Christopher Wollyung (PTLP) from Mahanoy City: First, Northwest District
  • Rev. Susan Wollyung (PTLP) from Ringtown: Aurand Memorial , Northwest District
  • Rev. Eva Johnson (PTLP) from Evansburg, Central District
  • Rev. Christie L. Orr (FE) from Medical Leave, Central District, effective November 1, 2017
  • Rev. Frank H. Billman (FE) from Director of Equipping Ministries at Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, East District
  • Rev. Sandra Knaub (FE) from Medical Leave Leave, Southwest District
  • Rev. Robert L. Nissly (OD) from Kleinfeltersville: Trinity
  • Rev. Susan C. Czarnecki (FE) from Appointment from another Conference, East District, effective January 1, 2017
  • Rev. Ethel F. Guy (FE) from Linwood Heights, Southeast District, effective January 1, 2017
  • Rev. Joy Bagwell (FE) from Allentown: Salem, Northeast District
  • Rev. Dorris McCoy (PTLP) from Landingville: Welcome, Central District
  • Rev. Vincent James Durbano (FE) from Huntingdon Valley, East District, effective March 1, 2017 (will serve ad-interim until July 1, 2017)
Praying Our Way Forward
in Eastern PA this week
This is a week of continual, collective prayer for our conference, as we seek God's blessing on our mission and unity as a denomination. Churches and leaders are asked to remain in prayer through Saturday, Jan. 14, and to share the   special flyer and daily Prayer Guide made available for this purpose. United Methodists worldwide are praying throughout this year for "the church's effectiveness in fulfilling our mission of making disciples and for the outcome of the work of the Council of Bishops' Commission on a Way Forward."
Learn more   ...
Several churches hosted special prayer services open to all on Wednesday, Jan. 11, including  Lima UMC and First UMC Schuylkill Haven, and others are praying through the week. If your church is engaging in congregational prayer on behalf of our denomination, please let us know by writing to us at
Celebrate Human Relations Day Sunday Jan. 15
On Human Relations Day, Jan.15, United Methodists will answer God's call to empower people who struggle by equipping change agents seeking to transform the world. The churchwide special offering received on this Sunday aids ministries that help people-especially young people-- in need of hope and opportunities to thriveCasa del Pueblo at Lehman UMC in Hatboro, a Community Developer project supported by the offering, works to improve the lives of Latino neighbors through an affordable music education program for children and youth, among other ministries.  Grace UMC in Chester has also received funds for its community development efforts. See  resources. Also, see more information and view a short video on ministry made possible by your Human Relations Day offering.
Honor M.L. King's legacy, dream this weekend
Sunday, Jan. 15, is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, which our nation will also celebrate with a holiday on Monday, Jan. 16 this year. Churches, groups and individuals will celebrate this weekend in worship and witness with guest orators, special music, volunteer opportunities for the MLK Day of Service, and a protest march inspired by King's courageous advocacy for social change. Meanwhile, UM News Service offers articles by and about people who, inspired by the civil rights icon, share profound insights about our nation and society then and now.

So what will your church and community do to honor this occasion and its significance in the lives of all Americans? Please let us know at or on our Facebook page or Twitter page. Learn more on our website, and also read UM News Service's coverage.

Also, in Ten Ways to Build the Beloved Community, the Rev. Pastor C. Anthony Hunt of Baltimore lifts up King's powerful vision of the Beloved Community. He calls on individuals and churches to continue to promote peace with justice, providing 10 suggestions for heightening our commitment to community building and social engagement.  
Youth Rally shows 'This Is Love' in speech and song
Nearly 500 Eastern PA Conference youth and adults trekked to the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Md., last weekend, Jan. 6-8, and joined 3,000 others for the annual Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally. The snow and ice that blanketed the region did not deter them, although it hindered some latecomers on Saturday. But the arena inside was "strangely warmed" by energetic, Holy Spirit-infused praise and worship, creative fun and fellowship, lively learning experiences and frenetic activities in the exhibits room and elsewhere. Dynamic speakers, musicians and even comedians inspired the crowd with wit and wisdom, laughter and lessons, all around the theme, "This Is Love," taken from 1 John 4:10.

Also, Zachery Uporsky of East Stroudsburg UMC won the annual "Spitting the Word" preaching contest, the second Eastern PA Conference winner in a row. The 9th-grader preached about love and how the church needs to get outside its doors and show love to the world's outcasts.

We'll publish a full story and reflections from some of our youth leaders next week; but for now you can enjoy plenty of photos from the rally in two new picture albums on our Flickr page. Also, you can view short videos on the Youth Rally Facebook page, including a Youth Rally 2017 Wrap-up Video and a short promo video on Youth Rally 2018, scheduled for Jan. 5-7, with the theme "Marathon," taken from Hebrews 12:1. 
Free webinar: Identifying, Developing, Retaining Volunteer Leaders
The Leadership Network will offer a free webinar on getting the most out of volunteers as leaders, on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 2 PM. The session will answer a common question for pastors and church leaders: "How do I effectively identify, develop and retain key volunteer leaders for ministry both inside and outside of the church?" The answer could have a tremendous impact on the growth potential of one's church. Jon Ferguson, a founding pastor of Community Christian Church in Chicago, will teach on this topic and answer questions for a 50-minute session. Register for free for this webinar even if you cannot attend. They will send you a link to view a video recording afterward.
FOHS to celebrate Holy Spirit again Jan. 21 (Corrected date)
Date corrected: FOHS (Full of the Holy Spirit), a mostly Latino youth worship and praise ministry, invites all youth to attend the next   FOHS gathering Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7 PM, at New Birth UMC Lebanon.  Come for a fun-filled, high-energy night of young talent with uplifting, celebrative music in English and Spanish, plus dance and spoken words of wisdom! Also, enjoy dinner after the program. This is a Christian youth event, but you do not have to belong to a church to attend. Come one and all to share your talents with the Lord, or just come and enjoy this spirit-filled celebration of life and faith. Spread the word! 
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.
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
Celebrate Disability Awareness 
Sunday, Jan. 22
The Eastern PA Conference's Disability Ministries Committee urges churches to celebrate    Disability Awareness Sunday Jan. 22  or on a more convenient date. The UMC's Book of Discipline calls for every conference and church to celebrate this special occasion annually to increase response to the need for including more disabled persons in the life of our churches. The committee invites churches to receive a special offering for UMCOR's "Disability Ministries" Advance Special (# 3021054). You can find information and     resources online at   Learn more...

Also visit the     committee's webpage for more information and be sure to read Bishop Peggy Johnson's new Bishop's Blog essay, titled "   Privilege." "Sadly, however, many of our churches are ill-prepared to receive people with disabilities," she writes. "Not only are they unable to receive them physically, with accessible buildings and services; but often church members have inaccessible "hearts" that fail to welcome disabled visitors. It is even harder to find churches that engage in the greatest form of accessibility of all: empowerment." Be sure to read Bishop Johnson's   entire essay  that addresses similar barriers and burdens of race and disability in our society and in many of our churches. 
Affirming Wesleyan values as Donald Trump becomes U.S. President
United Methodists from across the country plan to have some parties on the evening of Jan. 20 to pray and talk about ways to affirm Wesleyan values and explore challenges ahead as the 45th president takes office. "There is a growing movement across the church to provide sanctuary for people who could be negatively impacted by polices of the incoming administration and Congress," said Susan Burton, of the denomination's social justice agency, based in Washington.

Those concerns grew into an idea for house/church parties to explore and engage in ways to "Reclaim the Common Good." The Board of Church and Society and other UM agencies are hearing from members coming to the nation's capital both for the inauguration and to participate in the Women's March on Washington, Jan. 21, with a mission to uphold women's rights.

United Methodists around the nation are being encouraged to host or join house or church parties for fellowship and engagement on Presidential Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, from 6:30-8:30 PM, or after that date. Conversations should "be biblically and theologically grounded, affirm our core Wesleyan values, explore challenges that impact our communities and nation, and offer opportunities to name ongoing faithful conversations as United Methodists," reads an invitation on behalf of several UMC general agencies. The various agencies are preparing materials for the small gatherings. And they ask participants to connect with others via social media to share visions for the common good by using the hashtag  #UM4CommonGood.   Learn more...
Local Church News

Faith UMC in Manheim (1290 Fruitville Pike, Lititz) has completed its new Fellowship Hall and Education Wing and will celebrate its grand opening on  Sunday, Jan. 22, at  3 PM. The church invites the community and other guests to come explore the new building during an Open House and Consecration Service to bless the space for ministry. Bishop Peggy Johnson, District Superintendent Bumkoo Chung and former pastors will help lead the ceremony.

The facility includes a welcome center, a kitchen extension, six classrooms and much more. The church wants to partner with other community-serving groups needing space for their work. "We are excited to see what God will do in this place!" says the Rev. Jason Perkowski, pastor. "We appreciate all of the prayers and support we have received for the ministry of Faith UMC." Contact him at (717) 560-0321 or
Associate members, local pastors register for April retreat by Jan. 15
All local pastors and associate clergy members of the Philadelphia Area (Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences) are invited to attend the  Fellowship of Associate Ministers and Local Pastors (FAMLP) annual retreat April 23-25, at the Black Rock Retreat Center , 1345 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, PA.  Student pastors and Certified Lay Ministers are also welcome. The retreat offers a prime opportunity for pastors to enjoy and benefit from important learning, reflection and fellowship together in a beautiful, natural setting, set apart from their busy lives and ministries.
BMCR caucus to meet Jan. 22
Philadelphia/Chester Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) will meet on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 3-5 PM, at St. James UMC (199 E Tabor Rd, Philadelphia).  This will be the first meeting led by new caucus officers, including the Rev. Shayla Johnson, coordinator, and co-coordinator Krystl Johnson. The caucus has a new team-based structure and will address a number of important concerns, including conference redistricting and the NEJ Call to Action.
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
Restoration 2017: "Prayer, Praise and Presence"
The Restoration 2017 Retreat is Bishop Peggy Johnson's invitation to clergy and lay members of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences, to gather in retreat January 26-28, at the Sands Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The theme is "Prayer, Praise and Presence." The purpose: "Finding new life in the spiritual disciplines to bring strength to our Christian journey." This event replaces the former Mid-Winter Retreat for Clergy and Spouses that had drawn fewer participants over the past several years.
The focus of this Restoration retreat is to bring to light aspects of ministry, life, and community that need to be restored within us on our journey of making disciples. Our guest speaker will be the Rev. Junius Dotson, the new General Secretary of UM Discipleship Ministries.
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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980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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