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January 14, 2015
Bishop Johnson announces new appointments

The Rev. Jody Sambrick (Elder) from Living Waters UMC to Lampeter UMC, effective Jan. 1 through June 30, 2016. He will serve in extension ministry as a General Evangelist effective July 1.  Lampeter UMC and Living Waters UMC merged their ministries under the name Lampeter UMC, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The Rev. Blaine Wenger continues to serve as Senior Pastor of Lampeter UMC.  

Mission of Peace returns Eastern PA youth 'home' to China 
Mei-Ling Blackstone, 16, of Macungie, Pa., returns this weekend from visiting nearly three weeks in her native land of China, where she joined other youth from around the Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ) on a Mission of Peace (MOP). When she shares the many discoveries of her journey with others this year, she will likely take a cue from her beloved grandmother and share not so much about the fascinating places she visited but more about the people she met.

"What we look for are young people who already have a passion for peace and an interest in exploring other cultures," explained the Rev. Ted Anderson of the Upper New York Conference, who organizes MOP trips on behalf of the NEJ Council on Youth Ministries. Mei-Ling, a junior at Emmaus High School, fits that description.  Learn more...
Deacons gather Saturday for Day Apart
The Eastern PA Conference's Order of Deacons will gather Saturday, Jan. 16, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Conshohocken UMC (20 West 6th Ave., Conshohocken) for worship, fellowship, training and discussions. Deacons and deacon candidates, as well as anyone wishing to learn more about the order and its ministry opportunities and concerns, are encouraged to attend. The agenda includes informal fellowship, a morning teaching presentation on conducting weddings and funerals, worship, lunch and an afternoon discussion on deacon-related resolutions proposed to General Conference 2016. The Rev. Tiffany Manning is the order's new chairperson.
Celebrate Human Relations Day Jan. 17
On Human Relations Day United Methodists support ministries in communities across the U.S. that help people experience their God-given potential in relationship with one another. These ministries--through the Community Developers, UM Voluntary Services and Youth Offender Rehabilitation programs--help people of all ages grow in knowledge, self-esteem, faith, hope, love and confidence for the future. Download the Human Relations Day Pastor and Leader's Kit and other materials for your church's observance on Jan. 17 or a more convenient Sunday.
Bishop's letter to M. L. King Jr. not a progress report
Retired Bishop Woodie W. White has written his annual " birthday letter" to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., commenting on the state of race relations in America. "Our nation's racial climate has gotten worse rather than better," writes the first head of the UMC's General Commission on Religion and Race, who helped black and white conferences overcome racial division to integrate starting in 1968. Citing current trends of "divisive and hate-filled speech... nativism and religious intolerance" White nonetheless insists on the need to "keep the faith," adding, "while I am not optimistic, I am always hopeful." Learn more...
NEJ Conference delegation invites more nominations for bishop
The Eastern PA Conference delegation to the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference re-sent its letter this week urging conference members to nominate potential, eligible candidates for them to endorse for election as bishops at the July conference in Lancaster. Election of at least one, and possibly two, bishops is expected. The Eastern PA delegation wants to endorse candidates nominated and supported by the conference. Delegation co-chairs the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm and Judy Ehninger, co-signed the letter.

Nominations should be sent to Ehninger using the nomination form and explanation of criteria attached to the letter. The deadline to receive nominations is Feb. 1. So far they have received about 18 names from about a dozen persons; but they want to receive more.  
SE District clergy to visit Lincoln University
Southeast District clergy will visit historic Lincoln University in Southern Chester County Jan. 26, from 11 AM to 1:30 PM, to meet, fellowship and learn more about ministry among young adults. University Chaplain Frederick Faison will speak to the gathering on "Engaging Young Adults In Ministry Today." Lincoln was founded in 1854 as the nation's first degree-granting historically black college/university. In its first century the school graduated about 20 percent of the black physicians and more than 10 percent of the black attorneys in the nation. Today, Lincoln's students come from 31 states and 28 countries.  The clergy gathering will conclude with an optional tour of the campus.

Lincoln University is located at 1570 Baltimore Pike, Lincoln University, PA. Phone number is  484-365-8000 . Registration for the event, which includes lunch, costs $15 if paid by Jan. 15 or $29 afterward.
NE District to hear Drew seminary liaison
The Northeast District will hold its next clergy breakfast meeting Feb. 16, at 9 AM, at Asbury  UMC (1533 Springhouse Road, Allentown, PA).  The gathering will feature a hearty breakfast (for $5, RSVP), worship, a Bible study reflection, and a presentation from Dr. Amy Beth Jones, United Methodist Liaison at Drew Theological School in Madison, NJ. Free Spirit, the NE District Praise Band, will perform please contact Sheila Milz.
Spring City UMC to close with service Jan. 31
Spring City UMC will cease its active ministry on Jan. 31, celebrating years of service to God and to its community with a closing service that day at 2 PM. "The decision to close was not reached lightly and comes after a long period of discernment of God's will," said the Rev. Dennis Keen, pastor. "Changing patterns of life in the town, an aging building with high maintenance costs and other factors all came into play."

Nevertheless, the congregation wants to "celebrate and give thanks for their many years of faithful ministry that have been a part of their life together," Keen explained. They are inviting all to come worship with them as their congregational life concludes. The closing service will be held in the fellowship hall of their education building. The congregation has hosted a popular, mid-week community feeding ministry there over the past year, in addition to worship, Christian education and other activities. Members are especially inviting their sister churches in the Phoenixville Area Mission ConneXion to attend and to contribute refreshments for the reception that will follow the service.
Ferguson pastor to lead church's racial dialogue
First UMC of Germantown in Philadelphia will host an important racial dialogue Jan. 16, the day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. The event will feature the Rev. F. Willis Johnson, a United Methodist pastor who led efforts to foster peace in the face of tense protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, following the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman. Learn more...
Virginia bishop to inspire clergy at joint retreat
Bishop Young Jin Cho, who once led the largest congregation in one of the UMC's largest conferences, is the first Korean-American bishop of the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The deeply spiritual episcopal leader believes in growing leaders and churches from the inside out. He will share that message with clergy leaders of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences during their joint Lenten Day Apart on Monday, Feb. 8. Learn more...
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...
Other upcoming events:

Jan. 22-24:  Camp Innabah Women's Retreat. "Creative Hearts with Soul" - a weekend of personal and spiritual renewal; all women are welcome. ($130).


Jan. 22-24:  Camp Innabah Children's RetreatFor children in grades 3-6, a weekend of games, activities, fellowship, and fun! ($100)


Jan. 25 or 26: Lifetree Cafe Orientation/Training: Part 2 (6:30-8 PM). Eastern PA Conference Office. A new orientation/training series on how to organize a Lifetree Cafe (for churches, church clusters or mission connexions). 


Jan. 29-31:  Camp Innabah Youth RetreatFor youth in grades 7-12, a weekend of activities, Bible study, games, food, and fun! ($130)


Jan. 30-31: Gretna Glen Youth Winter Blast Retreat. "Everything you love about summer jam packed into one weekend...except with SNOW." ($50)


Jan. 31: BMCR Meeting (Black Methodists for Church Renewal). 3-5 PM at St. Daniels UMC in Chester.

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.
YES Youth Retreat and Vocational Intern Program
Two great opportunities for introducing young people to ministry careers are available through the Eastern PA Conference Cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry. The next retreat will be held April 16, 2016, 10 AM to 4:30 PM, at Cedarville UMC, 1092 Laurelwood Road, Pottstown. Registration begins in January. God is calling gifted youth into lay, licensed and ordained ministries of all kinds.  Attendees will be exposed to a variety of ministry options in different settings, while also enjoying lively worship, dramatic skits, games. lunch and fellowship. They'll meet the bishop, district superintendents and ordained ministry leaders. The event is for youth in grades 9-12. 

Congregations and college students can mutually benefit from this program next summer. Interns who sense a call to serve God through ministry and want some experience can partner with pastors in serving churches and communities. The church provides half the salary and housing if needed, and the Board of Ordained Ministry provides the other half for a total intern salary of $3000. Applications are due by May 1, 2016. For more information call Pastor Matt Heckman at 717-273-0525 or Pastor Rob Timlin at 717-665-3400. Tell your college students while they are home for Christmas about being a VIP in the Vocational Intern Program. 
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! 
February 8, 2016:  Bishop's Lenten Day Apart for all clergy (elders, deacons, local pastors) Peninsula-Delaware and Eastern PA Conferences

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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