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January 22, 2015
Bishop Peggy Johnson Announces New Retirements and Appointments:


The list reflects clergy retirements effective July 1, 2016 unless otherwise noted:
  • John E. Charnock (Elder) from Extension Ministry (October 1, 2015)
  • John B. ("Skip") Davis, II (Elder), from Elizabethtown: St. Paul's UMC
  • Denise Founds (Full Time Local Pastor) from Campbelltown UMC
  • Nancy A Gehres (Part Time Local Pastor) from Llewellyn UMC
  • James A. Goudie (Elder) from Colemanville UMC
  • Lester M. Groves (Elder) from Morgantown UMC and from Goodwill UMC
  • Dennis G. Keen (Elder) from Spring City UMC
  • Craig D. Laubach (Part Time Local Pastor) from Statedale: Salem UMC (January 1, 2016)
  • Jong-Soo Lee (Elder) from Port Carbon: Grace UMC
  • Larry R. Mark (Elder) from Reeders UMC
  • Steven T. McComas (Elder) from Hatboro: Lehman Memorial UMC
  • Deborah McLean (Part Time Local Pastor) from Palmerton: Salem UMC (January 1, 2016)
  • Kathryn J. Painter (Elder) from Cleona: Immanuel UMC
  • Margret Marie Powell (Elder) from Phila.: Solid Rock UMC
  • Gerald (Jerry) Reifsnyder (Part Time Local Pastor) from Washington Boro UMC
  • Nancy Haigh Ross (Elder) from Palmerton: Salem UMC and from Slatedale: Salem UMC
  • Albert N. Schell Jr. (Part Time Local Pastor) from Trevorton UMC
  • Joseph L. Wenrich (Elder) from Geigertown: St,. Paul's UMC
  • John C. Wheatley (Elder) from Extension Ministry(October 1, 2016)
  • Bronwyn Yocum (Elder) from Grove UMC 

Northeast District
  • Nancy Ross (Elder) from Telford: Grace to Palmerton: Salem & Slatedale Salem. Effective Jan. 1.
  • Lydia Munoz (Elder) from Drexel Hill: StartingPointPhilly to Telford: Grace. Effective Jan. 1.
Advice to prepare for Storm Jonas
Rev Greg Ellis, Eastern PA Conference Disaster Ministry Coordinator, suggests steps everyone--individuals, including pedestrians and motorists, and churches--should take to prepare for Winter Storm Jonas, moving northward and forecast to hit our area by Friday night. By Sunday we may have up to 2 feet of snow amid heavy winds. The Department of Homeland Security has detailed lists of winter storm shelters and other information at more...
UMC Pensions Board cites sustainability risks in divesting from Israeli firms
Barbara A. Boigegrain, General Secretary of the UMC's General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, has issued a response to letters of concern and questions she has received from bishops and other church leaders about the board's recent divestment from several banks involved in Israeli settlements in Palestine.

UM Kairos Response, a U nited Methodist  group that includes  interfaith partners , advocates for divestment from firms that support illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories. The group recently circulated a press release claiming that the Pensions Board, based in Glenview, Ill., has divested its funds from five Israeli banks for that reason, in response to its advocacy. 

Stating alternative reasons of sustainability risk for the divestment decisions,  Boigegrain issued a statement and talking points on Jan.15.  Learn more
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.
campaign ends today
Bethany Sutton announces that "Today is the LAST DAY to take a stand and be a part of our #BlackChurchesMatter crowd funding project! We are so very close to our goal, but we still need your support! Please share this post about our campaign! Support these local congregations!" Find out more at 
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 provides individuals and families with basic necessities, after-school activities, business clothing for job-seekers, and support for youth to participate in summer camp. Learn more...
Episcopal nominations deadline Feb. 1
As the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference delegation of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference continues its work, one of the great responsibilities of the delegation is to identify the individual or individuals who will represent the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference as candidate(s) for the Episcopacy. The Eastern PA General and Jurisdictional delegates request interested clergy and lay members to submit up to two names of persons the Conference may consider as Episcopal nominees. Learn more...
Feb. 15 deadline to nominate new Conference leaders
The Eastern PA Conference Nominations Committee is seeking gifted disciples who have a desire to provide servant leadership for the 2016-2020 quadrennium. If you want to serve and are eligible, or if you have someone else to recommend, the committee, led by Carol Black, wants to hear from you by Feb. 15. Nominations for service on conference boards, committees, commissions and teams will be received until Feb. 1 and voted on at the 2016 Annual Conference.  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 .
Christ Servant Ministers, Local Church Servants invited to fellowship
The Shamokin Area Mission ConneXion invites Christ Servant Ministers and Local Church Servants (and their pastors) from other Mission ConneXions to come "meet and mingle," discover what we have in common, celebrate our ministries and share ideas together Feb. 7, 1 PM, at Ash Grove UMC, 16 Lilac Rd. (just off Rt. 61), Paxinos. If you plan to attend contact Patty Korbich at 570 672-1031570 672-1031.
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.
Ponderings of the Heart --Hopewell offers new Lenten resource
"But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart."  (Luke 1:19
Once again, Hopewell UMC is offering a new Bible study curriculum produced for Lent and available to all Eastern PA churches free of charge.  Ponderings of the Heart:  A Mother's Reflections features seven Elders from the Southeast District.  Each session takes participants through a New Testament scene in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, is present, and invites them to consider how Mary's example of discipleship has meaning 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  610.269.1545610.269.1545 ; or e-mail Deb Boyd at
How to recruit volunteers without begging
(UMNS) Churches need volunteers, and lots of them. But how can you convince someone to sacrifice time, energy and sometimes even their own money, to do something for free? Tricia Brown, a writer for United Methodist Communications, offers ideas.  Read story
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. 
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. 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. 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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