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WHAT'S NEW
January 27, 2017
Bishop
 Peggy  Johnson   announces  new pastoral appointments and assignments:

Central District
  • Rev. James McIntire (Full Elder) from Havertown: Hope UMC to Royersford UMC.
Northwest District
  • Rev. Gary Lefever (Full Elder) from Ambler: Calvary UMC, East District, to Indiantown Gap: Immanuel UMC. 

Our camps--changing seasons and young lives
Bishop Peggy Johnson shares her enthusiasm for the crown jewels of our conference: our four, beautiful Camp and Retreat Centers. Urging us, in the midst of winter, to begin looking now toward Summer Camp, she also urges churches to rally support for our camps and all they do to enhance and help mold the lives of young people. In fact, she challenges each church to recruit a Camp Ambassador who can help promote our camps and invite families to send children and youth to these diverse, wonderfully scenic havens of Christian learning, fun fellowship and life-changing adventures. And we offer a bonus: a schedule-at-a-glance of Camp & Retreat Ministry Winter, Spring Events. Learn more ...
Eastern PA among 27 conferences paying 100% in apportionments
Eastern PA was one of 27 conferences to pay 100 percent in General Church apportionments in 2016, out of 56 conferences across the denomination. The 2016 payout rate of 91.8%, reports the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), is the highest yet in support of our seven General Church funds.

The other 26 conferences are: Alaska, Baltimore-Washington, Central Texas, Desert Southwest, East Ohio, Greater New Jersey, Illinois Great Rivers, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, New England, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird Missionary, Rocky Mountain, Susquehanna, Tennessee, Upper New York, West Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.
"This is one more indication that United Methodists are a most generous people and that connectional giving in our denomination remains strong," said Bishop Michael McKee, GCFA's President. "We thank not only those conferences ... but also all conferences that did not attain the 100 percent level but who continue to strongly support the connection." 
Arch Street among UM churches offering sanctuary
Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia is featured in a new UM News Service story about UM churches across the U.S. providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants to protect them from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Arch Street has been home for Javier Flores Garcia, a Mexican immigrant awaiting a special visa, since Nov. 13, 2016. He was due to surrender to ICE but turned to the church instead. The Rev. Robin Hynicka, senior pastor, said Garcia has been living peacefully in the church and volunteers for many church programs, especially those with homeless people.

While there is no law against it, ICE has an unofficial practice of not going into churches or hospitals to take immigrants into custody. Since the election of President Donald Trump,  who is making big changes in immigration policies, more than 800 places of worship nationwide vowed to shelter and protect immigrants in danger of separation from their families or being returned to countries they fled. Learn more...
Faith UMC Manheim consecrates new wing
Faith UMC in Manheim Township, Lititz, consecrated last Sunday, Jan. 22, its new Fellowship Hall and Education Wing, a long-held dream come true.Thirty years in the making, the new wing was designed with the community in mind, offering a hub for local events and activities.
 
Founded in 1985, Faith broke ground on the new facility last July. The Rev. Jason Perkowski, pastor, introduced everyone who worked on the project along with founding members, former pastors, Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Bumkoo Chung, Southwest District Superintendent. Faith's founding pastor, the Rev. Nancy Miller, joined them in the blessing and celebration.
 
"We definitely needed more space," Perkowski said. "We had to set up and tear down every time there was wedding or a funeral or a pancake breakfast." Space is what they have now, with six classrooms, a welcome center, fellowship room and a warming kitchen to serve their needs and the community's.   -Reported by Kristin E. Reifsnyder
Restoration retreat draws Eastern PA participants
Rev. Junius Dotson
The Philadelphia Area is holding a three-day retreat titled "Restoration,"  Jan. 26-28, in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The Rev. Junius Dotson, keynoter and General Secretary of the UMC's Discipleship Ministries agency, spoke on "Leading through Spiritual Disciplines." The Rev. Tom Davis-Shappell preached at the  Friday morning worship.

Over 100 pastors, clergy spouses and laity are attending the winter retreat, coordinated by the Rev. Shirlyn Henry Brown, Superintendent of the host Peninsula-Delaware Conference's Easton District. About two dozen made the trip from the Eastern PA Conference.   Information and photos provided by Bishop Peggy Johnson.
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 

Standing Rock Sioux to fight Trump's order
CANNON BALL, N.D. (UMNS) - The Rev. David Wilson, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference superintendent, said there is "great disappointment" over President Donald Trump's signing of an executive order advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a press release, the Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman said the executive order violates the law and the tribe will take legal action to fight it. Ginny Underwood reports.   Read story

Women's edition of Bible offers new light
The CEB (Common English Bible) Women's Bible offers an index of all the female characters in Scripture. It provides biographical sketches of many of them, and brief, Scripture-based articles on such topics as fertility, miscarriage, menopause and God as mother. All editors of and contributors to the new edition are women, and many are United Methodists.  Read story

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
REMINDERS
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, coordinator@umvimnej.org, or visit  www.umvimnej.org.

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  gellis@epaumc.org
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  gknoeller@epaumc.org
UPCOMING EVENTS
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  www.prepare-enrich.com 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  lfspeer3@comcast.net.
 
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   bronyocum@gmail.com or the Rev. Andrew Foster at   Pastorfoster@comcast.net
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 UMC.org, 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 www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digestShare 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 communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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