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January 8, 2015
Bishop Johnson announces new appointments

Northwest District:
  • Rev. Susan Roehs (Elder) to Extension Ministry as Client Services Director at the Pregnancy Care Center of Shamokin, PA. Effective January 1, 2016.
  • Rev. Barbara Welsh (Part-time Local Pastor) to Mount Carmel: First UMC as 50% time, interim pastor until June 30, 2016. Effective January 1, 2016.
Southeast District
  • Rev. Shirley Daddario (Part-time Local Pastor) from Friendship UMC to West Grove UMC as Associate Pastor. Effective February 1, 2016.
Southwest District
  • Rev. Jonette Gay (Elder on loan from the Northwest Texas Conference) to Lancaster: Otterbein 75% time and to Lancaster: Pearl Street 25% time. Effective January 1, 2016
New postings on our conference website this week
Faith Alive hosts conference's second district-led prayer service
Faith Alive UMC in Bowmanstown (Palmerton), and the Northeast District, hosted on Jan. 6 the second in a series of district prayer services called to gather Eastern PA Conference members in collective prayer for the 2016 General Conference. The service occurred on a day when all churches in the conference were asked to engage members in round-the-clock prayer as part of a separate 131-day prayer vigil requested by the United Methodist Council of Bishops on behalf of General Conference. Learn more...
Thousands to experience 'WORD' at Pen-Del Youth Rally

Thirty-two Eastern PA Conference churches will send over 500 youth and adults to the 2016 Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally this weekend, Jan. 8-10, in Ocean City, Md. Nearly 5,000 attendees in all will hear powerful motivational messages and music to inspire their faith and fellowship in the Word of God. Learn more...
UMC Advocate explains impact of PA budget impasse
The Rev. Dai Morgan, who coordinates state legislative advocacy for the three United Methodist annual conferences in Pennsylvania, including the Eastern PA Conference, offers a troubling assessment of the impact of the state government's inability to pass a 2015-16 fiscal-year budget after six months of delay. Learn more...
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...
Revelation: Celebrating the Season of Epiphany
Also, visit our Web site's INSPIRE and INVOLVE feature sections for access to helpful articles on celebrating the Season of Epiphany, which lasts five weeks until Lent on Feb. 7. Learn many insightful ways to "Walk in Newness of Life
" and " Make Your Epiphany Celebration Memorable."
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. 8-10:  Pocono Plateau Jr. High Youth Group Retreat. "Growing Your Faith" A planned retreat for groups complete with sessions, meals, snacks, activities, etc.


Jan. 12-14: 2016 Mid-Winter Retreat For Clergy And SpousesDoubleTree by Hilton, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, PA. Featuring retired Chaplain (Brigadier General) Charles R. "Ray" Bailey, who will share from his experiences and talk about ways to reach outside our walls to share the Good News.


Jan. 16: Deacon Day Apart (9 AM-3 PM). Worship, fellowship and discussions. Offered for free by the Order of Deacons--for deacons, candidates and anyone wishing to learn more about the Order of Deacons--at Conshohocken UMC, 20 West 6th Avenue, Conshohocken.


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.
Bishop begins Countdown to General Conference series

Over the next five months, Bishop Peggy Johnson will offer a series of brief enlightening articles twice monthly in our Web site's INFORM feature section, titled Countdown to General Conference. Her primer will share helpful information and insights on the May 10-20, 2016, global gathering of United Methodists who will come to Portland, Ore., to establish new laws and policies, debate and vote on hundreds of resolutions, join in worship and fellowship, and chart the denomination's direction for the next four years. To introduce such a momentous occasion in the life our church, her first entry is aptly titled "Call to Prayer."

Also, check out her latest Bishop's Blog entry "Big Picture" -- a profound reflection on the importance of advocating for civil and human rights, as we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday and Human Relations Day. Taking a broader view and participating in today's challenges to foster social justice across the U.S. and abroad offers us an opportunity to change the landscape of our society's future.
Hyde promoted to Director of Innabah
Michael Hyde has been promoted by the Eastern PA Conference Camping Ministry Board to be the new Director of Innabah Camp & Retreat Center. He has served as Innabah's Summer Camp Director and Retreat Host since last February, while Carson Simpson Farm's director Ray Neitz was the overall site administrator. "My heart has always held a very special spot for the ministry of Innabah," said the husband and father of two who has enjoyed camp experiences since his own childhood. "I have enjoyed the past year, and I am excited and humbled to now be the Director of Innabah. I look forward to continuing to share the love of Christ, the word of God, and the joy of camping with all of our campers and retreat guests.
New IRS Standard Mileage Rate for for 2016  
For 2016, the IRS mileage rate for business miles driven is now 54 cents. The rate per mile driven in service of charitable organizations is 14 cents, and the rate for medical or moving purposes is 19 cents. Learn More
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. 
'Are you the one or shall we seek another?'
Looking for new Eastern PA 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. 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  by Feb. 1 or  contact the Nominations Committee directly. Please tell your fellow church and community members that there are many ideal leadership opportunities available for persons who can help fulfill the mission of the Eastern PA Conference. 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
2015 Conference Journals are here, but cost is now $30
A limited number of 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference Journals are now available for sale. If you want a Journal and have not yet ordered it, please o rder yours now  for  $30.

The Conference Journal offers contact information for Conference staff, Clergy, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Church boards and agencies. Also clergy appointments, pastor's salaries and service records; and conference board and committee assignments. Plus, reports and information from the 2015 Annual Conference; conference statistics for 2014; historical highlights; and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff, and others. Questions? Please contact Gloria Knoeller at

Portions of the Conference Journal are accessible electronically on our Website, with the exception of sections that are restricted from online access by the general public.
Faith-Sharing Event speaker to meet with Phila. Area 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.
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! 
January 12-14, 2016:  Midwinter Retreat,  DoubleTree Resort, Lancaster, PA. Online registration

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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