January 8, 2020
School is back in session!
Conference begins 2021 with busy events schedule
As 2021 begins and students everywhere return to school—if only from their home computers—so do Eastern PA Conference members ready to engage in learning for leadership. Our January and February calendars are full of workshops, book club discussions, a gathering of small-chuch leaders for fellowship, resourcing and dialogue, and, for starters this weekend, our Virtual Youth Rally. Please see our website calendar for information about all these events and be sure to register for desired events promptly.

Upcoming January-February events:

  • Jan. 8 (8-10 PM) & Jan. 9 (3-5 PM): Virtual Youth Rally. Register.
  • Jan. 12 (7-8:30 PM): Discovering our “Theologies of Conflict”: Finding Our Way in the Post-Election Season and Beyond, led by the Rev. Leah Shade. Register.
  • Jan. 13, 2021 (11am-12pm): Four-session Book Study begins Quietly Courageous with the Rev. Gil Rendle, author. Register.
  • Jan. 16 & 23: Emotional Intelligence and Diversity (Peninsula-Delaware Conf. event, open to Eastern PA Conference members)
  • Jan. 19 (6:30 PM): Bivocational & Small Church Network support group, led by the Rev. Denny Emrick. Register.
  • Jan. 21 (10 AM-11:30 AM): The Multi-Site/Satellite Model for Churches, with the Rev. Mike Slaughter. Register.
  • Jan. 30: Basic Sexual Ethics (9 AM- 3 PM). Register.
  • Feb. 9 (10 AM-12 PM): “Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences For Online and In-Person Audiences” webinar with Jason Moore. Register.
  • Feb. 10: Transfiguration Day Apart, with the Rev. Deborah Appler.
  • Feb. 27: Dismantling Racism Level II.
Weekend online Youth Rally begins tonight
The Eastern PA Conference’s two-part Virtual Youth Rally 2021 on Zoom begins tonight, Friday, Jan. 8, 6 to 8 PM, and continues Saturday, 3-5 PM. The timely theme for this four-hour rally organized by the Conference Council on Youth Ministries, is “Persevere!” While our nation is still mired in multiple crises that affect many--a lethal pandemic, forced social distancing, political unrest and racial injustice, just for starters--”Persevere” is about facing these and other challenges faithfully, like our biblical heroes faced theirs. 
So far, over 120 youth and adults who work with youth have registered. But the Rev. David Piltz, Conference Young People’s Ministries Coordinator, is hoping to welcome many more. Register online in just minutes today. This event is free and open to individuals and families to enjoy. 
Tasha Layton and Keith Everette Smith
Providing inspirational insights for the youth in words and music will be several gifted, young performers--Tasha Layton, Keith Everette Smith and Egypt Speaks--all of whom have performed and recorded with top Christian music artists. Bishop Peggy Johnson will offer greetings to the participants.
“We will enjoy insightful conversation, great music, fun games, heartfelt stories, and interesting questions and answers,” said Piltz, “and we’ll share Scriptures, prayer and much more.”  
The games--”Yoda vs Proverbs” and “Fortune Cookie vs Ecclesiastes”--are “fun interactive ways for all ages to see how easy it is to recognize Scripture against statements that sound like Scripture but aren’t,” Piltz explained. “And our presenters are eager to see God transform the hearts of youth and adults through their personal testimonies about living out Scripture in the messiness of life.” Learn more and register now. And Learn more about the youth rally performers.
Egypt Speaks
New recorded Cabinet sermons available for churches to use this month
Two more Eastern PA Cabinet members have prepared, preached and recorded sermons for churches to use in worship this month if they wish. Sermons by the Rev. Steve Morton, North District Superintendent, and the Rev. Andrew Foster III, East District Superintendent, both are accessible on the Conference YouTube page. See the Christmastide-Epiphany Sermon Series Playlist

Morton preaches on "A Little Child Shall Lead Them" for Jan. 10 (based on Luke 2:39-40). “In this brief season, the Church remembers the child Jesus from birth to baptism,” he says. “Like him, we need to grow in wisdom…be committed to service which pleases God, not culture…and be thoroughly grounded in our own sense of the Father’s immeasurable love for us.”

Foster preaches on Human Relations Day, one of six Special Sundays of the UMC, for Jan. 17. Read Cabinet gifts churches with recorded sermons through January.
Bishop, hymnist respond to ‘turmoil in our nation’s capital’
Bishop Peggy Johnson joins many other United Methodists in lamenting the “unthinkable scene of lawless turmoil in our nation’s capital” that occurred Wednesday, Jan. 6, the Day of Epiphany for Christians. See Assault on US Capitol dismays United Methodists.”

The bishop’s episcopal letter to members and churches on that day,Light in the Darkness–An Epiphany Call to Prayer for Our Nation,” focuses on the church’s Christian call to spread “light and mission throughout the world.”

“With protestors breaking into the U.S. Capitol, this is a moment mired in darkness and grief,” she writes. “Our cherished democracy is being threatened.” She reports receiving affirmative responses to her letter that outnumber the negative ones. Her letter continues:

I call the people of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula Delaware conferences to join in solidarity with our colleagues in the Baltimore-Washington Conference by lighting candles and placing them in your windows. May your peaceful witness in this and other ways be a reminder that light dispels darkness, good triumphs over evil, and truth overcomes falsehood.

God is with us during this national crisis. Please be in individual and collective prayer for our country tonight and in the weeks to come.

In addition, Bishop Johnson shares a timely new hymn offered by contemporary hymnist Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. “God of Love, We've Known Division” (2020) is copyrighted but, as she often does, Gillette offers it freely for permitted use in online and onsite worship. Visit her website, www.carolynshymns.com/, for access to use her more than 400 hymns. Gillette can be reached by email at carolynshymns@gmail.com. 
County to update churches on COVID mitigation response Monday
Montgomery County Commissioners will host another online meeting for the county’s faith-based organizations and houses of worship to provide updates and answer questions about COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures and related concerns on Monday, Jan. 11, at 10:30 AM.  Join the meeting on WebEx by computer. Or call 1-408-418-9388. The access code is 132 114 8415. 

Also, the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety offers recordings of its weekly COVID-19-related press conferences on its YouTube channel. Additional information is available from the Montgomery County COVID-19 information hub: www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 and its social media sites.
Morgan retires as Coordinator of UM Advocacy in PA
Urges signatures to advocacy letter seeking protection from home evictions

With submission of his final monthly advocacy report, the Rev. Dai Morgan retired from being Coordinator of UM Advocacy in Pennsylvania Dec. 31. He also ended his brief tenure as Interim-Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches (PCC). However, in his last advocacy effort, he asks United Methodists to sign a letter that petitions state legislators and PA Gov. Tom Wolf to extend protections against home evictions during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Morgan became legislative advocacy coordinator for the three PA conferences, reporting to their three bishops, in 2015. He has spoken at our annual conferences while keeping our churches informed about state legislative actions as well as advocacy concerns and activities.  

A former PCC board member, he became interim-head of that Harrisburg-based ecumenical agency six months ago, until the Rev. Larry Pickens, a UM clergyman, was hired as executive director in December. Pickens began his work there this month. Learn more… Also, read and sign the letter to PA state legislators and Gov. Wolf that calls for continued protection from evictions during the pandemic. 
Thoughts on life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   
Celebrate MLK’s Birthday Weekend, Jan. 15-18

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., much like his German namesake long ago, also began a reformation—not of religion but of race, as he led a pivotal civil rights movement for racial equality in this country. It was truly a movement because it continues to ripple out in ever-expanding circles of justice-seeking social change.

The story behind his name comes from Dr. King’s father, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. He too was a brave and tireless reformer working for racial equality. “Daddy King” passed on to his son not only his adopted name, but also an important legacy of working through the system to bring about social change, taking risks for the greater good and bravely speaking “truth to power.”

If we claim the name of Christ in our faith, then we should live up to that name, as MLK Jr. lived up to his. We should strive to be living examples of the one whom we claim to follow. Learn more...
Migrants look to Biden for immigration reform
Thousands of migrants are pinning their hopes on the incoming Biden White House administration to help move them forward in their quest for lives of dignity and safety in the United States. They are writing the president-elect to remind him of his promises.

President-elect Joe Biden has said he will set the annual refugee cap at 125,000. He has pledged to raise it over time. Cindy Andrade Johnson, a United Methodist deaconess in Brownsville, Texas, has been the “bridge” linking hundreds of migrants to generous United Methodists around the country while they live in deplorable conditions under the Matamoros Bridge in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Learn more...
COVID-19 is top church story of 2020
(UM News) — The church's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was voted the top United Methodist news story of 2020 by conference communicators in the U.S., Africa, Europe and the Philippines and UM News staff. Read story
Online Tools for Ministry coming March 13
The Eastern PA Conference’s 2021 Tools for MinistryMarch 13from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, will make history by being totally online for the first time, rather than being held in onsite district locations. Offering virtual classrooms on Zoom for this annual, half-day academy of learning for church leaders is yet another way the Conference is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming required social-distancing restrictions against large gatherings. 

Ironically, that adaptation is bearing fruit in allowing the Conference to offer a cornucopia of 35 diverse, online courses taught by expert faculty, all for a nominal registration fee of only $5. And even more fruit may result from a record-breaking turnout, due to the convenience, affordability and growing acceptance of online, home-based adult learning.

Bishop Peggy Johnson will begin the morning plenary with devotions. An offering, using text-to-give on smartphones, or mailed or electronic funds transfer options, will be received to support the antiracism and justice work of POWER, an interfaith community organization to which some Eastern PA Conference churches belong.

The 35 workshops cover a wide array of interesting and helpful subjects. One is in Spanish and another will be offered bilingually in English and Spanish. The workshops will be offered in two 90-minute sessions—beginning at 9:00 and 10:45 AM, with a break in-between. Visit the online information page and register today. Also, download the flyer and the full brochure with workshop descriptions. Learn more…
ARTOS offers pandemic support to clergy spouses
Artos Retreats and Samaritan Counseling Center will gather clergy spouses and partners online beginning on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7 PM, for supportive dialogues to help them deal with their role changes and challenges during the current pandemic. The confidential, facilitated, real-life discussions on Zoom are for those of any denomination seeking “shared wisdom and hope” during these difficult times.

Six small-group, monthly gatherings will happen on fourth Thursday evenings. The first two sessions are free, and subsequent sessions will be available for only $30 each. Julie Anderman, Executive Director of Artos Retreats, a clergy spouse for 20 years and a certified professional coach, will facilitate the discussions. Jan. 21 is the deadline for registration. Download and share this flyer.
CDT Book Club to explore Caste for Lent
On the heels of exploring Gil Rendle’s transformational tome Quietly Courageous (Jan. 13 to Feb 3), the Congregational Development Team (CDT) Book Club will next launch into the Lenten season with a study of a new, highly touted, instant classic. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (2020), by Isabel Wilkerson, examines the unspoken caste system of race that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

For five weeks, Feb. 23 to March 23, on Tuesdays at 11 AM to noon, CDT Book Club members will read and discuss this “masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America.” Described as “immersive, deeply researched" with stories about real people, it was recently named by a New York Times critic “an instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”

The Conference’s Commission on Religion & Race (CORR) will co-sponsor the book study and help CDT purchase and give books free to the first 50 members to register. Book purchase scholarships are also available. Anyone can join by registering in advance. Learn more...
UMC Ordained Ministry offers Implicit Bias, Racial Justice course 
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s BOM Academy 2020-2021 is offering a new course beginning Jan. 11: "Implicit Bias and Best Practices for Racial Justice in Hiring." Since it is an asynchronous virtual course, participants may begin taking it as early as January 11. Participants will learn how to practice culturally competent clergy recruitment and credentialing, what meaningful inclusion looks like in different contexts, and how to honor diversity when interviewing and assessing candidates. The course will be taught by the Rev. April Casperson, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Ohio Annual Conference. Participants must  register here  for BOM Academy in order to take the course.
‘Could I be a racist Christian?’
NEJ Multi-Ethnic Center to host webinar discussion

The Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Multi-Ethnic Center for Ministry (MECM) will offer an online “courageous sacred conversation” on racism on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 4 PM. The hour-long talk, “Could I Be a Racist Christian ... Is That Possible?” will feature two guest panelists: the Rev. Phil Wingeier-Rayo, Dean and Professor of Missiology and Methodist Studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and the Rev. Tori Butler, Pastor of Good Hope-Union UMC in Silver Spring,Md.

“It will be a provocative and insightful conversation not to be missed,” writes the Rev. Tony Love, MECM director and Assistant to Bishop Latrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Join the webinar on Zoom at https://bwcumc.zoom.us/j/98067837608. Or join by telephone in Eastern PA at +1 646 876 9923. (Or use iPhone one-tap at: +13017158592,,98067837608# or +13126266799,,98067837608#.) The webinar ID number is 980 6783 7608. See and share this flyer.
Missionaries cope with coronavirus challenges 
(UM News) Travel bans and fear of COVID-19 complicated the service of UM missionaries in 2020. Recruiting for the 2021 class has started, but a smaller number will be chosen and it remains to be seen if they'll be able to travel to their assignments. Read story 
Bishop voices concern over Black woman's care
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Conference Bishop Julius C. Trimble said he is concerned about the experience of Dr. Susan Moore, a Black woman who described receiving inadequate care at a hospital in the IU Health system before dying of COVID-19. Trimble, who also wrote an op-ed published in the Indianapolis Star, is a member of the IU Health Board of Directors. Ryan Martin reports. Read story Read Bishop Trimble's op-ed
Seminary creates multiethnic-ministry program
DAYTON, Ohio — United Theological Seminary, in cooperation with the Mosaix Global Network, has established the Mosaix House of Studies to prepare students to build and lead healthy multiethnic and economically diverse, culturally intelligent, socially just and financially sustainable churches.
Spiritual decluttering: Fresh start for a new year
One of the wonderful things about each new year is that it brings with it a sense of a new beginning, 365 days of promise and possibility. Some use this time to bring freshness to their lives. You may decide to declutter the junk drawer, attic, or garage. It may also mean removing many of the sugars, fats, and carbohydrates from our diets.

As a United Methodist church member, parting with some things for a season may help declutter your spiritual life. Doing so may make room for a new movement of the Holy Spirit in the months to come. What might you set aside in the next year? Learn more...
Resources available for Christian unity week
The Council of Bishops invites United Methodists to join with fellow Christians in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Jan. 18-25. The theme this year is "Abide in My Love … You Shall Bear Much Fruit." Read press release. World Council of Churches resourcesMore resources
Downloadable prayers for the New Year
Downloadable prayers for the New Year are provided by United Methodist Communications The new year is a great time for reflections, prayers, and getting together with families, friends, and loved ones. Here are some printable posters you can use to be mindful of God's place in our lives: https://www.umc.org/en/content/downloadable-prayers-for-the-new-year
Higher education scholarships available
The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation is accepting scholarship applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. Through March 1, students are invited to apply for more than $2 million in funds available to help pay for attending colleges, universities or seminaries related to The United Methodist Church. See media resources  To apply 
The Rev. Steve Morton, Superintendent of the North District, continues his tradition of producing and offering churches thought-provoking, video-recorded Lenten devotions featuring fellow clergy presenters.

“For about a dozen years, first at Hopewell UMC and now on the North District,” says Morton in his district newsletter, “I’ve followed a vision of creating fresh, affordable, intelligent Bible Study curriculum for the local church, employing the teaching skills of Elder colleagues.” 

Character Matters is the title of the new, eight-week Lenten study that is offered for free to all churches. “It will flow from the language of Proverbs 6:16-19,” says Morton, focusing on “Seven Things the Lord Hates.” Presenters, all North District clergy, plus a bonus post-Easter message from Bishop Peggy Johnson, were to record their messages today in a studio at Moravian College. Materials will be produced and ready for the week of Ash Wednesday, February 17. Learn more...
Webinar series helps prepare for Lent
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Revs. Magrey deVega, Adam Hamilton and Susan Robb will lead a webinar series to help church leaders prepare Bible studies for Lent, which starts Feb. 17 this year. "A Season of Reflection: Lenten Studies to Prepare for Easter's Celebrations" will be at 2 p.m. U.S. Central time Jan. 12-14.  To learn more and register
Conference to network small-church leaders  
The Connectional Ministries Office will help launch in January a requested new networking group for small-church pastors and leaders to provide support and resourcing. The Eastern PA Conference Bivocational & Small Church Network will have its initial, one-hour meeting Jan. 19, at 6:30 PM, via Zoom video-conferencing.

“This is a group designed exclusively for leaders of smaller churches, welcoming part-time, bivocational, retired and all other small-church leaders, both clergy and lay,” said the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Connectional Ministries Director. “Small churches are the backbone of The United Methodist Church, and we want to provide a monthly small group for conversation that relates to the unique opportunities found in our small, vital churches.”  

The Rev. Denny Emrick (above), a pastor who has long served small churches, asked for such a group and will facilitate the initial conversation, which may produce a monthly gathering for “prayer, dialogue, connection and resourcing for part-time, bivocational and small church leaders.” 
“I grew up in a small church, and the ministry of that church impacts me to this day,” said Taylor-Storm. “I also had the joy of pastoring a small church for seven years; and I experienced the gift of community and missional engagement that is possible in the small church.” I hope others will join us for this first gathering and for what becomes of it in the future.” Register online now!
Emotional Intelligence and Diversity, Jan. 16, 23
The Peninsula-Delaware Conference will offer its members an Emotional Intelligence and Diversity video-conferencing workshop on two Saturdays next month: Jan. 16 and 23, 12:30 to 3:30 PM. Eastern PA Conference members are also invited to attend. 
The Revs. David Piltz and Anita Powell, members of the Eastern PA Conference Commission on Religion & Race, developed the workshop and will lead it on Zoom for Pen-Del. The Rev. Alice Johnson Ervin chairs Pen-Del’s sponsoring Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Committee.
Emotional intelligence is innate to everyone, and it is important for every church. In fact, it’s a must-learn for church leaders who want to lead more like Christ. This training provides insights into biblical precepts and Jesus’ approach to managing conflict and creating believers. It helps us understand bias, ambiguity and empathy, and to withstand the sins of prejudice and injustice, as well as fear, anger and violence.

Registration now for only $10. 0.6 CEU's will be available (must attend both sessions in full to receive CEU's). Download and share the Emotional Intelligence Event Flyer.
Association of Ministers with Disabilities to meet Jan. 14-16
The Association of Ministers with Disabilities in the UMC will host its annual meeting Jan. 14-16, 2021 online via Zoom. The theme is “Prophesying to Power: The Intersection of Ableism and Racism.”

The gathering will hear from leaders in the disability community, led by keynote speaker Kendrick Kemp, who studied with Black Liberation Theology founder Dr. James Cone at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Kemp, who earned Master’s degrees in Divinity and Social Work, has developed a “Black Liberation Theology of Disability.”  

The event will also include worship, advocacy training workshops, small group discussions, and association business. All are welcome. There will be closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreting provided. For information about registering contact the Rev. Johnathan Campbell, association co-chair, at pastorjcampbell@hotmail.com or call 845-893-9157. Information provide by Bishop Peggy Johnson
‘Both/And’ webinar to explore worshiping online and onsite, Feb. 9
Jason Moore, who has pioneered creative, collaborative worship design for two decades, will lead us in exploring new possibilities for worshiping both online and onsite at our churches, in a webinar offered for free on Zoom, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10 AM to 12 PM. “Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences for Online and In-Person Audiences” will “delve into strategies for how to create powerful transformative worship where no one feels like they’re an afterthought.”  

Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced most churches to conduct worship solely online, worship was primarily for the gathered, onsite congregation. For the few churches that did livestream worship services then, their at-home audiences were largely secondary observers. But when now online churches resume onsite worship in 2021, what will become of their online audiences, and how can those watching at home continue to receive primary, interactive attention from worship leaders? 

The Conference Congregational Development Team has invited Moore to help pastors and worship leaders find creative answers to their questions. Since his early days at Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, Ohio, the co-founder of Midnight Oil Productions has become a popular author, worship media producer, consultant and coach, helping to resource churches “of all sizes, styles and means.” Register online.
Youth lectionary curriculum available
WASHINGTON — "Connecting Faith and Justice Youth Curriculum, Lectionary Year B," for junior high and senior high students, is available now from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. The free curriculum was written by a diverse group of people from around the globe who are passionate about youth faith development. Get resource  
Church and Society Ethnic Young Adult internship
Apply today for the summer Ethnic Young Adult Internship Program! Do you know a young person who wants to put their faith in action? Apply by March 1. Program runs from June 5-July 31. The Ethnic Young Adult Internship (EYA) program is for young justice seekers willing to unpack their faith and identity while working with an organization engaged in addressing social injustices. 

Interns are placed with advocacy, public policy, nonprofit and grassroots organizations where they work four days a week. They engage in weekly seminars designed to explore a wide variety of social issues, while also learning about the UMC’s history of pursuing social holiness. 
Local Pastor Licensing School begins in January
Interested in becoming a Licensed Local Pastor? The Eastern PA Conference will begin its new Local Pastor Licensing School in January 2021. Registration is open now for online classes that will gather for just six weeks, from Jan. 15 to Feb. 28. 
The school’s new design allows for faster completion of classes that meet on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Persons from other conferences are welcome to attend. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 2021 classes will meet via Zoom video-conferencing.
The classes will cover UMC Tradition, Leadership and Administration; Spiritual Direction; Preaching; Public Worship and Liturgy; Educational Ministries; Mission and Evangelism; Pastoral Care; and another class related to a Conference emphasis to be determined.
The cost is $1,100, with a $300 non-refundable deposit. The remaining balance is due by March 31. The Rev. Dan Lebo is the school’s new Dean. The Rev. Kevin Babcock, who chairs the Board of Ordained Ministry Committee on Local Pastor Licensing, is the Registrar. Download the brochure and registration form for more details, including requirements.   
Discovering Our 'Theologies of Conflict,' Jan. 12
The Eastern PA Conference will welcome the Rev. Leah Schade, author of Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide, for an interactive conversation on Zoom, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 7 to 8:30 PM. In the U.S. and in the UMC, we continue to seek ways to be in relationship with one another, especially across lines of difference. As we prepare to inaugurate a new president Jan. 20, we seek ways to bridge divides in our churches and communities. Join Dr. Schade as she discusses “Discovering Our ‘Theologies of Conflict’” This free event is open to all churches. 
Tensions and conflict are normal within churches and among people of faith, but they are also sources of anxiety and dread for many. However, if we look at conflict from a theological perspective, we may discover God’s presence in unexpected ways. This session will explore the unspoken assumptions that people of faith have about the relationship between God and our human disagreements and skirmishes.  

The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, Kentucky. An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 20 years, she earned both her MDiv and PhD degrees from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary). Learn more… Register online.
CDT Book Club to explore Rendle’s new book in January 2021
Quietly Courageous, by the Rev. Gil Rendle, is the Congregational Development Team’s (CDT) third book to recommend and discuss in its new weekly Book Club, beginning Jan. 13, 2021. The new clergy and laity study group will gather each Wednesday morning on Zoom, from 11 AM to 12 PM, for six weeks. Learn more...
Agency provides insurance-buying guide    
The United Methodist Insurance Program has put together a buying guide to help congregations choose adequate insurance coverage for the risks they face. The program is part of the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency. To download Insurance Buying Guide. PDF of Insurance Buying Guide.
Slaughter to teach Multi-Site/Satellite Model for churches
‘We’re stronger together’ 

The Eastern PA Conference Congregational Development Team will welcome the Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor emeritus and global church ambassador for Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio, to discuss “The Multi-Site/Satellite Model for Churches” on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at 10 AM. This event will be viewable on Zoom and requires registration in advance. Register for FREE!

Join Slaughter, renowned church innovator and strategist, for a conversation about church growth, sustainability, and connectionalism. Returning us to our Wesleyan connectional roots, he will explore how churches working together strengthens us all. Whether it’s “larger” and “smaller” churches working together, several churches creating a shared cooperative circuit, or developing hub-and-spoke networked ministries, our future lies in the reclaiming and re-envisioning our missional heritage. 

To prepare for this event Pastor Slaughter asks participants to read The Passionate Church: Ignite Your Church and Change the World (Abingdon Press, 2016). Written by Mike Slaughter and Karen Perry Smith, this valuable resource will assist in discerning and defining your church’s ministries and prime them for organic growth using a multi-stite/satellite model. 
Mike Slaughter was the lead pastor and “chief dreamer” of Ginghamsburg for nearly four decades, inspiring many as a “spiritual entrepreneur of ministry marketplace innovations.” He is the founder and chief strategist of Passionate Churches, LLC, which specializes in developing pastors, church staff and church lay leaders through coaching, training, consulting and facilitation services.
His life-long passion to reach the lost and set the oppressed free has now made him a tireless and leading advocate for the people of Darfur in Sudan, once named by the U.N. as the worst humanitarian crisis by in the world. His call to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted challenges Jesus followers to wrestle with God and their God-destinies.”
Plan to attend Transfiguration Day Apart Feb. 10 
Save the date for the Eastern PA Conference’s Transfiguration Day Apart scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, 9:30 to 11:30 AM, on Zoom. All clergy and Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) serving congregations are invited to attend. The Rev. Deborah Appler, who teaches at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, will be the keynoter. Her topic: “The Transfiguration from an Old Testament Perspective." Download and share the flyer
Conference offers new booklet of scholarships, ministry funds
Announces new Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Grants
The Eastern PA Conference Connectional Ministries Office has published online a new booklet, titled Conference Funding for Ministry and Leadership Development, to inform churches and members about resources for funding ministry, church needs and educational scholarships. The booklet conveniently gathers in one place information already present on the conference website’s individual Funding For Ministry, Higher Education Scholarships & Grants and Conference Loan Fund pages. (All pages are updated regularly and are accessible from our Conference Finance webpage.)

But other funding sources also appear in the booklet, including the William “Bill” Drendall Endowment Fund of Mount Gretna UMC, available to all churches; BMCR/BUMP College Scholarships for active members of BMCR-member churches; and scholarships and ministry funding from general agencies of the UMC. 

One major funding source featured in the new booklet is the conference’s new Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Grants (2021-2023 Action Grants). The Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Fund is a Permanent Endowment Fund administered by the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation on behalf of the Eastern PA Conference. It was established from the 2014 discontinuation of Narberth UMC, as a living memorial to past church members, to provide substantial support to new, innovative, justice-seeking ministries that impact the life of communities. 

Beginning July 1, 2021 one grant for up to $45,000, distributed over a three-year period, will be awarded annually to a church. Eligible ministries are those that seek to serve populations that may be multicultural, young or intergenerational, unchurched or de-churched, and challenged by racism, discrimination, poverty and other disadvantages. Such ministries should demonstrate viability and a commitment to foster productive cooperation with church and community partners and stakeholders. 

Funds will be granted only for endeavors that produce action and offer the potential for real change. Learn more on the conference website’s Funding for Ministry page or contact the Office of Connectional Ministries. Deadline: Jan. 31, 2021. Learn more...
Visit our Local Church Resources webpage
Do you find yourself wondering where you can obtain a 501(c)3 letter? Clergy W-2s? Various other bits of information that is crucial for churches? Look no further than the Local Church Resources page under the Administration tab on the EPA website and you can answer these questions.
Let's stay connected. Send us your newsletters
Please add our Communications Office to your church newsletter's digital and/or print mailing lists. We find much of our news in church newsletters (when we find time to read them), and we try to report local church news and events as much as possible. (We also love seeing Conference news reported in your newsletters. Thanks!) However, we want to receive only your church newsletters please, not other e-mailed church announcements. Thanks!
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-digest. Share 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!
  • January 8-9: EPA Virtual Youth Rally. January 8th from 8 PM – 10 PM, and January 9th from 3 PM – 5 PM. Register.
  • January 12: Discovering our “Theologies of Conflict”: Finding Our Way in the Post-Election Season and Beyond. 7 PM - 8:30 PM. Led by Leah Shade, Author of The Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide. Zoom Meeting. Register.
  • January 13: Start of Book Study “Quietly Courageous” with Gil Rendle (Weekly, for 4 weeks)
  • Jan. 16 & 23: Emotional Intelligence and Diversity (Peninsula-Delaware Conf. event, open to Eastern PA Conference members)
  • January 19: EPA Bivocational & Small Church Network. For EPA Clergy and Church Leaders, facilitated by Rev. Denny Emrick. 6:30 PM, via Zoom. Register.
  • January 21: The Multi-Site/Satellite Model for Churches w/ Mike Slaughter. 10 AM - 11:30 AM. Zoom Meeting. Register.
  • January 23: Deacons Gathering – Becoming An Anti-Racist Community: Intersectionality. 1 - 2:30 PM. Zoom. Register.
  • January 30: Basic Sexual Ethics. 9:30 AM - 3 PM. Zoom online meeting. Register.

  • February 9: Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences For Online and In-Person Audiences. 10 AM - 12 Noon. Webinar. Register.
  • February 10: Transfiguration Day Apart. 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM. Zoom Webinar. Download the flyer.
  • February 27: Dismantling Racism Level II. Further details TBA.

  • March 5-6: Advanced Sexual Ethics: Ministry with Sex Offenders. Friday from 6:30 - 8 PM, and Saturday from 9 AM to 12 Noon. Via Zoom. Register.
  • March 13: Tools for Ministry. Download the flyer. Register.

  • April 16-18: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.
  • April 24 & May 1: Urban Summit. April 24th from 10 AM – 12 noon and May 1st from 10 AM - 12 Noon for Adults. May 1st from 12 Noon - 2 PM for the Urban Youth Summit.

  • May 1: "Relating with Clergy Spouses" workshop by Artos. From 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM on Zoom. Download the flyer. Register.
  • May 15: Latino Holy Convocation and Assembly
  • May 15: Clergy Transition Workshop led by Dave Woolverton.9 AM - 11 AM via Zoom meeting. Download the flyer.  Register.
  • May 20 - 22: 2021 Annual Conference 

  • June 5: Cross Cultural Cross Racial Training for New CR/CC Appointments. 9 AM - 12:30 PM, via Zoom Meeting. Register.

  • August 6 - 8: Laity Academy

  • October 15 & 16: Domestic Violence Workshop. Friday October 15 from 7 PM – 9 PM & Saturday October 16th from 9 AM – 12 PM. Further details TBA.
  • Oct. 23:  Faith Sharing Evangelism Training w/ Olu Brown
  • Oct. 29 - Nov 1: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403