July 1, 2021
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following appointments & assignments:
Effective July 1, 2021, unless otherwise stated.

West District
  • CORRECTION: Rev. Robert Howard (PTLP) from Lebanon: Mountville to serve Lebanon Mountville 1/4 time and Lebanon: Hebron (half-time as an appointment, quarter-time as a direct hire).
  • Rev. Doug Smith (Retired Elder) from Palmyra: Gravel Hill to serve in retirement as an Extension Ministry at Cornwall Manor Nursing Home as a chaplain, 1/4 time
  • Correen Russo (Deacon) to serve at LUMINA as a primary appointment, and secondary at First Lancaster UMC.

East District
  • Rev. Gregory G. Holston (Elder) is appointed full-time to extension ministry with the Philadelphia DA’s office from Philadelphia: Janes Memorial UMC: ¾ time.
  • Rev. Dr. Allen G. Jenkins, Jr. (Retired Elder) is appointed as Intentional Interim ½ time to Philadelphia: Janes Memorial UMC.

North District
  • Rev. Kathryn Dinkelacker Swan (Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Quakertown UMC, quarter time, as Youth Pastor, in addition to her half-time appointment at Allentown: Emmanuel UMC.
  • Rev. Manfredo Martinez Luna (Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Casa del Rey UMC, a new congregation formed from the merger of La Trinidad UMC and La Familia Dei, half time.
  • Rev. Stephanie Cramer (Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Jim Thorpe: Grace St. Paul's UMC, three-quarter time.
  • Rev. Timothy T. Cramer (Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Jim Thorpe: Grace St. Paul's UMC, quarter time.
  • Rev. Kathryn J. Painter (retired Elder) to serve Kulpmont UMC, less than quarter time.

South District
  • Rev. Timothy S. Emmett-Rardin (Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Phila.: University City, Calvary UMC, half time, effective.

Juneteenth and July 4th:
A tale of two Independence Days
At a time when America’s freedom is endangered by efforts to restrict or even thwart voting rights for all, it may be timely for us to have two holidays to celebrate our nation’s freedom and independence—both actual and aspirational. July 4th ends a two-week, bookended period of equally important occasions that one might call our Freedom Days. 

It began with historic significance in our first celebration of Juneteenth, June 19, as a national holiday.

And now we celebrate this Independence Day six months after our nation’s democratic values came under a brutal attack that bewildered and dismayed many citizens. Un-civil insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol and sought to abort the certification of our 2020 Presidential election outcome. Now one house of Congress is about to investigate what is still an evolving and disturbing drama that begs for more thorough analysis and remediation.

“Man is born free. Yet, everywhere he is in chains,” wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract. On July 4, 1776, the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. But for nearly 90 more years the chains of chattel slavery continued to rattle, chafe and imprison millions of African Americans. Admittedly, many still hear the harsh echoes of those chains and feel their biting sting even today. Read more...
New Economic Justice Council to improve racial equity 
The Eastern PA Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CORR) has formed an Economic Justice Council with clergy and lay members from across the Conference who reflect racial-ethnic and gender diversity.  
 
“CORR recognizes that our continuing commitment to greater racial justice in the Eastern PA Conference also requires economic justice,” said the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries. “The work of this council will focus on achieving greater racial equity here in the Eastern PA Conference.”   
 
Four focus areas will define the initial work of the council. The goal is to develop specific proposals for each area that would provide greater economic-racial-ethnic equity. These proposals would be brought to the 2022 annual conference. Learn more...
2021 Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference
UM News has published submitted reports from annual conferences, including the Eastern PA Annual Conference report, prepared and provided by NEWSpirit Communications.   
Church to start counting non-binary members
(UM News) — The board of The United Methodist Church's finance agency approved adding the term "non-binary" alongside "male" and "female" on church statistical forms. The change affects only U.S. churches. Heather Hahn reports. Read story
British Methodists allow same-sex marriage
BIRMINGHAM, England — The Methodist Church in Britain now allows same-sex marriage. By a vote of 254 to 46, the denomination's Methodist Conference on June 30 supported a change to its definition of marriage. The Methodist Church in Britain has a concordat relationship with The United Methodist Church and sends four official voting delegates to the UMC's General Conference. Read story
Cooperative church efforts aid Congo volcano recovery
GOMA, Congo (UM News) — More than 3,500 homes were destroyed and more than 450,000 residents evacuated after the Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted May 22. Serving in partnership, the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Connexio Switzerland responded to urgent needs after the disaster. Philippe Kituka Lolonga reports on the church's efforts to help displaced survivors. Read story . UM News: Volcano eruption in Congo hits church, homes
Churches respond to devastating condo collapse
SURFSIDE, Fla. — United Methodists in Florida are stepping up to help however they can after the catastrophe at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside. Sometimes, help means taking action. Other times, it is offering an open ear to those trying to make sense of what just happened. Joe Henderson reports. Read story
Church leader who empowered women dies
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Carolyn Ruth Oehler, a lifelong United Methodist who led at various levels of the denomination, died June 13 at age 80. Throughout her ministry, Oehler advocated for women's empowerment and racial equality. She wrote the churchwide study on inclusive language titled "Words that Hurt, Words that Heal, Language about God and People" as well as a history of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Read obituary
Group announces departure from denomination
RIVER FALLS, Wis. — After years of direct action in support of LGBTQ equality at general church meetings, Love Prevails announced that it is departing The United Methodist Church. "Love Prevails has come to the painful conclusion that the UMC's leadership and methods are so corrupt that we must replace 'Disclose, Divest, and Disrupt' with one final word — 'Depart,'" said the letter signed by 12 members. Read press release  Read letter
MISSION & MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES
Orientation to Ministry training August 21
Register for the upcoming "Orientation to Ministry" training on Saturday August 21, 10 AM-12 PM, at Moravian Theological Seminary (60 W Locust St., Bethlehem PA 18018). The training will be led by Rev. Karyn Fisher, North District DCOM Registrar. Please note: This training will take place in person, and will not include the option to participate remotely.
 
“Orientation to Ministry” is an overview of the diverse ways in which one can enter into professional ministry in the United Methodist Church. It is designed to guide individuals in the process of answering a call to ministry. Those who take this class will gain an understanding of different categories of professional ministry as well as a practical step by step understanding of the candidacy process. This is a required course for all candidates for professional ministry in the Eastern PA Conference. To register, visit: https://na.eventscloud.com/ereg/newreg.php?eventid=626300&
Church thankful for Phila. Foundation Grant
Oxford UMC was awarded a grant of $4,216 from the Clyde P. and Katherine B. Alexander Memorial Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation to support the mission and ministries of the church. Announcement of the grant was made by Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of the Foundation.

This grant supports the church’s missions and outreach programs in the community, such as hosting American Red Cross blood drives each month and supporting missionaries and missions around the world. The 170-year-old church also joins with Allen African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Oxford, and other churches and organizations to encourage conversations on adopting best practices for promoting local unity. 

Oxford, which is worshiping onsite and online now, will resume its 4th-Saturday community breakfasts Sept. 25. Learn more…
Partners for Sacred Places invites design award submissions 
Partners for Sacred Places now invites submissions for its 2021 Faith & Form / Interfaith Design Awards. Partners is “the only nonsectarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to sound stewardship and active community use of older sacred places across America. (It) provides capital campaign training and fundraising strategies, along with technical assistance, and grants to congregations and other local organizations across the U.S.”

The awards program, founded in 1978 to honor the best in architecture, liturgical design and art for religious spaces, is open to a variety of congregations and nonprofit organizations. New award categories are added this year. Categories include: 
  • Religious Architecture for new, renovated and restored facilities; 
  • Adaptive Reuse/Repurpose design; 
  • Liturgical/Interior Design;
  • Sacred Landscape and Religious Arts;
  • Unbuilt Work (new);
  • Faith Community Civic Engagement (new);
  • Faith Community Civic Engagement: COVID-19 Response (new);
  • Faith Community Civic Engagement: Visual Arts, Performing Art, and Other Creative Collaborations (new);
  • Multiple Site Education/Advocacy (new).

Entries are welcomed and encouraged from architects, landscape architects, designers, artists, students, consultants, nonprofits, and religious organizations. Submissions will be accepted from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2021. Learn more…
Church to answer need for blood donations
Christ UMC Lansdale (1020 S Valley Forge Rd, Lansdale) will answer the great need for blood donations by hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday, July 8, 9 AM - 7 PM. Currently, the supply of blood is extremely low and many locations for blood drives are still closed. The church invites all who are able to come donate. Wawa will sponsor the event offer giveaway prizes. To sign up ahead of time, visit the event website

Is your church also responding to the need for blood donation drives? What about other needs in your community? Please let us know, so we can let others know. Visit our Churches in Mission web page and contribute news of your church’s local and global mission activities.
LEARNING EVENTS
October seminar to focus on domestic violence in marginalized communities
The Eastern PA Conference will explore this fall how domestic violence is experienced and addressed by people who face injustice, neglect and other disadvantages because of their race, ethnicity, disability, nationality and other circumstances that relegate them to the margins of society.

“Seeking Justice and Mercy: Social Justice for Marginalized Communities Experiencing Domestic Violence” will be the broad focus of a weekend Zoom webinar Oct. 15-16. The conference Domestic Violence (DV) Committee is organizing the Friday evening (7-9 PM) and Saturday morning (9 AM to 12:30 PM) online event.

Maria Sofia Gattorno, an attorney at HIAS PA's Domestic Violence Initiative, will keynote the webinar, following introductions and devotions on Friday at 7 PM. At HIAS she provides free legal services to immigrant and refugee survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who reside in Chester County. 

“Voices of Survivors” will follow, featuring testimonies and reflections by a diverse panel of women—including one who is deaf—about their struggles for justice and equity in seeking help and healing to overcome domestic and intimate-partner violence. 

Saturday’s agenda will feature more panelists sharing how non-mainstream cultures may be uniquely impacted by domestic violence, and what needs to be done—in the faith community and beyond—to respond to their challenging needs and circumstances. Learn more… 
Advanced Sexual Ethics course to examine pornography link to child sex trafficking 
The next Advance Sexual Ethics course will study The Impact of Pornography and the Intersection with Child Sex Trafficking and Abuse, Sept. 29, 10 AM to 1 PM, on Zoom. The cost is $35. 

The workshop will delve into the world of pornography and its impact on congregants, children, communities and ourselves. The workshop will focus on common types of pornography, trends in the use of porn and its impact on the human brain, and connections between pornography and the growing problems of domestic child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse.

Prior to the workshop, registrants will receive links to two videos to view and worksheets to complete. The facilitators are from Safe Communities Lancaster PA, including Linda Crockett, founder and director. Contact the Rev. Jacqueline Hines for more information at pastorjacquelineumc@gmail.com or 410-963-1721. Learn more…
August Book Club to feature Woolverton's new book
The Congregational Development Team’s next CDT Book Club selection will be the Rev. David Woolverton's newest book, Mission Rift: Leading through Church Conflict. Woolverton, who frequently teaches courses on overcoming church conflict in Eastern PA, will lead the four-week study on Wednesdays, August 11 to Sept. 1, at 11 AM. Once again, the first 25 registrants will receive the book’s Kindle version for free.
Rev. David Woolverton has been an ordained Elder within the Eastern PA Conference for over thirty years, serving and consulting in congregations of various sizes. In addition to serving as Lead Pastor at St. Paul’s Church, Elizabethtown, he also is Affiliate Professor of Leadership and Program Director for the Masters of Arts in Leadership as well as the United Methodist Student Advisor at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Myerstown, PA. He also is a Faculty Mentor in the Kairos Project at Kairos University. David lives in Lancaster, PA with his wife, Kristine, and their rambunctious two year old Bernedoodle.
Calling all Youth: Get Ready to Rally August 28!
There’s a time for everything Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, and August 28, from 9 AM to 6 PM, will be the perfect time for the Eastern PA Conference’s next Youth Rally. It will be a youth rally like no other, promises the Rev. David Piltz, outgoing Coordinator of Young Peoples Ministries.

Covenant UMC in Bath, Pa., will again be the perfect place for a bit of northern exposure and a return to this late-summer youth outdoor rally for its second year. Its debut in 2019 was titled Camping at the Crossroads, but COVID-19 shut down the 2020 plans. Now, all current CDC guidelines and protocols on COVID-19 safety will be maintained.

The day will have games, speakers, music, prizes and much more. There will be youth speakers and musicians including CCYM’s very own Sarah Mott and Covenant UMC’s praise band S.O.U.L.7:17. A speaker from the National Alliance on Mental Health will share a personal testimony about overcoming and living with mental illness.

We will also hear from Egypt Speaks (https://www.egyptspeaksofficial.com/) a renowned poet, spoken word artist and musician. Ending music and a concert will be provided by Tribe Collective (wearetribeco.com). In the middle of the day professionals actors from Without a Cue (www.withoutacue.com) will lead the attendees in an innovative improv based competition!

Finally, throughout the day we will hear from and support two amazing ministries. One is New Bethany Ministries (www.newbethanyministries.org) who provides a variety of support services to those in need. The other is CareNet of Carbon County (www.carenetcarbon.org) who work with “at-risk” youth and young people and providing services that create positive choices.

This is a day youth won’t want to miss! Registration beings at 9 AM, and the program launches at 10 AM. Lunch is on your own, but there will be food trucks available on site.
Healing Communities Training on Zoom in Sept.
Co-sponsored by the Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team and the West Chester Mission Link. 

3 ZOOM sessions in September:
  • Tuesday, Sept 21, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
  • Saturday, Sept 25, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Tuesday, Sept 28, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
  • 2 additional hours of homework to be completed outside of the Zoom sessions

1.0 CEU to be provided for CSM, CLM, and clergy, upon completioin of all 3 Zoom sezzions and the 2 hrs of out-of-class work. Cost: $10
RESOURCES
View recording of UMCom’s Social Media Day Q&A
On “Social Media Day” June 30 UM Communications sponsored a Live Learning Session Q&A that offered church leaders tons of tips for using social media to promote and communicate their ministries. There’s new information offered about Facebook, Instagram and other social media and tactics that can enrich any church’s digital ministry. If you want to share or re-watch the video, it’s posted for now at Facebook.com/UMCom.

Also, explore a variety of online training courses, such as Social Media for Churches, at UMCtraining.org. And subscribe to UMCom’s twice-monthly e-newsletter, MyCom, at ResourceUMC.org/MyCom. You can also find helpful social media content in their social media shareables library and download free graphics for every season of the year.
Podcast on digital ministry premieres
A new weekly podcast with tips on improving online ministries launched with five episodes on June 17. Produced and hosted by the Rev. Ryan Dunn of United Methodist Communications, "Pastoring in the Digital Parish" should serve as "the digital ministry class you missed in seminary." The podcast is available via Apple, Google, Spotify and Amazon, as well as on the ResourceUMC website. Read press release ResourceUMC: Pastoring in the Digital Parish
How to have Courageous Conversations on racism
Understanding the Connection of Anti-Racism to Discipleship. UM Discipleship Ministries offers a three-session teaching series that builds on the Courageous Conversations Teaching Course. It dives deeper into themes around discipleship, the evils of racism, biblical language of “family” and beloved community, community engagement, and more. It also offers ways to encourage churches to take specific actions in their community.

For various reasons, writes the sponsoring agency Discipleship Ministries, “congregations and church members are hesitant about having this needed conversation. Our hope is that these three sessions will encourage and equip church leaders to feel more confident about understanding the need for such a conversation and to glimpse potential outcomes for the local church. 

“This should not be viewed as one conversation that will solve the multifaceted issues of racism in America. Rather, these conversations should be viewed as launching points for deeper relationships and new ways of ministry in the community.” Learn more and sign up...
New summer online CEU courses for clergy 
Market Square Publishing is offering new online continuing education courses for clergy this summer in its Clergy Education series. In addition to its books and small-group studies, these one-hour webinars each cost $25. Attendees can receive certificates for continuing education units (CEUs). 

The upcoming schedule includes: 
  • Starting and Sustaining Effective Hybrid Ministries, July 15, with Anne Bosarge.
  • Tips to Becoming More Effective as a Pastor, July 22, with Quincy Brown
  • Game Changers of the Post-Pandemic Church, July 27, with Kay Kotan
  • Money Talks: A Biblical Take on Saving, Spending and Giving, August 11, with Callie and Roz Picardo 

Learn more at https://clergyeducation.com/. Also see their list of Recorded Courses, each costing $20.
GCORR offers full menu of resources for anti-racists
Visit the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) website to get practical resources and support for those seeking to engage in cultural diversity and embrace equity and anti-racism. Recent resources include:


Also, listen to their new podcast series “Expanding the Table” with two episodes on “Practicing Anti-Racism”:
  • Racism, Police Reform, & Faith
  • Theologians Explore the Roots of Anti-Asian Racism and What the Church Should Know

And check out their Online Courses, etc
  • You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism ($39.99)
  • Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to be Allies ($39.99)
  • Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think ($20) 
  • Also: Implicit Bias Small Group Facilitator's Package and Workbook.  

See Premium Resources to learn more
Bivocational & Small Church Network to meet July 13
The new Bivocational & Small Church Network will have its next meeting for conversation and resourcing on Tuesday, July 13, at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Members will explore “Finances and the Small Church,” led by the Rev. Steve Morton, North District Superintendent, and James Brown, Conference Treasurer. 

Brown will announce a 35 percent-off discount for churches participating in Paychex through Wespath. The support group will share information about grant opportunities for small churches in Eastern PA and how to find and possibly share a church treasurer when there is no one in the church who has financial knowledge. Members will also learn about potential partnerships with other small churches across the conference. Anyone with questions about small-church finances to be addressed should send them to the Rev. Denny Emrick at dennyemrick@gmail.com.  Register for the meeting on Zoom.
Urban Summit Mini-Series resumes July 24
The conference Urban Commission's Virtual Urban Summit Mini-Series will continue July 24 with a session at 10 AM to 12 PM via Zoom. Subsequent online sessions will be offered Sept. 25 and Nov. 20. More information coming soon.
Weekly conference prayer meetings
Join the dozen or more prayer warriors who show up each Tuesday at noon for a half-hour of personal sharing and compelling intercessory prayer. It’s a supportive community of believers in the power of prayer. Some sessions have featured meditative music, wisdom readings and poetry to stimulate creative reflection.

Upcoming Schedule of Prayer Leaders:
  • July 6: John Coleman
  • July 13: Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries
  • July 20: Rev. Stacey Jones-Anderson
  • July 27: Bishop Peggy Johnson

Here is the Zoom access information: Join at: https://epaumc.zoom.us/j/591129374?pwd=dElpMUdVd09VTTBoRDZxTm9zejVqdz09 
Meeting ID: 591 129 374 Or Call in: +1 646 558 8656 
AROUND THE UM CONNECTION
Bishop Domingos named Africa University chancellor
The Council of Bishops is congratulating Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos of the West Angola Episcopal Area on his election as chancellor of Africa University. He will be inaugurated at the school's virtual graduation ceremony on July 3. Domingos is preceded by Bishop John Yambasu, who died Aug. 16, 2020, in a car accident and was inaugurated as chancellor posthumously. Read press release
Missionaries work through COVID-19 crisis
ATLANTA — Seven new missionaries couldn't take part in their normal commissioning service because of COVID-19, but they served through the crisis as safely as they could. Some were confirmed virtually and others had small in-person ceremonies. Read story
WCA assembly meets online
REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Global Legislative Assembly of the Wesleyan Covenant Association met online June 15 to consider agenda items left over from an April meeting in Montgomery, Ala. The assembly passed resolutions endorsing reports on ministry with marginalized people and global missional partnerships. The WCA is a traditionalist group within The United Methodist Church and is planning for the creation of a traditionalist denomination. The Rev. Walter Fenton reports. Read story
REMINDERS
Conference seeks new Coordinator of Urban Ministries
The Eastern PA Conference is seeking to hire a new Conference Coordinator of Urban Ministries. This position has the primary responsibility for coordinating the work of the Annual Conference in empowering congregations to develop and sustain ministries directly related to urban and outreach ministries.

This is a 20-hour per week position that does not include benefits. Resumes and cover letters should be sent to UMJobs@epaumc.org by July 13. 

New Benefits Board members needed!
We are looking for a few talented and conscientious volunteer board members to lead and strengthen the programs of the Eastern PA Conference Board of Benefits.

The vital work of this board includes administering our health and pension plans, monitoring our investments according to policy, maintaining relationships with our clergy on medical leave, evaluating grant requests, and keeping our members educated and informed about their eligibility, benefit plans, and goals for retirement.

If you can contribute your time, thoughtfulness, and leadership, are willing to learn about the benefits we offer to our Clergy members, are a member of a United Methodist Church, and are interested in exploring this opportunity, Contact Jo Fielding at jfielding@epaumc.org or 484-762-8213 to discuss if this volunteer opportunity is right for you. Learn more...
Words of wisdom and warmth
View video of our 2021 clergy retirees 
Enjoy the heartwarming video of our Clergy Retiree Celebration Service, recorded in April and presented at the 2021 Annual Conference May 21. Each year our clergy retirees’ career remembrances and parting sentiments are an inspirational delight to conference members. So is their recitation of John Wesley Covenant Prayer. This year’s cadre is no different. View and enjoy the video. View also our full Annual Conference 2021 playlist for other videos.
Job-hunting guide for bivocational pastors    
Bivocational pastors seeking employment outside the church are invited to participate in Lancaster Theological Seminary’s "The Minister's Job-Hunting Field Guide: Bivocational and Beyond." It’s a hands-on series of six online workshops taught by a prominent career management consultant.

  • Create your own promotional package.
  • Develop and hone interview skills.
  • Find jobs before they are posted. 
  • Design your own job-search campaign.

Offered through the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Seminary, classes will be held July 6-August 10, Tuesday nights at 6:30-8 PM, via Zoom. This 2.5 CEU class is just $100 per participant. See registration and payment instructions and forward this offer to friends or colleagues who might be interested.  
Metro Ministries offers special grant for church technology improvements
Eastern PA Conference Metro Ministries offers a special grant of up to $4,000 to help churches in Chester, Norristown and Philadelphia make improvements in their technology and media ministry to support worship and other activities. Grants will be awarded to help churches move to hybrid worship services that provide in-person worship while retaining an on-line/virtual presence.  

Purchases can include display monitors, cameras, streaming software, worship presentation software, subscriptions for virtual presence, PA equipment, electronic signage, etc. Unlike the Metro Ministries building repair grant, this special grant does not require matching funds.

Submissions are due by July 15. Awardees will be notified by July 31.Funds are limited to support the most compelling projects that demonstrate high impact on the life of the congregation and/or the community it serves. This is a one-time special grant. 

Submit applications to: The Office of Director of Connectional Ministries, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820 or to the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm at dtaylorstorm@epaumc.org. Questions and comments. Contact the Rev. Eric W. Carr, Jr. at pastorewcarr@gmail.com.  Download the Technology Special Grant Application
People of God campaign invites members to #BeUMC
UM Communications, in collaboration with other UMC leaders, is building on the People of God campaign, launched in 2020. The addition of a new hashtag and call-to-action – #BeUMC – invites church members to embody the church’s values, embrace its aspirations, and remain with the denomination even in difficult times.

The People of God campaign celebrates key attributes that are important to United Methodists and serves as a reminder of how they are living out their faith as people of God. Each month has focused on a specific word: faithful, missional, committed, spirit-filled, deeply rooted, connected, resilient, justice-seeking and diverse. The words were chosen to reflect the denomination’s faith, heritage, values, history, diversity, connection and global footprint. Learn more...
Update your church’s Find‑A‑Church webpage
Update your church’s Find‑A‑Church webpage to offer potential visitors current, helpful information. As people begin to seek in‑person connections once more, they’ll be searching online for information about local churches. Be prepared to welcome them with an updated Find‑A‑Church profile! Include a note about who you are as a congregation, links to your website and social media channels, location details and more.
Conference launches Dismantling Racism online Facebook group
The Eastern PA Conference Commission on Religion & Race (CORR) has launched a timely new Facebook Group with a page aptly titled Dismantling Racism. It’s timely because it launched just as the U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden approved Juneteenth on June 19, also long known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, as a national holiday.
 
June 19 was the day in 1865 when the last slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free—two months after the Civil War officially ended and over two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves in Southern states.
 
CORR has been planning to launch the Facebook group for several months; and now members are busy posting information, events, comments and resources to the new page. They are also inviting friends and colleagues to join who resonate with the anti-racism values and interests it communicates. Learn more...
Retirement celebration for Bishop Peggy Johnson, July 26, on Zoom
Eastern PA Conference leaders are planning a retirement celebration to bid a fond farewell to Bishop Peggy Johnson, after her 13 years of providing service and leadership here. The virtual farewell fete on Zoom is scheduled for Monday, July 26, at 6:30 to 8 PM, and will include greetings from members of the conference and the NEJ College of Bishops, among others.  

To attend the farewell webinar click on the Zoom link. Webinar ID: 966 9511 7530. Passcode: 891085.  Or join by telephone: US: +1 646 558 8656. Also, we are requesting the submission to communications@epaumc.org
of photos of our bishop from across the conference

In addition, we have created a Kudoboard where members and friends can post messages of gratitude for Bishop Johnson. Please visit the online board at  Expressions of Gratitude from the Eastern PA Conference to read some messages and add your own. You can add a note of gratitude and/or a picture: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/x2ms73OK

Also, save the Date!
A Welcome Celebration is being planned for Bishop John Schol as our new episcopal leader on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 10 AM, onsite and online at West Chester UMC.
Conference to offer two Laity Academies
in 2021: August 6-7 online; Oct. 1-2 onsite
It’s been over a year of shutdowns and lockdowns; learning to live differently in our homes; attending meetings, classes and worship services on Zoom; and ordering many more consumer goods online. We depended on essential workers to serve and take care of us, while some of us learned how to take better care of each other. “Handle With Care” became not only a cautionary box label but a way of being human together. 

In John 13:34, Jesus commanded us to not only care but also love one another. “As I have loved you,” he said, “so you must love one another.” The pandemic has reminded us that life is precious. How we live our lives is precious. And how we care for one another and Love one another is precious. 

Acknowledging that we are not fully back to normal, the annual conference Laity Academy will host two learning events in 2021. The theme is “Handle with Care Love.”

The first academy is August 6-7, Friday evening and all-day Saturday, using Zoom video-conferencing. The second will be on October 1-2, when in-person classes will be hosted at several churches across the conference. 

There will be one Basic course for lay ministry servants; three Caring courses (one in Spanish); four Leadership courses; and three Speaking courses (two in Spanish). These courses will teach about preaching, Bible study, pastoral care, church communications, emotional intelligence and other topics. Learn more...
Registration for the August Zoom courses is now open. Register now.

Registration for the October in-person courses will open by mid-August. Course descriptions for October will be posted soon.

Watch a heart-lifting Laity Academy 2021 video by Sabrina Daluisio.
Scholarships available for chaplaincy students   
The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation invites students preparing for chaplaincy in any branch of the U.S. military to apply for the Samuel Grover Powell Scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited theological seminary and meet other requirements. The deadline to apply is July 1. 
College scholarships up to $3,000 available   
A limited number of United Methodist Dollars for Scholars awards are still available for the 2021-22 academic year from the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. The scholarships are for United Methodist students attending United Methodist higher education. To learn more and apply
View recordings of recent important events
Visit our Event Recordings web page to view and benefit from dozens of recordings of recent, worth-watching Zoom meetings, classes and webinars. That includes Tools for Ministries classes offered online in March and the dynamic Becoming the Beloved Community: Preaching for the Pentecost Season, a valuable resource for planning justice-oriented worship and preaching for the current season of Pentecost.  
New puzzle helps clergy families navigate pastoral transitions
Jigsaw Journey is a puzzle with a discussion guide, online videos, and other tools, provided by Artos Retreats (“Bread for the Soul”), to help clergy families navigate the emotional journey of pastoral transitions. It’s a good conversation-starter to help families reveal and share thoughts and feelings about the experience.

“The game opened a doorway for my family to talk about some challenging issues related to our upcoming transition,” said one clergy spouse with two teenage boys. “We may have never talked unless we were working on the puzzle.” 

The full set costs $55 and would be a great church gift to clergy families. Discounts are available upon request for clergy families feeling a financial pinch during the pandemic. Discounts for EPA clergy families are made possible by the generous support of the EPA Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Contact: Julie@ArtosRetreats.org. Learn more
Racial Ethnic Local Church grants available this fall
Grants up to $10,000 will be available this fall from Discipleship Ministries to strengthen leadership training, small groups, worship, stewardship and spiritual formation in racial-ethnic local United Methodist churches. The application deadline for Racial Ethnic Local Church Concerns (RELCC) grants is Sept. 1.

RELCC grants are available each year, with priority given to new programs. Funds are not provided for personnel, equipment or ongoing building costs.  

For more information, go to https://bit.ly/3vSgb5G or contact Naomi Hope Annandale, director of research and strategic evaluation, by phone at 615-340-1743 or by email at nannandale@umcdiscipleship.org.
 
Applicants must apply online at https://ypm-umc.smapply.io / and are encouraged to consult with Discipleship Ministries staff for guidance in preparing the application. Learn more about grant qualifications.
Conference Leadership Opportunities for all!
The Conference Leadership Committee asks all clergy and lay members to use this Leadership and Service Interest Form to indicate how and where they are willing to serve on. 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!
SAVE THE DATES
July
  • July 13: Bivocational & Small Church Network. Every other Month, on the 2nd Tuesday of Month, at 6:30 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • July 22 - 30: 2021 Mission u, virtual. Sponsored by Eastern PA Conference UMW. Learn More. RegisterRegistration has been extended until July 13!
  • July 24: Urban Summit Mini-Series
  • July 26: Farewell fete for Bishop Peggy Johnson. 6:30 PM - 8 PM. Zoom webinar. Join.

August

September
  • September 18: Welcome Celebration for Bishop John Schol, 10 AM, at West Chester UMC.
  • September 25: Urban Summit Mini-Series
  • September 22, 25, 28: Healing Communities Training on Zoom. Sept. 21 & 28 at 6:30-8:30 PM. Sept. 25 at 8:30 AM-12:30 PM. 
  • September 29: Advanced Sexual Ethics, on Zoom. 10 AM - 1 PM. “Impact of Pornagraphy and the Intersection with Child Sex Trafficking and Abuse.” Register.

October
  • October 1-2: 2021 Laity Academy - In-Person Sessions, at several church locations TBA. Learn more.
  • 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.
  • October 23:  Faith Sharing Evangelism Training with Rev. Olu Brown
  • October 23:  UMW Annual Celebration
  • October 29 - Nov 1: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403