July 14, 2017
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Bishop Peggy  Johnson  announces new appointments, effective July 1  unless otherwise indicated.  (Includes changes in clergy status.) 

South District
  • Rev. Thomas A. Jackmon (Retired Local Pastor) less than 1/4-time to Paoli UMC, effective August 1, 2017.
Images of a mission adventure at Spirit Lake
Joint Cabinet mission team spends week in ND
Bishop Peggy Johnson this week led a team of mission leaders from her two conferences, Eastern PA and Peninsula- Delaware, on a five-day mission encounter trek to Spirit Lake Mission Center in Sheyenne, North Dakota. They went there to meet, support and fellowship with the peoples of the Spirit Lake Nation in the spirit of Christ's love.

Spirit Lake provides work projects volunteers in mission opportunities year-round to benefit local Elders, persons with disabilities, youth and children, but also to benefit those who come to share in ministry with them.

Bishop Johnson and the Rev. Joe Tyson sent us requested photos during the week, starting just after their arrival. Joining them were the Rev. Anita Powell, Pen-Del cabinet members, a few spouses and a Deaf young man who wanted to join them, along with his sign interpreter. Johnson wrote on Monday:

"All is well. We arrived safely, without a glitch. Our hosts are the Rev. Mike and Libby Flowers. We are sharing the site with a work team from the Indiana Annual Conference. Our plans for the week include home repairs at the homes of Lakota and Dakota peoples and working at a day camp for local children. We covet your prayers for the opportunity to build relationships and learn about this rich culture of First Nations people"

Enjoy a gallery of photos to view on our three social media pages: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. See the team and its work, both in progress and completed, as well as some of the gracious folks they met there. They return home on Friday, no doubt a bit weary but with indelible memories of their Spirit Lake mission adventure. 
Academy for Laity, Aug. 4-6: Embrace the Journey
The registration deadline is July 15.
Registration is open now for the  34th Academy for Laity, Aug. 4-6 . They have new dates, a new location and new courses. The new location is
Cedarville UMC , 1092 Laurelwood Road, Pottstown, PA. The theme:
Embrace the Journey: Step Up, Step Out .  

This is an ideal opportunity for everyone who wants to serve the Lord to start or refresh the Christ Servant Ministry journey.  "Whether you are just beginning your journey to learn more about our amazing God and His Son Jesus or you are a seasoned Bible scholar, a Christ Servant Minister, a Certified Lay Minister or a clergy member, this is the year for you to step up and step out to enhance your knowledge. Join with hundreds of fellow Christians who thirst for information as well as fellowship."

Each course was designed to be a unique learning experience with information that you can immediately take and start applying in your ministry. The Academy offers 10 course subjects-from the Basic Course for those who are starting out, to advanced classes in three disciplines: leading ministries and groups; caring for others in your church or community; and speaking to diverse groups or preaching to congregations.

The  registration deadline is  July 15.
  What's New this Week on Our Website?
Missi on u: Learning, living in 'right relationship'
"Learning Together for the Transformation of the World." Nearly a hundred registered Eastern PAConference members of all ages will both explore and exemplify that theme when they gather at the United Methodist Women's (UMW) annual Mission u event next weekend, July 21-22. That gathering, including a dozen children and youth, will convene once again at The Inn at Reading in Wyomissing, Pa.

They will examine Living in Covenantal Community (Spiritual Growth Study), Missionary Conferences (Geographical Study), and Climate Justice (Issue Study) as their key study topics and perhaps discover the single thread that runs through all three: living in right relationship with others. "Are we living in right relationship with God," teachers will ask, "right relationship with our neighbor and right relationship with Creation?" There will also be some special fellowship and mission activities prior to the start of the event. Learn more...

Offering healthy habits to clergy spouses in transition
Over 100 pastors and congregations have celebrated their first Sunday worship in an exciting new journey of faith and discipleship together. So, how can clergy spouses and families navigate their parallel journeys in a healthy way?

A new Artos Retreats workshop,  Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses,addresses this question with, according to one recent participant, "useful and practical info that can be implemented right now - all good!" The new workshop frames the clergy spouse's transition journey over 18 months, not just over the few months from appointment announcement to July 1.  Learn more...

Churc h lecture series explores Muslim culture
nd faith
Grove UMC in West Chester, Pa., offers an Adult Forum on Sundays that reaches beyond the usual Bible study and Sunday school to serve inquiring minds who seek to understand "the sum of things." Indeed, the church went deeper in that quest this year by examining a topic that may seem "far off" but is very close to home: the history, faith and culture of Muslim people.

Grove recently completed a 10-week Sunday night lecture and discussion series that it first offered a decade ago and will offer again this fall, titled "An Introduction to Islam and Muslims through History and Scripture." Weekly audiences, gathered in an upper room of the church, averaged about 40 people of various faiths (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Quaker), among the 67 who initially signed up. The popular series ran from February to May and will return by popular demand on Sunday, Sept. 17. Learn more...  

UM advocate urges help for trafficking victims
The Rev. Dai Morgan, legislative advocate for our three Pennsylvania annual conferences, reports monthly on his activities and key state and federal political issues and actions (and in some cases, inaction) of concern to United Methodists. His June 2017 Advocacy Report is available on our website and featured in our home-page INFORM section. It highlights actions and strategies around human trafficking, gerrymandering voting districts, opposition to proposed health care legislation and many other issues.

Morgan's reports offer brief but informative views on many legislative topics that can stimulate one's interest in taking responsive action. Accompanying Morgan's June report is his "Human Trafficking" Letter, urging PA House Judiciary Committee members to move the "Safe Harbor in Human Trafficking" bill out of committee to be considered by the whole chamber. He cites a letter supporting the bill by all three UM bishops in Pennsylvania sent over a year ago. It calls for developing statewide protocols to provide services and protection for child victims of human trafficking and making provisions for funding, law enforcement training and public awareness in support of this effort.
Learn more...

2 additions to our Annual Conference info webpage
On the  Annual Conference webpage we have added the following documents for your information:
  • 2017 Annual Conference Statistical Report documents presented at the 2017 Annual Conference, including church and Sunday school attendance, members received by profession of faith and involvement in missions and Christian formation groups.
  • Booklets containing the 2017 Annual Conference's Worship Services, including the Service of Ordination and Commissioning.  
Register now and come for the blessing... wonderful speakers...spirit-filled fellowship... renewal... relaxation... revival... of the annual Eastern PA Conference Laity Retreat, on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 9 to 1:30 PM, at Grove UMC, 490 West Boot Road, West Chester, PA. The registration fee is only $35, including meals and retreat materials. For inquiries contact Suzette James at  suezyq@earthlink.net.  
Summer hours at the Conference Office have begun. Our hours are 7:00 am to 4:15 pm, Monday - Thursday. The office will be closed on Fridays.
Conference Job Opening:
Coordinator of Urban Ministries
The Eastern PA Conference is searching for a part-time Coordinator of Urban Ministries, who will report to the Director of Connectional Ministries. Anyone interested in this position should send a resume and cover letter to UMJobs@epaumc.org by July 24.  Download the job description: Urban Ministry.
Want to view recorded video of Annual Conference?
Now you can!
Recorded video of our June 15-17 Annual Conference is now accessible from our  Annual Conference webpage. Or you can go right to our conference YouTube page to  see the full 2017 Annual Conference sessions playlist.

See, hear and feel it all, from the stirring opening worship and plenary session to our final session of holy conferencing and uplifting reports before adjournment. Be sure to watch Upper Room Chapel Dean Tom Albin lead an insightful, faith-affirming Teaching Session on Prayer. (Also, be sure to download and use his excellent handout materials available on our Annual Conference webpage.)

Enjoy  three inspiring, thought-provoking  sermons by Bishops Peggy Johnson, Latrelle Easterling ( right) and Peter Weaver. 

Marvel at the first-person historical narratives offered by Methodist forebears Captain Thomas Webb ( left) , Mary Thorne and Harry Hosier. And join in celebrating the ordination and commissioning of new clergy, while also commemorating the dedicated lives of newly retired clergy and recently deceased clergy and clergy spouses.

Take your time--take the rest of summer--to view the 30 dramatic video segments on our playlist, carefully prepared by our Communications staff member Lindsey Cotman. Or "binge-watch" them all at once. It's your choice.

But also, don't forget to download and read the many significant Annual Conference reports and resolutions (with their voting results) that are also accessible....where? You guessed it: our Annual Conference webpage.
Hopewell's 2017 Planting Seeds event: Pray for the City
Hopewell UMC's is planning its 14th Annual Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth event, be held on Saturday, Sept. 30.  Keynote speaker for Pray for the City will be the Rev. Scott Chrostek, Pastor of Resurrection Downtown, a Kansas City campus of Church of the Resurrection, where he serves on Adam Hamilton's executive leadership team.  The Rev. W. Wilson Goode Sr. will be this year's worship speaker.  Dr. Goode is the director of Amachi, a national program for children of incarcerated parents.  He served two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia.
Six workshops will be offered during the event, two in the late morning and four in the afternoon.  Workshop descriptions are posted at www.hopewellumc.org/planting-seeds. Registration for the 2017 Planting Seeds for Ministry Growthwill open in early August.  Hopewell UMC is located in Downingtown, PA.  For more information, call the church office at 610-269-1545, or e-mail Deb Boyd at boyd@hopewellumc.org.  
We need News & Views from our readers
Clergy and laity, RSVP.
That means you!
News: If your church, pastor or members are featured in the local news--print, online or television--please, please let us know, so we can report it in  Methodists Make News. Send us a link (URL) to the article or the photo or broadcast segment online. Or just tell us the publication or TV station, and we'll search for it. We are looking for news or feature stories or commentaries that feature any UM church members or ministries (but not mere listings of worship services or events). So, please keep us in mind when you see any stories worth sharing. Thanks!

Views: We're also looking for more informational and inspirational writings by clergy and laity that we can publish (or republish) on the conference website--especially in our " From Pulpit & Pew" blog section. Most of our contributions are republished, with permission, from insightful, well-written pastor's columns in church newsletters. We would like to receive more of those; but we also want other writings from diverse lay and clergy members who have something important, helpful or thoughtful to say that can benefit our readers. If you send us something, please try to e-mail a good photo of yourself as well; and definitely tell us how to contact you if we have any questions or concerns.

The doors of our media-church are open. Come on in!

Bishop to address global missions conference of the Deaf
Bishop Peggy Johnson will speak at the 4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf, August 1-4, at Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center, Waxahachie, Texas. Other presenters will include Emmanuel Deaf Ministry of Brazil and the Rev. Caesar Rentie, a former NFL player reared by deaf parents.
The global gathering of UM and Wesleyan-related ministries will convene Deaf, late deafened, hard of hearing and Deaf-blind persons and will include information on Deaf ministries in many countries, including South Korea, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, the U.S. and a Brazilian church that is one of the largest deaf Methodist churches in the world,  A 10-hour course on Deaf Lay Servant certification will be offered. Christians of all churches and denominations are welcome.  Learn more...  
New UMC Handbook now available 
The new United Methodist Church Handbook for this quadrennium is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination's beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about The United Methodist Church and is helpful for leaders and new members.

"The United Methodist Church Handbook is one of the most appreciated resources generated in the church, and rightly so," said Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries. It offers a holistic overview of the church and the ways that all United Methodists are an essential part of the denomination's work around the world. It also explains the church's connectional nature, includes denominational maps and graphics, answers frequently asked questions, provides a glossary of key denominational terms, offers communication and connectional giving information and suggests resources to further mission and ministry. Learn more...  
United Methodist Night at the Phillies, July 29
United Methodist Night at the Phillies will be on Saturday, July 29.Come enjoy a thrilling game of baseball. Please join us with family and friends for fun and fellowship at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, July 29, at 7:05 PM, when our Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves.  For group tickets contact Jen Leone at jleone@phillies.com or 215-218-5267. " Please download and share the color flyer. Learn more...
HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations, Oct. 21
Save the date! HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations happens Oct. 21, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Lighthouse Fellowship UMC, 137 North Easton Road, Glenside, PA. Be inspired as speakers from small congregations doing great ministries share how God is moving and imparting hope to and through them.
Gain a new perspective. Ask questions. Connect. Be refreshed. Get hope!  Join us for this live-streamed, TED talks-style event sponsored by Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Cabinet. ASL Interpretation and Handicapped Accessibility will be provided. Registration is $10 in advance and $15 at the door (includes breakfast and lunch). Online registration opens July 15. Want more information? Visit lfumcglenside.com/hope-talks .  
Register now for upcoming Sexual Ethics Workshops:
  • Basic (Level 1) Sexual Ethics Workshop: July 15, 9 AM to 3:30 PM, at Conshohocken UMC. Level 1 training is mandatory for all persons seeking certification as candidates in ministry, candidates for ministerial roles and for all other individuals beginning ministerial roles within the Eastern PA Conference.  Training is available through the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, Lancaster Theological Seminary and Evangelical Seminary. Learn more.
  • Advanced Sexual Ethics-"Click, Connect, and Love: The Impact of Social Media on Clergy, Congregations and Families": July 29, 9:30 AM to 3 PM, at New Life UMC, Drexel Hill.
  • Advanced Sexual Ethics-"Sexual Boundaries" Oct 3, 9.30 AM to 3 PM, at St. Luke's UMC Bryn Mawr. 
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of UMC.org, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digestShare this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
2017 Academy for Laity
Aug. 4-6 (Fri.-Sun.) at Cedarville UMC Pottstown. New dates, new location, new courses. Theme: Embrace the Journey: Step Up, Step Out." More details to come.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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