July 15, 2021
NEWS & VIEWS
Historic St. George’s UMC in Philadelphia is featured in a national UMCom story about four historic congregations with deep roots in their communities that are living a new story. “Their histories are informing their ministries today and their plans for the future,” writes Philip Brooks in his encouraging account. “History can be either a great teacher or a severe burden.” He writes about one of America’s oldest UM churches:

St. George’s is striving to be a more inclusive and welcoming congregation in its ministries today. Where their forebears once turned away immigrants and people of color, today’s congregation consistently advocates on their behalf through the Justice for Our Neighbors program, which provides assistance with immigration and legal counsel.

“We see it as our mission to acknowledge the sins of the past while striving to heal old wounds through our outreach today. Everything we do is informed by both the good and the bad from our history,” said (the Rev. Mark) Salvacion. Read the four stories at ResourceUMC.org. 
New PA advocacy coordinator to host webinar on UMC’s Social Principles, July 22
We often hear from people who say “the church shouldn’t be political.” But that’s not true. The church should not be partisan, showing support for political parties. But the church has justifiable reason to be political, or engaged in public affairs to advocate for justice and mercy. 

The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles offers helpful guidance to churches and members about the denomination’s official positions on important social values and priorities. Indeed, it guides Joyce M. Davis, our new UM Advocacy Coordinator for Pennsylvania, who serves the three Pennsylvania annual conferences by reporting on key legislative concerns. She reports to all three bishops, although she is located in Harrisburg, the seat of our state government. She is also Lay Leader of the Susquehanna Conference.

Davis, a journalist who works in the state capitol, will host the first in a series of webinars titled “Understanding the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church” on Thursday, July 22, at 6-7 PM.  It will be live-streamed and a recording made available on the Facebook page of the Lay Leader of the Susquehanna Conference. Register for the webinar. Download and share the event flyer. Read more about Joyce Davis and her legislative advocacy ministry.
Bishop’s retirement inspires sentiments, souvenirs. Register for the big farewell fete on Zoom July 26, 6:30 PM 
As she nears retirement in August, Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Eastern PA Conference staff said their mutual goodbyes at a modest, catered picnic luncheon under a tent June 28 (John Wesley’s birthday). Words were spoken, gifts given (left) and photos taken. 
 
But the real party, with attendees from around the conference and beyond, will happen online via Zoom on Monday, July 26, at 6:30 to 8 PM. Hundreds, including members of the Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops, are expected to bid a fond farewell to the bishop after her 13 years of leadership among us. 
 
Those affectionate farewells have already been filling up an online Kudoboard, where members and friends are posting photos and messages of remembrance, gratitude and best wishes. After the party they will be converted into a hardcover book for her as a souvenir keepsake. Meanwhile, staff have converted collected photos into a colorful, uplifting, 7-minute slideshow tribute in images and music that will likely stir heartfelt reactions. And special performances, sentimental comments and other gifts will surely make the event indelibly memorable. 
 
To attend the farewell fete webinar click on the Zoom link. Webinar ID: 966 9511 7530. Passcode: 891085. Or join by telephone: US: +1 646 558 8656. 
 
Visit the online Kudoboard at Expressions of Gratitude from the Eastern PA Conference to read some messages and add your own note and/or a picture. (https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/x2ms73OK)
Post-Pandemic planning for ministry, Aug. 2
As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, more churches are planning, preparing or just pondering steps to take to fully, safely and effectively reopen in the coming months. And many of their leaders are seeking answers to persistent questions—especially when, where and how?
 
Leaders of ministries that serve children, youth and families are determining how to resume or revise or recreate their ministries in a changed environment—especially if that environment is both onsite and online. Several such leaders in the Eastern PA Conference have been exploring those considerations together, and they recently discovered a helpful new resource they want to share with others. 

Elizabeth Christie, Director of Faith Formation at Fritz Memorial UMC in Bethlehem, has been meeting with several other Christian educators every few months; and the team has discovered Post Pandemic Pondering & Planning, a booklet of good ideas published by Presbyterian Church educators. 

Fritz Memorial has experienced over 300% growth in engaged attendance for faith formation since the pandemic, Christie reports. “We think there must be other congregations in this conference that would also benefit from using the guide.” 

So, she and her team will facilitate a Zoom meeting on Monday August 2, at 6:30 PM, for anyone who wants to “peruse the guide with us and talk through questions we have, along with sharing our hard-earned wisdom from pandemic ministry.” Learn more…  Register Now
Conference welcomes Bishop Schol Sept. 18
The Eastern PA invites all to attend a celebrative welcome for its next episcopal leader, Bishop John Schol, on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 10:30 AM, at West Chester UMC. The celebration will begin with a vivid procession of robed clergy as a lively, multilingual congregation sings and possibly dances to “Siyahamba,” the popular, South African hymn that says "We Are Marching (or Walking) in the light of God.”

Bishop Schol and his wife Beverly Schol will return for this celebration to West Chester UMC, where he was serving as lead pastor when he was elected a bishop in 2004. Having led the Baltimore-Washington Conference and now the Greater New Jersey Conference, he will also provide episcopal coverage for our conference from Sept. 1 through at least 2022. 

The Northeastern Jurisdiction is scheduled to elect new bishops when it meets in November 2022. But the jurisdictional conference may also decide to realign several conferences, including ours, into new episcopal areas with more sharing of bishops.

A diverse assemblage of clergy and lay leaders, along with children and youth, will participate in the welcome celebration. Included will be a covenant service, presentation of symbolic signs of the episcopacy, Holy Communion, special music and a sermon by Bishop Schol.  

NOTE: All clergy who wish to join the processional should arrive to robe between 9:30 and 10 AM and wear white robes with red stoles. Also, attendees must register to attend this event and should indicate any need for childcare or other special accommodations. Currently, vaccinated persons do not have to wear masks. Register here.
UMC’s anti-racism campaign marks one year
The UMC’s campaign to dismantle racism, led by the Council of Bishops, is now more than a year old, and church leaders say the discussions are still just beginning. 

“There are many committed leaders at all levels of the church who are actively working to dismantle racism, tribalism, xenophobia and white supremacy,” said Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, who also chairs the Council’s Anti-Racism Task Force. “While we have come a long way, there is still a long way to go.”

Louisiana Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, who is Council president, concurs on both counts. “I don’t think this is the kind of work that has a beginning and an end,” Harvey said. “I think it's on the continuum. This will not come to an end. This will continue.”

As was everything else, the Dismantling Racism initiative was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite that hindrance, Dismantling Racism has enjoyed successes, Easterling said. Yet, the response hasn’t been entirely positive. One oft-heard complaint has been that the campaign is “too political."

Nevertheless, the Council is committed to the long haul when it comes to anti-racism work, Easterling said. “The central message of this campaign is that justice, freedom and belonging are inalienable rights to personhood and birthrights as children of God. Wherever we see systemic infringement upon freedom and liberty, we must work to bring real change.” Learn more… 
MISSION & MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES
Christmas in July at Grace Cafe
"It’s time to beat the heat and get into the holiday spirit with Christmas in July at Grace Cafe, a ministry of Arch Street UMC" says Kristi Painter, Coordinator of Programming at Arch Street UMC's new partner nonprofit, The Center PhiladelphiaGrace Cafe offers a community meal on Sunday evenings and a drop-in resource center during the week (Daytime Services). Both serve the unhoused community in Center City Philadelphia.

"We are grateful to receive a ton of donations during the winter holiday season each year, but our programs are in need of resources year round," said Painter in her appeal. "Christmas in July is a fantastic opportunity for you to support your Philly neighbors! Each day of the week leading up to the 25th of July, we will be asking for new or used donations of some of the most needed items for our guests. Learn more... (And please contribute more news for our new Churches in Mission web page.)
LEARNING EVENTS
Learn about interpreting for the Deaf, July 17
Attend the online Church Interpreting Academy, July 17, sponsored by UMC Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries and UM and AME partner churches. This free virtual event offers three tracks:

  • Introduction to church interpreting—learning about the interpreter's role
  • Interpreting Scripture, for experienced interpreters
  • Introduction to sign language

The academy's goal is to prepare churches to be more inclusive of Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences, and to introduce the field to anyone interested in becoming a church interpreter. For seasoned interpreters, there will be teaching of techniques for message equivalency when engaging with Scripture.

In a time where many are striving for equality and social justice, this Church Interpreting Academy supports churches that want to extend that value to Deaf persons. in taking concrete steps in doing so. The collaboration between The AME and UM church sponsoring partnership is a special feature of this event. Contact Rev. Leo Yates with any questions.

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.
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…
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
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… 
RESOURCES
It’s okay not to be okay
By Pastor S. Michael Greene, Concord Church, Dallas, Texas

Planning a funeral for the patriarch of a family and leader in our church while knowing that only 10 people, including two pastors could attend, was when I realized that I was not okay. I became overwhelmed with tears as I set up chairs six feet apart and realized that a family was going to have to grieve while social distancing.  

How do ministers encourage people when they need to be encouraged themselves? Every minister needs the Bible, a fervent prayer life, a group of ministry friends, a great therapist and a schedule for self-care. And even when all of these are in place, it’s okay to not be okay! Learn more…
Digital discipleship: Being a presence of grace
Recently, many of us have grown increasingly comfortable in digital spaces. We may have worshiped on Facebook, connected with family via Zoom, engaged in a meaningful Twitter conversation, or joined a prayer group on Twitch. All of this virtual connecting raises questions about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ online.

The Rev. Ryan Dunn, Minister of Online Engagement with RethinkChurch, joins us for a conversation about digital discipleship. How can you and I be a pleasant presence of grace when we’re online? Learn MoreWatch the video on YouTube.
Courageous Conversation about Christian Nationalism
Why have a Courageous Conversation about Christian nationalism? Let’s start by defining what we mean by the phrase, “Christian nationalism.” There are many tensions involved in this issue. Where exactly is the line between patriotism and nationalism?

When does allegiance to God conflict with allegiance to country? How should Christians discern God’s will, not just for their lives, but for nations and governmental policies? These questions should be discussed in an atmosphere that promotes listening to the underlying values of participants. Likewise, a learning environment should encourage participants to question their assumptions and see these issues from a biblical perspective informed by Christian tradition. Read More...
Un-Tied Methodism podcast examines roots of racism in UMC
The UM General Commission on Archives & History’s (GCAH) new podcast, titled Un-Tied Methodism, features a discussion on the roots of systemic racism in the UMC. "Racism in the System" was the focus on an interview (48 min) April 24, hosted by 
new GCAH General Secretary Ashley Boggan Dreff. Her guests are: the Rev. Erin Beasley and the Rev. Taylor Tenyer.
Together, they explore:  
  • How was racism built into Methodism’s roots in the U.S. and globally? 
  • How does it still exist in our current denominational structure(s)? 
  • What is the difference between racism and colonialism? 
  • Are there prideful moments in our past when it comes to race both in a US context and globally? 
  • How does 21st-century United Methodism reclaim John Wesley’s legacy of being anti-racist in his time, as he challenged the comforts of the white British elite and included marginalized persons in his ministry.  
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 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
US bishops take on expanded assignments
Starting Sept 1, United Methodist bishops in the Eastern PA Conference and across the U.S. will take on additional work as some of their colleagues retire. The pandemic-caused delay of General Conference until 2022 prompted the Council of Bishops to postpone jurisdictional conferences that elect U.S. episcopal leaders until Nov. 2-4, 2022, with central conference elections in Europe, Africa and the Philippines to follow.

General Conference sets the denominational budget and thus the number of bishops. Meanwhile, 11 U.S. bishops, including Bishop Peggy Johnson, are retiring or taking on new roles as they near the mandatory retirement age. That leaves other bishops to take on interim roles, including Bishop John Schol, who will provide interim episcopal supervision in Eastern PA. Learn more...
Conference assumes management of megachurch
Citing strife over a new pastor’s appointment and other issues, North Georgia Conference leaders voted to take over management of the conference’s largest-membership congregation. Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and conference leaders “unanimously determined that ‘exigent circumstances’ have threatened the continued vitality and mission of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church,” the conference said in a statement.

Mt. Bethel UMC leaders and attorneys received notification July 12 of the immediate transfer of assets from the Marietta congregation to the conference board of trustees within 10 days. Mt. Bethel’s 10,260 members have two campuses and a K-12 Christian Academy, with a total value of about $34.6 million.

Conference leaders’ decision to transfer Mt. Bethel’s assets to the oversight of conference trustees comes amid continued struggle over the appointment of a new pastor. But church leaders plan to disaffiliate from the denomination. Learn more… 
REMINDERS
Churches respond to gun violence crisis via public witness
According to the Philadelphia gun violence and prevention report, there were at least 896 nonfatal and 247 fatal shootings this year as of July 7, including 224 people shot just last month. That is an increase of more than 34% at this point in 2020. It is a national crisis in many cities, but the cracked bell tolls loudest for us in “The City of Brotherly Love.” 

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says reducing crime is not just a job for police, but the community has to be involved. Community involvement must include houses of faith. And some concerned church leaders and clergy groups are stepping up. The Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, the Inter-Faith Social Change Movement and Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence are just three.

Heeding God’s Call cosponsors prayer vigil marches and traveling T-shirt memorials on the lawns of houses of worship, all to draw attention to the deadly crisis and to support advocacy for effective government responses. UM churches are among many that have participated in these public activities. Miller calls the t-shirt displays “colorful graveyards” because they memorialize the many murder victims whose names are inscribed on the colorful shirts. 
Some UM churches in and around Philadelphia have hosted t-shirt memorials and participated in marches. Recently, two suburban churches, Ardmore UMC and St. Luke UMC in Bryn Mawr erected memorials on their front lawns. Learn more
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. 

UM Men’s plans virtual national gathering for Aug. 28
The General Commission on United Methodist Men announces its 2021 Virtual National Men’s Gathering. The gathering will be held online August 28, from 11 AM to 5 PM. Keynote speakers will be the Rev. Dr. Ron Bell, pastor of Camphor Memorial UMC in St. Paul, Minn., and the Rev Tom Albin, who recently retired from The Upper Room as Director of Spiritual Formation and Congregational Life.

Albin now directs United Christian Ashrams International and is President of Albin Consulting and has authored or contributed to numerous books, articles, online courses and reference works. He will speak on Evangelism and Discipleship.

Bell, formerly a pastor in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, provided key community leadership in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police in Minneapolis, Minn. in 2020. He has written for several local and national publications, has a webinar series on Trauma and Empathy, and has published books about reaching Young Adults in ministry, Embracing Grief through Art, and his newest book, The Four Promises: Journeying through Past and Present Trauma. He will speak on “Combating and Healing the Trauma of Racism.” Learn more…  

Registration for the gathering is required. Download the flyer. Click here to register. If you have questions, call 615-620-7277 or email rvance@gcumm.org.
#StillInMission to feature 4 missionaries July 22
The UMC’s Global Ministries agency invites all to join them for episode 33 of #StillInMission on Zoom on Thursday, July 22, at 12 PM, and hear about how God is at work through the mission all over the world. Four missionaries will be featured. Click on their names to see their bios and learn about them before the event, or visit www.umcmission.org. Episode 33 will feature:

Doug Williams, who serves as a pastor and Volunteers-In-Mission promoter with the Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina.

Osias Segura-Guzmán, who serves as Coordinator of Curriculum & Small Group Leadership Development for new churches in Latin America in the Caribbean.

Oscar Quevedo Garcia, who serves as Coordinator of Lay Pastoral Teams with the Methodist Church in Uruguay.

Kenneth Koome, who serves as the Mission Financial Officer with the East Angola Annual Conference.

Registration is required to attend this event. To register, click here

Is your church supporting a missionary? The Itineration Team is ready to walk with your church or small group as you discern developing a relationship with a missionary sent by the UMC through Global Ministries.
Financial lessons for the post-pandemic church
In the aftershocks of the COVID-19 crisis, many churches face a period of financial reckoning. The Rev. Lovett Weems and Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offer eight tips for helping churches navigate uncharted territory. To help churches deal with the financial aftershocks of the COVID crisis, they recommend managing resources wisely, engaging givers more effectively, and seeking more creative approaches to economic sustainability. Read tips.  
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.   
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&
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.
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.
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...
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.
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 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. Le
  • October 1-3: IGNITE Conference for youth, grades 6-12, in Wildwood, NJ. Sponsored by the Greater New Jersey Conference with Next Generation Ministries. (Eastern PA youth are invited to register and attend.)arn 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