July 21, 2017
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WHAT'S NEW
Conference seeks  Urban Ministries Coordinator
The Eastern PA Conference is still searching for a part-time Coordinator of Urban Ministries, who will report to the Director of Connectional Ministries. If you are interested or know of anyone interested in this position, resumes and cover letters should be e-mailed to  UMJobs@epaumc.org by the new extended deadline: August 4.   Download the job description
2017 Charge Conference forms now online
Charge Conference forms to be downloaded and completed by local church leaders are now available on the conference website, accessible at the top of the Resources tab menu and also on the Forms page. District offices will provide instructions on preferred methods of submitting forms. Included with the usual reports are forms for:
  • Safety and Accessibility Inspection;
  • Safe Sanctuary policies updating (based on revisions by the 2016 Annual Conference); and
  • The new Accountability Agreement with the Boy Scouts of America (if not signed in 2016).
The forms and annual reporting process are described as "an opportunity to celebrate your church's achievements, a useful tool to evaluate your church's ministry goals and objectives, and a helpful process to ask important accountability questions." Any questions or suggestions should be directed to the appropriate District Office (not to the Conference Communications Office).
Annual Tindley Memorial on Saturday
Members and friends of the Charles Albert Tindley Institute (CATI) will observe the fourth annual memorial ceremony to honor the church's founding pastor The Rev. Charles Albert Tindley on Saturday, July 22, beginning at 10 AM at the historic Eden Cemetery, 1434 Springfield Road Collingsdale, PA. The program will include hymns written by Dr. Tindley, a brief history of his life, a floral tribute, and a prayer. All are welcome to attend this solemn occasion.  For information contact: Dr. Brenda Tucker Patterson, CATI Chairperson at 267-304-4515 or gitboxdude1@verizon.net
Academy will help laity ' Embrace the Journey'
Register by July 29
At the Eastern PA Conference's 34th  Academy for Laity, August 4-6, some fortunate lay members will embark on a new journey, while others will find wise counsel and willing companions for a journey already begun. It is a revealing, life-changing journey that can draw one into the heart of ministry and ultimately, nearer to the heart and mind of Christ.

"Embrace the Journey: Step Up and Step Out" is the theme of this year's weekend academy that will take place at a new location, Cedarville UMC in Pottstown (1092 Laurelwood Road). That's where hundreds of conference members will gather to learn, to teach and to embrace the fundamentals of lay ministry, as they "step up and step out" to speak, care and lead others with the love of Christ.

But the time to register for this important annual event is running out. The new,  extended deadline is July 29. Please be sure to register by this date.  Learn more...
North District to sponsor its own Laity Academy
The new North District will again sponsor its own Laity Academy over four weeks on Monday evenings, September 11, 18 and 25 and October 2. Classes will be in session at St. John's UMC, 1211 West Arch Street, Coal Township, PA. To better serve local churches in their region, the active Methodists United Mission ConneXion, in the Shamokin area, is partnering again with the Eastern PA Conference, as they did  a few years ago, to bring the Laity Academy closer to home.
 
This year, the "Basic" course will be offered as well as two Advance courses: "Leading through Failure" and "Visitation and Nurturing." The academy is open to anyone in the North District or in the entire Eastern PA Conference, for those who want to drive out there and see the sheer beauty of God's early autumn canvas in our northwestern region. Each session will run from 6 to 8:30 PM. For information, contact Patty Korbich at pbkorb@verizon.net or 570-672-1031. A small fee will help pay for class materials and light refreshments. Registration is required.
New districts plan picnics in August, celebrations in September
The new North and South districts will both hold picnics in August for their clergy families, inviting all to come and get better acquainted. But clergy and laity of all four new districts will have a chance to get better acquainted in September when they each host Bishop Peggy Johnson, combining her annual Days on the Districts visits with their inaugural new-district celebrations, complete with worship, dinner, presentations and meetings.

The bishop will bring several conference staff--including Benefits Officer Jo Fielding, new Connectional Ministries the Rev. Anita Powell and our new Conference Treasurer if one is hired by then--to meet with clergy about important concerns first around 4 PM. Joint lay-clergy dinners will follow, and then meetings with laity in the evenings. Lay members and guests will also hear updates from our partner UM missionaries in Tanzania, the Rev. Mutwale Ntambo wa Mushidi and his wife Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine. Learn more...
Pastor tells reporter about putting faith into action
The Daily Item, published in Sunbury, Pa., quoted the Rev. Kay Painter, pastor of First UMC in Mount Carmel (North District), among other clergy in the July 8 article "Churches build up their communities."

"As welfare reform debates continue, people of faith are making tireless efforts to meet the needs of those less fortunate in their communities," writes journalist Tricia Kline, "making a far-reaching impact in a way, church leaders say, the government never could." Searching for pastors in her area to comment on church outreach efforts, Kline contacted us, and we asked several pastors to respond to her questions.

"It is not only important but essential for churches to serve those who are in need," Painter told her. "It is a part of who we are as people of faith. Jesus calls us to serve others in whatever way we can. We are to practice our faith, put it into action-not sit idly by as people suffer."

Read more of this pastor's profound insights on why churches reach out to help those too often left behind. We featured this article in Methodists Make News, and we are eager to feature other news and feature stories-in print, online and television media-that mention any Eastern PA Conference churches, leaders and members. If you see or know of any such stories, please let us know, and send us a link if you can, at communications@epaumc.org
Read the new issue of
Wellspring online
49 Eastern PA churches sign up for Abundant Health Challenge 

The July-August issue of Wellspring , the Eastern PA Conference Health and Healing Council's bimonthly newsletter, is online with 12 pages of valuable information, insights and even inspiration about living abundant healthy lives. Included are articles on:
  • promoting children's nutrition and protecting them from food allergies;
  • suicide prevention;
  • avoiding stressful living through faith and self-acceptance;
  • the importance and miraculous effects of consuming water;
  • a "Letter to Our Youth" with truths about alcohol and other drugs;
  • self-care for the caregiver; and
  • a personal testimony about the life-changing benefits of volunteering to serve others.  
There are also healthy recipe ideas, tips on healthy eating from Methodism founder John Wesley, a glimpse of a hands-on, therapeutic arts ministry at one church, addressing health care issues in later life, and more good book suggestions for children.
 
Council members greeted members at their busy Annual Conference display table in June, handing out free healthy snacks, bottled water and chopsticks....yes, chopsticks. They also celebrated that 49 of our churches so far have answered our Bishop's challenge to join the General Board of Global Ministries' 10,000 Church Abundant Health Challenge. Those churches now have access to free GBGM resources for promoting health for their members and communities in whatever ways they see fit. You can sign up your church to take the challenge today. Just select one of the options for promoting good health by:
  • Providing opportunities for physical activity;
  • Promoting healthy diet and nutrition;
  • Helping people end the dependency or damaging effects caused by addictive substances; andor
  • Promoting mental wellbeing in your congregation and community.  
"Above all, we want members to be aware of the state of their health: physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally, environmentally, etc.," says council co-chairwoman Sharon Hachtman, a Deaconess and Registered Nurse.
Advice from Bishop's Blog:  
'Don't Worry, Be Happy'

For Bishop Peggy Johnson, a favorite song by Bobby McFerrin echoes Jesus's advice to us to avoid the unnecessary stress of worry (Matthew 6:25).  "We worry because some things in this life make us fearful and often seem to challenge our very existence," she writes in her Bishop's Blog.  She lists: endless wars in the Middle East; North Korean long-range missiles; senseless mass killings; tragic, fatal, police-involved shootings; global warming and Congressional efforts to eliminate healthcare safety nets.

"Even our denomination's fractious conversations about unity versus separation can cause distress," she continues. "The list of things to worry about seems endless." But there's always good news for blessed believers in Jesus Christ, who, she reminds us, knows firsthand the "sorrows and struggles of life," but tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and God's righteousness..."  

Faith in our deliverance through the eternal Christ "gives us patience, peace and hope for the future, despite the fearful conditions of this life," writes the bishop. "God is with us, and God is faithful." 

Read her brief but proven prescription for overcoming worry. You might feel better about the future. You might even hear an old, familiar, upbeat song teasing your brain. And "you might want to sing it note for note..." Learn more...  
L ocal Pastor Licensin g School in session now 

Register now if you are interes
ted in pastoral ministry as: 


*         A certified and licensed Local Pastor  
*         A Growing Church Licensing School Pastor
 
Attend the Eastern PA Conference Board of Ordained Ministry's year-round Local Pastor Licensing School. Courses are taught on Saturdays, all day, at the teaching pastor's church or at the Conference Office in Norristown (Audubon). Our experienced instructors are clergy leaders and/or church growth experts from PATH 1, a church growth initiative of the denomination's Discipleship Ministries general agency.
 
The five major areas of study are:
  • Pastoral Care, taught by the Rev. Truman Brooks at West Chester UMC. (Course ends July 29 and will repeat in June 2018.)
  • Congregational Development: A one-day, three-part course taught at the Conference Center August 5, from 8 AM to 5 PM.
-         Growing Church Models (Spiritual Leadership, Inc., Lifetree CafĂ©, etc.) Taught by the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson.
-         Mission and Outreach Ideas from Tom Bandy. Taught by the Revs. Peter Wernett & Gordon Hendrickson.
-         Wesleyan Ministry, Then and Now. Taught by Charles Yrigoyen.
  • Preaching, Worship & Sacraments. Taught by the Rev. Tom Haugh: Sept. 9 & 23, and Oct. 7, at Mt. Hope UMC
  • Christian Education. Taught by the Rev. Michael Roberts: Dec. 2 and Jan. 6 & 20 (2018) at the Conference Office.
  • Church Administration-Leading a Congregation. Taught by the Rev. Larry Leister: April 7 & 21, and May 5 (2018) at Lititz, UMC.
The cost is $1,100 for all five segments toward licensing, or $250 per segment.
For more information contact Gordon Hendrickson at gordonacts6@gmail.com or 267-258-9507.   Learn more and download the registration form:
2017-18 Information and Application for Licensed Local Pastor School [Word doc]  
Charles Wesley event open to all   Pianist needed for hymn sing
The  Charles Wesley Society  will meet at Historic St. George's UMC, 235N 4th St., Philadelphia, September 29-30 and invites any interested persons who wish to attend. Please register online. The meeting will feature scholarly presentations that interpret and promote the life and work of Methodist hymnist and co-founder Charles Wesley, with a particular focus on the context of social justice. 

Topics include: "Charles Wesley's Response to the Cries of 
t he Oppressed," "Charles Wesley and the Beloved Community," and "Sanctif ication, Salvation, and Social Justice: How the Central Doctrine of Methodism Holds these in Tension." Event organizer Steven Hoskins will speak on "Improvising Poetic Justice: The 1801 Hymnal of Richard Allen, African Methodist Episcopal Minister."  The meeting will also include a tour of historic Methodist sites in Philadelphia, including: Historic St. George's museum; Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, founded by Bishop Richard Allen; and the Dock Street site of the first Methodist Meeting in Philadelphia. 

Another feature will be a public hymn sing at St. George's Church on Friday evening, Sept. 29. But since the St. George's music director will be out of town, an accompanist is needed to play piano for the hymn sing. "This is a terrific opportunity for a dedicated Methodist musician to celebrate Wesley's music," writes Donna Miller of St. George's. There will also be a stipend paid. Contact her at office@historicstgeorges.org.   
REMINDERS
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.
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.  
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:
  • 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!
SAVE THESE DATES
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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