June 11, 2021
Radnor UMC gives historic church to AME congregation
The pews at Radnor UMC in Bryn Mawr were nearly full—a rare sight—and the hearts of attendees surely were full as well, as Eastern PA Conference officials transferred ownership of the historic church, more than two centuries old, to the St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wayne June 7.

Gathered in worship on a steamy Monday evening, the interracial assembly watched and listened intently to solemn readings and remarks. But their hush seemed to deepen during the official declarations of the Service of Transfer (“An Order for the Leave-taking of a Church Building”).

“The time has come for this congregation of Christ’s holy Church, under God’s leadership, to take leave of this building,” began the Rev. Evelyn Kent Clark, South District Superintendent, in reading the Declaration of Purpose.  Learn more...

Two churches to dedicate new places for new people Sunday, June 13
After long waits, two churches just 13 miles apart—The Garden Church in Lansdowne and El Buen Samaritano UMC in Gradyville—will hold special services to dedicate their new homes this Sunday, June 13. And they will look forward to using their new places of worship and ministry to attract new people.  

The Garden Church, formerly (and formally) known as Trinity-Lansdowne UMC, will dedicate its new facilities at 82 N Lansdowne Ave, in Lansdowne, on Sunday at 2 PM both onsite and online.  El Buen Samaritano UMC (Iglesia Metodista Unida) will occupy the former Gradyville UMC, at 1222 PA 352, Gradyville, as their new church home and dedicate it on Sunday, June 13, at 6 PM. Learn more…

Lessons we can learn: The painful history of Native American boarding schools
The dark atrocities of the Native American boarding schools are coming to light in recent years. Last week in the news, we learned of a mass grave with over 200 First Nations children. It was discovered at the site of one such school in Canada. There have been similar revelations of abuse in boarding schools in this country for many years as well.  

What were these boarding schools? They were part of a widespread scheme to intentionally assimilate tribal peoples into European culture. Indigenous parents were forced to give up their children to these educational institutions by white people whose goal was, in the words of one administrator, to “kill the Indian, save the man.” 

But many did not endure in this long, sad history, dating back to the mid-1800s. Many of the children died from abuse, disease, despair and inhumane conditions in these schools. Bigotry and ignorance were at the heart of it all. Many of these schools were founded by Christian institutions, including the Methodist church. 

What are some lessons from our boarding school experience? Learn more…
Sunday, June 20, is World Refugee Day
UMCOR’s work with refugees began in the 1940’s and remains a strong focus today. Together with ecumenical partners, UMCOR’s work is rooted in the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger.
Join us in honoring the strength and resiliency of those forced to flee from home after civil unrest or natural disaster. Commit to support the four rights of migrants: the right to stay, the right to safe passage, the right to welcome and belonging, and the right to return.
An ecumenical event – “Virtual Vigil for World Refugee Day” – is being held on Monday, June 14, 7-7:30 p.m. ET for faith leaders, asylees, and refugees. It will be a time to reflect, pray and listen to the powerful stories of those who have journeyed so far. UMCOR is a co-sponsor of this event. Please sign up here to receive the link to this vigil.  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.
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. Registration information coming next week. 

Virtual, hybrid, or outdoors? Vacation Bible School options
(From Discipleship Ministries, April 26) Vacation Bible School 2021 will certainly be different from years past. When COVID-19 challenged in-person VBS in 2020, we had to demonstrate flexibility that is essential in children’s ministry. We found creative ways to reimagine, redesign, and restructure our approach to Vacation Bible School. The summer of 2020 found many churches offering virtual presentations and providing take-home kits. Some churches provided a family-centered curriculum, and sadly, some churches did nothing at all.

Now as the summer of 2021 is fast approaching, we still find ourselves continuing to live and provide ministry during a pandemic. Learn more
Hanke looks back at UM Men tenure
The leader of United Methodist Men, Gil Hanke, is preparing for retirement after 12 years of leading his denominational agency. His accomplishments include helping thousands of men gather for weekly virtual class meetings and emphasizing Scouting, addressing domestic violence and fundraising and careful budgeting as the denomination prepares for possible separation.

An early adopter of Zoom, Hanke established the Wesley Class Meeting as a weekly online gathering for faithful men before the coronavirus pandemic resulted in use of the virtual meeting platform to skyrocket. Learn more…
Lay Leaders call for sustainable peace, missional commitment
UM Conference Lay Leaders affirm in a new letter that “active lay persons in vital local congregations are crucial for accomplishing the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We celebrate all that the laity and clergy of our churches are doing, especially during this challenging pandemic time to reach out to each other and neighbors with the love of Jesus. 

We give thanks for the connectionalism of our global denomination and our common ministry as United Methodists for meeting the needs of so many throughout the world.

Being in partnership with clergy leaders in mission and ministry, we recognize that there are differences among faithful leaders, both lay and clergy. We are a global and diverse group, unafraid to address difficult issues. This shows our strength in diversity; it challenges us and ultimately helps us to continue to stretch and grow. Sometimes this process results in pain and conflict when those differences loom large and become divisive. Learn more...
Church takes on xenophobia in South Africa
During a recent workshop in Soweto, South Africa, youth were asked to define the words “xenophobia” and “foreigner.” Many participants responded that foreigners are black Africans from other countries. White South Africans, on the other hand, are called “tourists,” they explained.

Working together, United Methodists and the Council of Churches of South Africa are trying to change that perspective. Recently, they offered a worship service and workshop for youth. The purpose was to educate about the negative impact of xenophobic attacks on society and the meaning of being “foreign.”

Xenophobia — fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners — is widespread in South Africa, where harassment and violence against African and Asian non-nationals are routine and sometimes lethal, according to Human Rights WatchLearn more...
Training helps churches be good neighbors
Discipleship Ministries, as an extension of its #SeeAllThePeople movement, has formed a partnership with the Good Neighbor Experience to help congregations discover new ways to be in ministry. The Good Neighbor Experiment is a nine-month training process for congregations that want to be better neighbors in their communities. Read press release Learn more
Workshops on Cemetery Care, Parsonage Practices
The Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation will offer two vibrant & informative training sessions for local church leaders on important (and sometimes insufficiently understood) areas of property ownership & management: Cemetery Care and Parsonage Practices-- selling or renting.  Please enroll appropriate leaders into either or both of these one-hour long Zoom conversations. Learn More...

Cemetery Care - Wednesday, June 16 at 6:30 PM
What does it mean to offer Perpetual Care? What should a local church do when it faces financial instability which renders it unable to provide adequate management? What are the Best Practices when closing a local church so cemeteries are not left orphaned?

Cemetery boards and local church Trustees, in particular, should attend. Conference Chancellor Matt Morley will offer the primary presentation, emphasizing matters of legality. Foundation Director Jack Brooks will be present to handle Q & A. To register for this FREE event, click HERE
Parsonage Practices: Selling or Renting – Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 PM
When a church-owned parsonage is not occupied by a full-time pastor anymore, what are the possibilities for alternate use or supplemental income production? What are the Disciplinary restrictions on such use, as well as tax implications? What benefits may be anticipated? What headaches might be incurred when we do things wrong?

Pastors, Board of Trustee members, Administrative Council chairs and other decision-makers in the congregation should attend. Those who serve on District Church Location and Building teams will find this helpful, too!   
James Brown, EPA Conference Treasurer, will lead this presentation. George Monk, a Mid-Atlantic Board member, will share recent experience from his own congregation at the Chevy Chase (MD) UMC. To register for this FREE event, click HERE.
The Bible With and Without Jesus taught by scholar/author Amy-Jill Levine, Wednesdays
Author and scholar author Amy-Jill Levine captivated well over a hundred listeners June 9 in the first of four sessions of the Eastern PA Conference Congregational Development Team's new book study. We heard her explore the subject of her new book, The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently, co-authored in 2020 with Marc Zvi Brettler.

The CDT Book Club study meets on Wednesdays, at 11 AM to 12 PM, on Zoom. Join us to hear Dr. Levine's fascinating and fast-paced teaching for four three more weeks. A highly respected biblical scholar, she is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt.

On June 9, she explored the virginal conception and the pregnant young woman. (Isaiah 7:14). Her upcoming topics are:
  • June 16: The “suffering servant”—Jesus and many others. (Isaiah 53)
  • June 23: Adam and Eve—original sin and original opportunity.
  • June 30: The “cry of dereliction” (Psalm 22) spoken by Jesus and by Esther 

Engaging the Community for Social Transformation
A new monthly webinar series, Engaging the Community for Social Transformation, is set to begin Thursday, June 24, from 12 to 1 PM. Are you seeking ways your congregation can more fully engage your community and work for justice? Are you getting stuck thinking about what steps to take, in identifying the issues, or wondering where to start? 

Events over the last year and a half have continued to highlight systemic inequality and poverty that are perpetuated by power structures of politics and economics. From access to adequate health care, to financial hardships, to racial injustice – the challenges that we face are daunting and can be overwhelming. But local churches and their partners can be excellent resources for finding best practices, discerning action steps, and offering wisdom in overcoming obstacles as we seek to partner with God and engage the community. Learn more…
Discipleship agency partners with Good Neighbor Experiment
Discipleship Ministries, as an extension of its #SeeAllThePeople movement to reach people with intentional discipleship, is partnering with the Good Neighbor Experiment to help congregations discover new ways to be in ministry with their communities.

The Good Neighbor Experiment is a nine-month training process for local churches that want to be better neighbors in their communities. Jeff Campbell, Acting General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries, said the Good Neighbor Experiment, a nonprofit established by a United Methodist pastor in Kansas, can transform communities. 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…
Weekly Preaching Forum to end June 22
The conference-wide, weekly Preaching Forum on Zoom, meeting weekly via Zoom on Tuesdays at 2 PM, will break for the summer after June 22. It will resume Sept. 7, at 2 PM weekly with the Rev. Jeff Raffauf as our lead-off  batter...uh, preacher. Come learn and enhance your sermon prep and preaching every Tuesday, with a profitable exchange of ideas, inspiration and information about preaching resources.

Gifted presenters share their notes on each week’s chosen text and then lead the forum in conversation. We explore each text’s historical circumstances and present-day perspectives, plus ideas for application and initial thoughts for sermon movements, etc. 
Mission u, July 22-30. Register by June 14
Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Women will present the 2021 Mission u July 22-30

Join the UMW at Mission u, an annual United Methodist Women education program that offers study of biblically ground curricula for women, men and youth. The studies are intended to motivate, inform and enrich our commitment to be in ministry for a more just and equitable world, locally and globally.

Cost: $25/person – Register online at https://na.eventscloud.com/2021-missionu. Deadline June 15. For more information: Dean of Mission u Linda Youngstrom, 267-789-6386, lindayoungstrom@verizon.net.

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. Save the dates. Registration will open in June.
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

More info coming. Cost: $10
Bivocational & Small Church Network to meet July 13
The new Bivocational & Small Church Network will have its next meeting fro 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 in June
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:
  • June 15: Rev. Dan Roth, Pastor of Summerfield: Siloam Philadelphia
  • June 22: Judy Ehninger, CLM Coordinator
  • June 29: John Coleman, Conference Director of Communications

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 
Christian artist dies at 90
AMARILLO, Texas — Christian artist Kenneth J. Wyatt died May 24 at the age of 90. Best known for his portrayals of cowboys, Wyatt teamed up with the Foundation for Evangelism to paint another kind of traveler. Wyatt's "Offer Them Christ" depicts John Wesley giving a sendoff to Thomas Coke and his party as they prepare to sail to North America. Read obituary
Understanding the effects of white privilege
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — Learning about white privilege led Laura Derr to the realization that she must work to change the systems that have helped her but adversely affected others. Derr's story is highlighted in UM News' Personal Encounters With Racism feature. Read commentary
Lake Junaluska to host Juneteenth festivities
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Western North Carolina Conference plans to have a Juneteenth Freedom Celebration starting at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time June 19 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The event will include worship, a look at African American history, food trucks and family activities. Read press release

How sweet it is: United Methodists and bees
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — "I never feel more connected to the earth and to God than when I'm surrounded by a million venomous insects," says United Methodist Jay Williams about his beekeeping avocation. While Williams' statement may surprise some people, he and other United Methodist apiarists say delving into the complex world of bees has deepened their faith. Crystal Caviness reportsRead story. Watch video
What’s happening in your church this month?
We want to report more important local church and mission link news in NEWSpirit Digest. So please share your news with us. As more churches reopen and return to their communities, we want to report on what you are doing and what you are facing. So please send us the who, what, when, where and how of your special events and ministries. And don’t forget to tell us “the why.” 

We are grateful to receive several church newsletters. We would like to receive more. We don’t often have time to read them all; but still, the more we get, the better. So please add us (communications@epaumc.org) to your newsletter mailing list (only your newsletter please). And one suggestion: since others besides your members may receive your church newsletter, please be sure to identify not only your church’s name but also its city or town on the front page--maybe even in the email subject line.) Thanks!
--NEWSpirit Communications, communications@epaumc.org
BMCR to greet new scholarship awardees online
Philadelphia Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) will host a virtual gathering with its 2021 BMCR Scholarship recipients on Zoom June 26, at 12 PM. That annual gathering is traditionally a luncheon; but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevents the caucus from continuing that tradition again this year. “It is important that we still gather to recognize and celebrate this year’s awardees,” said the Rev. Eric Carr, caucus coordinator and pastor of St Daniel's UMC in Chester. For more information contact him at bmcrphila@gmail.com
Celebrating Philly Freedom, Liberty, Juneteenth
Each June, Philadelphia joins in celebrations across the region and country to commemorate Juneteenth, the anniversary of the date (June 19, 1865) that enslaved people in Texas — the most remote of the slave states — learned they were free.

And this year, for the first time ever, the City of Philadelphia's official Fourth of July celebration — known as Wawa Welcome America — includes Juneteenth events, kicking off a season of independence in Philadelphia starting on June 19 and continuing through July 4.

Click the button below for more about the bridge between these two significant American holidays and new perspectives on what freedom and liberty mean in the birthplace of America. Learn more…
Giving to Annual Conference offerings still needed 
Each year conference members and churches give to special offerings to help fund Eastern PA Annual Conference higher education scholarships, Board of Ordained Ministry scholarships for clergy education, Camp and Retreat Ministry Centers, and Youth Ministries. Because our Annual Conference met online and not in-person in 2020 and 2021, those offerings relied on mail-in and online donations. Thus, giving to them has declined significantly.

But the need for this support is as great as ever. So, we are inviting everyone to continue giving to support these worthy causes through our website’s Giving Page throughout the year. We will promote and accept gifts online (and by mail) to support our college students, clergy, campers and youth in the hope that you will give generously and encourage others to do so, too. Thank you!
Zoe Empowers on Virtual Mission Trip, June 22-24
The Eastern PA Conference is partnering with ZOE Empowers, an organization which in 2021 introduced Virtual Mission Trips in order to introduce folks to its incredible, international program of serving children in poverty. ZOE’s entire approach is based on “Empowerment, not Hand-outs,” and it has demonstrated success among more than 100,000 children of the world, so far.  

International mission trips are transformational for many local churches and their mission-minded members. Severe COVID-related restrictions on travel have prevented such trips from happening for the past year. But ZOE Empowers have found a solution in Virtual Mission trips. A free, three-day visit to Rwanda, Kenya, and India awaits you on the mornings of June 22-24 (9:30-11:00 AM each day). Learn more.
Learn to fish… and maybe to catch disciples, too
Seasoned church curriculum writer Teryl Cartwright wants to help church leaders learn to fish for people by learning how to...well, fish. A lay member of the Susquehanna Conference, she serves her conference as chair of the Nominations Committee and the Board of Ordained Ministry’s Enlistment and Interpretations Committee, where she helps candidates discern their pastoral call. She also teaches online courses as Culture of the Call Coordinator for the Institute for Discipleship (timothycircle.com), including a webinar on fishing and how it can relate to the call of discipling leaders.

“In my research for the fishing webinar,” she writes, “I asked the Rev. Kevin Witt, our Susquehanna Conference Director of Spiritual Transformational Leaders and Camp and Retreat Ministries, ‘Why fly fishing?’ Do you know what he told me? ‘You have to get in the water.’ Well, it worked. I did so, in more ways than one.” 
Cartwright wants to share stories and insights she has collected in what she describes as “an amazing adventure.” She will offer two free webinars this month to pastors and lay leaders in not only her conference but others, too, “as part of my ministry.” The interesting part, she says, is “how many women have signed up so far.”
“I've felt that some of the implicit knowledge Jesus’ disciples had in fishing and sailing helped in their discipleship,” she explains. “So, as part of my journey to see what they knew that could be useful to us today, I've taken lessons and talked to fishermen and sailors. My cast net fishing experience was at Blue Marsh Lake (in Berks County).”
One leader Cartwright features is the Rev. Rob Wilson, Director of Congregational Development and Revitalization in the Western PA Conference, who also directs At the Lake Ministries there. His ministry, she says, "gives people a chance to fish who otherwise wouldn't." In the photo here she is learning from Phil Gay, a Federation of Fly Fishers master certified instructor and retired naval officer.
Here are two, free online courses Teryl Cartwright is offering to anyone:
Summer Spiritual Practice 1: Sailing through Life without Missing the Boat
Join in this free 1-hour webinar on Monday, June 14th at 7 pm. See how simple experiential lessons in navigating, reading the water, and boat design actually take us deeper into discipleship. Need a sample spiritual practice you can use outdoors to help you focus and meditate on the Holy Spirit? The first lesson in sailing: Find and face the direction the wind is blowing. How? “You turn until you can feel the wind equally on each ear.” Come and see more by registering HERE.

Summer Spiritual Practice 2: Fishing on the Fly AND Casting Calls
Join in this free 1-hour webinar on Monday, June 21 at 7 pm. Wade into the disciples’ world and see how hauling and mending nets offer more insights into making disciples than ever today. Let’s make vocation and vacation come together in simple analogies and practices to inspire your outreach. We’ll put a new spin on reading the water as well with some “nots” tied in too. Come and see more by registering HERE. 
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.  
Pastors and worship leaders convened in a webinar April 27 to share ideas and plans for creative, inspirational worship for the season of Pentecost (not “after Pentecost”), using the Revised Common Lectionary Year B. They explored concepts of celebrating Pentecost not as a day but as a season of six Sundays, including Trinity Sunday.

Listen and learn from three engaging seminar leaders—three Elders and one Deacon who are scholars and activists–as they help participants explore biblical studies, homiletics, worship, and incarnational social action for redemptive justice.  

View and share this Zoom recording of this interactive Seminar on Preaching, Worship and Mission for Pentecost Season. Download the flyer. 
North District clergy families to picnic at Knoebels July 10 
The Great North District's 2021 Clergy Family Picnic will again happen at Knoebel's, “America's Largest Free-Admission Amusement Park,” on Saturday, July 10, 11:30 AM. Members will enjoy fun, food and fellowship together. REGISTER online by June 21.  
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. 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!
  • June 15: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. 12 Noon. Join.
  • June 15: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM. Register.
  • June 16: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register
  • June 16: “Cemetery Care” Webinar offered by Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation. 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM. Learn More. Register.
  • June 17: “Parsonage Practices: Selling or Renting” Webinar offered by Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation. 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM. Learn More. Register.
  • June 19: Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop, from 10 am – 1 pm on Zoom. “Where do I Draw the Line: Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age”. Register.
  • June 22 - 24: ZOE Empowers - Virtual Mission Trip. 9:30 - 11 AM each day, on Zoom. Learn More. Register
  • June 22: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. 12 Noon. Join.
  • June 22: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM. Register.
  • June 23: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register
  • June 29: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. 12 Noon. Join.
  • June 29: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • June 30: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register

  • 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. Register
  • July 24: Urban Summit Mini-Series
  • July 26: Farewell fete for Bishop Peggy Johnson. 6:30 PM - 8 PM. Zoom webinar. Join.


  • 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 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