June 12, 2019
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2019 appointments and assignments– effective July 1, 2019,  unless otherwise noted:
South District
  • Rev. Sara Davis-Shappell (Elder) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve in Extension Ministry, Executive Director and Founder, Spiritual Renewal Ministries, Inc.
  • Rev. Dr. Frank J. Richardson, Jr. (Elder) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve in Extension Ministry, Maryland School of the Blind, Psychologist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Loyola College.
  • Rev. Steven T. Cherry (Elder) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to serve in Extension Ministry, Wesley Enhanced Living.
  • Rev. Benjamin D. Caldwell (Deacon) from Traditional Leave of Absence to Benjamin Foods Manager of Government/Regulatory Affairs (Primary) and Clinton Avenue UMC in Kingston, NY (Secondary)

Conference to view human trafficking film June 12

On the eve of their Annual Session, Eastern PA Conference members and guests will view a compelling, award-winning film about the painful truths of human sex trafficking in their state. So far, over 100 conference registrants have indicated they would attend; but that number will likely grow before the June 12 free screening at 6:30 PM, in the main hall at the Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks.

“Human trafficking is our new slavery” warns the new documentary, From Liberty to Captivity. It shows how Pennsylvania, a birthplace of our nation’s freedom, has become a state where human sex trafficking and slavery are flourishing as a profitable industry. The two-hour documentary takes viewers county by county to reveal the trauma of sex trafficking and heroic efforts of those trying to solve the problem. 

Director and producer Debbie Wright, a member of Washington Crossing UMC, will be present to talk about the film, in which she reveals much about trafficking, a “heinous crime that is stealing human lives and lurking nearby in the darkest crevices of our society.”  Learn more...
Annual Conference begins with worship Thursday, June 13, at 2 PM , after our morning clergy and laity sessions. Click here to view it all on livestream video .  And be sure to also keep up with the hashtag #EPAUMC19 across all our social media platforms--Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Offer your own helpful insights, and read and respond to key actions, special moments and important comments.

Also, we’re sorry, but there will be no UM Men’s potato drop and distribution at this year’s Annual Conference. There were not enough gleaned potatoes available for our conference to participate this time, according to UMM president Clifton Hubbard.

Ordination service to mark Annual Conference’s high moment
At the start of the Eastern PA Annual Conference’s Service of Commissioning and Ordination on Friday evening, June 14, the opening procession will fill the drab Expo Center hall with color and majesty as clergy in robes and vivid stoles march in a seemingly endless line of splendor. They will join the standing congregation in ardently singing hymns that celebrate God’s eternal majesty.  

“Do you believe that God has called you to the life and work of ordained ministry?” Bishop Peggy Johnson will solemnly ask eight clergy-in-training, among other time-honored questions. Then as they answer together and later come forward individually, one will be commissioned a provisional elder and seven other will be ordained as full deacons or elders. It’s a richly ceremonial and moving worship experience from start to finish.   Learn more
Text your donations anytime
to aid important ministries
You can now make a contribution to Eastern Pennsylvania Conference ministries with a quick text message!

Simply send a text to 610-463-0244 with the amount you would like to contribute, and the offering code. Make sure to include the dollar sign before the amount. Within a few minutes, you’ll be sent a text with a link to register. Click on the link and enter your cardholder name and credit or debit card information.
Once your registration is complete, you will receive a text verification and a receipt via email. For future giving, simply send a text with the amount you wish to give, and it will process automatically!
Text 610-463-0244 with the amount you want and the offering code:

BOOM Scholarships, use code Ord
EPA Scholarships, use Sch
Puerto Rico Relief, use PR
Youth & Young Adult ministries, use YYA
Clergy Fund, use Assist
Film Fundraising Support: From Liberty to Captivity , use Liberty

Example: $100 SCH
You’ll get a text with a link to enter your name and payment information.

For immigration, mercy:
Appeal to Shut Down Berks Family Detention Center

The UMC’s General Board of Church & Society announced a new advocacy campaign to persuade Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to shut down the Berks Family Detention Center near Reading. Organizations, including churches, agencies, conferences and schools—but not individuals—are being asked to sign onto a letter calling on the governor to close what many see as a prison for immigrant families, including children, who seek asylum as refugees.

Bishop Peggy Johnson, who serves on Church & Society’s board, has signed the letter on behalf of the Eastern PA Conference. So have some churches. She urged churches and affiliated organizations to consider signing it also. Learn more…

Give on Peace with Justice Sunday to aid “kingdom work’
When your church observes Peace with Justice Sunday on June 16 (or on a more convenient date), you join other United Methodists around world in witnessing to the Peace that Christ offers us and to the Justice that the Spirit of the Lord anoints each of us to bring to others like good news. Your special offering goes to help others pursue peace and justice in our communities, across our nation and around the world. One-half of your offering supports ministry here in our conference, while the other half aids important ministries elsewhere.

The Eastern PA Conference’s Church and Society Work Team approved two Peace with Justice grant requests this year to support vital potentially lifesaving ministries. Pastor Jessica Lynn Ross helps administer the grants program.

The conference’s new Domestic Violence Committee, chaired by the Rev. Jacqueline Hines, received $1300 to help fund its second annual “Domestic Violence: The Church Responds” seminar, scheduled for September 28 at Simpson House in the Philadelphia area. This one, subtitled “Getting Out of the Man Box,” will feature speakers and workshops focused on helping men and boys unlearn and heal from toxic masculinity—that is, socialized attitudes and behaviors that contribute to intimate-partner abuse, especially violence against women. The event is for all men and boys and for the women who love them.

Meanwhile, Living Waters for the World Ministry, coordinated by the Revs. Patricia and Dave Patterson of Conshohocken UMC, received $2000 to aid in creating a much-needed water filtration system in Cuba. Requests for Peace with Justice grants may be submitted at any time. Both conference and general church Church and Society leaders welcome such viable work that supports our United Methodist Social Principles. Information can be found on our  conference website  and on the General Board of Church and Society’s  website’s grants page  Remember: When you give on Peace with Justice Sunday, your gift makes possible our critical kingdom work in the world.

If you have not already downloaded it, the Peace with Justice Sunday Leader’s Kit is available  here  . Also, this would be a great week to begin  posting graphics on social media   Learn more...
Church benefits as partner in conference’s Capital Campaign
Faith UMC in Manheim Township, Lititz, welcomed about a hundred worshipers on a recent Sunday, far above its average of 60. The Rev. Jason Perkowski, pastor, attributes that in part to its expanded facility, enlarged for the community’s use and with the help of the church’s 2013-2016 participation in the Eastern PA Conference’s 2013-2018 Fulfilling Our Covenant Capital Campaign.

“We tried to do capital campaigns before; but we were never able to raise enough to get momentum,” recalled Perkowski, who came to Faith in 2011 and now serves both Faith and Oregon Community UMCs. “So, we took full advantage of the help the conference campaign consulting firm offered to raise nearly $90,000.”   Learn more ; and see the   Capital Campaign Final Giving Report

Conference extends its commitment to help Puerto Rico
The Eastern PA Conference is living up to its 2018 campaign commitment to “Help Puerto Rico Rise Again!” Our third Volunteers in Mission (VIM) team heads there June 15 to donate collected hurricane recovery funds and skilled labor. Both are greatly needed and appreciated by the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico (MCPR).

Churches of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences raised over $22,000 together so far this year, and the Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation added a $10,000 challenge grant, for a total of $32,030. The third Eastern PA Conference VIM team, led by the Rev. Nicolas Camacho, will deliver the funds to the MCPR when it arrives in Puerto Rico June 15. The donation will help restore a badly damaged home.

A second Eastern PA Conference VIM team, also composed of clergy and laity from various churches, traveled there to work from March 30 to April 6. Learn more…

Wellspring , Health & Healing Newsletter
Check out the new issue of our conference Health & Healing Council’s newsletter: Wellspring, Summer 2019. Read informative articles about :
  • Collaborating for Abundant Health
  • High-nutrition Power Bowls
  • Metabolism
  • Focus on Youth, and much more health-focused news and insights.

Youth, young adults: Come see what Annual Conference is all about

Youth and young adults are often overlooked and not offered opportunities to experience Annual Conference or to express their particular concerns. However, the conference’s Young People’s Ministries has for several years invited youth and young adults to come observe and experience our annual legislative gathering in whole or in part. That opportunity is available this year also. 
For those young people who want to see and hear Annual Conference in action, we will provide access, plus meals and even housing, which may be on the gym floor of a church near the Expo Center. If you are interested, contact David Piltz at dpiltz@epaumc.org or 814-883-0118. We hope to see many youth and young adults there this year. Come learn and fellowship with us!
  Native American Arts Festival

The Committee on Native American Ministry invites all to a Native American Arts Festival June 22, 4-7 PM , at Grove UMC, 490 Boot Road, West Chester, PA. Come enjoy beadwork and other art, Native foods and crafts, social dancing, and more. Donation: $5 for adults. Children under 12, free. For vending information, contact 484-868-2044. Download and share the flyer .
Innabah to welcome bishop, other clergy to Sunday worship

Innabah Camp & Retreat Center announces that Bishop Peggy Johnson will share a message of faith and hope at its Sunday night worship celebration July 7 . Innabah invites all members and friends of Eastern PA Conference churches to join them that evening for dinner at 5:30 PM and worship at 7 PM.
Please RSVP ((610) 469-6111 or office@innabah.org) by July 3 to help the camp staff prepare. Innabah invites everyone to attend its worship services each Sunday at 7 PM throughout the summer. Guest preachers will be:
June 23: Rev. Diana Esposito (Deacon)
June 30: Rev. Sue Ketterer
July 7: Bishop Peggy Johnson (Dinner and Worship)
July 14: Rev. Jim McIntire
July 21: Rev. Mark Moore
July 28: Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm
August 4: Rev. Jason Perkowski
A request for Prayer Warriors during AC2019

Persons are being sought to staff the Prayer Room at Annual Conference June 13-15, at the Philadelphia Expo Center. Volunteers would spend a half-hour or more in the room during the three-day session, offering a ministry of presence and hospitality while visitors engage in prayer. The room will be open and staffed daily beginning at 9:30 AM, until 8 PM on June 13 and 5 PM on June 14 and 15.

Coordinator David Botzer needs to fill 50 half-hour slots. Anyone able and willing to help should e-mail him at dbotzer@hotmail.com or call 570-862-1194. Read Botzer’s letter.
Domestic Violence event to focus on healing ‘toxic masculinity’
The Eastern PA Conference Domestic Violence Committee will offer an unusual focus at its second Domestic Violence: The Church Responds seminar on Saturday, Sept. 28. Participants will focus on boys and men, and how to help them heal and unlearn socialized attitudes and behaviors that often contribute to intimate-partner abuse—otherwise known as toxic masculinity. The seminar will happen from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Simpson House, 2101 Belmont Ave, Philadelphia, PA.

The Rev. Rickie Houston, a domestic violence specialist and trainer with the a domestic violence prevention organization A Call to Men, will keynote the seminar. He has trained groups across the U.S. and in West Africa, including religious groups and professional sports teams, helping them to engage men in efforts to foster respect for, and end violence against, women.

The seminar will also feature a morning panel discussion and workshops with Houston and other domestic violence prevention and response specialists.
Registration, for only $20, is now open . For more information contact the Rev. Jacqueline Hines , committee chairwoman. Learn more…
Financial Leadership Academy seeks nominees for next session

The Financial Leadership Academy (FLA) is the premier stewardship training program of the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation. Admission is by nomination from leadership. Since 2015, over 100 clergy have graduated from this selective program. The Foundation is now seeking nominees for the next FLA, beginning September 30, 2019.

Who Should Attend
  1. Pastors and churches eager to move the church from good to great through stewardship
  2. Large and mid-size churches exploring new funding options for ministry
  3. Newly appointed pastors assigned to financially vulnerable churches requiring team building
  4. Seasoned pastors willing to develop future lay leadership teams for church management
  5. Top Conference churches and pastors interested in endowing a legacy for the future

High quality authors, presenters, and certified coaches are the cornerstone of the Academy’s process. Clergy and laity are educated in advanced financial leadership skills and then together implement a customized action plan for the church with the assistance of a certified coach. The goal is to change the culture of generosity while improving financial practices.   Learn more…
Check out local church events
Visit our Local Church Events webpage to learn about, attend and support exciting events and activities sponsored by our churches. Also, send us your details, with brochures or flyers, using our Submit News page , so we can promote your upcoming events also. Here are just a few special events in June and July, with links to learn more.
Ride for Relief
First UMC in Bangor( 55 N. 3rd St., Bangor, PA) will sponsor its second annual Ride for Relief motorcycle charity ride on Saturday, July 13 . The ride will be a 50-plus-mile tour of the scenic Slate Belt region, beginning and ending at the First UMC. It’s a fundraising ride to benefit U.S. disaster relief efforts of the UM Committee on Relief (UMCOR). “Last year we raised nearly $1,000.” said the Rev. Chris Hardy, pastor, and this year our goal is to double that!?”

The event will begin at 10 AM with registration ($20 for a hot breakfast and t-shirt). Kickstands go up at 11 AM, with all riders touring in a pack, enjoying each other's company and serenaded by classic rock music.
Wespath offers church payroll management solution
Many ministries struggle with complex payroll procedures and staying compliant with changing legal requirements. Monthly, quarterly and year-end reporting are time-consuming, and it can be difficult to maintain consistency should a payroll administrator be out of the office.

Wespath is pleased to offer employers an affordable payroll processing and tax compliance solution through our partnership with Paychex. In addition, Paychex offers integration for retirement contributions from payroll to Wespath Benefits and Investments.

Paychex was chosen for its more than 45 years of payroll experience, outstanding customer service and accuracy. The company has expertise in the unique needs of church payroll, including the clergy housing allowance exclusion.

Paychex manages withholdings, payroll via direct deposit or check, tax compliance, and timely deposits and filings, in addition to providing custom reports for financial review.

UMC: Save Time and Focus on Ministry

Moving your payroll-processing and tax-compliance solutions to an outside vendor can free up valuable resources to focus on your ministry and help you stay in compliance with changing regulations.

Learn how you can save time on payroll and focus on what really matters—the work God has put before you—then join the nearly 500 United Methodist Church ministries that have already chosen Paychex. Learn more at https://www.wespath.org/paychex/ .
Job Opening: Latino Ministries Coordinator
As the Rev. Brunilda Martinez steps down, the Eastern PA Conference is searching for a new part-time Coordinator of Latino Ministries. Persons interested in this position should submit resumes with cover letters. View and download the full job description.
Grove UMC Native American Arts Festival

Grove UMC (490 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA) will sponsor a Native American Arts Festival on Saturday, June 22, 4-7 PM , featuring Native art, crafts, food, face painting and social dancing. Details coming soon.
Preachers Retreat at Camp Innabah, June 26-29

Organizers of a Preachers Retreat June 26-29 at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center, expect attendees to have sermons planned for the next 12-18 months when they leave, and “vacations and major church Sundays identified as well.”

“Along the way you'll pick up ideas for sermons and series topics,” they promise, along with “tools for improving different parts of your preaching, and ample time to bounce ideas off of others. There’s a $50 registration fee. Attendance times are optional and “additional evening times are provided to help bi-vocational pastors and those who cannot participate during the weekdays.”

The Revs. Chris Eden and Johnson Dodla are retreat co-facilitators. They offer names of past retreat attendees who can testify as to its value.  Learn more and spread the word…
Methodist Night with the Phillies July 27

Join fellow United Methodists and their guests for our annual United Methodist Night with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, July 27, at 7:05 PM , at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies will host the Atlanta Braves that night and celebrate their fans, including the many who will attend from United Methodist churches. This annual event is sponsored by, and benefits the ministries of, Eastern PA Conference UM Men. Learn more and get discounted tickets before they run out! ( https://www.mlb.com/phillies/tickets/specials/methodist
Mobilize Your Church for a Better Ministry Story

Two nationally prominent church leadership coaches are coming to Philadelphia soon to offer clergy and lay leaders some timely wisdom on doing effective outreach, both personally and digitally, to grow churches from the inside out. “ Mobilize Your Church for a Better Ministry Story ” is what Paul Nixon and Paul Moon, of the Epicenter Group, want to help church leaders do on Wednesday, July 31 , at United Lutheran Seminary (7301 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia).
Nixon, founder and chief strategist of the Washington DC-based training, consulting and coaching firm, is sought-after for his teaching around the world. Moon, from New York, is a leadership coach at Epicenter and a senior strategy advisor at LeadershipEdges. Like Nixon, he is a pastor, but also a consultant for “i.g.n.i.t.e. Your Ministry Projects with Practical Competencies.”
“Many motivated spiritual leaders are struggling with an irresistible sense of disappointment,” says Nixon who has worked with leaders in the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences before. “God has a better ministry story for every church than a story of aging donors, stagnation and decline. We have worked with hundreds of church leaders, helping them to discover the story God wants to write for their ministries and to live into that story!”
The day of learning, including help from three virtual presenters, will focus on:
  • Bonding diverse people into an effective unity.
  • Getting the church out the door and into community relationship.
  • Effective ministry in digital culture, including:
  • Integrating digital competency into church and community outreach;
  • Handling Web ministry essentials like search engine optimization; and
  • Redefining how to become an engaging church in the digital culture.
The regular individual registration cost is $120 plus $14.95 for a convenience charge that includes lunch. But groups Eastern PA registrants may register at a 40% discount (only $72 plus the $14.95 extra charge) by using the code "EPAUMC40" when registering. And there are extra benefits:

1. Free Web Audit reports on your church’s website.
2. $500 credits for your next church website
3. $500 credits toward your group coaching with Dr. Paul Nixon and Dr. Paul Moon
Apply now to be a marshal or page at GC2020
United Methodists may apply online to serve as volunteer marshals or pages during The United Methodist Church’s 2020 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. Approximately 175 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference.

Marshals are responsible for assisting visitors and special guests in the visitor and reserved seating galleries, checking credentials to make sure that only authorized persons are admitted to the bar of the conference or that of legislative committees, and other duties as assigned.

Pages assist delegates, secretarial staff, bishops, members of the Judicial Council and official visitors. They also distribute approved materials and deliver printed information.

Marshals and pages are responsible for their expenses (travel, food, lodging, etc.). Those interested should submit an online application before the deadline of July 31 . Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference. Questions? Contact David Atkinson at GC2020@colliervilleumc.org.
General Conference 2020 seeks liturgists
The 2020 General Conference worship design team invites United Methodists to take an active role in the worship experience at the denomination’s quadrennial event as it seeks individuals to write liturgy, including prayers, calls to worship and litanies. The denomination’s top legislative assembly is set to meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.

To apply for the opportunity to write or provide original liturgy for General Conference, individuals are asked to submit a letter of application that includes the following: a sample of liturgy that includes a 5-minute devotion, a call to worship, and a prayer of confession all based on Philippians 3:14 , along with the name of the writer, email address, phone number, and local church name. Applications should be emailed to gc2020liturgy@gmail.com . Application deadline is August 1, 2019 . Learn more...
2019 EPA Conference Laity Academy

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch….“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” –Luke 5:4,10b

Are you prepared to navigate the deep waters? Our lives and ministries are constantly bombarded by the waves that distract us from our commitment to Christ. When you are asked to cast your net and fish for disciples, do you know where to start? Do you know what to say?

Come join us at the 2019 EPA Conference Laity Academy, August 2-4 , on the scenic campus of Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., for an exciting weekend of classes, fellowship, worship, entertainment, food and service. Learn how you can Gather Disciples and Grow your Ministries. There are many more new classes this year including topics in Ministering to an Aging Congregation, Working With Conflict: Making the Most of Diversity, and more to be announced.

Registration is now open! Register online now!

If you have any questions contact Rick Wrisley, Laity Academy Dean, at rickwrisley@verizon.net.
Navigate to offer leadership equipping for all
The Susquehanna Conference invites all to attend Navigate, its leadership equipping event (“Unleashing the Leader in You”), August 22-24 at the Radisson in Harrisburg, Pa.
This event—offered as a local alternative to the UMC’s national School of Congregational Development—is designed to “help current and future leaders impact their congregations and communities for Jesus Christ. Experience dynamic worship, powerful speakers and compelling workshop leaders. Enjoy a mix of equipping opportunities or explore learning tracks for:

  • Conference Leaders
  • Revitalization Leaders
  • Small Church Leaders
  • Lay Pastors
  • New Places for New People Leaders
  • Young Leaders
Early registration for $199 ends on June 15. Churches are urged to send leadership teams to the entire event or attend on Saturday only for just $69. Planner expect about 300 to attend the first two days and about 750 on Saturday. Learn more at https://susumc.org/navigate/  
Celebrating Cultures, Connecting People of Color
An intercultural family cookout for fellowship and fun!

RESCHEDULED for Saturday, September 7, 11 AM to 3 PM. at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center. More details coming!
Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation, Sept. 14
Calling All People of Color: Clergy & Lay

The conference Commission on Religion and Race and Office of Connectional Ministries will sponsor on Saturday, Sept. 14, an exploration of emotional distress and trauma caused in part by racist mistreatment, conflict and reactions, past and present.

All people of color, clergy and laity, are invited to come to Simpson House (2102 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia), 8:30 AM – 3 PM, to learn from the Rev. R. Dandridge Collins, Ph.D., M.Div., who will facilitate discussion. Collins is the author of The Trauma Zone: Trusting God for Emotional Healing. Cost for the session is $25.

Video series can help win disciples

A new teaching series offers instruction in making disciples for Christ by emphasizing relationships and stopping attempts to fix churches. The "See All the People: Discipleship Begins with Relationship" course is free and available through the internet.  Read press release   Enroll
Discontinue use of “Mission ConneXion” name

By order of Bishop Peggy Johnson, we are no longer to use the term "Mission ConneXion" or any derivation thereof, in our published media, due to recently revealed copyright infringement. Rights to the term are owned (since 2004 allegedly) by another Christian missions and education organization in Oregon, and their attorney has issued a cease and desist letter to one of our churches.

Please STOP using "Mission ConneXion" anywhere on church websites, newsletters, Facebook posts, etc.
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!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403