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June 23, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new pastoral appointments:  

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following clergy appointments, effective  July 1, 2016  unless otherwise noted.

Central District
Rev John Bletsch (Elder) from Mont Clare: Otterbein UMC to Valley Forge: St Matthew's UMC, effective Sept. 1, 2016

Southwest District
Rev. Harry Kaufold (Retired Elder) to Lancaster: Community UMC (½ time), effective Sept. 25, 2016.
Rev. Timothy C. Anderman (Elder) to Mount Joy: Glossbrenner (full-time), returning from medical leave.

Friday webinar to teach storm preparedness
Church Mutual Insurance Company will offer a free webinar on Friday, June 24, at 1 PM (ET),   to help its customers, including Eastern PA Conference churches, learn to protect property and important items from loss or damage during severe summer storms. The severe weather preparedness webinar may be helpful to churches and individuals.


Churches with e-mail addresses on file at Church Mutual should have received an e-mailed invitation. To register go to the Church Mutual website at, and click on the webinar banner at the top of the page. After you complete the registration, you will receive a thank-you confirmation and a courtesy reminder with access information prior to the webinar release.

Historic Boehm's Chapel to celebrate 225 years 
Boehm's UMC (13 West Boehms Road, Willow Street, PA) will host a 225th  anniversary celebration of its historic faith journey this weekend, June 24-26. The fete begins with a Friday evening fellowship meal at 6 PM, followed by a bonfire and prayer gathering in nearby Boehm's Chapel at 7 PM. Saturday agenda offers family fun, including tours, old-style games, musical theater, an ice cream social and viewing and scanning of Boehm descendants' historic family photos. 

Sunday will feature worship, a nostalgic church picnic and opening of early century time ca
psules.  Bishop Peggy Johnson will bring a message of heritage and hope at the 35th annual Heritage Sunday worship service, at 4 PM. Representatives of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference Board of Bishops will present a new history-making resolution about their founder Martin Boehm. Participants in period dress, a circuit rider on horseback and members of the Colonial Militia will be on hand to evoke a feeling of 18th-century life.   Learn more...

All events are open to the public, and food will be available for purchase. See the article on our Website  Archives and History page or visit the  Boehm's Church or  Boehm's Chapel Websites for more details about the celebration. Call Dolores Myers, Executive Director, at 717-872-4133 for more information.
Call to prayer, fasting July 3 for Orlando victims
Bishop Peggy Johnson encourages churches to observe a Call to Prayer and Fasting on Sunday, July 3, in solemn reflection and memory of the victims of a massacre by a terrorist gunman who killed 49 people and wounded many others on Sunday, June 12, in Orlando, Florida. Although claiming his allegiance to the terrorist group ISIS, the mass-killer targeted the Pulse nightclub, whose patrons on that night were primarily Latino and LGBTQ.
A small group of clergy asked to present the Call to Prayer and Fasting in a statement on the final day of Annual Conference, June 18; but with a full agenda, there was not sufficient time. However, Bishop Johnson endorses the appeal and urges churches to participate in a period of sacrificial prayer in memory of those whose lives were taken and on behalf of their families, friends and community.
Here is the recommended statement by the group of clergy, which includes the Revs. David Tatgenhorst, Joseph DiPaolo, Evelyn Kent Clarke, Robert Wilt, and Lydia Munoz.
The Eastern PA Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church abhors the massacre of 49 people in Orlando Florida, on June 12, 2016. We pray for an end to violence and hatred, and we pledge ourselves to work toward the end of targeting people in acts of hatred and rejection. We condemn this act of terror targeting people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. We stand with peace-loving Muslim friends who desire to build a harmonious and just society. We deplore the growing gun violence in our culture.
As United Methodists we believe in the sanctity of life and the "sacred worth" of all individuals (2012 Book of Discipline, para. 161F). In Christ no one is "less than." God created all of us with equal dignity and value as people who reflect the image of God. We pray and work for an end to violence. We pray because we can't do it without God. We work because God doesn't do it without us.
We call for a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday, July 3, or on another Sunday in July in memory of those who were killed and in support of their families.

(Note: This statement includes excerpts of statements authored by Bishop Johnson and the Rev. Dan Lebo in response to the killings.)

On the DACA/DAPA Supreme Court decision
The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, and Bishop Elías Galván (retired) Executive Director of the Latino UMC caucus MARCHA (Metodistas Representando la Causa de los Hispanos Americanos) just issued a joint statement critical of U.S. Supreme Court's 4-4 split decision today that keeps intact the defeat in a lower court of President Barack Obama's executive action on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).
"This split decision will result in the forced separation of families, and as United Methodists living out our faith in a global connection, we must prioritize keeping families together," they wrote.   "The United Methodist Church is in "support of just and fair immigration policies that benefit and allow the family to preserve and maintain its unity" (2012 Book of Resolutions, "US Immigration and Family Unity"). They also cited the 2016 General Conference approval in May of the resolution "Welcoming the Migrant to the US," which affirmed Obama's contested executive action as a "necessary temporary step that allowed certain groups of immigrants to apply for temporary legal status, though not citizenship." 
Find Annual Conference news,  
photos on our website  

The 2016 Eastern PA Annual Conference, meeting June 16-18, cautiously postponed action on some key resolutions during debates, at times choosing compromise over controversy. But while some of the 21 submitted resolutions were approved, none were rejected outright, and several may be modified and presented again in future sessions. The nearly 900 members, meeting at the Lancaster County Convention Center, turned back a proposed new process for endorsing episcopal nominees, as well as revisions in the conference's Safe Sanctuaries policies, and calls for changes in church law to allow for "full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the UMC." Learn more...

Repenting for sins against Native peoples

The UMC's Eastern PA Conference began its three-day annual session Thursday, June 16, with worship and a solemn ceremony that confessed and repented for an egregious legacy of mistreatment of Native Americans. The extended service and its guest preacher also challenged members to forge a future of familial bonds with indigenous Americans based on trust and accountability.
Mitakuye Oyasin ¸ a Lakota phrase meaning  "All my relations," was the term the Rev Thom White Wolf Fassett gifted to the conference, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all people as part of God's creation and the mutual responsibility that truth confers on all believers. Learn more...

that capture special and significant moments, where members opened wide their hearts in worship, fellowship and holy conferencing. We will add more photos to our Flickr gallery in the coming weeks. Many thanks to our faithful, top-notch cadre of volunteer photographers: Paul Davis, Sabrina Daluisio, the Rev. James Mundell and the Rev. Steward Warner.  
More new content on our website
Beyond their open hearts, United Methodists strive all year long to fill their open minds with new wisdom, much of it focused on finding new ways to open their doors to new people. The Eastern PA Conference, its six districts and some of its teaching churches together sponsor learning events throughout the year, welcoming anyone to come and learn how to make disciples and help change the world. Learn more...

Eastern PA churches, districts open wide their hearts

Eastern PA Conference churches in every district are reaching out near and far to embrace neighbors in need, from around the corner to around the globe. We lift up some noteworthy examples here, and we will feature more on our Website and in our next few issues of NEWSpirit. We celebrate our churches in mission, spreading their witness as disciples of Jesus Christ that the world may be transformed. Learn more...

"What can we do to create an environment where making transformative disciples becomes our priority and our passion, true to our Wesleyan DNA?" asks Congregational Development Coordinator the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, writing about our conference's new leadership initiative, SLI (Spiritual Leadership, Inc.). "Churches, as well as conference and district leaders, must go back to abiding in Christ by spending time in spiritual formation.  Unless we are spending a huge amount of time growing together in the Spirit of Christ we will never develop the environment to make the adaptive changes and develop the MAPs needed to grow."  Learn more...

INSPIRE:   Tears
The Rev. Julia Singleton, a local pastor at Christ UMC in Middletown,  was commissioned a Provisional Elder July 17, during Annual Conference. She shares what that life-changing experience was like from the inside out. "I was reminded that I am a beloved child of God. The affirmation I felt was so amazingly overwhelming, all I could do was weep," she writes, recalling that she felt the church weeping as well, in the midst of its collective pain. "In those tears were my joy and grieving, affirmation and pain, nerves and excitement....So I wept with abandon. It was my prayer to God." Learn more ... 
Bishop co-leads UM-Catholic episcopal dialogues
Bishop Peggy Johnson recently participated in a UMC dialogue with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was her first meeting, as she succeeds Bishop Michael Watson as co-leader of the group.
For session three, round eight of the USCCB-UMC Dialogue, participants met at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., from May 31 to June 2. They shared and discussed papers, while "summarizing nearly 50 years of dialogue and creating resources for local churches to assist them in deepening our common witness and mission in communities across the United States," according to the UM Council of Bishops' Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships.
"The Roman Catholic-United Methodist dialogues are a rich opportunity for both parts of the body to become aware of how much we have in common and how much ministry and mission we can do together," said Bishop Johnson. The next session will be in December 2016.  

Take me out to the ballgame...

How about a Philadelphia Phillies ballgame  at Citizens Bank Park on Methodist Night?

Join hundreds of Eastern PA folks from across our conference at the ballpark to root for the home team on Saturday, July 16, at 7:05 p.m.  Come see the Philadelphia Phillies play (and yes, beat) the New York Mets.The conference United Methodist Men have once again arranged for us to buy discounted tickets, with $10 of each ticket we buy supporting their men's ministries.

Ticket prices range from $20 to $38. Check out our "Methodist Night" Webpage at To order your tickets, click on the green "T" icon and enter the promotion code METHODIST.  Place your order now! Tickets are subject to availability. j For groups of 25 or more, please contact Jen Leone in the Phillies Group Sales Office at 215-463-5000, extension 5267. All groups of 25 or more will be welcomed on the Phillies side auxiliary message boards at the top of the 5th inning.

Please share this information with families, churches and communities, and bring a group. We hope to see you at Citizens Bank Park on July 16. 
Campus Ministry Sunday, Aug. 21
The Eastern PA Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry invites congregations to celebrate Campus Ministry Sunday Aug. 21 by highlighting the importance of c hurch and campus ministries that involve and impact college and university students. The board works with campus ministers primarily at four schools in its bounds: Drexel, Millersville, Lebanon Valley Christian College and Albright College. But it is exploring relationships with other institutions also. Please plan to receive a Campus Ministry Sunday special offering on or near Aug. 21. and remit at least half of it to the Conference Treasurer's Office to help in our supportive outreach to college and university students. More information will be forthcoming. 
UM Clergywomen Gathering to focus on leadership
The  2016 Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering will meet Aug. 29-31, in Houston, Texas, with the theme "ONE: Birthing a Worldwide Church." The gathering, sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, will be part of the World Methodist Conference and will culminate regional gatherings of UM clergywomen around the connection. The agenda includes celebration, leadership development education, networking and opportunities to explore how women in leadership influence the denomination. The Rev. Sharon Vandegrift, a UM-endorsed certified professional coach in the Eastern PA Conference, will lead a Christian conferencing session on Aug. 30, after attendees hear about experiences of leaders of UM clergywomen groups in regions around the world.  Learn more...

Why celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday? 

United Methodist Communications needs your thoughts and feelings about Native American Ministries Sunday. Please take this brief survey about why United Methodists celebrate Native American Ministries SundayTake survey

Local Church Events 
Ridge Avenue UMC, Philadelphia
(7811 Ridge Ave, in Roxborough), needs two dozen more "love" donors to meet the goal for its blood drive on Friday, June 24, from 2 to 7 PM. Be a hero. Register by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or sign up online at: and enter sponsor Code: Metropolitan-Ridge.
Download the flyer!  Learn more...
Mt. Zion UMC Philadelphia (11th & Oxford Streets) invites will celebrate its 101st Church Anniversary this weekend. A Joy Night Worship service Friday, June 24, at 7 PM will feature the Rev. John Lewis of Grace Community UMC Chester. Then the new Philadelphia UM Mass Choir will sing on Sunday, June 26, at 11 AM worship, with guest preacher the Rev. Tracy Bass, East District Superintendent.
Solid Rock UMC, Philadelphia, will welcome volunteers on Saturday, June 25, from 9 AM to 1 PM, to do yard work, painting, cleaning and organizing items as part of the East District's One Church at a Time Mission Project. The ongoing joint effort needs volunteers to work and fellowship, while helping the church do renovations needed "to keep our doors open to serve the community." To confirm your attendance contact: Frances Legarreta at 267-456-5459 or
Hopewell UMC's performance of  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat, at 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, ends this Sunday, June 26.  No tickets are needed, and there is no cost. Their outdoor amphitheater behind the church seats 900 people.There will even be snacks and beverages for sale inside the church, one hour before each showing. Read More  

Coming attractions...   
Lifetree Cafe orientations, July 5 & 12
The Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, Congregational Development Coordinator, will offer two Lifetree Cafe orientations again in July at the Conference Office. It's for anyone who is "rethinking church" and wants to reach people who don't regularly attend church through this innovative faith-sharing, life-sharing opportunity. Come meet Gordon and learn about Lifetree Café on either of two Tuesday nights, July 5 or 12, at 6:30 PM.  Contact him at 267-258-9507   or to let him know you're coming. A light dinner will be provided. It will be worth the trip!
UMW's Mission u 2016, July 22-23
Mission u 2016, sponsored by UM Women, will convene July 22-23 at The Inn at Reading (1040 North Park Toad, Wyomissing, PA) to help church members (lay, clergy, men, women and youth) understand and interpret our UMC global mission and our Christian responsibility to pursue that mission for Christ. The theme this year is "Learning Together for the Transformation of the World." The Spiritual Study topic is "The Bible and Human Sexuality: Claiming God's Good Gift." The Issue Study topic is "Climate Justice: Call to Hope and Action." The Geographic Study topic is "Latin American: People and Faith." And the Youth Study topics is "Joining Voices for Climate Justice." For more information contact Barbara Drake at or 610-446-1394. Contact Mary Ann Repsher for a registration form at or 610-588-1084. Regular registration fees (due by June 20) are: $200 for attendance with hotel lodging; $140 for commuters; and $75 for youth (grades 7 to 12). After June 20, add a $25 late fee for registration.
Drew Summer Music Institute, July 28-29
Drew University Theological School   presents its 2016 Summer Music Institute, "The Gospel Feast," July 28-29. "Come sing, dance, praise and eat at the table of worship that satisfies the soul and revives the spirit." This year's institute will offer a new format with experts in music, movement, liturgy, and ritual..  Register today  .
Academy for Laity, Aug. 13-14
The 2016 weekend Academy for Laity, which is open to all who wish to serve Christ in ministry, will gather Aug. 13-14, at The Inn at Reading (1040 North Park Toad, Wyomissing, PA). The theme is "Follow that Star: Make It Happen." Courses, including some back by popular demand, are:
  • "Preparing Local Church Servants" (Basic Class)
  • "Making Every Prayer Count:  Moving between ME and WE"
  • "Emotional Intelligence: A Blueprint for Your Spiritual Path"
  • "Walking in Love: The Act of Repentance and Healing Relationships with Native American and Indigenous Persons"
  • Two preaching courses: "Preaching to be Heard" and "Preaching by Number"
  • "What To Say To People Who Are Hurting"
  • "Theology and Doctrine" and
  • "Building a 'First Aid Kit' for Church Health."
Basic registration costs $90 and will go online after Annual Conference, with a July 22 deadline. The discounted hotel rate is $99 a night. The academy-lasting only two days this year-begins Saturday at 7 AM for breakfast and ends Sunday at 12:30 PM with Communion.  Credit will be awarded to persons in the Christ Servant Ministry program.  
NEJ Launch Pad event Aug. 11-13  
LaunchPad is a three-day training event for church leaders and teams who are planting new faith communities. The training is based learning from partnerships with hundreds of church planting leaders across the USA. It is led by Paul Nixon  of UM Discipleship Ministries' Path 1 program, who has coached about 100 new-church projects in recent years. Nixon will help attendees build momentum and grow their network of leaders toward readiness for public worship or towards multiplication. This regional event, hosted by the Baltimore Washington Conference's Office of Vibrant Communities, will happen Aug. 11-13 at the conference's Mission Center in Fulton, Md. Registration cost is $125 for a Planter/Team Leader (free for planter's spouse), plus $50 for each team member Registration closes July 25. For more information contact the Office of Vibrant Communities at 800-492-2525.  More info .

Conference Laity Retreat, Sept. 17

Save the date and get ready for the 2016 Eastern PA Conference Laity Retreat on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Jarrettown UMC in Dresher, PA, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM, including lunch. The registration fee will be $25 and includes retreat materials and meals. Come for the blessing of great speakers, spirit-­filled worship and fellowship, relaxation, revival and renewal. The theme: "Perceiving,  Believing and Receiving Our Blessedness." Sponsored by the Board of Laity.

Radical Disciple-Making Seminar, Oct. 8

Bishop Peggy Johnson encourages churches to take advantage of a dynamic discipleship training opportunity, the Radical Disciple-Making Seminar, hosted by Thorndale UMC on  Saturday, Oct. 8, from 8:30 AM to 3:45 PM.  The seminar will be led by the Effective Church Group, directed by renowned church growth author, coach and discipleship development expert Bill Easum. It will offer practical strategies and profound insights to teach participants how every church can grow to become a radical disciple-making force for Jesus Christ. Read Bishop Johnson's letter and visit the seminar website to find out more. If you have any further questions contact the Rev. Mark Moore of Thorndale Church at
30-day Prayer Guide for 
NE Jurisdictional Conference
Many United Methodists were praying for General Conference in the months leading up to that important global gathering. But daily prayers are still much needed in our ongoing three-act church legislative drama, as we approach Annual Conference and then Jurisdictional Conferences across the U.S. in July.
We will host the Northeastern Jurisdictional (NEJ) Conference in Lancaster July 10-15. Spiritual director Maryanne Ditter (,  a member of the Eastern PA Renewal Fellowship (EPRF, affiliated with Aldersgate Renewal Ministries) has prepared and freely offers a 30-day Prayer Guide for Jurisdictional Conference, available for download from our conference website. Learn more...  
Volunteers still needed for Jurisdictional Conference
Willing volunteers are still urgently needed to help with specific tasks at the NEJ Conference in July, says volunteer coordinator Judy Ehninger.

She needs 6 to 8 strong individuals on Sunday, July 10, at 10 AM to 2 PM, to help load in the sound and light equipment for the event. And then she needs 6 to 8 strong individuals again on Friday, July 15, from 10 AM to 2 PM to load out the sound and light equipment. These are most critical needs we now have and they are very urgent. Plus, we can still use several hospitality volunteers during the week, especially on Friday morning, July 15. If you're interested, please contact Judy at Judy.ehninger or 610-442-3140 
Bishop's Days on the Districts
NW District--Sept. 27; SE District--Oct. 3; SW District--Oct. 4; Central District--Oct. 17; NE District--Oct. 19; and East District--Oct. 20.  
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, 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 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 Thanks!
Please Save These Dates! 
August 17-20: School of Congregational Development 2016  ("Into the Deep") in Evanston, Illinois. The premier event for equipping conference leaders, clergy, and laity to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year's event is being hosted by the Northern Illinois Conference and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  Register here

August 13-14: Academy for Laity, The Inn at Reading


August 21: Campus Ministry Sunday


Sept. 10: Children's Ministry Training Event, West Lawn UMC


Sept. 17 Laity Retreat 


Oct. 1: Adjourned Session of Annual Conference, Bethany UMC Wescosville

Oct. 8: Radical Discipleship Workshop, led by Bill Easum, at Thorndale UMC. Save the date and don't miss it! More info coming.

Oct. 28-30 2016: Changing Racism Training,  at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.  Register online . The cost is $300.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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