June 24, 2017
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WHAT'S NEW
Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments   effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:

South District
United Methodist Days at Dorney Park 
Join fellow UMs with your family and friends for 'United Methodist Family Fun Days' at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom today or Sunday. Save on a great day of weekend fun for a special rate of only $31.50.
Get your tickets now at    dorneypark.com/methodist. Learn more ... 

W hat's new on our W ebsite this W eek? 
EPAC members 'Rise Up' to face prayerful concerns
"What troubles have we seen," begins the third, ominous verse of Charles Wesley's venerable hymn, "And Are We Yet Alive," which heralds the beginning of every Annual Conference.
What mighty conflicts past,
fightings without,
and fears within,
since we assembled last!

As over a thousand Eastern PA Annual Conference members sang those lines to begin their 231st annual session, June 15-17, many knew that the conflicts and fears of their denomination were not all past, but some very present as an uncertain future awaits. Such knowledge made the conference's imperative theme, "Rise Up and Pray!" all the more timely and essential.

The conference, which returned to the Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., offered many high points. They included deeply spiritual, creative and prayerful worship services with compelling sermons, uplifting performances by church musicians, enjoyable fellowship encounters, the ordination and commissioning of young clergy, recognition of clergy retirees and a thought-provoking presentation on prayer. Learn more...

NOTE: We will post more Annual Conference stories with additional details and more photos (including many on our Flickr and Instagram pages) during the week of June 25.  Also, visit our  Annual Conference webpage  to find a collection of conference reports and handout materials from Tom Albin's Teaching Session on Prayer. Finally, visit that webpage again in early July to view prepared, comprehensive recordings of the Annual Conference.   
Support affordable, accessible health care
UM Church and Society is urging us to contact U.S. Senator Pat Toomey's (R-Pa.) DC office now (202-224-4254) to advocate for a "health care bill that grants affordable, accessible health care to more people, not fewer." The Senate released its new bill Thursday, June 15, and may be voting on it in the next week. The board asks us to call Toomey, whose vote is crucial, and to share this graphic ("I'm a United Methodist and Support affordable, accessible health care for all people.")   Learn more  and read information from Sen. Toomey and the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, head of Church and Society.  
Our Annual Conference theme and Prayer Room
The Rev. Maryanne Ditter, a Deacon and Spiritual Director, shares an encouraging reflection on the prayer room she and other volunteers organized and managed at our recent Annual Conference. 

"Let us all continue daily to lift up and live out our Annual Conference theme of vigilant prayer.  If you have difficulty being silent and still before God," she writes, "start with just 90 seconds of prayer, where you can 'Talk to God; Hear from God; Respond to God.'  God desires to spend this time with you.

"It is time for us to Rise Up and Pray daily for our churches, our communities, our leaders and our denomination-indeed, to pray for the world and its transformation in Christ. We should desire to hear from God on how to repair the breach in our midst, and then respond obediently to what God tells us to do. Learn more...  
View livestream of new Mpasa clinic's dedication 
On Monday, June 26, Bishop Daniel Lunge will conduct the official blessing and dedication of the new pediatric wing of the United Methodist-supported Mpasa Medical and Nutrition Center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC). You can view the 4-hour ceremony livestreamed on Facebook Live at about 5 AM (yes, 5 AM, EDT, approximately). 

Our Southeast District helped fund development of the much-needed facility and is raising funds to provide critical equipment and furnishings. Dr. Adolphe Yamba Yamba and his staff have worked hard to make this a special event. To watch login to Facebook and search for " Dedication and Blessing of the New Pediatric Wing." No word yet on if a recording of the livestream will be available later. For more information contact the Rev. Lin George, Southeast District DRA. 
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President of the UM Council of Bishops, writes about the recent acquittal of former policeman Jeronimo Yanez in the death of Philando Castile and the mistrial in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby. Ough, who is also episcopal leader of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, reflects on what it means to worship a God of truth and justice.    Read letter  
New UMC Handbook now available 
The new United Methodist Church Handbook for this quadrennium is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination's beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about The United Methodist Church and is helpful for leaders and new members.

"The United Methodist Church Handbook is one of the most appreciated resources generated in the church, and rightly so," said Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries. It offers a holistic overview of the church and the ways that all United Methodists are an essential part of the denomination's work around the world. It also explains the church's connectional nature, includes denominational maps and graphics, answers frequently asked questions, provides a glossary of key denominational terms, offers communication and connectional giving information and suggests resources to further mission and ministry. Learn more...  
Volunteers needed for work on church's new mission house
Discovery Service Projects is recruiting volunteers to continue renovation work on the St. James UMC Philadelphia parsonage, as the church prepares the building to house mission interns, work teams and other ministry groups. The next workdays are Wednesday, June 28, and Tuesday, July 11. Much has been done, but there is still much to be done to get the building ready for use. Tasks include painting, taping, floor cleaning, carpentry, and plumbing. If you have those skills, Discovery Service Projects can use your help. The location is 201 East Tabor Road in the Olney section of Philadelphia. Work begins at 9 am; lunch will be provided. 
REMINDERS
Summer hours at the Conference Office have begun. Our hours are 7:00 am to 4:15 pm, Monday - Thursday. The office will be closed on Fridays.

Mission u 2017, July 21-22

Enroll in Mission u by the June 20 advance registration deadline. After that date, a $25 late fee applies. School will be in session July 21-22 for this annual academy of mission education at The Inn at Reading, 1040 North Park Road, Wyomissing, PA. (Hotel phone: 610-372-7811 or 800-383-9713). Fees are: $200 for full adult attendance (including housing and meals); $140 for commuters; $75 for youth; and $50 for children. 
 
The purpose of Mission u is to help church members (lay and clergy, men, women and youth) understand, interpret and engage in the global mission of the church as responsible Christians. This year's topics are:
  • Living as a Covenant Community;
  • Climate Justice: Call to Hope and Action; and
  • Missionary Conferences of the UMC.
Clergy are urged to join laity as Mission u learners especially this year. CEUs are available.
For more information:
United Methodist Night at the Phillies, July 29
United Methodist Night at the Phillies will be on Saturday, July 29.Come enjoy a thrilling game of baseball. Please join us with family and friends for fun and fellowship at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, July 29, at 7:05 PM, when our Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves.  For group tickets contact Jen Leone at jleone@phillies.com or 215-218-5267. " Please download and share the color flyer. Learn more...
Academy for Laity, Aug. 4-6: Embrace the Journey
Registration is open now for the  34th Academy for Laity, Aug. 4-6 . They have new dates, a new location and new courses. The new location is
Cedarville UMC , 1092 Laurelwood Road, Pottstown, PA. The theme:
Embrace the Journey: Step Up, Step Out .  

This is an ideal opportunity for everyone who wants to serve the Lord to start or refresh the Christ Servant Ministry journey.  "Whether you are just beginning your journey to learn more about our amazing God and His Son Jesus or you are a seasoned Bible scholar, a Christ Servant Minister, a Certified Lay Minister or a clergy member, this is the year for you to step up and step out to enhance your knowledge. Join with hundreds of fellow Christians who thirst for information as well as fellowship."
Each course was designed to be a unique learning experience with information that you can immediately take and start applying in your ministry. The Academy offers 10 course subjects-from the Basic Course for those who are starting out, to advanced classes in three disciplines: leading ministries and groups; caring for others in your church or community; and speaking to diverse groups or preaching to congregations.
The  registration deadline is  July 15. See course descriptions :
2017 Laity Academy Course Description Handout  [ PDF]. Register Online:  www.etouches.com/2017laity Or register by mail :   2017 Laity Academy Registration Form  [PDF].   2017 Laity Academy Scholarship Application    [PDF]  
HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations, Oct. 21
Save the date! HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations happens Oct. 21, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Lighthouse Fellowship UMC, 137 North Easton Road, Glenside, PA. Be inspired as speakers from small congregations doing great ministries share how God is moving and imparting hope to and through them.
Gain a new perspective. Ask questions. Connect. Be refreshed. Get hope!  Join us for this live-streamed, TED talks-style event sponsored by Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Cabinet. ASL Interpretation and Handicapped Accessibility will be provided. Registration is $10 in advance and $15 at the door (includes breakfast and lunch). Online registration opens July 15. Want more information? Visit http://lfumcglenside.com/hope-talks/ .  
Register now for upcoming Sexual Ethics Workshops:
  • Basic (Level 1) Sexual Ethics Workshop: July 15, 9 AM to 3:30 PM, at Conshohocken UMC. Level 1 training is mandatory for all persons seeking certification as candidates in ministry, candidates for ministerial roles and for all other individuals beginning ministerial roles within the Eastern PA Conference.  Training is available through the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, Lancaster Theological Seminary and Evangelical Seminary. Learn more.
  • Advanced Sexual Ethics-"Click, Connect, and Love: The Impact of Social Media on Clergy, Congregations and Families": July 29, 9:30 AM to 3 PM, at New Life UMC, Drexel Hill.
  • Advanced Sexual Ethics-"Sexual Boundaries" Oct 3, 9.30 AM to 3 PM, at St. Luke's UMC Bryn Mawr. 
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of UMC.org, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digestShare this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
SAVE THESE DATES
2017 Academy for Laity
Aug. 4-6 (Fri.-Sun.) at Cedarville UMC Pottstown. New dates, new location, new courses. Theme: Embrace the Journey: Step Up, Step Out." More details to come.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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