June 29, 2017
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WHAT'S NEW
Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments,  effective July 1
unless otherwise stated:

Northeast / North District
  • Bridget Wagner (part-time lay supply pastor) - To Hazleton: Diamond as of July 1, 2017.

Pastoral Transitions
Also, during this week when many pastors are moving into their new church appointments and churches are preparing to welcome their new pastors, be sure to read the new Bishop's Blog essay, "Pastoral Transitions." Bishop Johnson offers some helpful suggestions for getting adjusted and getting acquainted, starting with prayer. "The most important thing," she writes, "is to keep the goal of preaching the gospel and making disciples as the driving passion of the church. God will lead both pastor and church into new, potentially exciting opportunities for spiritual growth and outreach." Learn more... 
Two conference administrative job openings

Conference Administrative Assistant. Deadline: July 3
The Eastern PA Conference is searching for a for a full-time Administrative Assistant at the Conference Office.  Duties include (but are not limited to): managing database systems, phone and email systems; working with vendors to purchase and maintain office supplies and equipment; assisting with large mailings; and handling all aspects of Annual Conference registration and preparation and mailing of the Annual Conference Journal.
 
Please send resumes and cover letters to  UMJobs@epaumc.org  by July 3.   See Job Description:  EPA Administrative Assistant.6.1.17
 
Conference Summer Support Staff 
The EPA Board of Pension and Health Benefits, located in the Valley Forge Conference Office, is seeking a summer staff member to sort files and scan documents to the cloud.  This is a temporary part-time staff position, Monday through Thursday, 8 am-4 pm (28 hours per week) concluding by Sept. 4.
 
If you are interested, please contact Jo Fielding ( jfielding@epaumc.org) or Madeline Gonzalez-Lopez ( mglopez@epaumc.org).  We hope to fill this position as soon as possible.
New districts' moves, changes begin
The new East District, with the same name but a new configuration of churches and leaders, has moved from Huntingdon Valley into its new home at Simpson House (2101 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131), where the Central District was once based.  The Rev. Tracy Bass, Superintendent, and Clarita Krall (right), District Resource Assistant, have much office unpacking and organizing ahead of them. 

The new South District will move into the new multi-use community center, named The Well, that Hopewell UMC is working hard to create in Downingtown's downtown. That move is delayed; so for now, they have extended their lease a few months at the current Southeast District office location, 60 W. Boot Road, West Chester, PA 19380.

The new North District will remain at Emmanuel UMC, 2336 S. 9th Street, Unit 
3, Allentown, PA 18103. The West District, remaining on the 2nd floor of Bird-in-H and UMC, 2620 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505, already has a new sign and new branding for its Web, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr pages. No doubt, the other districts will put on their new faces soon as well.
Methodists Make News

Phila. pastors explain increase in voters of color

The Rev. Gregory Holston (center) , the new pastor of Janes Memorial UMC in Philadelphia, and two other Philadelphia pastors co-authored an encouraging commentary in the Philly.com (Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News) digital publication June 15. Holston, who also directs the city's grassroots social change organization POWER, joined the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church, and Elder Melanie DeBouse, pastor of Evangel Chapel, in writing about the recent district attorney election primary outcome in Philadelphia. 
Citing a dramatic shift in voter response to progressive candidates in "prosecutor races across the country," they call it a "game-changing turnout on the part of people of faith, black and brown Americans, formerly incarcerated people, low-wage workers, and others fed up with over-policing and mass incarceration."
"They've shown that when candidates take strong stands against mass incarceration and police abuse, voters of color turn out," the trio write in "Black and brown voters make their voices heard in Philly, nationwide ."  "We must put our families first and vote in overwhelming numbers in November. Our lives depend on it." Learn more...
We need News & Views from our readers
Clergy and laity, RSVP.
That means you!
News: If your church, pastor or members are featured in the local news--print, online or television--please, please let us know, so we can report it in  Methodists Make News. Send us a link (URL) to the article or the photo or broadcast segment online. Or just tell us the publication or TV station, and we'll search for it. We are looking for news or feature stories or commentaries that feature any UM church members or ministries (but not mere listings of worship services or events). So, please keep us in mind when you see any stories worth sharing. Thanks!

Views: We're also looking for more informational and inspirational writings by clergy and laity that we can publish (or republish) on the conference website--especially in our " From Pulpit & Pew" blog section. Most of our contributions are republished, with permission, from insightful, well-written pastor's columns in church newsletters. We would like to receive more of those; but we also want other writings from diverse lay and clergy members who have something important, helpful or thoughtful to say that can benefit our readers. If you send us something, please try to e-mail a good photo of yourself as well; and definitely tell us how to contact you if we have any questions or concerns.

The doors of our media-church are open. Come on in!
Church leaders awarded for planting seeds of growth
Honoring those who draw others to  Je sus Christ, the self-proclaimed "true vine," the 2017 Eastern PA Annual Conference recognized particular leaders and churches who have labored to plant seeds of growth in the eternal "Vinegrower's" garden.  The Conference Congregational Development Team presented its annual  Harry Denman Evangelism Awards  to:
  • the Rev. Christopher J. Kurien, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, in the clergy category;
  • Deloris James, a longtime leader at Mt. Zion UMC in Philadelphia, in the laity category; and
  • Mei-Ling Blackstone, a new high school graduate and chair of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries, in the youth category.
The One Matters Award, presented by the UMC's Discipleship Ministries agency, recognizes churches that experience turnaround growth in new professions of faith and baptisms. Two declining Northwest District churches that were slated to close received the award after seeing impressive membership growth over the past several years. It all started with a new pastor's patient, persistent efforts to invite neighborhood children to Vacation Bible School.

And the Kim Jefferson Award for "significant, effective urban ministry" went to historic St. James UMC in Philadelphia for its own turnaround success after being on the verge of closure. With an energetic, enterprising pastor and lay volunteers, and ample support from its district, St. James is building up a growing, diverse, community-focused, mission-driven active church. Learn more... 
Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses
Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses  is a highly interactive small-group workshop for spouses of clergy who are experiencing transition in 2017. It will happen July 22, 10 AM to 3 PM,  at the Village Library Meeting Room, 207 North Walnut St., Morgantown, PA. Cost is $15 with lunch included. Registration deadline is July 17.

 Recent clergy-spouse participants in previous sessions have said:
- "You get a chance to envision what good can happen in the transition."
- "The imperative for self-care hit me in this workshop, and time was built in for me to think about those strategies."
- "This workshop is packed with useful and practical info that can be used right now - all good!"
- "I felt a solidarity with other clergy spouses going through transition."
 
Retreat Leader Julie Anderman is Executive Director of Artos Retreats   Contact her at artosretreats@gmail.com or 717-492-4328. This event is endorsed by the Eastern PA Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits to promote clergy spouse well-being.  Learn more and register today.
UMC's chief historian extols church's resurgence 
The Rev. Fred Day, head of the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH), profiled our own (and his own) St. James UMC of Philadelphia in the June issue of his agency's Archives and History newsletter. The article, " Back to Basics" extols the Olney community church of his youth that began as part of an 1814 circuit traveled by Francis Asbury. 

"It grew into a great, stately, Gothic building boasting a congregation of more than 1,000 at its peak..." writes Day, the UMC's chief historian who formerly served Historic St. George's UMC.  In recent years the congregation "plummeted to a place where a gathering of 12 disciples would look like a crowd," he writes before rejoicing in its renewed growth, thanks to committed, creative pastoral and lay leadership. 

"Today the number is pushing 100 and doesn't begin to count all the people St. James engages in community gatherings and service opportunities," writes Day. "The church is born again, transformed from missional failure to missionary force." Learn more...

Bishop to address global missions conference of the Deaf
 
Bishop Peggy Johnson will speak at the 4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf, August 1-4, at Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center, Waxahachie, Texas. Other presenters will include Emmanuel Deaf Ministry of Brazil and the Rev. Caesar Rentie, a former NFL player reared by deaf parents.
 
The global gathering of UM and Wesleyan-related ministries will convene Deaf, late deafened, hard of hearing and Deaf-blind persons and will include information on Deaf ministries in many countries, including South Korea, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, the U.S. and a Brazilian church that is one of the largest deaf Methodist churches in the world,  A 10-hour course on Deaf Lay Servant certification will be offered. Christians of all churches and denominations are welcome.  Learn more...  
FUMCOG benefit to raise funds for choir's South Africa tour  
First UMC of Germantown's (FUMCOG) choir will join the Swarthmore College Alumni Gospel Choir to tour South Africa for 10 days, Feb. 2-12, 2018. They will perform three concerts in nine days, in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and also participate in several mission projects at Uthando. The tour will mark the 25th anniversary of FUMCOG's initial delegation visit to South Africa in 1993, to support efforts to end apartheid.  
 
To help some members pay the tour's costs, the choir will host several benefit concerts this year. The choir will host the first of two "coffee house" events in the FUMCOG's Pilling Hall July 9, 12 to about 2 PM, featuring several noted musicians performing American standards, jazz, soul, show music and gospel in a casual 'meet and talk' atmosphere over good coffee and pastries. Tickets are $25 and be reserved by contacting FUMCOG choir director Kevin O'Malia  at   omalia@fumcog.org   or   kevin.omalia@gmail.com .  
GBHEM develops center for Clinical Pastoral Education 
 
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) has announced the development of a new center for clinical pastoral education (CPE) to meet the growing need for pastoral education resources within The United Methodist Church. GBHEM's CPE Center will offer creative and flexible programs, including hybrid units to local pastors, provisional and full connection deacons and elders in a variety of ministry settings throughout the global church, as well as training for CPE supervisors.

"Through the creation of an accredited CPE Center, GBHEM will provide increased access to leadership development resources that are effective and contextual," said Shannon Conklin-Miller, assistant general secretary of Clergy Formation, Division of Ordained Ministry, GBHEM. "We are glad that technological advances allow us to support innovation and create new partnerships and resources for the development of pastoral leaders for The United Methodist Church." Learn more... 
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.
New UMC Handbook now available 
The new United Methodist Church Handbook for this quadrennium is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination's beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about The United Methodist Church and is helpful for leaders and new members.

"The United Methodist Church Handbook is one of the most appreciated resources generated in the church, and rightly so," said Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries. It offers a holistic overview of the church and the ways that all United Methodists are an essential part of the denomination's work around the world. It also explains the church's connectional nature, includes denominational maps and graphics, answers frequently asked questions, provides a glossary of key denominational terms, offers communication and connectional giving information and suggests resources to further mission and ministry. Learn more...  
United Methodist Night at the Phillies, July 29
United Methodist Night at the Phillies will be on Saturday, July 29.Come enjoy a thrilling game of baseball. Please join us with family and friends for fun and fellowship at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, July 29, at 7:05 PM, when our Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves.  For group tickets contact Jen Leone at jleone@phillies.com or 215-218-5267. " Please download and share the color flyer. Learn more...
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.
HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations, Oct. 21
Save the date! HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations happens Oct. 21, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Lighthouse Fellowship UMC, 137 North Easton Road, Glenside, PA. Be inspired as speakers from small congregations doing great ministries share how God is moving and imparting hope to and through them.
Gain a new perspective. Ask questions. Connect. Be refreshed. Get hope!  Join us for this live-streamed, TED talks-style event sponsored by Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Cabinet. ASL Interpretation and Handicapped Accessibility will be provided. Registration is $10 in advance and $15 at the door (includes breakfast and lunch). Online registration opens July 15. Want more information? Visit lfumcglenside.com/hope-talks .  
Register now for upcoming Sexual Ethics Workshops:
  • 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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