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June 3, 2016

Local Church Communications Training Event 
Saturday, June 4, 9 AM to 12 PM

Calling all Local Church Communicators in the Eastern PA Conference:
This training event is for you, to enhance your vital communications ministries. The focus will be on
developing an effective Web media ministry through church websites and social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, but we'll talk about Instagram and others, too.

We'll have continental breakfast items and snacks available. So just come with your appetite...especially for knowledge. Please e-mail us at so we can expect you.
--John Coleman, and the Rev. John Bletsch,  Eastern PA Conference Communications 

Grow Your Church Online

Your Web ministry is not only a great way to share information with church members, it's an effective way to reach newcomers, and one of your best marketing tools. Web ministry is more than having a church website or Facebook page. It's about using the full 21st century technology toolbox to enhance and expand your church's ministry and outreach. 

UM Communications' online resources can be a big help, offering videos, online and in-person training programs, even website development tools and site hosting. Just start with their  Learn page   and step--or leap--into a brave new world of online ministry to benefit your church. 

Eastern PA Conference Communications will begin curating and sharing links to some wisdom tips from UMCom and other sources on our Communications webpage. We also want to gather local church communicators--lay and clergy--for occasional training events and just conversations, face-to-face and via video chat, to share and explore information, ideas and insights. This Saturday's training event is one example, when we'll share general information on developing an effective Web ministry through church websites and social media. Please come if you can, and check out our Communications webpage from time to time for more information. 

District Conferences to meet  
Sunday, June 5 

Central: 3-6 PM, Berwyn UMC
East: 4-6 PM, Huntingdon Valley UMC
Southeast: 3-5 PM, Lima UMC
Southwest: 3 PM, Leola UMC
Northeast : 3-5:30 PM, Bethany UMC Wescosville 
Northwest : 3-5 PM, Schuylkill Haven: First UMC

Annual Conference 2016 Updates
Stay informed and in touch during AC2016
Once again, you can see and hear our three-day Annual Conference session, June 16-18, in real-time through  live-video streaming. We'll embed the video link on our Annual Conference 2016 Webpage, accessible under News & Events. 

Stay informed about Annual Conference decisions and highlights through special daily editions of our e-mailed newsletter, NEWSpirit Digest, and on
  our Website  and Facebook page . Post your thoughts, suggestions and questions there.

And join us on Twitter, using the hashtag  #EPAUMC2016 ( beginning June 3)  to tweet your thoughts to conference leaders, members and friends. Share your ideas, insights and reactions, while reading what others are saying about the conference and the church. 
to Annual Conference information reported in the May 27 Digest:
  • Palmer Seminary alumnae will gather in Independence Room A for dinner at 5 PM (not for lunch as previously reported) on Thursday, June 16. 
  • The second Annual Conference offering, to support the construction of the Africa University Health & Sports Complex in honor of Bishop Marcus Matthews' retirement and his work on behalf of the university, will be received before the Memorial Service onSaturday morning, June 18, not during the service.
3 Annual Conference Offerings
  • During Ordination Service (Friday night, June 17): Offering for Board of Ordained Ministry Scholarships
  • Before the Memorial Service (Saturday morning, June 18): Offering for the Africa University Health & Sports Complex in honor of Bishop Marcus Matthews' retirement and his work on behalf of the university.
  • Following the Youth Ministry Report (Saturday afternoon, June 18): Higher Education Scholarships for Laity. 
Note: Please make checks payable to " EPAUMC." On the memo line please indicate designated offering: " BOOM Scholarships"; " Africa University" or " Lay Scholarships."  Checks may also be deposited in an offering box which will be available in the registration area to accommodate members' schedules.  Please ensure the check is properly labeled for the designated offering.

Visit our  Annual Conference 2016 Webpage for more updates and information.
Other Upcoming Events of Note
·     June 4:  East District "One Church at a Time" Mission Project--Clean Up Day at Solid Rock UMC, 199 East Tabor Road, Philadelphia PA 19120. For info: Frances Legarreta, 
·       June 22: SLI (Spiritual Leadership, Inc.) training for large-membership churches at New Hanover UMC (confirm)
·       June 24-26: Boehm's Chapel 225th Anniversary Celebration
·       July 7-10: NEJ Youth Rally, First UM Lancaster (or Lancaster-Marriott Convention Center--check on which site?)
·       July 11-15: NE Jurisdictional Conference, Lancaster-Marriott Convention Center
·       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
·       Oct. 8: Radical Discipleship, by Bill Easum, at Thorndale UMC. 
·       Oct. 16 Laity Sunday
Summer Camp opens: June 12 at Gretna Glen; June 19 at Camp Innabah; June 20 at  Carson-Simpson Farm; June 26 at Pocono Plateau

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.  

Check out our colorful  
Local Church Events webpage
Learn about some exciting events coming soon, including:
June 5: Music of Celebration-A Memorial Concert at 4 PM, at First UMC of Germantown. Featuring the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams: "Five Mystical Songs" and  Will Todd: "Mass in Blue" with FUMCOG's Concert Choir, The Philadelphia Chorus and others. Conducted by Kevin O'Malia and special guest Raquel Garcia.    Download the flyer! [PDF] 
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 on the weekend of 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.  
Descendants of immigrant ancestor Jacob Boehm will gather on Saturday to share family documents and photos, many of which will be digitally scanned for preservation, while kids enjoy games, a musical production and other activities. Sunday will feature a church picnic after worship, people wearing period attire, the opening of 19th and 20th century time capsules, a circuit rider on horseback and members of the Colonial Militia on hand to evoke a feeling of 18th-century life. Bishop Peggy Johnson will keynote the annual Heritage Sunday worship service at 4 PM. And leaders of Lancaster's Mennonite Conference will present a recently passed resolution regarding their founder Martin Boehm that may be of historic importance.  

Read about the early Boehm family history  and how the United Brethren Church was founded.
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.
LUMINA needs sponsors to send kids to Summer Camp
LUMINA, a cooperative mission project of the Eastern PA Conference serving the Southwest District, is searching for Camper Care Sponsors  to help 32 deserving children and youth attend Gretna Glen's Christian Camp in mid-July. The 32 earned what can be a life-changing opportunity by regularly attending one of LUMINA's two Kids' Nights after-school programs from September to May. LUMINA depends on donations to fund the camperships.  Sponsors names and donations are needed by  June 30 .

LUMINA matches campership recipients in relationship with Camper Care Sponsors, who can often make "a huge difference in a camper's experience at Gretna Glen," said LUMINA executive director Correen Russo. "Children are better prepared for their camping adventure, and they love getting mail and being able to spend their allowance at the camp store. We would like to find sponsors for our 32 campers this year."

Camper Care Sponsors do two things:
  • Donate $100 to LUMINA to provide all the camp equipment needed, including sleeping bag, large duffle bag, Bible, towel, toiletries, flashlight, notebook, pen, small shower bag, sunscreen, bug repellent, toothbrush, hairbrush, rain poncho, and spending allowance for the camp store.
  • Send LUMINA cards or letters (5) that the camper can open and read daily. Sponsors will receive an informational sheet on the camper, so they can personalize their notes.
Russo writes:  Please consider sponsoring a child for camp through LUMINA! You will be investing your money, time, and energy in young people for Jesus' sake! And let's pray together that Gretna Glen camp will be a channel of God's grace for them, where seeds of hope can be planted - seeds that will blossom and grow into the mighty oaks of faith, mercy, and good citizenship in their lifetimes. You can contact her at LUMINA, 20 E. Clay St., Lancaster, PA 17602 or or 717-394-8412.
July NEJ Conference features timely theme
Quilted by Connection  will be the timely theme for the UMC's 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 11-15, which our conference will host at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. ( Judy Ehninger  is still recruiting hospitality volunteers.) The connective theme and colorful logo pay homage to the diverse, inter-linked churches across the 10 annual conferences of this jurisdiction, and especially to the host Pennsylvania Dutch Country, well-known for its Amish quilts. 

"Like the iconic quilts, the people of The United Methodist Church are a collection of spiritual and cultural expressions connected to each other to form a tapestry of beauty and functionality," reads the  NEJ Jurisdictional Conference's Webpage. "As such, the colorful quilt becomes a visual image of the diversity that is central to the identity of the churches of the Northeastern Jurisdiction." Visit the Webpage to register and see information for delegates, bishops and episcopal candidates.  Learn more...
Joseph and his Dreamcoat returns to Hopewell UMC's theater in June
Hopewell UMC  is offering low-cost, high-value family entertainment this summer with six dramatic, outdoor performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat over two weekends, June 17-19 and June 24-26. It's an encore of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical based on the popular biblical saga of Jacob's favorite son, Joseph. But Hopewell is promising "a fresh and unique comedic telling that will remind audiences of Joseph's trials and triumphs, while conveying the theme of God's faithfulness to his people, making 'all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.'" (Romans 8:28)
Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM. No tickets are needed, and there is no cost. Get more info by visiting
Hopewell's outdoor amphitheater behind the church (at 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA) seats 900. There will be snacks and beverages for sale inside the church an hour before each show. Hopewell's Drama Ministry, performing since 1963, is a favorite of local audiences for its quality, action-packed, meaningful plays. Don't miss this treat!
Join Deacons in preparing UMCOR Health Kits

The United Methodist Church's General Conference will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Order of Deacons next week; and the Eastern PA Annual Conference will do likewise in June. But fittingly, deacons in our conference will focus their celebration on serving others when they coordinate the collection and assembly of basic supplies for UMCOR Health Kits to help survivors of disasters.

"Through this service project at Annual Conference we want to help our churches connect with the world in a very tangible and practical way," said Tiffany Manning, who chairs the conference's Order of Deacons. Learn how you can participate.
Parking at  Annual Conference
Eastern PA Annual Conference attendees can park at a discounted rate of $7 per car, per day for both daily and overnight attendees. Your ticket must be validated at the front desk to receive the discounted rate. If you are an overnight guest staying at the Lancaster Marriott Hotel, the charge will be added to your room bill, once your ticket is validated.

For those who need to park elsewhere, "Chaser tickets" can be obtained from the Annual Conference Registration Table. A Chaser ticket will provide the discounted rate of $7 per day for  Lancaster Parking Authority garages  1 through 6. You will need to have both your original parking garage ticket and the chaser ticket in order to get the $7 discount.   Download a PDF map to see the garages by number:  Parking Garage Map.

Take me out to the ballgame...

Want a great place to spend a warm, cozy mid-July night, with just the right mix of laid-back calm and moments of competitive drama and excitement? A fun place to hang with family, friends and fellow church members, where you can all get your cheer on? How about a 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. 
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! 
June 5: District Conferences
June 16-18: Eastern PA Annual Conference, Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Lancaster, PA
July 10-16: EPA Conference to host the 2016 UMC Northeastern  
Jurisdictional Conference Lancaster County Convention Center and the Penn Square Marriott Hotel. Each district will serve as the Hospitality Team for one day.

July 22-23: UMW's Mission u at the Inn at Reading

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
(800) 828-9093 |  |
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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