June 4, 2021
NEWS & VIEWS
What’s happening in your church this month?
We want to report more important local church and mission link news in NEWSpirit Digest. So please share your news with us. As more churches reopen and return to their communities, we want to report on what you are doing and what you are facing. So please send us the who, what, when, where and how of your special events and ministries. And don’t forget to tell us “the why.” 

We are grateful to receive several church newsletters. We would like to receive more. We don’t often have time to read them all; but still, the more we get, the better. So please add us (communications@epaumc.org) to your newsletter mailing list (only your newsletter please). And one suggestion: since others besides your members may receive your church newsletter, please be sure to identify not only your church’s name but also its city or town on the front page--maybe even in the email subject line.) Thanks!
--NEWSpirit Communications, communications@epaumc.org
Over 50 clergy and laity so far, including trainers, have registered for Ministry in a Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Context. The half-day, annual training event happens on Zoom, Saturday, June 5, 9 AM – 12:30 PM. Eight church teams will attend, along with more individual participants.

The workshop is offered primarily for all persons involved in CR/CC ministry appointments, including Staff-Parish Relations Committee and Administrative Council members. But it is open to all, including persons interested in such ministry contexts for the future.  Download the flyer. Register now. It’s not too late!

UM legal aid ministry to serve immigrants in Eastern PA
Justice for Our Neighbors of the Delaware Valley (JFON-DV) will hold its first immigration legal aid clinic in the Eastern PA Conference on Saturday, June 5, 11 to 2 PM, at Haws Avenue UMC in Norristown. A brief inauguration will precede the historic occasion, said the Rev. Mark Salvacion, executive director,  before the JFON attorney and other staff and volunteers get down to work, offering clients help with their immigration status. 

JFON is a national UM immigration justice and hospitality ministry with 19 sites, where attorneys offer immigrants affordable legal advice and representation on a variety of cases, meeting in offices, churches, community centers and detention facilities. JFON of the Delaware Valley serves the Greater New Jersey, Eastern PA, Peninsula- Delaware and conferences, now with sites in Bridgeton, NJ, and Eastern PA. The ministry was just awarded the first Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Grant this year.

Haws Avenue UMC, led by Pastor Lisa Depaz, serves a growing Latino/Hispanic immigrant community in the Norristown area and beyond. They will host the conference’s new clinic monthly through the summer, and then it will move to welcoming UM churches in other communities. 

Bishops Peggy Johnson and John Schol have been instrumental in supporting the JFON start-up in our region, which wants to serve mostly clients in neglected rural communities, said Salvacion, who is also an attorney and the pastor of Historic St. George’s UMC in Philadelphia. At church legal clinics immigrant families meet privately with lawyers, while volunteers provide hospitality, food, childcare and language translation. 

Want to know more? Want to offer much-needed help? Watch a recording of the Tools for Ministry class, “Justice for Our Neighbors:  Supporting and Volunteering with Immigrant Legal Ministry,” led by the Revs. David Eckert and Lydia Munoz, co-chairs of the conference’s Urban Commission and Immigration Rapid Response Task Force, respectively. 

CCYM bids adieu to its faithful, fearless leader
The Conference Council on Youth Ministries will bid a no doubt tearful farewell to the Rev. David Piltz, our always creative, committed Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministries, on Saturday, June 5, 2 to 6 PM, onsite at Valley Forge UMC.

Piltz leaves that post, along with his role as UM Campus Minister at Drexel University (the interfaith Open Door Campus Ministry), and also his role as the half-time pastor of Valley Forge UMC, to become the 3/4 -time pastor of St. Andrew UMC in Warminster July 1. He also is a part-time Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in trauma. 

The man with many jobs is valued by CCYM youth and youth ministry leaders across the conference and also by his Connectional Ministries colleagues. He will be missed. The conference is currently interviewing applicants for the Coordinator of of Youth & Young Adult Ministries position.

Conference to celebrate 10 new Certified Lay Ministers
The 2021 Recognition of New Certified Lay Ministers  happens Sunday, June 6, at 4 PM as a webinar on Zoom. Ten new CLMs, also recognized at the Annual Conference Laity Session May 20, will have their “graduation” after a historic, challenging year of attending all their classes apart on Zoom, led by training coordinator Judy Ehninger (pictured here with the new CLMs). Conference members are invited to attend and join in the solemn event. Get the Zoom invitation link

All in the family: Historic, mainline UM church transfers its property to AME church June 7
The oldest Methodist church in Delaware County and the third-oldest in the Philadelphia area will change hands on Monday, June 7, but remain securely in the Methodist extended family. Radnor UMC in Bryn Mawr, established in 1778, will transfer its historic property to the neighboring Saint John African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Wayne. 

The two churches share not only Methodist origins, but a closer family connection. The iconic Rev. Richard Allen, a minister and former slave, lived near the Radnor church and was welcomed warmly there to preach and teach in 1784, before he later founded the AME Church and became its first bishop in 1816.

Saint John, founded in 1895, has enjoyed a friendship with Radnor for several years. The two small churches, about five miles apart, have gathered occasionally for joint worship and fellowship. Radnor’s once vital congregation aged and declined to less than a dozen worshipers in recent years, making its continuation no longer viable. It explored a possible merger with Saint John in 2019; but when that did not happen, a transfer of its property to the 50-member congregation became the solution. 

On June 7, at 5 PM, at 930 Conestoga Rd, Bryn Mawr, in the presence of Bishop Peggy Johnson and AME Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram, Radnor will transfer ownership of its church building and cemetery to St. John for $1, with the condition that it will remain in Methodist hands. Learn more…
Nearly 140 to explore The Bible With and Without Jesus with scholar/author, starting next week
So far, 137-plus people have registered for the Eastern PA Conference Congregational Development Team (CDT) Book Club's next book study beginning next Wednesday, June 9, 11 AM to 12 PM, on Zoom, for four weeks. Why? Because the book is The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently, And the study leader is its author Amy-Jill Levine, PhD, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Levine, a highly respected biblical scholar, will help us explore her new work, co-authored in 2020 with Marc Zvi Brettler, on Wednesdays, June 9, 16, 23 and 30, 11 AM to 12 Noon. 

She will offer an introduction and then focus on four main topics:
  • June 9: The virginal conception and the pregnant young woman. (Isaiah 7:14)
  • June 16: The “suffering servant”—Jesus and many others. (Isaiah 53)
  • June 23: Adam and Eve—original sin and original opportunity.
  • June 30: The “cry of dereliction” (Psalm 22) spoken by Jesus and by Esther 

Levine’s previous books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and Short Stories by Jesus. She also co-authored four children’s books and other works: The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III); and The Jewish Annotated New Testament (co-edited with Marc Zvi Brettler). In 2020 she published Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

She is the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. In 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “AJ” describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches New Testament in a Christian divinity school in the Buckle of the Bible Belt. 
BMCR to greet new scholarship awardees online
Philadelphia Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) will host a virtual gathering with its 2021 BMCR Scholarship recipients on Zoom June 26, at 12 PM. That annual gathering is traditionally a luncheon; but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevents the caucus from continuing that tradition again this year. “It is important that we still gather to recognize and celebrate this year’s awardees,” said the Rev. Eric Carr, caucus coordinator and pastor of St Daniel's UMC in Chester. For more information contact him at bmcrphila@gmail.com
 
Celebrating Philly Freedom, Liberty, Juneteenth
Each June, Philadelphia joins in celebrations across the region and country to commemorate Juneteenth, the anniversary of the date (June 19, 1865) that enslaved people in Texas — the most remote of the slave states — learned they were free.

And this year, for the first time ever, the City of Philadelphia's official Fourth of July celebration — known as Wawa Welcome America — includes Juneteenth events, kicking off a season of independence in Philadelphia starting on June 19 and continuing through July 4.

Click the button below for more about the bridge between these two significant American holidays and new perspectives on what freedom and liberty mean in the birthplace of America.  Learn more…
 
Worsened by lockdown, Phila. drug deaths rose in 2020
From today’s Inquirer Morning Newsletter 
Overdoses killed 1,214 people in Philadelphia in 2020, marking the city’s second-highest drug death toll on record, and one likely worsened by quarantining during the pandemic, city officials said.

Just as they were hit disproportionately by coronavirus-related deaths, Black Philadelphians were hit hardest by overdose deaths, a demographic shift in drug fatalities that began before the pandemic started and only got worse in 2020.
For years, the majority of the city’s fatal overdoses have taken place in private homes, and city officials say the lockdown only made that trend worse, too.
Jewell Johnson, a city substance use epidemiologist, says pandemic-related unemployment among Black Philadelphians may be associated with the high overdose death toll in 2020. Read on for reporter Aubrey Whelan’s story on the possible factors.
 
Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day
National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 4, asks everyone who believes we can do more to save American lives from gun violence to do one simple thing: Wear Orange. Originating in hunting culture, Wear Orange acknowledges that America has a proud heritage of responsible gun ownership and reflects the value of human life. 
 
The effect of gun violence on our communities is pervasive, long lasting, and impacts everyone uniquely. Wear Orange is an opportunity to demonstrate our collective power as members of the gun violence prevention movement, bringing together a broad spectrum of organizations, brands, and influencers working in different ways to curb gun violence. Learn more...
 
After shooting, children's home shuts program
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida United Methodist Children's Home announced it was suspending its emergency shelter program. The announcement came less than 24 hours after two foster children ran away from the shelter and ended up in a shootout with sheriff's deputies. The officers are uninjured, but one of the juveniles — a 14-year-old girl — was hospitalized. Read story

Giving to Annual Conference offerings still needed 
Each year conference members and churches give to special offerings to help fund Eastern PA Annual Conference higher education scholarships, Board of Ordained Ministry scholarships for clergy education, Camp and Retreat Ministry Centers, and Youth Ministries. Because our Annual Conference met online and not in-person in 2020 and 2021, those offerings relied on mail-in and online donations. Thus, giving to them has declined significantly.

But the need for this support is as great as ever. So, we are inviting everyone to continue giving to support these worthy causes through our website’s Giving Page throughout the year. We will promote and accept gifts online (and by mail) to support our college students, clergy, campers and youth in the hope that you will give generously and encourage others to do so, too. Thank you!
Join weekly conference prayer meetings in June
Join the dozen or more prayer warriors who show up each Tuesday at noon for a half-hour of personal sharing and compelling intercessory prayer. It’s a supportive community of believers in the power of prayer. Some sessions have featured meditative music, wisdom readings and poetry to stimulate creative reflection.

Upcoming Schedule of Prayer Leaders:
  • June 8: Bishop Peggy Johnson
  • June 15: Rev. Dan Roth, Pastor of Summerfield: Siloam Philadelphia
  • June 22: Judy Ehninger, CLM Coordinator
  • June 29: John Coleman, Conference Director of Communications

Here is the Zoom access information: Join at: https://epaumc.zoom.us/j/591129374?pwd=dElpMUdVd09VTTBoRDZxTm9zejVqdz09 
Meeting ID: 591 129 374 Or Call in: +1 646 558 8656 
MISSION & MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES
Zoe Empowers on Virtual Mission Trip, June 22-24
The Eastern PA Conference is partnering with ZOE Empowers, an organization which in 2021 introduced Virtual Mission Trips in order to introduce folks to its incredible, international program of serving children in poverty. ZOE’s entire approach is based on “Empowerment, not Hand-outs,” and it has demonstrated success among more than 100,000 children of the world, so far.  

International mission trips are transformational for many local churches and their mission-minded members. Severe COVID-related restrictions on travel have prevented such trips from happening for the past year. But ZOE Empowers have found a solution in Virtual Mission trips. A free, three-day visit to Rwanda, Kenya, and India awaits you on the mornings of June 22-24 (9:30-11:00 AM each day). Learn more.
UMCOR aids displaced people in Congo
BENI, Congo (UM News) — In northeastern Congo, many farmers are afraid to work in their fields, due to threats by Allied Democratic Forces rebels. Hunger and starvation are daily realities. In response, the United Methodist Committee on Relief recently provided almost $100,000 USD, buying a one-month supply of food and other necessities for more than 850 vulnerable households. Learn more…

Scholarship to help female agriculture students
Women studying agriculture at Africa University in Zimbabwe will get tuition help from the new $150,000 Jo Evans Winton and Ed H. Winton Jr. scholarship endowment. Although the couple never visited the United Methodist university, they stayed abreast of its development through their daughter, who now chairs the AU Tennessee corporation board. Read story

UMCOR aids displaced people in Congo
BENI, Congo (UM News) — In northeastern Congo, many farmers are afraid to work in their fields, due to threats by Allied Democratic Forces rebels. Hunger and starvation are daily realities. In response, the United Methodist Committee on Relief recently provided almost $100,000 USD, buying a one-month supply of food and other necessities for more than 850 vulnerable households. Learn more…
LEARNING EVENTS
Workshps on Cemetery Care, Parsonage Practices
The Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation will offer two vibrant & informative training sessions for local church leaders on important (and sometimes insufficiently understood) areas of property ownership & management: Cemetery Care and Parsonage Practices-- selling or renting.  Please enroll appropriate leaders into either or both of these one-hour long Zoom conversations:  

Cemetery Care - Wednesday, June 16 at 6:30 PM
What does it mean to offer Perpetual Care? What should a local church do when it faces financial instability which renders it unable to provide adequate management? What are the Best Practices when closing a local church so cemeteries are not left orphaned?

Cemetery boards and local church Trustees, in particular, should attend. Conference Chancellor Matt Morley will offer the primary presentation, emphasizing matters of legality. Foundation Director Jack Brooks will be present to handle Q & A. To register for this FREE event, click HERE
 
Parsonage Practices: Selling or Renting – Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 PM
When a church-owned parsonage is not occupied by a full-time pastor anymore, what are the possibilities for alternate use or supplemental income production? What are the Disciplinary restrictions on such use, as well as tax implications? What benefits may be anticipated? What headaches might be incurred when we do things wrong?

Pastors, Board of Trustee members, Administrative Council chairs and other decision-makers in the congregation should attend. Those who serve on District Church Location and Building teams will find this helpful, too!   
James Brown, EPA Conference Treasurer, will lead this presentation. George Monk, a Mid-Atlantic Board member, will share recent experience from his own congregation at the Chevy Chase (MD) UMC. To register for this FREE event, HERE Learn More...
Learn to fish… and maybe to catch disciples, too
Seasoned church curriculum writer Teryl Cartwright wants to help church leaders learn to fish for people by learning how to...well, fish. A lay member of the Susquehanna Conference, she serves her conference as chair of the Nominations Committee and the Board of Ordained Ministry’s Enlistment and Interpretations Committee, where she helps candidates discern their pastoral call. She also teaches online courses as Culture of the Call Coordinator for the Institute for Discipleship (timothycircle.com), including a webinar on fishing and how it can relate to the call of discipling leaders.

“In my research for the fishing webinar,” she writes, “I asked the Rev. Kevin Witt, our Susquehanna Conference Director of Spiritual Transformational Leaders and Camp and Retreat Ministries, ‘Why fly fishing?’ Do you know what he told me? ‘You have to get in the water.’ Well, it worked. I did so, in more ways than one.” 
 
Cartwright wants to share stories and insights she has collected in what she describes as “an amazing adventure.” She will offer two free webinars this month to pastors and lay leaders in not only her conference but others, too, “as part of my ministry.” The interesting part, she says, is “how many women have signed up so far.”
 
“I've felt that some of the implicit knowledge Jesus’ disciples had in fishing and sailing helped in their discipleship,” she explains. “So, as part of my journey to see what they knew that could be useful to us today, I've taken lessons and talked to fishermen and sailors. My cast net fishing experience was at Blue Marsh Lake (in Berks County).”
 
One leader Cartwright features is the Rev. Rob Wilson, Director of Congregational Development and Revitalization in the Western PA Conference, who also directs At the Lake Ministries there. His ministry, she says, "gives people a chance to fish who otherwise wouldn't." In the photo here she is learning from Phil Gay, a Federation of Fly Fishers master certified instructor and retired naval officer.
 
Here are two, free online courses Teryl Cartwright is offering to anyone:
 
Summer Spiritual Practice 1: Sailing through Life without Missing the Boat
Join in this free 1-hour webinar on Monday, June 14th at 7 pm. See how simple experiential lessons in navigating, reading the water, and boat design actually take us deeper into discipleship. Need a sample spiritual practice you can use outdoors to help you focus and meditate on the Holy Spirit? The first lesson in sailing: Find and face the direction the wind is blowing. How? “You turn until you can feel the wind equally on each ear.” Come and see more by registering HERE.

Summer Spiritual Practice 2: Fishing on the Fly AND Casting Calls
Join in this free 1-hour webinar on Monday, June 21 at 7 pm. Wade into the disciples’ world and see how hauling and mending nets offer more insights into making disciples than ever today. Let’s make vocation and vacation come together in simple analogies and practices to inspire your outreach. We’ll put a new spin on reading the water as well with some “nots” tied in too. Come and see more by registering HERE. 

Weekly Preaching Forum continues June 8
Join us for a conference-wide Preaching Forum on Zoom to help us plan Revised Common Lectionary-based sermons every Tuesday. Enjoy a weekly, one-hour, profitable exchange of ideas, inspiration and information about preaching resources.

Gifted presenters share their notes on each week’s chosen text and then lead the forum in conversation. We explore each text’s historical circumstances and present-day perspectives, plus ideas for application and initial thoughts for sermon movements, etc. 
August Book Club to feature Woolverton's new book
The Congregational Development Team’s next CDT Book Club selection will be the Rev. David Woolverton's newest book, Mission Rift: Leading through Church Conflict. Woolverton, who frequently teaches courses on overcoming church conflict in Eastern PA, will lead the four-week study on Wednesdays, August 11 to Sept. 1, at 11 AM. Once again, the first 25 registrants will receive the book’s Kindle version for free. Save the dates. Registration will open in June.
Healing Communities Training on Zoom in Sept.
Co-sponsored by the Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team and the West Chester Mission Link. 
3 ZOOM sessions in September:
Tuesday, Sept 21, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Saturday, Sept 25, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Tuesday, Sept 28, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

More info coming. Cost: $10
RESOURCES
Scholarships available for chaplaincy students   
The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation invites students preparing for chaplaincy in any branch of the U.S. military to apply for the Samuel Grover Powell Scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited theological seminary and meet other requirements. The deadline to apply is July 1. 
 
College scholarships up to $3,000 available   
A limited number of United Methodist Dollars for Scholars awards are still available for the 2021-22 academic year from the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. The scholarships are for United Methodist students attending United Methodist higher education.  To learn more and apply
 
Celebrating AAPI communities
With the end of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month last week, the Asian American Language Ministry Plan and the Comprehensive Plan for Pacific Islander Methodism reflect on the culture, traditions and history of Asian American and Pacific Islander people. The groups also suggest four books that teach more about the challenges and the celebrations of AAPI communities.  Read statement

Tragedy leads to trauma ministry, book
I had no comment, I had no breath. The trauma of having just witnessed another Black man murdered as a result of police violence left me breathless.

That’s what our bodies do when we encounter trauma. We often hold our breath, and in doing so, we prevent our brains from masterminding effective thoughtful solutions; we prevent our bodies from regulating and relaxing. Holding our breath, and remaining in an unending traumatic episode, is dangerous for us both emotionally and physically. I wasn’t breathing.

George Floyd's murder prompted questions as well as a drive to bring healing and address mental health challenges. Those questions led the Rev. Dr. Ron Bell to write a book on dealing with trauma and create healing ministries at his church.  Read commentary

How do you hear God speaking?
MINNEAPOLIS — Many people struggle with discerning whether or not God is speaking to them, and Pastor Laquaan Malachi suggests the only way to get better at listening to God is to practice. "In a sense, many of us are already listening to God even if we don’t recognize it," he writes. Read commentary

View recordings of recent important events
Visit our Event Recordings web page to view and benefit from dozens of recordings of recent, worth-watching Zoom meetings, classes and webinars. That includes Tools for Ministries classes offered online in March and the dynamic Becoming the Beloved Community: Preaching for the Pentecost Season, a valuable resource for planning justice-oriented worship and preaching for the current season of Pentecost.  
AROUND THE UM CONNECTION
Bishop Arichea, Bible scholar, dies at 87
Bishop Daniel C. Arichea Jr. — a Bible scholar who championed full inclusion of LGBTQ people in church life — died June 1 in Taguig, Philippines, of complications related to COVID-19. He was 87. As a Bible translator, Arichea helped make Scripture more accessible to people in multiple countries, including his native Philippines.

As a bishop, he led United Methodists in the Baguio Episcopal Area in the northern part of the country from 1994 until his retirement in 2000. Described as a mentor, visionary and encourager to many bishops, colleagues and laity, he made an impact on the global denomination. Learn more…
New bishops named for three conferences
FORT WORTH, Texas — Great Plains Conference Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. will extend his work to provide interim episcopal leadership to the Central Texas Conference when Bishop Michael Lowry retires on Jan. 1, 2022.

Rio Texas Conference Bishop Robert Schnase will do the same for the New Mexico Conference when Bishop Earl Bledsoe retires on that date. Bledsoe also oversees the Northwest Texas Conference, and Oklahoma Conference/Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Bishop James Nunn will fill the gap there until episcopal elections in November 2022.   Read press release
Bishop recalls Methodist response to Tulsa Massacre
TULSA, Okla. — Bishop Jimmy Nunn, whose area includes the Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Missionary conferences, has released a pastoral letter about the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It includes the good and bad of local Methodist response to the horrific event.

The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference is offering a Facebook video suggesting ways to observe the anniversary. Read storyWatch video
Looking to neighbors to fix neighborhoods
INDIANAPOLIS (UM News) — An activist who believes residents are the most important key to improving in-danger neighborhoods has won a Tom Locke Innovative Leader Award from the Wesleyan Investive. DeAmon Harges works to improve northwest Indianapolis and consults all over the world about asset-based community development that focuses more on local abundance than scarcity.  Read story   Read press release   Watch video
REMINDERS
Conference makes financial decisions, highlights ministries
The 2021 session of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference, May 20-22, meeting via Zoom for a second time, showed newfound skill in virtual conferencing, deftly mixing live with pre-recorded content, including preaching, teaching, legislating, reports and recognitions. There were questions but little debate over eight resolutions in total, most of them financial.

The conference passed a 2022 Connectional Ministries Fund spending budget of $3.3 million. It is the same amount as in 2020; but significant budget increases are provided for Latino ministries, congregational development and urban ministries. Also announced is a 2021"Connectional Ministries Fund Holiday," giving churches that pay 11 months of their CMF apportionment a 12th month off. And there was a request for a ruling of law from the bishop and the UMC’s Judicial Council on whether payment of general church apportionments is now mandatory or voluntary until the next General Conference in 2022 approves a new budget.

A diverse cadre of eloquent guest preachers and speakers inspired conference members. So did an array of video reports, ministry award presentations and celebrations of newly commissioned, ordained and retired clergy. Learn more…
Video recordings of the Thursday Laity Session, Friday’s business and teaching sessions, and Saturday’s Memorial Service and Commissioning and Ordination Service will be viewable on the conference’s YouTube page in June.
View photos of Commissioning & Ordination and Memorial services 

Enjoy viewing dramatic photos of the 2021 Annual Conference Memorial Service and Commissioning and Ordination Service in our two Flickr photo albums
Pastors and worship leaders convened in a webinar April 27 to share ideas and plans for creative, inspirational worship for the season of Pentecost (not “after Pentecost”), using the Revised Common Lectionary Year B. They explored concepts of celebrating Pentecost not as a day but as a season of six Sundays, including Trinity Sunday.

Listen and learn from three engaging seminar leaders—three Elders and one Deacon who are scholars and activists–as they help participants explore biblical studies, homiletics, worship, and incarnational social action for redemptive justice.  

View and share this Zoom recording of this interactive Seminar on Preaching, Worship and Mission for Pentecost Season. Download the flyer. 
All of Us: Campaign seeks citizenship for immigrants
The UMC’s Board of Church and Society and National Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) Join invite all to join in a Week of Action June 7-14 using a legislative advocacy campaign to forge “pathways to permanent citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.” With undocumented communities at the center of this national advocacy initiative, teams will lobby legislators in as many states as possible. They will also have media commentaries written by local JFON leaders, clients and faith leaders and try to host virtual prayer vigils using social media. Learn more...
North District clergy families to picnic at Knoebels July 10 
The Great North District's 2021 Clergy Family Picnic will again happen at Knoebel's, “America's Largest Free-Admission Amusement Park,” on Saturday, July 10, 11:30 AM. Members will enjoy fun, food and fellowship together. REGISTER online by June 21.  
New puzzle helps clergy families navigate pastoral transitions
Jigsaw Journey is a puzzle with a discussion guide, online videos, and other tools, provided by Artos Retreats (“Bread for the Soul”), to help clergy families navigate the emotional journey of pastoral transitions. It’s a good conversation-starter to help families reveal and share thoughts and feelings about the experience.

“The game opened a doorway for my family to talk about some challenging issues related to our upcoming transition,” said one clergy spouse with two teenage boys. “We may have never talked unless we were working on the puzzle.” 

The full set costs $55 and would be a great church gift to clergy families. Discounts are available upon request for clergy families feeling a financial pinch during the pandemic. Contact: Julie@ArtosRetreats.org. Learn more
Racial Ethnic Local Church grants available this fall
Grants up to $10,000 will be available this fall from Discipleship Ministries to strengthen leadership training, small groups, worship, stewardship and spiritual formation in racial-ethnic local United Methodist churches. The application deadline for Racial Ethnic Local Church Concerns (RELCC) grants is Sept. 1.

RELCC grants are available each year, with priority given to new programs. Funds are not provided for personnel, equipment or ongoing building costs.  

For more information, go to https://bit.ly/3vSgb5G or contact Naomi Hope Annandale, director of research and strategic evaluation, by phone at 615-340-1743 or by email at nannandale@umcdiscipleship.org.
 
Applicants must apply online at https://ypm-umc.smapply.io / and are encouraged to consult with Discipleship Ministries staff for guidance in preparing the application. Learn more about grant qualifications.
Conference Leadership Opportunities for all!
The Conference Leadership Committee asks all clergy and lay members to use this Leadership and Service Interest Form to indicate how and where they are willing to serve on. Learn more...
Visit our Local Church Resources webpage
Do you find yourself wondering where you can obtain a 501(c)3 letter? Clergy W-2s? Various other bits of information that is crucial for churches? Look no further than the Local Church Resources page under the Administration tab on the EPA website and you can answer these questions.
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!
SAVE THE DATES
June
  • June 5: Ministry in a Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Context. 9 AM - 12:30 PM, via Zoom Meeting. Register.
  • June 6: the Recognition of New Certified Lay Ministers, at 4 PM, on Zoom. Join.
  • June 8: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. Join.
  • June 8: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM. Register.
  • June 9: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register
  • June 15: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. 12 Noon. Join.
  • June 15: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM. Register.
  • June 16: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register
  • June 16: “Cemetery Care” Webinar offered by Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation. 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM. Learn More. Register.
  • June 17: “Parsonage Practices: Selling or Renting” Webinar offered by Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation. 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM. Learn More. Register.
  • June 19: Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop, from 10 am – 1 pm on Zoom. “Where do I Draw the Line: Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age”. Register.
  • June 22 - 24: ZOE Empowers - Virtual Mission Trip. 9:30 - 11 AM each day, on Zoom. Learn More. Register
  • June 22: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. 12 Noon. Join.
  • June 22: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM. Register.
  • June 23: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register
  • June 29: Conference-wide Weekly Prayer Meetings. 12 Noon. Join.
  • June 29: Weekly Preaching Forum. Tuesdays at 2 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • June 30: CDT Book Club: The Bible With and Without Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Register

July
  • July 13: Bivocational & Small Church Network. Every other Month, on the 2nd Tuesday of Month, at 6:30 PM, on Zoom. Register.
  • July 22 - 30: 2021 Mission u, virtual. Sponsored by Eastern PA Conference UMW. Learn More. Register
  • July 26: Farewell fete for Bishop Peggy Johnson. 6:30 PM - 8 PM. Zoom webinar. Join.

August
  • August 6 - 8: Laity Academy

October
  • October 15 & 16: Domestic Violence Workshop. Friday October 15 from 7 PM – 9 PM & Saturday October 16th from 9 AM – 12 PM. Further details TBA.
  • Oct. 23:  Faith Sharing Evangelism Training w/ Olu Brown
  • Oct. 29 - Nov 1: Dismantling Racism, Level 1, Virtual. Register.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403