June 8, 2017
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WHAT'S NEW
Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments and retirements,
effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:

Central / Future South District
  • Rev. Nancy Ross (Retired Elder) to Pottstown: Salem (1/4 time)
Southwest / Future West District
  • Rev. Jody Sambrick (Elder) from Extension Ministry to Hopeland UMC
  • Rev. Jeff Snyder (Elder) from Hopeland UMC to Transitional Leave
  • Rev. Kevin Readman (Elder) from Medical Leave to Transitional Leave
Northwest / Future West District
  • Jared Stoltzfus (Lay Supply) to Palmyra Bethany at ΒΌ time.
Northwest / Future North District
  • Brian Reading (part-time Local Pastor) to Southeast Schuylkill Mission ConneXion at less than 1/4 time.
What's New on our Website this Week?
Getting ready for AC 2017
You can find Annual Conference 2017 information and links on two pages of this website. Visit our  AC 2017 News Articles Page for access to recent Annual conference-related news and feature articles. Visit our   AC 2017 Information Page for basic information, links to articles and resource documents.

Also, on this  Annual Conference 2017 information page, beginning June 15 at the opening session, you will also find our  video livestream of Annual Conference sessions as they occur in real time. B e sure to visit our social media pages-- Facebook  and  Twitter  and  Instagram-- to read and respond to key actions, special moments and important comments. Use the hashtag  #EPAUMC17  to post your own thoughts throughout the conference. Learn more...
Bishop Peggy Johnson's new Bishop's Blog essay (promoted by UM News Daily Digest, June 6 issue) reminds us that June is gun-violence awareness month. "I believe it is important for our churches to teach about this epidemic and promote healthy ways of preventing senseless harm," writes the bishop, who leads the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware conferences. Learn more...
6 new Certified Lay Ministers graduate
Six lay members of the Eastern Pa Conference became Certified Lay Ministers (CLM) May 7 in a service of recognition at Montgomery Square UMC. They are the seventh class to complete the CLM process. The Conference now has 51 active Certified Lay Ministers. Learn more...
We're getting a new pastor! What can I do?
When your pastor leaves and another arrives, the transition process is the work of the entire congregation. Whether you dread losing your beloved pastor or welcome a change in leadership, it feels like everything in your church is about to change. While that is not completely true, your congregation will be going through a significant time of pastoral transition. Joe Iovino's article, which UMC.org first published in 2015, is still relevant today for any church or pastor going through an appointment transition. The Rev. Robert Kaylor, a UMC pastor, podcast guest and author of a book on transitions for the local church, points out that there are three phases of transition: the ending or leaving, the neutral zone, and the new beginning. Each member can participate in every stage. Learn more... and see more articles there on pastoral appointment transitions.
Workshop for Transitioning Pastors, June 10
If you are a pastor changing to a new church appointment, be sure to attend the next Transitioning Pastors workshop on Saturday, June 10, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Avenue, Reading. For information, please contact Felicia Anderson at fanderson@epaumc.org or 484-762-8248.
Come celebrate Africa University's 25th, June 10
Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Africa University with Mother African Zoar UMC 1204 Melon Street, Philadelphia, on Saturday, June 10, from 11 AM to 1 PM. The birthday party will feature presentations, several short videos, time for questions and answers, refreshments and even a dessert bar. Come celebrate and learn about the exciting, quarter-century adventure of this extraordinary United Methodist-supported university in Africa and also celebrate the supportive role the Eastern PA Conference has played in its development. Please let them know oyu are coming by calling the church office (215-769-3899) or call Betty Henderson (215-226-5268). 
Celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday June 11
Your giving makes possible the proclamation of Christ's Peace. Will you continue to support Peace with Justice Sunday?  Will you empower local Christians-from Pennsylvania to Arizona to Liberia and Russia-to build the kingdom of peace that Jesus ushered in? Here are more stories of how our giving is changing lives. While many individuals and churches across the connection work for peace and justice every day, once a year United Methodists get to celebrate and commit to the work of these important values around the world.  Peace with Justice Sunday is a Special  Sunday of The United Methodist Church that signifies our strong commitment to peace, justice and the ministry of reconciliation. Download an  engaging infographic showing 15 ways our offering on this special day makes a difference
Peace with Justice grants
Also, the Eastern PA Conference Board of Church & Society has funds available for Peace with Justice grants for eligible ministries. The conference retains a portion of every Peace with Justice Sunday offering to support local ministries that promote goals of peace and justice. Apply now to gain support for your ministry. Visit our Funding for Ministry webpage.
Church responds to drug addiction epidemic
Quakertown UMC will host  Unite Quakertown on Saturday June 10, 11 AM to 8 PM, (rain date: July 8), an interfaith public event to foster awareness and action in response to the "growing heroin and opioid addiction epidemic plaguing our communities." The gathering will happen at Quakertown's new "Park at 4,th" offering worship, music with Christian bands, storytelling and education about this deadly epidemic and efforts to combat it through an interfaith alliance. Bishop Peggy Johnson plans to attend at 11 AM to support this emphasis on a growing sickness in our region. For more information contact Patrick McGovern, event coordinator, at pammcgovern@comcast.net or 267-373-8834.  Download and share the flyer.

What is your church or mission connexion doing to learn about and address the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic that is damaging many lives, families and communities? Please tell us so we can report on your efforts. 
More Annual Conference 2017 News
Conference members to give generously to three offerings

1st Offering: Eastern PA Conference Scholarship Fund
Received during the opening worship service on Thursday evening. Raised $7,000 in 2016, an increase over previous years. "I hope we can raise $10,000 this year," says Scholarship Fund Chairperson Lenora Thompson.
 
2nd Offering: Board of Ordained Ministry Seminary Scholarships
Received during the Service of Ordination and Commissioning on Friday evening. Scholarships are distributed to candidates pursuing a call to Ordained Ministry in our conference.
 
3rd Offering: Methodist Services (formerly Methodist Home for Children)
Received on Saturday morning following the Memorial Service. Methodist Services is located in Philadelphia next door to Simpson House. Agency President and CEO Ann Rice Burgess will bring us greetings from that historic, multifaceted agency that now serves children, families and women in transition.
Register for helpful online courses before June 11!
Less than one week remains to register for two online training courses offered by UM Communications to help your congregation more effectively share its story outside the church and welcome its community inside. Registration for these two current online courses ends June 11.
  • Communicating Faith in the 21st Century is designed to teach you how to engage with your church and community digitally. You'll learn how to craft powerful, personal faith stories that resonate with your followers and beyond. Cost: $29.99
  • Welcoming Ministry 100 will help you become a more hospitable congregation. Learn how to encourage members to participate in visitor ministry. Cost: $29.99
Free Workshop on Church Marketing,  June 14
On the heels of our Building Effective Church Websites workshops, May 5-6, UMCom training specialist  Craig Catlett will return to our Annual Conference,  June 14-17, to address the session body and host a UMCom display in our exhibits area.  (Be sure to drop by and meet him.) 

But even better, he will arrive early and teach a  Workshop on Church Marketing on the eve of our Annual Conference,  WednesdayJune 14, from 6 to 8:30 PM, at the Conference Office. It's open to all. So come join us, bring your church marketing team, and gain some useful wisdom on promoting your church's ministry and message to your community and to the world. We'll even feed you. 

You'll learn some basics on: 
  • Understanding and marketing to your target community's needs and interests; 
  • Building and launching a good church marketing plan with goals, strategies and action steps; 
  • How to develop, use and protect your church's brand; and more.  
Please  register for free on our website today, so we can get an accurate count. Attendance may be limited to under 30, due to space considerations. 

Also, you can learn much of what Craig will teach and more in  UMCom's helpful online course "Church Marketing: How to Effectively Reach Your Community." The cost is only $29.99. Register for it at anytime.
June is AIDS Education Month
The Rev. Deborah Tanksley-Brown, director of the Eastern PA Conference-affiliated H.U.B. of Hope HIV/AIDS ministry, reminds us that June is AIDS Education Month. Contact her at Hub-of-Hope@UMCOD.org  or at UM Church of the Open Door (610-444-2400) to arrange for HIV education events.

"AIDS Is Not Over" is the stark reminder atop the UM Global AIDS Fund's newsletter (May-June 2017 issue). Find the newsletter here.  It includes thanks from UMGAF chair Bishop Julius Trimble for those conferences who are featuring the Fund's work during their upcoming sessions. It also features news of the UMGAF Advance Special that supports projects and persons helping to eradicate HIV-AIDS. View the Abundant Health initiative video about the ongoing global challenge of AIDS and UMC-supported efforts to defeat the still-lethal disease.

Finally, the newsletter links to a list of retreat ministries affiliated with UMC conferences that provide education and support to People Living with AIDS and/or Affected by AIDS. Closest to Eastern PA is Quality of Life Retreats (QLR), a 30-year ministry of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. For information, contact Raymond Shattuck at qualityofliferetreatshiv@yahoo.com or call 410-972-1498. There are upcoming QLR retreats in August and December. Visit their website for more information. 
Prayer Walk in the heart of Lansdale PA
The North Penn Partnership of Churches held their first Prayer Walk in downtown Lansdale June 4.  Christ UMC and Lansdale First UMC joined 14 other churches. Organized by the Rev. Gary Nicholson, Christ UMC, the walkers traveled in four directions, thus forming a symbolic, extending cross. They shared comments and prayers while looking and listening to their surroundings-natural elements, buildings and voices of people-and also listening for God's response. A time of guided, intercessory group prayers ended the walk. To learn how to arrange a community prayer walk like this, contact Nicholson at  gary.nicholson@CUMCLansdale.org.

Read our website article "How does your church 'Rise up and Pray'?" and let us know how your church engages in creative, intentional prayer ministries or activities. See more examples on our "Rise Up & Pray" webpage.
Changing Racism: Continuing the Conversation
The Conference  Commission on Religious & Race will offer a second opportunity for leaders who have taken the required Changing Racism course to share and extend their learning, as they continue the conversation on race and racism. The optional, informal gathering will happen on Saturday,  June 24, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Grove UMC, 490 West Boot Road, West Chester PA.
 
Come, delve more deeply into the history, dynamics and ramifications of racism in the USA. Learn and practice behaviors and strategies for dismantling the damaging effects of racism and seeking equity.  Registration is onlinejust extended to June 19, with a fee of $15. Lunch is provided. 

NOTE: This workshop is open to all who have completed the Changing Racism Workshops or the Healing the Wounds of Racism Workshops at any time. For more information contact the Rev. Susan Worrell at rev.s.worrell@gmail.com or the Rev. Alicia Julia-Stanley at rev87mom@gmail.com 
Methodists Make News

New local mission featured in local media
Hopewell UMC's newest mission effort was featured this weekin the Daily Local News." Local church establishes 'The Well' in Downingtown" reports on the Downingtown congregation's new mission enterprise that's close to home. Members spent the entire Memorial Day weekend "painting, plastering, ripping up carpet and cleaning to prepare for the opening of The Well," a spacious former funeral home they are converting into a community center to provide gathering spaces and services for all ages, including support groups, job training, after-school activities and tutoring. Learn more...
Our Beliefs. Their Words.
"Children turn to God with their questions." Looking for a video resource to help children share their thoughts and questions about God and about church? Find out what  questions young United Methodists have for God as part of the denomination's current RethinkChurch national advertising campaign. Are their questions different from our own?  Imagine what life would be like if we all saw the world with the hope, wonder and acceptance of a child.
 
In addition, learn what children have to say about what it means to live with "open hearts, open minds, and open doors" at RETHINKCHURCH.org. Both video series may be useful for your Sunday school or Vacation Bible School.
At our 2017 Annual Conference in June, we will focus on the spiritual discipline and gift of prayer, as we benefit from teaching by the Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room Chapel. What prayer ministries are you and your members engaged in, whether innovative or traditional, indoor or outdoor, involving small groups or the entire congregation?

In some of the church newsletters, bulletins and websites we come across, we see announcements of prayer services and vigils, community prayer walks, prayer chains and prayer shawl groups, healing services, Taize worship, and other experiences. Clearly, we have some strong praying churches in this conference, and many of them no doubt have testimonies of answered prayers.

We are looking for examples of how churches pray and how, like Jesus, they teach disciples to pray. We want to learn and share prayer practices of all types and stories of how those practices impact congregations, individuals and communities.   Learn more...
NEWS BRIEFS

Discipleship Ministries' church leadership webinars
Discipleship Ministries has published a new June-to-December schedule of upcoming webinars for church leaders, offered by its Leadership Ministries unit.  The day and night webinars cover topics important to preachers, lay leaders, finance and stewardship committee chairs, leaders of children's ministries, older adults and other areas. Topics cover: preparing for charge conference, starting ministries with Baby Boomers and Advanced Boomers, transforming your community during neighborhood gentrification, and practicing spiritual leadership. Register at http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars
 
Fanny Crosby: Legendary Methodist Hymn Writer
The favorite hymn "Blessed Assurance" is one of more than 8,000 penned by a blind, musical visionary. Fanny Crosby's songs are favorites in the United Methodist Hymnal. In a new video by United Methodist Communications, the Rev. Alfred Day of the General Commission on Archives and History tells us why the life-story of this 19th century poet is as inspiring as the words we sing today. Learn more...
 
Conference Room furniture available
Church of the Open Door was blessed with the donation of Conference Room furniture when we moved into our fixed site. We are in the process of transforming our spaces and would like to pass on our furniture blessing. Available for pick up: 
  • Oval dark wood conference room table
  • 8 tall back black vinyl chairs
  • 2-drawer dark  wooden file cabinet
If interested, contact the Rev. (Deacon) Deborah Tanksley-Brown at 484-995-2407 or dtanksleybrown@comcast.net.
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.
Annual Conference 2017 will 'Rise Up' in prayer
We have updated our website's Annual Conference 2017 advance coverage with new details about the plans for inspirational worship and celebration using a series of "Rise Up..." themes related to each event. Learn more... Also visit our Annual Conference 2017 webpage to see the following:
Catch the NEWSpirit!
The  Spring 2017 issue of NEWSpirit!, our quarterly newspaper,is now ready to read online. And it will be printed and mailed to subscribers by this weekend! Read it online, or subscribe today for only $12 and we will send you a printed copy to enjoy at its full size. This new issue contains the 2016 Church Connectional Giving Report for all Eastern PA churches, plus articles about Annual Conference, the recent district conferences and much more!
Register for 2017 Academy for Laity
The 2017 Academy for Laity happens August 4 - 6 at Cedarville UMC, 1092 Laurelwood Road, Pottstown, PA. We have a new date, a new location and new courses.   Registration is open now until July 15. This is the perfect opportunity for you to start or refresh your Christ Servant Ministry journey.  Learn more.

Course Descriptions:  2017 Laity Academy Course Description Handout [PDF]

Register Online: www.etouches.com/2017laity

Register By Mail:
Last Week's News Briefs
 
Used choir robes available
Downingtown UMC has 24 used choir robes that they would like to donate to a sister congregation that can use them.  Sized to fit men and women of various sizes, they are a cream color with a burgundy collar piece and an embroidered UMC logo. Contact the church office at 610-269-1496 or e-mail them at  office@downingtownumc.org.
 
Chef Lucy returns to 'Chopped Jr.'
Remember Lucy Chelton, the 9-year-old chef from Sellersville, Pa., we  wrote about last August, who won first place on Food Network's children's television cooking show "Chopped Jr" and who shared part of her $10,000 prize with a local program that serves low-income families? Well she's back! Lucy, whose parents are on the ministry staff of Christ UMC in Lansdale, Pa., was invited to compete in a  Chopped Jr tournament with 15 other champions. Her episode will air on  Tuesday, June 13, at  8 PM, and during rebroadcasts.
 
Interpreter looking for personal anecdotes
Interpreter, the UM program magazine published by UM Communications, wants you to share your thoughts about personal encounters with diversity. They're asking readers to respond to the magazine's  "We asked ... you said ..." regular reader response feature. Sabrina Daluisio, Lay Leader of  Lima UMC,  was quoted in the current May-June issue, responding to the question " Why are you a United Methodist? "
 
The new question is "How did you first develop a relationship (social/friend, work or school, church, family or other) with someone of a different ethnic or racial group or from a different country?" Think and remember that experience and then  send them your answer in 50-75 words, being as specific as possible. A few responses will be included in the July/August Interpreter and more in Interpreter OnLine. Make certain your full name, local church and city/state appear below and indicate if you are clergy or laity.
Congo missionaries report 'amazing blessings' 
Enjoy monthly written and video reports from the Rev. Jonathan and Donna Baker, our dedicated Global Ministries Congo Partnership missionaries serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their May newsletter updates us on "God's amazing blessings" happening at the Mpasa Clinic and Nutrition Center, among other projects. "I t's been a fabulous, exciting, often challenging and meaningful experience," they tell us, "as we continue to learn so much about what it means to serve God's children in a materially poverty-stricken country which has only been an independent and peaceful democracy since 2004." Our Southeast and Northeast districts are supporting the development of medical equipment and services in Mpasa as district mission projects. Read the Bakers' May newsletter, plus an enhanced YouTube video version with music and more photos. Also, be sure to view the 6-minute video report they will present to Annual Conference.
Discipleship Ministries says 'See All the People'
What if we stopped "fixing" our churches and started seeing the people Christ calls us to reach? Discipleship Ministries has just launched a grassroots initiative called   SeeAllThePeople , designed to inspire an outreaching disciple-making movement across the denomination. What if United Methodist congregations stopped looking for quick fixes to revitalize their churches," asks the Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary, "and started seeing the people right outside our doors that Christ called us to reach? What if churches recommitted themselves to focus on being in relationship with those around them and created an intentional system to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?
 
"We cannot disciple people that we are not in relationship with. Discipleship begins with relationship." Discipleship Ministries has produced a discussion starter video and a free study booklet for congregations. Dotson urges church members to download, use and share the free resource at SeeAllThePeople.org and to start a conversation using the hashtag #SeeAllThePeople. 
Free church sacramental furniture available 
When Bustleton UMC in Philadelphia
closed in 2010, a church member rescued the Communion table and Baptismal font, hoping to offer them to a nearby congregation that would be happy to receive them. So far, that search has not been easy. Now Cheryl Kaz wants to spread the word farther across the conference to interest any church in adopting and using these cherished items looking for a new home at no cost. The church that wants them must be able to come get them. E-mail Cheryl at 
ckdr9327@comcast.net  or call 267-253-0390.  
Registration open for Leadership Institute
Registration is open for Leadership Institute  2017 on  Sept. 27-29 at  The UM Church of  the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Speakers include  the Revs. Olu Brown and Adam Weber, founding pastors of two of  the fastest-growing United Methodist  churches  in  the United  States. Through  July 13the super early bird rate is $35 for  the pre-institute and $149 for  the Leadership Institute.  Learn more 
School of Congregational Development offers scholarships


The annual School of Congregational Development (SCD) is "a premier event for equipping United Methodist church leaders, clergy and laity, to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations." Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year's event, August 17-20 , will happen at Peachtree UMC in Atlanta, Ga. , and be hosted by the North Georgia Conference, Candler School of Theology and Gammon Seminary. The 2017 theme is "At the Lord's Table."  DOWNLOAD the SCD "Quick Look" brochure  [PDF]

Of the three types of scholarships available to participants of SCD 2017, two are relevant to Eastern PA Conference church leaders.  Applicants can only apply for one of these two choices.
  • Racial Ethic Scholarships from Global Ministries 
  • Small-Church Scholarships from Global Ministries for churches with under 150 in average worship attendance.
Click Here for Scholarship Application.  To Register for the Full School go to  REGISTER.
Review your pension projection at Annual Conference
"Knowledge is power." Take control of your financial future. Sign up now for your chance to meet with Robert Christophel of Wespath for a half-hour at Annual Conference to review your pension projection and begin to make informed decisions about your retirement. Time slots are limited and fill up quickly!  Be sure to choose a time slot between June 15 and June 17.  Register Now
Bob Christophel is a benefits educator who provides financial, retirement and other benefits education for clergy and lay employees. He previously worked in benefits communications and participant education in New York and was a licensed investment representative in a corporate retirement services division, where he focused primarily on participant education for national corporate 401(k) plans.
United Methodist Days at Dorney Park, June 23-25
Eastern Pa members can join members of other, neighboring conferences for fun and fellowship at United Methodist Days at Dorney Park, June 23-25. Pick any day you want and come enjoy a full day of rides and shows, sunshine and snacks, laughter and glorious fun. Purchase your tickets now for only $31.50 on any of three days in June: Friday, Saturday or Sunday, June 23, 24 or 25. $3.00 from each purchased ticket will go to support United Methodist Men's and Young People's ministries.

Get your tickets today at  dorneypark.com/methodist  Click on the ticket that reads: "United Methodist Day Members of Eastern PA, Greater New Jersey, and Peninsula-Delaware and Susquehanna Conferences." Please download and share the colorful flyer to help promote UM Day at Dorney Park. 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...
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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