March 13, 2019
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2019 appointments and assignments– effective July 1, 2019,  unless otherwise noted:
North District Appointments:
  • Rev. Pat Welch (Part Time Local Pastor) to serve Allentown: Emmanuel UMC, 1/4-time, March 1, to June 30, 2019 
  • Rev. Nina Patton-Semerod (Elder) from Wooddale UMC to serve Bethlehem Epworth UMC, full-time.
  • Rev. Zimran Khan (Licensed Local Pastor) to serve Stroudsburg: Faith UMC, full-time.

South District
  • Rev. Dr. Frank J. Richardson, Jr. from Extension Ministry to Retirement
  • Rev. Rodney Brailsford (Provisional Elder) from Haws Avenue United Methodist Church to Berwyn United Methodist Church.
  • Rev. Mark Terry (Elder) from Oxford United Methodist Church to Springfield: Covenant United Methodist Church.

West District
  • Rev. Gerald (Jerry) Reifsnyder (retired part-time local pastor) to Kleinfeltersville: Trinity, quarter-time, in addition to his current appointment at Schaefferstown: Zion.
  • Rev. Brian G. Albert (elder in-full) to Mount Joy: Glossbrenner, full-time.

The deadline for completing and submitting your church’s Statistical Report is next Friday, March 15, 2019 .

So far conference-Wide: 48% of churches have completed, 19% are in progress, and 33% haven't started yet.

Please call your District Office if you have questions. Both your District Resource Assistant (DRA) and I stand ready to assist you and your church in making this annual process as smooth and as accurate as possible.

Lawrence A. Lee, Comptroller, Conference STAT Report Coordinator
(484) 762-8209 or (610) 666-9090 Ext. 1007
Deadline for resolutions to AC2019 is March 15
Resolutions for Annual Conference 2019 must be submitted by Friday, March 15 , to Conference Secretary Rev. Lloyd Speer at . Read Resolution Submission Requirements and Format. Contact the Conference Secretary Lloyd Speer at 215-943-2343, or for more information. The March 1 deadline to nominate delegates to the 2020 General Conference has passed.  
Our Conference will be busy on Saturday
Here’s what’s happening

Bishop’s Report on GC2019 at West Lawn UMC
Event to be livestreamed
Bishop Peggy Johnson will hold a special town hall meeting this Saturday, March 16, at West Lawn UMC in Reading, to report on the UMC’s Special Called General Conference, held in St. Louis in February. She will review the process and outcomes of the global legislative gathering and the outlook for the future. That outlook may appear hazy to many because much of what was approved by majority votes must undergo Judicial Council examination and rulings for constitutionality.

View and share the bishop’s PowerPoint slides for her presentation. Also, this event will be broadcast as it happens via livestream video. Watch it live on the West Lawn UMC website’s livestreaming page . It may also be archived for later viewing.

Bishop Johnson will also hold four district town hall meetings about the General Conference later in March:
  • East District: Mon. March 25, 6:30 pm, at Doylestown UMC
  • North District: Tue. March 26, 5 pm, at Tamaqua: First UMC.
  • South District: Wed. March 27, 6:30 pm, Location TBA
  • West District: Thu. March 28, 6:30 pm, Location TBA
EPA Conf. Youth Rally to explore life choices March 16
“Easier Said than Done.” That’s what hundreds of youth will learn about “Living as a Christian in a World that is Not Christian,” (1 John 2:15), their theme and subtheme for the 4th Annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally on Saturday, March 16, 1 – 5 PM, at Wesley UMC, 2540 Center St., Bethlehem. 

The Conference Council on Youth Ministry is planning a creative, energetic afternoon of candid dialogue, dramatic skits to open hearts and minds, Bible verse challenges, exciting games and other fun activities. Plus, there will be plenty of music by Christian bands and lots of fellowship in a jam-packed, half-day rally.

Former NFL football star Lee Woodall will speak to the youth and their counselors about his life choices and challenges, including tough lessons he has learned in managing success and overcoming failure. Woodall, from Carlisle, Pa., played at West Chester University and competed in a Super Bowl and two Pro Bowls during his eight-year NFL career.

Barry Bennedetta , a Christian music composer, songwriter and Multi-Platinum Award-winning lead guitarist from Philadelphia, will share his testimony of faith. A former heavy metal rock band guitarist, he now lives and records in Nashville, Tenn.

A group of actors will perform a series of brief but compelling skits about the bullying, violence, trauma, peer pressure, low self-esteem and other struggles many young people must deal with. Insightful remarks and dialogue will follow each skit. An altar call will follow, inviting the youth to accept or affirm Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The event is free, but online registration is requested Learn more .    Download the flyer!
Make the world your parish
Attend VIM & ERT training event this Saturday
You can travel just miles from home or halfway round the world to share God’s love and be a hands-on blessing to others! Work alongside close friends or new friends from far-off lands. The Eastern PA Conference’s Disaster Response Ministry Team will sponsor two simultaneous, all-day training events for UM Volunteers in Ministry (UMVIM) March 16 at St. Paul’s UMC, Elizabethtown . Discover the excitement of participating in mission through UMVIM teams or Early Response Teams (ERT). Both provide support and solace to disaster survivors, while helping them recover. Another training for ERT certification only will follow March 30 at Asbury UMC Allentown. Learn more…
What happened at General Conference?
Review and clarify for yourself what actually occurred at the Special Called General Conference in St. Louis. Ask the UMC, a ministry of UM Communications, offers this summary. Learn more...
A Resource Packet from the UMC General Commission on Archives & History (2014).This helpful, informative resource is for churches and members wanting to celebrate Women's History Month with a focus on women leaders throughout the history ("her-story?") of our church and its predecessor denominations.
UMW to celebrate 150 years & train leaders
The Eastern PA Conference UM Women will sponsor its annual day of learning, celebrating, and fellowship on Saturday, March 23 , 9 AM to 12 PM, at West Chester UMC, 129 South High Street West Chester, PA. All women are welcome to this leadership training event . Download the flyer! Registration begins at 8:30 AM.

The UMW will celebrate 150 Years in Mission at that event and again at its annual Mission u gathering July 19-20 at The Inn at Reading, 1040 North Park Road Wyomissing, PA. The purpose of Mission u is to help church members (lay and clergy, men, women and youth) understand and interpret the global mission of the church and the responsibility of Christians within that mission; to provide information about the work of United Methodist Women; and to offer an integrated program of Mission Education, Christian Social Action, and Program Planning. Learn more…   Download the Brochure. Download the Registration Form .
Calling laity serving in Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Ministry
Saturday, March 30 , 9 AM to 12 PM. St. Matthew's UMC Valley Forge , 600 Walker Rd., Wayne, PA

The Rev. Dr. Grace Park from the General Commission on Religion and Race will engage congregation members already experiencing a cross-racial/cross-cultural appointment in a dialogue about the joys and challenges of CR/CC Ministry. Bring your thoughts on the helpful or needed conference support before and after such a clergy appointment is made. Download the flyer!   Register online now
UMCOR has recently supported 425,000 people around the world! Be a part of equipping vital disaster and crisis relief efforts by participating in UMCOR Sunday on March 31. A new kit of resources is available to support your efforts, including leader guides, worship resources, audio devotionals, promotional messaging, infographics, videos, social media tools and more. Download now Learn more
Training churches to be First Responders to military families & veterans
The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Disabilities Concerns will offer training on Saturday May 11 to help churches act as first responders to assist veterans and military families. The event will be at First UMC Phoenixville (865 Main St.) from 9 AM to 12 PM. Registration Cost: $10 per person. Register by May 4!

The training includes:
  • Training in recognizing military or veteran congregant families facing problems
  • Understanding military culture and its impact on families
  • Identifying pastoral roles in ministering to congregants with Moral Injury.

Denman Evangelism Award nominations sought now
Deadline extended to May 15

It is time again to recognize persons from our Annual Conference—clergy, laity, and youth—who have made an impact by sharing their faith and coming alongside others to encourage a relationship with Jesus. The conference Congregational Development Team (CDT) invites nominations from anyone for the Harry Denman Evangelism Award by May 15. Information and applications can be downloaded by visiting the UMC Foundation for Evangelism website.

Forward entries to the Congregational Development Team (CDT) via email to Suzette James at or via postal mail to Eastern PA Conference UMC, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820. ATTN: Gordon Hendrickson or Mike Netznik (CDT Chair). Download the flyer.

The Foundation helps annual conferences honor extraordinary clergy, youth, and adult laypersons with this annual award to promote the importance of sharing with everyone, through a variety of ministries, God’s message of love through Jesus Christ. Please nominate persons to receive the 2019 Denman Evangelism Award, which signifies a remarkable commitment to introducing others to the living gospel in ways and places where “new believers can encounter Christ.”

2019 EPA Conference Laity Academy
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch….“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” –Luke 5:4,10b

Are you prepared to navigate the deep waters? Our lives and ministries are constantly bombarded by the waves that distract us from our commitment to Christ. When you are asked to cast your net and fish for disciples, do you know where to start? Do you know what to say?

Come join us at the 2019 EPA Conference Laity Academy, August 2-4, on the scenic campus of Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., for an exciting weekend of classes, fellowship, worship, entertainment, food and service. Learn how you can Gather Disciples and Grow your Ministries. There are many more new classes this year including topics in Ministering to an Aging Congregation, Working With Conflict: Making the Most of Diversity, and more to be announced.

Watch for registration details.  Sign up to be notified when the registration is open!  If you have any questions contact Rick Wrisley, Laity Academy Dean, at
2 Christ Servant Ministry courses offered May 17-18
Two Christ Servant Ministry courses will be offered May 17 and 18 at Asbury UMC Allentown (1533 Springhouse Rd.).

Judy Ehninger will teach “Introduction to Christ Servant Ministry” for persons who want to learn about how Christ Servant Ministry can help members grow in a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Rev. Harold Burkett will teach “Speaking 1.” This advanced course is open to members who feel called to witness by effectively telling others how God's Holy Spirit is working in and through their lives.

A $35 registration fee for either class helps pay for class materials and light refreshments. Registration is required. Additional information and /or registration materials, are available from George Hollich by email at or calling 717-838-2812.  

Registration forms:
Basic & Advanced Sexual Ethics 2019 Workshops

Basic Sexual Ethics workshop is scheduled for Saturday March 23, 2019 from 9 30 to 3 at Conshohocken UMC, 20 W 6th Ave, Conshohocken, PA 19428, led by Rev. Wanda Sevey of the Council for Relationships. Cost is $35 lunch is provided.

Advanced Sexual Ethics April 30th 2019 at Asbury UMC in Allentown led by Rev. Beverly Andrews and Mrs. Elaine Spanger. Cost is $35. Lunch is provided.

Contact Jacqueline Hines for more info at or 410-963-1721.

 Download the flyer for the full 2019 Sexual Ethics Workshops Schedule . Or visit the schedule on our special Board of Ordained Ministry webpage.

Clergy financial wellness, retirement seminar March 26
The Conference Board of Board of Pension and Health Benefits will offer a free Clergy Financial Wellness and 2019 Retirement Seminar on Tuesday, March 26, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center, 87 Old Mine Road, Lebanon. Lunch will be provided!

“Now is the time to begin planning for your financial future!” the Board says. “We recognize the unique challenges of clergy, and are excited to offer a new workshop, specifically tailored to your needs! We will offer two tracks at this event - one for clergy financial planning and one for this year's class of retirees.” Learn more and register...
Visit our Local Church Events page...
to see what some of our churches are planning for this weekend, for Black History Month and for Lent. Please send us your event news also!
Four Stations of Holy Spirit training, March 30
Elam UMC (1073 Smithbridge Road. Glen Mills, PA) will host the next Four Stations of Holy Spirit training event March 30, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. This Conference Congregational Development Team (CDT) training helps lay people learn to pray one-on one with others and to anoint others with oil and help them remember and affirm their baptism. They also learn to serve Communion wherever and whenever people need it. 

The goal is to serve persons who need to embrace Christ’s promised “newness of life” through spiritual blessing and sacramental encounters.

The $15 fee pays for refreshments, a book and sacramental elements included in the training. To attend, email the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, CDT coordinator, at or call him at 267-258-9507. Register by March 27. Learn more about Four Stations of the Holy Spirit training .
Changing Racism Workshop, April 5
The next weekend Changing Racism Workshop will be help on April 5–7, at The Desmond Hotel, 1 Liberty Blvd in Malvern. The session begins with dinner on Friday at 5:30 and ends on Sunday by 3 PM. The registration fee is $300, including a single room and meals. This is not a commuter event. This workshop, which satisfies the clergy requirement for Healing the Wounds of Racism training, will be led by a cross-racial, cross gender team of two facilitators from Visions, Inc. Learn more…
Seminar profs to teach Art of Preaching, April 9
The Eastern PA Conference Cabinet will offer a half-day seminar titled The Art of Preaching on Tuesday, April 9, 8:30 AM to 1 PM, at West Lawn UMC , 5 Woodside Avenue, Reading.
The Rev. Thomas Long , Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, will keynote the seminar’s opening plenary. The celebrated Presbyterian clergyman has studied, taught and written extensively about contemporary-style preaching and homiletics for many years. His book, The Witness of Preaching , was named “one of the 25 most influential books on preaching for the last 25 years” by Preaching Magazine in 2010. It is widely used in theological schools around the globe in multiple languages.
Other noteworthy preachers will teach morning workshops on the art and craft of proclaiming God’s word and Christ’s gospel in a new age and in diverse communities. They include:

  • the Rev. Catherine Williams, Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lancaster Seminary, and
  • Bishop (retired) Alfred Johnson, formerly of the Eastern PA Conference and now a research professor and Director of the Urban Research Center at New York Theological Seminary.
Registration is $20 per person will open in February. All pastors are encouraged to attend. Look for more details in February. Contact: East District Office: or 215-878-4607.

8:30– Gathering and breakfast
9:15– Plenary presentation
10:45– Breakout workshops
12:00– lunch
Advocacy Weekend: May 18-20, 2019
United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania will sponsor “Change the World,” a conference on Faith and Politics, May 18-20, in the capital city of Harrisburg, Pa. Organizers hope to draw hundreds of not only United Methodists but others who believe in the key role that an active faith must play in civic life, from local communities to the halls of government.
Dai Morgan and Anita Powell
“Change the World through Knowledge” will be the focus of events on Saturday, May 18, at Paxton UMC. Those gathered will have opportunities to learn about current issues, including: How Laws Are Made, Climate Change, Human Trafficking, the Meaning of Justice, Legislative Redistricting Reform, Criminal Justice in PA, and more.
“Change the World through Service” events on Sunday, May 19, will be centered in downtown Harrisburg. There will be opportunities to tour the State Capitol building, join in environmental service projects, participate in an ecumenical environmental-based worship experience, and learn how to communicate with lawmakers.
“Change the World through Your Voice” on Monday, May 20, will offer opportunities to make legislative visits in the morning. Participants interested in special topics will be guided to appropriate contacts. The event will conclude with a 1 PM news conference inside the Capitol.
More details and registration materials are coming soon. Registration for the conference does not require participation on all three days. The Rev. Dai Morgan, who lives in the Pittsburgh area, is coordinator of UM Advocacy in Pennsylvania for all three PA conferences and bishops.
Discontinue use of “Mission ConneXion” name
By order of Bishop Peggy Johnson, we are no longer to use the term "Mission ConneXion" or any derivation thereof, in our published media, due to recently revealed copyright infringement. Rights to the term are owned (since 2004 allegedly) by another Christian missions and education organization in Oregon, and their attorney has issued a cease and desist letter to one of our churches.

At this point, it may not be necessary to remove the term from already published online content. But please STOP using "Mission ConneXion" anywhere on church websites, newsletters, Facebook posts, etc.
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, 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 . 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 Thanks!
  • March 16: VIM & (Volunteers in Ministry) ERT (Early Response Team) training event
  • March 16: Eastern PA Conf. Youth Rally: Wesley UMC Bethlehem
  • April 5-7: Changing Racism Workshop
  • April 9: The Art of Preaching, West Lawn UMC, $20 registration.
  • May 5: District Conferences
  • June 1: Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Ministry Workshop
  • June 13-15: 2019 Annual Conference
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  |
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403