March 13, 2020
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop urges calm but caution, compassion in COVID-19 pandemic
Acknowledging the growing threat of America’s new pandemic, Bishop Peggy Johnson has written to United Methodists twice this week calling on them to “exercise peace and calm but also observe methods of prevention” in protecting themselves and one another from the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. 

In her Thursday, March 12, pastoral letter , the Philadelphia Episcopal Area leader said the new coronavirus pandemic “has taken the center stage with alarming statistics and increasing numbers of sick people.” She described it as “a silent, invisible virus that has no known cure or vaccination at this time.”  

She urged conference members to avoid panic and “exercise the bedrock of your faith: the promise of Jesus for peace.” But she also encouraged them to “observe the many directives that are posted regarding prevention. 

In her follow-up letter on Friday, March 13, titled “Abundance of Caution: What Should We Do about Church Services this Sunday?” Bishop Johson gave" full authority to pastors, in consultation with their lay leadership, to cancel services this week and in the weeks to come, as they feel it is appropriate....We reside in different areas of the state, and the spread of the virus is clustered in some parts but not everywhere at this time. Churches located where the outbreak is most prevalent should cancel services and activities. Churches with a large percentage of vulnerable adults (the elderly, those with chronic health concerns, etc.) should cancel services as well.

She also advised churches to cancel other planned gatherings this month, to use livestream video and online giving to allow members to participate in worship from home, and to employ other safety measures--including enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices and urging members to not touch but sit apart from one another. She also announced that "there will be no committee meetings at the EPA Conference Center for now. 

"Conference-wide events in March are canceled," the bishop announced. "We will determine future calendar events in the weeks to come as we monitor the spread of the virus." Learn more...
Bishops ask to postpone GC2020 due to coronavirus pandemic
The Executive Committee of the UMC’s Council of Bishops has asked for the postponement of the 2020 General Conference, set to begin in six weeks, because of the new Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.
 
In a letter to the Commission on the General Conference the bishops cited travel restrictions to the U.S., the potential spread of the global virus and the growing need for persons to be quarantined as the main reasons for seeking the postponement.
 
The General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church, which meets once every four years to revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. It is scheduled to meet May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it is set to decide among several key petitions that may well transform the denomination.
 
The bishops are also concerned about the essential value of a global church that gathers with a fairness of representation, adding that they believe that injustice would occur if a number of delegates from a particular area are not able to be present, due to visa or health restrictions.
 
“We write out of a deep love for our global church and as a tangible way of giving spiritual and temporal oversight in our role as shepherds; and we are guided by the core value of helping delegates to do their best work,” said the letter signed by COB President Bishop Kenneth H. Carter and COB President-Designate Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey.
 
Visit our new Coronavirus Response Page
Visit our new Coronavirus Response webpage to learn about the potentially fatal disease COVID-19 and also learn ways churches can try to protect vulnerable persons, while limiting the spread of this new pandemic. You will find several helpful articles published on our website this week, plus links to many more articles. We will continue to add new articles and resources as they are made available.

Take time to read them all. We can’t be too informed or too prepared to protect ourselves and others from this global scourge that is attacking victims and communities in the U.S. Learn more… , including:

Register for Annual Conference 2020, June 18-20
The Eastern PA Annual Conference 2020 session will convene from Thursday, June 18, to Saturday, June 20, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Our outreaching theme is  Engaging Communities for Christ . The yearly session will feature a diverse array of mission-minded guest speakers, preachers and worship leaders.

Learn more about AC2020 from our November 2019 article, Annual Conference 2020 to focus on reaching out and stretching forward .” Note two corrections to that article:

  • The 2021 conference budget will be voted on at an Adjourned Conference Session October 24 (site to be determined).
  • Registration for retired clergy is not free, but there is a reduced fee of $100.

Registration is now open!
  • $275 per person
  • $100 for Retirees (not serving a local church or agency) 
  • Retirees also have the option of registering to attend the Clergy Session ONLY, for no cost.
  • Exhibit tables:
  • $150 per table for Affilliated Organizations
  • $300 per table for Non-affiliated Organizations
  • Meals for all 3 days are included in registration
  • All attendees are responsible for their own hotel accommodations

Read more on our AC2020 webpage, in English and Spanish, including the Resolution Submission Requirements and the Formula for electing Annual Conference Equalizing Delegates.  Register online today!
Potential split leads to deep budget cuts
Faced with the possible departure of multiple churches, United Methodist leaders are preparing the smallest denominational budget in more than 30 years. The General Council on Finance and Administration board, by a 9-7 vote, approved proposing a 2021-2024 general church budget with the bottom line of about $413.4 million. General Conference will vote in May on the four-year budget.

The finance agency’s proposal cuts about $80 million from the already historically low budget of $493.8 million that it initially planned to submit. And it means that denomination-wide ministries supported by church giving — including seminaries, bishops and most of the general church agencies — will need to prepare for dramatic cuts to their work and potential layoffs.  Read more...
Event to explore UMC separation proposal, March 28
Bethlehem UMC in Thornton and the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) of Eastern PA will cosponsor an information and discussion session on Saturday morning, March 28, to consider the proposed Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace through Separation that General Conference 2020 will consider in May. The session begins at 8:30 AM.

Bethlehem UMC, 4 Westtown & Glen Mills Roads, Thornton, will host the breakfast event, featuring a presentation by the Rev. Joseph DiPaolo, president of the WCA in Eastern PA. This event is open to all! Reserve your seat online: www.bethmeth.com/home   Download the flyer!
GC 2020 Delegation information
A message from Judy Ehninger:
Greetings from the Eastern PA Conference Delegation to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional conferences. Many of you have asked how you can learn more about the upcoming General Conference in May 2020. Here are three ways you can prepare for General Conference:

  1. Go to https://www.resourceumc.org/en/churchwide/general-conference-2020 and read news and other articles. Eventually all proposed legislation will be posted there.   
  2. Pray for our Eastern PA Conference delegation. A roster of delegates with email addresses is posted on our conference website. If you would like to send an individual note of encouragement or ask a question, please do so. I am available to answer your questions as best I can judy.ehninger@gmail.com 601-442-3140
  3. Plan to join one of the General Conference 2020 Online Listening Sessions hosted by the delegation. All four sessions will be conducted using Zoom video-conferencing (which allows for video and audio-only participation). The first meeting will be:

Mar 25, 2020 at 07:00 PM Eastern Time
Click to join the meeting online: https://epaumc.zoom.us/j/695969274
Call in: +1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 695 969 274
 
Zoom access info for the subsequent dates in April can be found on the GC2020 webpage .
8 Bishops join in planning new denomination
A group of United Methodist leaders, including eight bishops, has issued a statement sharing its vision for a new traditionalist denomination. Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones helped convene the meeting that led to the statement. He said he wanted to provide good options should delegates to the 2020 General Conference vote for the protocol plan. Read story
Telling their stories: Women's history in the local church
March is Women's History Month. The General Commission on Archives and History offers resources, including program and research suggestions, to help churches recover and celebrate the history of churchwomen.  Learn more...
‘Thursdays in Black’
By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

March is Women’s History Month, and many women have changed the course of history by their excellence in science, social justice, religion, medicine, environmental concerns and just about every field of endeavor. I could name many stellar women, many well-known “she-roes.” 

But this year I would like to lift up the countless, unnamed women who have spoken out against sexual and gender-based violence. They can inspire us to continue speaking out for justice and mercy for women around the world. Their voices of social justice inspired the “Thursdays in Black” campaign of the World Council of Churches.  

According to the WCC “it grew out of the Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998), in which stories of rape as a weapon of war, gender injustice, abuse, violence and many tragedies that grow outward from such violence became all the more visible. But what also became visible was women’s resilience, agency and personal efforts to resist such violations.” Learn more....
Seeing beyond our needs on UMCOR Sunday, March 22
We read or watch on the news and see communities overwhelmed by natural disaster. We hear about humanitarian crises arising from civil unrest and war. We know that famine and drought are caused by climate change and see in our own community signs of food insecurity. And, of course, when we are also in the midst of our own suffering, it is hard to see beyond our own needs to help someone else.

It can seem like too much. How could we possibly make a difference? How can our limited resources make a dent in the seemingly never-ending need of the world? Through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), we can make a difference in the lives of communities and individuals whose lives have been upended by storms, wars, climate change, and displacement. Through UMCOR, we see the impact of extravagant grace through the generosity of United Methodists. Learn more...
CANCELLED & RESCHEDULED EVENTS
Some reported events may be cancelled or postponed due to the current Coronavirus outbreak. We will announce those cancellations and postponements here and on our Events page

Conference Events

  • The March 20-22 Dismantling Racism Workshop has been cancelled. The event has been tentatively rescheduled to April 24, 25, 26, 2020. For more information/questions contact Amy Botti, abotti@epaumc.org.
  • The March 21 ERT/UMVIM Training has been cancelled.
  • The March 21-22 Girls on the Go retreat has been cancelled. This event may be rescheduled later.
  • The Clergy Financial Wellness and 2020 Retirement Seminar, scheduled for March 24, has been cancelled. Please read the message from Jo Fielding, Executive Director of the Board of Benefits.
  • The March 28 “Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation” workshop has been postponed. New date TBA.
  • The March 28 Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally has been cancelled. The Conference Council on Youth Ministries invites all youth to attend the Camping at the Crossroads youth rally and retreat from 21 (3 PM) to August 22 (7 PM).
  • The four General Conference 2020 Listening Sessions will be converted to online Zoom meetings.
  • The April 5 Loss of Turtle Island event by CONAM has been postponed. New date TBA.

Local Church Events

  • Coventryville Church is cancelling the Pork & Sauerkraut Dinner that was scheduled for this Saturday, March 14th

Other Events

  • The Disability Awareness Day event on Saturday, March 14, 2020, at Wyoming UMC (Pen-Del Conference) has been cancelled. Those who have pre-registered will have their payments returned.
  • Cancelled (postponed until March 2021): Fresh Expressions National Gathering, originally scheduled from April 1 to April 3, at Heritage Fellowship Church in Reston, VA.
AROUND THE UMC CONNECTION
More recent GC2020-related stories
Read recent UM News Service stories related to General Conference 2020 using links on our GC2020 webpage :

How are decisions made at General Conference?
At General Conference, delegates gather from all over the world to consider revisions to church law and the official ritual of the church and to adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, explains how the legislative body makes decisions. Read story   

'Liberation Methodist Church' gets a hearing
A proposed new denomination, tentatively called the Liberation Methodist Church, got plenty of discussion at a UM-Forward event held March 6-8 in Dallas. Others attending said they still prefer to work within The United Methodist Church for a comprehensive social-justice-focused approach to ministry.  Read story

Michigan sends protocol plan to GC2020  
The Michigan Conference voted 927-92 to send the protocol legislation, a plan for an amicable separation of The United Methodist Church, to the 2020 General Conference. Michigan, the third conference and the first U.S. conference to send the legislation to the denomination's top lawmaking assembly, did not endorse the plan.  Read story

Sierra Leone Conference approves protocol  
The Sierra Leone Conference voted to be the second United Methodist annual conference to approve and send to the 2020 General Conference legislation for the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, a plan for an amicable separation of the denomination. Read story      
LEARNING EVENTS
Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop, March 14
The Eastern PA Conference will sponsor its next, required Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop on Saturday, March 14, 9:30 – 3:00, at Bethel UMC. 952 Bethel Church Road, Spring City.

Register Online. The Rev. David Piltz, Conference, a pastor and Eastern PA Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, will lead the training. He is completing graduate studies in Marriage and Family Therapy, has done graduate work in administration, leadership and counseling, and has taught classes in Emotional Intelligence to several Eastern PA groups.
A celebration of ‘Outstanding Native Women’

CONAM will present its spring worship and educational program at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center on Sunday, April 19, 4 to 7 PM. Members will present  Indian Country's Hidden Figures: Outstanding Native Women More information to come.
Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural ministry training, June 6  
Ministry in a Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Context Annual Workshop

CR/CC Ministries Training & Resourcing Team will conduct the annual workshop.

June 6, 2019 from 8:30 AM - 3 PM. Registration . Location: Covenant UMC, 110 N. Mulberry St., Lancaster, PA 17603. Cost: $10.

Audience:
  • Newly-appointed clergy and leadership team serving in CRCC Ministry
  • Clergy and leadership teams currently in CRCC ministry
  • Other persons interested in CRCC ministry

This training is intentionally designed for clergy and congregations serving in a cross-racial/cross-cultural ministry context. By increasing the level of intercultural competency, deepening the understanding of relationship dynamics, and being equipped with practical communication tools, clergy and congregations will become more intentional and effective in their ministry.
RESOURCES
Available and Needed Items
Available: Hymnals
About 140 copies of the “Songs for Praise and Worship” hymnal (this is the newer of the 2 with a copyright of 1992), and about 150 copies of “The Hymnal” (the more traditional one with a copyright of 1986.) If interested, please contact Roger Greenawalt at rogerg1313@verizon.net .

Available: 7-Light Floor Candelabras (2)
Free “Floor Candelabras” to a good home. In need of some repair & cleaning. Must be picked up at Fox Chase U.M.C., 201 Loney Street, Philadelphia, PA 19111. Please contact foxchaseumc@yahoo.com or 215-745-7416

Grace UMC (Pen Argyl, PA) has about 550 Mortgage Fund Offering envelopes leftover a special collection they were taking to pay off a mortgage on a 2nd parsonage. there is a church out there that could use them, please contact Lori L. Heckman, Office Manager, at 610-863-4811 .

Camphor Memorial UMC in West Philadelphia is seeking a donated cargo van to be used to pick up and bring food to our Tuesday Food Cupboard that feeds the hungry in the community. Please call Trustee Bernard Waties,  215-485-6402 , for further information.

Wanted: Allen Organ
A church in Honduras is seeking a donated Allen Organ. Contact David Kerr at davidskerr@aol.com for further information.
LOCAL CHURCHES & MISSION LINKS
Local Church & Mission Link Events
REMINDERS
Domestic Violence Committee wants to help churches
Please respond to the Domestic Violence Committee Information Survey 
The Eastern PA Conference Domestic Violence Committee wants to determine how it can best help leaders and churches address the serious problem of domestic and intimate-partner violence in their communities. "If you or members of your church are involved or want to be involved, please tell us and let us help. Thank you for completing and submitting this survey questionnaire online (preferably) or by mail by March 13, 2020 ." Send the survey or any questions to: Rev. Jacqueline Hines, Committee Chairperson, at pastorjacquelineumc@gmail.com.  Click here to complete the survey online .
Evangelism in a Changing Landscape
Plan now to attend the Eastern PA Conference’s 2020 Faith-Sharing Event on Saturday, April 25, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, at Wesley United Methodist Church (2540 Center Street, Bethlehem PA).

Cost: $10. $50 for groups of 6 or more! Teams are encouraged to attend. 0.6 CEUs are available. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Our featured speaker:
The Rev. Lisa Greenwood
Vice-President for Leadership Ministry of TMF
(the Texas Methodist Foundation), Dallas, Texas

This one-day event will stimulate reflections on the changing landscape of our mission field—both its challenges and opportunities—and invite us into conversations about the implications for our church leaders and ministries. Congregations are encouraged to send teams to learn, strategize and prepare to grow together.
 
Ever feel like your church’s models of ministry just aren’t working anymore? Has your landscape changed, but your outlook and methods have not? Has your evangelism become salt that’s lost its flavor?  
 
We are compelled to share Christ’s good news of love and grace, justice and hope. What does that call mean for us as leaders and for the churches we serve?
 
Lisa Greenwood works with church leaders across the UMC connection to help them understand and foster “deep change” by facilitating purposeful conversations of courage, learning, generosity and innovation. She brings wisdom and experience from serving suburban, urban and rural churches as a pastor in the North Texas Annual Conference for 20 years. She also has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, four General Conference delegations (2004-2019), and as ministry strategist for the Horizons Stewardship Company.
Camp & Retreat Center News
Camp Innabah to host women’s retreat, race, Easter egg hunt
Innabah Camp & Retreat Center will sponsor three major events in the next two months:

  • a Women’s Retreat, March 13-15, titled “Unveil your Radiance,” for women ages 18-plus. The cost is $165 for the weekend, or only $80 for just Saturday. The program director is Jennifer Wildjust.

This retreat is designed to help women see themselves as God sees them, as a reflection of His radiance. Together, we will explore how God uses fashion and fitness to help grow our faith and continue transforming us into His likeness. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  Click here to register .
 
  • Innabah’s sixth annual Spring 5k Race on Saturday, April 4, at 9 AM. Guests will enjoy a trail romp and hike around the beautiful hills and dales of one of PA’s oldest Summer Camps. REGISTER HERE! 
The course, above beautiful French Creek in scenic Chester County, traverses a variety of gorgeous landscapes and is “pretty awesome,” say organizers. All proceeds benefit Innabah’s summer camp programs and scholarship funds. Back by popular demand, a delightful pancake and bacon breakfast in their dining hall. Walkers will receive race T-Shirts and goodies, but will not be timed or scored.
Fundraising sponsors are needed by March 18. Email registrar@innabah.org for more information on being a sponsor!
 
  • Also, Innabah will hold its popular, annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4, at 11 AM. Age groups include: 2 & under; 3-5; 6-9; 10-12; 13-17; 18-25; 26-49; 50 & over!
 
And the camp’s annual Homecoming and Community Day will follow on Saturday, May 30, from 10 AM to 3 PM, with live music, food trucks, wagon rides, a bounce house, a hammock village, s’mores and fun fellowship. 
Gretna Glen Spring Retreat
  • Children’s Spring Blast Retreat: April 3-4. From Friday, 7 PM to Saturday, 7 PM. For Grades 1-6. Cost: $40. 24 hours of a camp break from school. Expect music, games, food, and lots of memorable experiences!
"The Women Who Knew..." FREE video Bible Study for Lent is NOW AVAILABLE

The Babylonian Talmud tells us there were 48 prophets and 7 prophetesses active in Israel in biblical times! This free bible study for lent will feature these women, exploring the primary biblical accounts of their contributions to the Jewish redemption narrative, as well as encounters and conversations Jesus had with women as recorded in the Gospels.

The Bible Study for Lent will be available prior to Ash Wednesday on the North District page of the Eastern PA Conference website . Or, it can be ordered from the North District office on DVD or on a thumb drive. Please contact Sheri Kentner, North District Resource Assistant (DRA) for orders or questions. skentner@epaumc.org.    

Adjourned Annual Conference Session Oct. 24
Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Conference Leadership have scheduled an Adjourned Session of Annual Conference for Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9 AM to present and vote on the 2021 Conference Budget. The location is yet to be determined. Please mark your calendars for this important session.
Resolution info from new Conference Secretary
The Rev. Jacqueline Hines is our new Conference Secretary. Please welcome her and use the following address for all official correspondence:  conferencesecretary@epaumc.org . Information about submitting resolutions is provided on behalf of the new Conference Secretary:

The Rules of Order for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference state that the deadline for resolutions to be submitted shall "be set by the Conference Secretary and shall be at least thirty days prior to Annual Conference." The Rules of Order also require that resolutions "shall be printed and distributed to the members of Annual Conference at least ten days prior to the Annual Conference session." In recent years we have made the printed resolutions available at the District Conferences, not just 10 days before the Annual Conference session. To make this possible, the deadline for submission of resolutions has to be moved beyond the 30 day window.

For the 2020 session of Annual Conference, resolutions are therefore to be submitted by Friday, March 27, 2020 to the Conference Secretary at: conferencesecretary@epaumc.org.

Your prompt submission of resolutions is requested, preferably before the deadline . Learn more...
2019 Church Statistical Reports due April 10
The deadline for completing and submitting your church’s Statistical Report is  April 10 . 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  llee@epaumc.org
GC2020-related Preview & Review Sessions
2020 General Conference Delegation Listening Sessions:

Plan to join one of the General Conference 2020 Online Listening Sessions hosted by the delegation. All four sessions will be rescheduled and conducted using Zoom video-conferencing (which allows for video and audio-only participation). Zoom access information for each session will be provided.   


Post-General Conference Review Sessions with Bishop Johnson
  • Saturday, May 23, 2020, 10 am – 12 noon, West Lawn UMC, Reading, PA
  • Saturday, May 30, 2020 10 am – 12 noon Aldersgate UMC, Wilmington, DE
CONAM spring program, April 19
The conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will hold its spring gathering for worship, learning and fellowship on Sunday, April 19, from 4 to 7 PM , at Camp Innabah. Their program title:  Indian Country's Hidden Figures: Outstanding Native Women.  All are invited, especially all local church CONAM representatives.
Education Society Grants provide college aid
The Eastern PA Conference Education Society will offer grants to assist worthy individuals with defraying the cost of higher education for the 2020-2021 school year. Church members who plan to attend school in fall 2020 should be informed now about these grants and their deadline: May 11 . See and complete the application.


If you have questions, contact Education Society Chairperson, Al Adey, at ahadey@verizon.net .
Help for transitioning clergy and church leaders relating with clergy spouses, May 30
Transitioning Clergy Workshop & Relating with Clergy Spouses (Lunch and Learn) May 30 , at 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Ave., Reading, PA.

These dual, same-day training events are for clergy who are moving to new appointments (9:30 AM to 12 PM session, taught by Rev. Dave Woolverton) and Staff-Parish Relations Committee leaders who want to foster healthy, helpful relationships with clergy spouses (12:15 PM to 2 PM session over lunch, led by Julie Anderman). Lunch costs $7 . Registration closes May 15. Download the flyer here .  Learn more and register soon!
NEJ Conference set for July 13-17 in Maryland
The UMC’s Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be held July 13-17 at the Delta Hotels, 245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, MD. Bishops may be elected to succeed the NEJ’s two retiring bishops, but that is not certain. More information to come.
Wesley Pilgrimage 2020 openings remain
Registration remains open for the 2020 Wesley Pilgrimage in England. The July 27 - Aug. 6 event includes visits to six cities important to the Wesley family and Methodism’s founding. The Upper Room is a sponsor, along with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Commission on Archives & History. Read press release
2020 Eastern PA Conference Laity Academy
July 31 – August 2, at Eastern University

After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12
 
Life is NOISY. Life is MESSY. Life is OVERWHELMING.
 
Can you find God in all of this confusion? Are you even looking for God?
 
Elijah was looking. He was even told to stand on the mountain and the Lord would pass by… and he waited. He expected him in the torrential wind, he expected him in the earthquake, and then in the fire. But the Lord spoke after all of the confusion,  in a still small voice, a whisper.
 
We need to declutter our lives, our emotions, and our thoughts. We need to stop talking and start listening. Listen to our partners, our children, our friends, and listen for God.
 
Come join us at the 2020 EPA Laity Academy to learn about our Lord while exploring your personal ministry path. This weekend will be focused on serenity, prayer, and introspection. Come and enjoy the classes, fellowship, worship and entertainment.
 
Watch our website for further details: https://www.epaumc.org/ministry/lay
UMCOR creates John Wesley Fund for U.S. disasters
ATLANTA — An anonymous benefactor has pledged over the next 10 years the income from a $5 million asset to support the training of United Methodist Committee on Relief volunteers and its continued response to U.S. disasters. UMCOR is using the pledge to create The John Wesley Fund for U.S. Disaster Response. Read press release
Study guide offers 'deep dive' into evangelism
A new Foundation for Evangelism group study guide has been released for “The E Word” webinar, which launched in November 2019. Written by the Rev. Heather Lear, the guide provides a way for small groups and congregations to dive deep into what evangelism means and learn how to better tell the Gospel story to their community. Read press release. Download study guide
How to get your church ready for GC2020? Pray. Get trustworthy information. Learn the process. Participate in conversations. Build trust. Maintain a focus on discipleship. Urge congregational giving to continue. Learn more…
Conference Loan Fund open for CD investments
The EPA Conference Loan Fund is open for investment in certificates of deposit again, for the first time in about five years, according to Conference Treasurer James Brown. The effective interest rate is 2.25% per year.
 
Each investor receives a Certificate of Participation from the Loan Fund certifying that the named investor has made an investment of a specific amount in the Loan Fund. The minimum investment is $1,000.00. The Certificates of Participation are offered for cash, and there are no financing terms available. 
 
Interest rates are set by members of the Annual Conference, as recommended by the Loan Fund Board. The Loan Fund is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation, whose purpose is to make loans to churches and affiliated agencies for building projects.   Learn more…   Also, visit our Conference Loan Fund page to learn more. Click here to download the investor form.  
Protocolo en Español
The new Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation , which will be proposed to General Conference in May for restructuring the church, is available to be read in Spanish at PROTOCOLO DE SEPARACION EN ESPANOL . Find it and other Spanish-Language articles on our new News & Information in Spanish webpage

The Western Jurisdiction Hispanic Latino Ministries Council, in partnership with the National Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministry, translated the Protocol into Spanish and shares it with the entire denomination. We thank the Rev. Luky Cotto for forwarding it to us to publish online.
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
  • March 14: Basic Sexual Ethics, 9:30 AM - 3 PM, Bethel UMC.
  • April 18: Connectional Table Meeting, 9 AM - 12 PM
  • April 19: CONAM's Spring Program, Indian Country's Hidden Figures: Outstanding Native Women, at Camp Innabah
  • April 25: Faith-Sharing Event: Evangelism in a Changing Landscape, 9 AM - 3 PM, Bethlehem: Wesley UMC
  • April 26-28: FAMLP Retreat, Camp Pecometh
  • May 2: Advanced Sexual Ethics Workshop: Ministry with Registered Sex Offenders, 9:30 AM – 3 PM, Elam UMC. Download the flyer!
  • May 16: UMW’s Spiritual Life Retreat
  • May 16: Urban Summit
  • May 16: Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop, 9:30 AM – 3 PM, Faith UMC
  • May 17, 2020: District Conferences

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403