May 12, 2017
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Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments and retirements,
effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:

Central District
  • Mr. Michael Callahan (Lay Assigned) to Goodwill UMC (1/2 time)
East District
  • Rev. William  D. Jolly, Part-time Local Pastor, to Philadelphia: Green Lane UMC, 1/2-time. 
  • Rev. Maxime Jaouen, Retired Supply Pastor, to Montgomery Square UMC at 1/2-time.
Northeast/North District
  • Rev. Mike Netznik (Full-time Local Pastor) from Moore Township: Covenant UMC to Moore Township: Covenant UMC and Wind Gap: First UMC (Shared Ministry).
  • Mr. John Vidal (Part-time Lay Supply Pastor) from Zionsville: Salem to Moore Township: Covenant UMC and Wind Gap: First UMC (Shared Ministry)
  • Mr. Dan Meader (Part-time Lay Supply Pastor) to Coaldale/Summit Hill UM Charge. 
Mothers bless us through the years
For Mother's Day,  May 14, UMCom offers videos and articles to remind us of the blessings many mothers represent to their children and others whose lives they influence for generations.   Enjoy these selections from to help you and your church celebrate Mother's Day and special mothers past and present.

Also, read and delight in Bishop Peggy Johnson's new Bishop's Blog post, "God bless the Babushkas." She extols the Soviet-era Russian women with "head-scarves and wrinkled faces" who kept their Christian faith alive, even in secret, despite being dismissed, ridiculed and oppressed by the Communist regime. "As we think about mothers during this Mother's Day weekend," the bishop writes, "we need to reflect on the faith that women, mothers and grandmothers often bring to a godless world."  Learn more...
Advocate for global maternal health on Mother's Day 
In "Compassion Turned into Action: A Mother's Day Reflection," published on the General Board of Church and Society website, the Rev. Gina Giles, an advocate for Global Maternal Health, which she calls "a faith issue," reminds us to remember mothers and would-be mothers suffering pain and distress, often from poor health, who have little reason to celebrate on Mother's Day. She urges us to advocate for funding for information and programs to ensure safe motherhood around the world. She also offers "A Prayer for Mother's Day." Learn more... 
United Methodist Prayer for Families
May is Christian Home Month in the United Methodist calendar. A new reflective, photographic v ideo and prayer at together remind us to pray for those closest to us and those whom we do not know but are still called to love. UM Communications invites you to view this video meditation, share the link with others and download the video for use in worship, Sunday school or other settings. View also on UMCom's YouTube channel: United Methodist Prayer for Families .
Linwood church welcomes Presbyterian neighbors after fire
A blazing fire raced through and ravaged historic Memorial Presbyterian Church in Boothwyn, just southwest of Chester, on Easter Monday, April 17. No one was injured, but firefighters were only able to rescue several its precious religious items and little else. Yet, Memorial's friends at Linwood Heights UMC in Linwood were friends indeed, as they rescued the landmark church's Sunday morning worship services by putting out their own welcome mat with an invitation to share their space.

Although now destroyed, the 132-year-old Memorial Presbyterian is fortunate to share a ministry partnership with Linwood Heights UMC and Cokesbury UMC in Marcus Hook. After years of sharing in Ash Wednesday services, Christmas Caroling Fests, Easter Vigils and raucous hymn sings, inviting Memorial to share Linwood Height's space was just a "natural, comfortable extension of our long-term partnership," explained the Rev. Ethel Guy, pastor.
On the  Sunday after Easter the Linwood church proclaimed its welcome to Memorial Presbyterian in bright lights on its electronic sign and placed Memorial's processional cross, which was charred by the fire, in the chancel.  Learn more...
Philadelphia Tribune features UM churches
The Philadelphia Tribune has highlighted a number of our Philly UM churches in frequent religion articles, including its regular Church of the Weekfeature. Recently it lifted up Janes Memorial and Grace UMCs; and on April 29 it featured Camphor Memorial UMC .  
The newspaper reported on the 95-year-old church's efforts to make a "tangible impact on the lives of its members and the community by empowering them through education or uplifting them in acts of charity." It credits the Rev. Frank N. Moore, Camphor Memorial's "social justice-oriented pastor," with trying to engage more young people and teaching people "about who Jesus really was, in terms of what Jesus really did."
Also featured in the newspaper recently were:
  • St. James UMC, which hosted "Your Right to Know: Moving Forward with A Criminal Record," a March 28 workshop for its congregation and community, sponsored by City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker
  • First UMC of Germantown, whichhosted a April 22 visit and concert by the Peace Train, a musical experience led by South African musician and music therapist Sharon Katz. The audience viewed the documentary "When Voices Meet," which chronicles the history of the 500-voice multicultural, multinational youth choir that sings to inspire listeners to seek God's peace and social justice.
  • Haven Peniel UMC's new yearlong focus on justice includes welcoming local law enforcement officers and officials belonging to the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, who worshiped there on Justice Sunday in February.
Eastern PA Conference Communications asks-implores-all churches in our conference to please, please let us know when and where your church, your pastor or members are featured in your local news media-in newspapers, television or online stories. We want to highlight more links to more stories like these whenever and wherever they occur, publishing them in NEWSpirit Digest and on our " Methodists Make News " webpage. Please keep us in your loop. Thanks!  Learn more...
Cross-Racial, Cross-Cultural Appointment Workshop, June 3 
This annual workshop, facilitated by representatives of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) is for clergy and laity in churches that are engaged in cross-racial, cross-cultural ministry . It will take place June 3, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Valley Forge: St. Matthew's UMC. Lunch will be Provided.

Who should attend? Leaders of every church are invited. But clergy and laity who currently serve or will soon serve together in cross-racial, cross-cultural appointments are strongly encouraged to attend.  Register today (at:

For resources related to cross racial/cross cultural appoints, visit .  Look for "Filter by Topic" and click on "Cross-racial/Cross-cultural Appointments."
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 or 484-762-8248.

Meanwhile, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary has published (and republished) its usual, timely slate of brief articles about pastoral transitions. Check out their helpful newsletter-with several articles written this year and others in 2015-that addresses relevant transition concerns. They include: "Challenges in Pastoral Transitions," "Why First Impressions Really Do Matter," "50 Ways to Improve Pastoral Transitions" and "Learn 50 Ways for Your Congregation to Welcome a New Pastor." 
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  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 or 215-218-5267. " Please download and share the color flyer. Learn more...
Bishop Ough challenges UMC bishops to be prophetic
A video of Bishop Bruce Ough's May 1 presidential address to the UMC Council of Bishops, meeting in Dallas,  can be viewed at  Bishop challenged his fellow bishops of the church to find a common moral and prophetic voice to attend to the household of God.  He implored them to be "diligent and prayerful in attending to the fear in our own household, but let us not forget that Jesus calls us to attend to the fear that grips the entire household of God....Colleagues, if there was ever a time for this Council to speak to the nations with clarion voice, with righteous judgment, with a call to repent and give one's heart to God, it is now."
Leadership and Fundraising online course   
UMC Cyber Campus , a unique, convenient online learning experience from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, will offer a course on Leadership and Fundraising  May 23-25 . Taught by Dr. Douglass Lewis, former president of Wesley Theological Seminary, the course will explore the four basic steps to effective fundraising and the role of an organization's leader in fundraising. The four-hour, $100 course offers .4 CEUs.   Watch a video and register. 
Using Emotional Intelligence to build effective teams
The Center for Emotional Intelligence will offer a class, Emotional Intelligence and Building Effective Teams, in Baltimore, Md., June 9, that is open to all lay and ordained leaders. The early  registration fee of $100 is available until  May 15, but the regular registration cost is only $125 after  May 15.  Their goal is to "provide a one-day experience for participants to learn elements of effective team life through the lens of Emotional Intelligence. The class will teach ways to understand Emotional Intelligence competencies and how they impact team effectiveness, and identifying core elements that make a team effective. The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 North Charles Street in Baltimore, will host the class. Register at For more information contact EQ-HR Center at 626-877-0559 or 
EPA Annual Conference 2017 to 'Rise Up' in prayer 
Rise Up and Pray! is the elevating main theme of the 2017 Eastern PA Annual Conference, which will return to the spacious Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., from Thursday to Saturday , June 15-17

Preachers, prayers, musicians, liturgists and others will center the gathering in the practice and power of prayer, no doubt invoking the God of eternal grace to "Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour." That focus will also receive special attention when special guest the Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room Chapel in Nashville, offers a Friday teaching session on prayer.

Three bishops will preach during this annual conference session including two familiar voices and a new voice on the NEJ College of Bishops. Resident Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach for the Opening Worship and Eucharist Service on Thursday afternoon. New Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, who leads the neighboring Baltimore-Washington Conference, will preach for the Ordination Service ("Rise Up and Lead!") on Friday night.  Bishop Peter Weaver , a retired former leader of our own conference and the Philadelphia Episcopal Area, will preach during the Memorial Service ("Rise Up in Glory!") on Saturday morning. Learn more...  

Register online now! All registrations after May 19th will incur a $50 late fee.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: the May 13  'Hearts on Fire'   social holiness EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED 
This Eastern PA Conference training and networking event, scheduled for next Saturday, May 13, at Holy Cross UMC Reading is postponed and will be rescheduled for the fall. Please watch for future information on this upcoming event. For more information contact Bethany Amey at
Claiming Sabbath for Clergy Spouses next retreat, May 13
Clergy spouses--male and female--are invited to the third Sabbath retreat offered by the conference and facilitated by Artos Retreats on Saturday, May 13, at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Lunch is included. 
At these retreats, "created for clergy spouses by clergy spouses," participants learn how to celebrate Sabbath in ways that can help them cope with the burdens and boundaries of their roles. They are able to connect with other clergy spouses in small groups to safely, confidentially discuss common concerns. At Claiming Sabbath retreats, led by longtime clergy spouse Julie Anderman,  spouses get to enjoy music and activities like The Sabbath Game to help enhance their spiritual life. The cost is $50. Credit card payments are due May 7. Learn more and register now.

Dialogue on Religious Freedom Resolution, May 20  

Bishop Peggy Johnson will convene on Saturday, May 20, a one-time dialogue on the Religious Freedom Resolution  ( #2016-18), which was debated but not voted on at the 2016 Eastern PA Annual Conference. The resolution was committed to the bishop with a request for representative dialogue and a report in lieu of legislative action. The dialogue will take place at Asbury UMC in Allentown (1533 Springhouse Road), on Saturday, May 20, from 9 AM to 12 noon.  Learn more ...   
Learning about Church Websites & Church Marketing
About 40 lay and clergy church leaders gathered last weekend, May 5-6, at Cedarville UMC to learn how to build effective church websites using WordPress. UM Communications training specialist Craig Catlett led the two days of hands-on training, where attendees learned how to create content and pages on their new church sites. They also learned some basics about strategic Web design and messaging--how to communicate who you are to the people you're trying to reach.
Craig will return in June to greet and get to know us at our Annual Conference, June 15-17. He'll address the plenary 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, on Wednesday, June 14, from 6 to 8:30 PM. It's open to all. So come join us 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 (pizza and salad probably). More info to come. 
Enjoy 2 new photo albums on our coloful Flickr page
We've got new pictures that tell the stories of exciting recent events for you to enjoy on our Flickr page. Check out Sabrina Daluisio's photos from the third annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rallly 2017 , hostedby Hopewell UMC on April 22 and the Latino Commission's annual Holy Convocation hosted by El Buen Samaritano UMC in West Chester on April 15.
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. 
Peace with Justice Sunday, June 11
Peace with Justice Sunday   is coming June 11. This Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church signifies and makes possible ongoing ministries of peace and reconciliation in our conference and beyond. UM Communications offers a helpful toolkit with all you need to lead your congregation to promote peace and justice. Access your Pastor and Leader's Kit now! . One-half of the special offering received churchwide supports exemplary ministries in the U.S. and around the world through grants administered by the General Board of Church and Society. The remainder is used to support ministries in our conference.

The Rev. Jessica Ross, our conference's new Peace with Justice Coordinator, welcomes applications for conference Peace with Justice Grants, administered by the conference Church and Society Work Team in accordance with the United Methodist Social Principles. Learn more about the grants and submit an application if your project is eligible to  
Church responds to drug addiction epidemic
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. Quakertown UMC will host Unite Quakertown on 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 Quakertown gathering will happen at the city's new Park at 4th and will offer worship, music with Christian bands, storytelling, education and efforts to combat this deadly epidemic through an interfaith alliance. For more information contact Patrick McGovern, event coordinator, at or 267-373-8834. Download and share the flyer.
Now get e-mail notices to follow the Bishop's Blog
Do you enjoy reading Bishop Peggy Johnson's Bishop's Blog? Want to read her timely, thought-provoking, heart-touching essays as soon as they're published? Well, now you can. Right under her "About Me" brief profile in the right column, you'll find the words "Follow By Email." Just fill in your e-mail address, select "Submit," and you should receive an e-mailed notice whenever there's a new essay to read. Enjoy it right away and even respond to if you'd like. And beneath that field you'll find the Blog Archive, where you can find past essays to read again or for the first time. 
Wanted: 'Chaplains for a Day' at four summer camp sites
Calling all pastors who would love to spend a day at camp, but can't spend a full week.  The Camp & Retreat Ministries Board wants to try a new program this summer that invites you and your family to spend a full day,  on Monday through   Thursday, at one of our four camps between  June 25 and August 12.

Pastors could arrive any time after  8 AM and be treated to three great meals of camp food, complete with a sumptuous salad bar. You could lead a staff Bible study or devotions, meet with staff and volunteers or with campers who need spiritual counsel or support, participate in any camp activities going on that day at your discretion, and then return home to sleep in your own comfortable bed. Your children could choose to participate in one of the camp experiences and your spouse could accompany you for the day or just "do their own thing." 

If you're interested, visit our Camp & Retreat Ministry webpage  to contact the camp site you'd prefer, arrange for the best date and finalize the details. 

By the way, Summer Camp registrations are going on now, and staff are visiting local churches to promote and sign up children and youth for this life-changing experience. Check our our new YouTube video featuring two excited camp staff members telling how camp changed their lives and can change yours too:  "Two Testimonies: Summer Camp transforms lives!"
Young adult summer mission adventure returns to Reading
The   Rev. Nick Camacho at West Lawn UMC shares this news about a great-looking young adult outreach ministry returning to Reading, PA, this summer from June 7 to July 31. The QuadW Missional Internship is paid 8-week summer internship with all housing and living expenses taken care of, There are sites all over the country including in Reading. The program's goal is for college-level young people to relationally serve others, build bridges and be transformed, while serving communities in need. West Lawn's Alex Bryan participated in the program in 2015 described it as "an incredible, enriching, and fulfilling experience." Learn more about it in an August 2015 Reading Eagle article, Berks County welcomes QuadW Missional Program interns.

"I am looking for candidates who have solid convictions," writes Nick, "who love to work with children and homeless persons, want to learn and grow as Christian leaders, and want to have a wonderful urban missionary experience." Those who choose Reading will find it a "wonderful, multicultural, poor city that needs a lot of our love!" Interns will lodge in the city in a home provided by Freedom Gate Ministries, a Christian halfway house for men coming out of prison. They will work primarily with children and homeless adults, while forming relationships with each other and those they serve and learning "a lot about our Lord as we together work on our relationship with Him and watch Him at work here in Reading." 

Read the brochure, visit the website and consider applying for this personal growth opportunity.

See what's coming up at Camps & Retreat Centers

May 13: Disciple Training , 9 AM - 1 PM.
May 13: Little Critters Preschool Camp Visit, 9:30 - 11 AM. Free. Call to register.
May 20: Spring Open House 10 AM - 3 PM. Live music, games, silent auction, hayrides, canoeing, s'mores, site tours, meet the staff, and much more!!

May 20:   SpringFest/Open House , 10 AM - 3 PM. A day of free fun, food and community-building with family and friends amidst God's beautiful creation. Enjoy Camp Tours, a Hot Dog Roast, Boating & Canoeing, Children's Games, a Climbing Tower, Hayrides, Fishing (Bring your own equipment), Hiking and more. SpringFest Flyer 
May 13: Gretna Gritty 5K Mud Run, 7 AM. Join us for our annual Mud Run fundraiser! Climb, crawl, run and jump through our 3-mile course as we raise money to support the ministry of Gretna Glen. Competitive, recreational and kids run make for all levels of action where everyone can be involved. You can visit our   information page   or register today!

May 20: Open House, 10 AM - 4 PM. 

Bring your friends and family have fun, check out the site and learn about the great programs that Gretna Glen has to offer. Tours will be available upon request.

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, Jun e 24, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Grove UMC, 490 West Boot Road, West Chester PA.

Come, d elve 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 online by June 12, 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 or the Rev. Alicia Julia-Stanley at .     
Two Christ Servant Ministry classes offered in May
The Eastern PA Conference offers two Christ Servant Ministry classes in May. 

A Basic Course in English, taught by Judy Ehninger, is scheduled for May 12-13 at Asbury UMC in Allentown. This course needs at least 12 participants and is limited to the first 20 registrations. Cost: $35.   Click here   for the registration application.

A Speaking 1 Course, taught bythe Rev. Harold Burkett, is scheduled also for May 12-13 at Asbury UMC in Allentown. This course also needs at least 12 participants and is limited to the first 20 registrations. Cost $35.  Click here   for the registration application.

For more information contact Northeast District Director, Judy Ehninger  at  or 610-442-3140.
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing Thanks!
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.
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