May 18, 2019
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2019 appointments and assignments– effective July 1, 2019,  unless otherwise noted:
South District

  • Rev. Johnson Dodla (Elder), from Coatesville: Olivet UMC to Mount Hope UMC (Aston).
  • Rev. Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien (Elder), from Lansdale: First UMC to Lincoln Park: Community UMC.

Job Opening: Latino Ministries Coordinator
As the Rev. Brunilda Martinez steps down, the Eastern PA Conference is searching for a new part-time Coordinator of Latino Ministries. Persons interested in this position should submit resumes with cover letters. View and download the full job description.

Camps celebrate anniversaries at Open Houses
Three of our four Eastern PA Conference Camp & Retreat Centers will have their annual open houses Saturday, May 18, welcoming guests to enjoy their scenic grounds, comfortable facilities and just a taste of summer camp fun in wonderful outdoor weather.  And two camps will be celebrating milestone anniversaries this year.

Innabah Camp & Retreat Center is now 90 years young, celebrating nine decades of lively and life-changing camping ministry at their open house Saturday, from 11 AM to 4 PM. Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center turns a sassy 60 this year and will offer fun and festivities on the heels of its busiest Saturday of the year, the May 11 Gretna Gritty race that drew over 700 participants.

And Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Center’s Open House this Saturday will burst forth with activities all over, including hiking, hayrides, hot dog roasts, a climbing tower for those who enjoy heights, plus fishing (bring your own gear), canoeing and boat rides on its sparkling blue lake. All the camps are busy preparing for another bustling summer camp season to begin in mid-June . Learn more…

Hurricane relief gifts to Puerto Rico exceed goal

Clergy of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area (Peninsula-Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania conferences) brought offerings from their churches to their Lenten Day Apart March 4 to donate to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico’s (MCPR) continuing hurricane recovery efforts. The Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation generously added a challenge grant of $10,000 toward that recovery work. The total joint donation, reports Bishop Peggy Johnson, exceeded $32,000.  

MCPR Bishop Hector Ortiz, who visited and spoke to clergy at the Day Apart, recently expressed his gratitude for the generous gift and other ongoing support through visiting mission work teams. The Eastern PA Conference will send its third VIM team to Puerto Rico June 15, on the heels of one that just returned last month.   Learn more...

Bishops seek special offering for migrants
With more people forced to migrate from their homes than ever before--over 65 million souls from every region of the world, by some estimates--the Council of Bishops is urging extra support for United Methodist ministries with migrants, including a new Special Sunday offering.  

The migration crisis has no end in sight. Natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, violence incited by bigotry and humanity’s “warring ways” will continue to force people to seek new refuge, said Bishop Minerva Carcaño to her episcopal colleagues recently . But whatever leads people to take flight, the Council of Bishops agreed that the church must play a larger role in welcoming the sojourner. Learn more...

Navigate to offer leadership equipping for all
The Susquehanna Conference invites all to attend Navigate, its leadership equipping event (“Unleashing the Leader in You”), August 22-24 at the Radisson in Harrisburg, Pa.
This event—offered as a local alternative to the UMC’s national School of Congregational Development—is designed to “help current and future leaders impact their congregations and communities for Jesus Christ. Experience dynamic worship, powerful speakers and compelling workshop leaders. Enjoy a mix of equipping opportunities or explore learning tracks for:
Conference Leaders
Revitalization Leaders
Small Church Leaders
Lay Pastors
New Places for New People Leaders
Young Leaders
Early registration for $199 ends on June 15. Churches are urged to send leadership teams to the entire event or attend on Saturday only for just $69. Planner expect about 300 to attend the first two days and about 750 on Saturday.  Learn more at  

Domestic Violence event to focus on healing ‘toxic masculinity’
The Eastern PA Conference Domestic Violence Committee  will offer an unusual focus at its second Domestic Violence: The Church Responds seminar on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Participants will focus on boys and men, and how to help them heal and unlearn socialized attitudes and behaviors that often contribute to intimate-partner abuse—otherwise known as toxic masculinity. The seminar will happen from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Simpson House, 2101 Belmont Ave, Philadelphia, PA.

The Rev. Rickie Houston, a domestic violence specialist and trainer with the organization A Call to Men, will keynote the seminar. Learn more...

Methodists Make News:
Mountville’s oldest church prepares for its 175th anniversary
A feature also published in Methodists Make News.

The oldest house of worship and an important community gathering place in Mountville’s borough,  St. Paul’s UMC will begin a yearlong celebration marking its 175th anniversary. “It’s the big stone church with the big heart,” said Elaine Savukas, who serves as a Sunday school teacher and chairperson of St. Paul’s 175th anniversary committee.

St. Paul’s evolved from three separate denominations. It began in 1844 as a United Brethren in Christ Church, became an Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1946 and merged with the United Methodist Church in 1968. Learn more...

Has your church or its members been featured in a local news publication or on television? Please let us know, and let us share that good news with the conference through Methodists Make News . Just send us the headline and website link information. And if you can, please send us a full copy of the article with the link .

General Conference 2020 seeks liturgists
The 2020 General Conference worship design team invites United Methodists to take an active role in the worship experience at the denomination’s quadrennial event as it seeks individuals to write liturgy, including prayers, calls to worship and litanies. The denomination’s top legislative assembly is set to meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.

To apply for the opportunity to write or provide original liturgy for General Conference, individuals are asked to submit a letter of application that includes the following: a sample of liturgy that includes a 5-minute devotion, a call to worship, and a prayer of confession all based on Philippians 3:14 , along with the name of the writer, email address, phone number, and local church name. Applications should be emailed to Application deadline is August 1, 2019. Learn more...
Apply now to be a marshal or page at GC2020
United Methodists may apply online to serve as volunteer marshals or pages during The United Methodist Church’s 2020 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. Approximately 175 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference.

Marshals are responsible for assisting visitors and special guests in the visitor and reserved seating galleries, checking credentials to make sure that only authorized persons are admitted to the bar of the conference or that of legislative committees, and other duties as assigned.
Pages assist delegates, secretarial staff, bishops, members of the Judicial Council and official visitors. They also distribute approved materials and deliver printed information.

Marshals and pages are responsible for their expenses (travel, food, lodging, etc.). Those interested should submit an online application before the deadline of July 31. Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference. Questions? Contact David Atkinson at
May 18-20 Faith & Politics event CANCELLED

The "Change the World Weekend" Faith and Politics Conference, schedule fro May 18-20, in Harrisburg, PA, has been cancelled due to a lack of registrations.
Peace with Justice Sunday, June 16
Peace with Justice Sunday is traditionally celebrated on Trinity Sunday (the first Sunday after Pentecost), which this year is June 16. One of The United Methodist Church’s six Special Sunday offerings, Peace with Justice Sunday supports annual conference ministries as well as global denominational work.

If your church has a church and society team or social action committee, this is a great time to gather members to plan a comprehensive strategy and engage the congregation in living faith, seeking justice and pursuing peace. When your church receives an offering for Peace with Justice Sunday, half of the money is used in your annual conference and half supports the ministries of the General Board of Church and Society.

We will report on the work of recent PWJS grant recipients in our conference next week. In the meantime, download worship ideas, social media graphics and other resources for your observance from the Pastor and Leader’s Kit.  If you don’t already have offering envelopes for Peace with Justice Sunday, please order them today. Call 1-800-991-6011 or order online .
Celebrating Cultures, Connecting People of Color
An intercultural family cookout for fellowship and fun!

RESCHEDULED for Saturday, September 7 , 11 AM to 3 PM. at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center . More details coming!
Annual Cross Racial/ Cross-Cultural ministry orientation June 1

Current or newly appointed pastors and church leadership teams serving together in Cross-Racial or Cross/Cultural (CRCC) ministry are urged to attend this annual orientation on Saturday, June 1, 9 AM to 3 PM , at Lansdale UMC, 300 North Broad Street, Lansdale, PA.

The cost is $7. Persons merely interested in CRCC are also invited.

The highly interactive orientation seeks to increase the intercultural competency of participants and deepen their understanding of themselves and relationship dynamics. It also helps participants appreciate the biblical and theological foundations for CRCC ministry and equips them with tools and techniques to help them become more intentional and effective in learning cross-culturally and cooperating in ministry together. Register today . Download and share the flyer.
Help for arriving pastors & churches with clergy spouses

Two Eastern PA Conference workshops for two groups: one to help pastors transition into new appointments; the other to help Staff-Pastor/Parish Relations committees (SPPR) and other church leaders understand and relate well to clergy spouses. Both events--”proactive, dynamic, relational and even, at times, humorous”--will happen June 8 at Holy Cross UMC , 329 N. 5th Street, Reading, PA.

  • Session 1: Transitioning Clergy Workshop, led by the Rev. Dave Woolverton, will be from 9 AM to 12 PM. It will help clergy spouses, clergy and SPPR teams facilitate positive transitions with their new appointments.
  • Session 2: Relating With Clergy Spouses, led by Julie Anderman, longtime UM Clergy Spouse, will be a Lunch & Learn session from 12 to 2 PM. Solid expertise will help church leaders start a healthy relationship with their new pastor’s spouse. (There is a $5 fee to cover sandwiches and salad from Panera Bread.)

Registration Closes on May 24, 2019.
Mobilize Your Church for a Better Ministry Story

Two nationally prominent church leadership coaches are coming to Philadelphia soon to offer clergy and lay leaders some timely wisdom on doing effective outreach, both personally and digitally, to grow churches from the inside out. “ Mobilize Your Church for a Better Ministry Story ” is what Paul Nixon and Paul Moon, of the Epicenter Group, want to help church leaders do on Wednesday, July 31 , at United Lutheran Seminary (7301 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia).
Nixon, founder and chief strategist of the Washington DC-based training, consulting and coaching firm, is sought-after for his teaching around the world. Moon, from New York, is a leadership coach at Epicenter and a senior strategy advisor at LeadershipEdges. Like Nixon, he is a pastor, but also a consultant for “i.g.n.i.t.e. Your Ministry Projects with Practical Competencies.”
“Many motivated spiritual leaders are struggling with an irresistible sense of disappointment,” says Nixon who has worked with leaders in the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences before. “God has a better ministry story for every church than a story of aging donors, stagnation and decline. We have worked with hundreds of church leaders, helping them to discover the story God wants to write for their ministries and to live into that story!”
The day of learning, including help from three virtual presenters, will focus on:
  • Bonding diverse people into an effective unity.
  • Getting the church out the door and into community relationship.
  • Effective ministry in digital culture, including:
  • Integrating digital competency into church and community outreach;
  • Handling Web ministry essentials like search engine optimization; and
  • Redefining how to become an engaging church in the digital culture.
The regular individual registration cost is $120 plus $14.95 for a convenience charge that includes lunch. But groups Eastern PA registrants may register at a 40% discount (only $72 plus the $14.95 extra charge) by using the code "EPAUMC40" when registering. And there are extra benefits:

1. Free Web Audit reports on your church’s website.
2. $500 credits for your next church website
3. $500 credits toward your group coaching with Dr. Paul Nixon and Dr. Paul Moon
Grove UMC Native American Arts Festival, June 22

Grove UMC (490 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA) will sponsor a Native American Arts Festival on Saturday, June 22, 4-7 PM , featuring Native art, crafts, food, face painting and social dancing. Details coming soon.

Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation, Sept. 14

The conference Commission on Religion and Race and Office of Connectional Ministries will sponsor on Saturday, Sept. 14 , an exploration of emotional distress and trauma caused in part by racist mistreatment, conflict and reactions, past and present.

All people of color, clergy and laity, are invited to come to Simpson House (2102 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia), 8:30 AM – 3 PM , to learn from the Rev. R. Dandridge Collins, Ph.D., M.Div., who will facilitate discussion. Collins is the author of The Trauma Zone: Trusting God for Emotional Healing. Cost for the session is $25.

Registration information coming soon. Download and share the flyer
Registration for Annual Conference is open!

Annual Conference 2019, June 13-15, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

“Tell to the Coming Generation,” from Psalm 78:4, is the theme Bishop Peggy Johnson has chosen for the 2019 Annual Conference, which returns to the Expo Center in Oaks, Pa, June 13-15 . Learn more about the speakers and programming in our article "2019 Conference to explore ministry of generations."

Clergy, Lay and Equalizing Delegates should register for Annual Conference through the link above or on our website at . The registration fee this year is $260, which includes meals for all three days and will help to cover the cost of several improvements to the Annual Conference Sessions. These include better quality chairs in the dining area, the voting machines for delegate nominations, and new Spanish-language interpretation services.

Registrations received after the May 24 deadline will be considered walk-ins and will incur a $50 late fee. Please contact Regina Raiford Babcock at or (484) 762-8222 with any questions about the registration process.

On our Annual Conference information page you will find our video livestream of Annual Conference sessions as they occur in real time, beginning June 13 at the opening session . Be sure to also keep up with the hashtag #EPAUMC19 across all social media platforms to read and respond to key actions, special moments and important comments.

More resources for 2019 Annual Conference

Also, see AC2019 Schedule Highlights, information and photos of our featured speakers and preachers, and information about From Liberty to Captivity, the film we will show on the even of Annual Conference, Wednesday, June 12, at 6:30 PM.

“Human trafficking is our new slavery.” A new film, From Liberty to Captivity,presents that warning, while showing how Pennsylvania, a birthplace of our nation’s freedom, has become a state where human trafficking and slavery are flourishing. Learn more...
A young adult forum on Healing Relationships

Calling all young adults, ages 18 – 40, who are: single, in a relationship, parenting, etc. ttend a powerful, interactive program on how to heal relationships!

When: June 1, 1 - 3 PM
Where: Haven-Peniel United Methodist Church,
           2301 W Oxford St, Philadelphia, PA
Come hear Lee Woodall , ex-Super Bowl champion football player, and his wife, businesswoman Terri Matthews . They will share a testimony of healing and restoring loving but broken relationships. Come enjoy fresh, engaging discussions and group activities. Learn how to transform any areas of your relationship from brokenness to wholeness.

Cost: Only $5. Register online at:  Questions? Call or text Dave Piltz at 814-883-0118 or Email at . Download the flyer.
Achieving Financial Security
A Community Forum

Saturday, June 1, 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Sponsored by Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) at Mother African Zoar UMC, 1204 Melon St, Philadelphia, PA. Phone: (215) 769-3899

To register, contact
Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress & Transformation
Calling All People of Color: Clergy & Lay

September 14, 8:30 AM - 3 PM, at Simpson House, 2102 Belmont Avenue
Philadelphia, PA. Cost: $25. Facilitator: R. Dandridge Collins, Ph. D., M. Div.
Urban Alliance & Urban Initiative grants
The Urban Commission of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference will award grants to assist in funding Urban Alliances or Urban Church Initiatives. Churches in 10 urban areas can apply for Eastern PA Conference Urban Ministry grants by May 30, 2019 .
Visionary professor to discuss church and ‘Volcanic Culture’

Church and culture visionary Dr. Leonard Sweet will give a seminar on the 21st Century Church and Volcanic Culture June 10 , 9 AM to 4 PM, at Quakertown UMC, 1875 Freier Rd., Quakertown, PA. He will speak from his upcoming book, Rings of Fire , a sequel to his Soul Tsunami, due out in November. Conference members can earn .6 CEU credits. The cost is $20, including breakfast and lunch. 

Download the registration form!  Please direct questions to Pastor Lori Wagner of Quakertown UMC, at Also, join Quakertown UMC's in its “Fire Up!” Methodist Revival Tent Meeting on Sunday, June 9 , from 8 AM to 8 PM. Guest Preacher: Leonard Sweet. The agenda will include worship services with altar calls all day, Bible storytelling, prayer meetings, a gospel singalong with a live band.
Preachers Retreat at Camp Innabah, June 26-29

Organizers of a Preachers Retreat June 26-29 at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center, expect attendees to have sermons planned for the next 12-18 months when they leave, and “vacations and major church Sundays identified as well.”

“Along the way you'll pick up ideas for sermons and series topics,” they promise, along with “tools for improving different parts of your preaching, and ample time to bounce ideas off of others. There’s a $50 registration fee. Attendance times are optional and “additional evening times are provided to help bi-vocational pastors and those who cannot participate during the weekdays.”

The Revs. Chris Eden and Johnson Dodla are retreat co-facilitators. They offer names of past retreat attendees who can testify as to its value.  Learn more and spread the word…
Methodist Night with the Phillies July 27

Join fellow United Methodists and their guests for our annual United Methodist Night with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, July 27, at 7:05 PM , at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies will host the Atlanta Braves that night and celebrate their fans, including the many who will attend from United Methodist churches. This annual event is sponsored by, and benefits the ministries of, Eastern PA Conference UM Men. Learn more and get discounted tickets before they run out! (
Video series can help win disciples

A new teaching series offers instruction in making disciples for Christ by emphasizing relationships and stopping attempts to fix churches. The "See All the People: Discipleship Begins with Relationship" course is free and available through the internet.  Read press release   Enroll
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
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!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403