May 25, 2019
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2019 appointments and assignments– effective July 1, 2019,  unless otherwise noted:
North District

Rev. Dr. Sarah Fernsler (Elder) to retire effective July 1, 2019 and continue to work in Extension Ministries with EarthKeepers.

Latino Commission celebrates Holy Convocation today
The Eastern PA Conference Latino Commission holds its annual Holy Convocation today, May 25, at St. Paul UMC in Warrington. The Rev. Irving Cotto, host pastor, is co-chairman of the group.    The Rev. Dr. Eliezer Valentín-Castañón ( right) , senior pastor of Trinity UMC in Frederick, Md., and a former General Commission on Religion & Race executive, will address lay and clergy commission members in the morning; and Bishop Peggy Johnson will celebrate Holy Communion with them in the afternoon.

The day’s focus will be on personal and social holiness from Latino/Hispanic perspectives and remembrance of Methodism founder John Wesley’s historic conversion experience during a Bible study on London’s Aldersgate Street. Members will also report on ministries and concerns at their local churches.

New disaffiliation resolutions added for AC2019
Two new Annual Conference resolutions submitted by conference boards have been added to the previous 17 to make a new total of 19. They relate to the new church disaffiliation rules passed by the United Methodist Church’s Special Session of General Conference in February, that were upheld by the UMC’s Judicial Council in April. 

The new resolutions establish guidelines for required payments congregations must make, along with Annual Conference approval, to leave the UMC with their properties and assets by December 2023. The guidelines offer a temporary exception to the denomination’s traditional trust clause, found in its Book of Discipline . Learn more…
Planning new directions for the church 

More than 600 U.S. United Methodists spent three days at Church of the Resurrection UMC in Leawood, Kansas, this week grappling with possible options for forging what they hope will be a more just and inclusive church future. What united those at UMCNext, which met May 20-22 behind closed doors, was their opposition to the Traditional Plan , which a Special Session of the UMC’s General Conference approved in February. That plan continues consideration of the practice of homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching” and strengthens enforcement of church bans on same-sex weddings and “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

“We came here to discern a better way forward for The United Methodist Church,” said one member of the event’s 17-member convening team, which was led the Rev. Adam Hamilton, host pastor. Learn more…
Bishop’s Blog: ‘It Only Takes a Moment’

That’s the title of a heart-warming, romantic song in the perennial Broadway hit musical “Hello Dolly.” It also describes John Wesley’s heart-warming conversion to a deeper, transformational faith that he experienced at a Bible study and prayer meeting on London’s Aldersgate Street. That sudden moment ignited the young Anglican priest’s ardor for sharing Christ through preaching and organizing societies that became the foundation of Methodism.

The Apostle Peter, in his epistle, lists vital ways we can ignite, strengthen and share our faith through virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly and sisterly affection, and love. Such acts of personal and social holiness are vitally important to our mission to make disciples and share offer the hope of transformation that Christ offers to the world. Learn more…
UM News preview of annual conferences includes Eastern PA

The UM News Service (UMNS) included two resolutions coming to the Eastern PA Annual Conference in its May 15 preview article about 2019 annual conferences. The article, “ Church future focus of annual conferences ,” uses information from our web story, “ Annual Conference resolutions address changes ahead,” UMNS features resolutions by the Rev. Jimmy Montgomery and the Revs. Lydia Munoz and James McIntire in its overview, which focuses on resolutions that relate to new church laws in the Traditional Plan passed by the 2019 Special Session of General Conference.

Montgomery, pastor of Cochranville UMC, proposes adding “Open Bibles” to the UMC’s popular “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” slogan. Munoz and McIntire’s resolution asks Eastern PA to declare itself a “One Church Plan” conference (the name of a Traditional Plan alternative that did not pass at General Conference) and to commit to “continued support of ministry to, for and with all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”  Learn more...
Reconciling UMs to host worship June 1, Pre-ordination vigil at Annual Conference

Reconciling United Methodists invite supporters to attend We Rise & Resist in Song, Word, and Dance! Saturday, June 1, 10:30 AM – 12 PM, at Saint Matthew’s UMC of Valley Forge, 600 Walker Road, Wayne, PA. Persons who attended the UMC Next event at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, will report on their learnings and discuss next steps.

Also, join RUM for their annual, celebrative Pre-Ordination Vigil during Annual Conference , on Friday, June 14, at 5:45 PM, just before the Ordination & Commissioning service, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, PA. Wear rainbow colors! Download the flyer!

Changes to 2016 Discipline published online
The United Methodist Publishing House has published online an Addendum to the 2016 Book of Discipline containing changes resulting from the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference, reports the Rev. Maidstone Mulenga, Council of Bishops Director of Communications.
The new text of each paragraph or subparagraph affected is included in the Addendum. These will replace the corresponding portions printed in the 2016 Book of Discipline, and should be used when preparing petitions to the 2020 General Conference. The majority of these changes will become effective on January 1, 2020, for annual conferences in the United States and will become effective 12 months after the close of the 2020 General Conference for those in central conferences.

The new subparagraph 1504.23, the new paragraph 2553 on church disaffiliation, and the amended Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP) became effective at the close of the 2019 General Conference.
The Addendum also contains the most recent version of the Book of Discipline Errata, with other updates and corrections to the Book of Discipline made during the 2017-2020 Quadrennium. Further updates or corrections, if any, will be published periodically as necessary through the end the Quadrennium in 2020. The Addendum and Errata are available at .
Wespath offers church payroll management solution
Many ministries struggle with complex payroll procedures and staying compliant with changing legal requirements. Monthly, quarterly and year-end reporting are time-consuming, and it can be difficult to maintain consistency should a payroll administrator be out of the office.

Wespath is pleased to offer employers an affordable payroll processing and tax compliance solution through our partnership with Paychex. In addition, Paychex offers integration for retirement contributions from payroll to Wespath Benefits and Investments.

Paychex was chosen for its more than 45 years of payroll experience, outstanding customer service and accuracy. The company has expertise in the unique needs of church payroll, including the clergy housing allowance exclusion.

Paychex manages withholdings, payroll via direct deposit or check, tax compliance, and timely deposits and filings, in addition to providing custom reports for financial review.

UMC: Save Time and Focus on Ministry

Moving your payroll-processing and tax-compliance solutions to an outside vendor can free up valuable resources to focus on your ministry and help you stay in compliance with changing regulations.

Learn how you can save time on payroll and focus on what really matters—the work God has put before you—then join the nearly 500 United Methodist Church ministries that have already chosen Paychex. Learn more at .

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.
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 .
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
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.
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.
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 .
Grove UMC Native American Arts Festival

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.
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! (
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
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
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...
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
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  
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!
Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation, Sept. 14
Calling All People of Color: Clergy & Lay

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.

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...
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
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.

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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