November 15, 2019
‘Tear down this wall!’
Bishop urges unity, rejects trials amid conflict over LGBT rights
Bishop Peggy Johnson used the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany to lament the walls she sees dividing United Methodists over the perceived rights and wrongs of marriage and ordained ministry for lesbian and gay members. She also announced that she would not refer any complaints for trials against clergy related to homosexuality.

“Humanity is well-acquainted with walls, not only physical walls but the walls of difference that are found in hearts and minds,” the bishop writes in a pastoral letter to clergy and churches of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area. “We are quick to erect attitudinal walls around our differences and our beliefs.” Read more…     

Eastern PA EarthKeepers to be commissioned online Nov. 19
Sixty-seven United Methodists from 23 conferences—including seven in the Eastern PA Conference—will be commissioned as EarthKeepers in an online service conducted at the UMC’s Global Ministries agency in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 8 PM. The service, viewable at , will affirm the newly trained environmental stewards in their call to the “ministry of creation care” and will bless their work in their various communities. Learn more…  
Jacqueline Hines to become new Conference Secretary
The Rev. Jacqueline Hines is the Eastern PA Conference’s new Conference Secretary. She succeeds the Rev. Dr. Lloyd F. Speer III, who has served in that role since 2013. Hines has served Bethel UMC in Spring City for 10 years and chairs the conference’s new Domestic Violence Committee, in addition to serving in other connectional roles. She will now take Speer’s place seated alongside the bishop on the Annual Conference dais keeping track of debate and actions and supervising the recording of session minutes.  
Speer, who is pastor of Christ UMC in Fairless Hills, said he looks forward to consulting more with churches on congregational health and vitality. “His attention to detail and thoroughness over these past six years has been a great gift to me and to this annual conference,” Bishop Peggy Johnson said. “It has been my privilege to preside with him.”  
Bishops encouraged to break down barriers
When UM bishops recently celebrated 30 years since the toppling of the Berlin Wall they also agreed to work toward removing modern-day barriers to refugees seeking safety and freedom. 

The bishops marked in worship and remembrance the anniversary and the peaceful revolution that led to reuniting East and West. 

“People risked their lives to make change happen,” said retired Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of Germany. “The churches played a very important role.” Learn more…
Bishops warned their funding imperiled
United Methodist bishops received a sobering message during their autumn meeting. Without any changes, the fund that supports their work will run out of money in five years.
“Something else is going to have to happen for us to be able to balance the budget,” said Rick King, chief financial officer of the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration. “The reserves, at the current collection rate, are essentially gone by the end of 2024.” Learn more…  
WCA looks toward new, traditionalist church
Wesleyan Covenant Association leaders say a breakup of The United Methodist Church is necessary and inevitable, and they want to be ready. 

“We are preparing for the launch of a new Methodist church in the aftermath of General Conference 2020. We see the Wesleyan Covenant Association as a bridge to this new church,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, WCA president. He spoke at the WCA’s fourth Global Gathering, held Nov. 9 under the title “Transformed.” 

The event drew about 1,000 people to Tulsa’s Asbury UMC, with another 2,000 watching via simulcast at 86 locations around the U.S. and in other countries. Huntingdon Valley UMC in the East District of our conference was one of those locations.  Learn more...
“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing,” Fred Rogers said as he opened his 2001 commencement speech at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “that when we look for what's best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does . So, in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we're participating in something truly sacred.” Learn more...
A season of gratitude
"Gratitude is at the heart of the Christian faith," says the Rev. Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary. While every day should be a day of thanksgiving to God, the seven weeks encompassing the Thanksgiving (U.S.), Advent and Christmas seasons call for a special outpouring of gratitude.

Use this calendar to engage in daily acts of gratitude and kindness. Most of them can either be done alone or with family or friends. Some require a bit of planning, so you may want to look ahead a few days, or make arrangements to do the actual activity a few days later. Learn more...
Easy ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day elicits a bounty of wonderful memories for many people in the U.S. The crisp air. The smell of a turkey roasting and a pumpkin pie baking. The sound of a cheering crowd at a football game. All these can create warm feelings during this special time of year.

While the Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S., thanking God for our blessings is a spiritual discipline that should not be limited to a single day. Along with expanding our waistlines, our preparation for and celebration of the holiday can be the impetus toward growing an attitude of gratitude that will carry over into the rest of the year. Learn more…
Nov. 24: Historic St. George's UMC 250th Anniversary
On Sunday, Nov. 24 , Historic St. George’s UMC will celebrate its 250th anniversary in worship at 10 AM. The Rev. Fred Day, former pastor and now head of the denomination’s General Commission on Archives and History, will preach. Bishop Peggy Johnson will join Day and the Rev. Mark Salvacion, pastor, in celebrating Holy Communion. A light lunch will follow, along with tours of the church’s building, which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and its historical museum. St. George’s is the home of the Eastern PA Conference’s cherished archives. Learn more…
Emotional Intelligence & Diversity Training, Nov. 16
The Commission on Religion & Race (CORR) will sponsor another Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Training on Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 AM to 4 PM, at Bethel UMC, 952 Bethel Church Road, Spring City, PA . Presenters will be the Rev. Anita Powell and Rev. David Piltz.
0.6 CEUs available. $10 Registration Fee

The November 14 registration deadline has passed. Contact David Piltz at 814-883-0118 or with questions.
NPHLM Encuentro 1 (Encounter 1)
Nov. 15-17: National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries (NPHLM) Encuentro 1 (Encounter 1), Lay Ministry training event, at St. Paul UMC, Warrington. Contact: Rev. Luky Cotto, 215-470-2229.
Order of Elders Day, Nov. 20
The 2019 Order of Elders Day will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 8:30 AM to 12 noon , at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center, 712 Pughtown Rd,  Spring City. The topic will be “Elders: Courageous Leaders for Such a Time as This.” The presenter will be the Rev. Gil Rendle, author of Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World Bishop Peggy Johnson will also greet the gathering. The registration fee is $10. Please register online and pay the registration at  

The Order of Elders gathering is open to all ordained elders, full time, part time and retired. For questions, please contact Rev. Evelyn Kent Clark at or 610-352-2303.
New grants for Urban Alliances, Initiatives. Apply by Nov. 25
The Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission announces a new round of grants to assist in funding Urban Alliances or Urban Church Initiatives. UM churches located in 10 identified urban centers are encouraged to apply. The Urban Commission hopes to offer grants twice a year, in Spring and Fall. The next application deadline is Nov. 25 . Awards will be announced by: Jan. 6, 2020. Learn more...
True Justice: Seeking Equal Justice for People and Communities of Color
A Film Showing, Discussion and Action Planning for Change

Feb. 22, 2020 (Snow date: Feb. 29, 2020), 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM , at Cedarville UMC , 1092 Laurelwood Rd, Pottstown, PA. Cost: $10. Lunch included. CEUs certification requested. This event is co-sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference’s Prison Ministries & Restorative Justice Team and Commission on Religion & Race.

Join us in viewing together the compelling HBO documentary film True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality about the lifesaving, life-changing crusade of Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is a dedicated public defense attorney and the founder and Executive Director of the groundbreaking Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

The film examines his personal journey, as he labors to bring justice to wrongfully convicted and disadvantaged prison inmates. The film weaves together his own story, those of his clients, and a history of injustice and complicity in our justice system. As Stevenson reveals a troubling narrative of racial inequality still prevalent in this country, he challenges us to seek the truth, confront it and work towards reconciliation.

After we view this powerful film, we will hear from a panel of leaders seeking ways to foster racial justice in the criminal justice system. And then we will gather in groups to learn more and determine how we can “do justice and love mercy” by joining Stevenson’s fight in a national campaign that seeks true justice for people and communities of color.

Topics for Discussion and Action Planning:
  • The Legal System and Returning Citizens
  • The School to Prison Pipeline
  • Unconscious Bias against People of Color
  • Communities of Color: Causes and Consequences of Mass Incarceration

Please register by February 1, 2020. Register online now!
Seeking Global Mission Fellows applicants
The Global Mission Fellows Program is accepting applications through Jan. 7. This two-year program is a way for young adults — ages 20 through 30 — to engage with local communities outside of their home context, connect the church in mission and grow in personal and social holiness. The early access deadline is Dec. 2. To apply   
NEWSpirit Bulletin: a new resource for sharing good news
NEW! Eastern PA Conference NEWSpirit Communications has created a new resource, NEWSpirit Bulletin , for local churches. It's a brief, inspiring look at ministries around our conference that you can share with your church. 
Simply download, print, copy and insert it in your worship bulletin, and/or display it on your church bulletin board, and/or place copies on an information table for members and guests to pick up and read. 
NEWSpirit Bulletin is a simple but meaningful way to share a little good news with all who attend or visit your church, and even to share it with your community. You can find it on our Local Church Media Resources webpage, along with other items.
Issue 1 features the conference's Four Stations of the Holy Spirit initiative that teaches lay members how they can share their faith with others in profound and helpful ways through prayer, anointing with oil, offering Holy Communion and reaffirming their baptism. Check it out. 
We will try to produce a new issue of NEWSpirit Bulletin every two months and then let you know about it in NEWSpirit Digest . Please let us know if and how you use it and any reactions you or others may have. And please share this information with others. Also, send us suggestions of more good news ministry stories we can share. Contact us at . Thanks!
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.
Conference leadership opportunities for all!
The Conference Leadership Committee asks all clergy and lay members to use this Leadership and Service Interest Form to indicate how and where they are willing to serve. 
Pen-Del Youth Rally 2020

Register early for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference’s 2020 Youth Rally, Jan. 10-12 , in Ocean City, Md. Join 3,500-plus young people and their adult leaders for three worship-filled days—celebrating faith, fun, freedom and fellowship—as they converge on Ocean City for this 33rd annual weekend-long Youth Rally.

At Roland E. Powell Convention Center (4001 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland) the stage will be set for music that will inspire your crew to shout and scream. Inspiring featured speakers will share words of inspiration and challenge.

The 2020 theme is “ Inseparable .”  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord . –Romans 8:38-39 NIV     Learn more…
GC2020-related Preview & Review Sessions
2020 General Conference Delegation Listening Sessions:
  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020 – 7 pm to 8:30 pm Church of the Good Shepherd, 1500, Quentin Rd., Lebanon PA
  • Thursday, April 2, 2020 – 7 pm – 8:30 pm Downingtown UMC751 East Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA. This event will be streamed and accessible by ZOOM
  • Saturday, April 4, 2020 – 10 am to noon Simpson House, 2101 Belmont Ave., Philadelphia, PA
  • Monday, April 20, 2020 – 7 pm to 8:30 pm Epworth UMC, 3245 Oakland Rd., Bethlehem, PA 18020

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
Interested in becoming a Certified Lay Minister?

Register now for an Orientation/Admission Session for the Certified Lay Ministry Class of 2020, which begins in April 2020. All prospective candidates must attend one of the Orientation/Admission sessions, held from September to December at locations in the four districts of the conference and at the Conference Office in Valley Forge. To register see the Orientation/Admission sessions schedule , and contact Judy Ehninger, CLM Program Coordinator at, 610-442-3140 or by e-mail at . Learn more about Certified Lay Ministers on the website . See the program dates  and information.
2020 Faith-Sharing Event, April 25
E vangelism in a Changing Landscape
Plan now to attend the Eastern PA Conference’s next Faith-Sharing Event on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The Rev. Lisa Greenwood , of Dallas, Texas, will be our featured presenter. She is Vice-President for Leadership Ministry of TMF (the Texas Methodist Foundation), and she will explore the theme “ Evangelism in a Changing Landscape.”
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.
At TMF, Greenwood works with leaders in various settings to explore and foster “deep change in the church by facilitating conversations of courage, learning and innovation.” She speaks, consults and facilitates conversations among denominational and congregational leaders for the sake of creating a culture of purpose, generosity and courage in the church.
For our Faith-Sharing Event, she asks these questions: 
Ever feel like we have inherited models for ministry that just aren’t working? Has evangelism taken on the qualities of an unwanted virus (thus, to be avoided like the plague!)?

And yet, we know that 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?
With psychology and Master of Divinity degrees, Lisa was ordained in 1992 and successfully served for 20 years in suburban, urban and rural churches in the North Texas Annual Conference. She served her conference on its Board of Ordained Ministry, Order of Elders and four General Conference delegations (2004-2019). Lisa was also a ministry strategist for the Horizons Stewardship Company. She and her husband have seven children.
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
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!
  • November 20: Elders Day Apart with Bishop Johnson, 9 AM – 12 PM
  • November 23: “Moving the Sermon beyond Informing to Transforming,” 9 AM – 5 PM, Christ UMC (Fairless Hills)
  • November 24: 250th Celebration at Historic St. George’s UMC, 10 AM – 2 PM
  • December 7: Comision Latina meeting at Holy Spirit UMC in Philadelphia, 4 PM
  • December 7: MissionInSite web cast, 1 PM

Download: Printable Listing of Eastern PA Conference Events: 2019-2020 (Updated weekly. Last Updated: 11/13/2019)
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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