November 22, 2019
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces the following appointments & retirements:
Effective July 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted. Some individuals may continue serving at their current appointments in retired status.

East District
  • Rev. George Clash (Licensed Local Pastor) has been appointed to serve Washington Crossing at 50% Time, effective October 15, 2019.
  • Rev. Carlotta Madison (Elder) to retire effective January 1, 2020 and continue to serve Norristown: Asbury.

Closed for Thanksgiving
The Conference Office will be closed on Thursday, November 28 & Friday, November 29.

NEWSpirit Digest will not be published next week, Nov. 24-30. We wish you and yours a Blessed Thanksgiving.
Powell to retire as DCM, with Taylor-Storm as successor
Bishop Peggy Johnson announced the retirement of the Rev. Anita Powell as Eastern PA Conference Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) and the appointment of the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm as her successor, effective July 1, 2020. Taylor-Storm is currently Superintendent of the South District and was recently Dean of the Cabinet. Learn more...
Left: Rev. Anita Powell . Right: Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm
Bishop Johnson invites recommendations of eligible clergy to consider for the position of Superintendent of the South District, effective July 1, 2020. Suggestions should be e-mailed only to newdsepa@gmail.com.
Carson Simpson Farm seeks Camp Director
The Eastern PA Conference’s Carson Simpson Farm Christian Center, in Hatboro, PA,, is seeking a full-time, year-round Director to provide vision, leadership, and management to a dynamic day camp setting. The conference Board of Camp & Retreat Centers has received some applications but has set a deadline of Nov. 26 to receive any more. Carson Simpson Farm is American Camp Association-accredited. For more information and/or to express interest in this position, please email csfdirector@epaumc.org by Nov. 26. 
Change will allow appointed clergy over 65 to get Medicare
Over the years the Eastern PA Conference Pension and Health Benefits Office has received numerous requests from clergy, age 65 and older, wishing to buy a Medicare Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan while still appointed to a local church. Up to this point we were unable to offer this alternative. 
 
That is about to change! In November, churches with fewer than 20 employees will receive a Small-Employer Exemption certificate form. This form should be completed and returned to the Benefits Office to begin the process with the Center for Medicare Services (CMS). This is not a quick process and could easily take several months to complete. Learn more…
Founder of church’s cancer care ministry honored
Millersville Community Church (UMC) in Lancaster County has a ministry of compassion that is aptly named: Grace Cancer Care Ministry. And its deserving founder was recently recognized by a local TV station.

Shelby Foster received the WGAL “8 Who Care Award,” honoring “people in the Susquehanna Valleywho give back in extraordinary ways.” Shelby brought the ministry to the former Grace UMC in 2011, with the support of her pastor, church leaders and eventually an army of compassionate volunteers. Now Millersville Community UMC sponsors the ministry with Shelby’s coordination. Read more…
Budgeting for an uncertain future
Faced with the denomination’s uncertain future, United Methodist agencies are tightening their belts and budgeting for a potential plunge in giving in 2020. This is in addition to planning for deep cuts contained in the 2021-24 general church budget — the smallest in more than 20 years. Read story...
Bishops elect officers, deliberate on 2020 concerns
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey*, who leads the Louisiana Conference, will become president of the UMC’s Council of Bishops in May 2020. Formerly the Council’s secretary and president-designate, she was elected during the bishops’ November meeting.

Also elected were:
  • President-Designate: Bishop Thomas Bickerton
  • Secretary: Bishop Tracy Malone
  • Executive Secretary: Bishop Bruce Ough
  • Ecumenical Officer: Bishop Sally Dyck

Bishop Ken Carter, the current president, will serve in the past-president role. The new officers will take office after the 2020 General Conference ends May 15. Outgoing Secretary Bishop Mande Muyombo was elected chair of the Connectional Table Chair.  Read more…
Savoring a season of gratitude
Our website offers links to a trio of UMCom articles that can enhance the message and mood of Thanksgiving among our readers and their churches. Read on...
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. In his commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 , John Wesley writes, “Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer; it is almost essentially connected with it.” Giving thanks is as essential to our spiritual growth as prayer, which 1 Thessalonians calls us to do continually. These creative ideas will help us get started this Thanksgiving. Learn more...
‘Appreciation is a holy thing’: A lesson from Mr. Rogers
“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...
Bishop's Blog: Sweet Potato Rolls
Bishop Peggy Johnson shares, in her Bishop’s Blog, a tasty morsel of wisdom gleaned from her October visit on pick-up day at the annual “Sweet Potato Roll Sale” at Nelsons UMC in Hebron, Maryland. Church members work an entire week preparing for this popular, traditional fundraiser that garners over $30,000 annually for their many mission projects. She writes:

The whole church gets involved in making the nearly 60,000 prized rolls, producing a spirit of great joy and cooperation. The curious thing about these rolls is that they are square and not round as one would expect. For years the church folks made round rolls, but at some point they realized that they could make them more efficiently if they were square, placed in a rectangular pan and scored.

In churches we have an old saying “We’ve never done it that way before.” Sadly, that attitude keeps us from doing something new and better that the Lord is calling us to do. Our ministries and missions are good but sometimes they need a creative new edge, perhaps using some new talent, new kinds of outreach, more diversity, a broader reach. 

Nelsons UMC uses some of its profits from the roll sale to fund an after-school program for children at risk in the community. The whole town is experiencing the benefits of this ministry. They have also paid for the installation of a wheelchair ramp and donated to a number of overseas mission projects.

What new thing can you be doing at your church? How can you “sing to the Lord a NEW song?” (Psalm 96:1) Who does God want you to reach for Jesus Christ that requires you to change the way you do things? 

“The possibilities are endless,” writes Bishop Johnson. “Our God is a God of new ideas, a God who longs for us to invent new ways for people to experience divine love.” There’s much to this ministry story, making for a worthy and wise sermon illustration for preaching. Read more...
LEARNING EVENTS
Just 2 CLM Program Orientations left!
  • Saturday, November 23, 12:30– 2:30 pm Christ UMC, Fairless Hills
  • Saturday, December 7, 10 am-12 pm Valley Forge Conference Office

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.
 
The last two will happen on Saturdays, Nov. 23 and Dec. 7. To register see the Orientation/Admission sessions schedule , and contact Judy Ehninger, CLM Program Coordinator at, 610-442-3140 or by e-mail at  judy.ehninger@gmail.com . Learn more about Certified Lay Ministers on the Christ Servant Ministries website . Download list of Program dates and information. 
MissionInsite WEB-CAST
When? Saturday, Dec. 7, 1 - 3 PM. Where? In front of your computer or participate in a group at a church’s webcast location. This webcast of MissionInSite basic instruction will help your church use demographic and life-o-graphic research information for congregational growth, targeting and expansion. See and know better the members and neighbors you want to serve.

Interested? Contact the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, Eastern PA Conference Congregational Development Coordinator, at gordonacts6@gmail.com or 267-258-9507 for further details and call-in instructions.
MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
United Methodist Student Day boosts scholarships
Did you know the United Methodist scholarship and loan programs award United Methodist students an average of $5.5 million each year? United Methodist Student Day, a Special Sunday that is Nov. 24 this year, helps make such financial aid a reality.


Observe World AIDS Day 2019 Dec. 1
World AIDS Day is on Sunday, Dec. 1 this year, but for 37 million people around the world, living with HIV and AIDS is an everyday reality. Millions who don’t know their status are at risk of infection or spreading infection, which also affects the millions they support and nurture through family and community life. The United Nations theme for World AIDS Day 2019 is “Communities Make the Difference.”

Let’s remember our brothers and sisters as we gather for worship on Sunday, December 1, the first Sunday of Advent. And let us become members of a worldwide community that makes a difference for people living with AIDS.
“World AIDS day is not only a time to remember those who have been infected by HIV AIDS but also a time to celebrate those who are surviving HIV and AIDS,” says the Rev. William Brawner , pastor of Haven-Peniel and Midtown Parish UMCs in Philadelphia. He serves on the UMC Global AIDS Committee . Learn more...
RESOURCES
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...
New video: We are the people of The United Methodist Church
Watch and share this new video, produced by UM Communications. “Meet the people of The United Methodist Church. We are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world through our shared faith, mission and ministry.” View video.
LOCAL CHURCHES & MISSION LINKS
REMINDERS
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…
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 communications@epaumc.org . 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
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 UMC.org, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you  update your church's information . For video instructions on how, visit  Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at  www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digest . Share this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
SAVE THE DATES
  • 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 5: Women in Professional Ministry event, Grove UMC, 10 AM - 12 Noon
  • December 7: Comision Latina meeting at Holy Spirit UMC in Philadelphia, 4 PM
  • December 7: MissionInSite web cast, 1 PM
  • January 28, 2020: Connectional Table Meeting, 7 PM – 8:15 PM
  • February 8, 2020: HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, 11 AM – 2 PM, Wharton-Wesley UMC
  • February 22, 2020: “True Justice” — Seeking Equal Justice for People & Communities of Color. Film showing & discussion, 9:30 AM – 3 PM, Cedarville UMC

Download: Printable Listing of Eastern PA Conference Events: 2019-2020 (Updated weekly. Last Updated: 11/21/2019)
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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