November 8, 2019
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces the following appointments, effective July 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted:
South District:
 
  • Rev. Chris Hardy, (Elder) from Bangor: First United Methodist Church to West Lawn United Methodist Church, Associate, 100% time effective March 1, 2020. 

UMC’s high court rejects Eastern PA Conference request for ruling
The UMC’s Judicial Council has declined to rule on a decision made by Bishop Peggy Johnson at the 2019 Eastern PA Annual Conference because the request for its judicial review was improperly related to a parliamentary point of order rather than a ruling of law. Thus, the council, which determines the validity of all episcopal rulings of law, says it lacks jurisdiction to intercede in this case.

The request came from the Rev. Christopher Fisher during debate at the conference session after the bishop’s responded to a point of order question by the Rev. Joseph DiPaolo. The issue was Resolution 2019-13 which declared Eastern PA to be a “One Church Plan Conference” in spirit.  Learn more ...
Mother African Zoar UMC’S 225th Anniversary
Mother African Zoar UMC in Philadelphia will celebrate its 225th anniversary with a grand banquet on Saturday, November 9, from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM , at the Hilton Hotel at 4200 City Avenue in Philadelphia. West Ohio Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, a Philadelphia native, will be the featured speaker. The $60 tickets must be purchased in advance from Betty Henderson at bhende86341@verizon.net or 215-226-5268. None will be sold at the door. 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…
Many United Methodist churches have ministries to support members of the military and their families. Ideas for honoring veterans and active duty personnel can be as simple as recognizing these men and women during worship on a Sunday morning. Other ministries are long term. Here are a few ways churches can support our military and veterans. Learn more…
Churches as 1st Responders to military, veteran population
Come to this workshop for clergy and laity on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 9 AM–12 PM, at First UMC Phoenixville. Registration cost: $10 per person. The training includes:

  • Recognizing military or veteran congregant families facing problems.
  • Understanding military culture and its impact on families.
  • Identifying pastoral roles in ministering to congregants with Moral Injury.

The event is sponsored by: Connectional Ministries and the Committee on Disabilities Concerns. Download the flyer!   Register Online Now!
Church ratifies women's equality amendment
After a revote, United Methodists around the globe have amended the denomination’s constitution to proclaim “men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God.” The newly adopted measure also commits United Methodists to work toward ending discrimination against women and girls.

“While we still have much progress to make, this is an indication that we as a church do acknowledge and embrace women at every level of the church,” said Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, president of the UM Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Learn more...
Church exit plan already in effect, court says
Legislation setting special provisions for United Methodist churches deciding to leave the denomination took effect immediately at the end of the special General Conference last February, the church’s top court has ruled.

In making that determination, the United Methodist Judicial Council at least temporarily bypassed the assertion from a Commission on General Conference investigation that improper voting meant the vote to substitute parts of Petition 90066, the disaffiliation petition, was null and void.  Learn more ...
Top court raises questions at lively oral hearing
A long-simmering investigation into improper voting during General Conference 2019 boiled over Oct. 30 during a public oral hearing held by the United Methodist Judicial Council.

Several members of the denomination’s top court questioned the disciplinary authority of the Commission on General Conference to reach a conclusion — announced in August — that a vote on a disaffiliation petition should be null and void because “credible objective evidence” showed four ineligible people casting votes using the credentials of delegates who were not present.

And they asked the two representatives present from the Council of Bishops — Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, council president, and William Waddell, the council’s legal adviser — why they weren’t seeing the evidence. Learn more…
Bishops urged to act with convicted humility 
United Methodist bishops opened their autumn meeting just months ahead of General Conference 2020, where many church members expect to see some kind of denominational split. 

“Words like ‘disaffiliation’ and ‘resistance’ and ‘gracious exit’ and ‘dissolution’ have become the common language of our vocabulary,” Bishop Kenneth H. Carter acknowledged in his address to the Council Bishops. The United Methodist connection, the president of the Council of Bishops added, “is strained.”  

However, Carter indicated he is not ready to throw in the towel on the multinational and theologically diverse denomination. He insisted that his fellow bishops could still work toward the unity they promised to seek in their consecration vows, starting with the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40, which lists love of God and love of neighbor as the two greatest commandments. Learn more...
Bishop suggests hold on trials, trust clause
Whatever form The United Methodist Church takes next, change won’t happen fast. In the interim, Bishop Kenneth H. Carter has an idea he hopes might keep the peace in a multinational denomination that remains divided over homosexuality.

The Council of Bishops president suggests a moratorium on church trials related to LGBTQ individuals, while at the same time loosening the denomination’s trust clause to allow congregations to leave with property. He describes the idea as a compromise for progressives who see harm in the denomination’s LGBTQ restrictions and traditionalists who want to walk away from what they see as a disobedient church.

However, advocates on different sides of the theological debate have their own misgivings about the idea. Learn more...
5 bishops pledge LGBTQ ‘safe harbor’
The Western Jurisdiction’s five active bishops promised to provide “a safe harbor” for LGBTQ clergy, despite new church restrictions set to take effect Jan. 1.

“We intend to provide safe harbor for clergy under our care who may be at risk under the new provisions, prohibitions and punishments,” the bishops jointly announced at the conclusion of the Council of Bishops meeting Nov. 6. They invited their episcopal colleagues and other United Methodists to add their names to the declaration. They also released a video to support it.

The Western Jurisdiction, which encompasses seven conferences in the westernmost United States, has long stood in opposition to denominational restrictions related to LGBTQ individuals. However, bishops said they see a pressing need to speak up now. Learn more...
Nearly all the leaders of the early Methodist societies were lay people. John Wesley established a system to develop and empower them by organizing them in small groups for accountability and support for living the Christian life. The intent was to help people become disciples who live out their love of God and neighbor.

Each week, the small groups — or “classes” — of 12-15 members of a Methodist society met weekly with their leader to give an account of how they were living their faith as they answered the question: “ How is it with your soul? ” guided by the Methodist rule of life, the General Rules . Learn more...
“Faithful Giving in a Time of Change,” a roundtable discussion of connectional giving in The United Methodist Church, features panelists who work with giving and budgets at all levels of the denomination.

The video discussion seeks to explain the role of giving in the church, as well as shed light on what has happened with apportioned giving in the denomination since the special General Conference earlier this year. Learn more...
As part of The United Methodist Church’s Baptismal Covenant, new members promise to faithfully participate in a local congregation through their prayers , presence, gifts , service and witness . But how can they go beyond the words they profess to actually living into these vows? In a special five-part series , we look at each aspect of this membership vow and how United Methodists can answer the call to serve Christ through the local church.  

“We usually think of presence as showing up on Sunday morning,” said the Rev. Mark W. Stamm, author of "Our Membership Vows," a Discipleship Ministries resource. “I’m all for showing up on Sunday morning, (but) being present with and for God also may mean being present with and for God in other places, with those who are ill or who need advocacy or who simply are lonely and need someone to stand with them.”  Learn more...
He faced a tough choice. Two very different opportunities lay before the newly-ordained pastor. One was a stable position with the church in which he had been raised. The other was an exciting missionary opportunity in a land far from home. What was God calling John Wesley to do?

Sometimes we face similar decisions between two good things: staying with our current job or taking the new one, moving to this community or that, or whether to have another child. Some choices have no clear, right answer. Nor is there one that is definitely wrong. Learn more...
Do you have questions about the meaning of some of the terms and teachings of The United Methodist Church? In the Reflections on our Faith series, we ask clergy to share their understanding of topics. No preaching, just conversation. In this episode we discuss organ donation with the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe with the Board of Church and Society . Learn more...
LEARNING EVENTS
Wesleyan Covenant Association Global Gathering
Wesleyan Covenant Association Global Gathering in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 AM to 4 PM , will be simulcast locally at Huntingdon Valley UMC. Registration required. The future of the UMC and General Conference 2020 will be discussed. Theme: TRANSFORMED Global Gathering 2019.  See Events page for more...
Churches as 1st Responders to military, veteran population
Attend a training in how to recognize and serve military or veteran congregation members who face problems on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 9 AM to 12 PM, at First UMC Phoenixville ( 865 Main St.) . Registration cost: $10.

Learn how to understand military culture and its impact on families, and identify pastoral roles in ministering to congregants with Moral Injury (an injury to one’s “moral conscience and values resulting from an act of perceived moral transgression, which produces profound emotional guilt and shame, and in some cases also a sense of betrayal, anger and profound moral disorientation)

This training is sponsored by: the Eastern PA Conference Connectional Ministries Office and the Committee on Disabilities Concerns.  Download the flyer!   Register Online Now!
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

Register Online Now! Contact David Piltz at 814-883-0118 or dpiltz@epaumc.org with questions.
LOCAL CHURCHES & MISSION LINKS
REMINDERS
Drexel campus ministry seeks help, companions for street mission in Kensington
Open Door Christian Community, our conference’s campus ministry at Drexel University, invites anyone to accompany its students and advisors on their next mission outreach to the Kensington community Saturday, Nov. 9, 11 AM to 3 PM . They will show God’s love and compassion to neighbors in this troubled area that suffers from drug trafficking, crime and homelessness. Come join them as they connect with those who are suffering and offer them food, clothing, toiletries, conversation and prayer. Several of the students spoke on stage at Annual Conference in June.  

Open Door asks for donations of: clothing (socks, hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, pants, sweaters, etc.); toiletries; food and supplies. If you want to join them, they will leave at 11 AM from Drexel’s James E. Marks Intercultural Center at 33rd & Arch Street; and they will return there by 3 PM. Contact Pastor David Piltz, Campus Minister, at 814-883-0118 for details.
Open Enrollment for 2020: Oct. 30 to Nov. 14
Health insurance coverage Open Enrollment for 2020 begins October 30 for active, appointed clergy (not retired or supply pastors), and it ends Nov. 14 . There are a few minor changes that will be outlined in the packets to be sent by WesPath.
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  https://www.eiseverywhere.com/orderofelder2019  

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 revekc@hotmail.com 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!
General Conference organizers unveil GC2020 logo
MINNEAPOLIS — The Commission on the General Conference has unveiled the logo for the 2020 General Conference to accompany the theme "…and know that I am God," based on Psalm 46:10. The denomination's top lawmaking body will meet May 5-15. Read press release and view logo . Biblical comparison shapes GC2020 theme .
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!
Church auditing help for Discipline compliance
Larry Turnbull, Consultant, has been added as a new resource for all EPA UMC churches to utilize in meeting the Audit requirement of the Book of Discipline. Larry will also be available to assist churches in streamlining and improving their accounting format.

The Audit service will be provided at a reduced cost in order to encourage all churches to utilize this support in order to complete their Audit in a timely manner. An Audit may be completed for as little as $260 or $5 per week over a 52 week year.

Larry has been providing accounting, auditing and cash management consulting support to various, for and non-profit, organizations including churches, for over 40 years. Contact Larry to discuss the help that he can provide your church. An estimate of the cost of the Audit or other service requested will be provided.

Testimonial: “The Audit was performed in a timely manner. The results were detailed and presented in a well-documented report. Larry is a knowledgeable, skilled professional and a pleasure to work with.” Carol Barnes, Treasurer; Rev. Shauna K. Ridge, Pastor; Thorndale United Methodist Church Contact: Larry – Larry@larryturnbull.com – 484-883-6179
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.
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…
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. 
GCORR offers free, online Implicit Bias course
For those who know about the General Commission on Religion and Race’s downloadable Implicit Bias Workbook ( What We Don’t Think We Think) , the popular resource is now available as a free on-demand online course designed to be taken at a user’s own pace. By taking an intentional look at implicit bias, learning what it is and the ways it works in our brains and in our actions, we can question perceptions and break down the barriers to reaching full inclusion, diversity, equity, and community. Pastors, teachers and anyone interested in learning and teaching others about implicit bias are invited to take this course.  Enroll today .
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  judy.ehninger@gmail.com . Learn more about Certified Lay Ministers on the ChristServantMinistries.net 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 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!
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Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
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