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WHAT'S NEW
October 13, 2016
We're looking for examples of creative educational ministries
In the fall issue of NEWSpirit we plan to feature some innovative local church ministries that focus on education. In this back-to-school season, we're highlighting churches that: adopt schools; support and celebrate teachers; provide students and families with backpacks, school uniforms and supplies; or offer after-school tutoring and enrichment experiences, supplemental in-church learning programs, and other ministries.
 
If your church, or a UM church you know of, has a ministry that supports or enhances education, please let us know about it, so we can share that good news with our readers. We'll publish some in our newspaper and others on the conference website. Please write to us at communications@epaumc.org (or jcoleman@epaumc.org) or call 484-762-8227. 
UMCOR, churches respond to Hurricane Matthew's destruction
Hurricane Matthew, one of the fiercest hurricanes in nearly a decade, left a trail of destruction including nearly 1,000 dead in Haiti and up to 90 percent of some areas there destroyed, plus nearly 40 dead in the Southeast United States- from North Carolina to Florida. Some officials fear the toll may go higher.
 
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) acted quickly in response to the death and destruction in the Caribbean, most notably in Haiti, our hemisphere's poorest nation. UMCOR's provision of emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance builds on its sustained presence in Haiti since a disastrous earthquake struck there in January 2010. Learn more...
Other articles on our conference website

 

New evangelical group to uphold tradition
or seek division

Two UM News Service stories report on the inaugural meeting, Oct. 7, in Chicago, of a new Wesleyan evangelical group that calls for a global witness of steadfast orthodoxy that may ultimately leave The United Methodist disunited.


Read about the Wesleyan Covenant Association's one-day gathering that included worship with Communion, speeches, selection of leaders, and the body's affirmation of moral principles and church rules to uphold traditional beliefs against the forces of change moving across the denomination.  Learn more...
 

Churches offer Radical Welcome at Philly OutFest
Eastern PA Conference churches offered a welcoming presence at Philadelphia's 26th annual OutFest parade on Sunday, Oct. 9, purportedly the nation's largest OutFest parade. The celebration preceded National Coming Out Day, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, when LGBTQ people are encouraged to openly share with family, friends and colleagues their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.


The 2016 Annual Conference passed in June a "Radical Welcome" resolution encouraging "all churches to practice radical welcome to LGBTQ persons in specific and tangible ways" and inviting churches to participate as a welcoming presence at OutFest.  Learn more...
 

Praying for our Presidential Election
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson writes in her Bishop's Blog about the seemingly endless, tiring, slanderous and acrimonious campaign for the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. But more importantly, she shares her concern for our nation, her hopes for the best outcome and her prayers for God's grace as we choose our next POTUS and Commander in Chief. We are "called to be the salt and light of the world," she writes, "to work for good in this world, along with our governmental leaders, and to call our nation to seek righteousness and pursue justice for all. I ask you to pray every day for this election." Learn more...

Churches host dialogues on racial concerns
Two churches hosted informative dialogues on racial justice and race relations on Thursday, Oct. 13. Covenant UMC in Lancaster hosted a Southwest District dialogue, from 6 to 8 PM, the second in a new series of clergy and lay talks that began August 29 at Grandview UMC in Lancaster. The district also gathered clergy for preliminary discussions about race in 2015.
 
The August encounter drew nearly 40 people from 15 churches for guided discussions to help participants share experiences, questions and profound insights. Three clergy--Revs. Jason Perkowski, Andrea Brown and Derrick Gutierrez--co-lead the  Southwest District Voices for Racial Justice Dialogue, which is open to all.
 
Meanwhile, UM Church of the Open Door in Kennett Square hosts monthly race-related talks on second Thursdays, using  TED Talks on Race videos as discussion-starters. The October session on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 PM featured the TED talk  " We need to talk about an injustice - with Bryan Stevenson."   On Thursday, Nov. 10, Adam Foss will offer  A prosecutor's vision for a better justice system  as a basis for discussion. 

The videos are only about 20 minutes long, and discussions are aimed at helping participants consider anti-racism actions they might take as a result. Everyone is invited to come participate.

Note: Look for coverage about these and other racial justice and race relations dialogues being held around the conference in the future issues of NEWSpirit and on our website.
What are you doing for Pastor Appreciation Month?
Is your church is doing anything special to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month in October? Please send us creative ideas, words of tribute for your pastor and celebratory photos. If we get some good stuff, we'll report it in Digest and post it on the conference website in a special Pastor Appreciation Month feature.
Laity Sunday, Oct. 16, to focus on 'vital worship'
This year's theme for Laity Sunday, on Oct. 16, is "Disciples Called to Action: Living Vital Worship." United Methodist laity are called to see worship not as passive spectators, but as active participants. Discipleship Ministries offers resources to celebrate the day.  See resources
Jillian's Café to spotlight musical favorites
Conshohocken UMC's award-winning performance venue, Jillian's Café, resumes its fall music schedule this Saturday, Oct. 15, with Songwriters in the Round at 8 PM. Talented singer/songwriter Denise Moser will be joined by two of her gifted peers, Emily Duff and Eileen Tipping, for an intimate evening of original music. Suggested donation is $15 per person or $30 per family. And Jillian's welcomes back classic/southern rock with Heaven's Thunder Band, a 2016 Battle of the Christian Contemporary Rock Bands winner, to perform on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 PM. Suggested donation is $5 per person or $10 per family. Learn more...
3 October events in Phila. highlight
black ministry, migration, music 
Three special October events should spark interest among African American UM churches in Philadelphia. On Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 AM to 3 PM, the Philadelphia Mission ConneXion will sponsor a workshop on "ReThinking Leadership and Creating New Opportunities," led by the Rev. Micah Simms and targeted to black church leaders. Mother Zoar UMC  in Philadelphia will host the event. Registration is $25 for materials and lunch.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, at 12:30 pm, Philadelphia's PBS-TV station, WHYY, Channel 12, will rebroadcast a 29-minute program of short films, including one titled "Charles Albert Tindley: Here Am I, Send Me." The nearly 13-minute film features the revered pastor who ministered to the community and built what became the famed Tindley Temple United Methodist Church. Part of a series of films depicting the Great Migration of Black Americans from the South, it looks at the history of Tindley Temple and how the visionary Rev. Tindley played a pivotal role in welcoming thousands of those sojourners to Philadelphia.

The three-film program, which first aired Tuesday night, is part of the Scribe Video Center's Precious Places Community History Project, a local initiative to help communities document the public spaces and landmarks that define their neighborhoods. The Charles Albert Tindley Institute co-produced the Tindley film. WHYY will air the series of documentaries every Tuesday at 11 PM and Sundays at 12:30 PM for 26 weeks.

And on Sunday, Oct. 23, at  3 PM, the Philadelphia Mission ConneXion will present its Joyful Noise Concert, at Mt. Zion UMC. There is no cost, but an offering will be received. Invited to perform at the concert is the very special  Philadelphia UM Mass Choir, formed early this year. The mass choir will follow with its own Christmas Concert on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 PM, at Wharton Wesley UMC
UMW to celebrate continuing legacy of service Oct. 15
The Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Women will hold its 43rd Annual Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 AM to 3 PM, at Quakertown UMC (1875 Freier Road). Their theme is The Legacy: Continuing The Journey of UMW, 1869 to Present.   Ruth Daugherty and Hattie Hamilton will speak as UMW pioneers Isabella Thoburn, an educator, and Clara Swain, a doctor, who were the first missionaries sent to India by the newly formed Methodist Woman's Foreign Missionary Society in 1869. The $15 registration cost includes lunch. Mail registration forms and checks (payable to EPA-UMW) by the Sept. 30 deadline to: Mary Ann Repsher 164 South Ninth St. Bangor, PA 18013  Phone: 610-588-1084. E-mail: rep164@frontiernet.net .

Also, the UMW's Mission u 2017 has been scheduled for July 21-22 in Reading, Pa., with geographic, issue and spiritual growth study components. See the flyer and save the dates.
Phila. Latino church to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Sunday Oct. 16
Holy Spirit (Espiritu Santo) UMC, 1441 E. Hunting Park Ave. (at Castor Ave.) in Philadelphia, will celebrate an extended Hispanic Heritage Worship Service on Sunday, Oct. 16, from 12 noon to 4 PM. The program will feature Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Dean of Esperanza College, as  the guest speaker, plus lively music, display tables adorned with cultural artifacts, and plenty of food (mucho comida from various Latin American cultures. For information contact Rev. Esdras Seda, pastor and conference Latino Ministries Coordinator at eseda@epaumc.org.  
It's 'Kingdom Building' time at Hopewell's Planting Seeds for Ministry event, Oct. 22
 
Your harvest will be plentiful if you're sure to attend Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth at Hopewell UMC, 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA, on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 12 noon (or 1:30 PM) till 6:30 PM. There is a slightly revised schedule:
  • 11:30am -Check-in begins for Early Extras Workshops*
  • 12:00pm -Early Extras Workshops
  • 12:30pm -General Onsite Registration
  • 1:30pm   -Welcome & Keynote Address
  • 2:45pm   -Ministry Workshops & Leadership Training
  • 4:15pm   -Refreshments & Fellowship
  • 5:00pm   -Closing Worship Rally with Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Southeast District Superintendent, preaching, and music by #JesusTrending.
This year's theme is Kingdom Building. Come hear keynote speaker and workshop presenter  Reggie McNeal, a compelling, highly regarded author and speaker on the church and its missional future. He will address "Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church--and What We Should Do Instead."   Learn more...

Note: The conference's Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Team will have Christmas Cards for Prison Inmates on display at this event for attendees to sign and offer Christmas greetings.
UMVIM Team Leader Training Nov. 12
The Rev. Greg Ellis, Eastern PA Conference UM Volunteers in Mission (VIM) coordinator, announces a training for current and future VIM team leaders on Saturday, Nov 12, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Faith UMC, 1160 Clause Drive, Stroudsburg, PA. The cost of $35 includes training materials and lunch. (Register online.) The training facilitator will be the Rev. Tom Lank, VIM Coordinator for the UMC's Northeastern Jurisdiction. A deacon in the Greater New Jersey Conference, his specialization is in missions and peace with justice ministries. Learn more...
Legacy & Planned Giving workshop, 
Nov. 12
Christ UMC Fairless Hills will host a 90-minute Legacy and Planned Giving Workshop, Saturday, Nov. 12,  10-11:30 AM. J ack Brooks, CEO of the Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation, will share tools, techniques, and materials about this important aspect of Christian stewardship. Attendees will receive a copy of the book  Provide and Protect, along with other resources, case studies and answers to important financial questions. There is no cost for the workshop, but registration is required. Call Christ UMC at 215-943-2343, or email:  Christunitedmethodist@comcast.net.  Download and share the  event flyer.
Social Entrepreneurship seminar for clergy  Nov. 16
Elders, Deacons, Local Pastors to meet separately afterwards 
 
All clergy and ministry candidates are encouraged to attend a Social Entrepreneurship & Economic Development half-day seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 8:30 AM to 1 PM, at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center (712 Pughtown Road, Spring City). Then attendees should stay for hour-long retreat meetings of the Order of Elders, Order of Deacons and Local Pastors Fellowship, at 1-2 PM.

The seminar registration fee, which includes a buffet breakfast and hot lunch, is $20 until Oct. 15 and $25 after Oct. 15. The seminar is sponsored by the Southeast District. Register online now.

"Social entrepreneurship is a form of entrepreneurship that integrates social goals and social problem-solving into the core business model," explains our presenter, Dr. Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D. He is Academic Director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, a Rutgers University Associate Professor of Management & Global Business, and Director of Rutgers' Business School and its New Jersey Social Innovation Institute. 
More October Events 


More Bishop's Days on the Districts next week
Central District--Oct. 17:
Bishop's breakfast meeting with clergy,
Mond ay,  9-11 AM, at  Berwyn UMC. Bishop's meeting with laity, 7 PM, at Paoli UMC.

Northeast District--Oct. 19, Asbury UMC Allentown: Bishop's breakfa
st meeting with clergy Wednesday, 9:15 AM. Free Spirit, the NE District praise band, will lead worship, and an offering will be received for the Clergy Benevolence Fund. A laity event will be scheduled later.

East District
--Oct. 20, Bensalem UMC : Bishop's breakfast meeting with clergy Thursday, 8:30 am. Bishop's meeting & light supper with laity at 5 PM. 

Note: The conference's Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Team will have Christmas Cards for Prison Inmates on display at all of these meetings for attendees to sign and offer Christmas greetings. 

'Behind Closed Doors'
Experience a dialogue on the challenges that clergy spouses face,  on Saturday, Oct. 22, 9:30-11 AM, at First UMC Lancaster and  Saturday, Nov. 12, 10-11:30 AM, at Bensalem UMC. Clergy spouses want you to know the "bricks" they carry and the breaks they need. Walk in the shoes of clergy spouses as you play the Sabbath Game, and discuss how to support the well-being of your pastor's spouse. Offered by Artos Retreats to help sensitize church leaders to common clergy spouse issues and inspirations.  Register and learn more...  
 
Basic (Level 1) Sexual Ethics Workshop    
Learn the essential ethical and legal dimensions of appropriate healthy boundaries for those serving in professional ministerial roles. Oct. 22, 9 AM - 3:30 PM at Conshohocken UMC. Mandatory for all persons seeking certification as candidates in ministry and for all other individuals beginning ministerial roles within the Eastern PA Conference. $35 fee includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials.  Presenters are Dr. Donna Fiedler and Rev. Jose "Ricky" Ayala. Learn more and register.

  Advanced Sexual Ethics Workshop   
"Things Every Pastor Should Know." Oct. 29, 9 AM - 3 PM at Grandview UMC Lancaster. $35 fee. How to deal with a sexual misconduct crisis and other "what ifs" in the local church. Rev. Bev Andrews, a conference I-Care team member, will help participants create an "emergency preparedness kit." Learn more and register.
 
Changing Racism  Workshop
Learn background, strategies and skills for changing attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate bias, discrimination and other obstacles to racial equity. Oct. 28-30 (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) at Daylesford Abbey (New Location), 220 South Valley Road, Paoli. Registration is $300 payable when registering. 2 CEUs awarded upon completion. Learn more and register. 
UMW: Guns often used in domestic violence
During October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, United Methodist Women is raising consciousness of the role guns play in violence against women. Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of gun deaths for women in the U.S. According to a Violence Policy Center 2015 study, 94 percent of female homicide victims knew the men who killed them; the majority of the perpetrators were their intimate partners. UMW leaders are pushing for change in our acceptance of gun violence, particularly gun violence resulting from domestic violence. Read more
NEWS BRIEFS

Agency plans Faith and Guns Forum
10,751: That is the number of lives lost to gun violence in the United States in 2016 as of Sept. 28. The UMC's General Board of Church and Society in Washington DC will host a Faith and Guns Forum Nov. 14-16. During the event, United Methodists can learn about gun violence, gun control legislation and strategies for coalition building and mobilizing congregations to be the change agents God calls Christians to be.  Learn more
 
Deacons: Bridging the church and the world
Today, 44 percent of United Methodist deacons report that their primary appointment is beyond the local church. They serve as teachers, lawyers and in many other professions. Susan Keaton reports on how 20 years after their order was established, deacons are serving their distinctive call.  Read story
 
Religion and Race top executive to stay on
Erin Hawkins will remain top executive of the UMC's General Commission on Religion and Race, reversing her earlier plans to take on a new role in the California-Pacific Conference. Hawkins conducted a Intercultural Communications workshop in the Central Districtin 2015.   Read story
 
New overtime rule means church changes
A new U.S. federal regulation makes more workers eligible for overtime pay, and churches are among the employers affected. Read story
 
Way Forward Commission makeup challenged
United Methodists unhappy with the number of laity on the Commission on the Way Forward circulated an online petition asking the Council of Bishops to rethink the panel's makeup. The Council's executive committee announced Oct. 5 that eight bishops, 13 clergy and eight laity have been nominated to serve on the panel that will address issues around homosexuality and church unity. Kathy L. Gilbert and Sam Hodges report. Read storyRead Council of Bishops press release

REMINDERS
Register now for 2017 Pen-Del Youth Rally, Jan. 6-8
Register now for the 2017 Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally, Jan. 6-8, at the Ocean City Convention Center.  Online Registration is live!
  • Early Bird Registration by Oct. 15: $57 (includes t-shirt)
  • Regular Registration by Nov.15: $67 (includes t-shirt)
  • Late Registration by Dec. 15: $77 (no t-shirt included)
  • Online registration closes December 15, 2016.
Afterward, tickets must be purchased at the door for $80 (with no t-shirt).
Visit  umyoungpeople.org/youth-rally and click the link on the right side of the page.

Theme: "This Is Love"  from 1 John 4:10. Featuring motivational speaker Steve Fitzhugh, a "champion for youth," along with Rend Collective, Zealand Worship Band, Dave & Brian, and a full concert by gospel singer Tasha Cobbs.
Wake up, God's People!... 
All-day Eastern PA Youth Rally, April 22, 2017
And for the trifecta of upcoming youth events, plan to attend the 3rd Annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally on Saturday, April 22, 2017. For the first time, this youth rally will last all day, from 9 AM to 4 PM. We're planning fantastic features, with dynamic speakers, soul-stirring music, fun games, powerful prayers, laugh-out-loud humor, great food and hospitality, and enough friendship and fellowship moments to give you a lifetime of memories. Don't dare miss it! See and share the flyer, and look for more details, coming soon.
Delayed Annual Budget Letter due Oct. 14
The Conference Treasurer's Office will send the 2016 Annual Budget Letter to senior pastors Oct. 14. The mailing date is delayed several weeks because of the scheduled Oct. 1. Adjourned Session of Annual Conference plus necessary follow-up meetings of the Conference Board of Trustees and Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
 
Churches that need to develop 2017 financial plans prior to Oct. 14 should use 2016 apportionment figures (for Connectional Ministries, World Service, and General Church funds) and 2016 direct bill figures, plus add 5% for an estimate for 2017. Please note: The actual figures sent to churches in October may be higher or lower than these estimates, based on actions taken at the Adjourned Session and by the Board of Trustees and Board of Pensions and Health Benefits.
 
The Budget Letter will include a written description of the charges on the monthly remittance form, including who is responsible for which payments and what the payments are for.
MORE REMINDERS
Bishop's Days on the Districts
Central District--Oct. 17; NE District--Oct. 19; and East District--Oct. 20.  
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-digestShare 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!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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