October 16, 2020
NEWS & VIEWS
2020 Annual Conference uses little time to make big decisions
Numerous reports, awards presented, all pre-recorded

By John W. Coleman

To ensure members’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 234th Eastern PA Annual Conference conducted its business session solely online Oct. 13, with an agreed-upon, reduced agenda that it processed in under four hours via a Zoom video-conferencing webinar. 

The historic, perhaps shortest session on record, presided over by Bishop Peggy Johnson, featured worship and presentations of only essential resolutions and reports—all pre-recorded. The live portion included legislative questions and answers but no amendments or debate. Non-voting persons could view the livestreamed session on the Conference’s Facebook page.

(A recording of the business session is viewable now on the Conference’s Facebook page. It starts at 10:16. You don’t need a Facebook account to view it; but a better version will be viewable on the Conference website’s AC2020 page by Tuesday, Oct. 20.)   

Votes were cast using the secure, online eBallot system and a Zoom vote by telephone option. Nine key, time-sensitive 2020 resolutions were presented and passed, including two controversial resolutions that each drew members’ questions. Learn more...
People of color to seek insights, remedies to racial trauma
The Rev. R. Dandridge Collins, Ph.D., will help people of color from the Eastern PA Conference unveil the often hidden trauma experienced from racism and seek paths to transformational healing during a dialogue on Zoom on Saturday, October 17, from 9 AM to 2 PM. Nearly 40 people have registered so far for “Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation.”

Dr. Collins, a licensed therapist and minister for three decades, specializes in pastoral counseling and treating trauma. He wrote about being trapped in a debilitating post-traumatic state and how to seek escape through one’s faith in a best-selling 2007 book, The Trauma Zone: Trusting God for Emotional Healing. 

The workshop—so timely in today’s highly charged racial climate—will include lecture, dialogue, breakout groups and a sharing of resources. It will explore racism in various manifestations; the stress, emotional paralysis and trauma it can cause; and also practical solutions that can lead one to healing, deliverance and growth.

Collins will lead racial-ethnic participants in frank discussions to explore post-traumatic stress caused by racist mistreatment, hostility and conflicts, past and present. “I want people to be able to talk about what has happened to them and what they have witnessed or experienced vicariously through others,” he said in a recent interview. Learn more...
Knitted Together in Love
By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson*

When you knit something you need to pull tight to keep the weave consistent. Only then are the strands of yarn woven into a firm piece of fabric. Maybe that is what Paul, a tentmaker, meant in his letter to the Colossians when he talked about being “knitted together in love.” He was calling the Colossian church to experience the power of a tight love.

Like Paul, we have been separated and are absent from one another in many ways during this coronavirus pandemic. This has been a challenge. But I thank all of you for your creativity and patience during this time. Pastors have especially led the effort with grace and tenacity.

We have learned that we can continue the love, even if we are not physically present. We do that through online worship services and Bible studies, but also by reaching out to one another with support, by helping the poor, by showing compassion wherever we see suffering, and by exercising sacrificial patience as this drags on. This loving encouragement goes a long way to keeping us strong….

Nothing was more important to Paul than unity. There were divisions in the flock from its very beginning, and Paul spent much time in his many letters calling the church to be united in love. Love was the secret sauce and always will be. It seems times have not changed much since the days of the early church. 

We are talking about dividing as a denomination. Surely, that is a failure of love and the relationship-building that love calls us to do. Mutual sharing and conversation with people we disagree with, being willing to be open to one another with different ideas, that is still an option we have. Love still makes for unity and always will. Learn more...
Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, UM conferences—like the congregations they serve—are feeling the financial strain of decreased giving and increased needs, a trend that began before the pandemic. But the financial outlook for conferences is decidedly mixed. And even with reduced giving, conference treasurers are saying the situation is not as dire as it appeared in the spring. Learn more...
47th UMW Annual Celebration, Oct. 17
Following the trend necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern PA Conference UM Women (UMW) will hold its 47th Annual Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 17, as a video-conference on Zoom for the first time. The event will begin at 9:30 AM and end by 1 PM. 

The featured guest speaker is Shannon Priddy, National President of United Methodist Women. Also featured will be: 
  • The Deaf Ministry Choir of Christ UMC, Fairless Hills, and
  • Grace-N-Motion, the Praise Dance Ministry of Grace UMC, Philadelphia.

Participation is open to all members of United Methodist Women. Contact Susan Dziuk to register at 215-637-7895 or dziuks1@verizon.net. (Since this is a webinar, you will not be seen on camera.) Download the flyer!  
Photos of DS installation services now on Flickr page
Photo albums from two recent installation services of new district superintendents--the Revs. Evelyn Kent Clark and Andrew Foster -- are now both featured and viewable in two separate albums on our Conference Flickr page. In addition, videos of the two services are featured on our YouTube page.
LEARNING EVENTS
Webinar to explore dealing with “church bullies”
Connectional Ministries will offer a requested Zoom webinar titled “How to Recognize and Deal with Church Bullies” on Wednesday, Nov 11, at 6:30 PM. The Rev. David Woolverton (right) will lead the workshop, drawing from his 30 years as a pastor, educator, consultant and now author, with a new book on church conflict in the works. 

“In the church, bullies can look spiritual. They also may be serving a very unique function in the life of the congregation,” writes Dr. Woolverton. He will explore how to recognize, assess and respond to church “bullies” and the closed power systems that they represent. “While some of those persons are simply reacting with anxiety to changes implemented by leaders, others may have a more defined plan to sabotage any idea that does not originate with them.” Registration and more information coming soon.
Group to explain new Methodist church in webinar
The Eastern PA chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association will sponsor a webinar on Zoom on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 10 AM, to address questions about the “new Methodist Church emerging” if the UMC divides after General Conference in 2021.

Also discussed will be “the status of the proposed Protocol on Grace and Reconciliation though Separation.” Described as “trans-national, multi-ethnic, grounded in orthodox biblical faith…” the group’s vice-president, the Rev. Walter Fenton, will answer questions. Local leaders will also speak, according to the Rev. Joe DiPaolo, the WCA’s Eastern PA coordinator. Visit the registration page for more information.
AROUND THE UM CONNECTION
Forging stronger ties as women of faith
Sometimes the best response to sexism is through deeds rather than words, says Mozambique Area Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, the first and only female United Methodist bishop in Africa. She was among the 200 to 250 clergy and laywomen gathering online to share experiences and advice, build relationships and celebrate sisterhood. It was all part of the I AM Her Women's Leadership Summit 2020. Read story...

UMC Judicial Council to set meeting dates in Nov.
The United Methodist Judicial Council, whose work was suspended because of the pandemic, has announced it will determine how to meet electronically. Pending before the court are cases from the April 29-May 2 docket, as well as additional matters that were submitted after the deadline for the 2020 spring meeting. Revised timelines and filing deadlines will be provided to the denomination in November.

MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
Apply for Global Mission Fellows, US-2 track
Applications for UM Global Ministries 2021-23 Global Mission Fellows on the US-2 track opened Oct. 12. The fall application deadline is Nov. 30, 2020, and the spring application deadline is Feb. 24, 2021. Placement matches will be assigned throughout the selection process, so early application is encouraged. Read press releaseSee application information
RESOURCES
3 ways to encourage giving amid pandemic
Talking about giving may be uncomfortable for church leaders as effects from the COVID-19 pandemic continue. Every person's reality is different. Crystal Caviness writes about three ways to encourage those who can to continue donating to their local congregations. Read story
Using technology in the church for administration
Free computer programs could help you communicate and organize your ministry efforts in ways you may not have imagined. With Wakelet and Padlet you can create a newsletter, set up a meeting agenda, teach a Sunday school class remotely, announce upcoming meetings, share God sightings, and much more. An experienced instructor who has taught multiple technology classes will be guiding you through the process—even if you’ve struggled with technology in the past. Learn more...
'Water is Life' chronicles global struggle for clean water
More than 750 million people around the world lack reliable water access. In a photo project three years in the making, UM News photographer Mike DuBose documents the church's efforts to provide clean water to rural Africa, with reporting by Kathy L. Gilbert. View photo feature.
UMW podcast addresses church and politics
Faith Talks, United Methodist Women's monthly podcast conversations, will explore church and politics this month. The one-hour podcast explores themes and resources that empower listeners to put faith, hope and love into action. Guests for this segment include Bishop Minerva Carcaño; Liz Theoharis, theologian and co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign; and Emily Jones, UMW executive for racial justice. The church and politics podcast is scheduled for Oct. 22 at 2 PM. Register now
REMINDERS
Conference awards record number of scholarships in 2020
This fall the Eastern PA Conference Scholarship Committee awarded 20 academic scholarships to deserving students, the committee’s highest number in one semester. Scholarships are awarded for the fall and spring semesters to undergraduate and graduate students who have been active members of an Conference church for at least two years. 

Usually the scholarships are funded by offerings received at Annual Conference sessions, along with other donations. However, this year’s virtual conference session, using Zoom video-conferencing, precludes us from receiving offerings onsite. 

The scholarship committee and conference leaders are appealing to all churches and members to support the ongoing needs of our scholarship fund and the students it helps by sending your gifts directly to the Conference Office. Learn more...
DACA Dreamers to share their stories, Oct. 31
Meet and learn about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) immigrants, known as Dreamers, through a virtual encounter with them on Saturday, Oct. 31, 10 to 11:30 AM, on Zoom. That’s when several of these young, lifelong U.S. residents who are striving to become citizens will open their lives to us. Their “story-sharing” visit will include prayer, biblical and theological perspectives, personal experiences as immigrants, social analysis and a vocal commitment to advocacy in action.

Their Storysharing Tour is being sponsored by the General Board of Church & Society and co-hosted by the Rev. Carlos Reyes Rodríguez, a missionary and Coordinator of Hispanic-Latino Ministries in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. The Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences will both participate in this event.

Register now to receive the Zoom link and information. Also view a
30-second YouTube video of Yulma Lopéz, Delaware State University graduate and Dreamer, explaining why sharing her story and listening to her story is important.
Black clergy launch voter activation initiative
With only weeks until Election Day, Nov. 3, a group of Philadelphia-area African American pastors and faith-based organizations have launched a voter activation initiative called “CASE The Vote.” The effort is designed to educate and engage congregations to vote in the upcoming Presidential election.
Philadelphia African American clergy launch a new voter activation campaign called www.CASETheVote.org. Will Careri photo
CASE, which stands for “Congregations Affiliated to Strengthen Elections,” offers resources to help faith communities mobilize their congregations and communities to participate in the election. The group’s website, www.casethevote.org, provides information for pastors and their congregations to get involved, along with Congregational Volunteer Coordinators (CVCs) who are being equipped to direct various activities.

The site features upcoming deadlines, such as the Oct. 19 voter registration deadline, and links to resources and how-to information, including how to become a poll worker, which is a primary need for Election Day.
PA tax exemption extended further until Dec. 31
The Eastern PA Conference’s Pennsylvania sales tax exemption certificate used by its member churches was due to expire initially March 31 but was extended to Sept. 30. But now it has been extended further until Dec. 31, due continued delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension enables churches to continue making tax-exempt purchases while the state processes renewals. A new letter confirming this latest extension may be used by churches to authorize tax-fre purchases, along with their copy of the expired Exemption Certificate (REV-1220). 
Gretna Glen Fall Fun Day

Free Admission! October 18th, 12 PM - 3 PM. Fall crafts, archery, hot dogs, s’mores, & more! www.gretnaglen.org

Zoom users should update their software
All users of Zoom video-conferencing should ensure their Zoom Client program is the latest version available, The Conference Administration Office advises. Check to make sure you are using Version 3.2.1 If not:

  • Close your programs
  • Download and run CleanZoom.exe   
  • Reboot your computer
  • Visit this link https://zoom.us/support/download.
  • This will automatically download the newest version for you.
  • Install this version once downloaded.
Order of Elders to learn about using digital media for ministry
The Eastern PA Conference Order of Elders will hear from an expert on how to use media creatively to reclaim the church’s social influence at a training event on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 1 PM, via Zoom.

“Obviously our time together in the Order of Elders will be different this year,” says the Rev. Tom Ebersole, the group’s new chairman. Rather than the usual lunch gathering at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center, the 2-hour video-conference will include a talk and Q & A session featuring Phil Cooke, a writer, leading media producer and consultant who critiques American-influenced Christian culture. (Wikipedia)

With a Ph.D in theology, Cooke has “helped some of the largest Christian and nonprofit organizations in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.” Ebersole says Cooke’s book The Way Back: How Christians Blew Our Credibility & How We Get it Back “changed how I do ministry. He is dynamic and brings a message we definitely need to hear.”
 
The first 70 elders who sign up for the Nov. 18 training will receive a copy of Cooke’s new book, Maximize Your Influence: How to Make Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry and You. This event is free for conference elders. Register now.
Fight for Floyd's next online meeting, Oct. 29
There will be a second Fight for Floyd meeting online on Thursday, October 29, at 6:30 PM on Zoom. This meeting, titled “The Fight for Floyd and Beyond,” will again gather United Methodists and others across our region who are concerned about ongoing racial injustice and violence in America and who want to be actively involved in seeking solutions. The first organizing meeting was held June 1, one week after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolic, Minn., police. 

Attendees can hear updates and plans from the three Fight for Floyd Action Committees: Education, Community Development and Policy. Informative discussions will be held on:

  • Police and Policing, led by Gail Looney
  • Lancaster, PA, and Police Brutality Concerns, led by Rev. Greg Impink
  • Violence in Philadelphia, led by Gabriel Palmer (Youth Representative)

Come learn and get engaged in what is happening. All are invited. Register for this free event and receive access to this Zoom video-conference. Sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission. Register online now! Download the flyer.
Webinar to examine lack of young clergy
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary will host a webinar panel discussion with younger clergy and candidates about the decline in young elders to near record lows. The webinar, "The Crisis of Younger Clergy in the UMC: Young Clergy and Candidates Speak Out," will be at noon on Oct. 21. To register. Read Clergy Age Trends report. Commentary: Young elder numbers near historic low.
National Prison summit to be held virtually
Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century will virtually present the fifth National Prison Summit on Mass Incarceration, Oct. 29-31 via the Whova app. With "#BeTheHOPE" as its theme, the summit will promote advocacy, criminal justice reform and working within the church congregation to reimagine and build healthy communities. For more information. Register for event.
Christmas Cards to Inmates ministry update
The Conference Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Team’s Christmas Cards to Inmates ministry needs more participation. Eight Pick-up & Drop-off locations are located at the Conference Office and churches in all four districts. But not enough churches, groups or individuals are coming to pick up the sandwich bags containing cards and instructions or to return them signed and ready for delivery to correctional facilities.

The team is trying to get more correctional facilities to commit to accepting the Christmas cards as a humanitarian gesture, despite tighter restrictions imposed this year, due to the COVID pandemic. So far, two institutions have committed to accept nearly 1,200 cards. Please contact the eight Pick-up & Drop-off locations and arrange to come get cards and to return them. The deadline to return signed cards is Nov. 2, but the sooner the better. Learn more...
Laity urged to join Conference’s newest Facebook page
More people each week are asking to participate in the new Eastern PA Conference Laity Facebook page. Why not join them and help grow our Facebook Community?

The new social media page is an informal communication resource for laity of our conference that is intended to inform, encourage and engage us all. It may include some occasional notices of relevant conference events, concerns and activities. But its primary purpose is to generate informal, widely-shared correspondence and connection among laity across our region. 
 
“This is not a place for debate, nor for preaching, devotionals, teaching videos, etc.,” said Conference Lay Leader David Koch, who manages the page. So far, over 200 people have joined, and more requests are coming each week. Laity need only go to the page (at facebook.com/groups/1449766521875603), ask to join, and acceptance will be granted. “We hope you will join us and tell others about us,” said Koch. If you have any difficulty finding the page or being admitted, notify him at conflayleader@epaumc.org. Learn more...
New online course aims at growth in generosity
A new online curriculum designed to help clergy and lay people lead congregations toward growth in generosity is now available from Discipleship Ministries. This six-module leadership series will help clergy and leaders become better equipped to lead their local churches in the area of generosity as a key part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Read press release
Building relationships with virtual visitors
Many churches are reporting much higher online worship attendance than they typically see in person. Eric Seiberling offers tips for how email can help sustain these new connections in a time of social distancing. Read tips
Bishop’s celebrates laity, pastors, Cabinet in October
This October especially is an ideal time for us all to celebrate ministry!

October 18 is “Laity Sunday.” I hope that every church will have lay persons giving witness as they preach the Word. And every church should give thanks to our faithful God for the faithful laity in our churches.

October is also “Clergy Appreciation Month,” and I hope that each church will honor its pastors at some time during this month. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in unimaginable ways. But our committed leaders and the faithful people of God have shown resilience and grace through it all.

I offer a special thanks to the Extended Cabinet of the Eastern PA Conference, who have worked tirelessly to keep the Connection connected for the benefit of us all. 

Faithfully Yours,
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
CDT adds new Wednesday morning book club, Oct. 21
Wednesday is “CDT Book Club Day” for the Eastern PA Conference. The Congregational Development Team (CDT), which already sponsors a Wednesday evening Book Club weekly on Zoom, will add a morning version that begins on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 11 AM to 12 PM.

The evening group meets on Wednesdays, 7 to 8 PM, to discuss Transforming Community: The Wesleyan Way to Missional Congregations. ("How can we adopt John Wesley’s creative way of organizing churches for missional discipleship to transform their communities?" Learn more…) However, the group will not meet Oct. 13, because of Annual Conference. It will meet instead on the next night, Thursday, Oct. 14, 7 to 8 PM.

The Rev. Kevin Babcock, book club coordinator, heard from a number of people who are unavailable on Wednesday evenings but want to participate. So he proposed, and CDT agreed, to start a one-hour Wednesday morning edition, also on Zoom, beginning Oct. 21, from 11 AM to noon. The new group will start with studying The Post Quarantine Church by Thom Rainer. 

The Rev. Lloyd Speer, the new, incoming co-chair of CDT, will facilitate the six-session dialogue. Suzette James is also co-chair of CDT. The Post-Quarantine Church is described as “a trustworthy and respected guide for pastors and church leadership in the post-quarantine world, providing hope and vision for the future of your congregation.” Learn more…   REGISTER ONLINE.
CONAM race-based mascots workshop, Nov. 8
The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will present a Zoom video-conference on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 4 PM, about the ongoing abuse of Native American identities and stereotypes as sports team names and mascots. That abuse continues in PA and other areas of the U.S. 

The Coalition of Natives and Allies, a CONAM community partner, will lead the workshop as part of its mission, “Cultivating Unity to End Racism.” The group’s strategy is stated as “Decolonizing, Ending Stereotypes, Engendering Respect.”

Learn the truth behind popular mascot myths, such as "Mascots honor the Indians.” Download and share the flyer. Learn more and register for this important learning event.
Conference offers new booklet of scholarships, ministry funds
Announces new Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Grants
The Eastern PA Conference Connectional Ministries Office has published online a new booklet, titled Conference Funding for Ministry and Leadership Development, to inform churches and members about resources for funding ministry, church needs and educational scholarships. The booklet conveniently gathers in one place information already present on the conference website’s individual Funding For Ministry, Higher Education Scholarships & Grants and Conference Loan Fund pages. (All pages are updated regularly and are accessible from our Conference Finance webpage.)

But other funding sources also appear in the booklet, including the William “Bill” Drendall Endowment Fund of Mount Gretna UMC, available to all churches; BMCR/BUMP College Scholarships for active members of BMCR-member churches; and scholarships and ministry funding from general agencies of the UMC. 

One major funding source featured in the new booklet is the conference’s new Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Grants (2021-2023 Action Grants). The Narberth Legacy Ministry Action Fund is a Permanent Endowment Fund administered by the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation on behalf of the Eastern PA Conference. It was established from the 2014 discontinuation of Narberth UMC, as a living memorial to past church members, to provide substantial support to new, innovative, justice-seeking ministries that impact the life of communities. 

Beginning July 1, 2021 one grant for up to $45,000, distributed over a three-year period, will be awarded annually to a church. Eligible ministries are those that seek to serve populations that may be multicultural, young or intergenerational, unchurched or de-churched, and challenged by racism, discrimination, poverty and other disadvantages. Such ministries should demonstrate viability and a commitment to foster productive cooperation with church and community partners and stakeholders. 

Funds will be granted only for endeavors that produce action and offer the potential for real change. Learn more on the conference website’s Funding for Ministry page or contact the Office of Connectional Ministries. Deadline: Jan. 31, 2021. Learn more...
Sign-language Bible now available
A 38-year project that included 53 Deaf translators has produced the American Sign Language Bible, available free from Deaf Missions, a nonprofit Christian organization. This new Bible not only better encourages Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to engage in studying Scripture, it reduces misunderstandings and misinterpretations, writes the Rev. Leo Yates Jr. Read commentary 
Urban Commission offers fall ministry grants
The Eastern PA Conference’s Urban Commission will once again award grants this fall to assist in funding Urban Alliances or Urban Church Initiatives. The deadline is Nov. 23. Awards will be announced by Jan. 6, 2021. UM churches in the following urban centers, are invited to apply: 

Allentown Lebanon
Bethlehem Norristown
Chester Pottstown
Coatesville Reading
Lancaster Philadelphia and Philadelphia 

The Urban Commission typically offers grants twice a year, in the spring and fall. However, funds for this year’s spring round of grants were reallocated to the conference Cabinet to aid churches responding to community needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the grant information on the Urban Ministries webpage, and use the online application to apply.
Wespath Virtual Educational Workshop, Oct. 26-27
Wespath Benefits and Investments is offering a Virtual Educational Event to all active clergy. The “Delivered to You” event will be held Oct. 26 and 27 in the afternoon. The registration fee is just $49 and includes the event Care Package of materials to be provided in advance. The registration deadline is Oct. 16, ensuring receipt of the Care Package in time to participate.

Jo Fielding, Director of the Benefits Office, reports:
For those of you who have participated in the regional Benefits Education Workshops in the past, you can bear witness to the fact that these are arguably one of the best resource tools available to our clergy, and far too underutilized! Now you can participate without even leaving your home! Not only will there be informative and inspiring segments, but Wespath will also offer special opportunities to:

  • Schedule a consultation with a Wespath staff member. This private session is your opportunity to discuss your own account balance and pension projection. A knowledgeable Wespath representative will help you understand your specific benefit situation.
  • Meet with a Pastoral Counselor / Spiritual Director —If you are looking for an opportunity to explore your individual wellness issues in a safe, confidential manner, this session—facilitated by a professional counselor—is appropriate for you. Gain perspective from someone outside your conference who can listen, problem-solve and bless you with a fresh outlook on how to resolve your specific issue as well as offer new ideas for living a healthy and balanced life.
  • Acquire Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) awarded for attending this event. This certificate will be provided to you via email after the completion of the event.
  • Gain more Virgin Pulse Points! These will be awarded for attending this event. Pulse points will be made available to you – if you are interested in receiving these bonus points – after the completion of the event.

By Water & the Spirit: Theology & Practice of Baptism
Nov. 7 & 21, 9 to 11:30 AM. A study offered on Zoom by the Board of Ordained Ministry

Study leaders: Rev. Gary Knerr and Rev. Candy LaBar. 
Two Sessions:
Saturday November 7, 9:00-11:30 AM
Saturday November 21, 9:00-11:30 AM

Baptism is at the core of who we are as Christians — but how well do we truly understand this sacrament? Those of us who serve in church leadership often face practical questions with deep theological roots. By getting to the theological heart of baptism, we as church leaders can offer better and more meaningful answers to these questions that so often arise from the pews. 

This study on Zoom is designed to help all church leaders — and in particular, our licensed local pastors and lay-supply pastors — to wrestle with this theological foundation of baptism. To participate, individuals should read Gayle Carlton Felton’s By Water and the Spirit (available at Cokesbury.com); and share any questions with the study leaders via email. 0.5 CEUs will be offered to those who complete this course.   

This event is free and recommended to all persons with church leadership roles. Learn more and Register Online.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Diversity training
This recurring workshop can help any church leader improve their communication, teamwork and conflict management skills, while creating an inclusive, welcoming environment. It’s a must-learn for leaders who want to abide in and lead like Christ. 

The workshop provides insight into Jesus’ life and approach to managing conflict, creating believers, and teaching others about living life with God at the center. It provides answers to those who perceive and experience oppression, inequality and violence. The skilled trainers are the Revs. David Piltz and Anita Powell of the Eastern PA Conference Commission on Religion & Race (CORR).

Register now for this Zoom video-conferencing workshop, scheduled for two Saturday afternoons, October 31 and November 7, from 12:30 to 3:30 PM, just 3 hours each day. The registration fee is only $10. More information coming soon! 
Faith Sharing Event, Nov. 14, moved to Zoom
Evangelism in a Changing Landscape, the Eastern PA Conference’s 2020 Faith-Sharing Event Nov. 14, will now be a 3-hour Zoom video-conference from 9 AM to 12 noon, offered for free.
Our featured speaker is the Rev. Lisa Greenwood, Vice-President for Leadership Ministry of TMF (the Texas Methodist Foundation), Dallas, Texas. She 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 participate in teams to learn, strategize and prepare to grow together.

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.
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
  • October 17: UMW Annual Celebration. Download the flyer!
  • October 17: “Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation.” Register online.
  • October 17 & and October 24: Basic Sexual Ethics, via Zoom, in two parts. Register online.
  • October 23 – 25: Dismantling Racism Training. Friday 5 PM – Sunday 3 PM. Zoom Meeting (online).
  • October 31st & November 7: Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Training. Part 1: 10/31 at 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Part 2: 11/7 at12:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Download the flyer. Register online.
  • November 14: Annual Faith-Sharing Event–Evangelism in a Changing Landscape. Zoom, 9 AM – 12 PM. Register online.
  • December 13: Annual “Celebrating our Cultures” Event, Zoom online meeting
  • January 30, 2021: Basic Sexual Ethics Workshop, via Zoom.
  • March 6, 2021: Advanced Sexual Ethics Workshop. 9:30 AM – 3 PM. Register Online.
  • March 13, 2021: Tools for Ministry. Times and Places TBD by Districts.
  • May 15, 2021: Latino Holy Convocation and Assembly
  • May 15, 2021: Clergy Transition Workshop led by Dave Woolverton. Location TBD.
  • August 6 - 8, 2021: Laity Academy

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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