October 2, 2020
NEWS & VIEWS
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following 2020 appointments and assignments:
West District

  • The Rev. John Lynch (Retired Elder) to serve Colemanville UMC as interim pastor, half-time, effective October 1, 2020.

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
AC2020 members, look for your eBallot notice by email!
All registered Annual Conference voting members--clergy and laity, including equalizing lay members--should receive a notice for using the conference’s eBallot system to participate in the Annual Conference electronic voting practice session on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 3 PM. If you do not receive your eBallot notice by Saturday night, please email Jo Fielding at jfielding@epaumc.org immediately.
Celebrando Nuestra Hispanidad
Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month: Sept. 15-Oct. 15
By the Rev. Lilian “Luky” Cotto

As a Guatemalan native, I rejoice in sharing a little about the great annual celebration of our Hispanic heritage. It began on Sept. 15, the Independence Day of my beautiful Guatemala, “the land of the eternal spring.” Four more Hispanic nations celebrate their independence days on September 15: Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Mexico’s Independence Day follows on the 16th, Chile on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st. 

Of course, this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are not celebrating as much as we usually do. But as resilient people, we do continue to celebrate, even if it is virtually on Zoom or other social media…. You can find groups performing, celebrating and sharing the pride of their culture and heritage. You can also look online for ideas of things to do and examples of worship with a Latino flavor. Learn why, how we celebrate our Hispanic heritage...
Advocacy campaign supports driver licenses for undocumented immigrants
At least five Eastern PA Conference congregations are supporting a new advocacy campaign calling for valid Pennsylvania driver’s licenses to be made available to undocumented immigrants. That humanitarian campaign for some includes a 40-day vigil of prayer and fasting.

House Bill 2835 has been introduced in the state assembly to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, so they can drive without fear of being arrested and deported. The Rev. Evodia Villalva, longtime pastor of El Buen Samaritano UMC in West Chester, is leading her congregation in prayer and support for the effort, and she shares compelling biblical and social reasons for doing so.

The Rev. Luky Cotto, Coordinator of the conference’s Latino Commission, reports that five churches so far are supporting the campaign:

• El Buen Samaritano, West Chester
• Bethany UMC- Ministerio Latino, Lebanon
• Nuevo Nacimiento (New Birth) UMC, Lebanon
• Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit) UMC, Philadelphia
• Historic St. Georges UMC, Philadelphia 

Cotto urges more churches and leaders to join in the effort. “It’s a just and fair law, and our roads will be safer.” Learn more…
Bishop’s Blog: Say the Name
By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

While marching in a peaceful protest this spring there were many people carrying signs bearing the names of African Americans who had died in fatal encounters with law enforcement officers. These names were chanted over and over again as we walked along the streets. 

The name that stuck out for me was Breonna Taylor, the only woman on the list. Her case, seeking justice for her killing in a botched police raid on her home in Louisville, Kentucky, reached a disappointing conclusion. Many people are seeking information from the Grand Jury. which, after secret deliberations, ruled that no one would be charged in the death of this much-beloved emergency medical technician with a bright future ahead of her.... 

What do we, as people of God, do about this? … “Say the name” of Breonna Taylor and others who are victims of injustice in this world….Say Christ’s name, for there is real power in the name of Jesus. And as we do, let us echo the names of those forgotten victims—both living and dead—whom Christ calls us to remember. Learn more…

Conference to hold prayer walk in Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As pain and tensions continue about prosecutorial decisions in the killing of Breonna Taylor, the Kentucky Conference will hold a prayer walk for healing, concluding in a worship service in Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park. "Seeing Through Another's Eyes: A Prayer Walk & Worship Service for Healing" is set for Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time. The event will be livestreamed on the conference Facebook page. Read announcement. Prayer in the midst of sorrow. Commentary: Moving forward from here
Certified Lay Ministry program keeps on track via Zoom
New CLMs to be recognized Oct. 11

The Eastern PA Conference Certified Lay Ministry (CLM) training program is in full Zoom rotation. The Recognition Service for those CLMs certified this year will happen as a Zoom webinar on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 4 PM, delayed from the usual spring date for the ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As usual, Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach. Cabinet members will also participate. And for the first time, each “graduate” will offer brief remarks during the ceremony. 

The current CLM class, which began meeting in June, is now using Zoom video-conferencing for its sessions. On Saturday, Sept. 26, the class visited Historic St. George’s UMC in Philadelphia (est. 1769) and historic Bethel AME Church in Ardmore, (est. 1895). But those visits happened virtually. 

And a month of seven orientation sessions for entry into the program’s next class in 2021 will begin Oct. 3, also on Zoom. Learn more… And Download the Schedule of Orientation Sessions.
Church brews connection with coffee
First UMC Palmyra has a new welcoming ministry that was featured in its local, Lebanon-area newspaper. Awakenings, a new coffee shop that opened in September, has a dual purpose: to nourish the body and the soul. "We want people to awaken to the idea that the church just isn't here to sustain itself, that it is here to serve the community," says the Rev. Jim Anderman, senior pastor.  Read story. (This story is also accessible from our Methodists Make News webpage. Please send us news about your church that appears in your local media.) 
Watch videos of installation services for two new DSs 
You can watch videos of both installation services for the conference’s two new district superintendents on our YouTube page. The Revs. Andrew Foster  (“New East District Supt. seeks excellence, starting with himself”) and Evelyn Kent Clark (“New District Supt. wants South District to be ‘Always Faithful’”) were both welcomed and consecrated to the superintendency in September. Read our profile features about both of them, and view their installation--especially their compelling sermons. You may want to share them with members of your congregation also.
LEARNING EVENTS
Attend our next Leadership Launch, October 3
Bearing Fruitful Ministry 
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."  John 15:5

Church, District and Conference Leaders, register online to attend the 2020 Leadership Launch online. Oct. 3, 2020, 9 AM to 11:30 AM
An interactive Zoom video-conferencing event.

All leaders are welcome and highly encouraged to attend. That includes: Connectional Ministry/Table teams and committees; Lay Leaders; Christ Servant Ministers, Certified Lay Ministers and anyone else in a church leadership role.

Invite your leadership team to participate. Registration is free but required. Register now. Download and share the flyer. Come join fellow church and conference leaders, as we discern what it means to lead well in challenging times. 

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, New Eastern PA Conference Director of Connectional Ministries. Break-out sessions will be led by Connectional Table Members. Taylor-Storm shares the following:
“As ministry leaders, we are called to ‘bloom where we are planted.’ Even now, in this new vineyard where we find ourselves, fruitful discipleship is possible. Come and learn alongside other ministry leaders in this interactive training.”
Sharing ideas for Christmas amid COVID, Oct. 5
How to Celebrate Advent & Christmas during the Pandemic

Offering a free, interactive discussion on Zoom, Monday, Oct. 5, 6:30 to 7:45 PM
 
Explore creative ideas for how to celebrate the Advent and Christmas seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic. All are welcome. Register now and receive a Zoom meeting access link to join the call. 
 
The Rev. Steve Morton, North District Superintendent, the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries, and other members of the Conference Congregational Development Team (CDT), will share ideas and answer questions churches may have about how to meet and celebrate safely during the Advent and Christmas seasons. Learn more and register…
Next UMC Dismantling Racism dialogue to focus on voting concerns, Oct. 7, 1 PM
The United Methodist Church's Dismantling Racism series of dialogues helps us prepare for the upcoming U.S. presidential election in this month's panel discussion, on Wednesday, Oct. 7, by examining voter suppression. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, a United Methodist pastor and congressman, and Erin M. Hawkins, California-Pacific Conference executive director of connectional ministries, will discuss voting issues Oct. 7, at 1 PM ET. Learn more and watch.
When Home Hurts, Oct. 9-10
Conference to explore Domestic Violence and Families
The Eastern PA Conference’s Domestic Violence Committee will focus on children and families when it presents its third annual Domestic Violence Seminar October 9-10. The two-part, virtual event will be a video-conference on Zoom. Its times are on Friday evening, from 7 PM to 9 PM, and on Saturday morning, from 9 AM to 12 PM. 
 
The theme is When Home Hurts: Domestic Violence and Families—The Church Responds.

“Again, we will learn more about this destructive social crisis that hurts individuals, families and communities,” said the committee in announcing the event. “And we will explore how churches can respond.” The virtual seminar will include a keynote address, a panel discussion and topical workshops--all led by experts who play various roles in seeking and offering solutions to this lethal problem.
 
Register online to receive Zoom access information. The cost is $10, and churches are encouraged to participate in ministry teams. Learn more… Download the flyer and register online now!
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.
Major Fight for Floyd meeting moved to Oct. 29
The Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission’s next Fight for Floyd organizing meeting date has been moved to Thursday, Oct. 29, 6:30 to 8 PM. The change was made to avoid a scheduling conflict with other events. 
 
The meeting, open to all who are interested in working on racial peace and justice, will be a video-conference on Zoom. Leaders of the Flight for Floyd effort, including its three Policy, Education and Community Development committees, will report on their plans, activities and ongoing needs, opportunities and concerns. Registration, including Zoom access nformation, will be announced next week, according to the Rev. William Brawner, Urban Ministries coordinator. Learn more: ‘Fight for Floyd’ groups seek remedies to racial injustice
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.
Domestic Violence training for men in October
Note: The Eastern PA Conference Domestic Violence Committee’s annual Domestic Violence seminar in 2019 focused on men involved in DV as advocates and abusers. A representative of Lutheran Settlement House came to offer information and conversation about their program. 

Lutheran Settlement House will work partner groups to co-sponsor a weekly, 4-part training series for men about Domestic Violence in October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The workshops will be offered every Tuesday on Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27, from 12 to 1 PM. Learn about the basics of abusive relationships, how to support survivors, understanding male survivors of domestic violence, as well as practical skills and tips for bystander intervention and conflict management. Those who attend all four sessions will receive a DV certification and gift card. 

RSVP at www.bit.ly/menanddv for this free training series. Information provided by Toby Fraser (pronouns: he/him/his), Lutheran Settlement House, Manager of Community Education. Cell: 267.666.8249. DV Hotline: 866-723-3014. Download the flyer.
AROUND THE UM CONNECTION
Young elder numbers near historic low
Unfortunately, the declining number of ordained elders in the UMC includes a continuing decline in young adult elders, who comprise just 7% of the total, according to a new report. Learn more…  
New statistics offer snapshot of Korean UMs
A retired pastor has spent the past 10 years compiling data on the Korean United Methodist community. His research shows that Korean clergy are younger on average than previously thought, and he reveals a significant gender gap in appointments to Korean churches. The Rev. Thomas Kim reports. Read story
N. Texas Conference says replace UMC Cross and Flame
A pastor’s call to replace the Cross and Flame as the official insignia of The United Methodist Church has picked up the backing of the North Texas Conference. The Rev. Edlen Cowley (right) in a recent column urged the denomination to retire the Cross and Flame logo, saying the emblem conjures for him and other African Americans the terror of Ku Klux Klan cross burnings.

The North Texas Annual Conference voted 558-176 on Sept. 19 to submit to the 2021 General Conference legislation drafted by Cowley that would begin the process of changing the insignia. Learn more...
Hispanic Heritage Month talk looks at cost of polarization   
The Hispanic-Latinx Center at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., will host a Hispanic Heritage Month lecture on "The Cost of Polarization to Latinx Communities," featuring activist scholar and author Maria Teresa Dávila. The Zoom event will be Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. U.S. Central time, and is free and open to all.  Learn more or register
At 94, he's 'Mr. Music of United Methodism'
The Rev. Carlton R. "Sam" Young is well known in church music as a hymnal editor, composer, arranger and scholar. One informed admirer calls him "Mr. Music of United Methodism." Young, 94, is out with a new collection of sheet music. Read story  =
Black people sought for COVID-19 vaccine trials
NEW ORLEANS (UM News) — In order to ensure that any vaccine for the coronavirus will be effective with Black people, some Black church leaders are taking part in vaccine trials. Walter Kimbrough, president of United Methodist-related Dillard University, is also asking his students, faculty and staff to consider taking part. Jim Patterson reports. Read story
RESOURCES
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 
REMINDERS
CONAM provides liturgy to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day Oct. 11
The Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) is appealing to churches to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on Sunday, Oct. 11, in lieu of Columbus Day on Oct. 12. The substitution is recommended to commemorate the lives, cultures and histories of indigenous people who were tragic victims of Christopher Columbus and other European explorers who brought massive deaths and destruction to the Americas that they claimed to “discover” and went on to conquer and colonize.

CONAM also offers a recommended worship liturgy for the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. Learn more...
It's time to register for Annual Conference!  
Annual Conference members should have received information to register for the 2020 annual session, set for Oct. 13. It will be held as a Zoom video-conferencing webinar with electronic voting and a reduced agenda. (On Oct. 14 the Annual Conference will hold only its yearly Memorial Service and Service of Ordination and Commissioning.)

Members who lack adequate access to computers or Wi-Fi service will be able to view the Annual Conference at an equipped church location in each district, where they will be able vote by raising their hands. On-site locations will only be available by prior registration. No walk-ins can be accommodated.

There will be a $30 Annual Conference registration fee to help pay costs for the 2020 session, including electronic voting costs. If any members did not receive this information, contact Lindsey Cotman at lcotman@epaumc.org
Prayers for Our City: From our Traditions, Oct. 5, 7 PM
Bishop Peggy Johnson shares the following invitation: 
The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia requests your participation in an online prayer service as we draw upon the rich resources of our religious traditions to lament and confess the sin of racism and to commit ourselves to the sacred work of dismantling racism and constructing a just society. 

Join us by ZOOM on Monday, October 5 at 7:00 PM. Please RSVP to rlc@interfaithphiladelphia.org to receive a link to this event. Questions? Please contact Rev. Edward Livingston at: el@interfaithphiladelphia.org.
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.

Conference launches new Laity Facebook group
Eastern PA Conference laity have a popular new Facebook page, named EPAUMC Laity, to broaden and enhance their communication with one another. All laity are invited to join today. It’s an increasingly popular place for laity to support and resource one another, just like clergy have on their Facebook page. 

“We hope you will join us,” says Conference Lay Leader, Dave Koch. If you have any difficulty finding the page, please notify him at or the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries, at dtaylorstorm@epaumc.org. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1449766521875603
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.
2021 Tools for Ministry, March 13, will be online, conference-wide  
The 2021 Tools for Ministry, on March 13, will be a morning, conference-wide online event on Zoom, rather than separate, district onsite gatherings. There may be about 30 workshops offered, according to plans, all in two morning sessions, each about 90-minutes long. Leadership will come from all four districts, from conference ministry groups and from community partners. Workshops will be open to all registrants conference-wide. Planners will be prepared for up to 1,000 participants. Look for more information to come.
Time to shine the light of Christmas! 
Christmas Cards to Inmates ministry resumes
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern PA Conference’s undaunted Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team is moving forward with a modified continuation of its successful Christmas Cards to Inmates program, which they began in 2014. The 2020 outreach effort launched on Monday, Sept. 14, and will end Nov. 2.

This year, the team hopes churches will prepare cards from the designs offered on their webpage. Or churches can pick up small bags of prepared cards with instructions from either the Conference Office or regional church pick-up and drop-off locations. See the list on their webpage, and check back as more locations are added.

All signed cards, with optional messages of encouragement and hope, must be returned to these locations by the deadline of Nov. 2.
Basic Sexual Ethics virtual training in October
The next Basic Sexual Ethics workshop--a requirement in preparation for licensed, ordained or certified ministry in the Eastern PA Conference--will be held online, using Zoom, over two Saturday afternoons: Oct. 17, 3 to 5 30 PM; and Oct. 24, 12- 2 30 PM. The cost is $35. Attendees must be present for both parts in order to receive credit. CEUs available.

This interactive, experiential workshop will explore the concepts of emotions, ethics, morals, power bases, attachment, sex and boundaries. Participants will learn about ethics and morality, emotions that can lead to attachment and interfere with ministry, setting healthy boundaries and other important topics. Use of a camera and microphone is required for audio-visual participation in this video-conference course. Breakout rooms will also be used.

Presenter: The Rev. David Piltz, a Local Pastor and Marriage and Family Therapist, and also a Campus Minister and Conference Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. He is a member of the I-CARE Team and Safe Sanctuaries committee. For more information contact the Rev. Jacqueline Hines at pastorjacquelineumc@gmail.com or 410-963-1721. Register Online.
Healing Communities training coming in October
The West Chester Mission Link invites all to attend its free Healing Communities restorative justice virtual training on: Wednesday, Oct. 21 and 28, at 6:30 to 8:30 PM each; and Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9:30 to 11:30 AM. Healing Communities helps churches become “stations of hope” to serve those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system in any way. 
 
The three, two hour Zoom video-conference sessions (6 hours total) will help attendees plan how their churches can provide hope and care for “those whose struggles are often ignored in our society today.” The mission link received a Dewees Grant to fund the training, allowing them to offer it at no cost.

Linda Van Til, a Certified Lay Minister and member of the Conference Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Work Team, will conduct the training. CEU credit (6 hours, leadership) will be provided for CSMs and CLMs and clergy who attend all three sessions to complete the training. 

Register promptly. There are only 30 slots for the training. The registration deadline is Oct. 11.

Register at: https://forms.gle/5mKT7LYRFWpzq3w18. Questions? Contact prisonministries@epaumc.org
Online worship permissions extended to Dec. 31
The UM Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through December 2020. The Publishing House recognizes the need for easy access to key worship aids as the COVID-19 crisis persists and local churches strive to serve their communities. Read press release
Hispanic Heritage Month  
September 15 through October 15 is designated as Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. and The UMC. It gives congregations an opportunity to celebrate the importance and contributions of the Hispanic/Latino culture in worship.
Bishop’s Letter: Fundraising Appeal for Camps
Bishop Peggy Johnson appealed to Eastern PA Conference churches and members in a letter this week to support our four Camp & Retreat Centers as they struggle financially from the cancellation of Summer Camp and numerous events in the still looming shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The camps have had to make painful choices to cut staff and other costs, while trying to offer limited activities online and onsite, uncertain of when the pandemic will end and if they will recover.

But the bishop, in her August 27 letter, expresses faith in the Holy Spirit and hope in the support that already exists for the camps, which she describes as “important mission extension outposts for our churches and the greater community. They are one of the most effective evangelism tools we have," she writes. "Thus, I am asking you--churches, members and friends of our Conference—to embrace a vision of what it would look like if every church would donate $300 to support our camp centers and avoid a budget shortfall.” Read more... Or Read entire letter.
Conference Office staff schedules for fall 2020
When the Eastern PA Conference Office’s summer schedule ends on Labor Day Sept. 7, associate staff will begin working there three days a week and work from home the other two days to limit the number of staff in the office daily for health and safety reasons. Executive staff, including full-time directors and part-time coordinators, will continue to work from home as much as possible. The new schedule begins Sept. 8. See in-office schedules by day and by staff member: Learn more…
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.

Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress, & Transformation event moves online to Zoom
The Eastern PA Conference’s twice-postponed Racism, Post-Traumatic Stress and Transformation workshop will happen online on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9 AM to 2 PM, using Zoom video-conferencing. The unusual workshop will address a timely topic that concerns many people of color in today’s highly charged racial climate: race-based traumatic stress.

The Rev. Dr. R. Dandridge Collins, a pastoral psychologist, author, lecturer, minister and trauma expert, will teach and lead participants in frank discussions to explore solutions to emotional distress and trauma caused in part by racist mistreatment, conflict and reactions, past and present. People of color, clergy and lay, should register soon. Space may fill up quickly. 

The original $25 registration fee has been reduced to $15 and still includes a copy of Collins’ bestselling 2007 book The Trauma Zone: Trusting God for Emotional Healing. Also included is a copy of Romal Tune’s book, Love is an Inside Job. Scholarships are available. Please contact: dtaylorstorm@epaumc.org. Register OnlineDownload and share the flyer!
Conference offers churches online giving page

The conference has created a giving page on its website to allow congregations to easily receive online gifts from church members, visitors and donors, who can select from a menu of participating churches. The online giving portal is now operational.  It is available to all churches, but it should be especially helpful to churches that do not currently offer online giving but want to. The service is provided through the conference’s relationship with Vanco Payment Services.   

Simple electronic funds transfer process
To participate in the program, a local church must simply complete the electronic funds transfer form and return it to the conference accounting office. The conference Treasurer’s office will process and deposit gifts into the church’s designated bank account weekly. A contribution report will then be sent to the church. Learn more...
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 3: Connectional Ministries Leadership Training Event. Zoom online meeting. Register online.
  • October 4: Practice Vote & Information Session for Annual Conference. 3 PM, Zoom webinar. 
  • October 9 & 10: Domestic Violence Seminar on Zoom. Friday, Oct. 9, 7-9 PM and Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 AM-12 PM.
  • October 13 & 14: 2020 Annual Conference. Zoom webinar and livestreaming. Learn more at epaumc.org/annual-conference.
  • 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 24: Racial Justice Ministries Summit. 11 AM. Carson-Simpson Farm. Simultaneously Zoom-cast.
  • 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.
  • November 21: Dismantling Racism II. 9 AM – 11:30 AM. Zoom Meeting (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.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403