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WHAT'S NEW - October 23, 2015
UMC Missionary to visit Mt. Pocono UMC
The Rev. John Calhoun, a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries, will share information on the work and witness of United Methodist missionaries at Mt. Pocono UMC Saturday, Oct. 24, from 7 to 8:30 PM. Calhoun, who attended our Annual Conference in May, is the GBGM Mission Advocate for the denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdiction. Mission advocates are missionaries assigned to help U.S. annual conferences, districts and local churches become informed and involved in global missions, especially in support of mission personnel, whose work is funded through the Advance.  Previously, Calhoun directed the St. Luke's UMC Family Center in Kiev, Ukraine, working with community organizers and social workers to provide counseling, work and life skills, and education and support to street children, single mothers and families in crisis. Prior to that he was pastor of the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, an international, interdenominational Protestant congregation in Moscow, Russia. He also coordinated humanitarian relief and church development for the Methodist Church in Kenya and served as a program coordinator for the World Council of Churches in Jordan. Mt. Pocono UMC is at 12 Church Ave., Mt. Pocono, PA.
Pray for Adjourned Session
of Annual Conference

Bishop Peggy Johnson is asking that pastors and laity of the Eastern PA Conference lift up the Adjourned Session of the Conference in prayer between now through the Nov. 14 session at the Macungie campus of Bethany UMC, 3801 Brookside Road, Macungie, PA. “Pray for God's guidance as we consider our budget and elect 2016 General and Jurisdictional Delegates.”  Also, the new Oct. 26 Adjourned Session registration deadline is fast approaching. If you plan to attend but haven’t yet registered, please do so today. Click here to register.
PA budget impasse is a crisis for human service providers
For months now, many across the state have watched legislators in Harrisburg “posture back and forth while negotiating a budget that was due for approval back in June,” writes the Rev. David W. Brown in a new “From Pulpit & Pew” blog post. Yet, the state still does not have a budget and as a result, many social services are at risk. They include many that are delivered through nonprofits and faith-based organizations, many of which are United Methodist-related. Those services will stop (or be severely limited) for as long as the state cannot pay its bills with an approved budget. Learn more from Rev. Brown’s analysis of this crisis.

Meanwhile, child welfare and juvenile justice providers continue to feel devastating effects from the state budget impasse. Because of a political dispute over the allocation of public money, a "funding freeze" is in effect, cutting off all financial support to public programs deemed "non-essential." This includes child welfare service providers. Now The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities has created a website that automatically sends a letter to your representatives asking them to resolve the crisis and to recognize child welfare/juvenile justice as "essential." Simply follow this link and enter your zip code and/or address. You can also tweet using the hashtag #PABudget. For suggested tweets, click here .
Camp & Retreat Centers are making a difference!
Trail hikes and races, open houses, winter retreats, youth group activity nights, overnight camp excursions, fellowship retreats for senior adults and other groups—while their bustling summer camps may be over, our conference-owned Camp & Retreat Centers are still busy with all kinds of gatherings and events. Coming soon at Pocono Plateau will be a Knitting Retreat on Oct. 23 - 25 and a Men's Retreat on Nov. 13-15.

Visit our Camp & Retreat Ministries Webpage and also their individual Websites ( , , and ) to learn more. Plan and schedule a retreat for your church or ministry group at our beautifully scenic camp sites, and start planning and building anticipation for the 2016 Summer Camp season. Send children and youth from your church and community to Summer Camp. It’s an investment in them and in your church that will make a difference. And download, display and distribute the new flyer “ 7 Important Ways We Are Making a Difference…. ” to educate your members about the outstanding ministry opportunities provided by our Camp & Retreat Ministries program.
Shalom Partnership of Lancaster to meet
The Shalom Partnership of Lancaster, Inc., will have its third annual dinner meeting Oct. 29, 6PM, at First UMC, 29 E Walnut St., Lancaster.  For information or to RSVP call the Rev. Jacquie Sheely, 717-270-1525. The Shalom Partnership is a Conference Advance Special and one of two UMC-affiliated Shalom Zone ministries in Pennsylvania (among 200 in the U.S.)  The partnership works with elementary schools in the Lancaster school district to fund summer academic enrichment programs, serving nearly 200 students in 9 of 13 elementary schools this summer.  
LUMINA to hold annual celebration, fundraiser
LUMINA, the local mission partnership of Southwest District churches, will hold its Annual Celebration Nov. 20, from 6:30 to 8 PM, at Lititz UMC, 201 East Market Street, Lititz. LUMINA is asking supporters of its Drop-in-the-Bucket Fundraiser to collect change in their yellow LUMINA buckets and bring checks to the celebration. RSVP by Nov. 13. Call LUMINA at 717-394-8412. People who have benefited from LUMINA ministries and programs will enjoy supper as they learn how LUMINA’s governance and operations have changed this past year.  LUMINA will participate in the Extraordinary Give on Nov. 20, Lancaster County’s largest-participation 24 hours of giving. You can donate to aid LUMINA at on Nov. 20 between 12:01 AM and 11:59 PM.  For more info or to RSVP for the Annual Celebration, contact LUMINA at 717- 394-8412 or
UNVEILED: A Conference for Girls,
Ages 12-18

Fritz UMC of Bethlehem, PA, will sponsor “Unveiled,” a conference for girls ages 12-18 and the women in their lives, Saturday, Nov. 7, from 9 AM to 2 PM at Fritz UMC, 303 W. Packer Avenue Bethlehem, PA.  The program will be held in conjunction with Calvary Church of Souderton, PA. The event will feature live music, speakers, interactive breakout sessions, a Q & A dialogue, a photo booth, food, and more! “We will learn how to seek after God's heart and learn to trust Him.” The cost: $12 each without lunch or $15 per person with lunch (from Chick-fil-A)

Register Online or call 610-866-1515.  For more information, call Pastor Barbara S. Lee at 610-509-4846.
Congregational Care Training for Pastors and their People
Congregational care is the means by which we reach out to others and love our neighbor. This free, half-day training event for pastors and lay members will be offered on two Saturdays, Nov. 7 and 21, from 9 AM to 12 PM, at Bethany UMC, 1208 Brookside Road Wescosville, PA. Explore the ministry and skills involved in caring for individuals and families in your congregation. The training will help tweak your attention listening through Holy Listening. Learn the use and abuse of Scripture and prayer in a therapeutic relationship and how to recognize one’s own wounds and feelings that emerge when ministering to others. Also examine the dynamics of ministering during times of hospitalization, aging, and grieving. The Rev. Kathryn Wieder, an ordained deacon and former hospital chaplain, will lead the training. Onsite registration is at 8:30 AM. To pre-register e-mail Pastor Mike Netznik or call him at 610-395-3613.
Apply for Rethink Church 2016 Easter Digital Advertising Grants
RETHINK CHURCH helps local churches reach "seekers," the 42 percent of adults who aren't currently active in or committed to a church but are searching to give their live deeper meaning. UM Communications is accepting applications for its Rethink Church Digital Advertising Grants for displaying on Websites during the 2016 Easter season (February to March). The grants can help a church raise awareness of its community presence by displaying on various high-traffic Websites UMC-branded ads that are linked to the local church’s Website and geo-targeted to its community. This is not a monetary grant; ads will be purchased and placed for the churches by UMCom.  UMCom will also provide a follow-up report on click-through rates and site visits to each church during the advertising period. Attached is our FAQ that should help answer questions about the digital grant process. Deadline to apply is Jan. 7, 2016. Learn more…

Also, Rethink Church has many UMC-branded resources available to help churches with customizable Advent season  TV spots, worship resources (bulletin covers, graphics, etc.) and outreach resources (low-cost direct-mail postcards and free door hangers and invitation cards). The ordering deadline is December 1.
Youth Choral festival set for Nov. 22
The critically acclaimed Susquehanna Chorale, ensemble-in-residence at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA., and three of its educational choirs will present a concert at 4:00 pm on Sunday, Nov. 22, at the High Center, Messiah College. The Susquehanna Children’s, Youth, and Young Women’s Chorales will each perform several pieces, as will the adults of the Susquehanna Chorale. The annual concert will feature the traditional 200 voice mass choir finale, the inspiring Anthem of Peace, directed by Linda Tedford, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chorale. For tickets ($15 in advance) call the Messiah College box office at 717-691-6036, or purchase online by following the links at  Tickets will also be sold at the door ($20). All student tickets are $5.  For general information, call 717-533-7859 or email .
GCORR to offer interactive online video series on race

The UMC's General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) will premiere Vital Conversations: An Interactive Video Series on Today's Realities of Race and Racism,  Wednesday, Oct.  28 at 9 PM on its Website, Vital Conversations invite people of all races and ethnic groups to engage in dialogue about "the things that divide and challenge us to live authentically in relationship with one another among our differences." The series begins with anti-racism educator Robin DiAngelo's "Misunderstanding of Racism." Dr. DiAngelo is author of What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy. In the coming months, GCORR will host more live videos with speakers like Miguel De La Torre, David Anderson Hooker and Pamela Lightsey. GCORR staff have visited our conference several times this year to lead interracial/intercultural dialogues.

Appeal for prayers, donations to aid South Carolina
Bishop Peggy Johnson asks Eastern PA Conference churches to please offer generous prayers and donations to support our sisters and brothers in South Carolina who are trying to recover from the recent catastrophic floods that have caused death and destruction there. "When disaster strikes, The United Methodist Church is dedicated to helping people recover and get their lives back," Bishop Jonathan Holston told his members.  You can help by donating to UMCOR through your local church or make checks payable to "Eastern PA UMC" (write "Advance 901670 Disaster Response" on the check memo line), and mail them to: Eastern PA UMC, Remittance Processing, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Individuals please indicate your church's name. Churches please use the eRemittance portal, and select the Advance Projects tab to give to Disaster Response, US #901670. Learn more...
Downloadable 3-session Bible study on gun violence
The UMC's Board of Church & Society has a downloadable three-session Bible study about the use of guns in committing violence. The study, “Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities,” uses Micah 4:1-4 as its scriptural foundation. It touches on such topics as weapons in domestic violence and war involving boys conscripted into rebel armies. “The desire to stop the impact of gun violence is felt among all people from many nations,” said GBCS Director of Civil & Human Rights Bill Mefford, who wrote  the study. He said it emerges from many conversations with United Methodists who wanted to find some space in the denomination to discuss this crucial and complex issue without "the superficial sound bites and sloganeering that happens all too often.”  Learn more...

Order of Elders to gather at Camp Innabah
  Nov. 10, 9 AM to 1 PM. All elders from the Eastern PA Conference are invited to gather at Camp Innabah (712 Pughtown Rd, Spring City, PA) for a time to remember our faith as believers, our unity as elders and our effectiveness within the itinerant system. We will celebrate our connectedness and hear what the denomination is saying about the future of itinerancy. Lunch: $8. Theme: A Lived Faith: Commitment, Relationship and Effectiveness.  Register Online
Clergy Sexual Ethics training on infidelity 
Clergy are invited to attend the workshop Sexual Ethics Among Clergy Members: Understanding Risk Factors and Prevention from an Attachment Framework on Nov. 17, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Ave., West Lawn, PA. Fee: $35.  Advanced-Level Electives in Sexual Ethics are designed not only to complete the required quadrennial continuing education expectations, but also to engage persons in ministerial roles in ongoing accountable dialogue on appropriate healthy boundaries in ministerial practice. Workshop facilitator, Dr. Jesse Gill, Psy.D., has been a Christian psychologist working in Lancaster for the past 14 years. Author of Face to Face: Seven Keys to a Secure Marriage, he integrates Scripture with Attachment Theory and applies it to marital therapy. Register now
Copies of Hopewell's Advent Bible Study available for the taking
Hopewell UMC is offering for free a limited number of copies of its 2014 Advent Dreams Bible Study to any church that wants to use it for this coming Advent season.  The packets, which include a DVD, can be picked up at the EPA Conference Center (from a wicker basket in our lobby) or at Hopewell Church while supplies last. One packet per church.

The four-week study is based on Mathew 1:18-2:23. Those who believe or wonder if God speaks through dreams can explore such revelations through the Infancy narratives found in the gospel of Matthew. The story of Advent and Christmas is told in four progressive scenes, each featuring a nighttime dream given to human beings. They offer divine guidance, or warning from danger, or a challenge to try something new. If Advent is God's dream coming true, we might ask how do we ourselves and our church live into God's dream, and does God today offer guidance or protection or challenge to us in dreams? Find out more about the curriculum at

Advent Morning Apart with Bishop Peggy Johnson

Women in Professional Ministry are invited to spend an Advent Morning Apart with Bishop Peggy Johnson Dec. 9, from 10 AM to 12 noon, at the Episcopal Residence, 243 Rivercrest Drive, Phoenixville, PA. Contact Monica Guepet for more information. The Oct. 15 Women in Professional Ministry luncheon at Sayres Memorial UMC has been postponed and will be rescheduled. 

Basic Christ Servant Ministry class

Spread the Word! The BASIC Christ Servant Ministry class will be offered Friday evening (from 7 PM) and Saturday (to 3 PM), Dec. 11-12, at Faith UMC in Stroudsburg. Twelve participants are needed to hold the course. Don’t delay; please register today. For questions and more information, e-mail Judy Ehninger or call 610-965-2290.

Time to order your 2015 Annual Conference Journal

A limited number of 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference Journals will be available in early to mid-November. Order yours today for $25 each. You can pay online or send a check by postal mail to EPA UMC, Attention Ms. Gloria Knoeller, PO Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.

What's in the Journal? Contact information for Conference staff, clergy, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Church boards and agencies. Also clergy appointments, pastoral salaries and service records; and conference board and committee assignments. Plus, all about the 2015 Annual Conference; conference statistics for 2014; historical highlights; and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff, and others. Questions? Please contact Gloria Knoeller at

Order your copy now:

Voting at Annual Conference Adjourned Session
Clergy and lay members will vote again, using proven electronic devices from Padgett Communications, to select delegates to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional conferences during the Annual Conference Adjourned Session Nov. 14. The session will be held at Bethany UMC’s Macungie campus, 3801 Brookside Road, Macungie, Pa., near Allentown. Bios and personal statements of the nominees can be found on the conference Website at Laity Delegate Bios and Clergy Delegate Bios.  Also, information about the voting process can be found in two documents on the Adjourned Session webpage:
CONAM gathering to explore mixed cultures, Native American worship

A part-Native American author, lecturer and historian will speak about his book, A Clash of Cultures, at a fall worship and fellowship event on Nov. 8 (at 4 PM) at Camp Innabah (712 Pughtown Road, Spring City/Pughtown), sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference’s Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM). Darvin L. Martin will share findings about his Native and European family roots and the historic interaction between both cultures in the Susquehanna Valley. The event will include Native American Christian worship with music by the duo Spirit Wing and friends, followed by a light meal. RSVP by Oct. 30 to Felicia Anderson at or 484-762-8248.

Register your youth now for 2016 Pen-Del Youth Rally 
David Piltz, Eastern PA Conference Coordinator of Young People's Ministry, has important news for conference youth who want to attend the 2016 Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally in Ocean City, Md., Jan. 8-10, 2016, but have not yet registered. "If you did not receive a mailing  from Pen-Del and missed the early-bird special" you can call him to receive a discount code to use. Either way, "please register now. You don’t want to miss this!" said David.

The rally will feature three high-spirited days of worship, witnessing, fellowship and celebration. "WORD" is the theme, based on John 1:1, and the stage will burst forth with lights, music, praise, testimonies, humor and more highlights. Early-bird registration ($55) ends Oct. 12. Regular registration ($65) ends Nov. 2. After then, late registration is $75.  REGISTER ONLINE NOW!!  Check out the colorful online brochure

Also Eastern PA Conference youth and adult leaders will have another gathering of their own during the rally just to learn, laugh and get to meet each another. "It will be mind-blowing!" says David. And we are planning our own (second annual) Eastern PA Youth Rally. Watch for a date and details soon.
Preaching, worship event for black clergy
Preaching, worship event for black clergy
The Peninsula-Delaware Conference's Strengthening the Black Church and Congregational Development Office will sponsor a Preaching and Worship Training Event for black clergy, Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, at Whatcoat UMC, 341 Saulsbury Road Dover, Del. Presenters include Bishop Violet Fisher, the Rev. Cynthia Wilson, the Rev. William McClain, the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III and the Rev. Fred Allen. Registration is $25, which may be sent to the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, 139 N. State Street Dover, DE 19901 Attention: Judy Bratton. The deadline is Oct. 22. See the brochure for information or contact Judy Bratton at or (302) 674-2626 ext. 21
Conference launches Imagine No Malaria campaign

The Eastern PA Conference has embarked on a new, short-term Imagine No Malaria campaign to build broad awareness and financial support for the life-saving mission to eradicate the deadly disease of malaria. Bishop Peggy Johnson encourages churches to contribute $10 per worshiping member by the end of 2015 to help the denomination raise $9 million and reach its $75 million goal by 2016. She is appealing to leaders, members and churches throughout the conference to learn about this preventable disease and our collective efforts to help remedy it, and to “Press on toward the goal.” Learn more...

Register now for Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth

 Hopewell UMC will host the annual Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth full-day event Saturday, Nov. 7.  An advanced Christ Servant Ministry course will again be offered in conjunction with Planting Seeds, Nov. 6-7, beginning Friday evening. The theme is "A Force Outside the Fortress," and the keynote speaker will be the Rev. Mike Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio and keynoter at our 2014 Annual Conference. Workshops will include Growing a Mission Movement, led by Slaughter; Teaching the Bible through Film, led by Bible Professor Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch; and Exploring Our Worship Dimension, led by sacred jazz musician Warren Cooper. Register today

2016 Midwinter Retreat set for Jan. 12 in Lancaster 
The 2016 Midwinter Retreat for all clergy (elders, deacons and local pastors) and their spouses is set for Jan. 12, 2016, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, PA.  Our guest speaker is retired Chaplain, Brigadier General Charles R. “Ray” Bailey. Sharing his experiences, he will discuss reaching outside our walls to share the Good News. Chaplain Bailey, a UM elder, served churches in Texas before becoming a U.S. Army chaplain in 1982. In 2011 he became the Army's 24th Deputy Chief of Chaplains and has a powerful, personal testimony of the faith and courage of our military heroes.  Please register by Dec. 7  (due to hotel requirements). For questions contact  Amy Botti . Please note that there are only 20 openings for commuters at this event.  
2016 Faith Sharing Event set for March 19
The 2016 Faith Sharing Event is set for Saturday,  March 19 , 2016, from 9 AM to 3 PM, once again at the centrally located New Hanover UMC. Our featured guest will be the  Rev. Romal Tune , a compelling, sought-after young speaker who voices his passion, intellect and faith in fresh ways, challenging listeners to see a new intersection of faith and public life. With unapologetic candor, Tune addresses the redemptive power of authentic engagement that is too often lacking in church outreach and evangelism efforts. He authored the book  God's Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens  in 2013 and recently completed a companion devotional guide.

Associate Members and Local Pastors plan 2016 retreat

The Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences will retreat together April 24-26, 2016, at Black Rock Retreat Center, 1345 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, PA. Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors and Certified Lay Ministers are all invited to attend and may earn 2.0 CEUs. Online Registration is open now. For more information contact Mark Beiderman at 610-585-0575. Download the brochure, which contains a registration form.

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 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 Thanks!
Adjourned Session of Annual Conference
Save the Date! Nov. 14, 2015:  The Adjourned Session will be held at the Macungie campus of Bethany UMC, 3801 Brookside Road, Macungie, PA 18062. Register online
Please Save These Dates! 
January 12-14, 2016: Midwinter Retreat, DoubleTree Resort, Lancaster, PA. Online registration now open

May 10-20, 2016: UMC General Conference, Portland, OR

June 16-18, 2016: Eastern PA Annual Conference, Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Lancaster, PA

July 10-16, 2016: EPA Conference to host the 2016 UMC Northeastern  
Jurisdictional Conference Lancaster County Convention Center and the Penn Square Marriott Hotel. Each district will serve as the Hospitality Team for one day.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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