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October 24, 2016
Celebrate enduring saints on All Saints Day, Nov. 1 
"It has been said that saints have the light of Christ shining through them," writes Bishop Peggy Johnson in her new Bishop's Blog essay celebrating All Saints Day (Nov. 1). While viewing an historic Catholic church's awe-inspiring stained-glass windows depicting saints of old, she recalls the dark, painful struggles many of those saints endured while the light of Christ shone through them. For her, their radiance portrayed in sunlit windows represents their eternal reward for suffering. And it foreshadows our reward as well for lives lived courageously in the light of Christ. Learn more...
Visit the Bishop's Blog to read this and other recent essays.
Claiming Sabbath for clergy spouses, Nov. 5
Don't miss this retreat "created FOR clergy spouses BY clergy spouses" on Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 AM to 3 PM, at Black Rock Retreat Center, Quarryville, Pa. Learn how to celebrate Sabbath according to the Bible, not the calendar, and how to cope with the burdens and boundaries of one's roles and responsibilities. Connect with other clergy spouses to safely share common concerns and solutions. Enjoy and find helpful wisdom in the light-hearted Sabbath Game. Also enjoy inspirational music, lunch and fellowship. Download the Flyer!  Register online for $40, by Oct. 29 (no later!). Learn about payment options and if you are eligible for discounts or a partial scholarship. Contact Julie Anderman at This retreat is sponsored in part by the Eastern PA Conference's Episcopal Office.
CONAM to plant Tree of Peace at worship event, Nov. 6
In the fall issue of NEWSpirit the Rev. Christopher Kurien, Director of Connectional Ministries, invites us to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November by joining the Committee on Native American Ministries in a special worship service on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 4 PM. The celebration, at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center in Spring City, will also include music, Native American-style social dances, a fellowship meal and a slide presentation by CONAM member Bob Hinderliter from his recent visit with Native communities in Montana.

Prior to the service, participants will plant a Tree of Peace, a symbol for peaceful unity among early Iroquois people and the Five Nations Confederacy.  "In such troubling, divisive times as these," writes Kurien, "this symbolic tree can be a prayerful plea for peace in our many contemporary struggles." He describes situations that seem to cry out for peace in our church, our nation and our world. But the first planting he calls for are seeds of prayer to seek God's help.

"Prayer is always the right place to begin because it brings us together in community before the God we love and serve," writes Kurien. "In prayer we can discern what God wants us to do about the issues that face us. In prayer we will be led to act in ways we did not anticipate, because prayer changes everything." Learn more...
Deliver signed Christmas Cards for inmates by Nov 7
The deadline to deliver signed Christmas Cards for Prison Inmates  to your District Office or to the Conference Office is coming fast. All cards must be delivered by Monday, Nov. 7, so we can collect, examine, sort and deliver them in time to area correctional institutions. Your individual or church contribution to this conference-wide effort is crucial, so that we can surpass our remarkable 2015 total of nearly 5,000 delivered cards. Read about this ministry.

Our partner institutions are participating in this ministry with us again, having seen the way our Christmas cards were so appreciated by their resident inmates last year. Share the love of Christ and the spirit of Christmas with someone who may need a personal greeting of encouragement. Suggested greetings are provided.

Please get your cards signed (first names only), collected and delivered to our offices by Nov. 7. Thanks! 

Seasons of Prayer & Praise: Winter 2017
As challenging as 2016 has been, 2017 may prove to be even more so, as we embark on new, unpredictable four-year journeys for both our church and our nation. In both arenas, we are a people in conflict, encountering doubt, discord, disruption and division. But we are also a people of faith, who lean heavily on the steadfast promises of God.

So it is in our constant prayers and our confident praise that together we can seek and find unity, loving harmony and the blessed assurance of all things hoped for in God. The United Methodist Council of Bishops' Commission on the Way Forward has asked each annual conference to take turns praying vigilantly for one week. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference will pray together during the week of January 8-14, 2017.

In fact, throughout 2017 our conference will present opportunities for God's people to gather in inspirational prayer and praise. We will teach, learn and celebrate these and other grace disciplines that are the mighty works of our faith. At least five of those opportunities-two for youth and three for adults-will happen during the 2017 winter months. Learn more...
Pen-Del Youth Rally 2017: "This Is Love"
The annual Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally will return to the Ocean City (Md.) Convention Center January 6-8 (from Friday evening to Sunday morning).  Thewinter weekendrally and retreat will offer praise and worship, learning and laughter through games, fellowship and plenty of fun.  Register early online by Nov.15 for $67 or by Dec. 15 for $77 at
The theme is  "This Is Love" from 1 John 4:10. Featured guests will be motivational speaker and "champion for youth" Steve Fitzhugh, along with Rend Collective, Zealand Worship Band, Dave & Brian, and a full concert by gospel singer Tasha Cobbs.

FOHS (Full of the Holy Spirit)
Calling all talented youth...again!   Don't miss the next  FOHS gathering Friday, Jan. 20, 7 PM, at  New Birth UMC, Lebanon. Come for a fun-filled, high-energy night of young talent with uplifting, celebrative music in English and Spanish, plus dance and spoken words of wisdom! Also, enjoy dinner after the program. This is a Christian youth event, but you do not have to belong to a church to attend. Come one and all to share your talents with the Lord, or just come and enjoy this spirit-filled celebration of life and faith. Spread the word! 
Restoration 2017: "Prayer, Praise and Presence"
The Restoration 2017 Retreat is Bishop Peggy Johnson's invitation to clergy and lay members of the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences, to gather in retreat January 26-28, at the Sands Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The theme is "Prayer, Praise and Presence." The purpose: "Finding new life in the spiritual disciplines to bring strength to our Christian journey." This event replaces the former Mid-Winter Retreat for Clergy and Spouses that had drawn fewer participants over the past several years.
The focus of this Restoration retreat is to bring to light aspects of ministry, life, and community that need to be restored within us on our journey of making disciples. Our guest speaker will be the Rev. Junius Dotson, the new General Secretary of UM Discipleship Ministries.
All are invited to join in this gathering to pray, praise and worship God in the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Worship will begin the retreat Thursday evening and end it Saturday morning. In-between there will be ample time for prayer and personal reflection, workshops, fellowship and meals together, and even laughter inspired by a guest comedian. Two (2) CEUs will be granted for attendance.
Online registration will be available once all the program details are finalized. With October being Clergy Appreciation Month, Bishop Johnson is asking churches to consider showing appreciation and care for pastors and their families by gifting the cost of their registration for Restoration. 
Faith-Sharing Training Event  
Our 2017 annual Faith-Sharing Training Event will happen March 18, from 8:30 AM to 2 PM, at New Hanover UMC. Our guest presenter is the Rev. Terry Teykel, a leading "prayer evangelist" and popular speaker and author. He travels the world encouraging churches to develop and strengthen prayer ministries as a means of revival and transformation.
Teykel, the founder of Renewal Ministries and Prayer Point Press, has authored several books, including The Presence-Based Church, My Most Wanted: 40 Days to Pray for the Lost, and Pray the Price: United Methodists United in Prayer. He has spent his life teaching churches how to develop a heartfelt, meaningful relationship with the Lord. His warm, humorous style makes him a much-sought after speaker and seminar leader.
"We believe that when prayer and evangelism are reunited the Church will emerge as a powerful force for reclaiming the land and setting the captives free."      -Terry Teykl. 

Learn more about this passionate, powerful speaker and man of God.
Clergy Lenten Day Apart
And on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the day before Ash Wednesday, clergy across the conference will gather at locations in their respective districts for a Clergy Lenten Day Apart. They will pray, worship and fellowship together in preparation for the beginning of the Holy season of Lent.  
More prayer, praise and study events coming in the Spring:
  • April 22: Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally. 9 AM to 4 PM at Hopewell UMC, Downington, PA. Theme: "Wake Up, God's People! God's People, Wake Up!"
  • April 23-25 - Local Pastors and Associate Members Retreat. At Black Rock Retreat Center, Quarryville, PA. Theme: "The Authority of Scripture."
  • April 29: Tools for Ministry (possibly including classes on prayer, worship and other spiritual disciplines). Times and locations determined by districts.
We're looking for examples of creative educational ministries
In the fall issue of NEWSpirit we plan to feature some innovative local church ministries that focus on education. In this back-to-school season, we're highlighting churches that: adopt schools; support and celebrate teachers; provide students and families with backpacks, school uniforms and supplies; or offer after-school tutoring and enrichment experiences, supplemental in-church learning programs, and other ministries.
If your church, or a UM church you know of, has a ministry that supports or enhances education, please let us know about it, so we can share that good news with our readers. We'll publish some in our newspaper and others on the conference website. Please write to us at (or or call 484-762-8227. 
Advanced Sexual Ethics Workshop   
"Things Every Pastor Should Know." Oct. 29, 9 AM - 3 PM at Grandview UMC Lancaster. $35 fee. How to deal with a sexual misconduct crisis and other "what ifs" in the local church. Rev. Bev Andrews, a conference I-Care team member, will help participants create an "emergency preparedness kit." Learn more and register.
Changing Racism  Workshop
Learn background, strategies and skills for changing attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate bias, discrimination and other obstacles to racial equity. Oct. 28-30 (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) at Daylesford Abbey (New Location), 220 South Valley Road, Paoli. Registration is $300 payable when registering. 2 CEUs awarded upon completion. Learn more and register. 
UMVIM Team Leader Training Nov. 12
The Rev. Greg Ellis, Eastern PA Conference UM Volunteers in Mission (VIM) coordinator, announces a training for current and future VIM team leaders on Saturday, Nov 12, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Faith UMC, 1160 Clause Drive, Stroudsburg, PA. The cost of $35 includes training materials and lunch. (Register online.) The training facilitator will be the Rev. Tom Lank, VIM Coordinator for the UMC's Northeastern Jurisdiction. A deacon in the Greater New Jersey Conference, his specialization is in missions and peace with justice ministries. Learn more...
Legacy & Planned Giving workshop, 
Nov. 12
Christ UMC Fairless Hills will host a 90-minute Legacy and Planned Giving Workshop, Saturday, Nov. 12,  10-11:30 AM. J ack Brooks, CEO of the Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation, will share tools, techniques, and materials about this important aspect of Christian stewardship. Attendees will receive a copy of the book  Provide and Protect, along with other resources, case studies and answers to important financial questions. There is no cost for the workshop, but registration is required. Call Christ UMC at 215-943-2343, or email:  Download and share the  event flyer.
Social Entrepreneurship seminar for clergy  Nov. 16
Elders, Deacons, Local Pastors to meet separately afterwards 
All clergy and ministry candidates are encouraged to attend a Social Entrepreneurship & Economic Development half-day seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 8:30 AM to 1 PM, at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center (712 Pughtown Road, Spring City). Then attendees should stay for hour-long retreat meetings of the Order of Elders, Order of Deacons and Local Pastors Fellowship, at 1-2 PM.

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

"Social entrepreneurship is a form of entrepreneurship that integrates social goals and social problem-solving into the core business model," explains our presenter, Dr. Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D. He is Academic Director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, a Rutgers University Associate Professor of Management & Global Business, and Director of Rutgers' Business School and its New Jersey Social Innovation Institute. 
Wake up, God's People!... 
All-day Eastern PA Youth Rally, April 22, 2017
And for the trifecta of upcoming youth events, plan to attend the 3rd Annual Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally on Saturday, April 22, 2017. For the first time, this youth rally will last all day, from 9 AM to 4 PM. We're planning fantastic features, with dynamic speakers, soul-stirring music, fun games, powerful prayers, laugh-out-loud humor, great food and hospitality, and enough friendship and fellowship moments to give you a lifetime of memories. Don't dare miss it! See and share the flyer, and look for more details, coming soon.
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, 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 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!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  |
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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