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WHAT'S NEW--Oct. 7, 2015
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new appointment changes
  • Rev. Amy Emmett-Rardin from  Extension Ministry Full-tme Chaplain, Crossroads Hospice to  Extension Ministry Chaplain, Brookdale Senior Living (50%) and Spiritual Director in Private Practice (50%), effective September 24, 2015
Sunday, Oct. 18, is Laity Sunday   
UM Discipleship Ministries suggests Scripture, prayers and hymns for this day of celebrating lay discipleship. This year's theme is “Disciples Called to Action: Creating Unity in Ministry,” although if you visit the agency site, you might also see the key phrase “Lift High the Cross!”  See the Worship Helps page for Resources.
Financial Leadership Series for Laity suspended
The Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation's Financial Leadership Series for Laity, scheduled to launch in November, has been suspended due to a lack of response. The foundation will seek other opportunities to fulfill its strategic mission that includes providing financial stewardship education for local church leaders in an increasingly challenging fiscal environment.  For more information or to be invited to future programs please contact the Foundation at 800-828-9093 Ext 7008.
Women in Professional Ministry to meet
Women in Professional Ministry will gather for lunch at Sayers UMC (6101 Catharine St., Philadelphia, PA) Oct. 15, 10 AM. Attendees should bring $10 to pay for lunch and look forward to sharing spiritual disciplines that feed their faith. Bring electronic devices to share apps used for meditation, plus favorite coloring books or other spiritual discipline materials. The group will also have “An Advent Morning Apart” with Bishop Peggy Johnson Dec. 9, at 10 AM, at the Bishop's Residence. More details to follow. RSVP to Rev. Monica Guepet at if you wish to attend either of these events.
Bishop Johnson to speak at Moravian Seminary

 Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach and serve Holy Communion at Moravian Theological Seminary Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 12 noon, in the Bahnson Center.  Her sermon will be titled, “What the Blind Man Saw,” based on Mark 10:46-52. Following the service, she will lead a discussion on “Sexuality and the United Methodist Church.”  All are invited to attend. Moravian Theological Seminary is located at 60 West Locust Street, Bethlehem, PA. Call 610-861-1516.

Camp Innabah needs a truck

Camp Innabah urgently needs a truck “as soon as possible, before the first snow,” reports Sally W. Ott, Camp & Retreat Ministries Development Coordinator. Their current pick-up truck has reached the end of its road. A plow is needed as well. This equipment is a vital need for a year-round camp and retreat center. If not for free, they are looking for a good deal on a pre-owned truck in good condition.  If you can help contact Sally at or 717-468-7017, or call Michael Hyde, Innabah’s director, at the camp office, 610-469-6111.

Healing Communities  Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice event Oct. 10 
The Eastern PA Conference will sponsor a Healing Communities training Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 AM to 4 PM, at St. Matthews UMC of Valley Forge, 600 Walker Rd, Wayne, PA. Healing Communities is a proven, national model of engaging congregations and communities in restoring relationships among those who have been impacted by crime and the criminal justice system.
Boehm's Chapel 30th  Annual Apple Festival promises historic favorites

Boehm’s Chapel will hold its 30th annual Apple Festival Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9 AM to 3 PM., rain or shine, at Boehm’s UMC, 13 West Boehm's Church Road, Willow Street, PA. An array of tents will harbor old-fashioned treats, including homemade apple butter, apple dumplings and baked goods, plus kids' games like the ever popular 'apple sling-shot.' Lunch fare will be scattered around the campus, and vendors will display homemade crafts en route to the old chapel and inside the church fellowship hall. The historical video “More than Just a Chapel on a Hill,” about the Boehm family and the chapel, will be shown in the  historic 1791 chapel. Admission and parking are free. For additional information contact Dolores Myers, Executive Director of the Boehm’s Chapel Society by e-mail or call 717-872-4133.

Learn about growing missions in India

Join Huntingdon Valley UMC (3470 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon Valley, PA) for the 6th Annual Conference of the India Harvest Network this weekend, Oct. 9-10. IHN encourages churches, individuals and mission agencies to become more active in the evangelization of India. Inspired by Psalm 2:8 ("Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession.") and the growth of missions in India, the free network event will offer seminars, worship with offerings and meals. For more information and to register online: 215-728-6000. Learn more...

Latino young people to gather for worship 'Full of Holy Spirit'   

The Latino Commission will co-sponsor an exciting conference-wide Latino youth worship and praise event at New Creation UMC in Lancaster (formerly El Redentor & St. Paul’s UMC, at 10 W.Varnum St.) on Friday, Oct. 16, from 7 to 11 PM. The 11 Latino churches in our conference will send their youth of all ages, but organizers are also inviting youth from other Christian churches in the Lancaster area. With the theme "2020 Vision," the event will feature youth-led worship, dance, music, drama and other forms of praise. "Our youth will bring their many talents to God," said Jose Tirado, pastor of Cristo Rey UMC in West Grove, who will preach the evening message and deliver an altar call, during which youth (and adults) will pray for each other. Organizers hope to revive the FOHS (Full of Holy Spirit) youth worship events begun during Latino Camp at Gretna Glen several years ago and repeated annually. For more information contact the New Creation UMC at 717-393-3035 or

New essays in From Pulpit & Pew blog

Check out our Website blog, From Pulpit & Pew, to see two new contributions. Barbara A. Stein, Lay Leader at Salem UMC, Orwigsburg, writes about the gifts galore her congregation has bestowed on its pastors for Pastor Appreciation Month annually since 2007. And the Rev. David W. Brown recalls the frenzy surrounding Pope Francis’ recent visit to Philadelphia as part of the World Meeting of Families and his own experience working behind the scenes. While he didn't get to meet the Pope as expected, he was in good company with many other volunteers serving faithfully in the city they love.

NOTE: This blog invites submission of short (under 800 words), appropriate essays from anyone--lay or clergy (preferably, but not solely, members of the Eastern PA Conference)--on any suitable topic that relates to faith, ministry, service or other forms of discipleship. Got something on your mind or heart that you want to share. Please e-mail it to us at, and we'll consider publishing it in From Pulpit & Pew. Thanks!

PA Council of Churches event to explore flawed criminal justice system

The Pennsylvania Council of Churches (PCC) urgently invites all to attend an important weekend gathering in the capital city, Oct. 23-26, to educate people of faith about mass incarceration in the nation's troubled criminal justice system and how churches can respond. "Let Our Eyes Be Opened: Breaking the Chains of Mass Incarceration" will happen at Harrisburg's Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center Friday evening through Sunday, October 23-25, and then move to a day of social action at the State Capitol Monday, Oct. 26. This gathering for clergy and laity replaces the council's former annual Pennsylvania Pastors Conference. Learn more and register online...

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

Connectional Table offers online videos, conversation aids for General Conference preparation

The UMC's chief coordinating body for programs and operations is offering a new weekly video series to prompt helpful conversations about concerns coming to the 2016 General Conference next May. The Connectional Table (CT) will launch the series this month to help inform church leaders and General Conference delegates as part of an engaging online forum called #CTTalks. Weekly posts will include interviews with UM bishops, CT members and other denominational leaders. A conversation page with questions and answers will enhance dialogue as well. Topics will range from General Conference Culture and Christian Conferencing to Vital Congregations and the Worldwide Nature of the Church. The videos and the conversation sheets will be available on the Connectional Table website.  

The Growing Role of Local Pastors

“Local pastors are the future of United Methodist church leadership.” Remember when the Rev. Mike Slaughter proclaimed that bold assertion at our 2014 Annual Conference? Take a look at the new series of UM News Service articles about local pastors. These non-ordained clergy, who often don’t have seminary degrees, are growing in number and taking on more roles in the UMC. Writer Sam Hodges explores the rapid, trending growth of part-time local pastors, the use of local pastors in Hispanic/Latino church outreach, and the challenges faced by local pastors in Central Conferences. He also profiles six part-time local pastors of the West Virginia Conference, including a grocer, a corrections officer and the 2013 state Teacher of the Year. See Trending Local: The Growing Role of Local Pastors

9 tips for communicating with Hispanic/Latino neighbors

The Eastern PA Conference’s Latino Commission annually offers a workshop for non-Latino churches on reaching, inviting and welcoming Hispanic/Latino neighbors in communities with growing Latino populations. Today's congregations are challenged to become more effective in communicating across demographic and cultural divides. Is your church located in a rapidly changing community with an influx of Hispanic and Latino families? Do you wish to reach out to these new residents, inviting them into your church family and church activities? Here are nine tips on communicating with Latino neighbors, offered by UM Communications.

News from the Pension & Health Benefits Office
Open Enrollment meetings scheduled
Open Enrollment meetings to present and explain 2016 health insurance coverage plans to active, participating clergy and lay church employees are  scheduled for each district   . All enrollments must be done online. Please try to attend the meeting scheduled for your area, although you may attend a meeting at any location. There is no passive enrollment  this year.  Members must enroll in a specific plan or they will have no coverage in 2016. These meetings will provide information about the plans and enable attendees to confer with consultants and receive assistance in signing up for coverage. The meetings are free, but registration is required.
UMPIP pension accounts to allow Roth contributions 
Pension plan participants will be able to make Roth contributions to their UMPIP accounts beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits will contact plan participants in October to explain Roth contributions, savings and important tax considerations. Please examine the Contribution Guide for Roth contributions to UMPIP. Learn more...
Medical exam equipment available to donate 
Two machines for providing medical examinations, both in excellent condition, are available for donation to a Christian service organization. One is a mobile X-ray machine that is certified and 2015 PA inspected. It works off a 110 outlet and weighs around 100 lb or less. It comes will all the accessories. It would be perfect in the mission field or in any areas where you need to transport equipment with you. The other item is an ultrasound machine that was used very little. If you know where this equipment could be used in ministry, please contact Pastor Steve Rodgers, or 626-2710.
Premarital/Marital Counseling Training--Register by Oct. 9 
Prepare-Enrich Premarital/Marital Counseling materials were developed by Dr. David Olson at the University of Minnesota.  Almost 3 million couples have benefited from their use. Couples take an online assessment and are then guided by a trained facilitator to gain experience in communication skills, conflict resolution, stress management, financial decision-making, and a host of other potential marital issues. To administer the materials, persons must attend an 8-hour workshop. Rev. Lloyd Speer will be conducting a training workshop on October 29, 2015 at Christ United Methodist Church, 501 Wistar Road, Fairless Hills PA 19030. The deadline for registration is Oct. 9, 2015  To register, go to to fill out and mail a printable registration form. The cost is $220 and includes certification, lunch, and materials.  For more information, contact Lloyd Speer at 215-943-2343, or
Pastor offers DivorceCare group counseling

The Rev. John Bletsch will offer DivorceCare, a 13-week group program designed to help people who are going through, or have recently gone through, the painful experience of marital separation and divorce. The group will meet Sundays, beginning Oct. 11, from 5 to 6:30 PM, in the fellowship hall of Otterbein UMC (181 Walnut St, Mont Clare, PA). They will discuss material to help them cope with the practical, emotional and spiritual stresses that separation and divorce generate. The cost is $35 for a participant workbook. The group is open to anyone, says Bletsch, who chairs the Conference Communications Ministry Team, "so please consider inviting friends or family members who might be working through issues related to separation and divorce." Contact him by phone (610-933-8690) or email ( to register or ask any questions.  

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:
Bishop's district talks to cover varied topics
Bishop Peggy Johnson hits the road again next week with her annual Days on the Districts tour. She begins Oct. 8 in the Southeast District, followed by the Central (Oct. 13) and East (Oct. 14) districts. She enlarges her territory further the ensuing week when she visits the Northeast (Oct. 20), Northwest (Oct. 22) and Southwest (Oct. 28) districts. She will report news happening across the Eastern PA Conference. But she will also discuss controversial issues emerging for the 2016 General and .Jurisdictional conferences, promote commitment to the new Imagine No Malaria campaign, and shine a timely spotlight on race relations and reconciliation. Learn more...
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.
Refurbished Conference Archives to reopen Oct. 19
Historic St. George's UMC in Philadelphia will celebrate the long-awaited opening of the refurbished Archives of the Eastern PA Conference with an Open House on Oct. 19, from 2 to 4 PM.  Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Maridel Whitmore, the venerable church's first female pastor, will jointly dedicate this vital treasury of our conference's rich heritage. Come tour the restored facilities, and enjoy fellowship over tea at 3 PM with Archivist Donna Miller and other supporters whose endeavors made it all possible.  Historic St. George's UMC is at 235 N 4th St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. Register now . Contact Donna at or  215-925-7788 with any questions.
  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...

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.

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.  
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! 
Oct. 8-28: Bishop's Days on the Districts
  • Oct. 8: Southeast District
  • Oct. 13: Central District
  • Oct. 14: East District
  • Oct. 20: Northeast District
  • Oct. 22: Northwest District
  • Oct. 28: Southwest District
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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