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WHAT'S NEW
September 27, 2016
An urgent message to Annual Conference voting members:

Register online by Friday, Sept. 30, for the Annual Conference Adjourned Session. No onsite registration!

Also, see the revised 2017 Connectional Ministries Budget Resolution based on possible retention of our six districts. 

Register now, if you haven't already, for the Annual Conference Adjourned Session on Oct. 1 at Bethany UMC in Macungie, PA. There will be no support staff on-hand to process walk-in registrations onsite.   Members should arrive already pre-registered.

Visit our   Adjourned Session information webpage  to read key details for the session and to download and print the agenda, the resolutions and the two alternative budgets to be voted on  (now including large-print versions).

Members should bring the printed or saved agenda and resolutions with them to the session.

Also view Bishop Peggy Johnson's   short video update  explaining the latest facts regarding the redistricting proposal.

Members should bring snacks. Lunch items will be available for sale by the church, although there will be no formal lunch break. We will collect gently used clergy shirts, stoles and robes to send to fellow clergy in Africa. Donation bins will be available in the registration area.
'Remember those who are in prison...'
( Hebrews 13:3)
At the Adjourned Session on Saturday, Oct. 1, please be sure to come by the Prison Ministries & Restorative Justice table to sign a Christmas card for a prison inmate. Share the spirit of the season by offering just a few words of blessing (suggested greetings will be available), and then sign your name. It's a small gesture than can make a big impact on a life. See our new Web story, "Sending Christmas greetings to prison inmates again" for information about this annual campaign of caring.
OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS for this week
Inviting all youth: Come share your gifts of the Spirit!
Calling all talented youth!  Don't miss the next FOHS (Full Of the Holy Spirit) gathering this Friday, Sept. 30, 7 PM, at  New Creation (Nueva Creacion) UMC at 10 W. Farnum St., Lancaster, Pa. Come for a fun-filled night of talent! This is a Christian youth event, but you do not need to belong to a church to attend. Come share your talents with the Lord, or just come and enjoy this spirit-filled celebration of young life and faith. Let us know if you want to share a talent or have any questions.

Contact OJ Ramos at  OJS@comcast.net   or  717-278-8906 . Doors open at 7 PM. Event starts at 7:30 PM, followed by light refreshments. See the flyer  and pass it on! 
Register now for 2017 Pen-Del Youth Rally, Jan. 6-8
Register now for the 2017 Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally, Jan. 6-8, at the Ocean City Convention Center.  Online Registration is live!
  • Early Bird Registration by Oct. 15: $57 (includes t-shirt)
  • Regular Registration by Nov.15: $67 (includes t-shirt)
  • Late Registration by Dec. 15: $77 (no t-shirt included)
  • Online registration closes December 15, 2016.
Afterward, tickets must be purchased at the door for $80 (with no t-shirt).
Visit  umyoungpeople.org/youth-rally and click the link on the right side of the page.

Theme: "This Is Love"  from 1 John 4:10. Featuring motivational speaker Steve Fitzhugh, a "champion for youth," along with Rend Collective, Zealand Worship Band, Dave & Brian, and a full concert by gospel singer Tasha Cobbs.
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.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this Saturday
La Trinidad UMC in Allentown will celebrate its Hispanic heritage with food, music, fellowship and more this Saturday, Oct 1, from 3 to 7 PM, at Asbury UMC, 1533 Springhouse Rd, Allentown, PA. Conference members can just come over after the Adjourned Session before they head home. It's a short drive.  For information call 973-865-6582 or 717-940-3090. Donations are welcome to support the church's ministries.
Sabbath learning retreat for clergy spouses cancelled
The " Sabbath: Break ... or Brick? " half-day retreat for clergy spouses, scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 1, has been cancelled due to date conflicts and low registrations. ARTOS Retreats has scheduled the next retreat for Saturday, Nov. 5. Created by clergy spouses for clergy spouses, the retreats help persons in this helping ministry role claim spiritual Sabbaths to relieve burdens unique to their circumstances. It is sponsored in part by the Bishop's Office.  
Celebrate World Communion Sunday Oct. 2
Celebrate World Communion with other Christians around the globe this Sunday, Oct. 2, and receive the churchwide designated offering that supports higher education and ministry training for racial-ethnic students and interns and for international Crusade Scholars. Helpful, informative resources are available to support your observance. So is a downloadable, easy-to-use  World Communion Sunday Pastor's Kit  that has everything you need to promote this special Sunday and celebrate with a memorable service .Also c hurch leaders can view a new, free e-book,   "A Dozen Ways to Promote and Celebrate World Communion Sunday.

Note: If your church plans to do something special to celebrate World Communion Sunday, please let us know about it--whether before or afterward. Write to us at communications@epaumc.org   
Conference extends 2 job application deadlines
to Oct. 7
The Eastern PA Conference is extending application deadlines for two current job openings until Oct. 7. Learn more about job openings on our   Classifieds webpage .
  • Support Associate-Accounting I, part-time at 15 hours per week, to do remittance data entry. The starting date for this position will be based on the desired applicant's availability.  Resumes and cover letters should be sent to umjobs@epaumc.org by Oct. 7.
  • District Resource Assistant for the Central District, a full-time, non-exempt position with a starting date dependent on the desired applicant's availability. Resumes and cover letters should be sent to umjobs@epaumc.org by Oct. 7.
Come join UM Men's hunt for ocean fossils Oct. 8
Come join our search for real ocean fossils  Saturday, Oct. 8,   at  Hawk Mountain  (1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA). Plus, watch the migration of eagles and raptors of all sorts. Hawk Mountain is a wildlife sanctuary, scientific research center, eco-tourism and learning facility, a conservation training site and one of the best places in northeastern North America to view the annual autumn hawk migration. We will gather in Drehersville at Salem UMC, on 895 just off of route 61, between    9 and 9:30 AM. (Use 49 Church Lane, Drehersville, PA for your GPS.).

This fossil search event is open to all and sponsored by the UM Men. No fee for the hunt, but all participants must sign a release form.

Contact conference Prayer Advocate Dennis Wack at 267-753-5332 or gemmaster3000@yahoo.com or Dave Botzer at  dbotzer@hotmail.com  Fee for Hawk Mountain: $12 for adults, $9 for children. Please post and  share our flyer.
'Open wide your hearts,' Bishop urges churches
Eastern PA Conference members should read Bishop Peggy Johnson's recent blog essay, Open wide your hearts. She challenges us to live out the popular United Methodist Church motto "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" so that it's not just an advertising campaign slogan but a true, welcoming promise to all.

"Do we welcome everyone in our churches in the Eastern PA Conference?" she asks. "Everyone includes all races, ethnicities, genders or gender identities, sexual orientations, marital statuses, abilities, ages, theological perspectives and socio-economic classes....We should strive to be as inclusive and loving as possible. That is what people are hungering for, and it is what we should be planning and reaching for."

This bishop reminds us of Annual Conference Resolution 2016-17 ( Resolution on Radical Welcome), approved as amended in June. It states: "Therefore be it resolved that the Eastern PA Annual Conference encourages all churches to practice radical welcome to LGBTQ persons in specific and tangible ways."

It also invites churches to participate as a welcoming presence at the upcoming 26th annual Philadelphia OutFest 2016, purportedly the nation's largest, on Sunday, Oct. 9. The event is related to National Coming Out Day for LGBTQ persons, celebrated on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Learn more... 
New museum brings a needed message for our world
Bishop Johnson' other new essay, "A new museum brings a needed message for our world," is also a compelling read. After attending the recent General Board of Church and Society meeting, she and other board members went to see the new African American Museum of History and Culture in the nation's capital the day before it opened to the public. "Excitement and joy was in the air," she witnessed, as her group prayed outside the huge, distinctive edifice.

As our nation focuses on the frequent, fatal shootings of black citizens by police officers, this new museum should remind us to focus also on the fruitful lives of African Americans and not just their deaths. She says we should take time to learn about their lives and legacies--including touring the Smithsonian Institution's new star attraction--and we should honor their essential contributions to our diverse, complex American story, offered in the face of great struggle and suffering. Learn more...  
Newspaper ad shares NEJ Bishops' statement on racism, violence
An historic advertisement appeared in the Sept. 22 Thursday metro edition of the daily Philadelphia Tribune. It shares the UMC Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops July 13 statement about working to dismantle racism, to heal the pain of violence and oppression, and to become effective peacemakers. The Eastern PA Conference purchased space for the unprecedented, 10" x 4" ad to fulfill an official request made by Lenora Thompson at the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference that was endorsed by her fellow delegates. The request was that all NEJ conferences buy ad space in any local newspaper of their choice to share the bishops groundbreaking statement with the general public.

Although we wish we could have chosen a broader newspaper circulation for the ad, we chose the Thursday Northwest Metro edition of the Tribune for reasons of affordability and readership reach and impact. That edition is distributed primarily to the Trib's 160,000 readers in Germantown, Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, Olney, Chestnut Hill and other nearby communities. 

Copies of both the ad and  the ad page are available on our website, accessible from the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference page and Bishop Peggy Johnson's page.
REMINDERS
Delayed Annual Budget Letter due Oct. 14
The Conference Treasurer's Office will send the 2016 Annual Budget Letter to senior pastors Oct. 14. The mailing date is delayed several weeks because of the scheduled Oct. 1. Adjourned Session of Annual Conference plus necessary follow-up meetings of the Conference Board of Trustees and Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
 
Churches that need to develop 2017 financial plans prior to Oct. 14 should use 2016 apportionment figures (for Connectional Ministries, World Service, and General Church funds) and 2016 direct bill figures, plus add 5% for an estimate for 2017. Please note: The actual figures sent to churches in October may be higher or lower than these estimates, based on actions taken at the Adjourned Session and by the Board of Trustees and Board of Pensions and Health Benefits.
 
The Budget Letter will include a written description of the charges on the monthly remittance form, including who is responsible for which payments and what the payments are for.
UMW to celebrate continuing legacy of service Oct. 15
The Eastern PA Conference United Methodist Women will hold its 43rd Annual Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 AM to 3 PM, at Quakertown UMC (1875 Freier Road). Their theme is The Legacy: Continuing The Journey of UMW, 1869 to Present.   Ruth Daugherty and Hattie Hamilton will speak as UMW pioneers Isabella Thoburn, an educator, and Clara Swain, a doctor, who were the first missionaries sent to India by the newly formed Methodist Woman's Foreign Missionary Society in 1869. The $15 registration cost includes lunch. Mail registration forms and checks (payable to EPA-UMW) by the Sept. 30 deadline to: Mary Ann Repsher 164 South Ninth St. Bangor, PA 18013  Phone: 610-588-1084. E-mail: rep164@frontiernet.net .

Also, the UMW's Mission u 2017 has been scheduled for July 21-22 in Reading, Pa., with geographic, issue and spiritual growth study components. See the flyer and save the dates.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month
Tell us what your church will do special to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month in October? Please send us creative ideas, words of tribute for pastors and celebratory photos. If we get some good stuff, we'll report it in Digest and post it on the conference website in a special Pastor Appreciation Month feature, with updates throughout October.

How about honoring a group of pastors together at one event? The Southwest District will honor its pastors at an annual Pastor Appreciation Breakfast  on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 9 to 10:30 AM, at Grandview UMC in Lancaster. They'll have food, door prizes, juggling entertainment and words of appreciation for "all the work you do-all the preaching, prayer, visitation, counseling, etc.," according to the invitation.  
NEWSpirit  DIGEST  BRIEFS
Interested in becoming a Certified Lay Minister?
Register now for Orientation/Admission Sessions for the Certified Lay Ministry Class of 2017, which begins in April 2017. All prospective candidates must attend one of eight Orientation/Admission sessions, which are held from September to December at Asbury UMC in Allentown, or at West Lawn UMC in Reading, or at the Eastern PA Conference Office in Norristown. To register see the  Orientation/Admission sessions schedule, and contact Judy Ehninger, CLM Program Coordinator at 610-442-3140  or by e-mail at  Ehninger@ptd.net. Learn about Certified Lay Ministers on the Christ Servant Ministries website. 
Register now for Changing Racism class, Oct. 28-30
Register now for the next Changing Racism class, Oct. 28-30, to gain understanding of racism and ways to  change attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate racial bias, discrimination and conflict. Learn to recognize and challenge racial privilege, exclusion and disadvantage, as well as institutional racism, dysfunctional behaviors and internalized oppression. The weekend class, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, is led by a pair of expert, diverse facilitators-black and white, male and female-from Visions, Inc. Participants often foster cross-racial bonds of communication and compassion through candid conversation and shared experiences.

The Eastern PA Conference-only class, required for all persons engaged in key ministry roles, will convene at a new location:
Daylesford Abbey at 220 South Valley Road, Paoli, PA. Registration-limited to 20 participants -costs $300, and full payment is due at time of registration. (Refunds are issued only for cancellations over 30 days prior to the class.) This is not a commuter event; the registration cost includes a single room and all meals. The class awards two continuing education units (CEUs) and satisfies the requirement for Healing the Wounds of Racism training. Register Online or download and use the 2016 Registration Form .   To learn more about Changing Racism, see the article Race Matters: Seeking to bridge the divide .
Hopewell's Planting Seeds event set for Oct. 22
Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth , presented by Hopewell UMC, Downingtown, PA, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22, from 1:30 to 6:30 PM. Onsite registration begins at 12:30 PM. The annual leadership event will close with a worship rally, following refreshments and fellowship.

This year's focus is Kingdom Building, with keynote speaker and workshop presenter Reggie McNeal,  a widely respected author and speaker on the church and its missional future. He will address "Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church--and What We Should Do Instead."  McNeal will also teach on "Leading Church-as-Movement." Additional workshops will be taught by: 
  • The Rev. David Woolverton, pastor of St. Paul's UMC Elizabethtown: "Forgive and Remember: Discovering Forgiveness with Conflict", and
  • Dr. Peter Loedel, West Chester University faculty: "Divided Nation." 
Hopewell just announced they will  offer something new this year: two extra workshops at 12 noon: "Spirituality and Labyrinth Walking" and "Financial Peace and Stewardship." Find out more by downloading the new, revised flyer and share it with others.
 
Register on Hopewell's website at  www.hopewellumc.org/planting-seeds-2016. For more information, contact Deb Boyd.  
Come learn about Radical Disciple-Making Oct.  8
Don't miss a dynamic learning event that could become pivotal in transforming your church's discipleship efforts from routine to radical.  Thorndale UMC  (3503 Lincoln Highway, Thorndale, PA. Phone: 610-384-2433) will host a Radical Disciple-Making Seminar  on  Saturday, Oct.  8 , from 8:30 AM to 3:45 PM.
 
The seminar will be led by the  Effective Church Group, directed by renowned church growth author, coach and discipleship development expert Bill Easum.  It will offer practical strategies and profound insights to teach participants how every church can grow to become a radical disciple-making force for Jesus Christ. Read  Bishop Johnson's letter  and visit the  seminar website  to find out more.You can register online at www.radicaldisciplemaking.com.  Contact the Rev. Mark Moore of Thorndale UMC with questions at   mark.moore@thorndaleumc.org.
Bishop's Days on the Districts
NW District--Sept. 27; SE District--Oct. 3; SW District--Oct. 4; Central District--Oct. 17; NE District--Oct. 19; and East District--Oct. 20.  
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-digestShare 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!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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