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September 9, 2016
 Peggy  Johnson   announces  new pastoral appointments or assignments

Northeast District
  • The Rev. Charles Englehart  (Retired Local Pastor) from Freeland: Park UMC and Weatherly: Centenary UMC, to Weatherly: Centenary UMC.
  • The Rev. Dr. Larry Pickens (Interim On-Loan Elder) from: Lehigh Valley Conference of Churches (Extension Ministry, Northern Illinois Conference) to Lehigh Valley Conference of Churches (Extension Ministry, Northern Illinois Conference) and Allentown: Emmanuel UMC (1/2 time), effective August 1, 2016.

  • The Rev. Brunilda Martinez (Part-Time Local Pastor) from Allentown: La Trinidad UMC (1/2 time) to Allentown: La Trinidad UMC (1/2 time) and Wind Gap: First UMC (1/4 time),
    effective August 1.
Wims leaves Eastern PA staff for Wisconsin
Tamara C. Wims, CPA, Eastern PA Conference Support Associate in Accounting for the past six years, has been elected by the UMC's Wisconsin Annual Conference as its new Treasurer and Director of Administration. Her last day on our staff was Friday, Sept. 9, and she begins her new job on Monday, Sept. 12.

Wims, hired by the Wisconsin Conference August 25, is a graduate of Temple University's Fox School of Business. A lifelong member of Mid-Town Parish UMC, she is a newly elected member of the General Council on Finance and Administration and is Treasurer of the Philadelphia Caucus of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. She also has been a leader of the Conference Council on Young Adult Ministry and received the 2016 Denman Award at Annual Conference.

"I am excited and also anxious about taking on this new role," wrote Wims in a letter to her conference colleagues, "but I know that my work at the Eastern PA Conference has adequately prepared me."  Learn more...
Beth Lishon promoted in Conference Accounting Office
Following the departure of Tamara Wims, current staffer Beth Lishon will transition into her former position of Support Associate-Accounting II on Oct. 3. She currently works part-time as Central District Resource Assistant (DRA) and part-time as a Support Associate-Accounting I, both temporary positions. "We are excited to welcome Beth to our permanent full-time family!" said Jo Fielding, Director of Administrative Ministries
During this transition the Bishop's Executive Secretary Amy Botti will be the "point of contact" to assist Central District Superintendent the Rev. Anita Powell through this season of charge conferences.  All 2016 charge conference information and materials should come to Botti's office. 
Meanwhile, two positions--Central District Resource Assistant (DRA) and Support Associate--Accounting I-are open to receive applications by current employees until Thursday, Sept. 15. If they are not filled internally, they may be opened for external applications.
Teachers to become learners at Children's Ministry event
Adults who work with and care for children--teaching, counseling, supervising, protecting or advocating for them--may be the luckiest people on earth; but there's a lot to know and for most, a lot to learn. Much of that learning will take place this Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 AM till 3:15 PM, at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Avenue, Reading, Pa.
The "Connecting Children with Christ" training event is ideal for anyone who seeks to introduce children to the love of Christ Jesus.  An impressive line-up of gifted leaders will enlighten and even excite some attendees with nine workshops, including "How to Make Sunday School Irresistible";  "Stop, Drop, and Roll," a method for Children's Ministry planning; and explanations of new Safe Sanctuaries policies.  But first, Melanie Gordon, Director of Ministry with Children at the UM Church's Discipleship Ministries, will give a keynote address on "What Every Child Should Know."  Learn more details... 
Bishop to begin district meetings with NW District laity and clergy
Bishop Peggy Johnson, who begins her new four-year term as episcopal leader of our area this month, will also begin her Bishop's Days on the Districts a few weeks early. She will meet first with the Northwest District Laity this  Sunday, Sept. 11, at 2:30 PM, at St. Paul's UM Church (19 E Pottsville Street) in Pine Grove. District laity will come together again the next day for their annual Laity Academy at St. John's UMC in Shamokin,  where they will study the Basic Christ Servant Ministers course and advanced courses in prayer and preaching .

Bishop Johnson will then meet with NW District clergy as scheduled on  Tuesday, Sept. 27. Due to the district's geographical size, she will meet with clergy in two sessions at two locations-first at First UMC Schuylkill Haven at  9 AM with breakfast and then at Cornwall Manor in the Freeman Community Center's Skylight Room at  1 PM with lunch. 
15 years later
: United Methodists reflect on 9/11
This Sunday marks 15 years since the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. homeland. When terrorists launched three attacks on New York City and the nation's capital--one of which crashed landed in Shanksville, Pa.--United Methodists responded with prayer, outreach and interfaith efforts. In a UM Communications multi-media series, church leaders and members who were living in the New York City area at the time recount how their lives and ministries were changed after that dark day. The United Methodist Church offered hope and healing then, and it continues those efforts today.  Watch videos and read stories.
Clergywomen celebrate, connect, consider their future
Methodists from around the world gathered last week to celebrate the leadership of women clergy at the UM Clergywomen's Global Gathering, hosted by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in Houston. Over 450 attendees from 27 countries, speaking six different languages, celebrated advancements in opportunities for women leaders, networked to foster relationships and envisioned a denomination that engages full participation of its global membership. The women celebrated the 60th anniversary of full clergy rights for women and other major decade anniversaries. 

Eastern PA Conference Communications invites any clergywomen who attended the gathering to send us reports or reflections on their experiences, observations and reactions that we can publish in our media. (We would appreciate photos, too.) We also invite reflections from ordained clergywomen about the 60th anniversary of full clergy rights. Please contact us at
College freshmen serve community at mission HUB
The start of a new school year always stirs concerns, even anxieties, about encountering new friends and new places. Lebanon Valley College, related to the Eastern PA Conference, attempts to alleviate those anxieties with its Freshmen Orientation program. Among the many activities is a time for first-year students to do community service with neighboring nonprofit organizations, an enterprise which the Campus Ministry Office helps organize. Previously, the organizations came to campus and worked with the freshmen there. This year, for the first time, students left campus to go do their community service, fittingly, in the community. Nearly 80 students went to the Northwest District's Mission Central HUB at Immanuel UMC in Cleona. Learn more...
Pocono Plateau to speed up, slow down at race and retreat
Hero Dash 5K & Fun Run
The 3rd Annual Pocono Plateau Hero Dash & Fun Run is a week away, on Saturday Sept. 17, at 10:00 AM. It's a road/trail hybrid race traveling on varied terrain including grassy paths, rocky trails, open fields and stone roads as you enjoy the beautiful lakes, creeks and wooded hills of Pocono Plateau. The one-mile Fun Run on the Pocono Plateau Road is open to any runner or walker. Registration begins at 9 AM.  Races start at 10 AM.  This is a fundraising event for the camp's Pathway to Our Future" funding initiative.

Senior Adult Fall Retreat 
Renew old friendships and create new ones during the Plateau's annual Seniors Retreat Oct. 4-7 at 10 AM, to Friday October 7, 2016 (10 am)  Come join us for 3 nights/4 days of fun and fellowship. Activities include crafts, games, archery, a nature walk, singing, Bible studies entertainment with the Joyful Noises Quartet, and a campfire with s'mores!  Cost: $169 per person
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 or Dave Botzer at  Fee for Hawk Mountain: $12 for adults, $9 for children. Please post and  share our flyer.

Apply for Equitable Compensation Funds by Oct. 16
Churches needing and meeting eligibility for Equitable Compensation Funds in 2017 must apply by the Oct. 16 deadline. Use the application on our website.

Church response to Domestic Violence online course
Faith Communities' Response to Domestic Violence, a course, will be available for participation online Sept. 12 to 23. The workshop will explore the types and consequences of intimate partner violence, giving attention to gender issues, impacts on health and life, and the urgency of churches responding whenever such violence is suspected. Relevant biblical references will shape the discussion of ways for the church to educate members, support victims and hold abusers accountable. $90.  Details

NEJ BMCR to meet in New England Oct. 7-8
Black Methodists for Church Renewal's Northeastern Jurisdiction Caucus will convene its 47th Annual Meeting,  Oct. 7-8 at Wesley UMC in Worcester, Mass. The agenda will include election of officers, reports on accomplishments and goals, and updates on the 2016 General and NEJ conferences, including the latter's election of two Ebony Bishops and its Call to Action resolution, which urges jurisdiction-wide efforts to combat racism. Both new bishops will speak to the caucus assembly. Register online for the NEJ BMCR meeting by Sept. 10. Contact NEJ BMCR Vice Coordinator Dr. Oscar Harrell II at 978-869-3073 or Or contact the registrar, Larry McCrae, at 443-527-5822 or

How to offer end-of-life and grief-care ministries
The Northeast District and Bayada Hospice will partner together to present information about Care for the Dying and Bereaved: Helping You in End-of-life and Grief-related Ministries at Effort UMC on Saturday Oct. 8, from 9 AM to 1 PM. All are welcome; 4 CEUs are available. Bayada Hospice provides end-of-life care "with comfort, grace, and dignity" to patients who can remain at home. RSVP to: Effort UMC by e-mail at or call 610-629-1890.

Spiritual Renewal Weekend for whole family
Pastors and congregations can participate in a  Oct. 8-9 weekend event, "Plugging into the Power of the Holy Spirit," at  Reeders UMC (2167 Rte. 715 & Church Road, Reeders PA). Featuredspeaker Dr. Stephen Gallaher is a professor at Messiah College, the founder/director of Salt 'n Light Youth Ministries and Associate Pastor of Preaching at Camp Hill UMC. The goal of this event is to "renew and invigorate the faith of believers and to invite those who seek new life to discover the joy that can be found in Jesus." Contact the Rev. Larry R. Mark at 570-350-3270 or Learn more...
UM Legislative Prayer Breakfast Oct. 18
The Rev. Dai Morgan, Coordinator of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, announces the second annual UM Legislative Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 9 AM, at historic Grace UMC in Harrisburg (216 State St.), near the PA state capitol. All state legislators have been invited, and there will be leaders present from the Eastern PA, Western PA and Susquehanna UMC conferences.  RSVP by Oct. 11 to; but spaces are limited.
Lewis Center to live-stream
church visioning event Nov. 5

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary will host and live-stream broadcast the "Discovering God's Future for Your Church" conference on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 10 AM to 1 PM. The event aims to provide a step-by-step process to help congregations discern God's vision for their future. The early-bird registration deadline is  Oct. 4. Learn more...  
'Sabbath: Break ... or Brick?'   A new retreat for clergy spouses
Eastern PA Conference clergy spouses are invited to attend a creative half-day retreat-either in the morning (8:30 AM till noon) or afternoon (1:30 to 5:00 PM)-on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Mariawald Renewal Center, Reading, Pa. The new "Sabbath: Break ... or Brick?" retreat is designed by Artos Retreats, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the wellbeing of clergy spouses. "We design our retreats to allow clergy spouses to express common issues without revealing church-specific situations and to share experiences and learn coping strategies," says Julie Anderman, retreat designer and facilitator. Register online via the Conference Calendar. Learn more...
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 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. RegisterOnline ordownload anduse the 2016 Registration Form .    To learn more about Changing Racism, see the article Race Matters: Seeking to bridge the divide .
Nominees sought for 2 evangelism awards by Sept. 15
Culture of the Call Church Award
The Foundation for Evangelism, based in Lake Junaluska, N.C., invites nominations for its 2016 Culture of the Call Church Award, which recognizes local United Methodist churches that excel in nurturing young people who are called to Christian service. The award includes a plaque and $1,000 grant. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 15. Self-nominations are welcome. Learn more...

Distinguished Evangelist Award

The Foundation for Evangelism also invites clergy and laity to apply to be named 2016 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church. The award celebrate s , inspire s , encourage s and equip s  all who are called to be evangelists by inviting them to train and inspire others to share Christ. The deadline for applications is  Sept. 15. . Learn more...
PA Council of Churches to host Shalom Conference
The Pennsylvania Council of Churches will sponsor its first ever Shalom Conference Sept. 24-25 at the Hartman Center, a United Church of Christ camp and retreat facility in Milroy, Pa. The council wants to launch a broad, diverse, statewide network of peacemakers that will promote communication and collaboration "to make peacemaking less lonely." 
The conference theme, "Creating a Culture of Peace," will focus on holistic sense of peace that seeks wholeness and wellness for all of creation. Organizations and peacemakers who focus on a wide range of issues-including domestic violence, systemic racism, drone warfare, environmental justice, torture, gun violence and interfaith understanding-are invited to participate.  
The conference will feature discussions, networking activities, and presentations by two engaging speakers, intentional community activist and author Shane Claiborne, speaking on "Another World is Possible," and Conflict Resolution specialist Saadia Ahmad, Learn more and register at . (Information provided by the Rev. Sandra L. Strauss
Director of Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach, PA Council of Churches.)
The Crossing to host Victory Conference for women 
The Crossing, a UM church at 1895 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing, PA, will sponsor a major weekend conference for women of faith, from Thursday evening, Sept. 15, to 12 noon on Saturday, Sept. 17. 
The Victory will feature several accomplished, inspirational speakers, including Patricia King, a popular speaker and successful media and ministry entrepreneur. Musician Angel Lite Garrett will lead worship. And Ruth Hendrickson, a trainer, counselor and leader of The Crossing's Women's Ministry, Healing and Recovery Ministries, and Prayer Ministries, will also speak. Organizers promise a p owerful sharing of the Word combined with "engaging worship, dynamic workshops, prophetic ministry, great food, fun, and fellowship." Learn more and register...
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 For more information, contact Deb Boyd.  
Register now for Adjourned Session, October 1
Register online by September 23 for the 2016 Adjourned Session of Annual Conference at Bethany UMC Macungie, Pa. Members will ratify the 2017 Conference Budget, hear more about a proposed New Apportionment Formula for funding ministry, and vote on these resolutions:
  • A redistricting proposal (previewed in April) to reduce districts from six to four and save about $400,000 a year in conference spending
  • Revised Safe Sanctuaries policies 
  • A new Computer Network and Internet Access Policy
  • A proposed Ad-Hoc Study Committee to Evaluate Alternative Fair Voting Methods for Electing Members to Committees and Delegations.
  • The annual Comprehensive Funding Plan for clergy and staff benefit obligations
Onsite registration is at  8:30 AM. Worship and Holy Conferencing begins at  9 AM. Session ends by  3:30 PM. There will be no formal lunch break; so bring snacks. (Bethany UMC will sell hot dogs again.) A special offering will be received to fund scholarships for clergy and laity to attend Changing Racism Workshops.   Learn more...
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  Contact the Rev. Mark Moore of Thorndale UMC with questions at
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, 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!
Please Save These Dates! 
Sept. 17: Laity Retreat 

Oct. 1: Adjourned Session of Annual Conference, Bethany UMC Wescosville

Oct. 8: Radical Discipleship Workshop, led by Bill Easum, at Thorndale UMC. Save the date and don't miss it! More info coming.

Oct. 28-30 2016: Changing Racism Training,  at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.  Register online . The cost is $300.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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