September 16, 2017
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Jillian's Café opens fall concert season tonight
Conshohocken UMC's (20 West 6th Avenue, Conshohocken) new pastor, the Rev. Sunil Balasundaram , joins Praise Band member Tom Reck in launching the fall concert series of the church's award-winning performance venue, Jillian's Café, on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 7:30 PM. The two guitarists/vocalists will start the night off with some Beatles tunes. The night's featured artist is  Alyssa Garcia , a 17-year-old pop singer, songwriter, pianist, ukulele player and winner of the 2015 Philadelphia Songwriter's Project. 

The Newspaper Taxis follow on Oct. 7, at 7:30 PM, also with a concert tribute to The Beatles. Church members and Jillian's Café managers Dave and Pat Patterson are also looking for volunteers to join them in a lifesaving project to bring clean water to communities in Cuba. Learn more... 

Is your Eastern PA Conference church planning any concerts or other performances or special events that may be of interest to our readers? Please send us timely information, and we will try to promote it if we can. Use our Submit News webpage or e-mail us at  
Urging more churches to promote Native American ministry
The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CoNAM) wants to reach, teach, encourage and resource all congregations to learn about and participate in this largely overlooked area of ministry so important to The United Methodist Church. The CoNAM is asking every local church to elect a Native American Ministries Representative to learn, promote and advocate for greater awareness and support of Native American cultures, contributions and concerns in both church and society. 
As charge conference season begins, the committee is reaching out to district superintendents, pastors and churches with information and resources to advance its cause. CoNAM offers several new resources, including a new CoNAM promotion video and CoNAM 2017 Brochure to help churches learn about and promote Native American ministries.  

Also, CoNAM will hold its next worship, fellowship and learning event on Sunday, Nov. 12,
from 4 to 7 PM, including a meal, at the Innabah Camp & Retreat Center in Spring City. Members will share recently acquired knowledge about the infamous Doctrine of Discovery and lead attendees in a participatory exercise titled "The Loss of Turtle Island." The provocative experience dynamically portrays the historic, troubling relationship between European, Christian settlers, convinced of their presumed superiority and sovereignty, and Indigenous nations who originally inhabited the land we now know as America. Download and share the "Loss of Turtle Island" flyer. Learn more...  
Register now for Academy for Church Finance by Sept. 22
The Academy for Church Finance registration deadline is Friday, September 22.  Please go to the Registration page  (for the October 14 Wilmington, DE, session) to generate a Registration Form and Voucher. The Registration Form should be e-mailed to Frank Robert at Your deposit check of at least $200 should be made out to the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation and mailed to the Eastern PA Conference Office. Remember: the total $1,500 fee-a real value-may be paid in 3 payments over the 18-month academy.Watch this short video to learn more about the importance and great value of this financial leadership academy for your church

Register in time for the first Academy session , offered twice on October 7 and 14. Choose from: October 7 at the Baltimore-Washington Conference Mission Center in Fulton, MD,  or October 14 at
Aldersgate UMC in Wilmington, DE. 
Bishop focuses on leadership
in meetings with new districts 
Hundreds of Eastern PA Conference members are gathering in their four new districts for a week of inaugural meetings with Bishop Peggy Johnson, in her annual Days on the Districts visits, Sept. 12-18. They have been welcoming and hearing from the bishop and top conference staff in their new, larger configurations. Each district gathering includes meetings with clergy first at 4 PM and laity later at 6:30 PM, and a joint fellowship dinner in-between at 5:30 PM. Bishop Johnson is sharing with each group important conference news and her personal insights and outlook for the future. The final session is on Monday night, Sept. 18.  Learn more...  
New North District hosts fun
clergy family picnic
The first North District Clergy Family Picnic at Knoebels Amusement Resort, on August 26, was a hit! More than 110 folks attended, including single clergy, families and multi-generational families as well.  
"Our whole family really enjoyed themselves with the short worship and the games and the food," wrote the Rev. Ed and Sue Unangst. "Thanks again for this event and for all your hard work putting this together."  Learn more... Also, view the full Flickr album of photos from the picnic.  
Waiting to assess impact of Hurricane Irma  
(UMNS) As a diminished but still significant storm called Irma continued to spread throughout the Southeastern U.S., this week United Methodists were among those trying to determine its impact. The storm, which made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 Hurricane, claimed lives on the U.S. mainland and in the Caribbean. Millions are still without power, and, like Texas, the entire area faces a long road to recovery. Learn more...  
  Documentary to show repatriation of Carlisle students' remains 
WGAL-TV will air a documentary on Thursday, Sept. 21, about the recent repatriation of Northern Arapaho students' remains buried in the former Carlisle Indian School's cemetery. The program will air at 10 PM on Channel 8, NBC, for viewers in the Lancaster, York, Harrisburg area. But it will also be broadcast by livestream video on WGAL's website:  It will later be shown on the station's website for viewing on-demand. WGAL covered the repatriation activities at the cemetery from start to finish. A camera crew was on site at the cemetery during the repatriation (at a respectable distance), and traveled to Wind River Reservation for the interments. To learn more about this event and the involvement of Eastern PA Conference CoNAM members, see the story on our website, Efforts begin to return Carlisle children's remains
Sexual Ethics course suitable for Basic and Advanced students   
The Board of Ordained Ministry has opened up the next Advanced Sexual Ethics workshop, Oct. 3, at St. Luke UMC in Bryn Mawr (9 30 AM to 3 PM) to anyone who needs to complete the Basic Course in Sexual Ethics as well. Workshop leader Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee says the course on Sexual Boundaries is suitable for Basic and Advanced levels. So, those who still need to complete their Basic Course by March 2018 will be able to attend. Learn more about the course... For more information contact Rev. Jacqueline Hines.   
Boehm's Chapel Apple Fest back by popular demand
Historic Boehm's Chapel will celebrate its 32nd annual Boehm's Apple Festival on Saturday,  Oct. 7 , 9 AM to 3 PM, on the Boehm Campus at 13 West Boehm's Road, Willow Street, PA. The Apple Fest will feature music, craft stands and tours of the 1791 chapel. "The Boehm Legacy" video will be shown in the Tying Shed. Luncheon foods will be available for purchase, along with homemade apple ice cream, apple nuggets, apple dumplings, apple butter, hot and cold apple cider, various soups and the popular Grandview UMC apple bread. For more information, e-mail  or call 717-872-4133 and speak to Dolores Myers  Executive Director, Boehm's Chapel .    
From sunlight on the roof to 'blood in the refrigerator,' 
Want to witness a modern miracle? Watch the short (1:35 minutes) video showing the historic arrival of solar energy at the UMC-supported Mpasa Pediatric Clinic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Rev. Jonathan Baker and his wife Donna Baker, a retired nurse, are both Congo Partnership missionaries serving in the DRC with generous support from the Eastern PA Conference, especially from the South District.  

After helping to build a new and much-needed pediatric hospital, district members then raised additional funds to furnish and equip it with new medical equipment. Their Phase III effort was to provide solar power and add a much-needed blood bank. 

"There's blood in the refrigerator," wrote Donna recently, attaching a photo that depicted the new blessing of a solar-powered refrigerator to store blood. "Hallelujah! There is solar energy at the Mpasa Medical Center! And we saw blood in the refrigerator! What an exciting morning to witness lights turned on, the incubator and ultrasound functioning and so much more!"

Enjoy and share this video, now on YouTube, that portrays the installation of the solar energy equipment at the Mpasa Clinic. Especially enjoy the delightful, melodious voices of young children singing an old but perfectly chosen hymn, "Heavenly Sunlight" (1899).  

"We are so very grateful for the dream of solar power coming to reality at Mpasa!" wrote the Bakers. "Thank you so very much for your generous contributions!" Says Lin George, South District Resource Assistant, "Honestly, this is miraculous. I hope people realize that they are responsible for this miracle."  

Racial reconciliation project grants available for young people  
Racial Reconciliation Grants are now available for United Methodist young people with a passion and a project for pursuing racial justice. The UMC Discipleship Ministries Division on Young People  program seeks to inspire young people in the UMC with a passion for racial justice "to take action in their church, community and the world." The grants of up to $2500 per project will be awarded on a rolling, monthly basis, with the first deadline being Oct. 15. Monthly review and distribution will continue until all $65,000 has been distributed. For questions about the application process, contact Patrice Rullo (  The application can be found at:   
NEJ ReCall Summit to promote 'racial justice, multicultural living' 
The UMC Northeastern Jurisdiction's Multi-Ethnic Center for Ministry will sponsor the ReCall Summit, Oct. 20-21, to promote "racial justice and multicultural living." The ReCall Summit, at the BWI Marriott Hotel, 1734 W. Nursery Road in Linthicum, MD (near the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport), is inspired by the NEJ Call to Action racial justice and reconciliation resolution, passed at the 2016 NEJ Conference. 

The Friday-to-Saturday event, co-sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Conference, will feature a series of "courageous conversations to reimagine, redefine, reposition and respond to racism." Invited speakers include:
  • Pastor Zach Kerzee, of the Simple Church in Boston, who gathers people around the dinner table for faith experiences.
  • Pastor Jeffrey Hooker, a young adult creatively ministering to young adults at Grace UMC in Newburgh, NY.
  • Pastors Ianther Mills and Matthew Wilke of Asbury UMC in D.C., an historically black church that is creating a new worship experience to reach out to its multicultural neighbors.
  • Pastor Joe Daniels of Emory UMC in Washington, a church of 26 nationalities that is building a $53 million affordable housing complex with a worship center, retail space and community centers.
  • Dushaw Hockett, the executive director of Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity in D.C., who will assist people in recognizing and addressing bias as a critical step in creating communities of Hope - healing, opportunity and possibility for everyone.  
Learn more and be sure to register for this important, timely convocation. Deadline to register and get the special hotel rate is Oct. 1.
GCOSROW seeks info about sexual misconduct in the church 
While sexual misconduct is a problem in all religions and denominations, the UMC has been addressing the problem for about three decades. "But there is more to do," writes leaders of the General Commission on the Status & Role of Women (GCOSROW). "In our efforts to hear from those who work and worship in UM churches and offices, and to better understand the extent, nature, and trends of this problem among both clergy and laity, we are inviting everyone in The United Methodist Church to participate in the 2017 Sexual Harassment Survey." 
The voluntary, anonymous survey should take 5-20 minutes to complete, depending on one's experience with sexual harassment in the church. No answers will be tracked; but the study's results will "provide important feedback about the frequency and response to sexual misconduct within The United Methodist Church and help the Church address abuse." The agency wants the survey to be distributed as widely as possible and completed by a broad sample of clergy and laity. They hope to publish the findings later this year.
Here is the survey link: UMC Sexual Harassment Survey.  The deadline for submitting surveys is Oct. 3. If you have any concerns about sexual misconduct in your ministry setting or believe that you may be a victim of sexual harassment, contact Becky Williams at GCOSROW, 312-346-4900.  If you have a question about the survey, contact Gail Murphy-Geiss at 719-389-6868. 
Tom Bandy returns to teach  MissionInSite in November  
Do you want to strategically reach and draw new people to your church? Renowned church growth strategist and coach Tom Bandy will return to our area November 13-15 to teach clergy and lay leaders to do just that. How? By using MissionInSite to design and adapt ministries to attract new people.

Bandy will visit the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences to teach basic and advanced classes on how to use MissionInSite's demographic and lifestyles research-based tools to create new approaches to ministry and mission. He will teach from his groundbreaking book See, Know & Serve the People within Your Reach.

Basic training is for persons or churches who either have no understanding of MissionInSite or feel uncomfortable using it. Advanced training is for those who already understand MissionInSite, but who want to be trained to do more for their church and to help other churches. Basic classes will be held conveniently at churches in the North and South districts.

Online registration will begin Sept. 19 and end Nov. 8 or when space is filled. Churches should send teams. There will be a $10 registration fee per church.  M ore information to come.

Tom Bandy MissionInSite Training Schedule

Basic Training
  • Monday, Nov. 13, 6:45 to 8:30 PM, at Bethany UMC Wescosville (Allentown-North District).
  • Tuesday, Nov. 14, 6:45 to 8:30 PM, at Thorndale UMC (South District). 
Advanced Training (For people who have a working knowledge of MissionInSite and Bandy's usage of demographic information for ministry)
  • Monday, Nov. 13, 9 AM to 12 PM, at Eastern PA Conference Office. 
  • Tuesday, Nov. 14, 9 AM to 12 PM, at Eastern PA Conference Office. 
Bandy will also meet with the conference's Order of Elders on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 10 to 11 AM, at Gretna Glen Camp Retreat Center in Lebanon, before heading to Delaware to work with the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. For more information contact the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, Congregational Development Coordinator, at or call 267-258-9507. 
Lifetree Cafe Orientation, Sept. 18 & 25: On Sept. 18 and 25, from 6:30 to 8 PM, at the Conference Office, there will be an introduction and training for those interested in starting a Lifetree Cafe.  This is a two-part event. Contact the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, Congregational Development Coordinator, if you want to attend: 267-258-9507 or Learn more...

Olivet UMC Coatesville to celebrate its bicentennial  Olivet UMC (310 E. Chestnut Street, Coatesville) will celebrate its bicentennial Oct. 6-8. The weekend will feature a public open house and concert on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 1 to 4:40 PM. The theme is "Generations of Faith-Celebrating 200 Years of Methodism in Coatesville." Learn more...

Oregon Community UMC will sponsor a monthlong "Bible study focused on Native Americans" from Sept. 21 to Oct. 19. They will use the Giving Our Hearts Away book, written by the Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett and Brenda Connelly. Fassett keynoted our 2016 Annual Conference's opening celebration for our Act of Repentance.

"We want to convey accurately the history," said Mike Shifflet, "and hopefully lead into an action, such as a mission trip to BUMP (Blackfeet UM Parish in Montana) to help with Pastor (Calvin) Hill's vision there. This could also lead to a reconciliation service." The Bible study, open to anyone who wants to attend, will meet at nearby sister church, Faith UMC in Manheim Township, at 1290 Fruitville Pike, Lititz, PA.

Local Church Communicators Survey, RSVP 
The search is on! The Communications Office wants to identify, resource and network with Local Church Communicators-i.e., pastors, communications ministry coordinators and committees, webmasters, church newsletter editors, etc. We want to know who you are, what you're doing in church communications, what help you may need and what help you can offer others.

We also want to share with you resources we come across that may aid in your ministry. For example, we just watched a free, helpful UM Communications (UMCom) webinar last week titled "7 Ways to Promote Your Church Event On Facebook," something many churches would love to do.  Fortunately, you can still view a recording of that easy-to-understand, 45-minute webinar (starts at 6:04 minutes). 

We want to share more resources--including webinars, online articles, training and networking events--with anyone doing communications in and for our local churches. That includes helpful resources that you share with us.

So please tell us your name, church name and location, your communications role and other information about the types of communications your church does and/or wants to do. E-mail us at or use our Submit News page to send us your information.

Or, better yet, just take a few moments to download, complete and return our short   Local Church Communicators Survey   questionnaire, so that we can better communicate, serve and share resources with you and your church. Thanks! 
Find your path...
at Exploration 2017
Friday, October 13, 
from 10 AM to 2 PM 
Lancaster Theological Seminary, 
555  W. James St, Lancaster, PA.

Come   enjoy worship, prayer, fellowship and conversation  to help you discern, explore and respond to  G od's Call to Ordained & Licensed Ministry  in all its forms. 

Visit  a seminary class at Lancaster Theological Seminary  and witness the sharing of knowledge, insights, experience and community among teachers and students.

Learn   about the seminary experience , your options for theological education and various ministry fields available to help you answer God's call to sacred service.

Explore   your gifts and passion  for service as a Deacon or Elder or Local Pastor in The United Methodist Church.

Our Districts  will have representatives there to discuss your interests and potential avenues for entering, preparing for and living out your call to ordained & licensed ministry.   The $20 registration fee  includes lunch.  
For more information contact: 
the  Rev. Dr. Michael Roberts  at , or
Rev. Johnson Dodla  at .

Who Should Attend?   Adults, especially young adults, who sense God's call to ordained & licensed ministry, or who want to know about preparation for ministry in The United Methodist Church.
Don't wait or available space may fill up!   Register Online Now! 
Download and Share!  
Event full-page Flyer     Half-page bulletin     2 Half-page bulletins  
North District to sponsor its own Laity Academy
The new North District will again sponsor its own Laity Academy over four weeks on Monday evenings, September 11, 18 and 25 and October 2. Classes will be in session at St. John's UMC, 1211 West Arch Street, Coal Township, PA. To better serve local churches in their region, the active Methodists United Mission ConneXion, in the Shamokin area, is partnering again with the Eastern PA Conference, as they did  a few years ago, to bring the Laity Academy closer to home.
This year, the "Basic" course will be offered as well as two Advance courses: "Leading through Failure" and "Visitation and Nurturing." The academy is open to anyone in the North District or in the entire Eastern PA Conference, for those who want to drive out there and see the sheer beauty of God's early autumn canvas in our northwestern region. Each session will run from 6 to 8:30 PM. For information, contact Patty Korbich at or 570-672-1031. A small fee will help pay for class materials and light refreshments. Registration is required. Register at
Hopewell's 2017 Planting Seeds event:
Pray for the City
Hopewell UMC's is planning its 14th Annual Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth event, be held on Saturday, Sept. 30.  Keynote speaker for Pray for the City will be the Rev. Scott Chrostek, Pastor of Resurrection Downtown, a Kansas City campus of Church of the Resurrection, where he serves on Adam Hamilton's executive leadership team.  The Rev. W. Wilson Goode Sr. will be this year's worship speaker.  Dr. Goode is the director of Amachi, a national program for children of incarcerated parents.  He served two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia.
Six workshops will be offered during the event, two in the late morning and four in the afternoon.  Workshop descriptions are posted at Registration for the 2017 Planting Seeds for Ministry Growthwill open in early August.  Hopewell UMC is located in Downingtown, PA.  For more information, call the church office at 610-269-1545, or e-mail Deb Boyd at  
Orientation begins for Certified Lay Ministers program

The Certified Lay Minister Program will begin  Orientation Sessions in September for admission to the 2018 CLM Class that opens  April 1, 2018. An orientation session is required for application to the program. Sessions will be offered on numerous dates at eight convenient locations around the conference, beginning with:
  • September 9, 1:45 PM-3 PM, (following the Laity Retreat) at Grove UMC in West Chester;
  • September 18, 6:30 PM-8:30 PM, at Asbury UMC Allentown;
  • September 267-9 PM, at Christ UMC in Fairless Hills.
There are more dates in ensuing months through December. The Class of 2018 will be certified, upon completion of course, in the Spring of 2019. Please contact Judy Ehninger to register for an orientation session: OR, (C) 610-442-3140, (H) 610-965-2290.

HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations, Oct. 21
Save the date! HOPE! Talks: Inspiration for Small Congregations happens Oct. 21, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Lighthouse Fellowship UMC, 137 North Easton Road, Glenside, PA. Be inspired as speakers from small congregations doing great ministries share how God is moving and imparting hope to and through them.
Gain a new perspective. Ask questions. Connect. Be refreshed. Get hope!  Join us for this live-streamed, TED talks-style event sponsored by Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Cabinet. ASL Interpretation and Handicapped Accessibility will be provided. Registration is $10 in advance and $15 at the door (includes breakfast and lunch). Online registration opens July 15. Want more information? Visit .  
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!
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