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WHAT'S NEW
September 18, 2015
Announcements
Eastern PA Conference Center News
  • The Eastern PA Conference Center' summer schedule has ended and its offices are open on Fridays again.
  • We had special visitors Wednesday, Sept. 16, from Christ UMC Lansdale. Tawny Bernhardt, Pastor of Congregational Care, brought the Friendly Activities group to tour the center, hosted by the Bishop's Executive Secretary Amy Botti. While there, they met staff, learned about the conference's new Imagine No Malaria (INM) campaign and received INM collection boxes to take back with them. 
New FAQ forms for Safe Sanctuaries

Pennsylvania Keep Kids Safe has updated its Frequently Asked Questions forms for Volunteers and Employees who work with children and youth. Included are a new, longer set of instructions, just released this past summer. We have posted these updated documents in our Website's Safe Sanctuaries section. Here are direct links to the forms on the PA Keep Kids Safe Website:

Conference Licensing School Update 

The latest information about the Eastern PA Conference’s Licensing School is now available on the Conference Website. This program is for persons who want to be trained in a Growing Church Licensing School and persons who want to be trained as Certified Licensed Local Pastors. For more information, please contact Gordon Hendrickson at ghendrickson@epaumc.org, 267-258-9507

Christmas Cards for Inmates

You can share God’s love with prison inmates who are incarcerated at a difficult time by writing a brief caring, encouraging note inside a Christmas greeting card. The Eastern PA Conference Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Team hopes to receive hundreds of signed cards, sent or dropped off at district offices, to deliver to inmates at several correctional facilities in Eastern PA. Nov. 9 is the deadline to have all cards at district offices, so they can be collected, delivered and screened by prison officials before Christmas. Many inmates find it difficult to maintain connections with important people in their lives, and the absence of loved ones can be felt most deeply during Christmastide. Please see the guidelines and use the sample cards and expressions offered on our Website. 

Conference launches new 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...

Teaching financial leadership to laity

 Building on the success of its Financial Leadership Academy for pastors, the Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation will launch in November a Financial Leadership Series for Laity, offering lay members valuable stewardship wisdom in four sessions over the next year. The first class, titled "Theology of Stewardship and Creating a Culture of Giving," will occur in three locations on Nov. 7 and 21 Learn more...

Philadelphia young adults engage in open dialogue over dinner

Twenty-two young adults from the Philadelphia area gathered on Friday evening, Sept. 11, for  dinner and an open discussion led by members of the Eastern PA Conference Young Adult Ministry Council. Their purpose was to connect and create a sense of community among young people of faith and to offer a forum for discussion about relevant and important life issues. Learn more...

Hispanic Heritage Month is   September 15 – October 15

September 15-October 15 is designated as Hispanic Heritage Month in our nation and in The United Methodist Church, giving congregations opportunities to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic/Latino culture, people and traditions. Read about the recent meeting of MARCHA, the Hispanic/Latino UMC caucus, and a message from the founder and head of Esperanza, a Philadelphia Hispanic/Latino community development agency. Also use the links provided to access Discipleship Ministries articles and worship resources that can be used this month and throughout the year. Learn more... 

Lancaster to dedicate historical marker for Conestoga Indian Massacre

The Circle Legacy Center in Lancaster will dedicate there on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 10 AM, a state historical marker it purchased to commemorate the Conestoga Indian Massacre that occurred in that area in 1763, violating a treaty with William Penn. The center heard Jack Brubaker, newspaper columnist and author of the book Massacre of the Conestogas, speak on the massacre's history last week at the Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster. CLC is also collecting donations of clothing & toys for Native American families in need this Christmas. 

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...

UMCom survey finds few changing views on key issues

A new survey from UM Communications found that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow same-gender marriages nationwide has so far had little impact on the opinions of UMC members, leaders and pastors in the U.S.  However, respondents disagreed on whether the church should make changes to its own policies in order to be consistent with the court’s ruling. Learn more...

Earlier ordination favored by ministry study group

Ordination of United Methodist elders and deacons would be faster and training of licensed local pastors more rigorous under proposals by the 2013-2016 Ministry Study Commission. The commission’s just-released report is notable for issues it doesn’t address, namely security of appointment for ordained elders. And the report offers observations on challenges facing The United Methodist Church, stating that the denomination must respond to a rapidly changing culture while staying grounded in Wesleyan theology and practices. Some of the commission’s recommendations will be introduced as legislation at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore. Learn more...

Welcoming the Stranger: Difficult and Necessary

“The arrival in Europe of massive numbers of Middle Eastern refugees is causing crises for humanitarian organizations and churches as well as for governments,” writes the head of the UMC's global missions agency. “United Methodists are wondering and asking…how The United Methodist Church...is responding to the migration crisis.” Global Ministries General Secretary Thomas Kemper offers detailed answers to that question, identifying the scope of the crisis, prayer needs, local responses and UMCOR’s relief efforts. He also urges expanding U.S. efforts to take in many of the refugees "fleeing horrific violence and devastation of their homes and communities.” Learn more...

Local Church News Highlights
  Calvary UMC in Ambler will join three prayer vigil walks this weekend, sponsored by Ambler Church of the Brethren, to celebrate the United Nation's 2015 International Day of Peace (Sept. 21). The prayer walks will occur nightly, Sept. 18- 20, from 8:30 to 9:30 PM, starting at the Church of the Brethren, 351 E. Butler Avenue, through downtown Ambler and back, to "share a gentle witness to peace and alternatives to violence." Call 215-646-1190 or email Office@AmblerCOB.org  for information.

Janes Memorial UMC was honored by The Philadelphia Tribune as its Church of the Week for Sunday, Aug. 30, in a feature article that includes video of the Rev. Andrew Foster's Sunday sermon . The article, titled " Youthful fervor revitalizing intergenerational congregation ," extols the church's respect for its important history and efforts to realize its vision “to create an intergenerational church with a hope and a future.”

Mt. Zion UMC (1530 N 11th St, Philadelphia) will culminate its extended 100th anniversary celebration this Saturday, Sept. 19, with a outdoor "Camp Meeting" of healing prayers, praise worship, fellowship and community outreach.

RESOURCES
The UMC's Discipleship Ministries agency is offering three upcoming Webinars among its many educational programs that should interest some Eastern PA Conference members:
What is Lay Servant Ministries all About?
REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR Tuesday, September 22, 7:30 PM  To learn what Lay (or Christ) Servant Ministry (formerly called “Lay Speaking Ministry”) is all about. Presenters Jodi Cataldo, Director of Laity in Leadership, and Michael McMenamy, President of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries will discuss the call to ministry of all believers, how Lay Servant Ministries helps persons become equipped for ministry and service, what are the various categories, processes and resources available. Duration: 1 hour 
Grant Writing 101: Launching Projects & Ministries that Make a Difference
REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR  Thursday, Sept. 24, 7:30 PM. Host: Ken Sloane, What are the “best practices” that churches should know when exploring securing grant money to bring a ministry dream to life? What are the pitfalls to avoid? Stewardship Consultant for the Oregon-Idaho Conference Cesie Delve Scheuermann will be the guest presenter, bringing her expertise as a fundraiser and grant writer  along with a deep connection with the UMC to this, our first webinar on grant writing! Duration:  1 hour
Developing Your Ministry Plan 1: Congregational DNA (Webinar) 
REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR Thursday, Sept. 24, 2 PM. Facilitator: Craig Kennet Miller Join in a four-part webinar series that will lead you through a process of developing a Ministry Action Plan for your ministry.  Led by Craig Kennet Miller, Director of Congregational Development, the series includes Session 1: Congregational DNA (Sept. 24) ; Session 2: Discovering Your Congregation’s Niche (Oct. 1) ; Session 3: Discovering your Discipleship Proces s (Oct. 8) ; and Session 4: Worship, Small Groups, and the Next 12 Months (Oct. 29).  Each session is recorded and archived so you can share it with other leaders in your church.  The series also includes a 20-page Ministry Plan PDF Handout.  Duration: 1 hour.
REMINDERS
Avoiding shame, embracing grace for healthy ministry
Don't miss "Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations," an Advanced Sexual Ethics course Sept. 25, presented by nationally known author the Rev. Dr. Karen McCllintock, at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Ave, Reading. Register on the Conference website .  
NEJ Transformational Leadership event coming to Hershey PA
  On Oct. 2-4 the UMC's Northeastern Jurisdiction Vision Table will sponsor the Conference on Transformational Leadership, a ground-breaking learning adventure for emerging leaders, at the Hershey Lodge, in Hershey, Pa.  Learn more... 

Boehm's Chapel 30th  Annual Apple Festival promises historic favorites

Boehm’s Chapel will hold its 30th annual Apple Festival 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.

Register your youth now for 2016 Pen-Del Youth Rally 

The WORD is out! It's time to register early for the 29th annual Peninsula-Delaware Conference weekend Youth Rally in Ocean City, Md., Jan. 8-10, 2016. More than 4,000 young people and adult leaders will again converge on the Roland E. Powell Convention Center (4001 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842) for three high-spirited days of worship, witnessing, fellowship and celebration "as we rejoice in the freedom we have in Christ!" "WORD" is the theme, based on John 1:1, and the stage will burst forth with lights, music, praise, testimonies, humor and more highlights.  Guest presenters, offering inspiration and challenge, include the incomparable Reggie Dabbs, plus Propaganda, Fellowship Creative and two nights of special concerts by Disciple and Moriah Peters. 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, informative online brochure

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.

College displays classic Native American photos

Lebanon Valley College, a UM-related institution, hosts a special photographic art exhibition, titled “Mingled Visions: Images from ‘The North American Indian’ Collection,” in its Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery until Oct. 18.  The stunning images, depicting diverse images and cultures of Native Americans from numerous tribes, were taken by Edward Curtis beginning in 1907 in a photo documentary project that became his life’s work.  Several special related events are planned, including a Native Nations Dance Theater performance Sunday, Oct. 4. Check the Website for more information.

World Communion Sunday is Oct. 4 
  World Communion Sunday  calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God's children. United Methodists relate to World Communion Sunday by celebrating communion with other Christians around the world on this special Sunday. Churches are also encouraged to receive an offering to support scholarships for ethnic undergraduate and graduate students. Our gifts often enable first-generation students to attend college.  Download a free eBook
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.  Register online or by mail now . The cost is $25, including training materials, continental breakfast and a light lunch.  Learn more
Church growth expert to teach use of MissionInsite Oct. 5-6
The Rev. Thomas Bandy, a renowned expert in strategic church and leadership development, will teach four workshops here, Oct. 5-6, on using MissionInsite's demographic and lifestyle research to learn community needs and spur congregational growth. Bandy will teach on Monday, Oct. 5, at the conference center from 10 AM to 2 PM, and at New Hanover UMC from 6 to 9 PM. The evening session at New Hanover will be video broadcast via live-stream. He will also teach on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the conference center from 10 AM to 2 PM and at Church of the Good Shepherd UMC from 6 to 9 PM.  Attendance at the Oct. 6 session at the conference center is by district superintendents' invitation only; but it will also be broadcast via live-stream video. Live-stream details to come.
Phila., NEJ BMCR to meet in October
The Northeastern Jurisdictional caucus of Black Methodists for Church Renewal will meet Oct. 9-10 at  Grace UMC  in Wilmington, Del., with lodging at Sheraton Suites Downtown Wilmington. The agenda includes a Unity Dinner Friday at 6 PM. For information contact Darlynn McCrae, registrar. The Philadelphia Area BMCR caucus will meet Oct. 25 at Emmanuel UMC, 3 to 5 PM.  Lawrence Lee is Coordinator of Philadelphia BMCR. 
Training offered for Sunday school teachers
Asbury UMC in Allentown  (1533 Springhouse Road) will hold another Train the Teacher workshop Saturday, Oct. 17, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. The workshop is designed for Sunday school teachers with five years or less of teaching experience, but all teachers are welcome. Topics include teaching materials, lesson planning and execution, and impacting disinterested students. Cost is $15 for materials, plus $10 for an optional lunch. Contact the church at 610-398-2577 to register.
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.  
Please reserve your hotel room for AC 2016 now!
We're trying to gain favor at the Lancaster Marriott for our 2016 Annual Conference, and you may be able to help. We really need members who plan to attend Annual Conference in 2916 to make room reservations at the Lancaster Marriott now for the June 16-18 session. Online room reservations are $129/day . Book your hotel room now
EVENT REMINDERS
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 https://www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digest. 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 communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
SAVE THE DATE
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. 2-4: Northeastern Jurisdiction Lay Leadership Event, Hershey, PA

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
Nov. 14, 2015: Adjourned Session of Annual Conference, Bethany UMC, Macungie, PA

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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