April 10, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

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Annual Conference 2015 Updates

24 resolutions address diverse concerns                

We have posted on the conference Website (undertheEvents tab) 24 resolutions to be considered and voted on at the 2015 Annual Conference, May 14-16. They range from extensive revised Safe Sanctuary policies to advocacy positions on solitary confinement in prison, racial justice, fair wages, equitable state funding of schools and anti-Semitism. Included are resolutions to modify the UMC's regard for and treatment of LGBTQ persons, and others affirming current policies and principles in the denomination's Book of Discipline.  Learn more...


33 members nominated for General Conference

Thirty-three members--18 laity and 15 clergy--have been nominated to represent the Eastern PA Conference at the UMC's 2016 General Conference and Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Brief profiles of each--including biographical information, employment, participation in connectional ministries and personal statements--appear on the conference Website (undertheEvents tab). Typical of this conference, the two groups are diverse in gender, age, professional experience, theological and social perspectives, ministry involvement, and race and ethnicity.  Learn more...


Pre-Conference devotions celebrate Stewardship

Through daily online devotions, Eastern PA Conference members are being invited to spiritually contemplate and commit to Stewardship, the discipleship focus of our Annual Conference in May. For five weeks devotional meditations of varying lengths and formats, written by various authors are being e-mailed to NEWSpirit Digest subscribers and posted on the conference Website (in the Annual Conference section under the Events tab). They also appear on our Facebook page. Learn more...



Delaware Conference history chronicled 

A Methodist Trail is a just-published, long-awaited history of the former Delaware Annual Conference, the historic African American Methodist conference that was the first to form in 1864 and the first to merge in 1965. The extraordinarily detailed, two-volume book was researched and written by William C. Jason Jr., a pastor's son born in 1898 and a venerable leader, historian and secretary of the conference. The set can be purchased for a discounted price of $35 at the May 30 Delaware Conference Anniversary Celebration at Tindley Temple UMC in Philadelphia. Learn more... 


Also, the Rev. David W. Brown will discuss the Delaware Conference's history and importance at in Perdue Hall at Salisbury University in Maryland next Wednesday, April 15, at 7 PM. Author of the 2010 book Freedom Drawn from Within, a brief history of the conference and earlier black Methodism in this region, Brown will speak from the theme "This Is My Story, This Is My Song: Connecting the Shared History of African Americans in United Methodism." Learn more... 


EPA Conference Youth to 'Reclaim Identity' at Rally May 3

All youth are invited to the inaugural Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally, May 3, from 4 to 7 PM, at West Lawn UMC in Reading, Pa. Onsite registration begins at 3:30;so come early.

Featured will be live music by DJ Randy P & Da'FLOCK (FLOCK means "For the Love Of Christ's Kingdom") and also the Hopewell UMC Youth Praise Band. Guest speakers Ann Jacobs and David Burke, both inspirational leaders, will dialogue with young participants about the rally theme "Reclaiming Identity."  Learn more... 


In addition, Young Adults from across the Conference will retreat overnight, Friday to Saturday, May 29-30, at Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center. Their theme: "Awake: A Time of Renewal to Eagerly Build Awareness." Join them as they enjoy fellowship and share wisdom on the topics of Career versus Vocation, Healthy Relationships and Spiritual Centering. Young Adult Ministries Coordinator David Piltz will facilitate discussions. Contact him at dpiltz@epaumc.org or 814-883-0118.

Evangelical group, church to host IRD leader for talk
The Eastern PA Conference Evangelical Connection and the Social Action Committee of Bethlehem UMC in Thornton will cosponsor a talk by John Lomperis, Director of the United Methodist section of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Saturday, April 18, 8:30 to 10 AM. Following breakfast and fellowship at Bethlehem UMC (4 Westtown Road, Thornton, PA) Lomperis will speak from 9 to 10 on "What is a Faithful United Methodist to Do?" He was Legislative Coordinator for the UMC Renewal and Reform Coalition advocacy at the 2012 General Conference and publishes regularly on issues such as: Just Resolutions, Bishops and Apportionments, and the UMC and Israel. There is no cost for this networking event, but Connection leaders would like to anticipate attendance. Contact Jane Bonner at jbonner101@verizon.net.

Celebrate Earth Day April 22

With the Annual Conference ready to address environmental stewardship, it's an ideal time to join in the 45th annual international observance of
Earth Day on April 22. The
Earth Day Network (EDN), a non-profit organization founded by organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, announces a series of events and programs to drive forward the movement. More than 1 billion people in 192 countries will participate in Earth Day activities and events, making it the largest civic observance in the world. This EDN calls upon citizens, educators, religious and corporate leaders, governments and global organizations to take action under the banner and theme, "It's Our Turn to Lead." The Networksees faith leaders as a driving force behind the most important and successful social movements. Visit the Website for more information and activity ideas : http://www.earthday.org/.

#BringChange to celebrate World Malaria Day, April 25

encourages churches to  
#BringChange  to celebrate World 
Malaria Day April 25.  
United Methodists are joining the movement across the nation to raise awareness and funds to fight malaria. They are hosting events and enterprises, such as pancake breakfasts, lemonade stands, 5K walks and fashion shows. This UMC initiative is dedicated to preventing and treating malaria, a global disease that kills one child every 60 seconds. 


We reported in the Website Annual Conference story that the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) would lead an Acts of Repentance Toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous People service, mandated for every annual conference by the denomination's 2012 General Conference. That was an error. The Acts of Repentance service will be held at next year's Annual Conference. This year's presentation by CONAM will be a memorial to the children of Carlisle Indian Industrial School, including those who died and are buried there.

6 District Conferences to convene April 12th

Central District (3-5 PM): First UMC Phoenixville

Southwest District (3-5 PM): Grandview UMC, Lancaster

Southeast District (3-5 PM): Grove UMC, West Chester

East District (4-6 PM): Huntingdon Valley UMC, Huntingdon Valley

Northeast District (3-5:30 PM): Faith Alive, Bowmanstown

Northwest District (3-5 PM): Kochenderfer's UMC, Lebanon

Denman Evangelism Award nominations due April 15

Celebrate the legacy of renowned evangelist Harry Denman in the life and ministry of someone you know who strives to share their encouraging faith in Christ with others. This award honors the outstanding layman who took faith-sharing seriously and founded the Foundation on Evangelism in 1949. It also annually honors a United Methodist  lay member, clergy member and youth member whose lives and activities exemplify Christ's Great Commission to spread  the gospel through words and deeds. Please nominate eligible persons you feel deserve this award, which will be presented at Annual Conference in May.


Download nomination forms
, complete and e-mail them by April 15 to the EPAUMC Congregational Development Team c/o Suzette James at sjd624@ymail.com, or mail them to the Rev. Christopher Kurien (Conference Director of Connectional Ministries) at EPA UMC, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820. Indicate: ATTN: Denman Award Nomination


Native American Ministries Sunday is April 19
Prepare now to celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday April 19. The special Pastor and Leader's Kit makes it easy for congregations to promote this churchwide Special Sunday. When we give to the Native American Ministries Sunday special offering, we help equip Native American seminary students to serve Native churches and aid ministries that serve struggling Native American communities. Your gifts provide scholarships and other support to address these needs with the love of Christ. The
Pastor and Leader's Kit  provides social media images, videos, an eBook and other great resources to help make your church's Native American Ministries Sunday a success.
CONAM to host Navajo pastor at Innabah May 10
The Conference Committee on Native American Ministry (CONAM) will host the Rev. Calvin Hill, pastor of the Blackfeet UM Parish in Montana, at its next worship and fellowship gathering at Camp Innabah, 
May 10.   This full-blooded Navajo minister will share his remarkable life-story and family history.


His father was a minister and Navajo Code Talker who used his language to help U.S. forces win World War II in the South Pacific. But Hill was removed from his reservation and sent to a boarding school to learn America's dominant language and culture in place of his own. He shares that experience and relates to many Native Americans' struggles with Christianity. He also speaks seven languages and is learning the Blackfeet language since his appointment there in 2014.


Rev. Calvin Y. Hill has been a UM pastor since 1997. In 2010 he earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois, where he also learned Hebrew and Greek. His wife, Sheri Ann Hill, an Ojibwe, will join him at Camp Innabah when they come to speak. Learn more about the Blackfeet UM Parish (Advance Project #910092) from their Website and on Global Ministries' Website


Training for VIM Team Leaders May 2

Volunteers in Mission team leaders can get valuable training Saturday, May 2, from 10 AM to 4 PM at Simpson House in Philadelphia.  The comprehensive training session will focus on traditional VIM teams, for both national and international assignments, but will also be useful for leaders of Early Response Teams (ERTs). Registration is limited to 25 people and reservations should be made by April 25. Learn more...


Sign up now to review your pension at Annual Conference

Josie Martinez, Conference Liaison from The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, will be on hand for 30-minute personal Pension Projection Meetings during the 2015 Annual Conference in May. If you are within five years of retirement or have questions about your retirement benefits, please schedule an appointment.  Meetings are scheduled on a first come, first served basis, and are by appointment only. Schedule an appointment now!


Petition submission begins for General Conference 2016

Petitions for consideration by the 2016 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary from April 1 through October 13, 2015. According to church law, "Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference..." Detailed instructions are available on the General Conference website at gc2016.umc.org. Typed petitions may be submitted through the General Conference website, by postal mail, or via e-mail to petitions@umpublishing.org. All other correspondence should be directed to petitionsquestions@umpublishing.orgLearn more...


Racial-ethnic scholarships available for event
For the past four years, Global Ministries has provided racial ethnic scholarships to more than 330 clergy, lay and seminarian students across the continental United States to attend the annual School of Congregational Development in Indianapolis. The goal is to assist as many clergy, laity and/or seminarians as possible. The application is online and can be accessed 24/7. Please note that scholarship awards will be made on a "first come" basis. So apply early.


Vocational Intern Program: Inside look at ministry careers
The Vocational Intern Programoffers an ideal way for people to explore where a serious call to ministry may lead them. Being embedded for 10 weeks in various types of ministry vocations will expose interns first-hand to many situations they may face and to inner gifts they may possess. The intern receives a $3000 stipend. Apply by the May 15 deadline. For more information, contact Pastor Matt Heckman of the sponsoring Board of Ordained Ministry at 717-273-0525 or  coastermatt@kochenderfer.org or 1109 Kochenderfer Road, Lebanon PA, 17046.

Encore mission trip for middle school students
Yardley UMC, in Bucks County, will again host a three-day, four-night summer mission trip for middle school students, July 13-17. Last year's experience was an adventure; so again they are inviting youth from other churches to join them. Reports Yardley UMC youth coordinator Denise Harris: "During the day we will work on construction projects like building a ramp, painting a home, leading a VBS and more! We also have ministry projects like organizing a food pantry and organizing a donation center. We have skilled adults leading each project. Each day the students would go to a different site to experience a full range of missions. In the evening we will have dinner, worship, games and free time."  The cost is $150, but there are scholarships available. To find out more visit their Website: yumycalling.com. Watch their video from last year. Youth groups with a mixture of high school and middle school members are welcome. Contact Denise Harris at yumcsm@gmail.com.


UMW to examine fundraising, racial justice  
United Methodist Women of the EPA Conference will gather Saturday, May 2, at Quakertown UMC (1875 Freier Road, Quakertown), from 9:30 AM to 12 noon, for their 150th Legacy Fund workshop. The fund is a permanent endowment designed to support the mission endeavors of future generations of UMW in their global response to the needs of women, children and youth. For information contact Ethel Malone at 215-247-0572 or ethelm8@verizon.net. 


In addition, UMW members from 10 Northeastern Jurisdiction conferences, including EPA, will attend the Charter for Racial Justice Seminar, May 15-17, at the Blackstone (Va.) UM Conference Center. They will to "Making Racial Justice Happen" with the aid of Bible studies, workshops, worship and expert speakers. Clergy and laity, men and women of all ages are invited to attend the national and international issues seminar so they can learn how to emulate the charter's principles. Use the attached brochure to register and learn more

Healing Communities Training Event, May 9

There are many ways groups and congregations can engage in creative prison and restorative justice ministry, not only inside prison but in churches and communities, too. With scores of inmates being released and returning as citizens every day, the need is urgent for churches to reach out to them--and also to victims--to offer help, hope and restorative healing. A valuable ministry that has seen success nationally is now coming to the EPA Conference to help churches respond to this need.


Our first Healing Communities Training Event will take place Saturday, May 9, from 9 AM to 4 PM at St. Matthews UMC of Valley Forge. "This is a great opportunity for people to learn how to offer restoration and healing to everyone impacted by the criminal justice system," said Marilyn Schneider, chairwoman of the conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Committee, which will cosponsor the training with the Board of Church and Society and Healing and Wholeness Teams. Learn more... 

Churches to learn responses to domestic violence 

EPA Conference church teams chosen from each district will receive training on"Faith Community Responses to Domestic Violence" Saturday, June 6,from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, at West Lawn UMC in Reading. The training will partner local churches with the national offices of United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, and FaithTrust Institute.  A selection committee will choose teams from two churches per district or region for training, with consideration given to achieving diversity in ethnicity, church size and other criteria. Teams will represent churches that passionately desire to become informed sources of aid to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and to train other teams in their districts. See the event page to download the information flyer and the paper registration formor the fillable PDF application.

Education Society college grants available
The EPA Conference Education Society will offer grants to help deserving students defray the costs of higher education during the 2015-2016 school year.
The attached pages describe the opportunity and method of application. All grant applications received in the Conference Office May 1-16 will be considered. Qualified applicants will be randomly selected. Please be sure to share this information with church members who may plan to attend institutions of higher learning this coming fall. Questions? Contact Al Adey, Education Society Chairperson, at ahadey@verizon.net

Adjourned Session of Annual Conference

Save the Date! Nov. 14, at Hempfield UMC in Lancaster.An official announcement with more details will follow in April.

Transformational Leadership event coming to Hershey
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 Inn in Hershey, Pa. The theme: "See. Know. Love." Speakers include: " a spirit-filled corporate executive" who can relate hospitality-excellence to church life; a "visionary, boundary-breaking Lutheran pastor"; and leaders of a UM church that is "revolutionizing discipleship."

Along with Christian conferencing and vibrant conversations, participants will choose from two dozen courses to learn innovative strategies for transformational ministry. Registration opens in February. Save the dates now. Costs will include: $25 for the symposium and $140 for meals during the conference. Rooms are $159 a night. Check out the flyer to learn more .

Check out our Local church Events page 

We have lots of great local church events listed for you on our Web site at www.epaumc.org/events/localchurchevents. Please take time to peruse them and try to attend events of interest to you. It's part of being a connectional church. So check out our listings, and send us your special church events too, so we can add them to the page.

Local Pastor Licensing School

Interested in Pastoral Ministry as a certified and licensed Local Pastor? Come to a Licensing School sponsored by the EPA Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and held at each teaching pastor's church or the EPA Conference Center in Valley Forge, PA. Course instructors are clergy in the EPA Conference and from the Path1 UMC Initiative. The cost is $1000 for all five segments or $250 per segment.

Areas of Study:  

  • Pastoral Care, taught by the Rev. Truman Brooks on June 13, 27 and July 11, 2015 at West Chester UMC.
  • Growing Church/Multiplication July/August/Sept. 2015 taught at the EPA Conference Center. 
Please Save These Dates!   

April 12, 2015: District Conferences


April 26-28, 2015: Annual Retreat Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors

(2.5 CEUs) Location: Black Rock Retreat Center. More details to be announced later. Retreat Chairperson is Rev. Mark Beideman 610-585-0575

May 14-16, 2015: EPA Annual Conference,  
Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks PA.

May 30, 2015: Celebration of Former Delaware Conference and 1965 Merger 


July 11, 2015: Deaconess/Home Missioner Discernment Event at Lancaster Theological Seminary, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. More details to come. Contact Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck, ddidomineck@epaumc.org, for more information. Click here for more information on the Deaconess/Home Missioner Ministry


Aug. 14-16, 2015: Laity Academy


Sept. 9-12, 2015: Laity Retreat


July 10-15, 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