April 24, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new clergy appointment changes,   

See complete lists of new cler gy appointments and retirements.
(Some individuals may continue serving at their current appointments in retired status.)

East District

  • Ms. Debra Coulbourn, CSM, to Phila.: Roxborough, Ridge Avenue at half-time, effective July 1
  • The Rev. Stacey Jones-Robinson, on-loan from African Methodist Episcopal Church, to Bristol: First at half-time, effective July 1

 Northwest District

  • The Rev. Angel M. Lopez (Elder) from Allentown: La Trinidad (NE) to Nueva Creacion (formerly Lancaster: El Redentor and St. Paul's) (SW)
  • The Rev. David Alderson
  •  (Part-Time Local Pastor) from Bellegrove (NW) to Strasburg: Wesley (SW)
  Northeast District
  • The Rev. Sue Marie Baskette (Interim Part-time) - To: Hazleton: Diamond UMC (NE District) from March 29 - June 21, 2015.
  • The Rev. Christopher Hardy(Part-time Local Pastor)  To: Hazleton: Diamond UMC  (NE District).
    The Rev. Brunilda Martinez  (Part-time)  - From: Lancaster: El Redentor &  LA: St. Paul's UMCs To:  Allentown: La Trinidad  (NE District).
  • The Rev. John T. Pfeil - From: West Willow UMC To: Pen Argyl: Grace UMC (NE District).

Wanted: Scenes of Stewardship in Action

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we want to depict our 2015 Annual Conference theme of Stewardship in action, but we need your help. We want to display images of stewardship of various types, in various settings, in churches and communities. How and where are you or your church being "good stewards of God's manifold grace"? (1 Peter 4:10) How are you caring for and sharing precious gifts of time, treasure, talent, relationships and the Earth's environment? Please show us, and let us show others, by sending us pictures and/or video to post on our Eastern PA Conference Website, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube pages. We may even publish your images in the NEWSpirit newspaper.  Learn more...


SE District attains goal to fund Congo pediatrics clinic

"We did it!" wrote Superintendent Dawn Taylor-Storm, proclaiming the Southeast District's success in raising funds to build a pediatrics medical facility in Mpasa, an impoverished community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. " We exceeded our goal of $50,000!" In fact, the district raised a remarkable $58,649.88"What can 66 churches do when we work together?" she asked. "We can bring life and hope to God's beloved children.... The Congo-Partnership rejoices with us today."  Learn more...


Ellis to lead Eastern PA Volunteers in Mission

The Rev. Greg Ellis will begin serving as the new UM Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Coordinator for the Eastern PA Conference July 1. He succeeds Ben Botti, who has served faithfully in that role for 12 years. Ellis was commissioned a Deacon in May 2014 and is on track to be ordained in 2016. In addition to the UMVIM Coordinator role, he has served as the conference Disaster Response Coordinator since last November, succeeding Debra DePrinzio. Learn more...


Tindley Temple to teach technology

 The Media Ministry at Tindley Temple UMC (750-762 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia) will host "Becoming a Digital Church: Using Technology to Grow your Church in Evangelism, Worship and Stewardship" in partnership with the Philadelphia Area Mission ConneXion Saturday, April 25, from 10 AM to 1:00 PM. Admission cost is $10 each or $5 per person in groups of 3 or more. RSVP to Rev. Johnson at REVRLJ1@msn.com. For more information, contact church leaders at  215-735-0442. Download the flyer!


UM, Korean churches honor 27-year relationship
Celebrating friendship and diversity in their music, ministries and dinner menus, Philadelphia's Camphor Memorial UMC and First Korean Presbyterian Church will worship, fellowship and feast together Sunday, April 26, from 3 to 6 PM, continuing a 27-year tradition. The annual gathering will happen at Camphor Memorial UMC, 5620 Wyalusing Ave.


The worship service will feature intergenerational choirs, praise dance and instrumental music of both cultures. A free-will offering will benefit the Haiti Hot Lunch Program, a UMC Global Mission Project to provide hot, nutritious meals to schoolchildren in Haiti.  A high point of the service will be the presentation of $500 scholarships to a student from each church. The ensuing fellowship dinner will feature Korean and African-American soul food dishes.


The two churches' fellowship began in 1988 when the Rev. Paul Kim was Associate Pastor at Camphor, part of a special cross-cultural pulpit appointment by the Eastern PA Conference. Camphor Memorial's African-American congregation reportedly received Kim and his family with open arms and delighted in helping him learn English while members learned about Korean culture. For more information download the event flyer.


College concert features Christian student artist

Conference-related Lebanon Valley College's Chapel Concert Series will feature singer/songwriter Cristabelle Braden, a student in her senior year at LVC, on Sunday, April 26 at 6 p.m. at Miller Chapel. The outdoor lawn concert, which will be located directly outside of the Chapel on the Academic Quad, is free and open to the public. Braden is a singer with a story to tell. She has written more than 200 songs since suffering from a serious brain injury at age 14. Several of these songs are featured in her two albums: I Am Yours and Harmony. In March 2015, she was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the Kindred Music Awards. Her hit single, "Hope Survives (Anthem For Survivors)," serves as the theme song to the brain injury awareness organization she recently founded, "Hope after Head Injury."


Braden's message of hope opens the event, entitled "Hope Rises," coordinated by the student-run organization H.O.P.E. (Helping Others by Praying Endlessly). Following the concert, students from the College as well as prayer leaders from the local community will offer prayer, worship, and S'mores by a fire pit.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or a lawn chair for the concert. For more information, contact LVC's Office of Spiritual Life at 717-867-6135 or nsmith@lvc.edu.


Interest in Domestic Violence response training grows

Interest in the Faith-based Response to Domestic Violence training event, scheduled for June 6, from 8 AM to 5 PM at West Lawn UMC in Reading, is growing as districts prepare to submit participant teams for consideration. The conference-wide training opportunity represents a partnership between the Eastern PA Conference and the national offices of United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men and FaithTrust Institute, which will facilitate the training. "There is much we can learn, and this will be a huge opportunity for us to support one another in this ministry of justice," said Sharon Hachtman, coordinator of the training event.  Learn more, and read Hachtman's related article about domestic violence's damaging impact on women and families, and the urgent responsibility of churches and faith groups to respond.




Arch Street UMC receives grant for Grace Cafe 

Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia, received a $5,000 gift from the General Council on Finance and Administration for support of its Sunday evening feeding and fellowship ministry, Grace Caf?. Nashville-based GCFA's General Secretary, Moses Kumar came to Philadelphia Sunday evening, April 12, to present the award and stayed to participate in the ministry experience. Every Sunday, from 5:30 to 7 PM, Arch Street welcomes up to 200 of its neighbors to Grace Caf? for devotions, dinner and fellowship.  Devotions are held in the sanctuary and the fellowship meal in the downstairs fellowship hall. However, the Caf? will suspend service from July 5 to  Sept. 6 and will resume on Sunday, Sept. 13. Volunteers who want to prepare and serve the fellowship meal with support from the Arch Street Volunteer Support Team should contact the church office at secretary@archstreetumc.org.


UMC by the numbers
Data Services department of The United Methodist Church, which provides statistics on the church, recently announced that the UMC has 7,299,753 members in 32,608 churches in the United States, and 5,525,924 in 11,013 churches in Central Conferences. There are 39,814 UM clergy in the US and 14,212 clergy in Central Conferences. In the U.S., the average weekly worship attendance in United Methodist churches is 2,908,352. Learn more.


Exploring General Conference 

A highly recommended online course on
"Exploring General Conference" (ECG 101-2015) is being offering through the  United Methodist Communications Training Center.    

UM general agencies hire experienced top staff
Two Nashville-based UM general agencies recently hired new top executives to serve the denomination's ministry needs. UM Communications elected

Daniel Krause of Denver, Col., as its new general secretary, effective June 8. He succeeds the Rev. Larry Hollon, who retired after 14 years at the helm. Krause, who is earning a Master of Divinity degree at Denver's Iliff School of Theology, is a pastoral intern and  candidate for elder's ordination in the Rocky Mountain Conference. He was chosen from more than 500 candidates because of his knowledge and experience in management, communications and marketing, combined with his theological education. The agency's Chief Operating Officer, Sherry Thiel, is serving as interim-General Secretary until Krause begins his duties.


Also the Rev. Vance P. Ross will return to the executive staff of Discipleship Ministries as Director of Annual Conference Relations/Annual Conference Strategist for Vital Congregations, a new position. Ross, who is senior pastor of Gordon Memorial UMC in Nashville, will begin his new assignment May 11 as deployed staff working from Atlanta.


United Methodist Night at the Phillies, Saturday, July 18 

Come catch a great ballgame, but come early to hear the New Hanover UMC choir sing before the game and to cheer U.S. Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Sherrol James (a United Methodist) when she throws out the ceremonial first pitch. More info to come, but get your discounted tickets now. Questions? Contact Ross Brightwell at 215-643-1269, rossbrightwell@verizon.net. Sponsored by United Methodist Men.   Download the flyer!



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


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!

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


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.

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... 

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.

Please Save These Dates!   
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