February 20, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new 

clergy appointment changes, effective July 1 
See complete lists of new clergy appointments and retirements.
(Some individuals may continue serving at their current appointments in retired status.)


Central District

The Rev. William Humes, Elder. From Pottstown: First (FT) to Coventryville (FT)

The Rev. Coleen Painter, Elder. From Honey Brook (PT) to Elverson (FT)

The Rev. Larry Frank, Elder. From Harmony (FT) to Harmony (Retired, PT)

The Rev. John Bletsch, Elder on Loan. From Mont Clare: Otterbein (PT) to Mont Clare: Otterbein (FT)


Southwest District

The Rev. Elaine Miller Bortman (Elder) from Christiana and Georgetown-Mt. Pleasant (SW) to Bethesda UMC (SW) 

The Rev. Marcia C. Lincoln-Heinz (Provisional Elder) from Bristol: First and Trevose (East) to Manheim: Salem (SW) 


Northeast District

J. William Lentz, Jr.  From: Lancaster: First UMC (SW District) To: Pen Argyl: Grace (NE District) effective July 1, 2015.


The Winter 2015 issue of NEWSpirit is here. Read it online a www.epaumc.org/news/newspirit.

Read all about our exciting plans for the 2015 Annual Conference. Enjoy colorful images and insights from the Pen-Del Conference's annual Youth Rally in Ocean City, where nearly 500 youth from our conference attended.  See the listing of key conference events through May. Delve into Bishop Peggy Johnson's inspiring tribute to the historic Delaware Conference.  And check out our coverage of the Financial Leadership Academy, new happenings at our Camp & Retreat Centers, our mission endeavors from the Congo to Carolina, and compelling insights on creating vital congregations and clergy. Printed copies of this issue will be mailed next week. But for now, relax, sit back--or rather, lean forward--and read all about us on the Web.


Innabah gets new Summer Camp Director, Retreat Host


The Eastern PA Conference Camping Ministry Board has hired Michael Hyde for a new lead position at Innabah Camp and Retreat Center in Spring City. He began work there as Summer Camp Director & Retreat Host Feb. 9. Ray Neitz, Director of Carson-Simpson Farm, will continue to also oversee Innabah as interim administrative site director, a role he has filled since November. Summer camp has been a part of Hyde's life since his childhood in the 1980s, he said. "My heart has always held a very special spot for the ministry of Innabah. Now I am honored to become an official part of the Innabah family." The husband, father and experienced "Tough Mudder" said he already spends a lot of time outdoors with his young, energetic sons, Jeremy and Cole. He's looks forward to spending more, as he "shares the ministry of Christ while helping campers, parents, staff and volunteers share in the camp experience." Hyde's wife, Kristen, teaches music at an elementary school in the Pottsgrove District and enjoys playing her flute, along with the many games and creative activities that help keep her sons busy.


Church van for sale by Mount Hope UMC, Ashton. 
2005 Ford, 12-passenger church van, in excellent condition, kept in a garage. For about $8500. Contact Jack Mitch, Church Transportation Committee Chair, at 484-410-0465 or jackvva165@yahoo.com.

Keep up with this and other listings on our Classifieds page at epaumc.com.

A Prayer for the Cold and Homeless

God of compassion, your love for humanity was revealed in Jesus, whose earthly life began in the poverty of a stable, and ended in the pain and isolation of the cross. We hold before you those who are homeless and cold, especially in this bitter weather. Draw near and comfort them in spirit and bless those who work to provide them with shelter, food and friendship. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.    From www.churchofengland.org  

Thanks to The First Edition eNews, First UMC Phoenixville, Feb. 13, 2015\

DS promotes Lenten study series
The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Southeast District Superintendent, recently recorded a one-minute promotional announcement for the district's new Lenten Bible Study curriculum, "It Is Necessary." The series curriculum is available FREE to anyone who contacts Hopewell UMC, which produced the multi-media Lenten resource.  Just visit the Webpage at http://www.hopewellumc.org/lent-2015, read more about the Lenten study series and click on the Vimeo video link to view to Dawn's message. Share it with friends and members of your small group or congregation.

Dewees Grants deadline is March 1

March 1 is the deadline to apply for the spring distribution of Dewees Grants. Grants, typically up to $5,000, are awarded to provide initial funding for church mission programs but must be for the initial funding only. Applications go to the EPA Conference Treasurer's Office at P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820. Learn more and apply through our Website. The deadline for fall grants will be Sept. 1. 

New site for SE District Intercultural Communication event
If you plan to attend the Southeast District Conversations on Intercultural Communication Workshop April 25, the location had been changed from St. Mark's UMC in Broomall to Elam UMC in Glen Mills.
Conference Domestic Violence training for districts set for June 6

Leadership teams from all six districts will attend the conference-wide Faith Community Response to Domestic Violence training Saturday, June 6, at West Lawn UMC. The Seattle-based Faith Trust Institute, recognized experts in this field, will come to our conference that day to conduct a free training, an opportunity provided by United Methodist Women. District teams will be expected to train local church teams in their districts to develop effective, collaborative solutions to domestic violence in their communities. More information and a training application will be available on our conference Website in the coming week. "We would love to see teams at this training that represent each of our districts," said Sharon Hachtman, Deaconess, who applied to the denomination's UMW agency for this conference training opportunity. You may contact her at 570-460-7301 or shhooma@live.com. 

New Lenten Bible Study: Transformation through the Word

Feb. 22 is the first Sunday of Lent, and Hopewell UMC in Downingtown is guiding the development of a new adult Bible Study series for what some might call our yearly season of sacrifice and self-denial. The series is titled It is Necessary: When God Says "You Must." This seven-week study will track a formulaic saying used repeatedly in the biblical writings of Luke and Acts to describe the nature of Jesus' ministry and the mission of the Christian Church.   


Following a weekly introduction by the Rev. Steve Morton, Hopewell's Lead Pastor, seven clergy elders from around the Southeast District offer a 10-12 minute presentation based on one of the "It is Necessary" passages in the Gospel of Luke.  The curriculum is free and will be ready for distribution the first week of FebruaryFor information or to place an order, contact Deb Boyd, Director of Lay Ministries at Hopewell UMC (boyd@hopewellumc.org  

Sexual Ethics workshops coming soon

Basic and Advanced Sexual Ethics workshops will be held throughout 2015, providing helpful, approved, mandatory training to clergy. See the schedule of workshops under Conference Events on the Website, and register online. The next session is Level 1 (Basic) Sexual Ethics, set for Feb. 24 at Conshohocken UMC. It will be repeated in July and October. Two Advanced Level Workshops have been scheduled so far: "Leading Between The Lines" on March 31; and "A Preacher and a Shrink Talk about Sexual Ethics" on April 24. A third, "Sexual Infidelity Among Clergy Members:  Understanding Risk Factors and Prevention from an Attachment Framework,"will take place on a fall date to be determined. Additional workshops may be added, said the Rev. David Woolverton, coordinator.

Need a ministry makeover?  

Tools for Ministry happens March 7 
All six districts will host informative, insightful Tools for Ministry training events Saturday, March 7, in six church locations. District e-newsletters are reporting locations, schedules and course topics as information becomes available. We hope to report on them conference-wide in early February. 


Girls on the Go at Gretna Glen 
The Annual United Methodist Women's Girls on the Go retreat will occur March 7-8 at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center. This year's theme is Extreme Makeover 139: Beautiful and Biblical. Retreat leader Margaret Keefer will share her wit and wisdom through speaking, drama, song, Scripture and lots of laughter. The $55 early registration fee ends Jan. 31, but the cost only increases to $60 per person for the entire event. Download the brochure for complete information. 

Clergywomen to unite in prayer on retreat
EPA Conference clergywomen will gather for their annual retreat
Tuesday, March 10, at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center to life up their hearts in prayer, witness and fellowship, with the theme "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10). ! All Eastern PA Clergy Women of every status are invited. To register, please send name, contact information, and info about dietary needs, with a check (payable to Newtown UMC Pastor's Fund) by March 1 to Rev. Dorry Newcomer, 35 Liberty Street, Newtown PA 18940. The cost is $25 for the day retreat, with an option to stay overnight Monday for an additional $40. Get more details online , or contact Dorry at 267-795-8153 (dorry.newcomer@yahoo.com) or Cyndi at 215-316-1431 (cyndi.skripak@gmail.com)

UMCOR: 75 Years of Hope, One Great Hour of Sharing

The Rev. Greg Ellis, new Conference Disaster Response Ministries Coordinator, calls us to join in celebrating the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which  turns 75 this year What started as a relief effort to help a war ravaged China in 1940 has grown and transformed into a well known, highly respected, global humanitarian and relief organization of The United Methodist Church. UMCOR has transformed countless lives and communities with a small organization and budget accomplish How? Because in all the ways and places we help people recover and rebuild after disasters, we are UMCOR! Ellis urges us to also give to the One Great Hour of Sharing churchwide Special Sunday offering March 15 to continue undergirding UMCOR's vital ministries of restoration near and far. Learn more...  

 Curing conflict in the church


The EPA Conference will sponsor on March 24 a much-needed workshop titled "When There's Conflict In the Church:  Knowing What To Do When It Comes Your Way." Up to 60 participants will gather from 8:30 AM to 3 PM at Hopewell UMC, 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA 19335 to explore what is widely acknowledged as a normal but troublesome part of church life: conflict. How we handle it determines how healthy conflict can be for a church's growth in disciple-making. The Rev. David Woolverton, of St. Mark's UMC in Mount Joy, will equip attendees with tools and tactics to assess and intervene in conflict situations and to disengage from "conflict paralysis."The workshop fee is $35.Learn more and then Register on-line. For questions, contact David Woolverton at shepherd2842@comcast.net.


UMCOR to offer disaster response training nearby

When you leave your comfort zone to go help victims of disaster anywhere, it almost inevitably becomes a life-changing--and often life-saving--experience for both you and them. Yet, the most positive outcomes require not only a leap of faith but also the gifts of training and team coordination. Our own, esteemed
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), will offer those invaluable gifts to current and future volunteers from across the church's Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ) on March 18-21 at West River Camp and Retreat Center, near Annapolis, Md. UMCOR personnel will help trainees learn and prepare together for the extraordinary mission adventure of responding to crises and disasters of all types by providing relief and recovery services while often touching the emotional and spiritual needs of survivors.

Whether you're a pastor, church member or non-member, if you've never had disaster response training or only had a basic orientation, this NEJ UM Volunteers in Mission
UMCOR Training Academy--the first one here in a decade--is ideal for you. Participation will be capped at 140 people. So get more information and register now!   By the way, the Rev. Nick Nicholas, NEJ Coordinator for UMCOR and Volunteers in Mission, has his office in the EPA Conference, located at Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia. Contact Nick at deaconnick23@gmail.com or 630-291-1380.


Get your UM News Daily Digest

Keep up with United Methodist news from around the connection with a free subscription to the online UM News Service Daily Digest. Subscribe at: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/umns-subscription-form As the official news agency of the church, UMNS keeps you informed with breaking news coverage, features and commentaries from around the world. Their staff of professional journalists provides stories, images and other content, while also bringing you news from annual conferences, including ours, and other sources.

News In Brief 

Saturday, March 7: Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, will sponsor its "Doing Good Well" Conference,  from 9:30 AM to 1 PM. Vital congregations are increasingly committed to serving others through mission. "Doing Good Well," this year's Serve Your Neighbor conference, explores the fruitfulness of mission efforts and provides practical strategies to make sure your mission hits the mark. Register before Feb. 9 for early-bird discounts. $40. Details 

Applications for Advance Special ministry fundraising due March 10

The EPA Conference Missions Team is now receiving applications for ministries that want to raise funds through the Conference Advance Specials program in 2015. The deadline is March 10, and the applications must be vetted by the team and presented for approval to the 2015 Annual Conference in May. Once approved, the church and community ministries may seek funding through conference-wide appeals, which requires Advance Special status. Applications and more information can be found on our Website at http://epaumc.org/content/2015-2016-advanced-special-projects-application. A descriptive list of 2014 Advance Special projects is also available on our Website at http://epaumc.org/ministry/advance-special-projects.


Register now for March 21 Faith Sharing Event
The EPA Conference will welcome Thom and Joani Schultz, co-authors of the provocative book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Church Irresistible, as keynote presenters at its 2015 conference-wide faith sharing event Saturday, March 21, 9 AM to 3:30 PM, at New Hanover UMC. Come, bring a team from your church, and learn some eye-opening research findings, compelling, real-life stories, and effective approaches to welcoming visitors and making disciples the way Jesus would. You'll be stretched to redefine the way you do church. Read our Website article, visit our online registration page, and  find full details for the event and how to register.


Note: Registering in advance will ensure that you receive a seat, event materials and your chosen meal selection. Those who register onsite may not be assured of getting a seat or receiving materials and may find a very limited meal selection for lunch.


Order your 2014 Conference Journal in print before we run out!

A limited number of 2014 EPA Conference Journals in print are still available. Order yours today for only $25. You can pay online or send a check by postal mail to EPA UMC, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.  What's in the Journal? Contact information for Conference staff, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Church boards, agencies and resources. Also clergy appointments, committee assignments and service records. Plus, all about the 2014 Annual Conference, the 2015 conference budget, conference statistics for 2013, historical highlights, and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff and others. 

Time to nominate delegates to General Conference
Eastern PA Conference members will vote during Annual Conference, May 14-16, to send delegates to the 2016 UMC General Conference. The next gathering of this quadrennial, worldwide church lawmaking body will be May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Oregon. The procedures governing the election of delegates are in the 2014 Conference Rules of Order.


Download and complete the "Nominating Petition" and send it to Lloyd Speer, Conference Secretary, to arrive by March 10.


Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference, March 28, 2015

Disability Ministry Committees in the Eastern PA, Peninsula-Delaware and Greater New Jersey conferences in co-sponsoring the 5th Annual Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference with the theme "Yes WE Can." The full-day conference will happen March 28, 2015, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, at Cornerstown UMC, 3135 Summit Bridge Rd, Bear, DE. Keynote speaker, Travis Freeman, author of "Lights Out," says, "Disability does not equal inability. Disabled people can do anything they want to do in life." When illness completely stole Freeman's sight at 12 years old-a year after he accepted Christ in his life--his passion and desire to play football seemed to fall dead. However, the unshakable kid found a way to overcome and become a champion football player. He earned a degree in Business Administration and Master of Divinity and Ph.D seminary degrees. Learn more...
Be sure to complete, update your 'Find-A-Church' profile
The UMC's  Rethink Church campaign features a Website that includes a key component titled Find-A-Church. There church seekers can enter many "doors" through which they may find a congregation that matches their interests and preferences. However, if you don't update your information on Find-A-Church, seekers may not find you and discover their new church home. It's simple, welcoming online hospitality. So open the doors of your church and let potential visitors see what's going on inside. Some resources that may help you:
  1. Why Find-a-Church is Important"
  2. Updating Your Church Profile

Over 300,000 people per month visit Find-a-Church. More visitors are on the way. Is your church ready to welcome them?


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.

Associate Members, Local Pastors to retreat
in April 2015

The Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors (FAMLP) of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware conferences will gather April 26-28, 2015, for their annual retreat at the Black Rock Retreat Center. Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors, and Certified Lay Ministers of both conferences are welcome to attend. They will explore the theme "Church Growth and the Local Pastor," led by the Rev. Thomas Haugh, pastor of Mount Hope UMC.Participants will receive 2.5 CEUs. The registration fee, $50/person, is nonrefundable.  A deposit is due Dec. 15; the balance is due Jan. 19, 2015. Contact Cheryl Snyder, Treasurer and Registrar, at 443-553-2263 for questions. "We hope to meet you at Black Rock Retreat Center for a restful break," said the Rev. Mark Beideman, Retreat Chairperson, "so we can grow and be renewed together in Christ."


See the brochure and registration form at www.wilmingtondistrict.org/famlp2015retreat.pdfQuestions? Call Beideman at 610-585-0575.

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.


Five Major Areas of Study:

  • Church Administration: Leading a Congregation,taught by the Rev. Larry Leister on March 14, 28 and April 18, 2015, at Lititz UMC.
  • 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!   

March 7, 2015: Tools for Ministry-All 6 Districts

March 10, 2015: Clergywomen Retreat, Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center

March 21, 2015: Faith Sharing Event with Thom & Joani Schultz

March 28, 2015: 5th Annual Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference

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


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.


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