July 16, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

NEWSpirit, new Website, new videos offer full media menu

It's Christmas in July when it comes to Eastern PA Conference Communications because we come bearing a trio of exciting new media gifts this week: a new summer issue of NEWSpirit newspaper;  a preview of our new Eastern PA Conference Website; and a half-dozen newYouTube channel videos from the recent Delaware Annual Conference Anniversary Celebration, May 30. Learn more...

UM chaplain to address Men's Prayer Breakfast July 18 
The Eastern PA Conference UM Men will sponsor a prayer breakfast Saturday, July 18, at Tindley Temple UMC, 750 S. Broad St, Philadelphia, from 9 to 11 AM. Guest Speaker will be Lt. Col., Chaplain, Sherrol James, U.S. Air Force. (Please see the attached Bio. for Chaplain James.) James will also throw out the "first pitch" at the United Methodist Night at the Phillies game later that evening.  And on Sunday she will preach at New Hanover UMC,  2211 Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville, PA. Reserve seats for your men's group by e-mailing Delno Moyer at: drm3@zoominternet.net, or call him at (484) 886-0950 by 13 July. Learn more...  

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 to start making room reservations now for the June 16-18 session. As more early reservations are made, we can get more leverage with the hotel staff for our meeting and hospitality needs. So if you can, please reserve your rooms now at the Lancaster Marriott, Penn Square, 25 South Queen Street, Lancaster, PA  17603 (717-239-1500). The online room registrations rate is $129/day. Discounted parking in the garage is $7/day. Please, please book your hotel room now. 


Summer campers and donations still needed

The Summer Camp season is half over. (Ah, where does the time go?) But there's still plenty of fun, fellowship and faith-forming adventures left in the weeks to come. All of the sites still have openings for upcoming camps. But along with more campers, they also hope to receive more donors who will fund "camperships" that can help send disadvantaged kids to summer camp. Check their Websites and contact them this week. Also check out our top-ten list of "Reasons Kids Should Go To Camp."  Learn more...

Youth 2015 provides resources for future growth
Nearly 4,500 United Methodist young people attended Youth 2015 in Orlando, Fla., where Bishop Peggy Johnson was one of the speakers. Their experiences will provide youth ministry video resources for years to come. Many youth expressed either hearing or confirming a call to ministry because of the gathering, and others requested to be baptized when they returned home. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries organized the event. Learn more...   

Webinar: Protecting PA's Children
What Adult Volunteers Working With Children Need to Know 
Still need clarification about Pennsylvania's new child protection laws related to how child abuse is defined, reported and investigated and about the security clearance and reporting responsibilities of adult volunteers? Join in an interactive Webinar that will offer practical guidance and answers to questions. Two Thursday presentations will be offered by experts on  July 23, 1-2:30 PM, and Thursday, July 30, 6:30-8 PM.  Presenters are Cathleen Palm, Founder of the Center for Children's Justice http://www.c4cj.org, and Mandy Mundy, Director of Education and Training for the Network of Victim Assistance www.novabucks.org. Register now for a fee of $15 per person.

UMM Softball Tournament
If this week's Major League Baseball All-Star game or this Saturday's UM Night at the Phillies leave you hungry for more baseball, then there's more to come. You'll get a lot closer to the game's excitement at the Eastern PA Conference UM Men's Annual Softball Tournament next Saturday, July 25, beginning at 9 AM, at Mondauk Commons Park in Ambler.


Four top teams will compete for the annual tournament prize: Jarrettown UMC, Hopewell UMC, Grove UMC and New Hanover UMC. They'll gather to begin with devotions at 9 AM, before taking the field to pitch, hit, run, leap and slide to victory. Organizer Ross Brightwell invites everyone to come watch and cheer the teams on. But he also emphasizes the importance of team sports as a proven tool for effective evangelism in today's world, especially in reaching young people who are and are not involved in church. He urges church members, families and friends to come, bring their lawn chairs, pup tents snacks and beverages. And most of all, bring your team spirit. 

Young adult clergy gather with bishop

Young adult UM clergy of the Philadelphia Area and their families gathered at the Episcopal Residence July 11 for dinner, fellowship and conversation. Bishop Peggy Johnson and her husband Mike hosted the gathering for the fourth time in the past seven years with the help of Executive Secretary Amy Botti, who provided crafts and activities for the children.  


'Young adult clergy bring enthusiasm, new perspectives and hope for the church," said Bishop Johnson. "This gathering always creates a sense of community that is valuable for our connectedness as United Methodist clergy in this area and during these times. Young pastors are a most valuable asset to the church, and more are answering the call to ordained ministry each year."  Learn more...

UM Pastors with Disabilities
The DisAbility Ministries Committee of the UMC will hold its first Robert M. Pitzer Award banquet July 31 at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas. They will honor United Methodist Women "for their foresight in offering The Church and People with Disabilities as a Mission u study in 2014 and 2015, an action which has had a positive impact on the entire denomination." Bishop Peggy Johnson, author of the study textbook, will attend, as Yvette Richards, President of United Methodist Women, accepts the award. "This is especially important because of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Bishop Johnson. "This shows a real partnership between the UMW and people with disabilities that deserves  recognition."  The award banquet will highlight the UM Pastors with Disabilities Conference, July 30-Aug 2.  "This is a significant group of pastors in our Connection who have much to tell us," said Johnson. The Robert M. Pitzer Award recognizes outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment to persons with disabilities across the denomination.
Use your UM Day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom coupons Aug. 1

Due to the rain that hindered many people from coming to celebrate UM Day at Dorney Park Saturday, June 27, you can still use the "United Methodist Day at Dorney Park" discount coupons at the Park Saturday Aug. 1. We regret to announce that the "UM Family and Youth Music Fest" could not be rescheduled for that date.  If you have any questions contact Ross Brightwell at rossbrightwell@verion.net or 215/643-1269.  

New Accountability Agreement
between churches, Boy Scouts  

If your church is involved in scouting, we have a new policy agreement between churches and leaders of their local Boy Scouts of America troops that must be signed by both parties. Boy Scout troops that conduct scouting activities in local UM churches must agree to comply with the national BSA Youth Protection Policy. They must also provide evidence of participation in BSA Youth Protection Training and required background and criminal clearance checks for their leaders. See the Agreement between the Eastern PA UMC and the Boy Scouts of America on our Website Safe Sanctuaries page under the Policies heading.

Laity Academy to feature Native American ministry course 

As we look forward to celebrating the Acts of Repentance with Native Americans and Other Indigenous Persons at our 2016 Annual Conference, we continue the journey toward healing and wholeness from a history of broken relationships and tragic events in the growth of our nation. So says the conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM), which will offer a course at the Academy for Laity, August 14-16, titled "Walking in Love: The Acts of Repentance and Healing Relationships with Native American and Indigenous Persons." Consider registering for this course if you want to know more about Native Americans, their history, culture and concerns, and how our connectional faith community is called to be in ministry with them. If you have any interest in or responsibility for Native American Ministries, this course is designed for you. Registration deadline is July 17.


Try Disciple Fast Track: Bible study for busy lives 

If you've ever wanted to take the Disciple Bible Study course--or take it again--but in less time, the new Disciple Fast Track may be ideal for you. While the original course required 34 weeks of over 2-hour classes, this new option offers 75-minute classes for only 24 weeks. Using the same Disciple Study Manual, participants still receive a thorough introduction to the Bible, but less in-depth and in almost a third less time to accommodate busy lifestyles.


Designed by Bishop Richard Wilke, author of the Disciple Bible Study manuals, and Christian Educator Susan Fuquay, the study is endorsed by the UM Publishing House. It offers a new, user-friendly leader's guide, videos, online training and an online community. Churches around the country report a surge in classes, as more people are enjoying this new Bible study option. Visit the website http://www.disciplefasttrack.com to explore the materials and read what other pastors, educators, leaders and participants are saying. Also, please let us know if your church has or will participate in DiscipleFastTrack. E-mail us and tell us what you think about it at communications@epaumc.org. 


Biblical Storytellers festival Aug. 5-8 

The Network of Biblical Storytellers, with members from throughout the world, will sponsor the Festival Gathering of Biblical Storytelling in the Washington DC area Aug. 5-8. The event will be held at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md. On Aug. 6, at 7 PM, 20 storytellers will perform The Epic Telling of the Acts of the Apostles at Chevy Chase UMC, 7001 Connecticut Ave., across the street from the 4-H Center. The Gathering will include several hands-on workshops on all aspects of storytelling. The keynote address this year will be given by the dynamic Rev. Marvin McMickle, president of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. For more information, visit www.nbsint.org.


'Only Four Things Grow Your Church'
The rescheduled "Only Four Things Grow Your Church" workshop will happen Saturday, Sept. 19, from 9 AM to 4 PM, at St. Matthews UMC of Valley Forge, 600 Walker Rd, Wayne, PA. 

Bill Tenny-Brittian and Bill Easum will conduct the seminar designed for church leaders (clergy, staff and laity) who are committed to seeing their churches become effective, faithful, and sustainable. The four core processes they teach focus on Inviting, Connecting and Discipling people and then Sending them back into the world to reach others. The cost is $75. Register now.
  All attendees get a $50 gift card. Also, register a team of 3 or more and save $10 per registration.  


New Birth UMC to host Launchpad
for new church planters


The Eastern PA Conference will host Launchpad, a PATH 1 training for current or prospective church planters and their teams, Aug. 21-23, at New Birth UMC (Nuevo Nacimiento),1025 Lehman St., Lebanon, PA. Launchpad guides teams into the early stages of church planting with exercises to help them start new faith communities. Now in its 5th year, the training, offered in English and Spanish, is based on lessons learned from hundreds of church planting leaders across the USA. Paul Nixon, who has coached around 100 new church projects, will co-lead it with Sam Rodriguez, a UM expert on church planting within Hispanic communities.


The costs, for training, materials and lunch, are: $100 for the church planter (and free for spouses) and $50 for each additional team member. The registration deadline is Aug. 1. Attendees may also participate in a free follow-up Webinar in January to help them prepare to launch or relaunch a new worship experience.  Register here .

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. The theme is "See, Know, Love." With dynamic speakers, vibrant conversations and innovative workshops, this resource-rich training opportunity will alter the way you think about leadership and living out your faith in churches and communities. Learn more...

Revelation Festival, August 8. Tickets only $10

Kochenderfer Church in Lebanon, PA, will welcome the second Revelation Festival, offering music for millennials, on Saturday, August 8.  The church will host and partner with young organizers of the adventurous music gathering sophomore again this year.  


"We have been hard at work to make this the best Revelation Festival yet," said Alex Shepler. "We are so excited to have Rapture Ruckus (pictured here) headlining our Festival this year! They put on a stellar show, and they will even host a big dance party following the festival."  In addition to Rapture Ruckus, Revelation Festival will present even more nationally and locally known bands. "It's the perfect mix of music," added Shepler. "If you like, pop, rock, worship, electronic, rap, or metal music, we have something for you. And it's only $10 for tickets. We're also looking for volunteers. Interested parties can sign up to volunteer on our website." Contact info: Email: info@rev-fest.com, Phone: 717-273-0525, Web: www.rev-fest.com

Creative special observance ideas       sought by Interpreter magazine

A most popular section of Interpreter magazine, the official program journal for United Methodist local church leaders, has long been "It Worked for Us," in which churches share ministry success stories from which other congregations can learn. Barbara Dunlap-Berg, associate editor, is working on the last two issues of 2015 (September-October and November-December) and looking for "creative, unique ways" local churches observe or celebrate the following:
  • Advent (starts Nov. 29)
  • All Saints Day (Nov. 1)
  • Bible Sunday (Nov. 22) and National Bible Week (Nov. 22-29)
  • Children's Sabbath (Oct. 9-11)
  • Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday (Nov. 22)
  • Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (Dec.24-25)
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (Nov. 8)
  • Laity Sunday (Oct. 18)
  • Native American Heritage Month (November)
  • Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday (Nov. 8)
  • Reformation Day (Oct. 31)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26)
  • Watch Night (Dec. 31)
  • World AIDS Day (Dec. 1)
  • World Communion Sunday (Oct. 4)
  • World Community Day (Nov. 6)

If your church has experience or plans for observing any of these special occasions through some creative, effective activity please let us know so we can pass your good idea onto her (and maybe report on it ourselves in our conference media). All we need for now is a short description of the program, idea or ministry, and a contact person's name, e-mail address and phone number. If it works for you, it may work for another church, too. Thanks in advance.

32nd Laity Academy set for August 14-16

Register now for the 32nd Laity Academy, set for August 14-16, once again at The Inn at Reading, 1040 North Park Road, Wyomissing, PA. The theme is "Planting Seeds: Rooted in God's Word." The online registration is now live, and you can get plenty of information about this annual education and fellowship event--the largest gathering for laity each year--on our Website.

You can find access to the: Paper Registration Form and Course Selection Brochure; 2015 Academy for Laity Course Descriptions; and the 2015 Academy for Laity FAQs all on the event information page. We will highlight some of the courses to help promote the academy over the next few months. For more information contact Aubrey Bates or Anne Taylor. Hotel reservations must be made directly with the hotel: Reservations@InnAtReading.com. Mention "Lay Academy."

Mission u happens July 24-26. Enroll now 

Mission u 2015 will return to The Inn at Reading (1040 North Park Road, Wyomissing, PA) July 24-26. The purpose of Mission u is to help church members (lay and clergy, men, women and youth) understand and interpret the local, national and global mission of the church and the responsibility of all Christians to help fulfill that mission. It also interprets and supports the Mission Education, Christian Social Action and program planning efforts of United Methodist Women. But again, Mission u is for everyone. Download and print the  brochure and registration form .

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!

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!   

July 24-26: Mission U  

Inn at Reading, 1040 North Park Road, Wyomissing, PA. This event is for women, men, youth and pastors.  Contact the registrar at rep164@frontiernet.net for further info. Sponsored by UMW of EPA Conference

Aug. 14-16, 2015: Laity Academy,

The Inn at Reading (PA)


Sept. 9-12, 2015: Laity Retreat

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, Hempfield UMC, Lancaster, PA

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