Join our mailing list

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Pinterest View our videos on YouTube Visit our blog
July 30, 2014

Apply for 2015 Equitable Compensation funds by Sept. 28

The Rev. Lou Hornberger, Chairman of the EPA Conference Equitable Compensation Board, reports that the updated Application for Equitable Compensation Funds, for 2015 Grants, is now available online at Churches needing Equitable Compensation assistance should complete and submit applications for 2015 grants by Sept. 28, 2014.

EPA to host Interim Ministry Training in October

Attention interested clergy: The next Transitional-Intentional Interim Ministry Training Seminar, Phase 1, will be hosted by the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference at the National Christian Conference Center in Phoenixville on Oct 7-10, 2014. Register online now at:

Note: room and board is not included. You must contact Amy Botti, for details and registration information. You can also use the provided form for manual registration. The Intentional Growth Center at Lake Junaluska (NC) is the pioneer in Transition-Intentional  Interim Ministry Training and is recognized by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as a TIIMS provider. In the past 10 years IGC has conducted more than 45 training seminars, preparing nearly 500-plus United Methodist Pastors for this ministry.

UM immigration advocates to march in DC this week

General Board of Church and Society staff executive Bill Mefford is urging advocates to "come one, come all" to D.C. on July 31 to Aug. 1, and march to the White House to protest rising deportations  of undocumented immigrants and inaction on U.S. immigration reform. "Accept no more excuses" is the challenge he and other leaders are urging. United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carca�o and other faith-group leaders will again engage in principled and prayerful protest before the White House, as they did on Presidents Day in February. EPAC's own Carmen Sol Cotto is likely to be among them.


"We will demand an end to all deportations, and demand expanded deferred action for all undocumented immigrants," says Mefford. "We will march from the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill to the White House. We will carry pictures of those who have been deported. We will then engage in peaceful civil disobedience until we are arrested."


The civil disobedience protest will begin Thursday morning, followed by trainings and strategy meetings on Friday. Learn more at GBCS's Web site: If you go please share your witness with us at Send us a report on what you did, what you saw and how you felt about the experience. And please send us photos, too.

Parkinson's event to feature health and spirituality expert

The Parkinson's Education and Support Group of Sussex County in Delaware will co-sponsor, with Bethel and Epworth UMCs, a weekend Symposium on Health and Spirituality Oct. 10-12, in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Dr. Harold Koenig, of Duke University's Center for Health and Spirituality, will be the featured speaker all three days.

Koenig, a distinguished professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and medicine at Duke in Durham, NC, will present a free community forum on latest research in "Religion, Spirituality and Health" at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes on Friday evening, Oct. 10, 7 to 8:30  p.m. He will keynote the Saturday, Oct. 11, all-day symposium on "Quality of Life and Parkinson's Disease" at Epworth UMC in Rehoboth Beach. He will also speak on the relationship between faith and health on Sunday, Oct. 12, at the 10 a.m. worship service at Bethel UMC in Lewes. Cost for the event is $30.

Register and find more information online at You can also call Dennis Leebel, leader of the Parkinson's Education and Support Group at 302-644-3465.

2016 General Conference Logo Unveiled

The Commission on the General Conference has chosen a logo for the 2016 General Conference. 

United Methodist Communications developed the logo to complement the theme of the 2016 General Conference, "Therefore go," which the Commission chose in 2013. The theme is based on the Great Commission set forth in Matthew 28:19-20: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..."

"We wanted to provide an action-themed logo that ties to the roots of The United Methodist Church, a denomination striving to fulfill the Great Commission," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, UMCom chief executive.
The logo's background features Mount Hood, reflective of the location of the 2016 event in Portland, Oregon.

United Methodist church vitality increases in U.S.

Even amid reports of the decline of religious affiliation in the United States, people are still joining United Methodist churches. That growth is reflected in a report this year that found the percentage of "highly vital" United Methodist churches in the U.S. more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 - from 14.8 percent to 33.9 percent. The same report said 34 percent of U.S. United Methodist churches grew in worship attendance in 2012.

"The doubling of highly vital congregations means that there are more disciples working on justice and mercy ministries, we are making more new disciples, more disciples(are) inviting new people, more disciples are engaging in learning small groups, and more disciples are giving generously to mission," said New Jersey Area Bishop John R. Schol, a leader of the denomination's Vital Congregations Initiative, in the report to the Council of Bishops.


United Methodist annual (regional) conferences in the United States also reported an increase in total professions of faith in 2012, for the first time in 11 years.  Professions of faith include youth completing confirmation and adult new church members who make a profession to follow Christ. The number does not count people who transfer from one church to another. Learn more at

UM children's home in Central PA to welcome immigrant children

Federal officials have asked the United Methodist Home for Children in the Central Pennsylvania community of Mechanicsburg to prepare to take in children from Central America. "In staying true to the Home's history and mission, we are committed to providing a safe and caring environment for any children who, through no fault of their own, are in desperate need of help while explorations are being made for their future," said the home's head, David Reed, in an email to Read the full story.

World Methodist Evangelism names new director

World Methodist Evangelism, part of the World Methodist Council, has announced that the Rev. Kimberly Reisman of West Lafayette, Ind., will be its new world director beginning Sept. 1. She will follow the Rev. Eddie Fox, who is retiring after 25 years. Fox led the EPA Conference's Faith-Sharing Training events in 2013 and 2014, held at Bethany UMC in Wescosville, where he taught and inspired nearly 300 attendees each time. Learn more about Rev. Reisman. Read the press release.

Young people approve unity statement

Amid talk of denominational schism resulting from debates over human sexuality, United Methodist young people from around the globe, meeting in Manila, Philippines, have urged church leaders to "seek solutions that promote our global unity." The Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly, attended by more than 300, adopted the unity statement. Read the full story. 

Applicants sought to consult on UM Social Principles

The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is accepting applications for persons who want to help make the United Methodist Social Principles more succinct, theologically founded and globally relevant.

Seven consultations are planned: five in Central Conferences and two in the United States. The outcome may lead to a recommendation to the 2016 General Conference to fund a series of public hearings across the connection that can produce a proposed Social Principles update to the 2020 General Conference.

Each consultation will comprise about 20 persons and last for two days. Two consultations in the U.S. will occur Jan. 16-17 and Jan. 23-24, 2015, in Washington, D.C. To participate complete the application on the GBCS Web site by the Sept. 15 deadline: Consultation Application. The agency will cover all travel costs. Findings will be considered by GBCS's Board of Directors in February 2015.

Learn more at Contact Katie Montfortte at or (202) 488-5679, or the Rev. Neal Christie at or (202) 488-5611 for more information.

Ethnic Local Church Grants deadline Aug. 10

The Ethnic Local Church Grants grants, distributed by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, aim to strengthen ethnic minority local churches through education, advocacy or leadership development as they engage in social justice. Application deadline is Aug. 10. Details.

NEWSpirit summer issue is online! 

Get the 'real deal.' Subscribe to NEWSpirit in print!

If you do not receive the quarterly NEWSpirit newspaper by mail but would like to, please let us know. Annual subscriptions are only $12. But the enjoyment and convenience of receiving and reading your own full-size newspaper at home or on the go is priceless. 
Just send $12 per subscription to the EPA Conference Treasurer, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.
Conference Center offices closed on Fridays through summer
Beginning the first Friday in June (June 7) through Labor Day. We will be open Mondays through Thursdays and closed on Fridays.

Reading assignment for Oct. dialogues

 Finding Our Way: Love and Law in the United Methodist Church is the book all clergy, lay delegates (including equalizing delegates), and all interested laity should read to prepare for discussions on covenant and sexuality during the Bishop's Days on the Districts. (See the online NEWSpirit article about these discussions.) This book was given to all clergy who attended the Clergy Session at Annual Conference. It is available at Cokesbury for $10.39 (a 35% discount).  


Also, for more related insights, visit the feature section titled What We Believe: Topic-Human Sexuality (at

More young adults needed
to register for Laity Academy
Registration ends July 31   
"I would like to see more young adults signed up for the Young Adults course at the Laity Academy," writes Academy Dean Aubrey Bates, "and more not-so-young adults signing up to expand the young adult mission in our churches." The popular class on Prayer is filled up but other classes need more sign-ups, also including Children's Ministries, Technology in Worship and Hispanic Ministries. Registration for the August 8-10 Academy closes July 31. (The hotel discount rate ended July 9.)   

Children's Ministries is also one of several classes that need more registrants, as other classes quickly fill up. "This is one many more people should want to attend because of its importance to our churches," said Academy Dean Aubrey Bates. See and share the promotional flyer. Registration closes 7/31.  

New Changing Racism Course
set for Oct. 31-Nov. 1

Do you need to take the Changing Racism course?

The next one is Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.  Do not wait to register; these trainings typically fill up quickly. This class is titled "A Personal Approach to Multiculturalism, Inclusion and Equality." It satisfies the requirement for Healing the Wounds of Racism training. Two Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded upon completion.
Location: National Christian Conference Center, 1485 Valley Forge Road, Phoenixville, PA 19481. For full information, including online and paper registration, please go here:  

Please note that this is not a commuter event. All details and registration are located here:

Kochenderfer UMC to host Revelation Festival August 9 

Revelation Festival, set for August 9, is Lebanon's new premiere Christian music festival planned In partnership with Kochenderfer UMC. It's in its freshman year.  


"We have been working on this for months and can't wait for everyone to join us," writes Alex Shepler, one of the organizers. "It will offer both nationally known bands and locally known bands so you're getting the perfect mix of music. We will offer Christian Pop, Rock, Electronic, and even Punk music. Tickets are on sale now; order them by visiting .


"It's gonna be a great festival and we can't wait! I encourage you to visit our website ( for more information. Keep up to date with the latest news and updates regarding Revelation Festival by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Instagram (@revelationfest).

Come see beauty amid the beasts and enjoy United Methodist Day at the Philadelphia Zoo Aug.16 

A delightful day is in store for all EPA Conference members who gather as family at one of the premier zoos in the U.S. Awesome animals, lush, colorful settings--come witness the stunning beauty of God's creation, face to face, in a place pulsing with the rhythms of life. Bring your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, church members. Or come alone...because you can always talk to the animals.


The Philadephia Zoo ( ) 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA. Phone: 215-243-1100 Hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Sponsored by the EPA Conference United Methodist Men.


SPECIAL BONUS: You can save $8 on admission with a UM Day Coupon! Print yours and make copies today. Each ticket, usually $20, will cost only $12 with a coupon. And children under 2 get in free


These coupons can be used by friends, neighbors, everyone in your community. Recommend to your older members that this is a great opportunity to take children and grandchildren to a fun, fantastic UMC adventure.  Bring a busload. The UM Men will have a booth at the ZOO entrance so stop by and say hello. For more info contact Ross Brightwell at or call 215-643-1269. 

Celebrate Campus Ministry Sunday on August 24

As college and university students return to their campuses, Sunday, August 24, may be an ideal time to celebrate the vital importance of campus ministry to them and to congregations that are, or can be, involved in their lives and their formative faith journeys.  


The EPA Annual Conference and Cabinet heard recently from the Rev. Christopher Kurien, Director of Connectional Ministries, about the growing interest in resurrecting the Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry to support and play a greater role in ministries among students at higher education institutions in our area.

Churches are asked to receive a second-mile offering on Campus Ministry Sunday, August 24, to support the development of campus ministries conference-wide.  


Congregations already involved in campus ministry may retain 50 percent of their offerings to help fund their efforts; but they and others are asked to share the remainder with the EPA Conference to support its connectional campus ministry efforts. Look for more news and information in the near future about campus ministry as a vital arena of ministry in the EPA Conference. 

Church leaders needed to test new Disciple Fast Track course

A message from

Bishop Richard Wilke:

As many of you know, Disciple Bible Study has been a life-changing study taken by millions worldwide. It is now offered in a dynamic new format that allows participants to encounter the Bible in less time. 

Please take 2 minutes and watch this video about Disciple Fast Track. We are inviting a limited number of church leaders (300) to participate in the final year of testing. We hope you will consider this new opportunity. 
For more information about becoming one of our 300 leaders, please visit:

View the videoPlease feel free to forward this message to others email. You can find more online courses for Christian leaders at www.BeADisciple.comAlso, please let us know if you decide to participate in Disciple Fast Track. E-mail us at 

2014 Charge Conference Forms now Online

All Charge Conference documents are available at  Please note that on the 2014 Church Forms Schedule the Finance Committee Report and the Trustee Packet are due August 31.

UMCOR reports on global crises, mission opportunities

UMCOR's July 23 issue of its Hotline e-newsletter has informative reports on front-page national and international human crises and our denomination's efforts to respond, along with news of mission resources and human interest features. Check out the current issue which offers:

Safe Sanctuaries district trainings to clarify new child safety laws

The EPA Conference's new Safe Sanctuaries Committee wants to be sure every church knows that new changes in state law will require them to modify their church policies and practices. Churches need to be sure they have leaders or teams present at the Safe Sanctuaries district trainings, on Oct. 25, to ensure they can comply with new laws.


There has been a great deal of child abuse prevention legislation working its way through the state legislature and the governor's office this year. Most of the changes go into effect at the end of 2014. Learn more 

Hopewell UMC's next Planting Seeds for Growth set for Nov. 15

Hopewell UMC will host its annual Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth event Saturday, Nov. 15, from 2 p.m. to 5:25 p.m., followed by a closing worship service. The Rev. Steve Morton, pastor, announced the keynote speaker will be Clint Jenkins, PhD, Vice President of Research for the Barna Group in Ventura, CA.  Barna is the leading voice in America on issues and trends among young people and their interest and involvement in religion. Jenkins' presentation and workshop at Planting Seeds will address how we can make our churches increasingly "young adult-friendly."


The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, who becomes Southeast District Superintendent July 1, expressed"deep appreciation to Hopewell, a Teaching Church for our conference, for offering this gift to us all.  We are excited about the potential of this training opportunity and want folks to save this date now."  Hopewell's Planting Seeds event will also provide advanced training for Christ Servant Ministers.

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:

- Preaching/Worship/Sacraments, taught by the Rev. Tom Haugh on Oct. 4, 25, and Nov. 8 at Mt. Hope UMC.

- Christian Education, taught by the Rev. Michael Roberts on Dec. 6 and Jan.10 and Feb.7, 2015, at Eastwick UMC in Phila.
-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. 

Dunkle-Mackey Preaching Seminar Sept. 15 in Delaware

It is time for another Dunkle-Mackey Preaching Seminar Sept. 15, from 9:30 am to 4 pm, at Grace UMC, Wilmington, Del., arranged and promoted by the Dunkle-Mackey Preaching Seminar Foundation. With the theme "Delivering the Gospel," the focus this year will be on the presentation of the sermon. Presenters are:
  • Dr. John M. Stapleton, a United Methodist minister, Theologian-in-Residence at St. John's UMC in Aiken, SC., former actor and director and preaching professor; and
  • Karen Demauro, Director of The Acting Center in New York City, who has taught, coached and performed effective, dramatic communication for various audiences, including clergy and laity.  

The seminar is open to all clergy, including retirees, at a cost of $30. See the flyer for more details; and also answer the questions on the survey form if you wish to be on the discussion panel. For more information contact Doug Ridley, Registrar, at 443-521-0039. 

Please Save These Dates!   

Sept. 6: "Leading from the Heart: Reviving Worship for the 21st Century," 9 am to 3 pm, at Paoli UMC. Early Bird registration, for $35, is open until July 1. Regular registration, for $45, ends Aug. 31 or when we reach capacity at 200 registrants.  Register online now.

Installation services for new District Superintendents

Sept. 7: The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Southeast District, 4 pm, at St.Daniel's UMC 315 Edwards Street Chester, PA 

Sept. 14: The Rev. Bumkoo Chung, Southwest District, 4 pm, at Lancaster: First

Sept. 21: The Rev. Tracy Bass, East District, 4 pm, at Lehman Memorial UMC 300 S. York Rd., Hatboro


Sept. 30: Advanced Level Sexual Ethics Workshop

"Sexual Infidelity Among Clergy Members: Understanding Risk Factors and Prevention from and Attachment Framework" - Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Avenue, West Lawn, PA. $30/person including continental breakfast, lunch and materials. More info. 

Sept. 15-17:
An Event for Young Clergy, Atlanta, GA 

New to ministry? Are things going slowly while you try to figure it all out? Or, have you been around for a while and are more confident and trying new things? Put yourself at the top of your list! Plan to attend this energizing event and "R

Rev-It-Up for a Lifetime in Ministry!"   This event for young clergy, ages 25-39, offers a unique opportunity to enhance some of the personal, financial and leadership interests and skills that can improve your life and help sustain your ministry. Learn ways to dissolve your seminary and personal debt. Gather practical tips for resolving conflict and living a healthy and balanced life. Network with other young clergy from across the denomination. Earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for attending this event. To learn more visit


Sept. 25: Annual Clergy Retirees Association Banquet.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Simpson House, 2101 Belmont Ave., Philadelphia. Retirees can enjoy a reception, dinner, business meeting, worship, with the Rev. Michele Wright Bartlow preaching, and music and singing led by Andrew Monath, music director at Arch Street UMC, Philadelphia. We will honor 2014 retirees and clergy celebrating their 50th anniversary of ordination. Contact: the Rev. Richard Howarth, President of the Retirees Association at or 484-794-9211. See the Retirees' Reporter newsletter, edited by the Rev. Amy Smith, for information and a reservation form.


Oct. 1-23:  Bishop's Days on the Districts (Meetings with Clergy & Laity) 

Northeast District: Wed. October 1    

            9:00 am - Clergy: Allentown: Asbury UMC

            1:15 pm - Clergy: East Stroudsburg UMC

             7:00 pm - Laity: Moore Township: Covenant UMC  

Central District: Thur. October 9

            9:30 am - Clergy: North Wales: Sanctuary UMC

            6:30 pm - Laity: Valley Forge: St. Matthews UMC
 Northwest District:
Wed. October 15

            8:30 am - Clergy: Cleona: Immanuel UMC

           12:30 pm - Clergy: Shamokin: First UMC

             7:00 pm - Laity: Schuylkill Haven: First  

Southwest District: Tues. October 21

            8:30 am - Clergy: Lancaster: Hempfield UMC

            1:00 pm - Clergy: Willow Street: Boehm's UMC

            7:00 pm - Laity: Lancaster: Hempfield UMC
 East District: Wed. October 22

            9:00 am - Clergy: Bensalem UMC

            7:00 pm - Laity: Bensalem UMC
 Southeast District: Thu. October 23

            8:30 am - Clergy: Elam UMC  

            7:00 pm - Laity: Willistown UMC  

The fall clergy gatherings will include conversation about the meaning of covenant. Clergy are asked to read the book Finding Our Way: Love and Law in the United Methodist Church, edited by Bishop Reuben P. Job and Neil M. Alexander.  


Oct. 10: Advanced Level Sexual Ethics Workshop:
"A Preacher and a Shrink Talk about Sexual Ethics" 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Ruhl's United Methodist Church, 4810 Elizabethtown Road, Manheim, PA  

$30/person including continental breakfast, lunch and materials. More Info


Oct. 17-18: Training in Latino Ministries for Non-Latino Churches,
Friday, Oct. 17, 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location to be determined. Sponsored by the EPA Conference Latino Commission. Contact: Esdras Seda, Coordinator of Latino Ministries, at or 267-253-8737.

Oct. 21-22: Change Stewardship in Your Church, with Clif Christopher,  renowned stewardship expert and author of Not Your Parents' Offering Plate and Rich Church, Poor Church. Full-day workshops for individuals and teams from all EPA churches. Oct. 21 at Bethany UMC, Wescosville (Northeast District); and Oct. 22 at Mt. Hope UMC, Aston (Southeast District). Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation for Stewardship and Investment Management (based at the EPA Conference Center).


Oct. 17 - 20--Christian Educators to meet in Nashville
Christians Engaged in Faith Formation will host this annual event with the theme "May the Circle be Unbroken," The premier conference for Christian Educators will feature speeches, presentations, Bible studies, worship and fellowship opportunities, plus more than 50 workshops. A visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame will be a highlight. The event will be at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. For more information or to register, visit

Oct. 25: Safe Sanctuaries training
for church leaders held simultaneously on each district. More information to come. Check with your district office.

NEW! Nov. 22: "YES" Call to Ministry Retreat  

This annual retreat will be held 9 am to 5 pm at New Life UMC, Drexel Hill. Pastors please start thinking about youth from your congregation who may be thinking about future ministry. Information will be announced later with details for registering, etc.

April 12, 2015   District Conferences, 3-5 pm, Locations to be determined.


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

Copyright � 2014. All Rights Reserved.