June 18, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new clergy appointment changes

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


The following appointments are effective July 1, 2015 unless otherwise indicated.


Southwest District

  • Mr. Derrick Gutierrez (Lay Supply) to Terre Hill: St. Paul's, 1/4-time,
  • Mr. David Kling (Lay Supply) to Churchtown, 1/4-time
Northwest District
  • Don Carl, Lay Supply, to Barry Township: Salem, ½ time
  • Rev. Timothy Christman (Evangelical Congregational Elder, Supply) to Gordon: Simpson, ½ time
  • Rev. Joan Pacocha (Retired Elder) to St. Clair/Wade, ¼ time
  • Rev. Paul Steel (Retired American Baptist Elder) to Avon: Zion, ½ time.


Bethel AME Church to host prayer vigil over S.C. killings. Bishop Johnson sends letter

In the wake of last night's tragic killing of nine people at "Mother Emanuel" African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC., St. George's U.M. Church in Philadelphia, invites all to join in a prayer vigil tonight at 7 PM that will gather at nearby Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church (419 S. 6th St, Philadelphia, PA). Bishop Peggy Johnson has sent a letter to be read. She shared that letter with the conference, adding: "Please join them there, or if you can't, then please join your prayers to theirs in mourning this invasion of sacred space and tragic loss of life and in seeking loving consolation and guidance from almighty God." Her letter reads:


I greet our sister church, Mother Bethel A.M.E., on this evening and add my prayers to yours during this solemn gathering.  

Indeed, I join many other hearts and voices in grief at the horrible, senseless killing of nine people at "Mother Emanuel" African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. This incident adds yet another frustrating layer of pain to our sorrow from the many brutal shootings and bombings that have taken lives and wreaked havoc across our nation in recent years. We grieve for the families of those who were tragically slain by this gunman, and we are grateful to God that he has been apprehended by police.

We in the Philadelphia area join our many ecumenical and interfaith partners in praying for the people of Mother Emanuel and Charleston. As we lift our anguished prayers to God, we must also renew our concerted efforts to teach people that hate and violence are not valid means for solving problems, and that angry thoughts and words too often lead to violent deeds.

We must teach that hate and racism are not acceptable in any setting of our society, least of all in our churches. And we must work together prayerfully toward the day when such crimes as this will no longer happen.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
Philadelphia Episcopal Area
The United Methodist Church

Conference hires new Treasurer

Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Eastern PA Conference Council on Finance and Administration are pleased to announce the hiring of James E. Cruickshank as Conference Treasurer, starting August 3.


He will succeed current Treasurer Peter DiNofia when he retires. Cruickshank, CFA, is a financial executive with extensive financial leadership and investment management experience. During his 30-year career, he has led corporate and business unit strategic initiatives that have helped organizations achieve growth. His specialties include corporate finance, capital markets, risk management, financial planning and analysis, and relationship management.  Learn more...


Jobs Digest next week

We will publish the next issue of Jobs Digest next week. Please submit any job openings to communications@epaumc.org by Monday, June 22.


Pray, rally for education justice at State Capitol June 20, 24

United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania is urging members of the denomination to fast, pray and rally for education justice on Saturday, June 20, and again on Wednesday, June 24. United Methodists are invited to join an interfaith gathering of religious advocates for fair school funding legislation on the State Capitol steps in Harrisburg June 20, starting at 10 AM. They are also urged  to join a rally next Wednesday, June 24, and visits to legislators' offices to advocate for that same cause.  

The June 20 event will consecrate the start of a 10-day fast and witness by people of faith while legislators debate the 2016 budget. This  #MORALTAKEOVER action may well become the largest interfaith mobilization in Pennsylvania's history. The Eastern PA Annual Conference approved a resolution on May 16 calling for legislation to increase and fairly distribute public-school funding. Learn more...


Also, Bishop Peggy Johnson has co-authored an episcopal letter with fellow PA bishops Thomas Bickerton (Western PA Conference, Pittsburgh Area) and Jeremiah Park (Susquehanna Conference, Harrisburg Area). They offer "a moral witness," calling on members and congregations to urge state legislators to vote for budget proposals that "support poor students and schools through a fair funding formula, and which provide property tax relief to the most struggling communities in our commonwealth."   Learn more...


Father's Day has Methodist historical ties

To all you dads out there: While you're relaxing and enjoying tributes on your special day June 21, don't forget to thank a Methodist for Father's Day.  


Two former Methodist Episcopal churches--one in Washington state, the other in West Virginia--can lay claim to originating this annual paternal tribute. In 1909 in Spokane, Wash., Sonora Smart Dodd (pictured here with two Boy Scouts and a Civil War veteran)

was inspired by a Mother's Day sermon at Central Methodist Episcopal Church to honor her father who raised her and five siblings alone after their mother died. She proposed to local religious leaders a day to honor fathers everywhere, and it gained wide acceptance. June 19, 1910, was celebrated by churches there as the first Father's Day.  


When news of the observance spread across the country Father's Day became popular nationally. Meanwhile, another Methodist church in Fairmont, W.Va., had been celebrating Father's Day already for two years after a nearby mine explosion in 1907 claimed the lives of more than 360 men. Most of them had families, and the tragedy left 1,000 children fatherless. Learn more...

Volunteers' fees for child protective clearances to be waived

Beginning July 1 all prospective volunteers in Pennsylvania who will have direct contact with minors in churches and other venues must provide, in advance, child abuse clearances from the PA Department of Human Services and criminal background checks from the PA State Police, as required by the Child Protective Services Law. These state checks and clearances, which must be renewed every three years, cost a fee of $10 each, for a total of $20.  


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that those fees will be waived for volunteers beginning July 25. In addition, both $10 fees will be reduced to $8 for prospective paid employees who will have direct contact with children. Also, volunteers who have not lived in PA continuously for the past 10 years are required to obtain an FBI background check for a fee of $27.50. That fee has not been waived or reduced. The Eastern PA Conference Safe Sanctuaries Committee is researching changes in the new laws and will report to the conference as more information and clarification become available. Learn more...

UMC board co-launches Faith United Against Alzheimer's Coalition
The UMC's Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has joined USAgainstAlzheimer's in launching the Faith United Against Alzheimer's Coalition (FUAAC), a cooperative effort to mobilize all elements of the faith community in the fight against Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The two will work with faith-based organizations to promote dignity, compassionate care and quality of life for individuals with the disease, provide support for families, and promote  efforts by a broad cross-section of partners--including UM churches--to help find and fund disease-modifying treatments and a cure. Learn more...

New resource explores ministry call, discernment 
(UMNS)--Church leaders can use a new leadership discernment resource to help members discern a call to various forms of ministry. Three UMC general agencies collaborated on "Called: One Word, Many Ways," which includes downloadable sermon starters, reflection questions, video stories and commitment cards.  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

Grandview UMC in UMCOR's Fair Trade's top 5%

Grandview UMC in Lancaster is in the top 5 percent of purchasing products from the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR's) collaboration with Equal Exchange Fair Trade. The church increased sales from the previous year by $800. The UMCOR Coffee Project, started with Equal Exchange in 2002, involves United Methodists in supporting small farmers around the world. Grandview accepted the Red Cherry Challenge to sell 175 pounds of Fair Trade Coffee by May 31 to help farmers suffering from poor harvests due to coffee rust and climate change. The church passed its goal by selling 183 pounds of coffee, which will help farmers in Guatemala and El Salvador to 1) plant new, more resilient coffee free saplings, 2) use organic fertilizers and fungicides, and 3) have emergency funds to help survive severe crop losses. Learn more about this empowerment ministry.


Appalachian Ministry Network OKs Hunger & Poverty grants
The Rev. Karyn Fisher and Rev. Susan Roehs attended the Spring meeting of the UM Appalachian Ministry Network (UMAMN), April 23-24 in Bolivar, Pa., to represent the Eastern PA Conference, which supports the network's ministries. The 23 members came from across the Appalachian region, which extends from New York to Mississippi. Coley Dize, an organizational development consultant and member of Glen Dale UMC in Wheeling, W. Va, led them through exercises to devise new action steps for implementing their strategic plan adopted in 2014. The group approved two grant applications totaling $3,200 to address root causes of hunger and poverty in Appalachian communities. The UMAMN fall meeting will be at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky on October 22-23. Please consider supporting the Appalachian Hunger & Poverty Grant Program and the work of UMAMN through the following Advance Special projects: Appalachia Hunger and Poverty #982039 Appalachian Ministry Network #982041. for more information contact the Rev. Karyn Fisher, pastor of St. John's UMC, Shamokin, at karyn.fisher3@gmail.com


Pastor's farewell letter sings all the right notes 

'Tis the season of transition, as many pastors bid farewell to churches they have led, and prepare to move on to new appointments. For some "parting is such sweet sorrow," and some faces and familiarities will be missed. But many pastors and churches look forward to new challenges and new opportunities to evolve and stretch their ministry muscles in new directions. While the pastor's farewell sermon is significant, a farewell letter to the congregation, often contained in the church newsletter, can have a wider and more lasting impact, especially if the writer, like the Apostle Paul, "speaks the truth in love." The Rev. Thomas Brooks did just that in his recent farewell letter to the congregation of Frankford Memorial UMC in Philadelphia. Learn more...



Resources for Father's Day

The third Sunday in June, is Father's Day, a special day to honor, celebrate and remember loving dads across the U.S. UM Discipleship Ministries offers prayers, litanies, devotions and even a remembrance to help churches honor fathers. Get resources.


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.  "Here is a great opportunity for United Methodist Men to come together for fellowship," says Ross Brightwell, UMM president, "to show our support for our military and to be inspired by one of our great United Methodist military chaplains. 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...  
Volunteer aides needed for General Conference
Volunteers can
apply online to serve as marshals or pages during the UMC's 2016 General Conference. The denomination's top legislative assembly will meet in Portland, Ore, May 10-20, 2016. Approximately 150 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages. Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference. Marshals assist visitors and special guests in their seating galleries, check credentials to admit persons to the bar of the conference and perform other duties. Pages assist delegates, secretarial staff, bishops, members of the Judicial Council and official visitors. They distribute materials and deliver printed information. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel and expenses. Those interested should submit an online application before the deadline of July 31. If you have additional questions, contact Dick Hooton at revshoot@gmail.com. To read the full announcement online visit umc.org.
Learn about concerts, etc.,
on our Local Church Events page
Check out our Local Church Events Webpage for more events happening in churches around our conference in weeks to come. For example, Hopewell UMC in Downingtown will host its first-ever "Chapel Jam" in its historic Bower Chapel Sunday June 6, at 6 PM. It will feature Willis Hickerson, Jr., and the Musicians of Praise, in addition to the Hopewell Praise Team. See our Local Church Events page or visit www.hopewellumc.org for details.
Fred Day to keynote Boehm's Chapel Heritage Sunday June 28
The Rev. Alfred T. Day, III, former pastor of St. George's UMC in Philadelphia and now General Secretary of the UMC's General Commission on Archives and History will speak at he 34 th   annual Boehm's Chapel Heritage Celebration June 28  at 4 PM. Historic Boehm's Chapel is located at 13 West Boehm Road, Willow Street, PA. Day will speak during worship after an abbreviated business meeting. He became the denomination's chief historian last July after leading 245-year-old St. George's, the oldest Methodist Church in America. Boehm's UMC will host a light meal after the service. The program is free and open to the public.  For more information e-mail boehmschapel@gmail.com  or phone 717-872-4133.

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."

June is AIDS Education Month. Get educated!

June is National HIV/AIDS Awareness Month and also AIDS Education Month. The H.U.B. (Help Us Be) of Hope, a multi-faith HIV/AIDS resource ministry endorsed by the Eastern PA Conference, will co-sponsor a multi-faith event, June 23, from 5 to 7 PM, at the Lincoln University Coatesville Campus, 351  Kersey St., Coatesville. RSVP by June 19. All faith leaders are invited to join them for dinner, entertainment, fellowship and learning about HIV/AIDS. Please download and share the event flyer. "Awareness and Education are key to HIV/AIDS prevention and effective treatment," says  the Rev. Deborah Tanksley-Brown, who heads H.U.B. of Hope. "We hope to see everyone there."


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 .

It's Wet. It's Wild! It's Wonderful!

United Methodist Day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom , June 27 , is just a month away. Get your tickets, invite your friends and family, and make your plans now. "This will be a great day of fellowship and fun for all," says organizer Ross Brightwell. The park opens at 10 AM and from
11 AM to 12 noon we will have our first-ever "
UM Youth and Family Gathering" at the park's Center Stage Outdoor Theatre. We'll have a serious praise party with inspiration to music by DJ Mike, All One Body and Jesus Trending (Hopewell UMC's youth praise band that performed this month at Annual Conference and at the Youth Retreat).


This is event is sponsored by United Methodist Men as a fundraiser for ministries. You don't have to be United Methodist to participate.  Just print and pass the attached  UM/Dorney Coupons out to all In your community. With the attached coupons   you can enter Dorney Park for just $33 , a $21 discount off of the regular price of $54.  You don't have to order tickets in advance.  On June 27 just take the coupon to the ticket window when you arrive at the Park and buy your discounted ticket.  And at 11 AM make sure you join us at Center Stage for our exciting "Gathering."  

Play ball at UMM Softball Tournament July 25

The United Methodist Men  will hold their 23rd annual Eastern PA Conference  Softball Tournament  Saturday, July 25 , at Mondauk Commons Park, 1451 Dillon Rd., Ambler, Pa.  This is a day for fun, fellowship and faith-sharing, along with healthy competition and even worship, all revolving around great team softball. We begin with worship on the field for all teams at 9 AM. Eight teams will play on this one-day, double-elimination tournament.  Registration is $135 plus $20 per team per game for the umpire.  Get all the details and come play ball at our annual tournament.  Women are welcome to play. This is sports ministry at its best, a strong attraction to young and middle-aged adults especially because softball is the number one participatory sport in the U.S., according to Sports Illustrated. Because this is a UM Men's tournament each participating church must have a chartered UMM Chapter. If you don't, we can fix that. Visit our UMM Web page to find out more or download and use this charter application      --  Ross Brightwell

  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!

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 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.


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