June 26, 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

  • Rev. Richard Conner (Retired Elder) to Mount Joy: Glossbrenner, as Interim Pastor, Sept. 1.


UPDATE: UM Day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Changes: 
You can use June 27 coupons on August 1.
Family & Youth Music Fest is cancelled for June 27 and may be rescheduled.


Rain is expected at Dorney Park all-day Saturday, June 27. The Park will be open all day and you can use the "United Methodist Day at Dorney Park" coupons if you choose. But we are pleased to announce that you can also use the "UM Day at Dorney" coupons on Saturday, August 1. The Park will honor the coupons on August 1, even though they are marked for June 27. Our "UM Family and Youth Music Fest" that was planned for June 27 has been cancelled due to the weather forecast. We hope to be able to reschedule it for August 1. More information will follow soon. We will have our UM Men Booth set up near the Dorney Park Haunted House Saturday, June 27. If you have any questions please e-mail or call Ross Brightwell at rossbrightwell@verion.net or 215/643-1269. Thank you.

Bishop talks prayer to YOUTH 2015 gathering

Bishop Peggy Johnson is one of numerous people giving daily, 10-minute "UniTED Talks" at YOUTH 2015, the quadrennial national gathering for UMC youth groups, happening June 24-28 in Orlando, Fla. The event's UniTED Talks are modeled on the popular TED talks typically given by experts in technology, entertainment and design. The theme for YOUTH 2015 is "Go On," an expression drawn from Scripture and from John Wesley's sermons. Bishop Johnson will speak on and illustrate the theme "God Can SEE a Sign-Language Prayer," part of a series of talks on Means of Grace.

UMs rally at state capitol for education funding reform

A small but sturdy contingent of United Methodists gathered at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg Wednesday, June 24, to help persuade legislators to increase and apportion more fairly the state's inadequate funding for public education. While some came Saturday, June 20, for an interfaith prayer service to begin a 10-day public fast as a witness for education justice, others came to the mid-week rally to participate in worship, dialogue, more prayer and visits to legislators' offices.

UMs respond with solace, solidarity to AME church killings in SC

We have prepared and provided links to several stories of United Methodists showing compassion and racial and religious unity in response to the tragic June 17 killings of Emanuel AME Church members in Charleston, S.C. Locally, Eastern PA Conference members have attended interfaith worship services and preached sermons calling for greater awareness and response to the ongoing racial divide in American society that too often erupts in hateful violence. Learn more... 

Conference's Summer Camps power up, take flight

"Power Up: Living in the Spirit!" That's the 2015 Summer Camp theme at our four conference-owned, high-energy Camp and Retreat Centers, as they power up their virtual engines and launch an exciting new, fun-filled season. For roughly six weeks children and youth of all ages will elevate their bodies, minds, spirits and talents through an amazing range of uplifting activities--from swinging on ropes through trees, to scaling rock-climbing walls, to raising their voices in song and their hearts in prayer during daily devotions.  Learn more...

Camp Innabah is in need of a staff nurse and volunteers for the summer. And all the camps welcome generous donations to help fund camper scholarships for families that cannot afford the necessary summer camp fees. Please send camper scholarship donations to the EPA Conference Treasurer or to individual camps.

Housing needed for undocumented immigrant families

Temporary housing and hospitality will be urgently needed for immigrant families who may be released soon from the Berks County Detention Center. The center in Bern Township is one of three in the U.S. housing undocumented immigrant families with children; the other two are in Texas. There is a push nationally to close these family detention centers as inhumane places to house families and calls to move those families into communities while their immigration cases are being processed. President Obama's administration defends them as a humane option and a deterrent to illegal immigration. Advocacy groups in Pennsylvania are trying to close the Berks center, including a recent protest there and meetings with the governor's office to voice concerns about the facility.

Tim O'Connell, former director of Hispanic Ministries in Delaware County for the Catholic Archdiocese and now a campus minister at Villanova University, has reached out to United Methodists in the Eastern PA Conference who are committed to helping congregations "become welcoming to immigrants." The Rev. Lillian "Luky" Cotto, pastor and director of a ministry serving Latino families at Lehman UMC in Hatboro, and the Rev. Lydia Mu?oz, pastor of StartingPointPhilly UMC, are asking for help from churches, individuals and families who are willing and able to house and aid families as they are released. Please contact Mu?oz at lydiaem0501@gmail.com or Timothy O'Connell at timothy.oconnell@villanova.edu if you can help with this urgent need.
holarship donations to the EPA Conference Treasurer or to individual camps.

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.

Upcoming Deadlines: Wednesday, July 1
Deadline to apply to be a General Conference volunteer - Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles during the 2016 General Conference, including recorders, channel "B" identifiers, and verbatim transcribers. The United Methodist Church's top legislative assembly, will meet in Portland, Oregon, from May 10 to 20, 2016. All volunteers are responsible for their own travel and expenses. Those interested can apply


Deadline for registration for "The Academy of Faith and Money" - This four-day training for provisional members and younger clergy will offer vital training for personal and church financial management, as well as consultation on educational loans repayment from student debt expert Heather Jarvis. Led by Horizons Stewardship and hosted by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the event is in Atlanta. 1.8 CEUs are available.  Details and registration.
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

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...  
Share and learn about local church happenings 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."

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 .

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