June 4, 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.)

Southeast District

Rev. Eric Carr, Licensed Local Pastor (part time), to Philadelphia: Wharton Wesley UMC.

Rev. David Brown (Deacon)from Phila.: Arch St. UMC (secondary appointment) to Phila.: Wharton Wesley UMC (secondary appointment).

Rev. Allen Keller, Provisional Deacon, to Chaplain/Pastoral Counseling Intern, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and College Service Project Manager, Appalachia Service Project (primary appointments) and West Chester UMC (secondary appointment).

Rev. John Neider, Licensed Local Pastor (part time) from 1/4 Hopewell UMC Associate Pastor of Outreach Ministries to 1/2 Hopewell UMC Associate Pastor of Outreach Ministries/Director of The Well, A Hopewell Ministry.

Barry Trout, Certified Lay Minister, assigned as pastor to Pomeroy UMC.

Southwest District 

Rev. Thomas Kinter (Retired, Greater NJ Conference) and Mr. Robert Garvey (Lay Supply) to West Willow UMC  

Linda Harnish (to be licensed) to Georgetown-Mt. Pleasant UMC and Christiana UMC 


Northwest District

Rev. Shawn Lochinger, Licensed Local Pastor (part time), to Palmyra: Gravel Hill, 1/4-time.

Rev. Peggy ReedLicensed Local Pastor (part time), to Girardville, 1/4-time.

Rev. Betty FordLicensed Local Pastor (part time), to Shamokin: Zion, 1/4-time.

Rev. Matthew Whayland, Elder, to Bellegrove, 1/4-time.

James Fryer, PL, to Landingville: Welcome, ? time.



Myra Maxwell and Valerie Willis are Lay Supply Pastors, not Part-Time Local Pastors as reported in the last issue of Digest.

Learning 'A Faithful Response to Domestic Violence' 

Fifty people from nine churches will convene Saturday, June 6, to explore a daunting societal scourge as together they plan "A Faithful Response to Domestic Violence." The first-time, conference-wide training event will occur at West Lawn UMC in Reading, Pa., from 9 AM to 3 PM.  "Organizing this has been a powerful experience, and I am so encouraged by the response," said Sharon Hachtman, a deaconess and nurse. "It is not an easy thing to be witnesses to the suffering of domestic violence; but in the words of Marie Fortune of FaithTrust Institute, 'Let us talk about painful things to open the eyes of others.'"  Learn more and see the list of participating churches. 


General, NEJ delegates to hold first meeting
The Eastern PA Conference delegates to the 2016 General & Northeastern Jurisdictional conferences will have their inaugural meeting Saturday, June 6, at West Lawn UMC in Reading, Pa., from 10 AM to 12 PM. Please keep them in earnest prayer as they embark on this nearly year-long journey of study, discernment and dialogue, preparing to engage in legislative and electoral decision-making on our behalf, along with other United Methodists from around the world and around the Northeastern Jurisdiction. 

Eastern PA Conference Scholarship Committee announces restrictions

Effectively immediately (as of May 18, 2015) and until further notice, new lay applicants for Eastern PA Conference scholarships must be attending--or planning to attend--a theological school approved by the UMC's University Senate to be considered for a scholarship. At this time only students in theological school are being considered.  We apologize for any inconvenience; but we are currently restricted in how our current source of funds can be distributed.

New Safe Sanctuaries policies posted on Website 

At the request of the Rev. James Wilkin, Safe Sanctuaries Committee Chairman, we have added important documents to the Safe Sanctuaries resources Webpage  for use by churches, groups and individuals. The committee's Annual Conference resolution recommending new policies was adopted with minor changes. We have posted the new policies along with five additional documents. Learn more...

FUMCOG to feature 'Brilliant Brass'

First UMC of Germantown will host "Brilliant Brass," this Sunday, June 7, at 3 PM. The concert of classical and popular tunes performed on brass instruments and organ will feature the debut of St. George Sinfonia, led by founder and director Harvey Felder. Proceeds will benefit FUMCOG's ministries, thanks to Felder. He is "giving back" to the church that helped and inspired him over 30 years ago, when he was a young music professor in the Greater Metro Phila. area. FUMCOG's own music director Kevin O'Malia will be featured on organ. St. George Sinfonia's brass musicians are billed as "some of the finest in the Mid-Atlantic region." Suggested donation is $20.


Mt Zion UMC Philadelphia turns 100
Mt Zion UMC of Philadelphia is turning 100!  "We are the youngest daughter church of Mother African Zoar in Philadelphia," church member Suzette James proclaims. "We've found out that we are also the youngest Mt. or Mount Zion UMC in the country!" The church will kick off its century anniversary celebration June 28 welcoming visitors to worship, a banquet and historical archives and gift shop. Visit its Website to learn more.

Training offered in Premarital/Marital Counseling

The Prepare-Enrich Premarital/Marital Counseling program has reportedly benefited a host of couples, who, after taking  an online assessment, are guided by a trained facilitator to gain experience in communication skills, conflict resolution, stress management, financial decision-making, and many other potential marital issues. The instruction, using materials developed by Dr. David Olson of the University of Minnesota, are administered in an 8-hour workshop. The Rev. Lloyd Speer, will conduct 
training workshops July 23 and Oct. 29 
at Fairless Hills UMC.  To register, go to  www.prepare-enrich.com .  The cost is $220, and includes certification, lunch and materials.  For more information, contact Speer at  215-943-2343 , or

Need a VBS Program?

Need to find a VBS program for this summer? The Society of St. Andrew offers "Abundance Orchard: Where Faith Grows and Hungry People are Fed."  Download Flyer   This free  complete Vacation Bible School curriculum offers five 2- to 3-hour sessions in multiple sets for Old Testament (Year 1) or New Testament (Year 2)  Preview Online  They include biblical lesson helps for teachers, and resources for storytelling, arts & crafts, recreation, music, snacks, and missions activities, along with VBS planning suggestions, and daily memory verses. The materials are intended to raise hunger awareness and financial support for the gleaning and feeding ministries of the Society of St. Andrew, which involves people in hands-on mission, feeding hungry neighbors by gleaning and bagging fresh fruits and vegetables that otherwise would go to waste. Preview and order VBS materials online at: http://endhunger.org/vbs. Contact Lynette Johnson, Director of Church Relations, at 800-333-4597 or church@endhunger.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.

Seminar program offers `In Focus' introductory events

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Deadlines are approaching for "In Focus" introductory events for youth groups and young-adult leaders of ethnic minority local churches and campus ministries on the United Methodist Seminars on National and International Affairs. The deadline for the June 24-26 "In Focus" is June 5; deadline for the July 7-9 "In Focus" is June 26. Learn more 

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.

"It's your opportunity to learn about your church, your God, and your place in God's Kingdom from seminary-level instructors. It's a joyful weekend of fellowship with like-minded others. A chance to become a Christ Servant Minister or to take advanced courses if you are already a CSM. A time to begin the journey toward Certified Lay Speaker or even Certified Lay Minister."


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."


Christian film Beyond the Mask coming to theaters


An exciting new Christian-based theatrical film, Beyond the Mask, will hit theaters Friday, June 5; but it's already viewable on-demand now. "Beyond the Mask is a revolutionary, new family film that brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty, and the true freedom that can only be found in Christ," reads the film's Website.  

Its producers hope to impact many lives through the film's message of sacrifice, forgiveness, and redemption. They also offer a  Beyond the Mask discussion guide designed to help children and youth explore their identity in Christ, Facebook memes, information for pastors to pass on   and newsletter and Website ads, graphics and other media materials at  beyondthemaskmovie.com/downloads .
And they offer a  private screening invitation to view the full length film per individual request. Script co-writer  Stephen Kendrick has produced and co-written the hit Christian films Fireproof, Courageous and Facing the Giants. Find out more on the Website


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

Trio to visit Tanzania mission in July

A trio of Eastern PA Conference clergy leaders will visit our missionary friends, the Mushidis, in Tanzania, East Africa, for a week in late July to see their mission efforts up close and explore a future partnership. The Rev. Christopher Kurien, Connectional Ministries Director, the Rev. Robert Wilt, Connectional Table Chairman, and the Rev. David Davis, Conference Global Ministries Secretary, will visit and work with the Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi and Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania's capital city. The husband and wife missionary team are involved in evangelization and church growth, Christian education, women's activities and training, community development, health education and refugee ministries. They are supported by our  churches in conference and have visited here several times in recent years, including October 2014. Kurien invites all Eastern PA Conference churches to send financial gifts for the mission to the Conference Treasurer's office by July 1 so the team can deliver a major conference donation to the Mushidis when they arrive there. The Tanzania Provisional Conference has about 60 local churches so far and will ask the 2016 General Conference to elevate it to full Annual Conference status. 

  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. Click here for more information on the Deaconess/Home Missioner Ministry.  


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


Sept. 9-12, 2015: Laity Retreat


Please hold these dates for Annual Conference 2016:  June 16-18 at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. 


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