March 27, 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.)

Southeast District

The Rev. James H. Wilkin, from Phila.: Holmesburg UMC and Phila.: St. Phillip's UMC  to Willistown UMC, effective July 1, 2015.


The Rev. Sharon Kaye Paul, from Retirement to Nantmeal UMC (part time), effective March 22, 2015.


Eastern PA Conference Events 

What is your church doing for Holy Week?

We would like to post a list of Holy Week happenings on our Website's Local Church Events Page and even feature some in a news story. Please share with us any special activities your church is planning to celebrate Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Send your info before or after your event (with photos attached if you have any) to Holy Week is all about spreading the Word and making Christ known to the world. Let us be your megaphone. 


Annual Conference to spotlight stewardship and 2016

T he agenda and schedule for our 2015 Annual Conference is set...well, not in stone, but close enough. The May 14-16 annual session will convene at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. Much of the focus will be on stewardship; but we'll also look toward 2016 in resolutions, proposals and voting for General Conference delegates. Here is an up-to-date rundown of daily highlights, including worship, speeches, reports, ordination, ministry awards, offerings, acts of repentance and of course, plenty of Holy Conferencing.  Learn more...


UMW to do Global Media Monitoring

EPA Conference UM Women will gather at the Conference Center March 31, 10:30 AM t
o examine portrayals and participation of women in the media. Every five years
since 1994 the Global Media Monitoring Project has engaged women worldwide in analyzing and documenting together the role and images of women across the spectrum of news media. The results are made available to help advocate for fair and accurate media representation of women. The globally chosen date for 2015 was actually Wednesday, March 25; but EPA Conference UMW members will perform the activity on Tuesday, March 31. Coordinating this event is Gladys B. Hubbard ( Learn more... 


Youth, young adult leaders to learn about UM Seminars

Youth group and young-adult leaders of ethnic minority local churches and campus ministries are invited to attend a three-day "In Focus" familiarization event about United Methodist Seminars on National & International Affairs. The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS)  program will introduce the custom-designed seminars and explain how to organize and lead seminar groups in the nation's capital.


Dates for the two events are:  June 24-26
for pastors/directors of youth and young-adult ministries in ethnic-minority local church settings, and  July 7-9 for pastors/directors of Wesley Foundation and other campus ministry groups.  

The first 15 persons to register can do so at no onsite cost, a savings of $75. The UM Seminars program is about experiential learning and engaging with others around social issues affecting communities.  Learn more...

Bakers return from Congo mission with praise reports

Donna and Jonathan Baker returned March 24 from spending 40 days in the Democratic Republic of Congo and have much to report on the Peter D. Weaver Congo Partnership that includes the Eastern PA Conference. Bishop Peggy Johnson encourages churches and members to support the Partnership's vital efforts through ongoing giving and through the special missions offering to be received at Annual Conference on Saturday, May 16. Here is Donna's report.


800 attend Tools for Ministry despite snow

Shovels and ice scrapers were the first tools many EPA Conference church leaders needed early Saturday morning, March 7 to liberate their snow and icebound vehicles for the trek to Tools for Ministry academies across six districts. But those who matched the stubbornness of this winter with their own determined quest for knowledge learned an impressive array of ministry tools and tactics. More than 800 people came out to attend more than 70 classes and workshops aimed at helping them to be more innovative, effective and responsive in their ministries. Learn more...

Sound of Music's Von Trapp offers to sing at EPAC churches

Recent television programs have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the film The Sound of Music, which burst onto theater screens in 1965 and won the hearts of fans worldwide. Even the recent Academy Awards TV broadcast featured an impressive performance by popular singer Lady Gaga and the appearance of Sound of Music star Julie Andrews. Now vocalist Elisabeth von Trapp, the granddaughter of Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired that film, is coming to Eastern PA and offering to perform in some of our churches over the next year. Von Trapp emigrated as a child from Austria to Merion, Pa., and grew up in Reading, Pa. She has performed in several of our churches over the years and is about to return.  Learn more...

SW District Conference to put ministries in the picture 

Knowing that a picture is worth a thousand words, leaders of the Southwest District will let some of their ministries speak for themselves at their District Conference on Sunday, April 12. The District Resource Team plans to collect and show photos of churches' activities--worship, children's programs, etc."--on visual screens, using a PowerPoint loop, during their meeting. They've put out the call for digital photos, 2-3 per church. Want to know more? Contact Sue Grimm Mattox, District Lay Leader, at




UM Night at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms game, April 14. 

We have a new United Methodist Night and a new sports arena where we can gather from across the conference and fellowship as faithful fans. It's the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL). The game is Tuesday, April 14, 7 PM, at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.  They will play their big rivals, the Hershey Bears. So it should be an exciting, competitive game. "Our UMC tickets are only $20, and parking is only $6 in surrounding garages," says Ross Brightwell, Conference United Methodist Men's president.

Download the flyer
to order tickets and share it with others.


Still time to register for Disability Ministry Conference, March 28


There's much to learn at the "Yes WE Can" - 5th Annual Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference, which happens March 28, from 9 AM to 3 PM at Cornerstown UMC, 3135 Summit Bridge Rd, Bear, DE. It is co-hosted by the Disability Committees of the EPA, Pen-Del and Greater New Jersey conferences. Author of Lights Out and advocate Travis Freeman will inspire with his personal story of triumph and his message of creative responsiveness to the needs and capabilities of disabled persons. Although blind since age 12 he achieved his dream of playing football and pursues his life's calling, including earning Master's and PhD degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Other experts will lead workshops to share ideas and insights on many topics, including:

  • understanding Disability Ministry 101,
  • reaching out to people with disabilities through the arts,
  • helping children with ADHD reach for their potential,
  • involving persons living with mental illness in the life and ministry of the church,
  • including people with intellectual disabilities in the worship life of the congregation, and
  • engaging people with disabilities in life-changing camping experiences and in vital mission and ministry opportunities to serve other people with disabilities.

Find more information about the program, continuing education credits and registration on our Website. Don't miss this chance to broaden your knowledge, human sensitivity and ministry opportunities by attending this powerful conference. Register today.



Youth Call to Ministry Retreat, April 10

The next YES: Youth Call to Ministry Retreat will be April 10 Pocono Plateau Camp and  Retreat Center, 304 Pocono Plateau Road, Cresco, PA. Students in grades 9-12 will be challenged to affirm Y.E.S. to God's beckoning-- Yield to the call; Explore the Call; Stay with the Call--as they consider their faith and their future beyond high school. Participants will enjoy meeting, worshiping, playing and learning together with other youth. Hearing from conference leaders and ministry professionals, they will be introduced to a range of options from pastoral ministry to chaplaincy, from serving in camps, prisons or foreign mission fields to teaching in colleges or seminaries.

Registration deadline is March 30.
 Don't wait. Please register on-line today. Questions? Contact Pastor Matt at  or call 717-273-0525. For a brochure, please go to Conference Events Page of the SW District Website and scroll down. Read the recent NEWSpirit story about YES: Youth Call to Ministry Retreats. 

Deacons Day at Drew Theological School, April 11

Are you-or do you know-an exploring ministry candidate considering theological education? Someone interested in doing ministry beyond the pulpit or even outside the local church? Then ordination as a UMC Deacon may be the best career path. Drew Theological School in nearby Madison, NJ, invites exploring candidates and persons interested in the study and practice of theology to come learn about this promising career path of Deacons on Saturday, April 11. On Deacons Day, you'll learn about Drew's Master of Arts in Ministry program, the benefits and challenges of earning Deacon's orders or leading ministries in communities beyond the local church. Hear from the Drew admissions staff, the Rev. Victoria Rebeck of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and other deacons serving in diverse appointments.


Register online at Questions? Contact Amy Jones, Interim Director of Lifelong Learning, Drew Theological School,, phone: 973-408-3084.


George Dennehy returns to Jillian's Café, April 11
Phenomenal musician George Dennehy returns to Jillian's Café at Conshohocken UMC, April 11, at 7:30 PM. A gifted performer George sings and plays guitar skillfully with his feet because he has no arms. This is his second concert at Jillian's Café, which is Conshohocken UMC's celebrated fellowship hall/café, next to its sanctuary, offering great acoustics, a coffee and snack bar, and outstanding monthly performances. There are reserved and open seating prices for this performance, from $10 to $30. Learn more on the café's Facebook page, and download the flyer!


Contact Anna Hoffman at for more information or for reserved tickets. Or order by mail at CUMC, 20 W. 6th Avenue, Conshohocken, PA 19428 (ATTN: Jillian's Café). Also, a pre-concert pasta dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 PM.  Seating is limited; so make dinner reservations in advance for donations of $10 per person or $20 per family. A nursery is also available, where the concert will be televised.  

Seminars for large-membership church pastors, April 15-16

The Rev. Jorge Acevedo, Lead Pastor at Grace UMC (, a congregation with four campuses in Southwest Florida (Cape Coral, Fort Myers Shores, North Fort Myers and Fort Myers Central), will share his wisdom and experience with invited pastors of large-membership churches (300 or worshippers) twice in our area.  Acevedo's multi-site church has increased its weekend attendance from 400 to over 2,600 in the past 18 years. It is recognized as having one of the largest and most effective recovery ministries in America with over 700 people involved in weekly recovery ministries.  He will visit our sister conference, Peninsula-Delaware, April 15 at Aldersgate UMC, Wilmington, Del. The next day, April 16, he will meet with mostly EPA Conference pastors at New Hanover UMC. This event is by invitation only. Contact the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson at for more information.


Vocational Intern Program: Inside look at ministry careers
The Vocational Intern Programoffers an ideal way for people to explore where a serious call to ministry may lead them. Being embedded for 10 weeks in various types of ministry vocations will expose interns first-hand to many situations they may face and to inner gifts they may possess. The intern receives a $3000 stipend. Apply by the May 15 deadline. For more information, contact Pastor Matt Heckman of the sponsoring Board of Ordained Ministry at 717-273-0525 or or 1109 Kochenderfer Road, Lebanon PA, 17046.

Encore mission trip for middle school students
Yardley UMC, in Bucks County, will again host a three-day, four-night summer mission trip for middle school students, July 13-17. Last year's experience was an adventure; so again they are inviting youth from other churches to join them. Reports Yardley UMC youth coordinator Denise Harris: "During the day we will work on construction projects like building a ramp, painting a home, leading a VBS and more! We also have ministry projects like organizing a food pantry and organizing a donation center. We have skilled adults leading each project. Each day the students would go to a different site to experience a full range of missions. In the evening we will have dinner, worship, games and free time."  The cost is $150, but there are scholarships available. To find out more visit their Website: Watch their video from last year. Youth groups with a mixture of high school and middle school members are welcome. Contact Denise Harris at

Youth, Young Adults to rally and retreat in May
All youth are invited to the  Eastern PA Conference Youth Rally May 3 , from  4 to 7 PM, at Westlawn UMC in Reading, Pa.  Featured will be live music by D. A. Flock, engaging speakers, fellowship and dialogue about "Reclaiming Identity."  Download the Save-the-date!  card. Sponsored by the Conference Council on Youth Ministries. Contact David Piltz for more info at or 814-883-0118.


Eastern PA Conference Young Adults will retreat overnight Friday to Saturday, May 29 - 30, at Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center. Their theme:  "Awake:A Time of Renewal to Eagerly Build Awareness."  Join them as they enjoy fellowship and share wisdom on the topics of Career versus Vocation, Healthy Relationships and Spiritual Centering. Coordinator for Young Adult Ministries, David Piltz, will facilitate discussions.  Contact him at or 814-883-0118. 


UMW to examine fundraising, racial justice  
United Methodist Women of the EPA Conference will gather Saturday, May 2, at Quakertown UMC (1875 Freier Road, Quakertown), from 9:30 AM to 12 noon, for their 150th Legacy Fund workshop. The fund is a permanent endowment designed to support the mission endeavors of future generations of UMW in their global response to the needs of women, children and youth. For information contact Ethel Malone at 215-247-0572 or 


In addition, UMW members from 10 Northeastern Jurisdiction conferences, including EPA, will attend the Charter for Racial Justice Seminar, May 15-17, at the Blackstone (Va.) UM Conference Center. They will to "Making Racial Justice Happen" with the aid of Bible studies, workshops, worship and expert speakers. Clergy and laity, men and women of all ages are invited to attend the national and international issues seminar so they can learn how to emulate the charter's principles. Use the attached brochure to register and learn more

Healing Communities Training Event, May 9

There are many ways groups and congregations can engage in creative prison and restorative justice ministry, not only inside prison but in churches and communities, too. With scores of inmates being released and returning as citizens every day, the need is urgent for churches to reach out to them--and also to victims--to offer help, hope and restorative healing. A valuable ministry that has seen success nationally is now coming to the EPA Conference to help churches respond to this need.


Our first Healing Communities Training Event will take place Saturday, May 9, from 9 AM to 4 PM at St. Matthews UMC of Valley Forge. "This is a great opportunity for people to learn how to offer restoration and healing to everyone impacted by the criminal justice system," said Marilyn Schneider, chairwoman of the conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Committee, which will cosponsor the training with the Board of Church and Society and Healing and Wholeness Teams. Learn more... 

Celebrate the Delaware Annual Conference, May 30

"A Century of Commitment, A Legacy of Love." That reverent theme will mark a joyous celebration of the former Delaware Annual Conference, the segregated but beloved conference of black Methodists in our region from 1864 until it merged in 1965. Philadelphia-born Bishop Gregory Palmer, Bishop Ernest Lyght of New Jersey, the Rev. David Briddell and the Rev. Herbert Palmer, all sons of the old Delaware Conference, will remember highlights, honor heroes and challenge attendees to continue building the "beloved community" and making disciples of Jesus Christ. Bishop Peggy Johnson will greet hundreds of members and guests for an uplifting morning of music, dance, spoken word, and inspiring testimonies, followed by a fellowship reception.


The  Saturday, May 30, event at Tindley Temple UMC (750 S. Broad St, Philadelphia) begins with a gathering at 9 AM, the celebration at 9:45 AM, and the reception from 12:00 to 2 PM. Visit our Website for  more information and promotional flyersOrder tickets for the reception for only a $10 donation. Or mail checks or money orders to: Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Treasurer, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482 (Memo: Delaware Conference Reception).  A limited number of tickets are available. Contacts: John Coleman at or 484-762-8227; and Dr. Mary White at  


Churches to learn responses to domestic violence 

EPA Conference church teams chosen from each district will receive training on"Faith Community Responses to Domestic Violence" Saturday, June 6,from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, at West Lawn UMC in Reading. The training will partner local churches with the national offices of United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, and FaithTrust Institute.  A selection committee will choose teams from two churches per district or region for training, with consideration given to achieving diversity in ethnicity, church size and other criteria. Teams will represent churches that passionately desire to become informed sources of aid to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and to train other teams in their districts. See the event page to download the information flyer and the paper registration formor the fillable PDF application.

Education Society college grants available
The EPA Conference Education Society will offer grants to help deserving students defray the costs of higher education during the 2015-2016 school year.
The attached pages describe the opportunity and method of application. All grant applications received in the Conference Office May 1-16 will be considered. Qualified applicants will be randomly selected. Please be sure to share this information with church members who may plan to attend institutions of higher learning this coming fall. Questions? Contact Al Adey, Education Society Chairperson, at

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.

Brain scientist explores reducing conflict

The Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness at Drew Theological School will host the Rev. Dr. Wesley Wildman as keynoter on Clergy Health Day, April 9, from 8:30 AM to 3 PM. Discussing his findings in brain research, he will explain not only the thinking differences between liberals and conservatives, but why the two need each other. "Conflict and the Brain" is based on his work in neuroscience that offers ideas about reducing emotional responses that escalate conflict. Using principles of "Empathy through Understanding," Dr. Wildman examines how the workings of people's brains relate to their strongly held views and how they can become better listeners and more compassionate responders. His presentation will be live-streamed. Registration is $10, and CEU credit is available for an additional $17.50. Learn more about registration, watching the live stream or viewing an archived copy of the presentation.

Sexual Ethics workshops coming soon

Basic and Advanced Sexual Ethics workshops will be held throughout 2015, providing helpful, approved, mandatory training to clergy. See the schedule of workshops under Conference Events on the Website, and register online. Two Advanced Level Workshops have been scheduled so far: "Leading Between The Lines" on March 31; and "A Preacher and a Shrink Talk about Sexual Ethics" on April 24. A third, "Sexual Infidelity Among Clergy Members:  Understanding Risk Factors and Prevention from an Attachment Framework,"will take place on a fall date to be determined. Additional workshops may be added, said the Rev. David Woolverton, coordinator.

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Transformational Leadership event coming to Hershey
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 Inn in Hershey, Pa. The theme: "See. Know. Love." Speakers include: " a spirit-filled corporate executive" who can relate hospitality-excellence to church life; a "visionary, boundary-breaking Lutheran pastor"; and leaders of a UM church that is "revolutionizing discipleship."

Along with Christian conferencing and vibrant conversations, participants will choose from two dozen courses to learn innovative strategies for transformational ministry. Registration opens in February. Save the dates now. Costs will include: $25 for the symposium and $140 for meals during the conference. Rooms are $159 a night. Check out the flyer to learn more .

Check out our Local church Events page 

We have lots of great local church events listed for you on our Web site at Please take time to peruse them and try to attend events of interest to you. It's part of being a connectional church. So check out our listings, and send us your special church events too, so we can add them to the page.

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.

Areas of Study:  

  • 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. 
Please Save These Dates!   

April 12, 2015: District Conferences


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.

May 30, 2015: Celebration of Former Delaware Conference and 1965 Merger 


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


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