May 22, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new clergy appointment changes, effective July 1 unless otherwise indicated.   

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


Central District

Rev. Louis Hornberger (Elder)from Orwigsburg: Salem to Douglassville: Hope

Rev. Shayla Johnson (Part-time Local Pastor) to Philadelphia: Mother African Zoar

Rev. Myra Maxwell (Part-time Local Pastor) from St. Luke's Restoration Worship Center to St. Luke's Restoration/St. Barnabas-Bethsaida

Rev. Laurie Pfahler (Part-time Local Pastor) to Pottstown: First and Pottstown: Salem

Rev. Valerie Willis (Part-time Local Pastor) to Reading: St. Matthews and Wyomissing: Calvary


Northeast District

Rev. Jessica Lynn Ross (Provisional Elder) from Philadelphia: Mother African Zoar (Central Dist.) to Tobyhanna


Southeast District

Rev. Thomas Daniel  from Mount Hope UMC (Aston) to Wilmington: Holly Oak Calvary (Peninsula-Delaware Conference)


Annual Conference 2015:
A Witness in Words & Images

Peace amid Passion: Resolutions stir Annual Conference debates
The Eastern PA Annual Conference considered 23 of 25 submitted resolutions during its 2015 session, May 14-16, and a handful of them generated heavy debate on controversial concerns. But despite some expressions of pain and insistence on loyalty to Scripture and covenant, the desired peaceful, collegial spirit of Holy Conferencing seemed to prevail. Learn more...

Conference elects 2016 delegates
The 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference elected as 2016 General and Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference delegates four Clergy members: Dawn Taylor-Storm, Jeffrey Raffauf, Robert Wilt, and Lydia Munoz; and four Lay members: Judith Ehninger; Mary White; Aaron Joseph Smith; and Clarita Krall. Elected as NE Jurisdictional Conference delegates were four additional Clergy: Joseph DiPaolo, Tracy Bass, Christopher Kurien and Robin Hynicka; and four additional Laity: Krystl Johnson, Ann Jacob, Jordan Harris and Lenora Thompson. Elected as Alternate Delegates were: Clergy--Irving Cotto, Melinda McKonly and Sutja Bang; and Laity--Ross Brightwell, Jane Bonner and David Koch.    Learn more...

Do your want to view video scenes from the 2015 Annual Conference? You can watch recordings of the live streaming video at only through May 27. RCTV will remove the recording from its account on May 28. But no worries. we will receive any day now digital video files of the conference from RCTV, and we will eventually post some edited highlights onto our conference YouTube page.


Photos of 2015 Annual Conference

Also check out the many vivid, dramatic photos of the 2015 Annual Conference shot by our gifted and generous crew of volunteer paparazzi: Sabrina Daluisio, Rev. James Mundell and Paul Davis (We love them in Communications!). You can enjoy the fruits of their labors in our Google Picasa Photo Gallery. Just click on "Photos" at the bottom of any Webpage. Each album is titled AC2015. 


Latino Convocation meets Saturday 

The Eastern PA Conference Latino Ministries Commission will have its annual Latino Convocation Saturday, May 23, at Nuevo Nacimiento (New Birth) UMC in Lebanon, from 9 AM to 3 PM. New Birth, led by the Rev. Elena Ortiz, is the largest Latino church in our jurisdiction. The convocation, usually held just before Easter, was moved to Pentecost Sunday weekend this year. It will begin with worship, featuring guest preacher the Rev. Owen Ross (right), innovative, self-described "pastor/missionary" at Christ's Foundry UM Mission in Dallas, Texas. He started the fast-growing, 13-year-old church after graduating from seminary. Fluent in Spanish from serving in the Peace Corps and expecting to serve as a missionary in Latin America, he instead found himself starting a mission for poor immigrants and refugees surviving "in a sea of wealth."

Bishop Peggy Johnson will also speak and serve Communion. The afternoon business meeting will inform participants about the PATH 1 Latino congregational development training event scheduled for October, followed by election of new Latino Ministries Commission leaders. While most of the convocation will be in Spanish, there will be English translation available, according to the Rev. Esdras Seda, Conference Latino Ministries Coordinator.

Memorial Day Meditation: Walking among Heroes
"Every year as Memorial Day (May 25) approaches," writes the Rev. David G. Ryan, a military veteran and pastor of Kensington (Old Brick) and Bridesburg UMCs in Philadelphia, "I find myself thinking about the words of Jesus to his disciples, recorded in John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Those are haunting words. They are words that some soldiers who have seen combat can deeply appreciate, in a way that we who have been spared that often grisly experience cannot. We invite you to read and reflect on Pastor Dave's Memorial Day Meditation: Walking among Heroes.  And for more Memorial Day observance articles and resources on see "Ministry With Those Who Serve."
Mobile friendly Website to replace mobile app

We have made a stewardship decision to not renew our pricey EPA Conference mobile app for another year. Rather than updating its files, we will soon have it taken down. But our newly redesigned Website, due to launch in June, will be mobile device-friendly (i.e., mobile-responsive for smart phones and tablets) and will include clergy and church directories and plenty of other information. Stay tuned. The countdown to launch begins soon.


A nation of 'nones'? UMCom responds to Pew Religion Study
A survey released 
May 12, 2015 by  Pew Research Center reported that a growing number of people in the US identify as religiously unaffiliated. While the study revealed that 70.6% of US adults are Christians, the group of religiously unaffiliated adults (22.8%) is now larger than Catholics (20.8%) and mainline Protestants, including UMs (14.7%). Most of the religiously unaffiliated say they believe in God (69%), and many would say they are "spiritual but not religious" (SBNR).  UM Communications' writer Joe Iovino explores this emerging demographic reality with help from the Rev. Linda Mercadante (above), Professor of Theology at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She warns that the separation of religion and spirituality is a false dichotomy. Learn more...

A Call to Worship for Pentecost Sunday

Great Physician and Healer of the Nations,
You who taught the lame to dance with joy, the mute to sing songs of peace, and showed the blind rainbows of love and promise...
Read and use this prayer for worship by the Rev. Nathan Decker, a clergy member of the Virginia Conference. You can find more worship resources for Pentecost Sunday on the Discipleship Ministries Website.


United Methodist Church History Quiz
The United Methodist Church has existed in various forms for more than 200 years. Test your knowledge of its history with these questions. Take the quiz for Heritage Sunday, May 24. Then come back each weekday until June 17 (John Wesley's birthday!) for a new question. Also, pass on this quiz to others to encourage them to test their knowledge as well. This quiz is a partnership between United Methodist Communications and the General Commission on Archives and History.

Come celebrate a milestone of Methodism May 30
May 24 is Heritage Sunday in the UMC. But if you think history is boring then come end your week with a bang of a blessing on Saturday, May 30. That's when the Eastern PA Conference raises the roof in celebration of a key milestone in our conference's history. We will celebrate the former Delaware Annual Conference, a beloved organization that nurtured African-American Methodists in this region for over a century, from 1864-1965. Fifty years ago the all-black Delaware Annual Conference, which covered five states, merged with predominantly white annual conferences, forming integrated regional bodies, including what is now the Eastern PA Conference.  

On May 30 members, friends and guests will congregate at historic Tindley Temple UMC in Philadelphia, from 9:30 AM to 12 noon, to celebrate our history and the people who made it. Join us for soul-stirring praise and worship, inspirational music and preaching, youthful dance, spoken-word poetry and heartwarming remembrances. Afterward we'll enjoy food and fellowship at a reception from 12 to 2 PM.  Don't miss this very special event. It will be memorable, celebrative and yes...positively historic!  

Reserve your place at the reception now with only a $10 donation
Download, post and share the event flyers!Legal size (8.5 ? 14)  Letter size (8.5 ? 11)

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. 

In the NEWSpirit Digest May 13 issue's article "Four to visit Thailand 'In Mission Together'" Linda Drake was mistakenly identified as a member of Stroudsburg UMC. She is a member of East Stroudsburg UMC. We apologize for the error.


Seeking children's prayers for Peace with Justice Sunday

The UM General Board of Church and Society is inviting all children to submit original prayers for peace as part of the denomination's Peace with Justice Sunday observance May 31. The multi-faceted initiative, "Hate Hurts, Peace Heals," includes a reading list on peace at home and abroad for children and Sunday school classes and opportunities to gather offerings for peace and submit prayers for peace. Prayers should be presented during each local church's Peace with Justice Sunday observance. GBCS's chief executive, the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, who proposed the idea, will preach at our Annual Conference's opening worship service Thursday at 1 PM. Original prayers should be mailed to the General Board of Church & Society, 100 Maryland Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, or e-mailed to  Learn more and get resources for this initiative.

New Safe Sanctuaries resources
We have posted links to our Website's Safe Sanctuaries Resources page new resource documents in pdf provided by the Rev. James Wilkin, chairman of the conference Safe Sanctuaries Committee. One contains FAQs about requirements for volunteers working with children. Another contains legal definitions of child abuse. And the third contains the list of crimes and offenses that disqualify someone from being able to work with children. Resolutions for new conference policies, based on new Pennsylvania child protection laws, will be voted on at this week's Annual Conference.
New Clergy Sexual Ethics workshops coming in the fall

Two Advanced Sexual Ethics workshops will occur in the fall. "Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations" will be a joint venture between the Board of Ordained Ministry's Pastoral Care team and the conference's iCare team. The Sexual Ethics workshop will occur Friday, Sept. 25, 9 AM to 3:30 PM, at West Lawn UMC. The Rev. Dr. Karen A. McClintock, presenter, is a psychologist, author and congregational consultant who served as a pastor for nearly two decades in the California-Nevada Annual Conference. She invites clergy to bring lay employees to the Friday workshop, which could be helpful for youth leaders, Christian education directors, and others. Register online. A second, closed workshop for only the conference ICARE team will occur Saturday, Sept. 26.


"Sexual Infidelity Among Clergy Members:  Understanding Risk Factors and Prevention from an Attachment Framework" is another Advance Sexual Ethics workshop, scheduled for Nov. 17 at West Lawn UMC. For more information and registration visit our Sexual Ethics workshops Webpage. Also, the Rev. David Woolverton will leave his role as chairperson of Pastoral Care for BOOM June 30. The Rev. Andrea Brown will succeed him and will coordinate future sexual ethics workshops.


Pastoral Transition Workshop June 6

The Transition Workshop on June 6, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM., is 

 for all clergy and lay leadership in churches that will experience a change in pastoral leadership this July. The workshop will take place at Holy Cross UMC, 329 N. Fifth Street, Reading, PA, and will be led by the Rev. David Woolverton. Please RSVP to your District Resource Assistant. There is no fee for this event, and carpooling is encouraged, due to limited parking.


Wanted: Scenes of Stewardship in Action

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we want to depict our 2015 Annual Conference theme of Stewardship in action, but we need your help. We want to display images of stewardship of various types, in various settings, in churches and communities. How and where are you or your church being "good stewards of God's manifold grace"? (1 Peter 4:10) How are you caring for and sharing precious gifts of time, treasure, talent, relationships and the Earth's environment? Please show us, and let us show others, by sending us pictures and/or video to post on our Eastern PA Conference Website, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube pages. We may even publish your images in the NEWSpirit newspaper.  Learn more...


Interest in Domestic Violence response training grows

Interest in the  Faith-based Response to Domestic Violence  training event , scheduled for  June 6 , from 8 AM to 5 PM at West Lawn UMC in Reading, is growing as districts prepare to submit participant teams for consideration. The conference-wide training opportunity represents a partnership between the Eastern PA Conference and the national offices of United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men and FaithTrust Institute, which will facilitate the training. "There is much we can learn, and this will be a huge opportunity for us to support one another in this ministry of justice," said
Sharon Hachtman , coordinator of the training event.  
Learn more , and read Hachtman's related article about domestic violence's damaging impact on women and families, and the urgent responsibility of churches and faith groups to respond.



  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, 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 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!   

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


May 29-30, 2015:  "Awake" EPA Conference Young Adult Retreat, Gretna Glen  


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.  


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 for further info. Sponsored by UMW of EPA Conference

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