May 28, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

Celebrate Delaware Conference heritage this Saturday 

The Eastern PA Conference's long-awaited celebration of the former Delaware Annual Conference will commence this  Saturday, May 30, at 9:45 AM , with the upbeat processional anthem "We're Marching to Zion" and the traditional annual conference opening hymn, "And Are We Yet Alive," played by Theodore Thomas on Tindley Temple UMC's majestic organ and sung by a congregation of hundreds.


What follows will animate the theme " A Century of Commitment, A Legacy of Love," as celebration and worship leader Dr. Mary White leads us through a two-hour program of music, dance, poetry, powerful oratory, and historical remembrances and videos. Three bishops will address the congregation, two of them once youth in the old Delaware Conference.  Learn more.

Awake: Young Adults to retreat overnight this weekend

The Eastern PA Conference Council on Young Adult Ministry will welcome peers from across the conference for a "night and day" retreat this weekend, from Friday evening, May 29, through Saturday, May 30. They will gather at a popular, scenic getaway spot with lots to see and do, Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center near Lebanon.


"Awake: A Time of Renewal to Eagerly Build Awareness" is their theme. Join them as they dialogue and learn together, awakening to realities and dreaming of possibilities. They will explore various topics of interest to young adults, including pursuing a Career vs. a Vocation, finding and forging Healthy Relationships, and creatively engaging in Spiritual Centering. David Piltz, Coordinator for Young People's Ministries, says they will register folks for this event right up the start. Download the full flyer, with schedule.


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 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  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: Mention "Lay Academy."



Annual Conference 2016

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


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."


Also during June, for AIDS Education Month,
Philadelphia FIGHT will offer Community Presentations about HIV and AIDS to churches, agencies and community groups in Philadelphia all month. Trained staff and peer educators will lead presentations. More than 60 were held in 2014, reaching over 1,000 people. Contact FIGHT to schedule your Community Presentation. Keep your staff, clients, and volunteers informed and focused on prevention. Complete the Community Presentation request form through the AIDS Education Month website, or contact Anita Gooding for more information via email at or at (215) 985-4448, ext. 131.  


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 .
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



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...

General, Jurisdictional Conference delegates to meet June 6
General and Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference delegates elected by the 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference will meet at West Lawn UMC in Reading June 6 at 10 AM. Elected to represent the conference at General Conference in 2016 were 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...

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. 


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. 

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.


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