May 7, 2015
NEW INFO              NEW INFO               NEW INFO

Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new clergy appointment changes,   

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

Southwest District

  • Linda Harnish (to be licensed) to Christiana and Georgetown-Mt. Pleasant UMCs (SW) 
  • Rev. Quentin Wallace (Elder) from Reading: St. Matthews and Wyomissing: Calvary UMCs (Central) to Lancaster: Covenant (SW)

Council of Bishops issues pastoral letter on racism

BERLIN, Germany---The Council of Bishops issued today to the 12.8 million people of The United Methodist Church a pastoral letter on racism that affirms the sacredness of all lives and renews their commitment to work for an anti-racist, pro-humanity church. The action came at the end of the Council's weeklong meeting in Berlin after prayerful reflection and discussion about the topic. Earlier in the week, President of the Council Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. had also issued a letter calling for prayer and healing. Read more...


Read the NEWSpirit Spring issue online now
The quarterly Spring issue of NEWSpirit newspaper is online now. It features highlights of the upcoming Annual Conference and biographies and personal statements of 33 nominees for election to represent us at the 2016 General and NE Jurisdictional conferences. Also featured are the recent "Why Nobody Wants to Go To Church Anymore" faith-sharing seminar and other conference events, plus spring events at our Camp & Retreat Centers, an insightful article about the church's needed response to the scourge of domestic violence, and conference remittance totals from local churches for 2014. If you would like to receive a print copy of NEWSpirit by mail please contact us at to subscribe for only $12 a year.
Healing Communities training cancelled
The Healing Communities training scheduled on Saturday, May 9, at St. Matthew's UMC of Valley Forge, has been cancelled due to insufficient registrations. "We hope to reschedule this valuable training event on a more advantageous date," said Marilyn Schneider, chair of the Eastern PA Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team.  Look for an announcement of a new fall date and time soon. 


Video honors creators of Mother's Day
In honor of Mother's Day, May 10, UM Communications again features Historic St. George's UMC in Philadelphia in an historical video viewable on the denomination's officialWebsite, It's about two Methodist women, mother and daughter members of St. George's, who gave birth to Mother's Day. The video spotlights Ann and Anna Jarvis, who labored to create a day of observance to honor mothers and emphasize their role in building a peaceful world.  Ann Jarvis recruited nurses for military hospitals during the Civil War; and after the war she started "Mothers' Friendship Day," when mothers would gather with former soldiers to promote peace and reconciliation. Donna Miller, archivist at Historic St. George's tells us more about the women behind the holiday.
Annual Conference

No free coffee or breakfast, no Saturday dinner served

Due to the very high cost, budget constraints and stewardship considerations, there will be no free coffee or breakfast served at Annual Conference this year. Both are available for purchase at the Expo Center concession stand. Also, while the Saturday session may run as late as 9 PM (when we must vacate the facility), there will be no dinner served that evening. Lunch will be the final meal served. While we are not allowed to bring personal meals to consume inside the Expo Center, we do suggest that members bring personal snacks for nourishment in case the session runs late.


'Youth Contingent' can house and hang together at Conference

Conference Youth Ministries Coordinator David Piltz says if you have youth coming to Annual Conference they can be part of the Youth Contingent. Youth will be able to eat and fellowship together, take turns at the youth table, participate in the Friday and Saturday youth presentations, and lodge together Thursday and Friday nights---all for free!  Important! Please let David know asap how many youth will be coming from your church so he can arrange for their lodging. Contact him at or by texting/calling him at 814-883-0118. See the flyer!

'Evening with Clif Christopher' open to all

Stewardship expert Clif Christopher will dispense some of his invaluable wisdom about church finances and stewardship to anyone who comes to learn on Wednesday evening, May 13, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, in Oaks, Pa.  Christopher will deliver the keynote address to registered members of the Eastern PA Annual Conference Thursday evening; but his appearance on the eve of the Conference is open and free to all, thanks to the Mid-Atlantic UM Foundation. Financial leadership roles for clergy and laity, managing capital campaigns in tough times, creating endowment funds, stimulating planned giving--these are some of the topics the popular speaker, author and successful stewardship consultant may discuss before answering audience questions. Bishop Peggy Johnson encourages churches to send teams to this pre-Annual Conference learning opportunity. Learn more...  

May bike rides to benefit anti-malaria  effort

One person dies of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa every minute, a death toll from a disease that is largely preventable with the provision and use of protective bed nets.  St. Mark's UMC in Mount Joy, PA, will sponsor a Nothing But Spokes Bike Ride to raise awareness and money to eradicate malaria through the UMC's Imagine No Malaria campaign. The bike rides will be held Saturdays, May 9, 16, 23 and 30.  Riders will leave St. Mark's Church at 10 am and cycle a 20-mile loop at the pace of the slowest rider. Non-riders can walk, run or even swim to raise money and awareness.  Pledge cards and information are available from Jim White at 717-682-4182. Bike jerseys are available for $50 from Rob Stoner at 717-653-5493, ext. 230.  Donations are also accepted online or by text


RETHINK CHURCH launches new ads May 11

New national advertising for t he United Methodist Church's RETHINK CHURCH identity promotion campaign produced by UM Communications will start running May 11. The series of 30- and 15-second commercial spots features real-life church members living out their faith by putting their beliefs into action, both inside and outside their church buildings. The campaign spans broadcast, cable, digital and social media outlets, while directing viewers to learn more at Preview the ads on UMCom's YouTube channel. The narration says: "We think church is more than a place to go on Sunday. We think church can happen anywhere and anytime we open our hearts, minds and doors. That's putting beliefs into action. That's what it means to RETHINK CHURCH. Learn more at "


Also visit to apply for a Community Event Grant so your church can invite its community to a RETHINK CHURCH event with 100 free door hangers (available from August through December) and also direct-mail postcards (available during August and September). You can also visit to download worship resources such as sermon starters, bulletin covers, and worship slides, as well as social media materials.

Finally, be sure to update your congregation's online
Find-A-Church profile so people who see the ads and want to visit a nearby church can easily find you and learn more about your church's worship times and other services and activities. 
Peace with Justice offering helps develop leaders

The Peace with Justice Sunday (PWJS) offering, to be received in churches on or near May 31, helped an Eastern PA Conference laywoman gain valuable leadership skills in advocating for social change. Wilhelmina Young, a leader at Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia, attended an intensive community-organizing and leadership development training event in 2014, thanks to Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER). The faith-based, grassroots social change organization used the $2,000 it received from the churchwide PWJS offering to send her. Moreover, half of the nearly $8,000 total offering received in our conference in 2014 was used to help three other ministries teach and promote peace with justice. Learn more...


Seminary offers 1-week summer courses for ministry

The Lutheran Theological Seminary will offer three one-week intensive courses this summer to "equip and rejuvenate" ministry leaders in three critical areas: urban ministry, facility  stewardship and usage, and worship.  All the courses will meet daily from 9 AM to 12 noon and then 1 to 4:30 PM. They can be taken for course credit by M.Div, MAR, or D.Min students, for CEUs, or for personal enrichment. All are being taught by leading voices in their respective fields.

  • The Church in the City  June 1-5  Taught by Drick Boyd, Associate Professor of Urban Studies, Eastern University
  • The Stewardship of Bricks and Mortar June 8-12  Taught by Partners for Sacred Places
  • Revitalizing Congregations through Worship  July 6-10  Taught by Dr. Marcia McFee, professor, worship designer, author, preacher and ritual artist

Learn more about the courses and registration here.


Discern the call at Deaconess/Home Missioner Event

Are you considering your call to a ministry of love, justice and service? Join Deaconesses and Home Missioners for a day of discernmentJuly 11, 10 AM to 3 PM, atLancaster Theological Seminary. The cost is only $8. Register Now!  Together we will explore the meaning of call to lay ministry while learning about the Deaconess and Home Missioner relationship and if that relationship is right for you. For information on the Deaconess & Home Missioner Ministry visit  Also contact Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck at


Mission u set for July 24-26 in Reading

United Methodist Women of the Eastern PA Conference announces that

Mission u will be held July 24-26 at the 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. Mission u's mission is to interpret the global mission of the church--including the work of UMW-- and the responsibility of Christians to grasp and fulfill that mission through mission education and social action. For a brochure (which also has the registration form), please click here.




Used book sale to return to Annual Conference


Used books will be back on sale at Annual Conference in May; so bring your backpacks and load up, fellow bibliophiles. Bring books you wish to donate. too. We also accept clergy robes, communion sets and other appropriate items that could be of use to buyers. Don't forget. Bring your checkbook so you can make other people's treasures your own. We will have general sales tables, as well as a bid table full of antique and rare treasures.  We also typically receive unique book volumes and sets to make available for best offers. Look for our 2015 edition of the  Annals of Eastern Pennsylvania , which has fascinating articles chronicling the history of United Methodism in our region. All proceeds support the work of your conference Historical Society to preserve and disseminate our rich historical legacy. If you have questions, contact Joe DiPaolo at (610) 688-5650 or



Missionaries in Nepal report on earthquake emergency

Global Ministries Missionary Dr. Mark Zimmerman, who lives and serves in Kathmandu, Nepal, along with his wife Deirdre and their two children, offered an update on the devastating earthquake which shook the region on April 25. The  Zimmermans 
are supported by churches in the Eastern PA Conference. In rural Nepal, the number of casualties from the Saturday earthquake was reportedly lessened by the fact that many people were outside of their homes when it occurred. However, the death toll has exceeded 6,000 and emergency needs of food, water and shelter remain dire.  The United Methodist Committee on Relief is working with the United Mission to Nepal and other local and international partners to help respond to the need. Also,  Global Ministries Missionary Katherine Parker who serves with Zimmerman as part of the health team of the United Mission to Nepal,  offers specific prayers for the survivors in Nepal.  Learn more...

Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Worship resources for observing Asian/Pacific-American Heritage Month in May are available from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. The resources include liturgy, prayers, songs and an official Korean-English bilingual hymnal. The goal is to celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched the church.  Get resources.  More information about this heritage month and a storytelling "moment for mission" can be found at

Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31
Everywhere we look these days, we see conflict. We hear cries for justice. We yearn for peace. Our United Methodist Church family is in the middle of all of it, pursuing Christ's ministry of reconciliation. The Peace with Justice Sunday churchwide offering, received on May 31, helps makes that pursuit possible in many places, near and far. That includes a peace ministry uniting Arizona border communities, UMs in Liberia learning to implement the denomination's Social Principles, and Pennsylvania students educating their community about sex trafficking at home and abroad. A simple toolkit for this special observance and offering is available to help pastors and leaders to engage their congregations in helping to bring healing to a broken world. 
Access your Pastor and Leader's Kit now!   



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!

CONAM to host Navajo pastor at Innabah May 10
The Conference Committee on Native American Ministry (CONAM) will host the Rev. Calvin Hill, pastor of the Blackfeet UM Parish in Montana, at its next worship and fellowship gathering at Camp Innabah, 
May 10.   This full-blooded Navajo minister will share his remarkable life-story and family history.

Rev. Calvin Y. Hill has been a UM pastor since 1997. In 2010 he earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois, where he also learned Hebrew and Greek. His wife, Sheri Ann Hill, an Ojibwe, will join him at Camp Innabah when they come to speak. Learn more about the Blackfeet UM Parish (Advance Project #910092) from their Website and on Global Ministries' Website


Sign up now to review your pension at Annual Conference

Josie Martinez, Conference Liaison from The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, will be on hand for 30-minute personal Pension Projection Meetings during the 2015 Annual Conference in May. If you are within five years of retirement or have questions about your retirement benefits, please schedule an appointment.  Meetings are scheduled on a first come, first served basis, and are by appointment only. Schedule an appointment now!


Petition submission begins for General Conference 2016

Petitions for consideration by the 2016 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary from April 1 through October 13, 2015. According to church law, "Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference..." Detailed instructions are available on the General Conference website at Typed petitions may be submitted through the General Conference website, by postal mail, or via e-mail to All other correspondence should be directed to petitionsquestions@umpublishing.orgLearn more...


Racial-ethnic scholarships available for event

For the past four years, Global Ministries has provided racial ethnic scholarships to more than 330 clergy, lay and seminarian students across the continental United States to attend the annual
School of Congregational Development
in Indianapolis. The goal is to assist as many clergy, laity and/or seminarians as possible. The application is online and can be accessed 24/7. Please note that scholarship awards will be made on a "first come" basis.
So apply early.



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.

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.

Please Save These Dates!   
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