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REVISED--Jillian's Cafe information corrected         January 8, 2015
NEW INFO                 NEW INFO                  NEW INFO

What's Happening
this Weekend:

Friday-Sunday, Jan. 9-11:
The annual 
Pen-Del Conference Youth Rally in Ocean City, MD, will finally happen, and it will be a blast

Your youth can still come and register onsite. Our EPA Conference will have more than 500 youth and adult leaders from nearly 30 churches there. But "the more the merrier." So come join us for great music, fun fellowship, uplifting praise and worship, and indelible life lessons about being God's living Masterpiece. 

Click here for a PDF of our Youth Rally Flyer for information and full event details!


Friday-Sunday, Jan. 9-11: Winter Retreats at Camp InnabahOur volunteers have tons of fun activities planned for our Children's and Youth Retreats.  Come catch up with camp friends or make new ones. Sign up today at or email for more information. Hope to see you there!  Download the flyer for complete details! 


Saturday, Jan. 10: Deacons Day Apart9 AM to 3 PM, at Simpson House (2101 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia).  All deacons, deacon candidates, and those interested in learning more about the role of the deacon in the local church are invited. We will enjoy worship, sharing about our various ministries and learning from our peers about a variety of topics. For more information contact the Rev. Tiffany Manning at


Saturday, Jan 10: Jillian's Caf�, located in Conshohocken UMC, hosts its first concert of 2015, at 7:30 PM, featuring Emily Drinker, a local musician who performs in the Philly area, the Big Apple and on Celebrity cruise ships in Europe. She'll lead her band, The Berries, in offering harmonic, acoustic folk and pop selections. Admission is $5. Come early to enjoy refreshments. Find more info at And check our Emily on the Web.  Also, Caribbean Steel Rhythms will perform March 7, and the phenomenal George Dennehy returns April 11. Visit the church's Website at and Jillian's Cafe's on Facebook.


Epiphany Blessing of Homes and Chalking the Door
The Christian season of Epiphany, celebrating Christ's revelation to the world, began Jan. 6 and continues until Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, followed by the season of Lent. In some parts of the world, particularly Great Britain, people customarily gather in residences or workplaces (generically called "homes") to ask God's blessing on those dwellings and upon all who live, work, and visit there. Here is some information on these gatherings, and suggestions for their use by United Methodist families, churches, and other "homes," along with a sample liturgy. Learn more at


Bishop Rueben Job, popular author and leader, dies at 86 

Retired Bishop Rueben P. Job, a popular author, editor, mentor, preacher and episcopal leader, died at home among family on Jan. 3, at 86, after a long struggle with heart disease. The author of 20 books, including Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, he also published Living Fully, Dying Well in 2006, acknowledging that he was unafraid of death and wanted the church to better prepare people to deal with the experience of dying. Bishop Job's funeral service will be Saturday, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m. (CST), at Belmont UMC in Nashville. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. (CST). Learn more at


Mission of Peace to India  
a 'journey to Shalom'

"The Mission of Peace continues to be a wonderful journey to Shalom." That's how Tom Schmidt, Communications Coordinator for the UMC Northeastern Jurisdiction's Mission of Peace, signed off on a recent update of the 2015 MOP group's nearly three-week journey through India. Schmidt has e-mailed almost daily missives to report on the group's travels, encounters and experiences as the 14 youth and a dozen adults--including seven bishops--learn much about their host country and enjoy its "unbelievable hospitality." Details of their excursion are limited, reportedly due to security concerns; but there will likely be much information and many insights shared after they return Jan. 15.


Among the youth sojourners from around the jurisdiction are two from the EPA Conference: Morgan Orlowski, 15, a 10th grader from Grove UMC in West Chester, and Emma Doupe, a high school senior from Grandview UMC in Lancaster. Learn more and see Bishop Peggy Johnson's photos...


Human Trafficking needs greater awareness, response
January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day; but it is also part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Week and Month. The increasing but still insufficient public focus on Human Trafficking, which is the modern-day practice of slavery, signifies what has become the world's fastest-growing crime, reportedly due to its low risk and often high reward for perpetrators.

The United Methodist Women of the Southeast District will sponsor a
Social Action Event on Human Trafficking Saturday, Feb. 28 (snow date: March 14), at Christ Middletown UMC, 600 East Dutton Mill Road, Brookhaven. Learn more...

Complaint against Bishop Talbert resolved
A resolution has been reached in the complaint against retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, who blessed the union of two men in 2013, in violation of church law. The parties involved in the case have agreed to what church law calls a just resolution, and the result is that Talbert will not face a trial or lose his status as bishop. Learn more at

Ebola voted top story of 2014 by UM communicators
The worst Ebola outbreak in history - along with The United Methodist Church's mobilization to ease suffering and fight the spread of the deadly virus - was the biggest story of 2014, according to a United Methodist News Service poll of general church and annual conference communicators. Other strong contenders were the Rev. Frank Schaefer's fight to remain a United Methodist clergy member, the debate over how the denomination should deal with human sexuality, and the church's progress in its Imagine No Malaria initiative. 
Learn more at


Lady Gaga has 'applause' for church musician
Pop music star Lady Gaga visited Grandview UMC in Lancaster on Dec. 28. She had high praise and advice for church musician Liz Fulmer, who performed her original Christmas song, "He is Coming." has the story, which includes the song. You can also hear the song and read supportive comments on Liz's Facebook page. (Reported by UMNS)


Malaria hits home for African Bishop
Bishop Gabriel Unda Yemba, leader of the East Congo Episcopal Area, is a wise man with a gentle soul. But he is at war with a merciless enemy: malaria. The disease robbed him of his beloved wife and a daughter. Bishop Peggy Johnson and other UMC leaders visited him in August 2014, and he visited us to preach at our Eastern PA Annual Conference last May. The Imagine No More Malaria Website shares his story of personal loss but resilient faith and love for his people, as he campaigns to help end malaria. 
Learn more at


Pocono Plateau Children's Winter Jamboree

Pocono Plateau Camp & Retreat Center will hold its 2015 Children's Winter Jamboree next weekend, Jan. 16-18. Come enjoy a weekend of fun with indoor and outdoor games, sledding, broomball, ice skating, crafts, Bible lessons and a campfire with s'mores! For Children in grades 3-6. Cost: $89 per person. Registration FormRegister Online Now or contact the Pocono Plateau camp office at 570-676-3665.



Event Cancellation: "Only Four Things Grow Churches," the workshop scheduled for February 28 at St. Matthew's UMC Valley Forge has been cancelled. It will rescheduled for a later date.





Survey responses needed for creating new EPAC Website

Well we've tweaked and tinkered with our creaky old Conference Website long enough. It's past time for a change, and a change is gonna come. After preparing a detailed Request for Proposal, researching Website platforms and developers, and vetting vendors' proposals, we have contracted with a skilled developer who has created dynamic, highly functional Websites for several United Methodist agencies and conferences, among other nonprofit clients.  


Matt Carlisle, proprietor of Big Heart Creative and former Web manager at United Methodist Communications, begins creating our new site Jan. 5, with the hope of launching it by April 2015. He will design and implement exciting ideas and features using WordPress, by far the most popular Web platform around. His first stage, titled Discovery, will include interviewing a small number of leaders, or "stakeholders," who can help us identify key needs and preferences that the new site must try to accommodate. But just to make sure we get as many opinions as needed from around the conference, we have also launched a new, brief online survey to learn your opinions about our current site and your interests in what a new site should provide.


So please take about 20 minutes to give us your valuable input by answering just six questions to complete the survey. It will help us a lot. The link to the live survey is: We will collect and analyze responses throughout January as we move into the Design stage for the new site. There will be more information to come. So stay tuned. And thanks--most of all for your patience.

Applications for Advance Special ministry fundraising due March 10

The EPA Conference Missions Team is now receiving applications for ministries that want to raise funds through the Conference Advance Specials program in 2015. The deadline is March 10, and the applications must be vetted by the team and presented for approval to the 2015 Annual Conference in May. Once approved, the church and community ministries may seek funding through conference-wide appeals, which requires Advance Special status. Applications and more information can be found on our Website at A descriptive list of 2014 Advance Special projects is also available on our Website at


Children, youth choirs to help Simpson House celebrate 150 years

Simpson House, the oldest United Methodist retirement community in the U.S., turns 150 in 2015. To celebrate this sesquicentennial milestone, the institution will hold monthly festive activities, including a Children and Youth Choir Festival Sunday, April 26, at 3 PM. They invite congregations from around the conference to register their young singers to participate in a mass children and youth choir, and in ensembles and as recommended soloists. Church directors will receive music in advance to prepare their choirs for the concert. The festival will include a rehearsal at 1:30 and an old-fashioned ice cream social.


Other celebration highlights include: a chance to savor Simpson House's heritage at "High Tea and History" (Jan. 20, 2 to 3 PM); an antiques appraisal event (May 3); a cooking completion using historic Simpson House recipes (June 13), and a special worship service with Bishop Peggy Johnson preaching (June 14). There's much more in store. Use the Schedule of Events to register for activities. Contact Robbe Healey at rhealey@ or call 610-660-0116 for more information.

Get your African American History Month
Daily Devotions 2015 now 

Celebrate African American History Month with this annual collection of devotions. Each daily reading throughout the month of February provides a Scripture passage, an inspiring and encouraging meditation, and a prayer. These devotions, authored by Bishop Woodie W. White, increase a sense of knowledge and awareness of African American history, foster pride in that history, and strengthen personal and communal faith, hope, and commitment to a rich heritage and future. The African American History Month Daily Devotions is perfect for church Bible study, opening meditations for meetings and events, and personal use. 

Order your 2014 Conference Journal in print before we run out!

A limited number of 2014 EPA Conference Journals in print are still available. Order yours today for only $25. You can pay online or send a check by postal mail to EPA UMC, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820.  What's in the Journal? Contact information for Conference staff, Camp and Retreat Centers, Districts, and United Methodist Church boards, agencies and resources. Also clergy appointments, committee assignments and service records. Plus, all about the 2014 Annual Conference, the 2015 conference budget, conference statistics for 2013, historical highlights, and conference policies and procedures for clergy, staff and others. 

UM Day with Sixers, Feb. 7, 2015  

Join us for some high-flying pro basketball excitement at "UM Day with the Sixers"Feb. 7, 2015. The Philadelphia 76ers play the Charlotte Hornets (the team owned in part by NBA legend Michael Jordon). Game time is 7 PM at the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Philly. Take advantage of a special ticket discount and help raise funds for United Methodist Men's ministries: $5 from every ticket sold will go back to UM Men's Ministries. Lower Level seat prices start at $35. Mezzanine seats start at $22. (Discount prices are based on availability and do not include the additional $2 per ticket order fee.) Reserve your tickets at Please enter the promo code: UMC. For orders of 10 tickets or more, and for more information, contact Chris McKeown at 215.339.7601 or email him at

Also, UM Night at the Phillies
for 2015 will be on Sat. July 18, at 7 PM, against the Miami Marlins. More info to come.

Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference, March 28, 2015

Disability Ministry Committees in the Eastern PA, Peninsula-Delaware and Greater New Jersey conferences in co-sponsoring the 5th Annual Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference with the theme "Yes WE Can." The full-day conference will happen March 28, 2015, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, at Cornerstown UMC, 3135 Summit Bridge Rd, Bear, DE. Keynote speaker, Travis Freeman, author of "Lights Out," says, "Disability does not equal inability. Disabled people can do anything they want to do in life." When illness completely stole Freeman's sight at 12 years old-a year after he accepted Christ in his life--his passion and desire to play football seemed to fall dead. However, the unshakable kid found a way to overcome and become a champion football player. He earned a degree in Business Administration and Master of Divinity and Ph.D seminary degrees. Learn more...

Got Mission? 

We're looking for good stories and photos of Eastern PA Conference churches involved in creative mission efforts to help others by sharing the love of Christ in word and deed. That's "Glocal" mission, we mean: global and local.

We've collected some great examples already. (Thanks to all who shared them!) But we're greedy; we want more. So please send us some good news about what your church is doing in your community, outside our region and around the world. Mission trips, anti-hunger or nutrition ministries, giveaway clothing and thrift shops, neighborhood worship and Bible studies, children and youth outreach, care for seniors in the community, prison ministries, school partnerships, major fundraising for mission--the list of mission possibilities and actualities is no doubt endless. We want to feature stories like these and more on our Web site and in the NEWSpirit newspaper. So send us all the details you can; and by all means, send us photos.

Also, we plan to focus on Mission Connexions in the Winter 2015 issue of NEWSpirit. So please let us know what your Mission Connexion has been up to and what you're planning for 2015. If you can tell us the basics, we'll contact you to find out more. Please, we need your help! Write to or call John Coleman at 484-762-8227. Leave a message, and I'll get back to you. Thanks!

Associate Members, Local Pastors to retreat
in April 2015

The Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors (FAMLP) of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware conferences will gather April 26-28, 2015, for their annual retreat at the Black Rock Retreat Center. Associate Members, Local Pastors, Student Pastors, and Certified Lay Ministers of both conferences are welcome to attend. They will explore the theme "Church Growth and the Local Pastor," led by the Rev. Thomas Haugh, pastor of Mount Hope UMC.Participants will receive 2.5 CEUs. The registration fee, $50/person, is nonrefundable.  A deposit is due Dec. 15; the balance is due Jan. 19, 2015. Contact Cheryl Snyder, Treasurer and Registrar, at 443-553-2263 for questions. "We hope to meet you at Black Rock Retreat Center for a restful break," said the Rev. Mark Beideman, Retreat Chairperson, "so we can grow and be renewed together in Christ."


See the brochure and registration form at Call Beideman at 610-585-0575.

Final church remittances due Jan. 15


Attention Church Finance Leaders:
Please send in your final 2014 remittance payments before January 15, 2015. Also, please take the time to review your remittance statements and make sure that all payment information is correct. If you have any questions or concerns about your payments, contact Tamara Wims at 

(610) 666-9090 Ext 7015 or by e-mail at

Keep your Find-a-Church info updated, informative
Please update your congregation's Find-a-Church info now or as soon as possible and add important information about your church's life and ministries. On our Web site when you roll your mouse over the "About Us" tab and you see a drop-down menu, select "Find a Church." It will take you to the Church Locator page. Click on "Find a United Methodist Church in your community.


Look at the bottom right side of the page and you will see: "UPDATE YOUR CHURCH INFORMATION. Welcome new visitors to your church by updating your Find-A-Church Information. Update Your Page Now." Follow instructions from there, or use the provided Help feature. Find-a-Church is a great search feature provided by our ministry partner, UM Communications to help potential visitors find and learn about your church.

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.


Five Major Areas of Study:

  • Christian Education, taught by the Rev. Michael Roberts on Jan.10 and Feb.7, 2015, at Eastwick UMC in Phila.
  • Church Administration: Leading a Congregation,
  • taught by the Rev. Larry Leister on March 14, 28 and April 18, 2015, at Lititz UMC.
  • 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!   

January 18, 2015: Human Relations Day, Special Sunday

February 7, 2015: UM Night with the Sixers

March 7, 2015: Tools for Ministry-All 6 Districts

March 10, 2015: Clergywomen Retreat, Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center

March 21, 2015: Faith Sharing Event with Thom & Joani Schultz

March 28, 2015: 5th Annual Tri-Conference Disability Ministry Conference

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


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.


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

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