March 21: Save the date. The EPA Conference will welcome Thom and Joani Schultz, co-authors of the provocative book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore:  And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Church Irresistible, as keynote presenters at its 2015 conference-wide evangelism event on Saturday, March 21, at New Hanover UMC.  

A Liberian district superintendent said two United Methodist pastors and nearly 20 church members have died of what is believed to be Ebola, and others are have been quarantined because of concerns about the fast-spreading, deadly virus. The deaths are suspected but not confirmed to be from Ebola. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s says more than 2,200 people in West Africa have died from the worst outbreak of the disease in history.

See more at: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/church-members-in-liberia-afflicted-with-the-ebola-virus

Read more coverage of Ebola and the United Methodist response at www.umc.org/ebola.

Expressions of thanks were heard and received all across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a group of bishops and general secretaries from the United States made its way to the eastern part of the country to discover the hopeful realities of the newest area of the UMC connection, the East Congo Episcopal Area. “Aksanti sana” in Swahili, “merci beaucoup” in French, “losaka efula,” in Otetella, and “thank you so very much,” expressed the underlying theme of the visit for the travelers and for their hosts. In this region of the DRC, still recovering from two decades of war, there is today much to be thankful for and to celebrate. A story by Christie R. House of GBGM

See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2014/september/0915aksantisana#sthash.1r3lf67M.dpuf

Attendees at the "Leading from the Heart" Worship Conference, Sept. 6, at Paoli UMC, learn a new style to an old hymn, taught by Mark Miller, who co-led the conference with Dr. Tonia Bennett, both of whom teach worship at Drew University.

The Central District's "Leading from the Heart" Worship Conference, held Sept. 6 at Paoli UMC, was rich with discourse, demonstration and discovery about creativity, sensitivity and spirituality in worship. It spanned the spectrum from traditional to post-modern modes and methods of glorifying God and edifying God's people. Look for a Web site feature article on that event in the coming week.

monthly finance report

Conference Budget – Schedules A&B

Please reference Schedule A and Schedule B for a summary of the conference budget through August 2014. As a result of the faithful giving of EPA local churches to the connectional ministries fund or CMF we ended 2013 with a very strong result of $3,279,179.  While this was short of the budget goal of $3.4 million by $120,821 or 3%, it was a reasonable variance.  Given the ongoing struggles of many churches we are pleased and grateful for the commitment made by many to support this vital ministry.   

Through eight months of 2014 giving from local churches to CMF was $1,937,632. This was $329,035 less than budget and $121,890 less than the amount received from August 2013. An analysis after eight months shows that the majority of churches are “on budget”. However, there are 148 churches or 35% that have paid less than 50%.   Fifty-Six (56) churches have paid zero through eight months toward CMF.  The district offices and CCFA are kept abreast of this and will follow up. 

Born without arms, George Dennehy plays with his feet, and sings with his soul

Trust me. Whatever you have planned for Friday evening, Sept. 19, chances are, this will be much better. It's a very special concert, performed by a very special musician in a very special place. Conshohocken UMC will welcome phenomenal, popular singer and musician George Dennehy to perform at its own Jillian's Café, a comfortable performance venue, adjacent to the church's sanctuary, that's as bright and beautiful as the person for whom it is named.

George Dennehy, born without arms, is an amazing young man who sings while playing the guitar and piano with his feet.  Yes, take a moment and reread that last sentence. I'll wait.... The only sound perhaps more beautiful than his voice and his deft, soulful instrumental touch is his personal story.

Click here for a schedule of the Missionaries' visits.

Click here to read a recent mission report (May-August 2014) and view photos of progress and concerns of the UMC of Tanzania, dated September 6.

The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi and Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine, United Methodist missionaries in Tanzania, East Africa. will itinerate in the EPA Conference for nearly three weeks in October, visiting churches, sharing their stories and meeting new friends and supporters.

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city, they 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  conference and will visit congregations and attend events here Oct. 1-19. If you want to invite them to your church, contact the Rev. David J. Davis. Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.

The EPA Conference's new Safe Sanctuaries Committee wants to be sure every church knows that new changes in state law will require them to modify their church policies and practices. Churches need to be sure they have leaders or teams present at the Safe Sanctuaries district trainings, on Oct. 25, to ensure they comply with new laws.

There has been a great deal of child abuse prevention legislation working its way through the state legislature and the governor’s office this year, reports the Rev. James H. Wilkin, Safe Sanctuaries Committee chair and pastor of Holmesburg and St. Philip's UM churches in Philadelphia. Some bills have already been passed and signed into law, while others are at various stages in the process.

Most of the changes go into effect at the end of 2014.

Registration is now open for the 2015 Midwinter Retreat for Clergy (elders, deacons, local pastors) and their Spouses, to gather Jan. 13-15, 2015. Once again the retreat will convene at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront, 6600 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Md.

Retreat planners have received requests over the years to address the needs of not only clergy but also their spouses and families. The 2015 retreat promises to do just that. "We are excited to host M. Garlinda Burton, a popular and dynamic speaker, a former journalist and denominational leader, who will inform, inspire and challenge us with insightful keynote presentations on the topic Ministering to our Id-entity as a Clergyperson and/or Clergy Spouse," said Bishop Peggy Johnson.

United Methodist Day at the Philadelphia Zoo, Aug. 16, was a great success as hundreds of conference members and guests flocked to the nation's oldest zoo amid thousands of other visitors on a temperate, sunny day. There they marveled at, learned about and maybe even conversed with captive members of the animal kingdom, including perhaps descendants of Noah's ark.

"I think this was pretty good for the first time," said United Methodist Men's president Ross, who organized this event and others like it. The 289 people who printed and brought the online "UM Coupon" saw their admission price reduced from $20 to $12, although the zoo offered no rebate to the UM Men as other local destinations have done. 

St. John’s UMC in Ivyland embarked on a new ministry three weeks ago: Drive-thru Prayer. Every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 pm we set up a canopy in front of our church, and prayer volunteers gather to offer prayer to folks who drive by typically on their way home from work.

The first week, six cars stopped; the second week, there were five. Last week 12 cars stopped for prayer.

We believe there are many who are struggling but don’t feel they can come to church. St. John’s wanted to find a way to reach out to them with the love of Christ. Even though they may not be affiliated with a church, they still need to know that Jesus loves them and cares about everything that concerns them.

While other lethal diseases receive deserved attention these days—Ebola, MERS, ALS, etc.—HIV and AIDS remains a widespread, lethal disease affecting millions of people across the U.S. and the globe;  and it remains of great concern to The United Methodist Church.

A conference designed to equip advocates, health workers and concerned Christians involved or seeking to be involved in HIV & AIDS ministries will convene in Denver, Col., Sept. 11-13. Featured speakers will include four United Methodist Bishops, an international medical AIDS specialist, two seminary professors from Zimbabwe and Kenya, United Methodist pastors, a Muslim woman, and persons living with HIV. 

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church

Welcome!  The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church is made up of about 465 churches, which serve nearly 125,000 members in 16 counties.   Led by Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, the Conference's mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Today, this mission is the focus of the conference’s 465 churches, congregations which speak to diverse and multi-generational populations in the many cities, towns, and rural areas throughout our area.  The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and its sister Peninsula/Delaware Conference together compose the Philadelphia Area, with nearly 1,000 churches served by Bishop Peggy Johnson.

If you are a clergy person or member of one of our 465 churches, we invite you to explore this website for resources and information to support you in your effort to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

If you are looking for a welcoming faith family, we invite you to visit a United Methodist Church in your community: www.find-a-church.org.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Office: 980 Madison Ave., Norristown, PA 19403; telephone 610-666-9090; fax 610-666-9093.

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Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.