Phila. Inquirer reports EPA churches’ use of Eco-Palms

The Rev. David Tatgenhorst of St. Luke UMC in Bryn Mawr leads members in celebrating Palm Sunday on the church lawn prior to their procession into the sanctuary singing Hosannas for worship. They celebrated with eco-friendly palms, a growing practice that was featured in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer.  John Coleman photo

Four EPA United Methodist pastors were pictured in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday, April 13, atop an article that featured their churches’ use of Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday celebrations. The positive publicity resulted from the best of Connectional Communications that linked the United Methodist Committee on Relief with an Inquirer reporter, with the EPA Conference communications office, with district staff and finally with several church pastors who answered an appeal for information.

Latino churches to celebrate Holy Convocation April 19

Clergy leaders of the EPA Conference Latino Commission--the Revs. Lydia Munoz, Brunilda Martinez, Esdras Seda, Irving Cotto, Luky Cotto and Alicia Julia-Stanley--pose with the Rev. Christopher Kurien, Connectional Ministries Director, after a recent meeting.  John Coleman photo

Latino members of the EPA Conference will consider and vote on a proposed new structure and strategy for the Latino Commission when they celebrate their fourth annual Holy Convocation Saturday, April 19, from 9:30 to 3 p.m., at Westchester UMC.  El Buen Samaritano UMC, which has worshiped at Westchester since 1999, will serve as host, led by its pastor, the Rev. Evodia Villalva. Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach at 11 a.m.

Maundy Thursday: ‘A new commandment to love one another’

An article at defines Maundy Thursday as “an alternate name for Holy Thursday, the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to and immediately following the crucifixion of Jesus. The English word "Maundy" comes from the Latin mandatum, which means "commandment."

As recorded in John's gospel, on his last night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34).” This is why church services on this night generally include the washing of feet or other acts of caring as an integral part of celebration.

While John's gospel does not record the institution of the Lord's Supper among the events of this night, the other Gospels do. Many Christians therefore celebrate this night in fellowship at the basin (footwashing) and at the Lord's Table (Holy Communion). 

Special Film Depicts Range of Emotions at Easter

Church Knows ChurchNASHVILLE, Tenn. April 7, 2014 /GBOD/ The range of emotions Christians experience concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are dramatically portrayed in a new short film celebrating Easter available from the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD).

Produced by GodFilms, a GBOD ministry, the film Resurrection! allows viewers to look at the death of Christ on the cross through a different lens.

“This film takes us through the emotions of Good Friday, the three days in the tomb and then resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Steve Horswill-Johnson, executive director of communications at GBOD and senior producer/director of GodFilms. “In a few minutes, it expresses the emotions of the crucifixion in a different way – in a funeral setting.”

Annual Conference online registration deadline is May 2, 2014

2014 annual conference logo











Annual Conference 2014 online registration is open as of March 12.
Conference members, clergy retirees, and guests
What: Preaching, Teaching, Holy Conferencing, Proclaiming the Gospel in Word and Deed
When: May 15-17, 2014 beginning at 10:00 am on Thursday, May 15 with Clergy and Laity Sessions
Where: Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, Oaks, PA 19456
Why: Growing Vital Congregations (Theme)

EPA churches honor Black History Month

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us.
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us…

Roz McKelvey led the Deaf Ministry Choir at Grace UMC in Philadelphia in singing the anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson, during the church’s Heritage Sunday celebration Feb. 23.

Black History Month in February is an important time for many churches to remember the heroic history of a people whose undaunted faith has forged a hopeful present and a promising future. We would love to know how your church celebrated this month of remembrance. Please send your highlights to

2014 Lenten Study: Suffering Servant: Who Has Believed?

Suffering Servant: Who Has Believed is a new Lenten Bible study developed by the Rev. Steve Morton of Hopewell UMC, Downingtown, Pa.  This dynamic seven-week series is based on the powerful text of Isaiah 53. It is configured to begin the week of Ash Wednesday, March 5, and conclude the week following Easter Sunday. Each 90-minute session consists of a presentation on DVD and a study guide to help participants gain a deep understanding of the scripture by integrating group discussion with personal reflection.  Each session features an Elder from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

Our prayer is that over 1,000 United Methodists will participate in this Lenten Bible study and grow deeper in their faith as they learn more about Jesus Christ.The DVD presentation is available at no cost.  To order your copy or for additional information please contact Deb Boyd at

Laity Retreats to offer leaders spiritual renewal

Come and bathe yourself in worship with other United Methodists on our district, drink in God’s word, learn from one another, and refresh yourself to continue in the ministry to which God has called you.”

That enticing invitation is how one EPA district aptly described its upcoming Laity Retreat on Saturday, March 1, when laity will gather in retreat at three locations.

Financial Update - December 2013

Monthly Financial Update

Conference Budget – Schedules A & B:
Please reference SCHEDULE A and SCHEDULE B for a summary of the conference budget for December 2013.

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 economic struggles of many churches we are pleased and grateful for the commitment made by many to support this vital ministry.

The conference expense budget was managed very effectively in 2013 by all committees, boards, agencies and others. Total expenses were $2,749,881, $100,255 or 3.5% less than the 2013 budget of $2,850,136, and $156,994 or 5.4% less than 2012 expenses.

EPA continues recovery from ice storm disaster

Update-- Ice Storm Damages:
You may be able to deduct losses on your tax return:

“You generally must deduct a casualty loss in the year it occurred. However, if the property was damaged as a result of a federally declared disaster you can choose to deduct that loss on your return for the tax year immediately preceding the year in which the disaster happened. A federally declared disaster is a disaster that took place in an area declared by the President to be eligible for federal assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. If you have already filed your return for the preceding year, you may claim the loss by filing an amended return, Form 1040X.“ - IRS Publication - Disaster Resource Guide.

If you had a loss, you may be able to deduct when you file your 2013 return instead of waiting until next year. Read the IRS publication for further details.


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Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.