Five tips to get through the summer exodus

by Suzy Keenan

Traditionally, Memorial Day begins the dreaded summer season – the exodus of worshippers as they drift away for vacations far (and near).  Worship and Sunday School attendance drops, and so do offerings.

It’s too bad members can’t pack up and take church along with them as they leave for faraway places… unless they are one of the 136 million smartphone users in American today  - then they can connect with you wherever they are.

Here are five technology tips that might help your church connect better over the summer with members on the go, potential visitors, and new persons in your community.

Casa del Pueblo leads support for Imagine No Malaria

Pastor Luky Cotto helps children with prizes at Casa del Pueblo's community fair, which raised $1000 for Imagine No Malaria.

By Suzy Keenan*

Members of Casa del Pueblo, a United Methodist Latino ministry at Lehman UMC in Hatboro, PA, joined the movement to support the work of Imagine No Malaria on Saturday, June 1, when they hosted a community fair.

When Pastor Luky Cotto brought the idea to her church, the leadership loved the idea of helping mothers in Africa. They also liked the idea of leading the way for Latino churches and ministries in supporting the denomination’s effort to end malaria. 

According to Rev. Cotto, at the initial planning meeting, one of her members, Luzbenia, from Honduras,  said, “Pastor, when I was little I had malaria myself and I almost died. I really want us to help!” 

July NEWSpirit now online!

Hot off the press... July 2013 NEWSpirit with colorful photos and the latest EPA Conference news.

New: Read the Annual Conference Summary (with photos); an article on how Casa del Pueblo and Pastor Luky Cotto are leading the effort to support Imagine No Malaria; Bishop Johnson's article entitled, 50 Years Later; Christopher Kuren's article on The Gretna Gritty; an informative article on Adaptive Leadership by Gordon Hendrickson; articles on the Deacons' Spring Gathering and Arch Street UMC's new music center by Deacon David W. Brown; and Five tips to get through the summer exodus by Suzy Keenan.

CORRECTION: The correct dates for Mission U are July 19-21. Read more:

July Safety Newsletter: Food Safety

church kitchenEach year, about 325,000 people are hospitalized for a foodborne illness. An additional 76 million people are somehow affected by foodborne illnesses, experiencing symptoms such as upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps and dehydration. Food illness is caused by the ingestion of food that is improperly prepared, served or stored. Some people - pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems - are more susceptible to the dangerous effects of foodborne illness.

Many religious organizations are known to host fun-filled picnics, potluck dinners and congregation get-togethers, where tasty food is sure to be served. In these joyous events, many volunteers lend a hand by bringing a dish, preparing food, serving attendees and cleaning up after the meal. However, if your volunteers aren't aware of proper food safety practices, food illness could set in on those attending the event - leading to a very unpleasant experience for all.

Please support Congo malaria epidemic relief

Dr. Pierre Diamba Manya, M.D., a missionary with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, recently talked met with children at Hopeland UMC in the EPA Conference during his recent visit to the US.

An epidemic of malaria in the villages of Wembo Nyama, Minga and Lodja in the central part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has prompted an emergency response from Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Peninsula-Delaware Conference and the Eastern PA Congo Partnership teams.



revITup! for a Lifetime in MinistryAre you new to ministry?  Or are you established and looking for new ideas and new things to try?
It’s time to put yourself at the top of your list! Plan to attend this new and energizing General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ young clergy event and…

Financial Update - May 2013

Financial UpdateConference Budget:
Please reference Schedule A and Schedule B for a summary of the conference budget for May 2013.

As a result of the faithful giving of EPA local churches to the connectional ministries fund or CMF we ended 2012 surpassing the $3,400,000 budget. Total receipts were $3,401,619 and December 2012 was another outstanding month with receipts totaling $432,684. Thanks to all of the congregations who continue to support this ministry. For 2013, the annual budget is the same as 2012, $3.4 million. Through five months a total of $1,299,482 has been received. This is $117,185 less than budget and $63,392 less than receipts from a year ago, at the same period.

Annual Conference Summary 2013

Nearly 1,000 members of The Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference met May 16-18, 2013 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks, PA, with the theme, “Wholeness: Physical, Spiritual, Relational.”  Click here: Photos of Annual Conference

Annual Conference opened with District Celebrations.  Each of the six districts presented news of their churches’ ministries, and the many outstanding ways churches are reaching out with the compassion of Christ in their communities.

Bishop Peggy Johnson led Opening Devotions, noting the 275th anniversary of Aldersgate Day on May 24, 2013, when John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed.”  She encouraged listeners to be “fired up and ready to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth.” 

New Vision UMC receives effective urban ministry award

New Vision UMC accepts the Kim Jefferson Award for effective urban ministry: (left to right) Elenor Davis, Jean Kershaw, Rev. Gregory Holston, and Anna Smith.

By Myra Maxwell*

Annual Conference 2013 Business


Tellers count and tally votes on several resolutions at Annual Conference 2013.

Conference members voted on four Constitutional Amendments, instructed to vote either yes or no.  The results of the vote will be combined with all the other conferences of the denomination.  Results be announced later in the year.

Here are the results of voting on the 2013 Resolutions:

2013-02 Resolution Relating to Creating a Mission ConneXion presented by the Cabinet.  Approved.

2013-12 Related to Creation of Task Force to Review and Revise Housing Allowance Guidelines submitted by the Cabinet.  Approved.


Read the latest news of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.


View photo galleries of Conference events and news stories.


See the latest videos by the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.


Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.