2 EPAC young leaders to attend global gathering

Two young women from the EPA Conference will journey to the Philippines, enduring 22 hours in flight, to gather with nearly 400 other United Methodists from 34 countries at the Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly July 16-20. They will worship, pray and serve in ministry together, as they also explore and help create the future of their church.

Lauren Lomas (left), 20, of Lima UMC, and Ashley Thompson, 17, of Wharton-Wesley UMC, will join other youth, young adults and adults who work with youth at the Center for Community Transformation, a retreat center in Tagaytay, Philippines.

Lomas is a junior at Penn State University's Brandywine Campus. Thompson is a senior at Upper Darby High School. Both are longtime active members of their churches, and the two just met weeks ago for the first time.

Five new Certified Lay Ministers graduate

The EPA Conference gained five new Certified Lay Ministers June 1, as more than 80 people witnessed their graduation at Evansburg United Methodist Church. It was the fourth class to complete the full process, giving the conference 33 Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) now, with more on the way.

The new CLMs pictured here are (from left):

  • Dennis Wack of Evansburg UMC, Central District,
  • Candace E. Carter of UM Church of the Good Shepherd, East District,
  • Barry L. Trout of Hibernia UMC, Southeast District,
  • Ruth Ann Portzline of St. John’s UMC (Ivyland), East District, and
  • John P. Lafferty of Thorndale UMC, Southeast District.   

Annual Conference highlights vital ministry, visionary leaders

Bishops Gabriel Unda Yemba (center, left) of the East Congo Area and Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area lead the opening worship procession for the EPA Annual Conference, May 15, accompanied by members of New Life UMC in Upper Darby.  Rev. S. J. Mundell photo

The spirited praise and worship that began the 2014 Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference burst forth in vivid pageantry and vivacious African rhythms of music and dance. No less energetic was the teaching that followed, when mega-church pastor the Rev. Mike Slaughter shared empirical--and at times, radical--wisdom on ministries and principles essential for "Growing Vital Congregations."

United Methodists see making disciples as top concern; sexuality ranks low

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A new poll of United Methodists in the United States shows that issues related to human sexuality rank significantly lower than other concerns, and members want the church to engage on this issue and bring a positive perspective to the discussion.  More than 90 percent of members say the church shouldn’t split over issue.

Making disciples of Jesus Christ, spiritual growth and youth involvement are among the top priorities for U.S. church members, according to the survey, commissioned by United Methodist Communications. The research is based on a May 30-June 1 survey of United Methodist members in the United States. The research was conducted by Corporate Research of Greensboro, N.C., and Research Now of Dallas. It had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

Visit our booth on UM Day Saturday at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Don't miss the magic and the fun in the sun when we celebrate the third annual United Methodist Day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom this Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The park address is 3830 Dorney Park Rd., Allentown, PA 18104.

Join hundreds--maybe thousands--of families and friends for this annual excursion to one of America's greatest amusement parks and most enjoyable vacation destinations. It's a perfect way to start your summer with a memorable bang. Come for the fellowship. Stay for the fun.  

When you come, be sure to visit the “UM Booth” located in Dorney Park near the “Food Fest Grove” area, where we set up every year.

CONAM to sponsor Carlisle Indian Industrial School tour

The EPA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will sponsor a bus tour to the historic site of Carlisle (PA) Indian Industrial School June 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The tour bus will depart from and return to the EPA Conference Office. Visitors will tour the grounds of the former school's grounds, where Native children and youth were taken to be acculturated for mainstream society. Barbara Landis will share her knowledge and passion for the school's painful but proud history, including the old farmhouse that was saved from careless demolition recently by historians, advocates like EPA CONAM Co- Chairperson, Sandy Cianciulli (Lakota), and descendants of the students who learned and worked there.

Bishop agrees to reinstate Schaefer after successful appeal

The following is a public statement by Philadelphia Episcopal Area Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, Bishop of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware (regional) conferences. Her statement is in response to today's decision by the United Methodist Church's Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals that the Rev. Franklyn Schaefer should be reinstated as an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church.

Please note that Bishop Johnson has no statement to make at this time regarding whether the Appeals committee's ruling will be appealed. That decision is  the responsibility of the Rev. Christopher Fisher, Counsel for the Church in this case.

I was informed today by Jen Ihlo, President of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals, that the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who appealed the withdrawal of his credentials as an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, has won his appeal, and thus, should have his credentials restored to him by the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. I intend to abide by the committee's decision and return him to active service as an ordained clergy member of this conference presently.

United Methodist Night at Philadelphia Art Museum June 25

Philadelphia Museum of Art

EPA Art lovers—or would-be art lovers—of all ages will gather June 25 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, located on the Ben Franklin Pkwy, for United Methodist Night. Groups of children, youth and adults will go on self-guided tours, inspired by the expressions of art around them to reflect on their faith. The Mexican Cultural Center will sponsor singing and arts activities in the Great Hall. Come any time between 5 p.m. and closing time at 8:45 p.m. It’s a “pay-what-you-want” night. Gather in the Great Hall at 7 p.m. to receive reflection guides and hear from a museum docent.

Donations sought for Delaware Conference video

The EPA Annual Conference approved a resolution, May 15, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the former, all-black Delaware Annual Conference. That pioneering conference emerged in 1864 from efforts to afford oppressed and often-ostracized African American members of the Methodist Episcopal Church the right to dignity, full participation and self-determination.

The Delaware Conference, which stretched across five states, from Virginia up to New York, voted to dissolve a century later, in 1964, as its members prepared to integrate geographically-based conferences. The predominantly white Philadelphia Conference welcomed black members in 1965. It became part of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in 1970, after the United Methodist Church was formed from merger in 1968.

EPA pastor to become UMC's chief historian

The pastor and chief historian of the oldest United Methodist church in America will soon become the denomination's chief historian. The Rev. Alfred T. Day III, pastor of 244-year old St. George's United Methodist Church in the heart of old Philadelphia, Pa., was elected to head the General Commission on Archives and History. He will take over as General Secretary on or about July 1.

Elected unanimously by the commission's board after a national search, Day will succeed the Rev. Robert J. Williams, who will retire after almost nine years in the position. Bishop Jeremiah Park, leader of the Harrisburg, Pa., Area and president of the commission made the announcement yesterday.


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Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.