News

Financial Stewardship Campaign nears $3 million goal

Denny Emrick and Matthew Henderson

“We’re so close!”

The Rev. Denny Emrick voiced almost breathless anticipation when asked about the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference’s Financial Stewardship Capital Campaign. He held his hands forward as though ready to grasp something within reach.

“We’re right at the brink. Now I know how Jeremiah felt when he bought that field (Jeremiah 32). He was so sure of God’s promises.”

Emrick is elated and hopeful about the campaign, titled Fulfilling Our Covenant, because pledges have almost reached the $3 million goal.

Bishop Johnson announces new Cabinet appointments

 

new DSs

Bishop Peggy Johnson is pleased to announce the following appointments, effective July 1, 2014:

The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm will become Superintendent of the Southeast District; the Rev. Tracy Bass will become Superintendent of the East District; and the Rev. BumKoo Chung will become Superintendent of the Southwest District.  Please be in prayer for them and their families.  Their biographical information follows.

Registration Closed

Well-being for Life and Ministry:
Bishop's Midwinter Retreat 2014 for Clergy and Spouses
January 21-23, 2014

All Clergy and Spouses of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula Delaware Conferences are invited to attend the Bishop's Midwinter Retreat on January 21-23, 2014.

Financial Update - November 2013

Monthly Financial Report

Conference Budget – Schedules A & B
Please reference Schedule A and Schedule B for a summary of the conference budget for November 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.

Understanding Advent

Advent: Hope, Love, Joy & Peace

When. Advent marks the beginning of the church year. It begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Day.

What. Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus, meaning "coming." It is a season to prepare for the coming of Christ in various meanings: the promised coming of the Messiah to the Jews, the coming of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the promised return of the risen Christ in final victory, and the continual coming of Christ into the lives and hearts of believers.

Liturgical Context. Advent, which marks the beginning of the liturgical year, is part of the cycle of seasons that includes Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, all related in some fashion to the coming of Jesus. That cycle is followed by Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the long Pentecost season.

Remembering Nelson Mandela

Man of courage, man of peace, man of passion...

There are not enough words to fully remember or describe Nelson Mandela.

 

 

Christians around the world join the people of South Africa who are mourning the death of their former leader Nelson Mandela at the age of 95.  The worship team at the General Board of Discipleship has prepared an extensive collection of resources about Mandela and his life which are available online at http://www.gbod.org/misc/remembering-nelson-mandela.

Advent in Action

Filipino boy with chicken after typhyoon Advent for many means waiting and hoping to welcome the Christ who brings deliverance
by Sophia Agtarap

Those familiar with the church's liturgical calendar know that this season we are in called Advent, is a period of waiting and preparation. We prepare our homes and our places of worship to welcome the Christ-child. But what do Christmas lights, tinsel-adorned trees and lawn ornaments have to do with preparing our lives for hope to be born in the form of a baby? With preparing our lives for the Christ who will come again to usher in a time of justice and righteousness and God's shalom?

Though popular culture has taught us that Christmas is a time of celebration and light [which it is], it's also a time that begs for introspection and the realization that we are still waiting in hope for the time when "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." [Luke 3:4-6]

Finance agency responds to clergy housing decision

 
 

Editor’s Note: The General Council on Finance and Administration — The United Methodist Church’s finance agency — responded Nov. 26 to  a U.S. district court ruling that found the tax-free housing benefits for clergy to be unconstitutional.  GCFA’s full statement is below.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Nov.  21, 2013, a federal district court judge in Madison, Wis.,  held that a portion of Section 107 of the tax code is unconstitutional.  Section 107 is the provision dealing with tax-favored housing benefits for clergy.  Specifically, the court held that Section 107(2), which permits clergy to receive a tax-free cash “housing allowance,” is unconstitutional because it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”).  Section 107(1), which allows clergy to reside tax-free in a church-provided parsonage, was not affected by the court’s decision.

Bishop cites Wesley's 3 rules in view of trial

Bishop Peggy Johnson

The three simple rules of John Wesley apply today in many poignant ways: "do no harm, do good and stay in love with God." What would it look like if we ordered our lives like that? What can happen at this church trial as we follow this directive? Pray for all involved and for the church as it discerns the depths of God's love and good will for its people and the world.

Schaefer’s 30-day suspension for conducting son’s same-sex wedding may become permanent

Rev. Michele Bartlow adresses media

The Rev. Michele Wright-Bartlow, spokesperson for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church, reads a statement to the media on behalf of Bishop Peggy Johnson.

by John W. Coleman, Jr.

SPRING CITY, Pa.—The Rev. Frank Schaefer of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference was given a 30-day suspension by the jury in his church trial Tuesday night, Nov. 19. And he was told that if he can’t promise to uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety he must surrender his credentials.

Schaefer was found guilty the night before of violating the church’s law against pastors performing same-sex unions and of disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church. He acknowledged having performed the same-sex wedding of his son, Tim, in 2007, although he pled not guilty to violating the Discipline.

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