A quest for excellence: Church leaders brave snow seeking Tools for Ministry

Tools for MinistryA quest for excellence

Church leaders brave snow seeking Tools for Ministry

“Excellence in Church Leadership” was the challenge issued by Dr. Mary White, EPA Conference Lay Leader, to members at several Tools for Ministry district training events Jan. 25. Hundreds gathered despite forecasted and falling snow at six churches across the conference; and they embraced that challenge and the theme "Ministry for Today's Church" in their workshops, worship, witnessing and special offerings.

Of the impressive 180 members who registered in the Northwest District about 150 came to First UMC in Schuylkill Haven to learn about the Mission ConneXion movement, developing relationships through global missions, becoming not just church leaders but spiritual leaders, ensuring safety in the church (from the Pottsville police chief), children’s ministries and VBS, starting a Circles Anti-Poverty Initiative and a Celebrate Recovery ministry, and encouraging stewardship during an economic recovery.

Annual UMW retreat for girls is still on

Girls on the Go!

“Girls on the Go” is still a go for this weekend, according to organizers of the annual United Methodist Women’s inspirational overnight retreat for teen girls. Wintry weather will not deter the dozens of girls expected to gather at Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center from mid-day Saturday to Sunday afternoon for fun, fellowship, faith formation and even suitable fashion tips.

The retreat brochure promises “A Different Kind of Makeover” from the usual TV fare, offering young participants “tips to help you make over your look as well as your life.” Leaders will teach and encourage self-confidence, resiliency and creativity, but also conduct Bible study and group devotions. Attendees will engage in arts and crafts, games, drama and music, and then walk the runway in a “trendy but not trashy” fashion show.

Bishop announces retirees

2010 Retirees

Bishop Peggy Johnson celebrates EPA retirees at the 2010 annual conference.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces retirement of the following Eastern Pennsylvania Conference clergy members, effective July 1, 2014, unless otherwise noted.

Those listed here are ordained elders, unless they are indicated as local pastors. Districts are indicated in parentheses. (The licenses of retired local pastors are returned to their respective district offices.)

‘Souper Bowl' Sunday anti-hunger tradition continues in EPA

Souper Bowl

Tyleigh Karns and Lizzy Flaim collect donations for the Souper Bowl of Caring at Conynham UMC. Heidi Klein photo

Congregations across the EPA Conference made the recent NFL Super Bowl Sunday a Super Sunday for Mission by tackling hunger through the “Souper Bowl of Caring.”   Continuing a popular, national youth ministry tradition that began in 1990, they collected canned soup and donations to help feed hungry neighbors in their communities.

NEJ youth visit Mosaic mission in South Africa

/> The recent Mission of Peace tour of Northeastern Jurisdiction youth and adult chaperons visiting South Africa included a special stop at Mosaic, a human development ministry supported by the EPA's Hopewell UMC in Downingtown. They spent a day with Hopewell Missionary in Residence Jordan Ridge, founder and manager of Mosaic in South Africa.

NEWSpirit Weekly Digest - 01/24/2014

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Tools for Ministry offers learning for leadership

For weather-weary but dauntless disciples of the EPA Conference, Tools for Ministry sessions are still on for Saturday morning, Jan. 25! (Snow is forecast for the afternoon, after sessions have ended.) With "Ministry for Today's Church" as their theme, hundreds of lay and clergy leaders will gather at six district sites for a full Saturday morning of worship, workshops and witnessing to their faith. Read more…

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. He became a great American whose birthday we officially observe each year on January 20th. Although he died the death of a martyr, he became somewhat of a legend during his own time. I am proud to join with my fellow citizens in celebrating his life and legacy.

Chemical Spill in West Virginia

News Digest

A chemical spill in West Virginia has left about 300,000 people in nine counties in the southwest section of the state unable to use tap water. The emergency began Jan. 9 when the chemical 4- methylcyclohexane methanol, a chemical used in coal processing, leaked out of a 40,000 gallon tank at a Freedom Industries facility along the Elk River. (Read more about the incident here.)

Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball of the West Virginia Annual Conference reports that there is a significant and immediate need for ready-to-feed baby formula, paper products and baby wipes. In addition, cash donations are needed to address the long-term situation.

EPA Conference leaders report, reflect on ministry priorities

Esdras Seda at Connectional Table meeting

Leaders of EPA Conference boards and committees tried a new and improved approach to conferencing together at their first meeting of the new year on Saturday, Jan. 11. They shortened their oral committee reports and instead spent more time dialoging about creative initiatives supportive of the mission priorities of The United Methodist Church.

The Connectional Table (CT) meeting, held at St. Matthew's UMC of Valley Forge, drew a moderate attendance but allowed participants more time to share promising perspectives and experiences in doing faith-sharing outreach ministry. The ongoing discussion, begun at their last meeting in October 2013, may eventually expand to encompass the denomination's four mission foci:

NEWSpirit Weekly Digest - 01/14/2014

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EPA Conference News

NEJ youth stretch their horizons on Mission of Peace
Bishop Peggy Johnson returns home Jan. 15 with 18 youth and other adult guides from a fascinating three-week Mission of Peace in and around Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa. The young people from across the UMC Northeastern Jurisdiction, including three EPA youth, have been learning about the country's complex history, politics and mixture of faiths and cultures, as well as its challenges and hopeful outlook for the future. Read more...


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Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.