The two main featured speakers at The United Methodist Church’s Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference in June set a tone that was healing and harmonious, like the Apostle Paul’s good news that Jesus Christ had “broken down the dividing wall of hostility,” uniting Jews and Gentiles as one people. (Ephesians 2:14)
While new walls of hostility and conflict are erected continually across our nation’s social landscape, old walls remain, like those dividing people of indigenous cultures from the dominant society that has oppressed, exploited and disregarded them for centuries.
When nearly 900 Eastern PA Conference clergy and lay members met to handle church business June 16-18 in Lancaster, Pa., they began by first breaking down walls in a solemn opening worship ceremony that sought repentance for an egregious U.S. history of mistreating Native Americans. They also learned ideas for building bridges of relationship, based on truth and accountability and inspired by the conference theme, “Open Wide Your Hearts!” (from 2 Corinthians 6:13). Learn more…
“Open Wide Your Hearts!” was the theme of the 2016 Annual Conference, and many members, guests and churches did just that with their generous giving to support higher education and disaster relief mission.
The conference received three offerings during its two-day session, June 16-18; and additional donations have come in since the session to add to giving totals. One offering eventually raised $8,511 to provide undergraduate students with financial aid through the conference’s higher education scholarships program. That amount exceeded the 2015 offering of $7,000. Learn more…
The 2016 Eastern PA Annual Conference, meeting June 16-18, cautiously postponed action on some key resolutions during debates, at times choosing compromise over controversy. But while… Read more
Church leaders repent, seek healing for sins against Native peoples By John W. Coleman The UMC’s Eastern PA Conference began its three-day annual session Thursday, June 16, with worship and… Read more
During the Annual Conference, June 16-17, some enthusiastic leaders told us how their churches are living out this year’s Annual Conference theme by opening wide their hearts in ministries of outreach and welcome to their communities.
We recorded six short video interviews during a conference session lunch break. In these brief segments, we learn from testimony how local churches in our conference are nourishing their neighbors in body, mind and spirit, while sharing the love and liberating gospel of Jesus Christ. See the full playlist on our Conference YouTube channel.
How is your church opening wide its heart to its community or to the world? Write to tell us about it, or record a short video clip and send it to us. We may welcome and record more testimonies of heart-opening ministry at future conference gatherings this year–maybe at the Laity Academy in August and the Annual Conference Adjourned Session in October.