North District News
Conference office closed until further notice. See below for details.
Conference office closed until further notice.
The Eastern PA Conference office, closed since March 20, now will be closed until further notice. Our staff is working remotely from home. Conference business operations are continuing during the regular office hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.
This decision is prompted by PA Governor Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order issued Monday to include residents of counties in the Philadelphia region, including Montgomery County, where the conference office is located. It is part of the state’s effort to curb the rapid spread of the harmful coronavirus pandemic.
Our staff has made extensive preparations to facilitate working from home and to help ensure protection for them and their families from the spread of this deadly virus. We are continuing to process payment invoices and church remittances and manage benefits services as before.
We urge churches to make all remittance payments through the online portal, rather than mailing checks to the conference office. And we are striving to efficiently manage all interactions through email and telephone until we are able to return to the conference office.
Jo Fielding, Director of Administrative Ministries
***************************************************** The North District Office will continue with regular office hours of – Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. As always Sheri is available via email.
General Conference Listening Sessions Postponed
Because of the Postponement of General Conference, the General Conference Listening Sessions scheduled for next month will be postponed. They will be rescheduled at a later date, which will be at least two months prior to the rescheduled General Conference.
Here are several ways all can continue to prepare for General Conference as we await rescheduled dates:
1. Visit the https://www.resourceumc.org/ web site and read General Conference news and related
articles. Eventually all proposed legislation will be posted there.
2. Visit the https://www.epaumc.org/ web site under News and Events find General Conference 2020
3. Subscribe to United Methodist News Service, UMNS, at NewsDesk@umcom.org.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference online NEWSpirit online newsletter, at email@example.com
4. Pray for the United Methodist Church and our Eastern PA Conference delegation. A roster of delegates with
email addresses is posted on our conference website . If you would like to send an individual note of
encouragement or ask a question, please do so. We are available to answer your questions as best we can.
A Message from D. S. Morton . . .
“As [Jesus] came near and saw the city, he wept over it.”
Since mid-March, the signboard out front of the United Methodist Church near my Pocono home has boldly announced, “Happy Easter!” What pleasant, joyful news….and this public proclamation for everyone who drives by was being made even before the craziness and the panic of the Corona virus.
Now I like good news as much as anybody else, but it occurred to me that this church may not be open for business during the long, mournful season of Lent…or at least, not open for the church’s customary business of lamentation and grief.
A recent article in Christian Century magazine (3/25/2020) warns about the decline in worship attendance between Palm Sunday and Easter, and some churches’ intentional choice to avoid any “dissonance” felt by Christians as they hear “…the whole story of Jesus’ passion on a single Sunday,” instead.
Surely a missed opportunity – in this year, in particular.
Walter Brueggemann, in his celebration of biblical liturgy and hymnody (A Glad Obedience, 2019) highlights candidly the Hebrew practice of corporate lament: that honest expression of feeling abandoned by God…the desperate cry for God to Do Something!….that opportunity ” in the midst of the gathered congregation [where] guilt and shame, anger and rage is brought to speech.” (p. 180) Brueggemann calls it therapeutic intervention, and in language, it echoes the psalmists:
- “O Lord, why do you cast us off forever?” (Psalm 74:1a)
- “You have rejected us and abased us; you have made us like sheep for slaughter.” (Psalm 44:9a, 11a)
- “O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry – now restore us!” (Psalm 60:1)
The people of God, in seasons of crisis, need opportunity to lament.
In the days immediately following April 16, 2007, when thirty-three (33) people died in the Virginia Tech tragedy, my congregation at Hopewell tied maroon and orange ribbons – thirty-three of them – onto a modest tree in front of the church, right along the busy road so that passers-by could grieve with us….and we announced an invitation for folks to come inside to post on a Prayer Wall in the lobby their heartfelt petitions. In its spontaneity, this may have been one of the best community-services we ever offered.
During these days of desperation for so many around us, do not neglect the biblical tradition of lamentation. On Palm Sunday – one of the favorite holidays for a lot of Christians! – Jesus weeps. From the cross five days later, he utters what we sometimes feel: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1a) There is a Happy Easter coming – but we cannot push through the darkness too hastily.
Please give folks opportunity to mourn, to petition God, to lament.
Statistical Report Extension
The 2019 Statistical Report is now open. Yahoo!!!!! You should have received a mailing from the Conference office with information for completing the 2019 Statistical Report. ONE MONTH REMAINING!!!!
WHICH DISTRICT WILL BE THE FIRST TO GET TO 100%?????
Deadline for Completing has been moved to April 17th.
Some of the North Churches have already completed inputting their information . . . GREAT START!
District and Annual Conferences are rescheduled for the fall.
Details are still forthcoming, but here’s what we know…
Annual Conference 2020 will be October 13-14
The 2020 Eastern PA Annual Conference will happen October 13-14, a Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Originally scheduled for June 18-20, the session was postponed because of restrictions against public gatherings due to the
spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The now two-day schedule means a reduced agenda from the usual
The annual Clergy and Laity sessions will meet in the morning, October 13, just prior to the Annual Conference opening worship. Staff will begin event preparations onsite October 12.
The Commission on Annual Conference Sessions met March 30 to plan a modified agenda, while the final dates were being negotiated with the Expo Center. Fall dates are hard to acquire now, with so many spring events being rescheduled.
Annual Conference registration fees already paid for June will be refunded, although with conference staff working from home, that process may require weeks to complete. A new fee and registration period for the fall session will be announced soon.
EQUALIZING LAY DELEGATES FOR ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2020:
Paragraph 32 of the Book of Discipline states that at the beginning of each quadrennium, the Annual Conference shall “provide for the election of additional lay members to equalize lay and clergy membership of the annual conference.” Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Resolution
2002-15 states that “each District Committee on Nominations shall nominate the additional lay members.” That resolution goes on to state that “in making their selections, the District Committees on Nominations shall consider gender, age, ethnicity, geographic equity and circuit
churches with no lay member.” 2020 is the last year of the current quadrennium, so we will only be electing persons to fill open
lay member slots, and to ensure that enough reserve member slots are filled should elected members not be able to attend the 2020 Annual Conference Session. If you would like to submit your name, or wish to submit the name of another person, in consideration for any open Lay
Equalizing Member positions, or as a Reserve Lay Member, please submit your name to your District Office. Each District Committee on Nominations will then bring a slate of nominees to the floor at this year’s District Conference. Please note that each local church is to elect a Lay Member of Annual Conference to represent their congregation. If that Lay Member cannot serve, the local church must elect a replacement (if no Alternate Lay Member has already been elected). If a Lay Equalizing Member cannot
serve, however, the District Nominations Committee will supply that person’s replacement from its list of already elected Alternate Members. Any Equalizing Lay Member who cannot serve should therefore contact their District Office as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for a
substitute to be arranged.
To nominate someone or yourself, please email Sheri or Jenny.
Northeastern Pastor’s Meeting Postponed
POSTPONED TO FALL
Guest Speaker: Dr. Len Wilson (St. Andrews UMC, Plano, TX)
Thursday, September 24 , 2020 (9 AM to 4 PM)
All can continue to sign up and send in pmts for the fall date.
$35 per person includes full day seminar, book signing and books for purchase, continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
Open to all denominational and non-denominational clergy, staff, and laity.
Description of Seminar: In today’s environment, each congregation needs its own brand –a clear, concise, creative, and compelling message to effectively communicate who they are. In this oneday seminar led by Dr. Len Wilson, storyteller and expert strategist in communications and creativity, and Creative Director at St. Andrew UMC, a large church in Plano, TX, participants will learn and practice a comprehensive process to develop and implement their own unique brand, including messaging strategy, sensing the pulse of community, and improving all phases of communication and creativity in their own church ministry.
SIGN UP FOR THE SEMINAR: Send check for $35 per person along with names, church or ministry affiliations, addresses, phones, and emails of all attendees to Rev Dr Lori Wagner, Quakertown UMC, 1875 Freier Road, Quakertown, PA 18951. Attn: Northeastern PA Pastor Seminar. Please write NPPS in the notation part of your check.
IMPORTANT: Please indicate if you and your participants will be requesting CEU credits. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 360 298 8327.
The Eastern PA Conference of the United Methodist Church Licensing School
Register now if you are interested in Pastoral Ministry as:
A certified and licensed Local Pastor
A Growing Church Licensing School Pastor
Come to a Licensing School sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and held at the teaching pastor’s church or at the Eastern PA Conference Center. Course instructors are clergy in the Eastern PA Conference and/or from PATH 1, a church growth initiative of Discipleship Ministries, UMC.
Cost: $1,100 for all five segments toward licensing or $250 per segment.
Five Major Areas of Study:
- Pastoral Care: Truman Brooks, June 6, 27, July 11,2020, West Chester UMC, PA
- Congregational Development at EPA Conference Center, Norristown, PA
- One day event – July 25, 2020 from 8:30 to 3 – Growing Church/SLI, Four Stations of the Holy Spirit, UM Polity : Gordon Hendrickson; Mission & Outreach/Tom Bandy: Peter Wernett & Gordon Hendrickson
For more information contact Gordon Hendrickson
by phone: 267-258-9507
NORTH DISTRICT EPAUMC CALENDAR
New and Updated Events are in BOLD
THIS WEEK ON ZOOM:
Other 2020 Dates – All of these dates are updated based on the most current information.
- 5/16/20 – Basic Sexual Ethics; 8am-5pm; Faith UMC in Litiz
- 5/30/20- Transition workshop; 9:30-2pm; West Lawn UMC (Details Below)
- 6/6/20- Cross-Racial/Cross Cultural Annual Workshop; 8:30-3 p.m.; Covenant UMC, Lancaster, PA
- 9/24/20 – Rescheduled Len Wilson Conference at Quakertown UMC
- 10/4/20 – Rescheduled District Conference
- 10/13-14/20 – Rescheduled Annual Conference (See Details Below for AC Questions)
- 11/14/20- Evangelism workshop featuring Lisa Greenwood, from TMF (Texas Methodist Foundation) – Details Below. NOTE – THIS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FROM 4/25