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Faith and Form, Volume 51, Issue 3 :: Rachel Hildebrandt | Photographs by Chris Kendig
Philadelphia’s religious building stock is in transition, due in large part to the declining memberships and resources of many congregations, which echoes the situation in cities and towns across the country. The moment a building is sold by a congregation or its denominational office, a new user will likely decide its long-term fate. The numbers confirm this. Of the city’s 839 purpose-built religious properties, 17 percent are no longer in religious use. Half are no longer occupied by the original congregation. Since 2009, nearly 35 religious buildings have been demolished. Keep reading at faithandform.com Read more
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jeff Gammage continues his revealing coverage of First UMC of Germantown’s recent decision to provide sanctuary to two undocumented immigrant families whose appeals for protective asylum were… Read more
St. James United Methodist Church re-established its basketball league this month, an effort to give youth the opportunity to compete in their neighborhoods and bring the community together.
Dormant for about 10 years, the league was most recently led by James Otis Powell, the late husband of former pastor Margaret Marie Powell. The re-launch is a move by pastor John T. Brice Sr. to holistically address the needs of the community.
“We run the league; we pay for the league; we pay for the refs,” said Brice. “No child had to come out of pocket for anything. That’s from tithe and offerings. That’s what it’s supposed to be for.” Read the story… Read more
The Rev. Mark Salvación, pastor of Historic St. George’s UMC Philadelphia, interviews faith leaders weekly on a new, hourlong, talk-radio podcast program on WWDB 860 AM.
“Faith to Faith with Pastor Mark,” produced by the Beasley Media Group, airs Sundays, from 3 to 4 PM. Salvación hosts weekly live interviews with diverse guests from various faith traditions. Recently he interviewed the Rev. William Brawner, Eastern PA Conference Coordinator of Urban Ministries and pastor of Haven-Peniel UMC Philadelphia.
Listen to that interview at https://files.greatermedia.com/uploads/sites/76/2018/08/FTF081218.mp3.
The interview is preceded by a 60-second ad for our conference’s Helping Puerto Rico Rise Again Special Love Offering in September. Communications director John Coleman, who wrote and recorded the ad, encourages all Eastern PA Conference churches to receive the offering and invites other churches and faith groups to join us in this fundraising effort.
Volunteers at Wesley UMC in Bethlehem handed out new backpacks, school supplies, clothing, hot dogs and more—including free haircuts—to elementary school children.
Thousands of families attended the annual “We Got Your Back” charity event that gets bigger, more generous and more successful each year. Read more
July 23, 2018–Two Eastern Conference PA Conference churches have appeared in Philadelphia Inquirer stories recently. The Inquirer and www.philly.com featured Wharton-Wesley UMC in a story about our Annual Conference’s historic passage of Resolution 2018-25, which canceled most of the unpaid “prior-years’ balances” of apportionments and certain other billings, as of the end of 2017, for the conference’s 29 African American churches. The action was taken as “an act of justice,” and followed the passage of Resolution 2018-24, which canceled a smaller portion of all church unpaid prior-years’ balances for all churches. Read more
Methodists United, the Shamokin Area Mission Connection collected and donated much-needed school uniforms in January to the Clothing Closet at Shamokin Area Jr./Sr. High School. The Rev. Zachary Hopple, pastor of First UMC Shamokin, and Karyn Fisher, pastor of St. John’s UMC Coal Township, led the effort, which is an ongoing ministry of First UMC.
“Most of the donations came from the 11 churches of Methodists United,” said Fisher, who is president of the coal country mission connection.
The News-Item local newspaper and WNEP-TV both reported on the donation delivery to the school’s students and teachers. Students from low-income families often cannot afford to purchase the required school uniforms.
“This is a great story about how our Methodist connection can work” said Fisher. “The whole project was motivated by a project that originally came out of First UMC.” Read more
EAST BRANDYWINE >> Church members gathered and shared the mission to Remember-Honor-Teach by laying Wreaths on the graves of more than 300 veterans in the Hopewell Cemetery. More than 300… Read more
Like the three kings, or Magi, who journeyed to Bethlehem bearing gifts for Christ’s birth, three Eastern PA Conference Cabinet members will visit Puerto Rico in the coming months bringing aid to residents on the disaster-stricken island. Their journey will follow the launch of a $100,000 conference-wide fundraising campaign to help the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico in its disaster recovery efforts. Read more Read more
Fritz Memorial UMC in in Bethlehem was featured in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call newspaper Nov. 6, as one of the historic architectural marvels on the Bethlehem’s Steeples & Steel… Read more