Annual Conference 2017 to focus on prayer

Rise Up and Pray! is the elevating main theme of the 2017 Eastern PA Annual Conference, which will return to the spacious Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, Oaks, PA, from Thursday to Saturday, June 15-17.

Tom-Albin1Preachers, teachers, musicians, worship liturgists, prayer guides and prayer stations around the meeting hall will all center the gathering in the practice and power of prayer, no doubt invoking the God of eternal grace to “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour.” That centering will receive particular attention when special guest the Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room Chapel in Nashville since 1999, offers a Friday teaching session on prayer.

Albin, a SLI (Spiritual Leadership, Inc.) coach and former pastor and seminary professor, has a passion for “helping individuals, teams, small groups and organizations become mature, vital, world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ.” He oversees the Upper Room’s Spiritual Formation Academy and denominational prayer efforts. “When we pray,” he says, “we can be convinced that God will hear and respond.”

BishopLatrelleMillerEasterlingRobedThree bishops will preach during the 251st session of the Eastern PA Conference, including two familiar voices and a new voice on the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops. Resident Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach for the Opening Worship and Eucharist Service on Thursday afternoon. New Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, who leads the neighboring Baltimore-Washington Conference, will preach for the Ordination Service on Friday night, with the subtheme “Rise Up and Lead!” Formerly a pastor and district superintendent in the New England Conference, she was elected a bishop at the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference.

BishopPeterWeaverPortrait1Bishop Peter Weaver, retired, who led our own conference and the Philadelphia Episcopal Area from 1996 to 2004, will preach during the Memorial Service on Saturday morning with the subtheme “Rise Up in Glory!” A third subtheme, “Rise Up for Generations!” will herald the annual celebration of ministry that recognizes new clergy retirees and the new elders and deacons preparing to follow in their footsteps.

Special offerings will support scholarships and Methodist Services (formerly the Methodist Home for Children). The other agenda highlights—clergy and laity sessions, conference ministry reports, the 2018 conference budget, leadership nominations, resolutions, holy conferencing and remarks by other guests—will all occur during the two-plus days of annual conference. And all of it will be surrounded by prayer. Indeed, the Commission on Sessions, which plans annual conference each year, will engage in concerted prayer itself leading up to the June session, according to the Rev. James Anderman, Chairman.

OaksEXPOCenterAnnual Conference registration will be available from March 19 to May 1, with a fee of $210. The Sessions commission will devise a way for conference members to help clergy retirees with limited incomes to afford the registration fee through donations.

Conference resolutions and reports are all due by April 21. District Conferences, where resolutions and reports may also be discussed, will be held on Sunday, May 21.

Exhibit table display space (with free electrical service) will be available for conference-affiliated ($150) and unaffiliated ($300) ministry groups and vendors. All table reservations will be coordinated by Paula Lawley at Covenant UMC, 212 W. Springfield Road, Springfield, PA 19064. E-mail her at exhibitcoordinator@epaumc.org, or call 610-544-1400.

Find more information about registration, submission of resolutions, hotel lodging options and other concerns on our website.

Annual Conference Sessions Commission. John Coleman photo

Annual Conference Sessions Commission. John Coleman photo