Eastern PA churches, districts open wide their hearts

open arms 2016 ac logoEastern PA Conference churches in every district are reaching out near and far to embrace neighbors in need, from around the corner to around the globe. We lift up some noteworthy examples here, and we will feature more on our Website and in our next few issues of NEWSpirit. We celebrate our churches in mission, spreading their witness as disciples of Jesus Christ that the world may be transformed.


Pastors and members of Lighthouse and Bensalem Korean UMCs joined a New Jersey Korean church in May on a first-time mission trip to the burgeoning city of Santiago, in the Dominican Republic, to share their faith and fellowship with some of the half-million Haitians living there. They visited churches, taught Bible school, provided accupuncture, engaged in prayer, testimonies and Christian studies with their hosts, despite language barriers, and helped break ground on a new, much-needed church. Photos courtesy of Rev. Byung Cho.


Lititz UMC and fellow churches planted our first Lifetree Cafe in a Litiz restaurant last October to offer unchurched neighbors a different kind of faith experience where questions, doubts and friendly, open conversations are welcome. A second Lifetree Cafe opened in April, planted by a Lebanon-area mission conneXion of churches.  John Coleman photo.

PovertySimulation2The Northeast District sponsored a poverty simulation exercise for its Tools for Ministry session in March, giving church leaders a glimpse of what the cruel constraints and pressures of poverty can feel like. Inspired leaders of East Stroudsburg UMC will bring the eye-opening–and indeed, heart-opening–experience to their church this summer. John Coleman photo

MpasaClinicChildrenDSC02293Children at the newly expanded Mpasa Pediatric Clinic in the Congo will benefit from the generous mission contributions of the Southeast and Northeast districts, as they give to furnish the clinic for life-saving surgeries. The Rev. Jonathan and Donna Baker, Congo Partnership missionaries, visited the Southeast District Conference June 5, to thank them for their support and give them an update.  Photo courtesy of Donna Baker.


MidTownParishMalvernUMCFriendsMembers of Mid-Town Parish UMC in Philadelphia move pews and other furnishings donated to them by Malvern UMC in its preparations to close in 2015. The two historic congregations developed a special friendship when Malvern joined other Central District churches in helping Mid-Town Parish acquire funds and other needs to build and furnish its new church facility. The congregation has spent a decade meeting in a community center, since its previous building burned and was condemned. It received its new pre-fabricated structure in March and will occupy it this summer. Mid-Town Parish members joined in Malvern’s closing service in January 2015, symbolizing its continuing legacy as their benefactor. Mid-Town Parish lay leader Dana Clark (left) and the Rev. James Elliott, Malvern’s last pastor, embrace. John Coleman photos.