Academy will help laity ‘Embrace the Journey’

At the Eastern PA Conference’s 34th Academy for Laity, August 4-6, some fortunate lay members will embark on a new journey, while others will find wise counsel and willing companions for a journey already begun. It is a revealing, life-changing journey that can draw one into the heart of ministry and ultimately, nearer to the heart and mind of Christ.

The Rev. Joseph DiPaolo teaches ‘Methodist theology and doctrine.’

“Embrace the Journey: Step Up and Step Out” is the theme of this year’s weekend academy that will take place at a new location, Cedarville UMC in Pottstown (1092 Laurelwood Road). That’s where hundreds of conference members will gather to learn, to teach and to embrace the fundamentals of lay ministry, as they “step up and step out” to speak, care and lead others with the love of Christ.

“Whether you are just beginning your journey to learn more about our amazing God and His Son Jesus, or you are a seasoned Bible scholar, a Christ Servant Minister, a Certified Lay Minister or a clergy member, this is the year for you to step up and step out to enhance your knowledge,” reads the event brochure. “Join with hundreds of fellow Christians who thirst for information as well as fellowship.”

Longtime academy teacher and Certified Lay Ministry coordinator Judy Ehninger (center) received the Walter King Award in 2016 from Academy Dean Aubrey Bates and Bishop Peggy Johnson.

Each course is designed to be a unique learning experience with valuable information and insights that can be applied promptly to enhance ministry. Classes may be taken individually or combined as part of one’s Christ Servant Ministry curriculum.

The clergy and lay instructors are experts in their subjects, and all have experience that can be leveraged to help their students and their churches in mission.

The Academy offers ten subjects, from the Basic Course for those who are starting out, to advanced classes in three disciplines:

  • Leading church groups and ministries,
  • Caring for others in the church and community, and
  • Speaking to diverse groups and preaching to congregations.

There are popular returning courses and instructors, along with several new courses focused on establishing new ministries. Included are courses in:

  • Preaching (two courses);
  • Exploring Methodist theology and doctrine;
  • Praying effective personal and public prayers and developing prayer ministries;
  • Using “emotional intelligence” to control and express one’s emotions, model one’s faith and navigate relationships with wisdom and empathy;
  • Creating ministries and church environments that welcome and include persons with disabilities;
  • Offering effective, compassionate pastoral care to people who are hurting; and
  • Developing ministries of wellness and recovery from addiction.

Ruth Hendrickson teaches ‘Making Every Prayer Count: Moving from Me to We.’

The academy begins Friday evening with time to meet and greet over refreshments before the first class session begins. Saturday morning offers breakfast, Bible study and devotions; and then classes resume, with breaks for lunch and dinner. A surprise, inspirational musical performance and fellowship follows in the evening. And classes resume on Sunday morning, before the academy ends in worship.

The registration deadline is extended to July 29. Register now. Don’t delay or miss out on this life-changing educational experience that can empower your life and ministry.

For more information, contact: