By John W. Coleman
Eastern PA Conference members gave generously to offerings received at Annual Conference in June, and their gifts extended beyond just the offering baskets, thanks to the kindness of one church and the blessing of online donations. Four offerings were received during the three-day conference to support:
- the Eastern PA Conference Scholarship Fund for college students;
- Board of Ordained Ministry (BoOM) Scholarships for seminary students;
- Conference-affiliated Methodist Services (formerly the Methodist Children’s Home) which provides residential, educational and support services to children, families and women going through life transitions; and
- the Conference Council on Youth Ministries.
The expressed desire of many Conference members to give online prompted the Rev. James Anderman (Chairman of the Conference Sessions Commission) to offer Springfield: Covenant UMC’s online donation page to receive contributions during and after the conference session. The Conference did not have an online giving page set up for Annual Conference.
But the offer from Anderman’s church became especially important as conference scholarship fund chairwoman Lenora Thompson appealed to members to help her committee surpass the $7,000 raised at the 2016 Annual Conference. Their ambitious goal this year was $10,000.
When the initial scholarships offering, received during the session’s opening worship service, raised only about $5,500, Thompson was allowed to make an appeal for more donations. As members came forward with additional gifts, Covenant UMC offered its online giving option, and funds started coming in there also.
Thompson was allowed to make yet another appeal from the conference floor on Saturday before the session ended. To her delight, and as a buzz spread around the room, people began hurrying toward her with checks and dollar bills in hand while she was speaking at the microphone.
Eventually, the scholarship fund received $8,380 at Annual Conference and another $315 online. Meanwhile, the BoOM scholarships offering received nearly $4,340 at the conference and an additional $160 through Covenant’s online giving page. And Methodist Services received almost $2,915 from the conference body but another $155 online. In addition, the Conference Council on Youth Ministries received nearly $3,335 after its presentation on the final day of conference.
You can still give online to any the three causes, including but not only the conference scholarship fund that has yet to reach its $10,000 goal. Just use Covenant UMC’s giving page (http://links.covumc.com/EPA-Scholarship). “The page is still active and we can continue to accept donations and will forward anything received to the Conference,” said Anderman.
When the conference scholarship committee met June 24, “we were able to honor all our scholarship recipient renewals and make awards to seven new applicants for the fall of 2017,” reported Thompson, still grateful for the spontaneous outpouring of support for the Conference’s struggling college students.
Quoting James 1:6 in her message, (“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”) she added, “We are thankful for all the individuals who encouraged us to remain faithful and remember that God will provide for this ministry.”
Annual Conference photos by Rev. James Mundell and John Coleman