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.
The story was published online at www.philly.com–“United Methodist Church forgives black congregations’ debts, and apologizes“–July 19. It also appeared in print on page 1 of the Inquirer’s July 23 issue.
Reporter Kristin Holmes saw our website story, Annual Conference approves justice-related resolutions, and contacted Communications Director John Coleman. Coleman provided her with background information and arranged interviews for her with Bishop Peggy Johnson, the Rev. Bill Lentz, of the Conference Council of Finance and Administration, and the Rev. David W. Brown, who helped Lentz present Resolution 25 to the Annual Conference (above photo). Holmes interviewed Deacon Brown July 13 at Wharton-Wesley UMC along with Lenora Thompson, a leader of the congregation. Brown appears in a photograph taken in the church’s sanctuary with the story.
The United Methodist News Service saw the online story and published a link to it in its weekly connectional newsletter UMNS Daily Digest.
The Inquirer has published several stories recently about large, struggling center city churches. Another one is Calvary UMC, located just blocks from Wharton-Wesley UMC in West Philadelphia. The July 12 story, “To save the world, first they must save a building in West Philly,” by Anya van Wagtendonk, reports on Calvary’s struggles with its building while providing a collaborative, interfaith gathering space for various worshiping groups and community programs and events. Learn more…