May 08, 2023

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me…”  1 Chronicles 4:10

The United Methodists of Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey have a new newspaper that encompasses both conferences in its reporting of news and information, its sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and its promotion of mission and ministries throughout our region.

NEWSpirit.  It’s an old name for some, but it represents a new mission and an increase in territory. Indeed, our mailing list of nearly 10,000 subscribers is sure to grow.

Members of EPA may recall the former NEWSpirit newspaper published in print from 2005 to 2019 and then solely online until publication was suspended in 2022. Meanwhile, GNJ members have long cherished their beloved conference newspaper The Relay, which ceased publication with its final issue in February 2023.

Both newspapers covered the news and journaled the lives, ministries and concerns of people and churches across their conferences. Seeing pages and stories pinned to church bulletin boards and overhearing people talk about recent stories they had read has always been heartwarming for us. We rejoice in seeing how our published media can connect people and help bring us together through the unifying power of storytelling.

Well now, we are broadening that connection by enlarging our territory, by the grace of God, to span both our conferences in this season of affiliation, of mutuality in ministry. While saying goodbye to an old friend may be painful, saying hello to new friends can be joyful and revitalizing. As you read news and feature stories and view photographs of people and churches, ministries and events across our affiliated EPA&GNJ, we hope you will become informed, inspired and eager to meet and say hello to new friends.

Explore other means of sharing our stories

As we look to the future, we acknowledge that times are changing. God is doing something new around us and no doubt among us. A thorough review of our communications budget and the financial realities of our conference and churches tells us that designing and publishing one quarterly newspaper is the best stewardship use of our limited human and financial resources.

The communications team believes it is time to be forward-thinking and explore other means of sharing our stories and furthering our mission together, including podcasting, online news reporting, short videos, social media and other effective modern methods. Such changes will bring about new opportunities for growth and innovation, as we seek to help our church tell its story and spread the gospel message. As God enlarges our territory, we are excited about the mutual possibilities inherent in our two conferences’ affiliation. We have seen benefits already working together as a joint communications team. We want to thank you for your readership and support, both over the years and continuing in the years to come, as we share this ministry journey with one another.

Wishing you all the best,

Rev. James Lee
Director of Communications

Rev. John W. Coleman
Editorial Manager

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them
…” Ezekiel 11:19a