Jul 19, 2023 | John W. Coleman

Read a synopsis of what Bishop John Schol shared with EPA lay and clergy members in three meetings via Zoom last week about ministry challenges facing the conference. In the July 12-13 meetings—conveniently held in the morning, afternoon and evening—Bishop Schol reported on a number of ministries that are going well. And he continued to emphasize that the mission of the church happens primarily through our congregations.

The bishop addressed three conference challenges EPA currently faces: 1) insufficient staffing; 2) problems with our congregational and financial information databases; and 3) lack of thorough reports needed for good decision-making. He also discussed difficulties and lessons learned during the May Annual Conference session. And he announced that the 2024 Annual Conference will vote on whether to continue EPA’s collaborative affiliation with the Greater New Jersey Conference.

The bishop also invited and responded to numerous questions that addressed Charge Conference reports, church disaffiliations and other matters. Those questions and answers are available on the Annual Conference web page in the FAQ Conversation on EPA Challenges” document. There is also a form available to ask additional questions: EPA Challenges FAQ Form | Eastern PA Conference of the UMC (epaumc.org).

Moreover, if you haven’t yet read the “2023 Post-AC FAQs” document, it too is an important post-Annual Conference resource that responds to “Issues Raised by United Methodists of Eastern Pennsylvania and Response from The Extended Cabinet.”