Attendees at the "Leading from the Heart" Worship Conference, Sept. 6, at Paoli UMC, learn a new style to an old hymn, taught by Mark Miller, who co-led the conference with Dr. Tonia Bennett, both of whom teach worship at Drew University.

The Central District's "Leading from the Heart" Worship Conference, held Sept. 6 at Paoli UMC, was rich with discourse, demonstration and discovery about creativity, sensitivity and spirituality in worship. It spanned the spectrum from traditional to post-modern modes and methods of glorifying God and edifying God's people. Look for a Web site feature article on that event in the coming week.

 

Solid Rock UMC in Philadelphia received a Dewees Fund grant in Spring 2014 for its Living in Peace initiative. The church has involved neighbors of all ages in gardening and other uplifting community programs.

 

Applications to the EPA Conference's Dewees Fund for grants to aid important ministry projects appear to be declining; but the funds are not. Conference Treasuter Peter DiNofia reports that even though about $46,000 may be available for grants, only seven applications have come in so far, even with the deadline extended two weeks to Sept. 15.

Time is money. So if your church needs money for ministry, you may want to make the time to complete the grant application available online and mail it to: Eastern PA Conference Treasurer,  P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0820. The next application deadline will be March 1, 2015.

monthly finance report

Conference Budget – Schedules A&B

Please reference Schedule A and Schedule B for a summary of the conference budget through August 2014. As a result of the faithful giving of EPA local churches to the connectional ministries fund or CMF we ended 2013 with a very strong result of $3,279,179.  While this was short of the budget goal of $3.4 million by $120,821 or 3%, it was a reasonable variance.  Given the ongoing struggles of many churches we are pleased and grateful for the commitment made by many to support this vital ministry.   

Through eight months of 2014 giving from local churches to CMF was $1,937,632. This was $329,035 less than budget and $121,890 less than the amount received from August 2013. An analysis after eight months shows that the majority of churches are “on budget”. However, there are 148 churches or 35% that have paid less than 50%.   Fifty-Six (56) churches have paid zero through eight months toward CMF.  The district offices and CCFA are kept abreast of this and will follow up. 

It is with heart-felt sympathy that Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the passing of Bishop Martin D. McLee, the resident bishop of the New York Area of The United Methodist Church.  McLee died Saturday, September 6, 2014, after a long illness.

 

We now have confirmation that the funeral celebrating the life and resurrection of Bishop Martin McLee will be held at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 15th. Visitation will precede the funeral from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

"This is a sad day for all of us who knew and worked with Bishop McLee as well as the members of the New York Area.  We are, however, resurrection people who have hope in the promise of eternal life, even as we grieve the loss of this colleague and friend. Please take time during your services this week to lift up Bishop McLee's family and the New York Area."

Born without arms, George Dennehy plays with his feet, and sings with his soul

Trust me. Whatever you have planned for Friday evening, Sept. 19, chances are, this will be much better. It's a very special concert, performed by a very special musician in a very special place. Conshohocken UMC will welcome phenomenal, popular singer and musician George Dennehy to perform at its own Jillian's Café, a comfortable performance venue, adjacent to the church's sanctuary, that's as bright and beautiful as the person for whom it is named.

George Dennehy, born without arms, is an amazing young man who sings while playing the guitar and piano with his feet.  Yes, take a moment and reread that last sentence. I'll wait.... The only sound perhaps more beautiful than his voice and his deft, soulful instrumental touch is his personal story.

While other lethal diseases receive deserved attention these days—Ebola, MERS, ALS, etc.—HIV and AIDS remains a widespread, lethal disease affecting millions of people across the U.S. and the globe;  and it remains of great concern to The United Methodist Church.

A conference designed to equip advocates, health workers and concerned Christians involved or seeking to be involved in HIV & AIDS ministries will convene in Denver, Col., Sept. 11-13. Featured speakers will include four United Methodist Bishops, an international medical AIDS specialist, two seminary professors from Zimbabwe and Kenya, United Methodist pastors, a Muslim woman, and persons living with HIV. 

United Methodist Bishop John K. Yambasu, Chairman of the Religious Leaders Task Force, demonstrates a new way of greeting instead of the traditional handshake. New traditions are being created to help prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. Photo by Phileas Jusu.

The United Methodist Church and its partners are responding to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The deadly virus has claimed lives in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The church effort involves treatment, prevention, communication and public education. The response is a joint effort by West African United Methodist church leaders and regional health boards, denominational health facilities, missionaries and the denomination's general agencies.  Learn more…  

An urgent appeal from Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, Philadelphia Episcopal Area

On August 9 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed African American youth in Ferguson, Mo., was fatally shot multiple times by police officer Darren Wilson. Bishop Minerva Carcaño, president of our General Commission on Race and Religion, responded in a public statement that, “We are all accountable for his death and accountable to the African American young people in our communities everywhere.”

That is so true. Michael was our child. So were Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two other teenagers killed by gun shots in 2012, their assailants acquitted of their deaths by Florida’s notorious Stand Your Ground law.

Nine-year-old Antonio Davis of Chicago was slain just last Wednesday, August 21, by gun shots that tore through his young, innocent body as he likely sought to escape gang violence. He too was our child. And so were too many others taken from us in recent years in Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities and towns across our nation.

Click here for a schedule of the Missionaries' visits.

Click here to read a recent mission report (May-August 2014) and view photos of progress and concerns of the UMC of Tanzania, dated September 6.

The Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi and Kabaka Ndala Alphonsine, United Methodist missionaries in Tanzania, East Africa. will itinerate in the EPA Conference for nearly three weeks in October, visiting churches, sharing their stories and meeting new friends and supporters.

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city, they are involved in evangelization and church growth, Christian education, women's activities and training, community development, health education and refugee ministries. They are supported by our  conference and will visit congregations and attend events here Oct. 1-19. If you want to invite them to your church, contact the Rev. David J. Davis. Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.

The EPA Conference's new Safe Sanctuaries Committee wants to be sure every church knows that new changes in state law will require them to modify their church policies and practices. Churches need to be sure they have leaders or teams present at the Safe Sanctuaries district trainings, on Oct. 25, to ensure they comply with new laws.

There has been a great deal of child abuse prevention legislation working its way through the state legislature and the governor’s office this year, reports the Rev. James H. Wilkin, Safe Sanctuaries Committee chair and pastor of Holmesburg and St. Philip's UM churches in Philadelphia. Some bills have already been passed and signed into law, while others are at various stages in the process.

Most of the changes go into effect at the end of 2014.

The Rev. Greg Ellis awaits an answer during legislative debate at Annual Conference in May. Of 25 resolutions before the body six were referred to the Cabinet and will be discussed during clergy dialogues on covenant and sexuality with Bishop Peggy Johnson in October. To aid in the dialogues, to occur on all six districts, clergy at annual conference received and were asked to read the new book Finding Our Way: Love and Law in the United Methodist Church. The referred resolutions may also be addressed in laity meetings with the bishop during her October Days on the Districts.    --Sabrina Daluisio photo

'May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?'   --John Wesley

Registration is now open for the 2015 Midwinter Retreat for Clergy (elders, deacons, local pastors) and their Spouses, to gather Jan. 13-15, 2015. Once again the retreat will convene at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront, 6600 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Md.

Retreat planners have received requests over the years to address the needs of not only clergy but also their spouses and families. The 2015 retreat promises to do just that. "We are excited to host M. Garlinda Burton, a popular and dynamic speaker, a former journalist and denominational leader, who will inform, inspire and challenge us with insightful keynote presentations on the topic Ministering to our Id-entity as a Clergyperson and/or Clergy Spouse," said Bishop Peggy Johnson.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church

Welcome!  The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church is made up of about 465 churches, which serve nearly 125,000 members in 16 counties.   Led by Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, the Conference's mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Today, this mission is the focus of the conference’s 465 churches, congregations which speak to diverse and multi-generational populations in the many cities, towns, and rural areas throughout our area.  The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and its sister Peninsula/Delaware Conference together compose the Philadelphia Area, with nearly 1,000 churches served by Bishop Peggy Johnson.

If you are a clergy person or member of one of our 465 churches, we invite you to explore this website for resources and information to support you in your effort to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

If you are looking for a welcoming faith family, we invite you to visit a United Methodist Church in your community: www.find-a-church.org.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Office: 980 Madison Ave., Norristown, PA 19403; telephone 610-666-9090; fax 610-666-9093.

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Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.