By the Rev. David Glen Ryan,
Pastor of Kensington (Old Brick) and Bridesburg UMCs, Philadelphia (Part-time Local Pastor)

Every year as Memorial Day approaches, I find myself thinking about the words of Jesus to his disciples, recorded in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Those are haunting words. They are words that some soldiers who have seen combat can deeply appreciate, in a way that we who have been spared that often grisly experience cannot.

The Eastern PA Annual Conference considered 23 of 25 submitted resolutions during its 2015 session, May 14-16, and a handful of them generated heavy debate on controversial concerns. But despite some expressions of pain and insistence on loyalty to Scripture and covenant, the desired peaceful, collegial spirit of Holy Conferencing seemed to prevail.

Five resolutions proposed that the Annual Conference petition the 2016 General Conference to amend the United Methodist Book of Discipline by changing church law that rejects homosexuality as illicit in lifestyle, matrimony and ordained ministry. While several resolutions received a majority of votes, all five--submitted by various churches--failed to receive the required three-fourths proportion of votes needed to send a conference-endorsed petition to General Conference.

The 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference elected as 2016 General and Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference Delegates--Clergy members: Dawn Taylor-Storm, Jeffrey Raffauf, Robert Wilt, and Lydia Munoz.  Lay members elected were: Judith Ehninger; Mary White; Aaron Joseph Smith; and Clarita Krall.  Additionally elected as NE Jurisdictional Conference Delegates were: Laity--Krystl Johnson, Ann Jacob, Jordan Harris and Lenora Thompson.; and Clergy: Joseph DiPaolo, Tracy Bass, Christopher Kurien and Robin Hynicka. Elected as Alternate Delegates were: Clergy--Irving Cotto, Melinda McKonly and Sutja Bang; and Laity--Ross Brightwell, Jane Bonner and David Koch.

On Native American Ministries Sunday, April 19, Lima UMC devoted its entire service to sharing Native American life and culture in the worship of God. There were songs, dances, prayers, paraphrased Scripture readings, testimonies and stories, all drawn from several tribal traditions, all worshiping the "Great Father" and the "Shepherd Chief." Barry Lee, who will again open our Annual Conference on May 14 with a blessing of the ground, and Barbara Christy, his wife, spoke about the conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM).

More than 4,000 churches close their doors each year. "I feel judged."  Forty percent of Americans say they attend church weekly, but the actual percentage may be half that. "I don’t want to be lectured."

From 1990 to 2000, membership in all U.S. Protestant denominations declined nearly 10 percent, by 5 million, while the U.S. population grew by 11 percent or 24 million. "Christians are a bunch of hypocrites."

Half of all U.S. churches added no new members from 2010 to 2013. "Your God is irrelevant to my life."

Along with these jarring statistics heard by about 350 members of the Eastern PA Conference in a "Faith Sharing" training seminar, March 21, they also learned four damning reasons why "Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore," the title of Thom and Joani Schultz's popular seminar and provocative new book.

Our three year-round camp and retreat sites have been busy all spring (and winter too) with retreats and other events, offering delightful days, magical moments and unforgettable experiences for attendees of all ages.

Following several winter retreats for children, youth and adults, Innabah's Easter Egg Hunt, Golf Outing and 5K race put bodies in motion, raising spirits and dollars to support the camp and its ministries.

The Peace with Justice Sunday (PWJS) offering, to be received churchwide on or near May 31, helped an Eastern PA Conference laymember gain valuable leadership skills in advocating for social change.

Wilhelmina Young, a leader at Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia, attended a six-day, intensive community-organizing and leadership development training event in 2014, thanks to Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER). The faith-based, grassroots social change organization used the $2,000 it received from the PWJS offering to send her and to help 50 other persons attend two days of training on Race, Faith and Power in January. 

Note: Dr. Mark and Deirdre Zimmerman receive direct missionary support from the Eastern PA Conference.

From UMCOR--April 27, 2015----The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, through its disaster-relief arm and in conjunction with longtime local and international partners and Nepal-based Global Ministries missionaries, is responding to the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal April 25.

Today, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Global Ministries’ relief and development unit, approved a grant of $90,000 for international partner GlobalMedic to bring sorely needed clean water to survivors through provision of household and public water-filtration units.

Welcome to the Eastern PA 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.

News

Read the latest news of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

Photos

View photo galleries of Conference events and news stories.

Videos

See the latest videos by the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

 

Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.