January 18, 2023

Holding on together

Cabinet epistle prescribes remedies to clergy stress, burnout

“In the midst of deeply felt challenges to our health, our churches and our society, it is normal for stress and anxiety to increase.” Thus begins a letter sent recently by the joint EPA&GNJ Cabinet to all clergy and chairs of local church Staff-Parish Relations Committees. Showing awareness that pastors’ “minds, bodies and souls need attention,” the Cabinet reports findings of a recent survey that EPA & GNJ clergy are self-reporting high levels of stress and burnout. Learn more.

Church’s ministry serves 30,000 breakfasts, opens warming center

Anchor Lancaster, a ministry at First UMC Lancaster, served 30,000 hot breakfast meals in 2022. The every-weekday breakfast ministry was recognized as “the best non-profit in Lancaster.” Anchor Lancaster added a daily shower to its ministry in 2019. And in December the ministry turned a sitting room into a warming station to offer comfort on cold winter days. Guests use the room to relax, charge their phones and enjoy hot coffee and snacks. Learn more.

News & Information

EPA News

UMC scholarships aid EPA students pursuing careers of service

Seventeen Eastern PA Conference students are among over 2,000 United Methodists who received a total of $4 million in financial assistance in 2022 from the denomination’s Office of Loans and Scholarships. The total awarded to EPA recipients was $20,800. “These future leaders range from first-year to doctorate-level students,” said Allyson Potts, executive director of the office, which is administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Learn more.

EPA clergy retirees to meet via Zoom Feb. 7

Eastern PA Conference clergy retirees will meet via Zoom on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 1 PM for a time of fellowship and catching up with each other. The Rev. Bron Yocum is president of the EPA Conference Retired Preachers Association.

Denominational News

What is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?

Jan. 18-25 marks the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This 8-day annual observance, sponsored jointly by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity since 1968, invites all Christians everywhere to remember one another in prayer and strengthen the bonds of love and mutual mission we share in Jesus Christ. The 2023 observance theme is “Do good; seek justice” from Isaiah 1:17. Check out these resources for ecumenical worship, along with personal or family devotions for each day. Learn more.

Apply for Foundation for Evangelism Equipping Local Churches grant

The Foundation for Evangelism is accepting applications for the 2023 Equipping the Local Church grant cycle until Feb. 28. A total of $350,000 is available for grants of $5,000 or $10,000 to “small and medium congregations, or clusters of churches working together, in a Wesleyan-tradition denomination.” Grants, to be awarded in 2023, are to help launch new evangelism initiatives. Register to attend an information session Jan. 26, 2-3 PM.

Scholarship for lay women available

The deadline to apply for the United Women in Faith National Scholarship for lay women is April 18. The scholarships are designed to be used for undergraduate or graduate study or student internships in religion or a related field such as social work. Preference will be given to people affiliated with The United Methodist Church and women involved with UWF. The average scholarship is $1,000, and the maximum is $5,000. Read press release.

First United Methodist Latina sworn into US Congress

Rep. Delia Ramírez Hernández (D-Ill.) was sworn into the 118th U.S. Congress on Jan. 7. She grew up attending Humboldt Park UMC in Chicago and has been a leader in the denomination. Learn more.

GNJ News


Apply to seek Advance Special funding by Jan. 20

EPA’s Advance Specials are ministries meeting needs that receive approval to solicit support from churches across the conference. Learn more.

COSROW Women’s Health & Wellness Event

EPA’s Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) invites all to participate in a free, virtual Women’s Health & Wellness event via Zoom on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at 9 to 10 AM. The topic will be “What is a Doula?” Guest speaker Nia Coaxum-Morgan, MPH, CHES, is the Maternal Health Coordinator of Community Projects for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Maternal, Child and Family Health Division. A Certified Health Education Specialist and a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Coaxum-Morgan is committed to improving birth experiences and decreasing maternal health inequities through education and advocacy. Register

Scholarships for United Methodist Students

The UM Higher Education Foundation offers scholarships to UM students attending UM-related colleges, universities, and seminaries in the U.S. Apply by March 1 at for the 2023-2024 academic year. (UMHEF scholarships are separate from those offered by the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.)

EPA clergy of color invited to renewal retreat in June

Eastern PA clergy of color are invited to come learn about self-renewal and restoration at an overnight “Retreat for EPA UMC Clergy of Color,” June 9-10, at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center. Learn more.

Church Statistical Reports due Jan. 31

All churches are required to submit their 2022 Statistical Reports by Jan. 31, using the UMC’s new ACStats System, which is open now for data entry. Check our EPA website for updates and FAQs.

2023 Annual Conference resolutions, reports due Feb. 1

EPA’s Conference Secretary, the Rev. Rev. Jacqueline Hines requests all legislative resolutions and official reports for the 2023 Annual Conference, May 18-20, to be submitted online by Feb. 1, 2023. Learn about submitting resolutions through the conference website. Contact Hines at Read letter.

National Day of Prayer and Fasting to End Violence in Black American Communities, Feb. 1

Black Methodists for a Better Future invites all churches to join Feb. 1 in a National Day of Prayer and Fasting to End Violence in Black American Communities. Churches are urged to meet for prayer at noon and on each first Wednesday to pray to God for a peaceful end to gun violence, especially in Black communities. Learn more.

2023 Denman Evangelism Awards nominations due March 1

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award honors selected United Methodist clergy, lay and youth whose exceptional outreach to others invites and brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Learn more and download nomination forms. Send completed nomination forms to by March 1, 2023.

3 Tools for Ministry dates, sites set for March 2023

EPA has set three March dates and three locations for the 2023 Tools for Ministry church leadership education events. The half-day academies, each offering two sessions of diverse courses, will occur onsite, rather than online, for the first time since 2020. EPA members may attend any Tools session at any location.The South and East districts will host a session together March 4 at Palmer Theological Seminary in St. Davids. The North District will host a session March 11 at Asbury UMC in Allentown. And the West District will host a session March 18 at Church of the Good Shepherd UMC in Lebanon. More information and registration to come.