January 11, 2023

Giving to Advance Specials supports local ministries in need

Apply to seek Advance Special funding by Jan. 20

Jesus calls us to go the second mile (Matthew 5:41) in our sacrificial giving. Most Eastern PA churches do just that—giving beyond their apportioned askings to support conference and denominational ministries. And while many also fund causes in their own communities, some go even further by responding to ministry needs elsewhere—where their help is greatly needed.

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

More News & Information

Scholarships for United Methodist Students

Scholarships are available for United Methodist students attending UM-related colleges, universities, and seminaries across the U.S. Apply now to the UM Higher Education Foundation.

Every year, UMHEF awards more than $2 million to students planning to attend one of the 100-plus UM-related higher education institutions. Don’t let finances get in the way of achieving your dreams of a quality education! 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

Just weeks after an Annual Conference focused on the theme “Possibility,” Eastern PA clergy of color will get to explore their own possibilities of learning self-renewal and restoration together at the overnight “Retreat for EPA UMC Clergy of Color,” June 9-10, at Innabah Camp & Retreat Center.
The first-time retreat for racial-ethnic clergy members will teach wisdom and ways of cultivating self-care and transformational healing from tensions and turmoil caused by patterns of self-denial, conflict and internalized racial bias and oppression. Learn more.

Updates to Book of Discipline available

New updates to the 2016 Book of Discipline, the denomination’s policy book, are now online. This updated version contains additions to the list of United Methodist bishops including bishops elected in late 2016, 2017 and 2022, as well as a correction to the index. See updates.

Bishops ask church court for clarification

The Council of Bishops is asking the denomination’s top court for clarification on its recent decision regarding the General Conference scheduled for 2024. The Judicial Council previously ruled that no new delegate elections are required for the coming General Conference. The Council of Bishops asks what the ruling means for delegate vacancies and other developments that have happened since the 2020 General Conference’s postponement. Read press releaseUM News: Church court rules no new elections needed.

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is once again at work in EPA, misidentifying District Superintendents as the sender. Remember, spoofing is when the sender of the email forges (spoofs) someone’s email address, so that the message appears to come from a legitimate email address. Please do not respond to any email requesting money or your time, etc.
To learn more, see: What you need to know about fake e-mails from Conference Leaders.

5 ways to create a spiritual epiphany

Epiphany marks the manifestation of Christ to the world. For many Christians, an epiphany is also associated with spiritual growth and discovering our true identity in God. As a new year gets underway, the Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter offers five ways to be open to spiritual awakening. Read commentary.

GNJ News

The impossible gift

At Manasquan UMC’s candlelit Christmas Eve services, Dec. 24, the Rev. Guillermo Javier Barroso-Rodriguez preached about the “Impossible Gift” from GNJ’s Breakthrough worship series “(Im)possible.” But later, he was surprised and deeply moved when his own childhood wish for a once-“impossible gift” was finally fulfilled!
Read his Christmas Eve message, and then read what happened next. It’s an ideal reminder, especially during this post-Christmas season of Epiphany, of the power of gifts that surprise and speak love to both children and adults. Learn more.

A creative outlet for outreach

COVID-19 affected every aspect of life, including how people worshipped. The Rev. Alison Van Buskirk Philip and her team at First United Methodist Church in Westfield wanted to find creative ways to reach as many people as possible. They began producing videos addressing topics that are relatable to anyone and connecting them back to the church on a personal level. Read story


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..

New EPA&GNJ Affiliation web page

Check out our new web page with up-to-date information about our EPA and GNJ conferences’ new strategic affiliation. Watch the Affiliation webinar where EPA & GNJ staff explain the new, collaborative initiative. Read the FAQ document and submit your own questions. Learn more.  

EPA seeks Office Support Assistant

The EPA Conference is seeking to hire an Office Support Assistant to manage important tasks for the Director of Administrative Services and the Conference Treasurer. Essential functions include: handling arrangements for meetings, hospitality, travel, events and equipment maintenance; distributing information; maintaining files and supplies; and assisting with Annual Conference registration and materials. Learn more.

Human Relations Day, Jan. 15

Get your 2023 Human Relations Day resources to help your church celebrate this Special Sunday Jan. 15. Learn about the impact we all make through our connectional giving. View a brief video about the UMC’s Special Sundays with offering.

Healing Communities training Jan. 25 - Feb. 1. Register by Jan. 14

This training covers essential information and perspectives on the criminal justice system, current issues, and the impact of crime on victims, survivors, offenders and families; relevant questions for reflection and discussion within congregations; and resources to develop a customized congregational action plan. Learn more and register by Jan. 14.

February 2023 book study: Tempered Resilience

Tod Bolsinger, a top leadership coach and former pastor, will lead us in the next EPA Learning for Leaders book study. He’ll help us explore adaptive leadership qualities we can develop in changing times to overcome the external challenges we face and the internal resistance that holds us back. The study meets via Zoom on Wednesdays at 11 AM (Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22). Register now.

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.

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

The Rev. Dennis L. Blackwell, pastor of Asbury Community UMC, Woodlynne, NJ, invites all churches to join Feb. 1 in a National Day of Prayer and Fasting to End Violence in Black American Communities. On behalf of Black Methodists for a Better Future, Blackwell, also a member of the UMC’s Judicial Council, calls on churches to meet for prayer onsite or via Zoom at noon or another designated time to pray to God for a peaceful end to gun violence, especially in Black communities. He further encourages churches to meet for prayer every month on first Wednesdays. Learn more.

Next Courageous Dialogue Feb. 7 at Gretna Glen

EPA Conference members will again engage in Courageous Dialogue in February to share their stories with one another and seek common ground. Courageous Dialogues were approved by our 2022 Annual Conference as a series of encounters in sacred spaces where clergy and laity can safely share their experiences and ideas through open, guided conversation. The third talk session—rescheduled from Jan. 30—will occur instead on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center in Lebanon. Learn more and register.

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.


Job Openings in the Eastern PA Conference

Recent Job Openings from our Churches


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