EPA & GNJ Affiliation

Dear United Methodists of EPA and GNJ,

We are living in a challenging season as we emerge from the pandemic, disaffiliation and the continuing movement of secular culture away from religion and the church. But every time, in the midst of challenge, God has been ready to do a new thing. For a tormented people enslaved in Egypt, or a wandering people on a dusty trail in the wilderness, or three young people in a fiery furnace standing up to a king, or a huddled group of disciples in an upper room, God was working a new thing.

Can’t you see it? God’s new thing is springing up all around us even today. (Isaiah 43:19 and 65:16-17).

At the most recent Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference (NEJ) where we elect new bishops, the conference could have elected four bishops but chose to elect only one, in part because of membership and financial realities. It is becoming clearer that alignments and affiliations between conferences will be the future model within the NEJ, and that EPA and GNJ will be working together into the future.

For months, leadership from both conferences have recognized this possibility and have asked what is the new thing God wants to do? What will we do so that the mission thrives during the challenges? After prayer and discernment, we believe that new thing is to collaborate to enhance and grow the mission of Jesus Christ through our congregations.

The question is, how will the mission thrive in EPA and GNJ? What can we do better, more effectively and more efficiently together to serve Christ, the church and the world? To prepare for this, there have been steps taken already to better align mission and ministry. These alignments have included a common purpose or mission, shared goals, shared commitments and collaborative ministries. Some things have already been approved by our Connectional Tables, Councils on Finance and Administration and the extended cabinets of both EPA and GNJ. Some things are in the planning stages.

Read more: Message from Bishop Schol: EPA/GNJ Affiliation

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