Each month EPA Cabinet and staff will be reporting on the progress, opportunities, and challenges in collaborative areas of leadership, database, ending the sin of racism, developing youth groups, camp & retreat ministry, finances & benefits and statistical report updates. Here is the November update.
Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey began to collaborate through affiliation in 2021. Five other Northeastern Jurisdiction conferences did also. They anticipated that there would be fewer bishops in the future, thus requiring all conferences to be linked with at least one other conference. The Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee and the College of Bishops have encouraged conferences to collaborate.
EPA&GNJ leadership continue to seek input from clergy and laity across EPA&GNJ on the next steps in our collaboration. Thank you to all who participated in the listening sessions and responded to the survey on collaboration. In addition, Boards and Agencies are providing feedback on areas of collaboration.
EPA&GNJ’s Cabinet continue to work together to recruit and develop transformational leaders. EPA is in the process of hiring two new Associate Superintendent positions.
Legislation shall be brought to each annual conference session in May to vote on the areas of collaboration.
Greater New Jersey, in collaboration with Eastern PA Conference, received a grant of $1,249,980 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to further develop the Leadership Academy through a preaching module. The program is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. EPA&GNJ are currently hiring two positions for the implementation of the Lilly Preaching Academy grant.
Mosaic continues to expand with visits this fall with Princeton Seminary, Drew Theological School, Palmer, Moravian, and Lancaster. We have Mosaic recruitment nights scheduled for Drew and Palmer in November. We are working on Princeton, Moravian, and Lancaster recruitment events. If you plan to visit a Seminary and would like to learn more about Mosaic, please contact Rev. Kate Monahan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online courses will soon be available through the Leadership Academy. Upcoming courses include What is a Trustee?, SPRC 101, and Church Council 101. Be on the lookout for the release of these courses and more by checking the Leadership Academy.
Breakthrough, a sermon series resource for congregations, just launched an Advent series for congregations. Learn more HERE
EPA&GNJ welcome congregations to join Pathways, an intentional processes congregations can use to prepare, assess, learn and grow in their understanding of what it means to be a healthy, fruitful congregation. Learn more about Pathways.
The database team hired an outside vendor to address the challenges that have been experienced with Arena’s and assess its capacity to service the needs of EPA&GNJ. We have performed a study of the reports, forms and quick runs of data needed to populate the work we do as a conference. It is our goal to simplify form entry and ensure the accuracy and excellence of our data for both conferences. This includes the financial platform of ShelbyNext, remittances, Arena demographic work, appointment tracking, and charge conference reporting.
Ending the sin of racism
EPA’s Committee on Leadership & GNJ’s Nominations team are on track with planning for 2024 leadership slates, especially focused on Journey of Hope and A Path Towards Wholeness metrics. EPA is currently at 41% persons of color in chairperson roles; GNJ is at 51% persons of color in leadership roles. Planning for the implicit bias review of all legislation is on track for EPA&GNJ
Developing youth groups
EPA has hired two new part-time youth coordinators, Michael Nelson and Caasi Grove. The team of Mecan Payne, Michael Nelson and Caasi Grove are available to work with churches on developing youth groups.
Camping & Retreat Ministry
Across our four sites – Carson Simpson Farm, Gretna Glen, Innabah, and Pocono Plateau – we were privileged to serve 1,375 families from 14 states and Washington DC. Throughout the summer season, 2,541 participants, spanning children, youth, and adults, engaged in a transformative Christian camp experience through a diverse range of programs. Applications for summer staff and volunteers will open later this fall/early winter, coinciding with summer camp registration being open at all sites prior to January 2024.
Finances and benefits – Ending the sin of racism
EPA&GNJ are committed to pursuing economic justice for our local churches. Reductions for Apportionments/Shared Ministry and billed funds are based on a formula as approved by each Annual Conference. We are updating our list of median salaries per zip code and re-evaluating the churches who should be receiving the Journey of Hope/A Path to Wholeness grant reductions.
Statistical reporting for both EPA&GNJ will open on January 2, 2024. Local churches will be required to enter their data through AC Stats – the new statistics system for GCFA which began last year. A recorded training Webinar will take place in December and be posted on the websites for each conference. Statistical entry and submission should be completed by January 31, 2024. Accurate and early entry of data assists us in providing up-to-date metrics for church health and accurate calculations of apportionments/Shared Ministry.