Monday, September 28, 2009

First Fruits

I received a letter from one of our small membership churches. They are giving the offering received on the first Sunday of the month for conference apportionments and missions. The treasurer explains “it is our belief that this apportionment is part of the tithing that God requires of the local church. “ This church is also engaged in service to help the poor in the community. They have a food and clothing closet and the pastor offers a Bible study while people’s food orders are being boxed and bagged.

This church reports that at the end of the month they have enough money to pay all of their bills. They have never bounced a check. Malachi 3:7-12 explains how this works. “’Test me in this’” says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’”

Take up the “First Fruits” challenge and test it for yourself. Jesus said “give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

- Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Monday, September 21, 2009


I attended the Native American “Pow Wow” in Millsboro, Delaware over the weekend. Native people from all over the country came to this event. There were many people there of all ages and walks of life. I was very proud to see that many of the people attending were United Methodists. Several of our churches have active Native American ministries. One of our pastors was asked to preach at the Pow Wow worship. United Methodists know the importance of being inclusive and respecting nature and the environment. The Native people at the Pow Wow were inclusive of all the many tribes and everyone worked together: parking cars, driving tractor rides, performing dances, music, and songs. There was an amazing spirit of respect and cooperation at this crowded event. If you ever get a chance, you should go to a Pow Wow! Support Native American ministries!

Resources are available online so your church can celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday, one of our six Special Sundays:

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flu Virus

As fall approaches and the temperatures drop the risk of flu begins to increase. Officials are expecting more cases of the H1N1 virus and as the church we need to model precautions that keep people safe. The General Board of Discipleship has a list of precautions on its website that may be good to observe. Their website is The article is: “What to Do and Not to Do in Worship.” The president of the Council of Bishops reminds us to pray for healing for our brothers and sisters who battle the effect of the H1N1 virus and pray that God will extend his mighty hand to protect persons in its path. Let’s follow these precautions:

  1. If you are feeling sick (with flu-like symptoms) stay home from church.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  3. Avoid shaking hands.
  4. Wash hands regularly and have hand cleaning pumps in every church and classroom.
  5. Those serving communion should wash their hands prior to serving the elements.
  6. Seek medical attention if you get the flu.
  7. Pray that the flu will not spread this year.
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thank You for Remembering

I was listening to a news show on NPR and the interviewer was talking to a man who had lost everything in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The first thing the man said in the interview was “thank you for remembering.” We have now passed the 4th anniversary of this tragic storm (August 29, 2004). Coming up is the 8th anniversary of the tragedies at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (September 11, 2001). For many these events are over and done with and life has moved on. For many there are still devastating effects that make life never again the same. Some people in New Orleans still are without homes and jobs due to the storm. Some people who suffered on 9/11 have suffered physical and mental anguish that is still as real as it was eight years ago.

Remembering is important. It means we “Re-Member”…putting a body, a person, a life in our mind as we ponder these events. Remember by continuing to send work teams to rebuild homes, remember by helping people who are still in pain and grief, remember with your prayers. Christ stands with those who suffer and Christ uses you to extend His hands of love and support.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Covenant Missions

The United Methodist Church has a wonderful mission board that sends missionaries literally all over the world. Every conference has covenant missionaries. In EPA they are: Mark and Diane Abbott (Spain), Marylyn Brock (Red Bird Mission), Craig and Karen Dial (Red Bird Mission), Ellen Hoover (Democratic Republic of Congo) , Mark and Rebecca Smallwood (Red Bird), Chirs and Martha Stockwell-Goering (Southeast Jurisdiction), Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi (Tanzania), Victoria West (Community Ministries in Connellsville, PA), Sally Wisner-Ott (LUMINA – Lancaster, PA), Mark and Deidre Zimmerman.

In the Peninsula –Delaware Conference they are: Craig and Karen Dial (Red Bird Mission), Belinda Forbes (Nicaraguan Christian Medical Action), Rene Knight Peguero (Pen-Del Conference), Miguel Mairena (Nicaragua Community Development ), Nan McCurdy (Nicaragua Women and Community Association), David Pascua (Philippines – Union Theological Seminary), David and Lorene Persons (Democratic Republic of Congo - Faculte Methodiste de Theologie in Mulungwishi), Gail Zollinhofer Quigg and Stephen Paul Quigg (Aviation Ministries), Larry Stubbenfield (Red Bird Mission), Mark and Deidre Zimmerman (Napal – medical missions and nutrition services).

Churches can be in Covenant Relationship with our United Methodist Missionaries ($5 per member or $500). Less than 10 per cent of our churches in the Philadelphia Area support our missionaries. What a blessing it would be if we could build that up to 50% or 90% or 100%...Think of the possibilities. When you are in Covenant Relationship your funds support their salary and ministry, you receive their mission letters and they come to visit you when they come home on furlough. Your prayers for them and their prayers for you fuel our mutual ministry. The United Methodist Church is doing incredible work reaching souls for Jesus Christ, administering love and concern in the world and teaching a new generation of leaders how to do ministry. Why not support a United Methodist Mission? Are we united or untied?

To begin a Covenant relationship, go to and download the PDF Covenant Relationship form. You will find that if your church wants to form a covenant relationship it will cost a maximum of $2500 or just $5.00 a member per year. If you would like to personally enter into a relationship with one of our missionaries it only takes a yearly gift of $500. Youth groups, Sunday School classes, Campus ministries can also enter into a covenant relationship with a missionary for only $5.00 per member of the group. After filling out the form, you can mail it or fax it to your General Board of Global ministries.

If your church cannot afford $5.00 per member, at least covenant to pray for our missionaries as a church on a regular basis, lift up their families and the communities where they serve in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Your physical monetary support is important, but your spiritual support is essential.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson