Peninsula Delaware Annual Conference

Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church is comprised of approximately 800 lay and clergy members representing 82,800 (487 churches) United Methodists from Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is a part of the Philadelphia Area, which includes the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference headquartered in Valley Forge, PA. The Peninsula-Delaware Conference office is located in Dover, Delaware. The Peninsula-Delaware Conference traces its roots to the very beginning of the Methodist Movement in this area. Methodist lay “circuit riders,” providing an alternative to the increasingly unpopular state Church of England, emphasized “vital piety” and planted “societies” in nearly every town and crossroads on Delmarva, beginning in the mid 1700’s. These societies became the local congregations around which community life revolved. The United Methodist Church still exerts a powerful, positive influence in this area. True to its heritage of “warm hearts and helping hands,” United Methodists form the backbone for many of this area’s service organizations. From Delaware Hospice to Boy Scouting, from Peninsula United Methodist Homes, Inc. (the area’s leading provider of retirement care) to working as partners with government agencies to provide shelter for the homeless and our tireless efforts working with Habitat for Humanity helping potential first time home owners see lifelong dreams come true. The Conference also has its own ministries of outreach and invitation including the Howard Bailey Life Enrichment Program, a rites of passage program for youth, and the Wesley Foundation. The Foundation offers ministry to college students on the campuses of the Delaware State University (DE), Salisbury State University (MD), University of Delaware (DE), and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore (MD). The Peninsula-Delaware Conference was the first conference in the denomination to merge its African-American and Anglo Conferences during the Civil Rights Era in 1965. The Conference has consistently been at the forefront in its efforts to improve race relations and has made the issue of inclusiveness a top priority. The United Methodist Church provides spiritual leadership to more than 11 million persons in a broad range of settings on four continents, including North America, Europe, Africa and Asia

United Methodist News

Our prayers for the family and friends of the Rev. Sherrie Dobbs Johnson, a former district superintendent and the spouse of retired Bishop Alfred Johnson. She died March 27 of complications related to COVID-19.

United Methodist News

Chuck Knows Church is back! He’s teaming up with #SeeAllThePeople to share a few simple ideas that your church can do to help your community during this time of crisis.

Chuck Knows Church is back! He’s teaming up with #SeeAllThePeople to share a few simple ideas that your church can do to help your community during this time of crisis.

United Methodist News

BREAKING NEWS: General Conference organizers announce they plan to reschedule lawmaking assembly for 2021.

BREAKING NEWS: General Conference organizers announce they plan to reschedule lawmaking assembly for 2021.

Since many of Delawareans may have questions, here is specific language from the Governor's order:

Leaving your home or residence for Essential Activities is permitted. Individuals may only leave their residence to carry out Essential Activities or Essential Travel. For purposes of this Order, Essential Activities are defined as follows:

a. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.

b. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, food supplies, dry goods, pet supplies and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of

c. To engage in outdoor activity, providing the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, running, biking, or fishing. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas (except beaches, which may be used only as described in my Third Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency).

d. To perform work permitted by the Fourth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency.

e. To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, pets, or livestock as allowed by this Order.

General Conference organizers met in closed session to explore when they could reschedule the lawmaking assembly after the coronavirus-compelled delay.

General Conference organizers met in closed session to explore when they could reschedule the lawmaking assembly after the coronavirus-compelled delay.

United Methodist Communications

It's a scary time, and we all need the hope worship brings. We can be both responsible practicing social distancing while ministering to the most vulnerable among us using worship alternatives like livestreaming. #MyCom #UMC #coronavirus

Small churches undaunted by virus challenges | United Methodist News Service Despite coronavirus outbreak, United Methodist clergy and churches are finding ways to connect for worship, study and ministry.

United Methodist General Conference to be postponed

United Methodist General Conference to be postponed

Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota and the Mayor of Minneapolis to postpone or cancel events involving 50+ people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. As a result of this decision, the Executive Committee is announcing that the General Conference will be postponed and will not occur May 5-15, 2020 as planned.

Click below to read more. Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota...


The Lord God declares, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)

People of God, I call on you to lift this COVID-19 crisis in prayer. Pray that God will heal our land and all the countries of the world. It is the first thing we should do. It is the most important thing we can do. It is the thing we should do at all times, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in I Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.”

As we are praying, I am writing yet another time to discuss the recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control regarding the gathering of groups. They are advising that groups of 50 for more people not gather and this is in effect for eight weeks (through May 9, 2020). People with health risks should consider not gathering at all. I ask that you comply with this directive. This includes worship services, Lenten activities, Easter services, social events, anniversaries, weddings, funerals, etc. Large outdoor events are also not allowed.

If you are gathering in groups of 49 or less, please observe careful social distancing (spread out and use all the pews!) and please practice sanitation procedures. Church services should continue using livestreaming platforms, or at least try to worship using video-conference platforms like Zoom or Skype, or use regular conference calls. Some churches are trying all these methods with good results.

There are many incredible, creative livestreaming services happening around the conference right now. We could be reaching more people than ever with the gospel! But be mindful of copyright restrictions when livestreaming borrowed music and words. Be sure to visit the conference website for updates.

This is not a time to take a vacation from church. Pastors and lay people need to be serving the Lord as always. We just need to do things in a different way. That includes financial contributions. The mission of the church is still vitally important. People should continue to give, and those who can give more should consider doing so, as many are losing their income at this time.

This is an extremely fluid situation and a serious health crisis. This directive could be changed at any time. Curfews may be imposed in the weeks to come. Keep informed and follow the requirements of your state and local governmental officials.
God is still the ruler yet. We must move forward with faithful, unceasing prayer, as well as persistence, patience,live streaming and grace. God bless you all!

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Whether the coronavirus has you worshipping at home or you are able to attend church, please have a blessed third Sunday of Lent. Jesus said, "The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.” — John 4:14

Whether the coronavirus has you worshipping at home or you are able to attend church, please have a blessed third Sunday of Lent. Jesus said, "The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.” — John 4:14

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has asked for the postponement of the 2020 General Conference, set to begin in six weeks, because of the new Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

In a letter to Kim Simpson, Chairperson of Commission on the General Conference and Rev. Gary W. Graves, Secretary of the General Conference, the bishops cited travel restrictions to the US and possibility of potential spread of the virus and quarantine as the main reasons for seeking the postponement.

The General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church, which meets once every four years to revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. It is scheduled to meet May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The bishops are also concerned about the essential value of a global church that gathers with a fairness of representation, adding that they believe that injustice would occur if a number of delegates from a particular area are not able to be present, due to visa or health restrictions.

“We write out of a deep love for our global church and as a tangible way of giving spiritual and temporal oversight in our role as shepherds and we are guided by the core value of helping delegates to do their best work,” said the letter signed by COB President Bishop Kenneth H. Carter and COB President-Designate Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey.

Abundance of Caution: What Should We Do about Church Services this Sunday?

Jesus said that he came to bring life and life abundantly. That means the promise of spiritual life and everlasting life but also physical life. We as God’s people must be in partnership with God’s healing and preventative care ministry during this Corvid-19 pandemic.

I am writing to follow up from yesterday’s pastoral letter. People have asked if we are to cancel church on Sunday or even in the weeks to come. I am asking our churches to do the following:

Churches with 250 people in one room at a time should cancel church services. All activities (dinners, plays, school events, sports events) that are held at the church is large numbers should be canceled. You should consider canceling all small meetings and use electronic means instead if possible.

To all the churches I give full authority to pastors in consultation with their lay leadership, to cancel services this week and in the weeks to come as they feel it is appropriate. We do this with weather emergencies and health risks require the same careful consideration. We reside in different areas of Delaware and Maryland and the spread of the virus is clustered in some parts and not everywhere at this time. Where the outbreak is most prevalent those churches should most definitely cancel services and activities. Churches with a large percentage of vulnerable adults (the elderly, those with chronic health concerns, etc.) should consider canceling services as well.

Offer live-streaming services (if the church has this technology available) so that people can participate in worship from the safety of their homes. It is a good idea to begin to offer this every Sunday, no matter the emergency. Electronic giving is also encouraged.
Those continuing to hold services should be careful to observe safe distances between people. Folks should not sit close together in the pews (Yes, the front pews can be used). Handshaking or hugs should be replaced with a wave. Surfaces in the church should be wiped-down with a disinfectant after every activity, especially in rest rooms, kitchens and high traffic areas. Pot-luck buffet-style fellowship meals should be avoided so that multiple hands are not touching food and serving utensils. Protective gloves should be used in all food preparation. In the sharing of Holy Communion a common cup of grape juice should be avoided.

Personal hygiene is of the utmost importance. These measures include vigilant hand-washing, covering one’s mouth with an elbow when coughing, and seeing a doctor if needed.
People who have recently traveled in affected areas, or are feeling sick, or suspect they have been in contact with someone who has the virus should not come to church and voluntarily stay away from all people.

This is a fluid situation so it is vitally important that leaders stay in touch with the latest news concerning the outbreak. Late-breaking directives from state and local officials supersede any of the directives in this letter. It is a time to be informed but not to panic. It is a time to pray and not lose heart. It is a time to give financially to those whose livelihoods are being compromised by the many cancelations. It is also a time to call and check on our homebound folks. There is ministry to be done in all situations and the church should especially be “the Body of Christ” at this critical time.

Observe an abundance of caution and we will position ourselves for the best outcomes possible in the weeks to come. I am offering my prayers for all of you as you navigate this unique time in which we live.


Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

[03/12/20]   Peace that Passes Understanding

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and hold you in my prayers during this liminal time in the life of our church, our country, and the world on so many levels. Presently the Corona virus pandemic has taken the center stage with alarming statistics and increasing numbers of sick people. The very word “pandemic” conjures up the word “panic” when I hear it. Suddenly we are all vulnerable to contract very easily a silent, invisible virus that has no known cure or vaccination at this time. News is coming in almost hourly about the spread and the disruption in travel, schools, events and even a trip to the mall is now in question.

I urge you to exercise the bedrock of your faith: the promise of Jesus for peace. Jesus said “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give to you.” It was his last gift to his disciples just before his suffering and death. It is an irony to promise peace when in just hours the most gruesome, breach of justice happened on Calvary. Yet Jesus word is true: we are promised peace that passes understanding in the midst of the storms and through the storms of life. I ask that you hold on to that at this time as well and be harbingers of peace and calm as a witness to your faith.

We also need to observe the many directives that are posted on our websites regarding prevention. These include vigilant hand-washing, cleaning surfaces, staying home when sick, avoiding exposure with common sense decisions about gatherings, taking special care of senior citizens who are the most vulnerable, reporting any symptoms immediately to health officials, reporting any exposure you may have experienced, following the mandates of our government officials about travel, etc.

It is recommended that a common cup for communion be suspended during this time and offer only the bread if you are receiving by intinction. Individual small communion cups could be another option for providing grape juice.

Pastors must not hold services if they have large attendance (250 or more) in areas that have been affected and governments are limiting gatherings of large numbers. In that case you may want to live-stream church services as well as encourage electronic giving.
Please follow these directives and widely distribute these to our church members as well. We exercise peace and calm but also observe methods of prevention. They go hand in hand. This is serious and we don’t take this lightly. Best of all we have a great God who is with us through it all.

I will keep you informed about any developments regarding the postponement of our important United Methodist gatherings in the months to come. I have been asked several times if General Conference will still happen in May. At this time no decisions have been made, but those who are responsible for this meeting are watching things carefully.

Thanks to those who are assisting us at this time to keep us informed and safe. As we work together in service and love we will be victorious during this health crisis.


Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Tennessee tornadoes take lives, damage churches | United Methodist News Service

Such sad news. At least 24 deaths were reported after tornadoes swept through Nashville and other parts of the state and the storms heavily damaged at least three United Methodist churches.

Happy first Sunday Pen-Del!

Happy first Sunday in Lent. "Jesus responded, 'Go away, Satan, because it’s written, you will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him." — Matthew 4:10-11

"Christ in the Wilderness" by Briton Riviere, 1898.

We at Pen-Del wish you blessed Ash Wednesday and start to the Lenten season.

We in the #UMC wish you a blessed Ash Wednesday and start to the Lenten season.

What is Lent and why does it last forty days? | The United Methodist Church Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday.

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139 N State St
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