This Week in PNEC --- January 5, 2017 - January 13, 2017


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

610-826-3113; FAX 610-826-5464

Alan Miller                            Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez   

Barbara Jennings             Patty Rehrig



PNEC's 2016 Closing Date will be Friday January 13, 2017

Please plan your closing so that your final 2016 remittance will be received in the Conference Office by Friday, January 13, 2017.  Receipts received after the 13th will be credited to 2017.  Do not include 2016 remittances with 2017 and make certain remittance slips are marked for either the year 2016 or 2017.  Thank you for your cooperation and support.

2017 Annual Meeting of the Penn Northeast Conference will be
Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  -
St. John's UCC,  1415 Rising Sun Road, Laurys Station, PA
The Amigos de Guatemala have received a wonderful Christmas present!!!! The construction contract for the multi-use facility and clinic in Monte Margarita, Guatemala is signed!!!! At our last PNEC Board meeting we skyped with members of Concejo Ecumenico to jointly sign the covenant. Now on to construction. The builder, Don Francisco Ixcot, is open to the idea of workers from PNEC going to Guatemala to work with the construction crew and members of the community. Contact Gilberto Garcia ( or Karen Heim ( for more information if interested in working with the wonderful people of Monte Margarita. Some fluency in Spanish is a plus but not necessary.
Call to General Synod 31
     I am officially calling all delegates, visitors, and friends of General Synod 31 to join us in Baltimore, MD June 30 - July 4, 2017.
     As always, Synod promises to be an inspiring and engaging event. Our keynote speakers include Aaron Mair, environmentalist and the first African American president of the Sierra Club, and Glennon Doyle Melton, activist, philanthropist, and author of the best-selling Carry On, Warrior and Love Warrior.
     Preachers in worship include Amy Butler, Sr. Minister at The Riverside Church in New York; David Vasquez-Levy, President of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley; Kimberly Kendrick, Sr. Co-Pastor at Church of the Living Water in Philadelphia; and myself.
     Consistent with our theme, "Make Glad!" - we intend to make the experience one that infuses participants with joy. We will celebrate what it is that makes the United Church of Christ one of this nation's most consistent agents for social transformation. We will seek to articulate a vision and a hope for a future in partnership with God's Holy Spirit, a future that engages us in a mission that matters.
     We will celebrate in song, dance, art, and worship what it is that our Creator shares with us each day that comes as a blessing.
     We will celebrate the rich diversity of thought, mind, body and spirit that is made evident when we come together in one place.
     This will be our first opportunity to gather at Synod with a new Purpose, Mission, and Vision statement. In a spirit of true discipleship and discernment, we will explore together what commitments to love God and neighbor, to welcome all, and to build a just world for all looks like and requires of us.
     We are a people who share core values of extravagant welcome, of continuing testament, and of changing lives. My hope and prayer is that all who join us in Baltimore will:
* feel that extravagant welcome;
* open their hearts and minds to hear the new word God is speaking to this people, in this place, at this time;
* discover who it is that we are called to serve and how it is we can partner with them to change lives and change the world.
     Bring a spirit of love, of compassion, of openness, and of hope with you. I look forward to seeing you in Baltimore. Until then, let the light of the living Christ shine in and through you, and be known to all whom you meet along the way.
See you in Baltimore,
John C. Dorhauer, General Minister & President
PNEC-UCC Penn Northeast Conference will be hosting a
Pre-Retirement Seminar sponsored by The Pension Boards United Church of Christ on
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
at Jordan United Church of Christ
1837 Church Road, Allentown.
Registration and additional information will be mailed by The Pension Boards approx. two months before the event.
Zion's Jubilee Breakfast Ministry to the Homeless
  moneybag_graphic.jpg The Allentown Area Mission Council clergy would like to invite those churches who collect a special offering for Souper Bowl Sunday (2/7/17), and if you are looking to support a UCC program providing direct ministry to those who are hungry, Zion's Jubilee Breakfast Ministry to the Homeless certainly would appreciate your support. More info is available at
March 22-24, 2017
Hartman Center Camp, Conference & Retreat Center, Milroy, PA  
     How can we take on the urgent challenges of environmental justice in our present time and place? Using video, discussions, and hands-on learning opportunities, this workshop will equip participants to mobilize their communities around local and global issues of environmental justice.
     Materials are biblically based and centered on the deep issues of justice and the beloved community. Local church leaders, pastors, educators, seminary students, and members of communities of faith beyond the UCC are all welcome to attend.
     The event begins with dinner at 5:30 pm on Wednesday and concludes with lunch on Friday.
     Participants will be expected to commit to the entire workshop in order to cover all subjects and build community.
Cost: $140 includes lodging, meals, &program expenses
Click Here for the Registration Link:
Registration Deadline: March 7, 2017
Cosponsored by the UCC Justice Witness Ministries and the Penn Central Conference of the UCC Green Justice Ministry Team.
Volunteers Needed for Spiritual Care Program with Dementia Residents
Phoebe Ministries The Spirit Alive program at Phoebe Ministries is an innovative way of leading worship with residents who live in Phoebe's memory support neighborhoods. The program uses the five senses and Montessori based-techniques to spiritually engage those with cognitive impairment.   Phoebe is currently seeking volunteers who enjoy sharing stories of faith and interacting with older adults living with dementia, to lead small group sessions at skilled care centers in Allentown, Wernersville, Richlandtown and Wyncote.  Training sessions will be held from noon to 4:00 on Friday, January 20th and from 8:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, January 21ston the Phoebe Richland Campus, 108 S. Main Street, Richlandtown.  If you are interested in attending the training, please contact Elizabeth Buss, Spirit Alive Coordinator at 610-794-5114 or
The PNEC will host a day of
Education with Martha Spong
February 14th with a snow date of February 21 St. John's Fullerton
9:00AM to 3:00PM
     "Power and Place in Women's Stories" will take a deep and wondering look at the stories of the women who anoint Jesus, as well as where we figure in our own stories.
      The Center for Progressive Renewal is offering a
spring semester online UCC History, Polity and
Theology class beginning on January 11, 2017 and
ending April 12, 2017.  The class has met the polity
requirements of most Committees on Ministry in the
UCC, and has been accepted as a three credit course
over nine seminaries, including Union (NYC),
Vanderbilt, Candler, Columbia, Lexington, Eden, and
Lancaster and a number of others.
     It is a rigorous, engaging class that is offered
asynchronistically so it is convenient for those who are
bi-vocational, have full schedules, or odd sleep habits!
It is designed to meet the needs of students with
different learning styles and varying levels of formal
     The facilitators for the class are fully engaged and
available throughout the class to the students.  The course has evolved and adapted over the years to
the changes in the UCC and the changing needs of those seeking authorization for ministry. 
     Tim Downs, who will be the lead instructor has been
teaching this course for almost 20 years, and online for the last seven years.  Heather Bardole will be the lead
facilitator for the course. Heather has worked with Tim in facilitating this class for four years, is an MID with the Southeast Conference, and currently serves as the
administrator of the Southeast Conference. Laura Robinson, an MID in the Pacific Northwest  and a third year seminarian at Candler School of Theology will be the assistant facilitator for the class.
     Students taking the class for credit need to make special arrangements with Tim and their seminaries. Certificates of Completion are issued for all students who successfully complete the requirements for the class. Letters with a grade and summary assessment of the student's performance in the class for Committees on Ministry are available upon request.
Any questions about can be directed to Tim Downs, the lead instructor, at The cost of the class is $629, and this is the link to registration
Children's Sermon for
         for Jan.8 (based on Mt. 3:13-17)   Items Needed: doll or teddy bear, ladder.  Take  out doll or teddy bear and ask kids what it is.   Drop it on floor.  Then climb up ladder and ask if you can pick up doll/teddy bear while at top of ladder.  Come down from ladder, put hands on hips, and ask if you can pick up doll while standing this way.  No, to pick up doll, I need to bend down to where doll is(bend down and pick up doll.)   In today's Bible reading, Jesus gets baptized by John to show that He is willing to go wherever He needs to go, to "bend down"  (demonstrate) as much as He needs to, to lift us up when we have fallen down.  That's what  "Savior,"  or "Christ" means---somebody who can help us up when we've fallen down.
- Rev. David Quinn
announcement ANNOUNCEMENTS &
Mrs. Winifred Williams, mother of Rev. Wendy Williams, died suddenly on Thursday, December 29, in Massachusetts.   As Wendy states:  "My father had been driving them around getting errands done and she became unresponsive. He drove her to the ER of a nearby hospital where they attempted to revive her,  but she was already gone. She was 85 and hadn't been ill."   Mrs. Williams' memorial service will be at Pilgrim Church Congregational UCC in Sherborn, MA, on Sunday, the January 8.  Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Rev. Wendy Williams, P.O. Box 6, Neffs, PA 18065

John Mohr, 87, of Macungie died on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.  John is the brother of David Mohr, PNEC retired pastor.  A memorial service for John will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 11:00 a.m., at Church of the Good Shepherd, Alburtis, 135 Quarry Road, Alburtis.  Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Dave and Grace Mohr, 4189 Heritage Lane, Walnutport, PA 18088

Betty Schlegel, mother of Gary Schlegel & mother-in-law of Virginia Schlegel, PNEC Pastor, died on December 29 at ManorCare West, Allentown at the age of 91.  Services were held on Tuesday, January 3.  Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Gary & Virginia Schlegel at 85 Cambridge Place, Catasauqua, PA  18032

Service of Interest...
January 8 - 9:00AM - INSTALLATION - Licensed Minister, Henry Distler will be installed as full-time pastor at St. John's UCC, Slatington - Holy communion - clergy red stoles
January 15 -3:00PM - INSTALLATION - Licensed Minister Jim Stanley will be installed at St. John's UCC, Wapwallopen (as pastor at St. John's, Wapwallopen & St. Peter's (Hobbie), Wapwallopen
January 22 - 11:00AM - INSTALLATION - Rev. John Heeckt will be installed as pastor at St. John's UCC (Farmersville), Easton
January 29 - 10:00AM - INSTALLATION - Rev. Jerry Smith will be installed as pastor at St. Mark's UCC, Allentown
May 7 (please note change of date) - 3:00PM - INSTALLATION - Licensed Minister Sandy Murphy will be installed as pastor at Christ UCC, Conyngham
UPCOMING DATES            

JANUARY - 2017
8 - 9AM - INSTALLATION  - Licensed Minister, Henry Distler will be installed as full-time pastor at St. John's UCC, Slatington
9 - 10AM - Licensing/Commissioning Member in Discernment Committee - Conf. Office
11 - 12 Noon - Allentown AMC Clergy - Place TBA
12 - 9-11AM - Licensed/Commissioned Mentor Group - Conf. Office
      FOR THE COMPLETE LIST OF "Upcoming Dates"
"Flourishing in Ministry"
The United Church of Christ is partnering with Notre Dame University in a project entitled: "Flourishing in Ministry."  The Project's Director is Dr. Matthew Bloom and the work is being funded by a Lilly Foundation grant.  The project is a national study on clergy wellness.  On February 7, 2017 all ordained, licensed, commissioned, and privilege of call UCC ministers and members in discernment will receive an email inviting them to participate in the project by completing a survey.  The survey must be completed by February 17th to be included with the results.  Through our participation in this project all UCC conferences, associations, local churches, and ministers will receive the tabulated results of the study.

All of your answers will be kept confidential.  For more information go to the following Link:

Rev. Scott Brooks-Cope will be
attending the following events and wanted to invite you to join if you can:
     The Lehigh Conference of Churches is sponsoring these events which will be held at Dubbs Memorial Community Center, 457 Allen St, Allentown:
MLK Jr. Day Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - Monday, January 16 at 9 a.m.
Robert K. Campbell Memorial Lecture on Christian Unity, Friday, April 7th at 9 a.m.
Speaker: Robert P. Jones speaking on the topic of his book "The End of White Christian America"
I read this book while I was recovering from my recent surgery and I think it's one of the most important books about the current cultural and religious shifts happening in our society. The book is very thoughtful and well-written and lots of statistics to back up his analysis.  Jones is the head of the Public Religious Research Institute.  I'm looking forward to hearing him in person.
     If you can go to one or both of these events let me know and I'll call in a reservation for us. 
A Unique Opportunity to Assist Our Students Preparing for Ministry
Alan C. Miller, Conference Minister
Phoebe Ministries      Phoebe Ministries is conducting a capital funds campaign for their Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program. Clinical Pastoral Education is an education program to teach pastoral care to clergy and others. CPE is the primary method of training hospital and hospice chaplains and spiritual care providers. In addition to learning visitation and caring skills, CPE regularly encourages students to reflect on their work, which helps them to develop their self-awareness.
     Phoebe Ministries initiated its Program in 1997 and was accredited by the year 2000. It is one of 300 accredited CPE programs nationwide and one of only five programs in the long-term care setting.
CPE is a requirement for our students preparing to be ordained and licensed ministers. Over the years, 202 students have completed Phoebe Ministries Program, 57 of which have been United Church of Christ students.
     The campaign has three goals: 1./ If $100,00 is raised, $4,000 will be available each year for student scholarships; 2./ If $200,00 is raised, Phoebe Ministries will be able to enhance their Program with special speakers and education events for both students and the community; 3./ If $300,00 is raised, Phoebe Ministries will be able to add supervisory CPE education to its Program, the program by which CPE students becomes CPE supervisors. Your congregation should have received a letter from Phoebe Ministries introducing this campaign.
     The Church & Ministry Committee of the Penn Northeast Conference is grateful for the quality of preparation that Phoebe Ministries CPE Program has added and continues to add to our students' theological education. Thus we have voted to give the campaign a gift of $5,000 from the Conference's Longsdorf Scholarship Fund. As you learn about this Campaign through your local congregation, we encourage you to help future theological students in their preparation for ministry by making a generous gift to the Campaign.
     For more information contact: Adam Marles at Phoebe Ministries, 610-794-5129,
Three Important Opportunities in One Day 
On Monday, March 20th, Heather Kimmel, General Counsel of the United Church of Christ, will be joining us to lead three educational opportunities
#1 10:00 am - "Best Practices for Boards and Councils" - She will help us understand what are the primary responsibilities, the legal obligations, and best practices for governing boards.
#2  2:00 pm - "The New PA State Child Abuse Laws" - This session is designed to speak to pastors, Christian educators, and youth ministers who are employees of a church. Heather will review both the new child abuse reporting obligations and the required background checks for employees. Lay leaders are welcome to attend, however there will be a special event for them in the evening.
#3  7:00 pm - "The New PA State Child Abuse Laws for Volunteers" - This session will be similar to the afternoon session but will address the same issues as they pertain to local church volunteers.
     There is no cost for these events. We are going to try and hold them at the Conference Office, unless we have more register than we can accommodate at the Office. In that event we will move to a local church Fellowship Hall. Thus to help us please register early by calling or emailing either Barbara Jennings ( or Patty Rehrig (, 610-826-3113.
     Heather E. Kimmel is the General Counsel of the United Church of Christ. She has been serving in that capacity since December 1, 2015. Prior to that, she served as Associate General Counsel of the United Church of Christ. Before joining the Office of General Counsel, she practiced in the areas of white-collar defense and complex civil litigation at Jones Day and Baker & Hostetler, as well as serving as a federal judicial clerk. She also served as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
PNEC Disaster Ministries is Looking for Volunteers Who Like to Work with Tools!
Our PNEC Disaster Ministries tool trailers are back in Pennsylvania!  We need volunteers who would be willing to inventory, clean, and provide repairs on all tools in both trailers. The garage we will be working in is heated but it is a concrete floor. Our first day of inventory will be Saturday, January 14 beginning at 9 am. The garage is in Bethlehem and if you volunteer we will provide specific directions. We need to do this work to ready the trailers for their next mission. Interested? Please contact Donna Zangari at  or text at 484-357-8399.
A Note About Acknowledging Contributions...
bargraph-money.jpg      For itemized charitable contributions, the IRS and the courts have been enforcing the donor substantiation requirements. The receiving organization (churches for example) must provide the donor with a timely written acknowledgement for any contributions which exceed $250 for the calendar year. The written acknowledgement must be provided to the donor at the end of each calendar year and before the tax filing deadline. The letter must contain specific language identifying whether any tangible goods or services were provided to the donor for the contribution(s). Further, it is suggested that the written acknowledgement will be helpful to your parishioners even for contributions which fall below the requirement.
     Below is an example of a written acknowledgement from a church to its contributor.
   To the Parishioner:
     XXX UCC thanks you sincerely for your generous support of $$$ to the ministry of the church. Your gifts help us provide the message of Christ's kingdom throughout our community. No tangible goods or services were given in exchange for these contributions.
     This acknowledgement reflects your total charitable contributions to XXX UCC during the 20YY calendar year. A copy of your annual giving statement is included detailing your gifts. This letter should be retained for your tax files.
Yours in Christ,

Save The Dates...       


Boundary Training Workshops

October 4, 2017

8:30AM Registration

9:00AM to 3:00PM Workshop

St. John's UCC, 183 S. Broad St., Nazareth

Host Pastor:  Rev. Jeff Brinks


October 5, 2017

8:30AM Registration

9:00Am to 3:00PM Workshop

Faith UCC, 21 Faith Drive, Hazleton

Host Pastor:  Rev. Jane Hess


Boundary Training needs to be done once

every four years

More information will be announced at a later date.


The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry will be conducting its'

"Understanding Worship" class

Saturday, January 21, 2017

9AM - 4PM

                                First UCC in Schuykill Haven

This class is part of the basic series for Licensed Ministry preparation but is also a wonderful opportunity for lay leaders in the church to prepare themselves to assist with worship and be a part of the sacred space we call worship.  This is also a great refresher for all current authorized ministers who want to revitalize their worship experience as well.  Click Here for a registration flyer or you can register online at 

The class is also LIVE STREAMED and is recorded for those with scheduling conflicts.


23rd Annual Clergy Convocation

May 2-4, 2017

Double Tree by Hilton, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster

     Guest Speaker, Rev. John C. Dorhauer

    General Minister & President of the UCC

For full flyer and registration information



 Jewish Institute
(Four Tuesday evening sessions)
January 24 - February 14 @ 7:00-9:00pm 
Understanding Power & Prejudice: Building Bridges Across Difference
Jude-Laure Denis, Executive Director, POWER-NE
The Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit, IJCU Director
Seegers Union, GQ Annex (Muhlenberg College)
Save the Date... 
  PNEC Annual Youth Retreat
May 19-21, 2017
Spruce Lake
More information will be forthcoming!


For the complete list of churches who are searching for organists, choir directors sextons, pianist, etc., etc., and also churches who are giving away items, please


What's Happening in Our Churches
(PLEASE NOTE:  We love advertising the "happenings" in our churches, however the list is getting too long for this publication.)
"What's Happening in Our Churches"