This Week in PNEC --- February 15, 2018 - February 23, 2018


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

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


          Bonnie Bates                      Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez   

          Barbara Jennings              Patty Rehrig



Once again our nation is shocked and saddened by violence. Our hearts are broken at the loss of life in Parkland Florida. I share with you this week the message from the Florida Conference Minister, Rev. John Vertigan. Hold the people of Parkland Florida and our nation in prayer this Lenten season. Hold the nation in your embrace this Lenten season. Pray for and act to be a voice of peace and hope and grace.
Thanks,   Bonnie
Ash Wednesday Evening 2018
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51)
     We are desperately in need of mercy. We are painfully in need of knowledge of God's unfailing love. We are a nation in need of forgiveness and the cleansing of our sin. 
     Today, on a day of repentance, Parkland, Florida experienced a shooting. A school shooting. A massacre. A national sin. Our hearts break at the news of the twelfth (12!) school shooting of 2018 and the loss of life the scope of which is still unfolding. 
     Our condolences go out to all involved, but our condolences are not enough. That said, the emptiness we feel in the face of this tragedy can easily cause us to shut down, to isolate ourselves, and to turn from the news in despair. I understand the emptiness because I feel it, too. And so, I pray, 'have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love,' and I strive to keep faith with a hurting people, a devastated community, and a nation in need of repentance at our lack of resolve to bring an end to the senseless gun violence that continues to scar the lives of so many young people and their families who start each school day with a hug they hope will be returned later that very same day.
     The Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ is a member of the Florida Coalition for the Prevention of Gun Violence and today proves that membership is not enough. Activism and advocacy are essential. It's past time for the Church to act. It's past time to stand up to the gun lobbies and to advocate for Jesus' way of peace that just can't imagine how sisters and brothers or a nation can dwell together in unity while doing nothing to train our common spirit in the ways of justice, while doing nothing to mitigate the availability of weapons that enable such rampant violence, while doing nothing to stand in the public square and shout with a prophet's heart that our prayers are not adequate and our faith demands more. We cannot pray "How long, O God, how long!?" and stand by doing nothing in the face of evil. 
     Pastors, find your people today and console them. People, find your pastors today and ask them to lead with you in a movement to end violence in our communities. Remember especially the people of Parkland, Florida whose anguish cries out and whose pain demands justice. Help build communities where this doesn't happen. Use your own compassion and power to heal this national sin. And, yes, continue to pray.

Be at peace and be in touch, won't you...   John Vertigan, Florida  Conference Minister
     Training given by Master Trooper Marc Allen of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M, Bethlehem Barracks. 
 Program being used is called ALICE:  Alert - Lockdown - Inform - Counter - Escape 
     All are welcome to join us for this FREE training.  A pot luck luncheon will be held following the training.  If you would like to bring a covered dish please feel free to do so.  Please RSVP by March 14, by calling the church at 610-837-7426   or you may contact June Arnold at 610-262-5181.  Class will start following the service at 11:15 sharp, and will be held in the sanctuary.  
ACT Now: Unite to End Racism!
     The National Council of Churches is sponsoring a rally and a call to action on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Multiple denominations, including the United Church of Christ, are sponsoring this event and participation in it.
ACT Now to:
-Awaken to the truth that racism is evil and hurts us all
-Confront racism through truth-telling and action to right the wrong
-Transform the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and institutions
     ACT Now: Unite to End Racism in the areas of church life and practices, criminal, economic and social justice, civil and human rights, environmental justice, immigration, media, and education.
     Join in the clarion call to heal the soul of the nation as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. Let's finish the work!
     Where: At sites across Washington, DC, including the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall
     When: April 3-5, 2018
  • Tuesday evening, April 3: Service of Worship in the Orthodox Tradition
  • Wednesday, April 4: Rally on the National Mall, 7:00am to 4:00pm
  • Thursday, April 5: a Day of Action in the Nation's Capital

We in PNEC are considering renting a van or bus for people who are interested in traveling to Washington DC on Tuesday arriving in time for the worship service and returning back to PNEC on Wednesday evening. Costs will depend on the number of participants attending. Hotels in the area run between $160 and $250 per night. We will evenly split the costs of the van or bus.

If you are interested in joining us, please indicate your interest by e-mailing Barbara Jennings at
Open House at the Conference Office to Welcome
Jeffrey Mensendiek, Global Ministry Missionary
to Japan
Date:  Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Jeff Mensendiek
Time:  3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Place:  PNEC Office, 431 Delaware Avenue, Palmerton
All are invited to hear Jeffrey share the good news of God at work in Japan and how lives are changed.
Refreshments will be servedd
Joint Conference
Visioning & Development Team (JCVDT)
    Valentine Match-up
     The PNEC and PSEC Joint Conference Visioning and Development Team (JCVDT) are inviting you to participate in a match up! Are you interested in learning about another faith community? Would you like to build a partnership with another church on mission? Maybe you would be interested in a partnership for pulpit exchange? If you have said yes to any of these questions, you are invited to participate in a Valentine's Day Match-up! The JCVDT is encouraging you to fill out your match profile, and we will partner you with another congregation in the PSEC. Our hope is that we will get to know each other and share ideas. Maybe your partnership is as simple as visiting one another for worship, or maybe it involves organizing a mission project together. That is up to you! We are hoping to get you connected to get to know one another. If you are interested in participating, please fill out your match profile and email it to Barbara Hanks at 
     The following information is available on the PNEC website at  or by clicking on the links below:
4.  JCVDT Survey
6.  How to stay connected with JCVDT on FACEBOOK
7.  How to stay connected with JCVDT on Twitter
      I ask for your prayers for our process together that the Spirit can guide us and move us to be the Body of Christ together. Thank you!
Rev. Joanne Marchetto
"I love to tell the story; 'tis pleasant to repeat.
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet."
    PNEC congregations are invited to submit a LOVE STORY FORM to Gary Barraco, PNEC 3GL Ambassador. Gary will submit these to the national church for inclusion in the web site  , but we will also select 5 stories to present at the PNEC Annual Meeting in April. Submissions can start now and will close April 1st.
     If you have questions, feel free to contact Gary at   or (732)241-6635.
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." 1 Corinthians 12:12-27



     The Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD) is seeking your direct feedback and assistance on a new denomination-wide survey.
      The purpose of the UCC Planning and Evaluation Survey is to gather information about the various types of planning and evaluation tools, strategies, and processes utilized across settings of the church, as well as the prevalence and frequency of planning and evaluation initiatives. The results will guide CARD's work in assessing needs and creating/curating the most helpful resources for effective planning and evaluation for local churches, middle judicatories, and other settings.
      The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous, although we do ask for the name of your setting to reduce overlap in response. The results of the survey will be shared with various stakeholders across the United Church of Christ. Please complete the survey by Friday, March 16.
Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback .
Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, Ph.D. - Director
Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD)
United Church of Christ


An Invitation from Pennsylvania Southeast Conference...Discipleship Workshop


Facilitator:  Rev. Cean James

Times:  10AM to 12 Noon

There are 3 opportunities to attend this workshop:

February 24 @ Armenian Martyrs' Congregational Church, Philadelphia

March 3 @ First UCC, Quakertown

April 14 @ Trinity UCC, Reading

There is NO charge for this workshop but please register by going to the PSEC website (, click on the Events & News tab, click Conference Events and find the workshop date you are interested in.

Volunteers Needed for Spirit Alive: A New Spiritual Care Program for Residents with Dementia
     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 involves sharing stories with residents that illustrate great spiritual truths, such as God's love, care, and forgiveness. Based upon Montessori principles of engagement and specialized pastoral care practices, multi-sensory stimulation is used to convey each story and ensure full engagement by each member of the group. The Spirit Alive model is supported by research demonstrating its benefit for the mood and spiritual wellbeing of participants.
      A training session to become Spirit Alive Facilitators will be held from noon to 4:00 p.m. on February 23 and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on February 24, 2018 in the Meadow Glenn Personal Care Community on the Phoebe Richland Campus, 108 S. Main Street, Richlandtown. Attendance at both sessions is required.
     To register or for more information, contact Alisha Tatem, Spirit Alive Coordinator, at or 610-927-8554 by February 8th.  Faith communities interested in beginning a Spirit Alive program at their place of worship are also welcome to inquire.
Reminder....Early Bird Registration for Clergy Convocation ends February 28th!!

Register now for Clergy Convocation
     Join the Penn Northeast & Penn Southeast Conferences 
for a time of collegiality, spiritual renewal and education for authorized ministries and members in discernment.  Rev. Wanda D. Craner will be the Guest Speaker.  "The Spiritual Health of Clergy in Times of Dis-Ease".
  Clergy Convocation Flyer 2018
To register: click here.
Have you heard about the transformative leadership initiative of the Pension Boards called the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI)?  NGLI equips, energizes, and empowers younger United Church of Christ local church pastors to build vibrant congregations that change lives and further God's mission in the world. Here's a video that tells you more:
More information can be found at:



Webinar: A Mother and Son Take on Climate Change
Twenty-one youth are suing the federal government over climate change, and one of them is the son of a UCC pastor. Hear a personal perspective on the case in a live webinar featuring Kiran Oommen and his mother the Rev. Melanie Oommen of First Congregational UCC in Eugene, Oregon. A brief legal update on the case will be provided by Coreal Riday-White of Our Children's Trust. The webinar will take place on the evening of February 28th. Shantha Ready Alonso of Creation Justice Ministries will cohost the event with the Rev. Brooks Berndt of the UCC Environmental Justice Program.  Register now to join. The event is part of the Justice for #EachGeneration campaign to have a thousand sermons preached in support of the 21 youth. This campaign was spearheaded by the UCC Council for Climate Justice and has 21 sponsoring organizations from different faiths.

     Phoebe Ministries will honor Bill Hacker and Eric Blew of Arbor Insurance with the Rev. Dr. Grant Harrity Award for Exemplary Service to the Aging at their annual Institute on Aging Benefit on Thursday, March 22 in University Center at DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley. The cocktail attire event will feature dinner and dancing and begins with cocktails at 6:00 p.m. Music will be provided by The Craig Thatcher Band.  For full details and reservation information click here.
February 25 - 3PM - INSTALLATION - Rev. Kayli Freeman - Union UCC, Neffs
March 4 - 3PM - ORDINATION - Virginia Schlegel at Jordan UCC, Allentown  (Snow Date:  March 11)
     Celebrate with the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ as we welcome our newest Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation: St. John's United Church of Christ, Fullerton; Whitehall, PA.  The ONA church number indicates the position of this church in the chronology of all ONA churches listed since 1985.
     We all want and need to build stronger relationships with one another: getting to know each of the covenant partners in this relationship is important.  Please welcome and share information about yourself, get to know one another and be in ministry together seeking justice for all in Jesus' name.
     St. John's UCC, Fullerton provides a welcoming and safe place for all people to worship God, grow in faith and fellowship, and serve others and God by following the example of Jesus Christ. We believe all person are created in God's image and are loved, valued, and blessed equally by God.
     This community of faith is an open and accepting congregation who seeks to welcome, without judgement, all persons, including those of all races, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, family structures, faith backgrounds, abilities and economic circumstances.
- Rev. Dr. Becky Beckwith, pastor
- Michelle Funk, licensed assistant pastor


Children's Sermon
for Feb. 18 ( based on Mark 1:9-15) 
Items needed:  several blankets, 6" doll or action figure.   As kids are coming up, unfold blankets and put into a pile so as to make a mountain.  Explain to kids that you've made this mountain and now you are going to put  (give  doll/action figure a name) halfway up mountain.  Hold doll halfway up the side of the "mountain."  Ask kids, will it be easier for (doll's name ) to go uphill, or to go downhill?   Answer-it's easier to walk downhill than it is to walk uphill.  But which way does (doll's name) have to go to see the nice view  on the top of the mountain--uphill!  It's always easier to go downhill, but it's by going uphill that you get to the mountaintop.  In today's Bible reading,  Jesus begins the special work God has sent Him  to do.  Sometimes this was hard for Jesus, just like trying to follow Jesus is hard for us sometimes----like walking UP the mountain is harder than walking DOWN the mountain.  But the one who does the harder thing-- going up-- gets to the beautiful mountaintop, just like the person who goes up, to follow Jesus, gets to see the beauty of God
- Rev. David Quinn

17 - 10AM-Noon - JCVDT - First, Quakertown
18 - 2PM - Allentown Mutual Ministry - St. John's UCC, 36 S. 6th St., Allentown
19 - PNEC OFFICE CLOSED - President's Day
20 - 9:30AM-2:30PM - Licensed/Commissioned Ministry Committee Reviews - Conf. Office
20 - 11:30AM - Blue Mountain AMC Clergy - Villa Lentini Ristorante - with Missionary Jeff Mensendiek
20 - 3-5PM - Open House at the Conference Office presentation by Jeffrey Mensendiek, Global Ministry Missionary to Japan
20 - 5:30PM Dinner - 6-8PM Meeting - Board of Directors - Conference Office
21 - 9AM - Ordained Church & Ministry Committee - Conf. Office
22 -10-11:30AM - Congregational Vitality Committee - Conference Office
24 - 9AM-2PM - PNEC & PSEC Committee on Ministry - Jordan, Allentown
25 - 3PM - INSTALLATION - Rev. Kayli Freeman - Union UCC, Neffs
27 -9:30AM - Ordaining MID Committee - Conf. Office
27 - SNOW DATE for February 20 Board of Directors
27 - 9-11:30AM - JCRT - Conference Office
27 - 11AM - Annual Meeting Planning - Conf. Office
28 - 9:30AM - PNEC Faith Formers - City View Diner, Whitehall

2018 Boundaries Workshops
"Essential Boundaries for Wise Leaders" 
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod Essential Boundaries for Wise Leaders training program is designed to enrich both our opportunity and responsibility as leaders for Christ's church.
2018 Workshops will be held: 

   Tuesday, May 22 - Bern Lutheran, Leesport

   Wednesday, May 23 - Faith Evang. Lutheran, Whitehall
   Tuesday, October 23 - St. Paul's Lutheran, Dallas
   Wednesday, October 24 - Christ Hamilton United,
God's Blessings,
Rev. Mary W. Gade, Associate of the Bishop
Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod/ELCA
610-266-5101 ;

Call to the 56th Annual Meeting

of the Penn Northeast Conference

Saturday, April 14, 2018

8AM to 4PM


Union UCC, 5550 Route 873, Neffs


Theme:  Exploration!

Workshop Leader:  Rev. Michael Piazza,

Spiritual Visionary, Author, Social Justice Advocate, Currently serving as Pastor of Middle Collegiate Church, NYC

Guest Preacher:  Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates,

Conference Minister, PNEC

Download a Registration form here

Also available for download from

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry
is proud to announce its
Church Leadership class
(formerly Church Administration)
to be offered March 10, 2018 from 9am to 4pm at First UCC in Schuylkill Haven.
While this class is an Advanced Level class for those seeking Licensed Ministry preparation, it is also a wonderful refresher for seasoned Clergy or laity leadership who are looking for new ways to beef up their administrative and leadership skills.  Click for the registration form or you can go to our website to register and pay online.  We hope to see you at this educational opportunity that is provided for all our churches.
Crossroads Spring Courses...
include Mapping the Route (Theology) with the Rev. Dr. Bill Falla on Monday nights beginning Mar 12 and Traditions (Denominations and World Religions) with the Rev. Dr. Walter Wagner on Thursday nights beginning Mar 8.  All courses are held at Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem PA.  Exact dates, course descriptions and registration info is at or contact Jill Peters at
Crossroads Info Session is on Sat Feb 17 at 10 am at Moravian Seminary, 60 W. Locust Street, Bethlehem.  Come and find out if lay leadership education is for you and bring your questions.  Crossroads participants are making a big difference in their congregations and their communities.  Contact  Jill Peters at for more information.
Eastern Regional Youth Event 
     The Eastern Regional Youth Event website has been updated to include the band information and the workshops that will be available and what a variety of workshops there are! PNEC has formed a team to help you with any questions you may have. We have been working on any details for the churches in our conference. Have you received an email from the team? If not, please contact Marge Baltz ( We will continue to give updates as they are available! 
On-line Polity Classes
geared towards Ministerial Authorization
1.        Center for Progressive Renewal: (a link to contact the director of on-line learning is on this page)
2.        New York Conference:  contact Conference Minister Rev. David Gaewski at
4.        Chicago Theological Seminary:
Phoebe Wyncote to Hold Organ Rededication
and Concert 
     Phoebe Wyncote, 208 Fernbrook Avenue, will hold an organ rededication service and concert at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, 2018. The event will celebrate the history of the organ and its organists. It will feature The Rev. Dr. Scott Brooks Cope, Director of Pastoral Care for Phoebe Ministries and his son, Taylor Cope, as well as Collin O'Malley, an organist studying at West Chester University, and Bob Masenheimer, conductor of the Phoebe Berks Choraleers.
     The concert is free and open to the public and will be followed by light refreshments and fellowship.
     Space is limited and an RSVP is required to attend.  Seat reservations should be made by Tuesday, February 27 by calling 215-461-2103 or emailing



if you have any youth interested


Penn Northeast Conference

            Presents ....

13th Annual Youth Retreat

all youth in grades 7th - 12th are invited!

May 4 - 6, 2018

Check-in Friday 6:30-7:00......Pick-up Sunday Noon

Spruce Lake, 5389 Route 447, Canadensis


(includes meals Saturday & Sunday breakfast)


We must have all registrations and $50 non-refundable deposit per person.


Disaster Ministries Update
Just a little reminder that all churches are to drop off Church World Service kits (clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits) to the PNEC office in Palmerton.  Having everything dropped off at the Conference office is more convenient for the people who will be delivering to Maryland. 


March 2 - The Opiod Crisis as a Public Health Issue

Dr. Chrysan Cronin, Director, Public Health Program


April 6 - To BE Announced - watch for further details at


May 11 - Getting the "Other" Right: the Challenges of Doing History

Professor Robert Weiner, Jones Professor of History, Lafayette College

*Please Note - Location is Seegers Union 108-110


19th Global Youth Justice Training
World's Most Replicated Juvenile Justice Program
Historic Provincetown in Cape Cod, USA
Tuesday to Thursday -- June 12-14, 2018

Grief and the Quest for Meaning
Friday, February 23, 2018 * 9:00am-4:30pm
Politics of Religion-  Native Spirituality & Christian Practice
Friday, March 9, 2018 * 9:00am-Noon
For details and how to register click URL below
Polity Curriculum for Local Churches

     MESA recently released a new UCC Polity Curriculum designed for local congregations: new member classes, confirmation classes, COM orientations, and congregations considering joining the UCC. The materials can be found online at:
Pennsylvania lay leader creates traveling road show around UCC's 3 Great Loves...A lay leader of the UCC Penn Northeast Conference is on a spiritual journey, spending his Sundays with several different congregations, and spreading the word about the 3 Great Loves (3GL) initiativeClick to see full article

3 Great Loves Wants to Come to
Your Congregation
The 3 Great Loves is the denomination's opportunity to express how our Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, and Love of Creation work together to address the inequities in our current world. To move this initiative forward in the Penn Northeast Conference, we have recruited Gary Barraco from Forks UCC to be our '3 Great Loves Ambassador'. Gary has been working with the National representative and Regional Ambassador to prepare our Conference to learn more about the 3 Great Loves program. Gary and others want to come to your church and deliver the Sunday morning message or present to a large group. He has put together a full liturgy for a worship serve, including suggested hymns, so we can come in with a pre-packaged service. To learn more, contact Gary at
And Still We Rise
Transforming U.S. Policy Toward a Just Middle East Washington, D.C. | June 17 - 19, 2018
The Summit will highlight women peacemakers from the Middle East. Men and women are invited to hear from speakers who are all women! For full article, please click here

 Christian Pilgrims Tour

September 20-28, 2018

England, Netherlands & Boston

for a flyer with full details, please click here



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 CLICK HERE

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"