This Week in PNEC --- December 15, 2016 - December 22, 2016 


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
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


Clergy are Invited: The Allentown AMC clergy group will be reading through the new UCC resource White Privilege: Let's Talk / A Resource for Transformational Dialogue, discussing a chapter a month over the next five months, beginning with their next gathering at Jordan UCC on Wednesday January 4 from noon - 12:30 p.m. Bring a bag lunch; our host church provides beverages and whatever other goodies they have to offer. For questions and links to the resources, and to RSVP to
March 22-24, 2017
Hartman Center Camp, Conference and 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.
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  Dec. 18: (to go with Fourth Sunday of Advent's theme of love)  Items needed:  empty, crushed soda can; wadded-up piece of paper; garbage can; brown blanket or towel: recycling container; new soda can, new piece of  white paper. Put the new can and the new paper into the recycling container beforehand. Show the kids the empty can and wadded-up paper--here I have some trash.  Now, I can throw it in the  garbage can (do so)   If I throw the trash into the garbage can, the garbage collectors will come(pick up can) and take it to  a place called the dump( move away to a place where you've put the brown    blanket.)  At the dump, the trash gets dumped out(empty garbage can onto floor ) and then it gets buried under dirt(put blanket over trash,) and then it gets forgotten about forever.  OR I could do something different with the trash(Take out empty can and wadded-up paper form underneath blanket.)   Instead of putting this in the garbage can, I could put it in the recycling container instead(do so.)    If I put the trash into the recycling container , it will get remade into something new (pull out the new can and the new paper.  Put down new things and take trash out of recycling container and hold up---sometimes, people get treated like trash, and sometimes we treat ourselves like trash.  But because God loves us, God sent Jesus.  Jesus is like God's recycling for people(hold up recycling container)--Jesus comes to be among us, to love us, and to help us become someone new.
- Rev. David Quinn
announcement ANNOUNCEMENTS &
 Rev. Cheryl Moore, pastor of St. Peter's Union Church in Mantzville (Tamaqua), has announced her retirement effective March 1, 2017.  Cheryl has served St. Peter's for the past six years.
Service of Interest...
January 8 - 3:00PM - INSTALLATION - Licensed Minister, Henry Distler will be installed as full-time pastor at St. John's UCC, Slatington
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
March 12 - 3:00PM - INSTALLATION - Licensed Minister Sandy Murphy will be installed as pastor at Christ UCC, Conyngham
UPCOMING DATES            

20 - 9:30AM - Licensed/Commissioned Ministry Committee
20 - 11:45AM - Blue Mountain AMC Clergy - Villa Lentini Ristorante, Ballietsville
21 - 9AM - Ordained Church & Ministry Committee - Conf. Office
23 - PNEC OFFICE CLOSED - Christmas Holiday
      FOR THE COMPLETE LIST OF "Upcoming Dates"
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.


Crossroads Winter Semester
 includes two courses which link together nicely or can be taken alone. 

Monday nights is Discipleship with Pam Weiss, Dir. Adult Spiritual Formation at FPC Allentown, Rev. Dr. Bill Falla, Philosophy Professor at Moravian College, and Rev. Cynthia Geyer, Dir. Youth & Young Adult Ministries, Moravian Church Eastern District. These three gifted presenters will cover history and NT foundations for Discipleship, how to structure programs for teens and young adults and also a comprehensive look at congregational discipleship programs.  
Our second Winter course, My Journey/Our Journey is a closer look at our own personal spiritual formation and then how to apply that to groups that you might be leading within your congregational.  Rev. Maggie Wellert will lead this course.
More information on either of these courses is at
contact Dr. Jill Peters at with any questions.

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


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"