This Week in PNEC --- January 4, 2018 - January 12, 2018


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

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


          Bonnie Bates                      Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez   

          Barbara Jennings              Patty Rehrig



PNEC's 2017 Closing Date will be Friday, January 12, 2018
Please plan your closing so that your final 2017 remittance will be received in the Conference Office by Friday, January 12, 2018.  Receipts received after the 12th will be credited to 2018.  Do not include 2017 remittances with 2018 and make certain remittance slips are marked for either the year 2017 or 2018.  Thank you for your cooperation and support.
  In the fall of 2013, the UCC's national setting Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Ministry Team initiated a process to reimagine the Manual on Ministry (MOM), which is an essential resource of the National Offices in service to and support of all covenant partners in the United Church of Christ. MESA has relied on a committee called the Habakkuk Group to review the Manual on Ministry and make recommendations to enhance the ministry of the United Church of Christ among authorized ministers, local church settings and middle judicatories of the United Church of Christ. One of the suggestions is the concept of Three and Four Way Covenants.
     The concept of Covenant has long been established as the basis for a call to ministry in the United Church of Christ. Based on this principal, the Three-Way Covenant was developed to review and affirm annually the covenant established between an authorized minister, the local church setting and the conference in which the authorized minister and local church is located. This way, all three parties are able to renew their relationships as ministers together on behalf of Jesus Christ and the United Church of Christ.
     A Four-Way Covenant is similar to the Three-Way Covenant except that it is between four entities: an authorized minister, a local church setting, a middle judicatory, and a place of employment other than a congregational setting (i.e. military, educational, hospital or residential chaplaincy, or seminary or other form of ministry).
     MESA highly suggests the use of Three- and Four- Way Covenants as part of the original call negotiations, but these should not be confused with contracts or hiring agreements. MESA's intent is to have the covenant as part of an annual discussion regarding one's ministry whether from the perspective of the authorized minister, the local church setting, the conference, or the place of employment and does not change the context of the original contract or call agreement. It is to be a reminder that the Covenant is not stagnant, but a living relationship holding all parties together through our Creator and our common commitment to serve in the name of Jesus Christ. These covenants are to strengthen, support and sustain the ministries of all the partners that share in the covenant; to encourage mutual participation and accountability of and for the life of each by the others; and to observe, nurture, celebrate, and call forth the ministry of the authorized minister.
     Though most congregational settings have already made decisions regarding compensation for authorized ministers in church settings, we encourage authorized ministers to begin the discussion now regarding Three-Way and Four-Way Covenants in preparation for further discussion over the course of the next year so that at the end of 2018, all authorized ministers will have a signed Three-Way with the local church setting as well as the agency or employer in the case of Four-Way Covenant. These conversations should include the Ministers Code of Conduct, the Church Code of Conduct, along with the PNEC Authorized Ministers Compensation Guidelines which are all available through PNEC.      
Please click on each to view:    Three Way Covenant                  Four Way Covenant         
You can also find this information on our website:
"I love to tell the story; 'tis pleasant to repeat.
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet."
   3 Great Loves is a denomination-wide story telling initiative. Over the span of two years, with the help of local Ambassadors, we will collect and lift up the stories of our local congregations and affiliates all around the nation. We want to hear about the knitting clubs, the food pantries, the community meals, protests, letter writing campaigns and anything else your church or organization may be doing to create a just world for all. NOTHING IS TOO SMALL.
   The work that is already being done is significant and greatly needed. Our hope is that this initiative, we will tell the story of how we are impacting and transforming the world as covenantal partners united in common purpose, vision, and mission.
   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
 Update on the Housing Allowance Case from
UCC General Counsel - NEW
From Heather Kimmel:
Many of you have been watching with interest the housing allowance case in the Western District of Wisconsin.  As you know, the judge determined that the housing allowance provision was unconstitutional and asked for supplementary briefing on the remedy.  The order on the remedy has now been entered.
  • The IRS is enjoined from enforcing the housing allowance, but the injunction is stayed until 180 days after all appeals are exhausted.  This means that the IRS cannot allow the housing allowance any more, but that this does not go into effect until 180 days after all appeals are exhausted.  Most certainly the decision will be appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals, so the status quo is still in effect now.
  • There are significant questions about what enjoining the IRS from enforcing the housing allowance looks like in practice-questions that likely will not be settled until the appeals are exhausted.
  • Relief is prospective only.  That means no one who has received a housing allowance in the past will be taxed on that income-only going forward (after the stay is lifted


The bottom line for right now:  ministers may continue to claim a housing allowance until 180 days after appeals are exhausted.


An Invitation from Pennsylvania Southeast Conference...Discipleship Workshop


Much emphasis is given today to churches reaching new people, and rightfully so.  The real area of untapped potential in any congregation and community are not the people outside of the church, but the people who are sitting in your pews every Sunday (or every other Sunday).  This workshop is designed to equip pastors and lay leaders with modern tools for doing an ancient work; making disciples out of those who are in our care.

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.

Register now for Clergy Convocation
     Join the Penn Northeast and Pennsylvania 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. This year's presentation is "The Spiritual Health of Clergy in Times of Dis-Ease".

Clergy Convocation Flyer 2018
To register: click here.
History, Theology and Polity Course
Jan/Feb 2018
     A UCC History, Theology and Polity Course that meets the requirements as set forth by the UCC Polity Teacher's Network will be offered online in Jan/Feb 2018. The instructor will be Rev. David Gaewski, Conference Minister of the New York Conference, UCC. Classes will begin at 9:30am and end at 4:00pm on the following dates: January 20&27 and February 3&10. The platform utilized will be Zoom Video Conferencing ( The tuition will be $475. For more information contact course administrator, Ms. Diana Pelletier, at
     This polity course is sponsored by the Oneida Association of the New York Conference. Payments should be sent no later than December 23rd to: Diana Pelletier, 114 Munro Dr., Camillus, NY 13031. Make checks payable to Oneida Association UCC.
     A syllabus is available by clicking here.  Laity, Members in Discernment and Privilege of Call candidates are all invited!   Class size is limited to the first fifteen to register.  The course will be cancelled if we do not obtain seven registered students. A student is considered registered when full payment has been received. Students who cancel enrollment will receive reimbursements up until January 11th. Please note the last two online classes reached maximum capacity.

Penn Central Conference

Mid-Winter Clergy Convocation

Proclaiming the Good News Today:

How We Embody Jesus to the World

January 30 - February 1, 2018

Keynote Speaker - Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath

Registration Link

For a full flyer of this event.....Click Here

January 28 - 3PM - INSTALLATION - Rev. Judy Brandon - UCC Greenawalds, Allentown
March 4 - 3PM - ORDINATION - Virginia Schlegel at Jordan UCC, Allentown  (Snow Date:  March 11)

Rev. Joshua Knappenberger will be joining the staff of Faith UCC, Center Valley, as their Pastor of Discipleship starting January 14, 2018. Josh, his wife, Angela, and daughter, Cora, live in the west end of Bethlehem.
Children's Sermon
for Jan. 7 (based on Mark 1:4-11:) 
Items needed:  cellphone that takes pictures or digital camera, 6 foot stepladder.  Ask for volunteer and tell them you are going to take their picture.  Have them stand apart from others and ask them to smile.  Then bring out ladder, put right next to them, climb up ladder, and use phone/camera to take a picture of them, directly  from above, so you get a picture of the top of their head.  Then climb down and show everybody the picture.  Explain , when you said you were going to take a picture, how everybody thought you meant taking a picture from straight on (now take a picture of volunteer's face and show everybody).) This is the way we usually take a picture.  In today's Bible reading, Jesus comes to be baptized by John.  Jesus looked just like everybody else.  But after Jesus was baptized, a Voice from Above said Jesus was God's Beloved Son.   (Show picture again of top of volunteer's head)  God sees differently than we do,  God sees from Above, kind of like this picture that was taken of the top of  (child's name)'s head.  people see us a certain way, we see ourselves a certain way, but God sees us differently--from Above
- Rev. David Quinn

4 - 11:30AM-1PM - Southwest AMC (SWAMP) Clergy - Perkins, Lehigh St., Allentown
8 - 10AM - Licensing/Commissioning MID Committee - Conf. Office
10 - 8:30AM - Ordained Church & Ministry Committee - Conf. Office
10 - 9:30AM - PNEC Faith Formers - City View Diner, Whitehall
10 - Noon to 2PM - PNEC OFFICE CLOSED - Staff Meeting
11 - 9:30-11AM - Licensed/Commissioned Mentor Group - Conf. Office
11 - 10AM - Ministry Committee Chairs sub-committee
11 - 11:30 -1:30PM - All Ministry Committee Chairs
11 - 1PM - Disaster Ministry Team Meeting - Conf. Office
12 - PNEC'S 2017 CLOSING DATE - Please plan your closing so that your final 2017 remittance will be received in the Conference Office by Friday, January 12. Receipts received after the 12th will be credited to 2018.



If you have any youth interested, please get those registrations in!!


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)

DEADLINE TO REGISTER February 12, 2018

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



Standard IRS Mileage Rates car-front-icon.gif


Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard IRS mileage rates for the use of a car  will be: 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017. 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
ACT Now: Unite to End Racism
Our First Act - Pray!
     We've already been praying, of course. Now let's step it up with a scheduled time when our hearts and souls can meet in the mind of God.
     From now till April 5 (at least!) let's agree to pray for the ACT Now: Unite to End Racism challenge every Thursday morning at 7AM your local time. It will be a rolling wave of prayer as 7AM dawns from time zone to time zone across the country and around the world.
     Let's pray that our country will:
A - Awaken to the truth that racism hurts us all
C - Confront the ways in which we have been complicit, complacent, or coerced

T - Transform - as stories are shared and truth is revealed, as we name the ways we can change and be transformed: as individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities of faith, and society as a whole
     Let's pray that we will UNITE to end racism!
     Let's pray for all those who are planning the April 3,4,5 launch - that it will be inspiring, motivating, challenging, equipping and safe - and that it will become part of a mighty current of healing and wholeness, justice and peace in our land.
     Let's pray every Thursday. 7AM Local Time. 
ACT Now: Unite to End Racism... Pray!
Shalom, The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President, UCC
Built to create a just world for all
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:

     An introduction session to the materials will be offered to recipients of the MESA Memo on January 11th at 2pm EST. This session will be an orientation for ministry partners to explore the new resource and think creatively on how it may be used.
Or Phone:
        US: +1 408 638 0968  or +1 646 876 9923  or +1 669 900 6833
            Meeting ID: 972 213 354
In the troubling circumstances we live in today it is more than important than ever that the world's faith community stand united.  The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry is offering our Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations as a means to lend education to assist with that goal.  As an advanced course of our Licensed Ministry Preparation curriculum it also offers clergy and laity alike an opportunity to learn about our neighbors so that we might look for the commonality rather than the differences in our pursuit of the eternal.  Join us Saturday, January 13, 2018 at First UCC in Schuylkill Haven from 9am to 4pm.  Attached is the registration and all reading materials can be found on the student page of our website at   May you have a wonderful Christmas season and a safe and happy New Year.
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
Lehigh Conference of Churches
MLK Jr. Day Interfaith Prayer Breakfast
January 15 - 9AM
Dubbs Memorial Community Center, Allentown
Women's Clergy Retreat
Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Invitation to the...
Women's Clergy Retreat being offered to the female ministers in PNEC. Please click here for the flyer.
January 16-18, 2018
@ Mariawald Retreat Center, Reading, PA
THEME Being Mindful & Self-Aware in a World Which Seems to be Losing Its Mind
Deadline to register is January 10, 2017
The link to register at Eventbrite is:


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"