•  THIS WEEK IN PNEC                  January 9, 2020
Penn Northeast Conference UCC, 431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA 18071
www.pnec.org   610-826-3113; 610-826-5464 FAX
Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates    bonnieb@pnec.org        
Rev. Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez    hispanicucc@rcn.com
Rev. Christian Creyer     christianc@pnec.org       
Barbara Jennings    barbaraj@pnec.org
Patty Rehrig    pattyr@pnec.org
   SEND ARTICLES TO BE INCLUDED TO   pattyr@pnec.org
Update on Puerto Rico Earthquakes
Dear colleagues,
I’m sure many of you are keeping our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico in your prayers today, and likely already fielding some questions regarding how folks can help and the UCC response. For those who are unaware, Puerto Rico was struck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake at 3:24am local time today 8 miles west of Ponce (on the southeastern coast), and numerous aftershocks have been reported. This follows a 5.0 magnitude earthquake yesterday. Numerous homes and structures have been damaged and one casualty has been reported. Folks on the island are in the midst of assessing damage and needs.
First I want to let you know that Angel, Lydia and Edward with the IEUPR are ok. I know many of you had a chance to meet them in person during our CDC Gathering there last year. Your prayers for them and their families are appreciated, although if you have their personal cell phone numbers I would ask you to wait a few days before reaching out so that they are able to focus on their families at this time.
Second, more information about the UCC’s response and how folks can help with be forthcoming ASAP. We are preparing a dedicated web page for our response to which we can send individuals, etc. As soon as that information is prepared, I will send to all of you directly.
In the interim, Karen Georgia Thompson has written a beautiful prayer we will share soon on social media, and which you can share with your networks:
A Prayer for Puerto Rico
Holy God, source of light and life, our hearts are once again grieving as we witness the many tragedies around us. We pray today for our siblings in Puerto Rico who have awaken to the challenges of these earthquakes. We pray for their strength and resilience. We pray for those who experienced loss and ask their peace and comfort. Help us to be a source of your presence and love with all in this moment. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson
Assoc. General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations Co-Executive for Global Ministries

ALSO...this just in...
Good morning all,
We have launched the information and giving pages for the Puerto Rico appeal, with a goal of raising $250,000. https://www.ucc.org/earthquake_recovery_puerto_rico
Please share far and wide. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Yours in Christ,
Amanda K. Sheldon
Program Associate, UCC Refugee and Asylum Ministries & UCC Disaster Ministries
United Church of Christ www.ucc.org
+1 (216) 736-3210
700 Prospect Ave. E., Cleveland, OH 44115
UCC Officers Call for Prayer and Fasting
My dear friends,
Click Here to see the Call for Prayer and Fasting which was sent out by our denominational leadership. I posted the original of this on our PNEC Facebook page, but want all of you to have access to the information.
 As a Conference Board Executive Committee we discussed this. We have chosen Tuesday, January 21 , a date during the Week of Christian Unity, as the day of fasting and prayer for the Penn Northeast Conference . Please consider praying and fasting for peace on January 21, and encourage your congregations to participate as well. If you gather for prayer or for a vigil please share pictures and prayers with the whole of the conference, either through Facebook or email.
 May our prayers rise to God and our efforts be filled with grace and hope.
Blessings, Bonnie
Honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
on January 19th & 20th
( Please Note: If attending the movie and the breakfast - this will qualify for your Anti-Racism training.)

Join us for a screening of the documentary, "Traces of the Trade" on January 19th and the annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on January 20th. Click Here for full details.
PNEC’s 2019 Closing Date will be Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Please plan your closing so that your final 2019 remittance will be received in the Conference Office by Wednesday, January 15 . Receipts received after the 15th will be credited to 2020. Do not include 2019 remittances with 2020 and make certain remittance slips are marked for either the year 2019 or 2020 .

Thank you for your cooperation and support.
2020 Spring Conference Meeting
April 24 and 25
The Chateau at Camelback, 475 Camelback Rd., Tannersville, PA
The meeting will be one overnight, dinner on Friday evening, breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
Starts at 4PM on Friday and concludes at 4PM on Saturday.
Please Note:
If Authorized Ministers attend the entire meeting it will qualify for your Cultural Competency Training.
“Just show up!”
Exploration Gathering – All Welcome
Getting involved in social justice can be overwhelming. There are so many causes you can get behind, varieties of movements, tricky vocabulary words and big names to know —
and that can make it difficult to know where to start.
But that shouldn't prevent you from joining a movement that revolves around an issue you're passionate about. The first step is showing up.
Members of groups or individuals interested in advocacy, justice and social issues:
·       want to work with others who are interested,
·       do not want to duplicate the efforts of other groups,
·       feel isolated in their current setting and do not know who to reach out to,
·       desire an opportunity to learn and share resources,
·       need to garner support for themselves and others as efforts are undertaken.
The Penn Northeast Conference of the United Church of Christ is facilitating an open discussion session to begin the exploration to form an inter-faith, non-denominational Justice and Advocacy group.
The group will develop and share educational resources with individuals and groups seeking to participate in local, national and global issues of justice for all. Based on the participation on the team any number of issues may be addressed, but in all cases we will act in a non-partisan way, addressing the issues and advocating for improvement and corrections of rules, practices, funding, and actions to improve the lives of those affected by the issue(s) at hand.
Interested in being part of this group? Come to the gathering on
Saturday, January 18, 2020 from 9:30am to 11:00am.
Moravian Theological Seminary, Bahnson Center, 1200 Main St, Bethlehem, PA 18018. 
For more info, contact Gary Barraco at garybarraco@verizon.net .
Summary Notes of the December 2, 2019 Conference Board Meeting
PNEC Offering Advanced Boundary Training
Boundary Awareness in the Digital Age
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ~ Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Jordan UCC, 1837 Church Rd., Allentown
Cost: $35 per person (includes registration & lunch)
Led by Rev. Darren Morgan, Associate Conference Minister @ Maine Conference UCC
Boundary Awareness Training is part of clergy continuing education and dialogue toward healthy ministerial relationships and self-care. It seeks to promote opportunities for discussion about the hard and gray areas that make up so much of the space within our profession. This training will equip clergy to understand the importance of healthy digital boundaries in ministry and to critically discern the complexities of boundaries in pastoral relationships. Church lay-leaders are welcome to attend this training as well. (If you are a pastor and have never taken boundary training before you should attend a regular boundary training and not this advanced training.)

You can register on-line through tithe.ly at the link below
2020 LGBT Spirituality Mini-Series
spiritual inclusion for trans people in faith communities - January 6 at 6PM; January 13 at 6PM
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, 522 West Maple St. at Bayard Rustin Way, Allentown
Moderated by Rev. Beth Goudy, Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley
Note to PNEC Pastors...Attending both would qualify as Cultural Competency Training
PNEC Communities of Practice
Are accepting participants for 2020. Cost is $250 for the year. Counts for ½ of your continuing education hours. You can apply to the Longsdorf Fund for continuing education funds.  click here for a list of the Communities of Practice and their openings. If interested... click here for application.

Interim Ministry Network Training
January 28-29, 2020
Zion, Strausstown (right off Route 78)
5:30 to 8PM on the 28th & 8:30AM to 5:30PM on the 29th - presenter Arlen Vernava - cost $50
Sponsored by Penn Central, Pennsylvania Southeast and Penn Northeast Conferences.
If interested, contact Bonnie at the PNEC Office.

Plymouth's Pilgrims
Their Church, Their World, and Ours
A historical introduction and discussion guide for churches, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the landing at Plymouth.
The Congregational Library & Archives in Boston, MA has put together a short, informative, and free discussion and study guide. This study guide is available to all, free of charge, on their website...
along with a variety of other resources, including historical documents, suggestions for further reading, and eventually an "ask the experts" feature. They are also providing a version of the study guide written by a curriculum expert, specifically geared toward youth groups and confirmation classes.

Mid-Atlantic Association of United Church Educators (MA-AUCE)
2020 Annual Conference
Holistic Faith Formation: Engaging Our Whole Selves
(This event is for "full time or part time
clergy or lay, paid or volunteer.")

April 27 - April 29, 2020
Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center
3300 River Rd., Mt. Bethel, PA
Click Here for Detailed Flyer & Registration
Deadline to Register is March 1.
IRS Standard Mileage Rates
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has  issued  the 2020 standard mileage rates. Beginning on January 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:
·        57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 58 cents in 2019)
·       17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 20 cents in 2019)
·       14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (currently fixed by Congress)
2020 Boundary Training
offered by Lehigh Presbytery
(3 different sessions)
Click here for the flyer for three sessions of Boundary Training Offered by the Lehigh Presbytery in 2020. These sessions will be led by David Olsen.

Message from Amy Johnson - Our Whole Lives information
I'm excited to announce that, in early 2020, the UCC will be launching an Our Whole Lives newsletter, to be delivered quarterly. This will include information on how Our Whole Lives and Sexuality & Our Faith help to dismantle shame and stigma around bodies and relationships. Our hope is that this venue will help spread the good news about OWL, answer commonly asked questions, share a scripture focus, and give people ongoing info about upcoming trainings. Please help us spread the word in the UCC!
The sign-up link is here:    https://www.ucc.org/owl_signup

Clergy Convocation 2020
with Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath
May 5-7, 2020
Double Tree by Hilton
2400 Willow St. Pike, Lancaster
(qualifies for 10 contact hours)
Click here for full flyer, schedule, and how to register - Deadline April 1, 2020


--January 13 - 4PM - Churchwide Webinar: How Your Church Can Accompany Asylum Seekers - 4PM
--January 18 - 7 to 9:30PM - Interfaith Discussion - Raising Children in a Challenging Environment
-- July 22-25, 2020 -- NYE 2020 -- Here’s the link   http://www.uccpages.org/nye2020/ --
**If your church plans on attending, please contact Kayli Freeman ( pastorkayli@unionucc.org ) or Tracy Whitehead ( twhitehead@IU17. o rg ).
Disaster Ministries
Martin Luther King Day tips... read more

Revision of the drop off sites for CWS buckets and kits.. read more .

You can find more information & updates at UCC Disaster Ministries: www.ucc.org/disaster