|                                               August 9, 2018
This Week in PNEC
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
Call to the Fall Annual Meeting of the Penn Northeast Conference
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Faith UCC, 22 Faith Drive, Hazleton, PA
Theme: Transforming
Guest Preacher: Rev. Bill Worley, Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Minister
Upcoming Events
Pride in the Park 2018 - August 19 from Noon to 6PM, Cedar Beach Park, Allentown
    Contact Gary Barraco @ garybarraco@Verizon.net

Fall Disaster Ministries Webinar Series (sponsored by the UCC Disaster Ministries) - launches August
    21  - Topics: UCC Disaster Ministries Grant; Opportunities and Understanding the UCC Disaster
    Ministries Structure - Time and registration link coming soon

Phoebe Allentown Celebrates 115th Anniversary with Lawn Fete and Band Concert by the Royalaires on August 22 from 5 to 8 PM - free and open to the public. Lawn Fete Schedule

Joint Conference Vision and Development Team Summer Zoom Discussion - the last date is
    August 22 - Updated details to participate

Allentown Mutual Ministry - Calling all clergy and lay members of Allentown Area UCC Churches - Jim Byrnes will speak about the mission of Family Promise on August 26 from 2 to 3:30PM at UCC Greenawalds, Allentown.  Details

OPTIC, UCC’s Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity and Communication is kicking off a series of free webinars to help churches and stewardship committees meet their challenging goals of increasing funds and membership. The first of these roundtables will be held the evening of August 28. Read More

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry 3-part educational series called Consistory/Council 101 -
     September 15, October 6, October 27 - all from 10AM to Noon - Registration Form

PNEC Sleep Out for Homelessness - September 29-30, Forks UCC, Stockertown

Pastoral Leadership in Congregational Systems - Three Sessions of Learning to Improve Pastoral
    Leadership for Authorized Ministers - 3 days of experiential learning - October 10; February 27, 2019;
    May 1, 2019 - 9AM to 5PM each day at Faith UCC, Center Valley - COST: $350 including lunch. 
    $100 deposit due with registration. Full payment by 10.1.18 - Details & Registration

Understanding Addiction and Older Adults - October 11 at DeSales university - online registration will
    be available on September 7 at www.phoebe.org

PNEC Ministry Day - Saturday, October 13 from 9AM to 4PM, Faith UCC, 5992 Route 378, Center
    Valley - more details later

Greater Allentown CROP Hunger Walk - October 14 at 1:30PM beginning and ending at St. Timothy's
    Lutheran Church, 140 S. Ott St., Allentown - registration starting at 1PM - for sponsor form, info about
    CROP or making donations - https://www.crophungerwalk.org/

2018 Boundary Training Workshops - "Essential Boundaries for Wise Leaders" - sponsored by NE PA
    Synod - October 23 and October 24 -     Brochure       Registration

2018 "Widening the Welcome Conference - Living, Learning, Leading" - November 1-3 at the
    Sheraton Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Convention Center - Also, a Mental Health First Aid
    class, November 1 - certified course with cont. ed. credit upon completion - Detailed Flyer
Disaster Response Ministry Team
Friends,
    We are in the midst of rebuilding our Disaster Response Ministry Team with the assistance of the national setting and our support staff, Amanda Sheldon and Zach Wolgemuth.
    At a recent gathering of Conference Disaster Response Conference Coordinators, the attached list of characteristics of Disaster Ministries Champions was developed. If you feel a passion for responding to the local and national disaster responses of the United Church of Christ, and a connection to the international disaster response work with our partners, please consider joining our PNEC Conference Team. Please indicate your interest by e-mailing me at bonnieb@pnec.org or Barbara Jennings at barbaraj@pnec.org A meeting will be planned for the early fall.
     Thank you for your continuing efforts to express God’s love to our neighbors.       -Bonnie

UCC Disaster Ministries Champions
Who are they and what do they do?              But they don't need to...
  • Carry the message                            - Have knowledge of Disaster Ministries or Response     
  • Serve as our local eyes and ears      - Always be available
  • Are Committed                                   - Make a financial commitment
  • Show Up                                             - Be a certain age/be our peers
  • Organize Others                                 - Be a UCC member or be a pastor
So who are the people we should engage?
  • 'People of peace,' not necessarily pastors
  • However it is powerful when the pastor asks other congregants to be involved
  • This is all about creating relationships
Committee on Ministry Structure Change
The Conference Board of the Penn Northeast Conference approved a restructuring of the PNEC Committee on Ministry to begin implementation this summer. Rather than four separate committees, there is now one Committee on Ministry (Chair - Rev. Jeff Brinks) with three working groups. This helps the Penn Northeast Conference to more easily implement the revisions of the Manual on Ministry. Thirty-nine individuals will make up the Committee on Ministry. The Committee will then, self-select based on skills, interest and experience, to serve on one of three working groups:
  1. Authorization (15 members) working on the authorization of ministers through discernment and ordination, dual standing and privilege of call. - Chair - Rev. Cecilia Baxter; Asst. Chair - Pastor Jim Stanley
  2. Oversight (15members) working on assuring authorized ministers meet their standing requirements as to training, continuing education, ethics, church membership, and the Marks of Faithful and Effective Ministry. - Co-Chairs - Rev. James Robison and Rev. Dr. Becky Beckwith
  3. Local Congregational Support (9 members) working to support congregations during times of conflict, transition, revitalization, and closure. - Co-Chairs - Jeff Carlton and Rev. Rich Teitsworth
These changes have begun to be implemented. As we move forward there will be increased support, clarity of expectations, opportunities for collegial partnership, and efficiency in the work of the conference with regards to authorized ministers and congregations. Please pray for these members of our conference who have undertaken this important work in and on behalf of our conference and the whole of the United Church of Christ.
                                                                                                              Blessings ,   Bonnie
Children's Sermon from Rev. David Quinn
For August 12  -- (based on John 6:35, 41-51) 
Items needed: large suitcase with heavy items inside, paper chain, metal chain. Let one of the kids try to pick up the suitcase, so they know it's heavy. Show them the paper chain, the metal chain, and ask, "If I wanted to pull this suitcase, which of these should I use?" Let's try the paper chain first---tie paper chain around suitcase handle. Then pull on paper chain until it breaks. That didn't work! Now let's try the metal chain--tie it to suitcase handle and pull. See how the metal chain doesn't break the way the paper chain did. In today's Bible reading, Jesus says, "whoever believes has eternal life" That means the love of Jesus is like this metal chain---it won't break, no matter what, so Jesus will hold us always.
2019 UCC Medical and Dental Benefits Plan Premium Rates & Enhancements
We are pleased to announce the following premium rates and plan enhancements for the 2019 plan year, effective January 1, 2019:
  • Non-Medicare Health Plan: 2% increase
  • Medicare Supplement Plan: 2% increase
  • Dental Plan: 4% increase
  • Vision Plan: no change
  • Life Insurance and Disability Income Plan: no change
The following benefit enhancements are also approved as of January 1, 2019

Dental Plan
  • The Annual Benefit Maximum per person is increased from $1,800 to $2,000.
  • Annual Preventive Services (e.g., cleanings and examinations) will not reduce the Annual Benefit Maximum.
Vision Plan
  • The Annual Allowance for frames and contact lenses is increased from $140 to $150
As is our customary practice, churches/employers and individual plan participants will receive detailed information by mail later this Summer regarding applicable rates for 2019.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at floiacono@pbucc.org or by phone at 212.729.2806 .
PATHWAYS Theological Education offers a variety of course for continuing education for ordained ministers, chaplains, and those in designated ministry roles. Up-coming courses for continuing education include:
  • Singing the Bible (4 weeks for 1.5 CEU’s beginning September 12): This course offers tips and tools for choosing music for congregational singing and ensembles that enhance the themes and stories of Biblical passages chosen for proclamation  
  • Howard Thurman: Living Wisdom for God’s Justice and Love (4 weeks for 1.5 CEU’s beginning September 12): An exploration of Thurman’s three “hounds of hell” (fear, hypocrisy/deception and hatred) that track the trails of persons living with their backs against the walls – the disinherited.  
  • Practicing Our Faith in the Public Square (6 weeks for 4 CEU’s beginning October 3): Examines the why, how, and direction of faith-based engagement in the political life of our communities and nation. 
  • For members of UCC COMs and Conference Staff, a special section of Professional Boundaries and Ministerial Self-Care (6 weeks for 4 CEU’s beginning October 3). This course explores professional ethics for clergy, including the development of an ethical paradigm, state requirements for the mandatory reporting of abuse, relational boundaries, financial management, and social media self-disclosure. This course is free for members of COMs and Conference Staff.
For more information or to register for any of these courses visit:  www.PATHWAYS-UCC.org . Or email PATHWAYS at info@pathwaystheological.org
Mutual Ministries
     At our last Mutual Ministries meeting we chose literacy & homelessness as our primary focus for shared ministry in 2018-2019. We lifted up the work of several churches and their members who are already engaged in mentoring children in reading programs of local elementary schools. We chose to support the work of Family Promise of Lehigh Valley in their program which is nearing a start day to provide transitional housing for families in need. We designated Sunday, September 23 for a special offering to benefit Family Promise. Fittingly, the text for the Sunday is Mark 9:30-37:
     He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,    “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (vs, 36,37)
    Wanting to provide information about the work, goals and mission of the organization in advance of the offering we have invited Jim Byrnes, Executive Director of Family Promise of Lehigh Valley to speak at our August meeting. Some of our congregations are already involved as host or support churches with plans to provide shelter, meals, and/or volunteers.
    Our Conference Minister Bonnie Bates is unable to be with us for the August meeting and I will facilitate in her absence. Please share the attached invitation with your congregation. We hope to have a large gathering as we strategize our involvement with this important work in the community. Please post the attached flyer. 
    Information for bulletin inserts prior to the offering will be provided. 
                                                                                                                 Peace in Christ, Judy Brandon
Informational
  UCC Refugee Ministries
As of 7.23.18 only 17,564 refugees have actually been allowed to come into the country to restart their lives. Are you or your congregation interested in the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program? If so, there is a step-by-step guide for meeting with your Member of Congress to say #RefugeesWelcome.
Global Youth Justice Summer Issue...
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Faith is Essential to Human Rights
The Rev. Traci Blackmon message of love, faith to a global gathering at the Carter Center Human Rights Forum.  Learn more>>
The Rev. Jim Antal: "It's time for America to face up to the fact that human rights violations are not 'somebody else's problem.'"  Read commentary>>
Fall Crossroads Lay Leadership Program
Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem
exciting line-up of courses. All courses are offered in Zoom, a real time, distance learning format
For detailed class information go to