Next week is called Holy Week in my Christian communities. We experience the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and then move into the stories of Jesus’ last week of public ministry. Pastors have the choice of celebrating Palm Sunday as the occasion of this victory or focusing on the Passion Sunday narratives – the stories of that last week – the Passover meal, betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. I tended to reserve those readings for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The difficulty is that many fewer people come to those worship services and therefore miss the stories, moving from the triumph of the entry into Jerusalem to the triumph of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. There is no exploration of the challenges of the remaining week.
I understand why people don’t come to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. For one thing we don’t usually come to church on Thursday and Friday. It doesn’t match our usual practice. The other reason is that Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are real “downers” for us. No one wants to dwell on pain and grief; no one wants to focus on death. Yet, pain, grief and death are all too human experiences. These worship services remind us of the humanness of Jesus and his willingness to share in all our human experiences.
My friend and colleague Michael Piazza writes, “We who seek to follow the Way of Jesus live by hope that the resurrection of Jesus contains the seeds of the promise of our own resurrection. By skipping Good Friday, however, most people live as if we can live eternally without having to die.” (Liberating Word, April 12, 2019).
The reality of the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services may be difficult, but we know, in our personal lives, the betray of friends, the denial of our good works, the loss of life and the pain of grief. If we skip from Palm Sunday’s triumph to Easter Sunday’s triumph, we have missed encountering the Jesus who sacrifices, who loves in spite of betrayal and who forgives – even those putting him to death.
So this year, try going to the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, or if that is not possible to you, read the narratives in scripture. Easter Sunday’s victory over death, Easter Sunday’s hope message is so much clearer and more meaningful if you have done so. However you encounter Holy Week, may your celebrations, fears, disappointments and life be nurtured by the presence of God, through the experience of Jesus and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Blessings,
Call to the Spring Meeting of the Penn Northeast Conference
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Church of the Good Shepherd, 135 Quarry Road, Alburtis, PA
Theme: Rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord Always
Registration Deadline: April 15, 2019
Sorry, there’s no refund of registration fees
Thank you to the following PNEC churches who contributed to OCWM during the month of March 2019
Cedar (Cetronia), Allentown.....Christ, Bethlehem.....Christ, Conyngham.....Christ, Jim Thorpe .....
Church of the Manger, Bethlehem.....Emmanuel, Nuremberg .....Faith, Center Valley .....First, Berwick....
First, Hellertown.....First, Palmerton.....First, Scranton.....Good Shepherd, Slatedale..... Jerusalem (Trachsville), Palmerton.....Morgenland, Orefield.....Salem, Pocono Lake.....Salem (Moorestown), Bath.....
St. John’s, Palmerton.....St. John’s (Fullerton), Whitehall.....St. John’s (Mickleys), Whitehall.....St. John’s, Laurys Station.....St. John’s, Slatington.....St. John’s, St. Johns.....St. Paul, Allentown.....St. Paul’s, Swiftwater.....St. Paul’s (Big Creek), Lehighton.....St. Paul’s, Northampton.....
St. Peter’s (Hobbie), Wapwallopen.....St. Peter’s (Mantzville), Tamaqua.....St. Thomas (Macada), Bethlehem.....Trinity Stone Church, Mt. Bethel.....
Trinity Cong., Scranton
Trinity Great Swamp, Spinnerstown.....Trinity, Bethlehem.....Trinity, Pleasant Valley.....Union, Neffs.....Zion, Lehighton
Bonnie Bates is inviting you to a Zoom Conversation
with the Conference Minister
April 30, 2019 - 10AM
Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 833 840 118
Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Annual Meeting Evening Presentation - June 1
PSEC is having Brian McLaren as their facilitator for their annual meeting and are opening his Saturday evening presentation up to individuals outside of their conference. Brian is
an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian, a former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. His presentation will be based on his book: “The Great Spiritual Migration – How the World’s largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian”.
If interested an individual should simply use this link
and select option 16. The fee is $15.00.
Interim Ministry Network
Effective Transitional Ministry Training
A One-Day Session
May 24, 2019 from 9AM to 5PM
Penn Northeast Conference Office
Registration Deadline: May 6, 2019
Fee: $200 - cost partially underwritten by OCWM gifts to PNEC
Scholarships available from the Longsdorf Fund
Invitation to the Ready Responders
Boots on the Ground Exercise (RRN BOG)
th and 27
th, 300 safety minded citizens, Veterans, and faith-based groups, will come together with first responders to practice their skills in the RRN BOG, a simulated disaster response exercise.
Disaster response and management skills will be practiced, including gas and fire safety; volunteer reception center management; mucking and gutting; mold suppression; and emotional resiliency. We hope that you will join us for one or both days of this free event.
Our esteemed list of partners includes Con Edison; the Metro New York Community Veterans Engagement Board; Contingency Planning Exchange; Ready Rockaway; Rutgers School of Public Health; John Jay College; members of FDNY, NYPD, the Jersey City and Upper West Side Community Emergency Response Teams; and many more.
The April ReadyPA newsletter provides information on being financially prepared if a disaster strikes and how to be on the lookout for scams when disasters strike. The April Action Sheet provides information on preparing an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.
Spring has Sprung! Now that threats of winter hazards are over, springtime severe weather begins. The State Meteorologist provides tips on how to prepare for sever weather.
Did you know April 7
13, 2019, is National Volunteer Week? There are approximately 20 million volunteer hours of service per year. Look for opportunities in your community to volunteer.
Please pass this valuable information on to your church, your family and friends. Remember, both the ReadyPA Monthly and the Action Sheet are available at
The Chapel of Four Chaplains invites you to the
3rd Annual Veterans Mental Health, Opiod & Suicide Prevention Symposium
Keynote Speaker: Lisa Thomas Laury - "An Opiod Conversation"
Free & Open to the Public...to read more
Stop the Bleed: Bleeding Control Training
Event Description: Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and call-to-action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.
April 2, 2019 9:00 am – 10:30 am or April 18, 2019 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (only need to attend one class)
Chester County Public Safety Training Campus, 137 Modena Road, Coatesville, PA 19320
Introduction to Self-Care
This Introduction to Self-Care training will explore the physical and emotional aspects of workplace stress, including working in high stress situations for extended periods of time. The course will also discuss and identify self-care and wellness practices with participants, begin to establish self-care plans, and discuss resources and support options.
This course is 3 hours, and includes small group discussion and interactive exercises. This course is appropriate for anyone who would like to begin to practice self-care in any setting.
May 21, 2019
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (dinner will be provided)
Chester County Government Services Center, 601 Westtown Rd, West Chester, PA 19380
Disaster Recovery Challenge: A Poverty Simulation
April 29 from 9AM to 12 Noon
Norristown State Hospital, Building 33 Multipurpose room
Intended Audience: Emergency managers, VOAD & Community Partners
Stay Updated and Involved: Visit our disaster
MINISTRY TRAINING UPDATES (Continuing Education)
ALL Authorized Ministers, please note:
We will be identifying these kinds of continuing education opportunities – The policy is effective January 1, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact the Penn Northeast Conference Office at 610-826-3113.
for list of current and up-coming opportunities!
Theology Matters: Curriculum Resources for ALL Ages
Friends in Ministry,
Have you ever had questions about Faith Formation in your congregation? The PNEC Faith Formation Ministry Team is sponsoring a SPECIAL EVENT for YOU! Please see the flyer below and share it with your Faith Formation team. This event will be geared to assist with planning the 2019-2020 year in the following ways:
- Adult Small Groups, Confirmation, Children, and Youth, and will include multicultural resources, as well!
Continuing Education hours are available for attending.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact your Faith Formation Ministry team. If you have an interest in helping with the event and others, we welcome your input.
Yours in Christ,
Janet Newett, for the Faith Formation Ministry Team
PLEASE NOTE: We are changing the registration from Event Brite to Tithe.ly
The United States
June 12, 2019
Led by Rev. Dr. E. Allen Richardson
Professor of Religious Studies
Cedar Crest College, Allentown
9AM-Noon at St. John’s UCC, 183 S. Broad St., Nazareth
9AM – registration
9:30AM – training begins
11:30AM – questions & answers
12 Noon - conclusion
This training fulfills the
Cultural Competency Training requirement for Authorized Ministers
ALL ARE WELCOME!!
Welcoming Diversity Training
Jordan United Church of Christ
1837 Church Road, Allentown, PA
May 28, 2019 and May 29, 2019
Fee: Both Days $100
Fee: Single Day $60
Day one of this training fulfills the Anti-Racism Training requirement for Authorized Ministers.
ALL ARE WELCOME !!
Day one of the training will focus on personal growth and development.
Day two will provide participants the time to think strategically about how to manifest their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the work and behaviors of church leadership, within congregation and the community served.
Children's Sermon for April 14
(based on Luke 19:28-40 )
- by Rev. Dave Quinn
Items needed: small table, ten Styrofoam cups, teapot with tea in it. Place the empty cups on table. Then use your breath to blow them off the table--see how easily the cups are blown away. Then bring out teapot and tell kids you have a very special kind of tea in it. Fill one of the cups with tea. Tell kids that you are now going to blow the cups off the table again. Blow on cups---the empty ones will blow away again, but not the one filled with tea. Ask kids why that cup didn't blow away--because it's full of tea. Pick up teapot and tell kids that the tea in the pot, and in the cup, is a special tea called "loyal-tea." Put all the cups back on table.. In today's Bible reading, Jesus has many people cheering for Him, just like there are many cups on this table. But in just a few days (blow on cups again) most all of them will be gone. The only ones left with Jesus, will be the people with "loyal-tea" in them. "Loyal-tea" is something inside a person, that makes you willing to stay with your friends, in good times and bad. Today, people are willing to cheer for Jesus, because He looks like a winner. In just a few days, most of those people will not be cheering for Jesus, because they think He is a loser. But the friends of Jesus, who have "loyal-tea," will stay with Jesus, whether He looks like a winner or a loser.
April 20 -
A Community Seder focused around the themes of Freedom & Social Justice - 6:30PM -
Muhlenberg College, Seegers Union - Meal is kosher for Passover but prepared in a non-kosher kitchen. $25/person, $18/students & children.
RSVP by April 10
Earth Day - April 22 -
How we care for God’s creation is intimately intertwined with issues of generational justice. What kind of world are our children presently inheriting? What will the world be like when they get older? The UCC Environmental Justice Ministry joined with the ecumenical Creation Justice Ministries to author and produce reflective materials on generational justice for this Earth Day.
Download a copy of this resource today.
May 8, 2019 -
FREE Training for Faith Leaders & Lay People -
Northampton County Dept. of Drug and Alcohol programs along with collaboration from “Speak Up for Ben”, are hosting a free training for Faith Leaders and lay people of any faith.
Northampton Community College, Fowler Center in S. Bethlehem (511 E. 3rd St, Bethlehem)
Training will begin promptly at 9:00 AM and will conclude by 3:30PM. The County will supply a continental breakfast and lunch for attendees! Registration and breakfast will begin at 8:15 AM. -
Out of the Darkness and Into the Light: Strategies & Tools For Facing the Drug Epidemic For Faith Leaders --
This training will provide information and resources to Faith Based Leaders regarding the current Substance Use Epidemic and specifically address the Opioid Epidemic facing Pennsylvania today. The impact of this epidemic on communities of Faith is significant. This day long training will explore how to intervene effectively, how to locate resources, and discuss how to identify substance use concerns. Faith leaders in attendance will be able to identify the full impact of substances on the community and develop an understanding to effectively support those with these issues in the community. To register, please contact Kathy Dilts at Northampton County Drug & Alcohol by calling 610-829-4720 OR by email
The Lehigh Conference Of Churches--"Valley Over The Edge" --
On June 1
-76 rappelers will be going over the edge at Two City Center in Allentown. Adventurous participants will rappel down an eleven-story building by raising $1,000 or more to secure their spot on the ropes. To request more info, email
or contact Becky LeaShomb at 610-433-7220 ext. 6106 -
several PNEC pastors are "going over the edge." You can go online to support them in their efforts and give to a great cause!
Registration Open for the 22nd Global Youth Justice Training Youth/Teen/Student/Peer Court Diversion Programs -- June 18, 2019 to June 20 2019
in Las Vegas, Nevada
--Uniting Church & Community Through Music & Art -
June 25-28, 2019 at First Cong. UCC, Madison, WI -- 12th Biennial National Conference of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association
Keeping You Posted
Helping Hands -
UCC-related Bethany Children’s Home is offering ‘
to migrant children, providing food, clothing, shelter and other resources in an effort to reunite them with their families already in the United States.
UCC Cornerstone Fund Offering FREE Webinar
Join us for this FREE, 1-Hour webinar
How cool is your congregation?
Learn 25 ways under $25 to transform your church into a greener space
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 2PM EST
Join us for this Free interactive webinar
for a discussion with Sarah Paulos, Program & Outreach Coordinator for Interfaith Power & Light. For more than a decade Sarah has trained nearly 500 green teams at churches across the country to help them reduce their energy use as an act of faith.
This year, we are sponsoring a year full of learning with free one-hour webinars that are designed exclusively for clergy and lay leadership of UCC congregations and ministries. Topics will include expert discussion and information on a range of subjects, including church finances, building projects and renovations, and more! Pastors, church administrators, and lay leadership are invited to attend.
ONLINE UCC History, Theology and Polity Course June/July 2019
This Course meets the requirements as set forth by the UCC Polity Teacher's Network and will be offered online in June/July 2019. The instructor will be Rev. David Gaewski, Conference Minister of the New York Conference, UCC. Classes will begin at 9:30am and end at 3:30pm EST on the following dates: June 8,15,29 and July 6. The platform utilized will be Zoom Video Conferencing (zoom.us) The tuition will be $495. For more information contact course instructor, Rev. David Gaewski,
Payments should be sent no later than May 31st to: UCC Polity Course, Attn: David Gaewski, 5575 Thompson Road, Dewitt, NY 13214. Make checks payable to David Gaewski.
A syllabus is available upon request. Laity, Members in Discernment and Privilege of Call candidates are all invited! 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 June 3rd. Please note several recent courses reached maximum capacity.
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving
Faith, Intervention, and Learning Organizations
, Managing Director of Education and Engagement
For many of us, faith involves an openness to the possibility that God intervenes in the world. In ways large or small, through a variety of means, many people of faith have a hope and expectation that God will redirect our course. In my own tradition, anticipating Holy week and Easter, I have been giving a great deal of consideration to the ways in which God patiently teaches us to prepare for and receive that intervention.
A Resource for All Congregations...
Is your congregation looking for help with... Fundraising, Stewardship, Relationships in Ministry, Strategic Planning for Congregations, Church Finances or any other topic?
Facing Your Church's Uncertain Future Webinar on May 2
When your church’s future is uncertain, it’s time to have courageous conversations and make faithful decisions.
Facing Your Church’s Uncertain Future
is a NEW resource that offers good practices for discerning, discussing, and making decisions that concern a church’s future. Pastors and congregational leaders are invited to join this online zoom webinar presenting theological, liturgical and helpful insights for discussing future options, including closure and legacy.
$10 Registration includes receiving the resource,
Facing Your Church’s Uncertain Future
(digital download or print version). Register by April 18th to receive the resource before the webinar. $5 Registration Webinar only
Register now for this online Webinar for Pastors and Congregational Leaders.
Christian White Supremacy
Monday, June 17, 2019 - 7PM
Metropolitan Community Church
of the Lehigh Valley
1401 Greenview Dr., Bethlehem
Rev. Dr. Gregory Edwards
Free and open to the public