This Week in PNEC --- May 3, 2018 - May 11, 2018


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

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


          Bonnie Bates                      Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez   

          Barbara Jennings              Patty Rehrig



Strengthen the Church
     Many of you are aware that there are four special offerings in the United Church of Christ, in addition to the primary offering through Our Churches Wider Mission (OCWM). These special offering are: Neighbors in Need, the Christmas Fund, One Great Hour of Sharing and Strengthen the Church. The PNEC congregations continue to be generous with their giving, but by far the smallest donations come in for the Strengthen the Church offering usually gathered around Pentecost Sunday. It is this offering about which I am writing.
      As noted on the website, "The Strengthen the Church offering supports the expansion of ministry and growth of UCC local congregations." What you may not know is that one-half of the donations received in this offering stay in the Conference for our use. As we move into working on revitalization of churches through our Vitality Days training, the use of our Coaches, and leadership training for congregational leadership and consistory members, these monies become even more important to the conference.
      Pentecost this year falls on May 20, 2018. Perhaps your congregation will use the special worship materials provided by the national setting (find these at You will also find a video and Facebook and Twitter posts on this page. Perhaps, your congregation will honor its confirmation candidates through a special offering or special donations to this fund. Perhaps, you will tithe fund raising activities from the spring to this offering. Perhaps, individuals will want to make special gifts, either through the offering envelopes provided or directly to the conference. No matter how you and the congregation decide to contribute to this special offering, our conference appreciates your support. Together, we really can strengthen the church.    

2018-2019 Vitality Days with Michael Piazza


What:  4 one-day training sessions with Michael Piazza of Agile Church

                 Monthly gatherings for church leaders with trained coaches to

                 assist them in maintaining positive momentum.

When:  Session 1 - Transformational Worship - September 22,2018

             Session 2 - Structure and Stewardship - November 10, 2018

             Session 3 - Craft Church Evangelism - March 23, 2019

                                                                      Session 4 - Vintage Church Renewal - May 18, 2019

                                                                               Each Session will run from 9AM - 4:30PM

Locations to be determined based on applications.

Cost:  $1,000 - all four days of training for church teams (up to 10 people from each congregation) and the monthly

                          coaching session.

$15 per person for lunch on training days.

Process for participation:

1.  Complete a Congregational Assessment

2.  Complete the Application for the Vitality Days

3.  Once he application is accepted, process your payment

4.  Identify the members of your team and get ready o begin

 8:30 TO 10AM
Ticket Prices: $10 over 12
$5 age 12 and under
     We are thankful for the many ways people contributed to make this service to the community possible: donations of food, financial contributions, and the labor of love of 130 volunteers. 
     We could not have done it without you!  We ask but one more thing...
     Members of Zion are hosting a breakfast fund-raiser to pay the final costs of this ministry (which includes a professional cleaning of the floors!). Join us on Saturday, May 5 from 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Tickets are $10 ($5 age 12 and under).
      (Please indicate how many tickets on the PayPal form.)   
And click here for a flyer about the fundraiser and share it with your friends and neighbors.      Thank you!
Craig Smith, Jubilee Breakfast Coordinator
The Jubilee Breakfast Planning Committee:
     Dennis Dries, First Presbyterian Church, Allentown
     Bonnie Falla, Rev. Karen Moeschberger,
St. John's UCC, Allentown
     Doug Brace, Maria Brace, Rev. Bob Stevens,
Zion's UCC, Allentown
Update from the Joint Conference Vision and Development Team (JCVDT)

The ____ UCC Conference of Eastern Pennsylvania
Who We Are... We are the Conference of Local UCC Congregations and Affiliated Ministries in Eastern Pennsylvania. We serve as the liaison and covenant partner between the local congregations and ministries of the United Church of Christ and the national setting.
Our Purpose...Why we do this work -
Because people are created as communal beings, a conference provides a framework to live out our mission with accountability
Our Mission...What we do -
Building up the body of Christ
Our Vision...What the Conference will look like in the future -
Lives and communities transformed through love
Our Values...How we do our work together -
Guided by Jesus' commandments to love one another and a commitment to extravagant welcome, we will work together...
  • to serve God and our neighbors with compassion
  • to encourage and inspire one another with hope
  • to make bold and courageous choices with love
Reflection Questions
Reflecting on the new Vision, Mission, Purpose, and Core Values statements for the proposed new Eastern PA Conference, the work of the Conference is different from the work of the local church. Local churches are called to welcome, encourage, and nurture disciples of Jesus. The mission of the conference is to support local congregations to fulfill their calling. The conference is the wider community of congregations in relationship with one another to support the wider mission of the church.  
  • Do you believe a new Conference guided by these statements would integrate well with your church's work? 
  • How is your local congregation working to make disciples of Jesus?
  • How might the combined resources and reach of a new, larger Conference support your church in those efforts?
  • What specific support could a new, larger Conference provide that would help you expand those efforts?
The JCVDT continues to meet twice a month, and we hope to receive feedback from local congregations. Please share your reflections with us! You can email your responses to or

Webinars:  The Coalition's popular series of webinars resumes on May 8 with "ONA 101," an informative introduction for churches taking their first steps towards an ONA covenant. "ONA 201" is designed for existing ONA churches: learn the best practices for ONA evangelism, advocacy, communications and marketing! New in our schedule is "TRANS FAMILY" for pastors and lay leaders who are caring for families with transgender children. All webinars are at 7 p.m. (Eastern) on Tuesdays. We'll repeat the series in the fall. Discounts available when more than three participants gather at one computer. Click to see the full list of Webinars. 
Click to subscribe to "RIPPLES" the Coalition's bi-weekly newsletter.
     Global Ministries is offering a unique 
experience for young people - college graduates to age 30 - to serve as a Global Mission Intern.
     Global Mission Interns serve one to three years in a country where Global Ministries works.
Placements match your gifts as a candidate and they vary from working with youth in crisis, addressing poverty, fighting for reconciliation, to supporting children.
  • Be a member of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and have recently graduated or are about to graduate from college,
  • Be willing to receive the gifts of our partners as well as to share your gifts in an intentional process of service
     Through the experience, you gain an understanding of your call to mission and learn in new and exciting ways from our partners.
     If you know someone who is interested, please ask them to fill out the application directly on our website and return it to the Mission Personnel Office by April 30th or email with more questions to Cathy Nichols
UCAN National Conversation on HIV
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 2.00 pm, Eastern Time
     Everyone has a status - The church and HIV Testing
On May 8, UCAN launches the first in a series of online national conversations on HIV with a focus on HIV testing. A popular HIV testing slogan is, "Everyone has a status, do you know yours?" In preparation for National Testing Day, Wednesday, June 27, Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer will moderate this conversation via Zoom  about the importance of everyone knowing their HIV status and the status of the church in promoting and facilitating HIV testing.
     Special Guest:  Rev. John Ryan Mendoza - he  is a member of the World Council of Churches - Ecumenical HIV AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (EHAIA) and spearheaded the Clergy Testing Campaign with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. The Clergy Testing Campaign has now gone global, is a great way to promote HIV testing and was part of the HIV testing at UCC's General Synod meeting last year in Baltimore.
For more information contact:
  - Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer,
Email:         Phone: 216.736.3217   
The Search Institute in Minneapolis, MN
does outstanding research on the resiliency needed
for youth to resist negative behaviors like addiction and school issues. You might find one or more of these workshops helpful. Their work on the 40 Developmental Assets is one of the leading research tools for prevention programs.
     The cost of attending or sponsoring a Search Institute workshop varies, depending upon the location, the length, and the facilitator. For more information about our workshops, please fill out the workshop information request form or call Mary at 800-888-7828, Ext. 526. 
     These workshops give you a hands-on approach to learning what our researchers are learning, along with what's tried and true-all without the expense and hassle of traveling to another location. We give you the tools to start applying what you learn the minute you leave the workshop.  Choose from the workshops below, or create a customized event to meet your own unique needs:
CLICK HERE for list of Workshops

The PA Historical & Museum Commission

& Boehm's UCC

cordially invite you

to the dedication of an official State Historical Marker commemorating

John Philip Boehm 1683 - 1749

Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 10:30AM at Boehm's UCC

571 Penllyn Bell Pike, Blue Bell, PA

There will be an open house to explore the church building and cemetery from 9AM to 12:30PM.  All are welcome.  Please visit for additional information.

1st International Conference
on Decreasing Recidivism
June 17-19, 2018
Hilton, Baltimore, MD
Exploring Sustainable Strategies for Decreasing  Recidivism Through Interdisciplinary Research
Registration opened on March 1st, 2018
Early Bird Special rate ($150) started
March 1st through May 15th
Late registration from May 16th ($200
The purpose of the 2018 International Conference on Decreasing Recidivism is to explore the root causes and various dimensions - political, economic, social, spiritual, and cultural - that must be taken into consideration while devising concrete strategies to tackle recidivism effectively.
     The conference will bring together scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines (economics, sociology, public administration, political science, public policy, criminal justice, social work, business, anthropology, law, psychology, psychiatry, information technology, journalism, education, public/mental health, etc.) to collectively explore the multiple facets of the problems and emerging opportunities of decreasing recidivism locally and around the world
     For detailed information and registration, please
The 26th Annual New England Summer Institute, 2018
United Church of Christ History, Theology, and Polity
Camp Calumet, Freedom, NH
Sponsored by the six New England Conferences of UCC
Week 1: May 29-June 1, 9:00-3:00
Week 2: June 4-8, 9:00-3:00
Services of Interest
May 27 - 9AM - Service of Farewell for Rev. Debra Hess - Trinity, Bethlehem 
June 24 - 3PM - INSTALLATION - Rev. Rebekah Thomas - Emmanuel, Allentown
Rev. Lisa Weida's has retired as Pediatric Chaplain at Lehigh Valley Health Network.  Her last day was May 1.
Children's Sermon
    for May 6 (based on John 15:9-17) 
Items needed: clear glass with small amount of water, small container of bottled water , (option 1--a faucet nearby, out of sight)  (option 2- garden hose, pitcher of water).  Show kids glass of water, then drink it.  The water is all gone.  I could get more from this bottle (pour out water into glass.  Drink that, too.  The water is all gone.  But I could get MORE!  Option 1--disappear and hurry to nearby faucet, coming back with more water.  Option 2--roll out one end of hose, get pitcher of water, and explain you're going to pretend the hose is on, giving you the pitcher with water, from which you pour water into glass.  The idea is, when you run out of water, you can get more from the source (faucet or hose.)   In today's Bible reading, Jesus tells us to love other people like He loves us. Love can be like a glass of water---sometimes, we run out of love. But just like I got a refill of water from the faucet/hose, I can get a refill of love from Jesus, by asking Jesus to help me love other people.
- Rev. David Quinn
1 - 12Noon - Easton AMC Clergy - St. John's UCC, Nazareth
1-3 - Clergy Convocation - Double Tree by Hilton, Lancaster
4-6 - PNEC Annual Youth Retreat - Spruce Lake, Canadensis, PA
5 - 10AM-Noon - JCVDT - First UCC, Quakertown
10 - 9:30-11AM - Licensed/Commissioned Mentor Group - Conf. Office
10 - 10-11:30AM - Congregational Vitality Committee - Conf. Office
10 - 1-3PM - COM Chairs - Conf. Office
14 - 2PM - Staff & Personnel Committee - Conf .Office
14 - 4PM - Coaches - Conf. Office
15 - 9:30AM to Noon - all 4 PNEC Ministry Committees meeting together - Conf. Office
15 - 11:45AM - Blue Mountain AMC Clergy - China House, 4515 Route 309, Schnecksville
15 - 1-4PM - Licensed/Commissioned Ministry Committee - Conf. Office
15 - 1-4PM - Licensing/Commissioning MID Committee - Conf. Office

Amigos de Guatemala
want you to stay in the know!
     We want to share our excitement and our hope. The roof is going on for the clinic and we are building lists of supplies we will need and of medical people who would like to go to Monte Margarita, starting in 2019.
     If we have never been to your church, we have beautiful handicrafts to sell and an updated Power Point with lots of photos to share in your worship service or a small group.
     For more information contact Roger or Karen Heim at  or 610.481.9704 or the conference office.

VERY IMPORTANT...Please read...


Dear Authorized Ministers of PNEC,
      Changes have been suggested through MESA and the Habakkuk Group regarding the structure of Committees on Ministry. We as the Ordained Church and Ministry Committee are responsible to oversee those who have been authorized for ministry for and on behalf of the United Church of Christ. We as the Ordained Church and Ministry Committee are called to ensure that all criteria for maintaining authorized ministers' covenant with the United Church of Christ and Penn Northeast Conference are complete.
     We have been informed that it is the responsibility of each authorized minister to assure that their professional portfolio is kept current which includes the following: an annual information form with the authorized minister's current address, telephone number, mobile number, email address, current place of ministry, Area Mission Council and/or other authorized collegial support groups you attend on a regular basis, any changes in continuing education and a copy of most recent boundary training certificate.
     This is a gentle reminder of the covenant made when becoming authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ when we accepted God's call to ministry. It is not meant to be an inconvenience along one's spiritual journey, but a way to remember we are not alone, as well as to protect ourselves and those we serve from abuse and misuse of our positions that have been entrusted to us.
     You will also find a request to serve as a mentor to a newly authorized minister, or a collegial partner to an authorized minister just beginning in Penn Northeast Conference. Please prayerfully consider your willingness to take the time to walk with another and to share from your experiences and gifts.
     We are currently reviewing how periodic support consultations are conducted. In the past we have triennially had peers meet with one another in groups of three to discuss their ministries and "sign-off" for one another. We are hoping to change this model with an interview process with authorized ministers meeting with a member of the Ordained Church and Ministry Committee to discuss the authorized minister's concerns for their local setting as well as other concerns that the authorized minister might have.
      We pray that you take the time to fill out the attached/enclosed documents (they can also be found on PNEC website at under the Ministry tab) and return them immediately by mail or email to:
Patty Jo Rehrig,  Conference Secretary
Penn Northeast Conference, 431 Delaware Ave, Palmerton, PA 18071
OR email to:
Please respond by May 15, 2018. 
- The PNEC Ordained Church & Ministry Committee
A recent resignation has created a position opening on the Penn Central Conference staff for a part-time  Facilitator of Care for Clergy and Clergy Families  .  Interviews will begin after the May 18 deadline for applications. Please apply or refer someone who might serve well in this position. You can find job description and further information here.
Blessings and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Monica Dawkins-Smith,
Conference Minister and President  
Registration for the Eastern Regional Youth Event at California State Universtiy is still open!

Have you registered? If not, click the link below!!
The PNEC planning team is discussing transportation to the event, paperwork needed and a pregathering!
Please contact Marge Baltz if you plan to attend so we can include you in the details!


of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal

in the Diocese of Scranton    

May 19, 2018 from 9AM to 3PM

Diocesan Pastoral Center, 330 Wyoming Ave., Scranton

free light lunch (hoagie & beverage)

Must be pre-registered by phone for lunch...please leave your name, phone number and Hoagie selection (choice of tuna, turkey or Italian, vegetarian special order)

free will offering will be taken

Highlights:  Spirit-filled Prayer & Praise, Inspiring Music & Anointed Worship, Challenging Teaching, Prayers for Healing

Speakers:  Pastor Dave Twiss, Theresa Dinunzi, Bob Valiante, Ted Mike (Witness)

For Reservations, Contact: Jim Roberts (570-267-1614)Joyce Hudak (570-735-1068) CCR Office (570-344-2214)

Cookie Ruppert (570-595-9327) 


(specify type of hoagie when registering)

New Special Spring Issue -- Global Youth Justice Newsletter
2018 Boundaries Workshops
"Essential Boundaries for Wise Leaders" 
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod Essential Boundaries for Wise Leaders training program is designed to enrich both our opportunity and responsibility as leaders for Christ's church.
2018 Workshops will be held: 

   Tuesday, May 22 - Bern Lutheran, Leesport

   Wednesday, May 23 - Faith Evang. Lutheran, Whitehall
   Tuesday, October 23 - St. Paul's Lutheran, Dallas
   Wednesday, October 24 - Christ Hamilton United,
God's Blessings,
Rev. Mary W. Gade, Associate of the Bishop
Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod/ELCA
610-266-5101 ;
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry
PASTORAL CARE class on Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at First UCC in Schuylkill Haven.  Retired UCC Pastor Rev. Stephen Engelhardt, who has extensive CPE, institutional, and parish experience will be teaching the class.  This session will consider both the theological underpinnings and the practical application of pastoral care, including hospital visitation, grief counseling, and crisis care.  This class is a required "advanced" course for Licensed preparation and a vital continuing education class for all parish ministers. Attached is a registration form with pre-class reading and writing assignments or you can go to our website to register at . The pre-class assignments will be on the student page under Pastoral Care.  Hope to see you there!    For registration form and class assignments, click here
  The Crossroads Lay Leadership Program at Moravian Theological Seminary is running a special session of Contextual Outreach this May and June.  This course is designed for individuals or church teams to explore their impact in the community around them and to develop a local ministry plan.  Congregations who have participated in this course in the past have reported that the process has helped them design activities which have helped them to impact their neighborhoods in a positive way for Jesus Christ.  The goal of this program is not to teach churches how to increase their membership but rather how to increase their impact.  
     The registration for this course is $220 per person.  Additional participants from the same church can register for $100 each.  Churches sending teams of at least three people will receive the MissionInsite demographic data for their location. 
     Classes are held at Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6-9 pm.  (May 29, 30, June 5, 6, 12, 19, 27 and one additional time reserved for exploring your neighborhood.)  All Crossroads courses are also offered in a real time, distance learning format for those who live outside of our area.  
     For more information or team member registration, please contact Jill Peters at  Online registration for the first team member can be done at our website: 
ONLINE UCC History, Theology and Polity Course
June/July 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 June/July 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 3:30pm on the following dates: June 16, 23, 30 and July 7. 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 to: Diana Pelletier, 114 Munro Dr., Camillus, NY 13031. Make checks payable to Oneida Association UCC.
      A syllabus is available upon request.  Laity, Members in Discernment and Privilege of Call candidates are all invited!
On-line Polity Classes
geared towards Ministerial Authorization
1.        Center for Progressive Renewal: (a link to contact the director of on-line learning is on this page)
2.        New York Conference:  contact Conference Minister Rev. David Gaewski at
4.        Chicago Theological Seminary: 
May 11 - Getting the "Other" Right: the Challenges of Doing History

Professor Robert Weiner, Jones Professor of History, Lafayette College

*Please Note - Location is Seegers Union 108-110



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"