•  THIS WEEK IN PNEC                  October 10, 2019
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
    More than anything else, in my role as Conference Minister, I explain UCC polity and our covenantal relationships with each other. Not surprisingly, in a world where top-down decisions are the norm, our grassroots decision-making in covenant confuses people. We will be offering a congregational polity information session next winter/spring, but in essence let me share a simple definition of our covenantal relationships among and between the various settings of the church.
    The primary setting in the United Church of Christ is the local congregation. As such, congregations have their own governing process, rules, policies and decision-making authority. Yet, they do not make decisions in a vacuum. Congregations promise, through our covenant, to consider the needs of the conference and national setting of the church in their decisions. That covenant promise means that the conference and national setting share information with the local congregations and the congregations promise to listen, respect and discuss that information prior to making their decisions.
    As a conference, our role is to support the local congregations in a variety of ways. We offer support for the authorization and standing of ministers, the standing of congregations, program support, training support, and when possible fiscal support for local congregations and ministers. As a conference we, too, are required to listen, respect, and discuss information from the local congregations and the national setting prior to making our decisions. As a conference, we gain information from congregations through surveys, shared comments, delegates at conference meetings, and at program events. We gain information from the national setting through newsletters, conversations with the national staff, Council of Conference Minister meetings, and General Synod.
    As a national setting, the role of the UCC is to be the public voice of the denomination, to be ecumenical partners nationally and internationally, and to support and resource the conferences and local congregations. The national setting also needs to listen, respect, and discuss information from local congregations and conferences prior to making its decisions. The national setting gains information through surveys, Council of Conference Minster meetings, shared comments, and the General Synod.
    Really the concepts of listening, striving to understand, and respecting the multiple voices within the denomination is everyone’s responsibility. That is one of the reasons that the United Church of Christ does not have a Book of Disciple or a Book of Order. We make promises, covenants, with one another. We are not required to agree, but we are required to listen, respect and strive to understand. We do not make decisions from “on-high” but with the constituencies gathered as the Body of the Church and the Body of Christ. Sometimes this takes longer. Sometimes this is confusing. However, with practice we learn to be in partnership and in dialogue with one another. Watch for the upcoming information sessions.
     God bless you. Bonnie
It’s covenant renewal time!
  Each year, the Ministerial Compensation Team reviews the Ministerial Compensation Recommendations and issues an updated document for use in congregational planning. This year the projected salary increase is adjusted by 1.9% for inflation. (You can find a copy of the PNEC Ministerial Compensation Salary Recommendations at www.pnec.org under the Authorized Ministry tab.) But covenant renewal is more than just financial.
  The national setting, and our conference, recommends an annual review of the Call Agreement between pastor and congregation. Additionally, we also need to review and update the Three or Four Way covenants. Call Agreements are signed by the pastor and a congregational representative. The conference does not sign this form. If the only changes to the agreement are salary numbers, an addendum can be prepared, signed and attached to the original document.
  If an authorized minister is serving a local congregation, they complete a Three-Way Covenant with the church and the conference. These should be reviewed for changes in expectations, signed and submitted to the conference office for review and the conference minister’s signature. A signed copy is retained in the ministerial file and two copies should be provided, one for the minister and one for the congregation’s records.
  If an authorized minister is serving in an agency, a hospital, nursing home, or other facility, the ministry need a Four-Way Covenant. This is signed by the minister, the minister’s employer, the minister’s home congregation and then submitted to the conference office for review and the conference minister’s signature. Again, a signed copy is retained in the ministerial file and copies are provided for the minister, home congregation, and employer.
  The review of covenant and call agreements is best used as a part of a discussion about the relationships among and between the parties involved. It’s not just a formal document to sign, but should be a part of a relationships conversation. If you have questions about this, please speak a member of the Oversight Working Group of the Committee on Ministry or a member of the conference staff.
~~ Bonnie
don't wait, register now
Cultivating Generous Congregations
How Do You Inspire Generosity?
The Penn Northeast Conference and the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the UCC are joining together with the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving to invite you and your ministry teams to participate in a seminar experience that could change the way you and your congregation approach giving and generosity.
January 24-25, 2020
(Friday 8AM to 4PM
Saturday 8:30AM-4PM)
Church of the Good Shepherd, 35 W. Philadelphia Ave., Boyertown
Cost: $350 per church team
(4-5 members made up of clergy, lay leaders, administration and/or stewardship committees)
The cost includes one booklet per team. If a team would like more than one book, there will be an additional cost of $50. Deadline to register will be December 5, 2019.
presented by
PNEC & Financial Ministries UCC
  November 9 -- 9AM to 3PM
PNEC Office, 431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton -- Cost: $10/person
Workshops Topics - Trends in Giving: What Donors Want; Planned Giving: Utilizing an On-Line Tool to Get Started; Roundtable Discussion - Best Practice Sharing
to register, go to
or send names & check to PNEC
by Nov. 1

Muhlenberg College - Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding

2019 Wallenberg Tribute Lecture
October 27 - 3:30PM
Special Pre-Wallenberg Lecture
October 24 - 7:30PM
by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine

Special Post-Wallenberg Tribute Event
Passing the Word
October 28 from 10:30AM to 8PM
A Conference Observing the 25th Anniversary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's Declaration to the Jewish Community... Read more
Ministry Blueprint Workshops
October 19 - Part One
November 23 - Part Two
How to generate and use the MissionInsite Reports (MissionInsite is a demographic program that can help congregations and ministries know their neighborhood and mission field) and connect them with community research in order to develop a ministry blueprint specific to your congregation and your context
Cost $45 includes both days
Presenter: Dr. Jill Peters, Missional Leadership Developer, Moravian Theological Seminary
for detailed flyer & registration form click here

Retirees Luncheon
  for Retired clergy, their spouses /partners & surviving spouses)
Wednesday, November 6
11AM to 2PM (Lunch at noon)
Jordan UCC, 1837 Church Road,
 Special Guest: Rev. Wanda Craner
“Maintaining Your Spiritual Health”
 Please RSVP by Monday, Oct. 28, to let us know if you will be attending by:calling the Conference Office (610-826-3113) or emailing Barbara at BarbaraJ@pnec.org   
The Lehigh Conference Of Churches Presents
A Sing-Along-Messiah -- Advent and Christmas Selections
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 7:30PM
Zion UCC, 620 W. Hamilton St., Allentown
Calling All Choirs!
We are asking singers to form a gathered choir as we welcome the community to enjoy this inspired work
For a detailed flyer, click here.
Disaster Ministries
Hello from West Virginia VOAD. We have exciting news to share! WV VOAD has received a sub-recipient grant to repair and reconstruct 111 homes that were damaged in 2016 flooding. This work will continue over the next two to three years with funding for materials from a CDBG-DR (HUD) grant. Volunteers are working with WV VOAD site supervisors to complete projects. That’s where you come in!
Please consider placing us on your mission schedule in the coming months. As always, we will help you get set up with housing in the community where your team will be working. We are engaged in all phases of construction and will match your team up according to their skills. Please call at the number below with your questions. We hope to hear from you soon!
Thanks, Melisa Morse, WV VOAD Housing Construction Liaison; (304) 553-0927 Office (304) 785-9284 Cell (304)
    October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  In the October Ready PA Monthly, learn how to protect yourself - Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. Read tips on how to be personally accountable and proactive in protecting yourself from common cyber threats. The Ready PA Action Sheet provides information on Cyber Safety for Kids.
    With fall upon us, the risk for outdoor fires increases. Only you can prevent wildfires and the State Meteorologist tells you how.
   Remember, both the Ready PA Monthly and the Action Sheet are available at www.Ready.PA.gov .
Disaster Ministries
Here is a resource for our churches that are looking for help to become safer and more secure and/or get involved in their community. 
Clean-up Buckets needed by Church World Service ... UCC provides grants to help churches replenish CWS storm supplies
UCC Disaster Ministries is offering congregations matching grants of up to $250 as an incentive to assemble Church World Service kits —in particular, the CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets which are in short supply. The Disaster Ministries team is hoping the financial aid offered to congregations will kick start a church-wide effort to restock these much-needed supplies before they are needed for another event. To learn more about these kits and how to apply for the grant go to https://www.ucc.org/disaster_2018_matching_grants_for_cws_kits_home_page
Take your pictures and record your stories and send them to kjones275@comcast.net, so we can inspire others with your story.  
Click here for a list of PSEC and PNEC congregations that have offered to be drop-off locations for the kits you assemble.

You can always check the National UCC Disaster Ministries Web Page  

UCC Disaster Ministries Webinars
for full list of upcoming and past webinars that are available... read more
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Greetings from Japan.
I am writing to inquire whether you are interested in participating again this year in the Christmas Card Project with our partner churches in Japan. These churches have historical ties to our UCC/Disciples denominations, and have been facing unprecedented issues as a result of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima.  Please let me know by October 15th (TUE)  
Yours in Christ, Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek (Jeff is our PNEC missionary),
Global Mission co-worker, Tokyo, Japan