•  THIS WEEK IN PNEC                  December 19, 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
christmas-header.jpg
PLEASE NOTE: The Penn Northeast Conference Office will be closed Tuesday, December 24, 2019 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020. See you in the New Year!
Happy Advent! Blessed Christmas!
 
This Advent has been busy for me, as I am sure it has been for you as well. Christmas is coming and no matter how little or much of our preparations we have completed, Christmas will arrive on time – in its own time. This year, much like the first Christmas, Christmas creeps in the cold of night, touching us in ways even we may not imagine.
 
At Christmastime, during Advent and in the days of the Christmas season, I often find my joy and hope in the music of the season. This year I found joy in the Sing-a-Long Messiah hosted by the Lehigh Conference of Churches, in the Bach Choir of Bethlehem concert, in the Lehigh Valley Chorale concert, and in the Christmas Spirit radio station to which I listen. As I was reflecting on some of the music I have heard:” Unto Us a Child is Born” from the Messiah touches my soul deeply. “Mary, Did You Know?” always touches my heart as I reflect on the courage and strength of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
This year a contemporary song sung by Francesca Battistelli entitled, “Heaven Everywhere” also spoke to my spirit. The song relates instances of transformation – people coming home, moving into hope, celebrating with one another. The verse that means the most to me right now is:
 
 “It's funny how it takes a holiday; To show us how the world could truly change;
         If we all took the time to really care; There'd be a little more of heaven everywhere” [1]
 
I cannot remember a year in my life when someone didn’t reflect on the fact that we have the ability to treat each other with joy, hope, kindness, compassion and even love during the holidays. Yet, it seems as soon as the holidays pass, we revert to our old less positive behaviors. We, Christian people, are called to take the time to care all year round, every day, not just during the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. We are called to peace, hope, joy and love all year, not just as we light our Advent candles. That is what it means to live out our faith, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus – the one whose birthday we celebrate each year. Perhaps, we need to begin to celebrate Jesus’ birthday every day instead of just once a year. What a difference that would make! What a world we would create! If we all took the time to care for and about one another, if we all lived into our faith and out of our faith, if we knelt at the foot of our Savior and then followed his example, the world could become a different place.
 
This Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany begin to plan how you can share God’s light and love in the world, every moment of every day. Let’s bring heaven into the lives of people everywhere!                       Blessings and Merry Christmas! Bonnie

[1] Francesca Battistelli, 2012,
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.
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
www.bradburysullivancenter.org
Moderated by Rev. Beth Goudy, Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley
Note to PNEC Pastors...Attending both would qualify as Cultural Competency Training
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
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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Week in the Life”
Justice Update from Katie Adams -
Washington DC office
...Impeachment...Climate Change ...COP25...Environmental Protection Agency...
Global Conflict...NAFTA 2.0...National Defense Authorization Act...SNAP...Voting Rights Protections...to read all about the above...
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
ITEMS OF INTEREST...
--News from the Officers of the UCC:
*Karen Georgia Thompson | Associate General Minister, Wider Church Ministries and Operations.
*John Dorhauer...Into The Mystic... Read more
*Tracy Blackmon... Thanksgiving Gift Funds Immokalee Land Buy. Read More.
--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
Revision of the drop off sites for CWS buckets and kits.. read more .

UCC Disaster Ministries hurricane recovery volunteer work sites open in North Carolina! Read more.
Disaster Recovery Support Initiative UCC helped to form is growing ecumenically.

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