This Week in PNEC --- May 10, 2018 - May 18, 2018


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

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


                 Bonnie Bates                      Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez  


Christian Creyer    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

The Penn Northeast Conference is pleased to announce that the position of Search and Call Associate has been filled by the Rev. Christian Creyer. Christian will be assisting with the search and call process  throughout the conference, providing additional support to search committees. Christian currently serves as the PNE Conference Treasurer and as a pastor for Chestnut Hill United Church of Christ. We welcome his skills and enthusiasm to this important role within the conference.
The Insurance Board will review contracts for Local Churches that involve building and lot maintenance (for example, snow removal) and repair (for example, roof repair or replacement).  The IB can make recommendations as to the indemnification provisions in the contract and recommend appropriate levels of insurance that should be carried by the vendors/contractors, as well as make recommendations on limitations on liability.  A professional set of eyes on these types of contracts can really make a difference should a loss arise out of the contract.  Churches in the IB program should contact Loss Control at 800-437-8830 for information.
Webinar: Going Solar-Connecting Faith, Finance, and Facilities
As part of the monthly Creation Justice Webinar series, the UCC has teamed with GreenFaith to offer a webinar designed to assist churches who are interested in going solar. On May 30th, the Rev. Fletcher Harper will address issues related to technology, finance, physical plant, communications, and more.  Sign-up today for this webinar! Also, look up past webinars or subscribe for monthly updates on future webinars.
- Rev. Brooks Berndt
UCC Minister for Environmental Justice
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.  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.
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
August 19 - 9:30AM - INSTALLATION - Rev. Joel Risser -
First, Hellertown
Lamar Handwerk announced that he will be retiring from St.
Peter's UCC (Seemsville), Northampton.  His last Sunday will be August 19, 2018
David Grant announced that he will be retiring from Zion UCC
 Ashland at the end of this year.
Peter Unger resigned from St. John's UCC, Howertown,
Northampton, effective immediately.
Kevin Fruchtl resigned from Ebenezer UCC, New Tripoli,
effective the July 2018.
Kris Geer, a Moravian Seminary student, was called to be
pastor of St Peter's UCC, Lynnville, New Tripoli, at an election held on Sunday, May 6, 2018.
Children's Sermon
    for May 13(based on John 17:6-19):
Items needed: 2 clear bowls of water; a pile of sugar on a plate; spoon.  (Optional extra: packets of sugar to give to each child.)   Show kids bowls of water.  Then show sugar and ask them what it is.  Take spoon, put some of sugar  into one of the bowls, and stir until it dissolves.  Ask where the sugar went---it's still there, but you can't see it.  In today's Bible reading, Jesus prays for us, His followers. And today, Jesus is still alive, and Jesus is still praying for us.  Jesus' prayers for us are like the sugar I put in the water (put some  more in, stir until dissolves.)   We don't see the sugar I put into the water, but it's there, and it makes the water sweeter.  Just like we don't see the prayers Jesus is praying for us now, but they are there and they work to make our lives sweeter.
- Rev. David Quinn
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

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
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.
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 ;
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: 


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"