This Week in PNEC --- March 22, 2018 - March 30, 2018


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

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


          Bonnie Bates                      Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez   

          Barbara Jennings              Patty Rehrig



Message for congregations about coaching:
     I am excited to share with you a new resource we are able to provide congregational groups or individuals. We have trained 8 individuals to serve as Trained Coaches to assist individuals and groups within congregations to support activities such as vision, mission, and core values development; governance structures, constitutions and bylaws revisions; vitality efforts; transitions and search and call; conflict and behavioral covenant development.
     Coaches may be assigned through the Conference Office based on the submission of an application, click here for application. If you are a contributor to OCWM over the last two years, your fee for coaching (other than search and call, which will be offered at no cost) will be $35 per hour. If your congregation has not donated to OCWM in the past two years, the fee will be $70 per hour. Once your congregation has committed to OCWM for two years, you will receive coaches at the reduced cost.
     Our coaches have been trained through the Strengthen the Church funds we retain. We would encourage you to continue support for this special offering in addition to OCWM. Our costs for COACH training allowed many of our coaches to attend the training at no personal cost. The hourly rate you provide for them will cover their administrative and transportation costs only. The higher rate, for those not contributing to OCWM, will help us recover our contributions to the training.
- Bonnie

The Clergy Housing Allowance


is a compensation that is provided to a "minister of the gospel" (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service) by their employer that the minister can exclude from their income for purposes of the federal income tax. 

Please read the full article provided by the UCC Office of General Counsel.

Caregiver College at Kirkland Village... 
The Fleming Memory Center Presents
"Caregiver College"
Affiliated with Lehigh Valley Health Network Geriatric Medicine.
A free 12-hour training program/ course that is delivered in 2-hour sessions over a 6-week period.
Wendy Scott MA, CDP - (Certified Dementia Practitioner)
Elder Life Specialist
"Let us provide you with the tools you need as a caregiver. We will provide you with good strategies, enabling you to develop a sense of control or mastery in caregiving."
Classes held at Kirkland Village, Bethlehem,
in the Eagle Room
Tuesday 10AM-12PM
May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22, May 29, June 5
RSVP to Diane Miranda at  or 691-4501. A minimum of 5 participates per class is required.
For question please contact Wendy Scott for questions at 610-969-2278.

     It is a headline we have seen too many times - on February 14th 17 teachers and students in Parkland, FL were killed by a former classmate, who was heavily armed. Despite the horror of recent mass shootings, and the less visible day-to-day toll taken by gun violence around the country, Congress has failed to enact any reasonable gun violence prevention legislation.
     It is time to say - Enough! As people of faith, we are called to heal our society's acceptance of violence and idolatrous fascination with weapons. Click on the link below for three things you can do:

Enjoy the Music of Bryan Sirchio
Progressive Christian Worship Music Workshop

     Attached are two fliers about these events that
New Goshenhoppen UCC in East Greenville, PA  (Pennsylvania Southeast Conference) wants to share with PNEC.  Folks may be familiar with Bryan from his participation in regional and national events, including youth events and synod.
     The concert on Sunday night is appropriate for all ages and is free; the Saturday workshop requires registration, which is being handled through the PSEC.  All info is on the fliers.



Did you know that most congregations can cut energy

costs by up to 30% by investing strategically in efficient

equipment, facility upgrades and maintenance? The

EPA's ENERGY STAR program can help congregations

do this with their staff, free tools, trainings, and technical support. Learn more through a webinar in the afternoon on March 28th.  It will give an overview of how congregations can make optimal use of EPA tools such as Portfolio Manager, which can benchmark and track energy and water use as well as savings and

reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover,

there is the Action Workbook for Congregations, which

offers all sorts of practical strategies and information

The presenter of this webinar will be Jerry Lawson,

National Manager for ENERGY STAR Small Business

& Congregations at the U.S. Environmental Protection

Agency. The webinar will be hosted by the Rev. Dr.

Brooks Berndt, who oversees the UCC's Creation

Justice Churches program as the Minister for

Environmental Justice.

Register here

Joint Conference
Visioning & Development Team (JCVDT)
     The following information is available on the PNEC website at  or by clicking on the links below:
4.  JCVDT Survey
6.  How to stay connected with JCVDT on FACEBOOK
7.  How to stay connected with JCVDT on Twitter
      I ask for your prayers for our process together that the Spirit can guide us and move us to be the Body of Christ together. Thank you!
Rev. Joanne Marchetto
     The registration site for the 2018 National Gathering of The Regional Theological Education Consortium (RTEC), April 30 - May 2 at The Hotel at Oberlin (OH) is now open. You can register for "Six Dangerous Questions: A Formula for Ministry Excellence" at Participants are urged to register as soon as possible, but not later than April 6, to guarantee room availability at the venue.
     We will be introducing a new program assessment tool. We will also look more broadly at the value and importance of intentional assessment processes for not only making our existing educational programs stronger, but as a template for imagining and creating new programs -- and not just theological education programs. In fact, we believe the questions we will engage in our time together can activate excellence in many ways in our organizations. 
     Please Note:
  • This is a free event. The MESA Ministry Team & The BTS Center are event sponsors, and will provide lodging and most meals. Participants are asked to bear the cost of travel to the event in Oberlin, OH.
  • There are some funds available for those who may need help with travel expenses. Please contact Bob Grove-Markwood at The BTS Center to inquire about travel support: / 207-227-3507 (cell).
  • For all questions, please contact Tisha Brown, RTEC Steering Team chair, or 608-846-7880.

     We hope to see you at this year's meeting. Whether you are able to attend, or not, we hope you might share this information with others who could benefit from learning more about best practices for assessment.

Rev. Tisha Brown, Assoc.Conference Minister for Leadership Development, Wisconsin Conference, UCC
(608) 846-7880
"I love to tell the story; 'tis pleasant to repeat.
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet."
    PNEC congregations are invited to submit a LOVE STORY FORM to Gary Barraco, PNEC 3GL Ambassador. Gary will submit these to the national church for inclusion in the web site  , but we will also select 5 stories to present at the PNEC Annual Meeting in April. Submissions can start now and will close April 1st.
     If you have questions, feel free to contact Gary at   or (732)241-6635.
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Money & Ministry Workshop
The Penn Central Conference is extending an invitation to invite PNEC to their generosity workshop, Money and Ministry.  It will be held on April 28 in Lancaster.
Flyer,agenda, workshop details and bios are attached.  Here is the registration link. 
Stephanie Rader-Titzel
Communications and Generosity Director
 Penn Central Conference United Church of Christ
900 South Arlington Avenue - Room 227A - Harrisburg, PA 17109
717.652.1560, ext. 11 (office) or 717.557.4154 (wireless)
The Phoebe Messenger winter issue is now online!
Visit  to learn more about the latest at Phoebe, including stories of our amazing residents.
Keep your eyes open for The Mini Messenger, our biannual newsletter, coming soon to your church.
For more information, contact the editor at 610-794-5124 or

A Note from Jeffrey Mensendiek,  

Missionary to Japan &  

Planning a Mission Trip to Japan in May, 2018


     I am returning to Japan for my next four year term. It was a pleasrue to visit churches this past month (all in CA & PA). I am sorry I was not able to connect with all of you. For those of you that i was not able to visit I have written "A Lenten Meditation on Relationship" which can be accessed on my blog
This will give you a sense of the message I carried with me as I shared with churches this past month.
      I also want to inform you about a mission trip to Japan this May to visit our partners at the Asian Rural Institute ARI
     My friend Ken Matsuyama has planned several trips like this before, and is open for people who might want to join. ARI is an exciting ministry for anybody interested in ecological issues and global peace.
Please click here for the full flyer and information if you might want to join the trip.
     Finally, I would like to remind you that March 11th will mark the 7th anniversary of the disaster. I will be in the port city of Ishinomaki to lead a Taize-style prayer service on that day. I would appreciate it if you could keep the people of northeasetrn Japan in your prayers.
Yours in Christ       Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek
Thank you

An Invitation from Pennsylvania Southeast Conference...Discipleship Workshop


Facilitator:  Rev. Cean James

Times:  10AM to 12 Noon

There is one more opportunities to attend this workshop:

April 14 @ Trinity UCC, Reading

There is NO charge for this workshop but please register by going to the PSEC website (, click on the Events & News tab, click Conference Events and find the workshop date you are interested in.

Register now for Clergy Convocation
     Join the Penn Northeast & Penn Southeast Conferences 
for a time of collegiality, spiritual renewal and education for authorized ministries and members in discernment.  Rev. Wanda D. Craner will be the Guest Speaker.  "The Spiritual Health of Clergy in Times of Dis-Ease".
  Clergy Convocation Flyer 2018
To register: click here.
Children's Sermon
    for March 25 (based on Mark 11:1-11)  Items needed: hollow chocolate bunny; solid chocolate bunny  (Beforehand, take bunnies out of boxes.)  Ask kids what they are.  Then ask them to describe the differences between the two (size, color, decoration.)  What is the difference between these two that you can't tell just by looking at them----one is  hollow chocolate(show hollow one), and one is solid chocolate(show solid one.)   The way to tell the hollow one is to try breaking it-the hollow chocolate breaks easily (Break hollow bunny.)  The bunny that is solid on the inside is much stronger (act like you're trying to break solid bunny, but don't break.)   In today's Bible reading, many people are cheering for Jesus as he rides  a donkey into the city of Jerusalem.  But for some of them , their love for Jesus is hollow, like this hollow bunny.  So their love for Jesus breaks easily, and they go away.  But for some of them, their love for Jesus is solid, like this solid bunny.  Since their love for Jesus is solid, they keep following Jesus, no matter what.
- Rev. David Quinn

24 - March for Our Lives - Washington DC
26 - 11AM - PNEC Annual Meeting Planning Team - Conf. Office
27 - 9-11:30AM - JCRT - NEPA Synod
28 - 2PM - Ministry Team Chairs - Conference Office
30 - PNEC OFFICE CLOSED - Good Friday


Call to the 56th Annual Meeting

of the Penn Northeast Conference

Saturday, April 14, 2018

8AM to 4PM


Union UCC, 5550 Route 873, Neffs


Theme:  Exploration!

Workshop Leader:  Rev. Michael Piazza,

Spiritual Visionary, Author, Social Justice Advocate, Currently serving as Pastor of Middle Collegiate Church, NYC

Guest Preacher:  Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates,

Conference Minister, PNEC

Download a Registration form here

Also available for download from

Phoebe Institute on Aging 2018 Spring Conference
Building a Customer Driven Culture
Thursday, April 26, 2018
8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
University Center at DeSales University
Presented by Cura Hospitality

 The cost for the full-day conference, which includes all programming, a continental breakfast, and a buffet lunch, is $25. Students and Phoebe employees are admitted free with a valid ID (which must be presented during morning check-in) and scholarships will be considered. Most CEUs are offered at an additional cost. Register by April 17, 2018. Please call 610-794-5150 with questions.
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
we will be offering a course in
CHURCH HISTORY on Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 9am to 4pm at First UCC in Schuylkill Haven but you can also attend via LIVE BROADCAST. This class will focus on the history of the church beginning with the 1st century through the Crusades, Reformation, and today.  Dr. Randall Zachman will be teaching the course and he is a Professor Emeritus of Reformation Studies at the University of Notre Dame This is a basic class for our Licensing Prep curriculum and a wonderful refresher for all clergy & laity of our roots in the Church.  We hope you will join us for a fascinating and fast paced romp through Church History.  Attached is a registration form with the reading assignment for the class or you can register and pay online at our website:

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
Volunteers, hosts at UCC's new Harvey recovery site share skills, hugs, prayers
     UCC Disaster Ministries reached 
out quickly after Harvey to Gulf
Coast pastors. Working with the UCC's South Central Conference, UCC Disaster Ministries hired a Houston couple - the Rev. Joshua Lawrence and Amariee Collins - to coordinate the UCC's Harvey recovery for two years.
     "Opening a recovery site in Port Arthur fits the UCC's commitment to care for historically underserved communities," said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth. Once a beacon of commerce, Port Arthur is now in precarious condition after years of economic recession and job outsourcing.
     $80,000 from UCC Disaster Ministries is helping pay for construction materials and to hire a retired carpenter, as a temporary site construction manager. The UCC's Penn Northeast Conference has loaned two tool trailers to the rebuilding effort, and retired UCC pastor the Rev. Paul Longstreth of Houston is lending his time and talents as volunteer coordinator.
     To see the full story, please click here
Eastern Regional Youth Event 
     The Eastern Regional Youth Event website has been updated to include the band information and the workshops that will be available and what a variety of workshops there are! PNEC has formed a team to help you with any questions you may have. We have been working on any details for the churches in our conference. Have you received an email from the team? If not, please contact Marge Baltz ( We will continue to give updates as they are available! 
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 no later than December 23rd 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!   Class size is limited to the first fifteen to register.  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 June13th. Please note the last three online classes reached maximum capacity
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:
Disaster Ministries Update
Just a little reminder that all churches are to drop off Church World Service kits (clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits) to the PNEC office in Palmerton.  Having everything dropped off at the Conference office is more convenient for the people who will be delivering to Maryland


April 6 - To BE Announced - watch for further details at



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

19th Global Youth Justice Training
World's Most Replicated Juvenile Justice Program
Historic Provincetown in Cape Cod, USA
Tuesday to Thursday -- June 12-14, 2018
Polity Curriculum for Local Churches

     MESA recently released a new UCC Polity Curriculum designed for local congregations: new member classes, confirmation classes, COM orientations, and congregations considering joining the UCC. The materials can be found online at:
Pennsylvania lay leader creates traveling road show around UCC's 3 Great Loves...A lay leader of the UCC Penn Northeast Conference is on a spiritual journey, spending his Sundays with several different congregations, and spreading the word about the 3 Great Loves (3GL) initiativeClick to see full article

3 Great Loves Wants to Come to
Your Congregation
The 3 Great Loves is the denomination's opportunity to express how our Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, and Love of Creation work together to address the inequities in our current world. To move this initiative forward in the Penn Northeast Conference, we have recruited Gary Barraco from Forks UCC to be our '3 Great Loves Ambassador'. Gary has been working with the National representative and Regional Ambassador to prepare our Conference to learn more about the 3 Great Loves program. Gary and others want to come to your church and deliver the Sunday morning message or present to a large group. He has put together a full liturgy for a worship serve, including suggested hymns, so we can come in with a pre-packaged service. To learn more, contact Gary at


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"