This Week in PNEC --- March 15, 2018 - March 23, 2018


431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA18071; website

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


          Bonnie Bates                      Gilberto Garcia Rodriguez   

          Barbara Jennings              Patty Rehrig



"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct,
in love, in faith and in purity." ~1 Timothy 4:12
     Yesterday teens from across the country joined together in a "walk out" at 10:00 am for 17 minutes.  Each minute represented a life lost during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, 2018.  Some of our PNEC youth joined with other students in districts across our conference area.  The National School "walk out" was a time for the students to honor and remember the lives lost, and a way for them to nationally (and globally) let their voices be heard.  
     Area School districts that allowed the walk out to be student lead were proud and overwhelmed at the maturity shown by the students of their schools. Emmaus High School allowed the walk out to be student lead, and the students spoke up and remembered in peaceful way.  PNEC Students from 3 different districts (Whitehall/Coplay, Northampton, and Catasauqua) reported their walk outs to be a time of silence, reflection, prayer, and remembrance.    LCTI students formed the number 17 and held up pictures of the 17 victims to honor them and remember. 
     Some districts walked alongside the students and helped them.  Parkland High School helped the students to allow it to be a time of education and exploration for the students.  Parkland has also been working tirelessly on their Parkland for Parkland Campaign. 
     Not all the school districts agreed with the walk out.  Salisbury School District, for example, did not allow the students to walk out, but the district is encouraging the community to participate in what they are calling, "What's your 17?"
     Not everyone agrees with the students walking out of school.  As adults we have various opinions as to the best way for their voices to be heard. Yet, we do not walk in their shoes.  We look at things from so many different angles.  We have so much life experience that gets in our way of seeing through their eyes.  We should be proud that our youth are finding their own way to have their voices be heard.  Their own way to gather.  And, when you really think about it, the only time our teens are gathered together, in one place, all at the same time, Nationwide, is at School. 
     May we continue to pray, continue to remember, and let us join our youth and take action.  Allow yourself to be open the the spirit's leading, to speak up, to write letters, to Walk Up or to Walk Out. No matter what you feel called to do, it is time for us all to make a difference in our world.  For us to join together to make sure our children and youth are safe.  And, as always, we need to continue to encourage our youth to be able to live up to their callings and to lead by example.
#neveragain #enough
-Michelle Funk  
Assistant Pastor, St. John's UCC, Fullerton
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.

Planning to be part of the March
24  event to end gun violence and prevent future shootings in our schools? Sign up for UCC updates on the D.C. March.
UCC materials available for free download that can be used for people attending the 3/24 March For Our Lives rallies. There is artwork for printing signs and placards, for making t-shirts, and for using on digital platforms.  

You can find them here: 

Cynthia Bailie, Director, Marketing and Philanthropy
United Church of Christ

     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
"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)

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.
     Phoebe Ministries will honor Bill Hacker and Eric Blew of Arbor Insurance with the Rev. Dr. Grant Harrity Award for Exemplary Service to the Aging at their annual Institute on Aging Benefit on Thursday, March 22 in University Center at DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley. The cocktail attire event will feature dinner and dancing and begins with cocktails at 6:00 p.m. Music will be provided by The Craig Thatcher Band.  For full details and reservation information click here.
Rev. Patience Stevenson underwent surgery and is recuperating at home.  Patience is the visitation pastor at Union UCC, Neffs.
Beth Sikorsky underwent surgery in February and has been recuperating at home.  Beth is the Commissioned Minister/Coordinator of Christian Education & Youth Empowerment at St. Paul's UCC (Indianland), Cherryville. 
Reverend David P. Focht, a retired (UCC) Pastor and resident of Allentown, Pa., died Saturday, March 11, after a brief illness. Reverend Focht was ordained at Emmanuel UCC Allentown in 1966. Reverend Focht served as Pastor of St. Paul's UCC in Kutztown, Pa., for 26 years until his retirement from the ministry in 1999. Cards of sympathy may be sent to his family at - 428 N. Ott St., Allentown, PA  18104
Children's Sermon
    for  March 18 (based on John 12:20-33)    Items Needed:  magnet,  vacuum cleaner,  a handful each of some pebbles, paper clips, and     M& Ms.  As the kids are coming up, make three separate piles on the floor of pebbles, paper clips, and M & Ms.  Ask the kids what each pile is.   Take out magnet an tell them what it is.  What happens when I take the magnet and hold it over the pebbles (do so)---nothing.   What happens when I take the magnet and hold it over the  M & Ms (do so)--nothing.   Now, what happens when I take the magnet and hold it over the paper clips (do so)--the magnet picks up the paper clips.  That is because the paper clips are made of metal and magnets "pull"  on things that are made of metal.  But magnets ONLY work on metal---see how a magnet does  NOT pull on pebbles or M & Ms (demonstrate.)   Then bring out vacuum cleaner and ask what  it is.  Turn on vacuum cleaner and use to suck up all three piles on the floor.  Ask kids where everything went.  That's the difference between a magnet and a vacuum cleaner---a magnet only picks up metal, the paper clips, but a vacuum picks up all things.  In today's Bible reading,  Jesus talks about when He will go to the cross.  Jesus says, when He goes to the cross, He will pull ALL people towards Himself.  In other words, Jesus is kind of like a vacuum cleaner.  He loves EVEYONE so much, He wants to  pull ALL people to Himself.

- Rev. David Quinn

15- 6:30-8PM - JCVDT Zoom meeting
17 - 9AM to Noon - Educational Day for all MID's and their Advisors - New Creation UCC, Easton
19 - 1PM - Gwilym T Williams Review Team - Conf. Office
19 - 4PM - Executive Committee - Conf. Office
20 - 9:30AM - Licensed/Commissioned Ministry Committee
20 - 11:45AM - Blue Mountain AMC Clergy - Schleicher's Family Restaurant, 6937 Rte 309, New Tripoli
20 - 2PM - Staff & Personnel Committee - Conf. Office
21 - 9AM - Ordained Church & Ministry Committee - Conf. Office
22 - 10-11:30AM - Congregational Vitality Committee - Conf. Office
22 - 1PM - COM Chairs - Conf. Office
22 - 6PM - Search & Call Team - Conference Office
23 - 10AM - Gwilym T Williams Committee - Conf. Office
23 - 4PM - COACH Meeting - Conference Office
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
28 - 4PM - Executive Committee - Conference Office
30 - PNEC OFFICE CLOSED - Good Friday

Act Now to End Racism
Join us on a transformational journey! The Lehigh Conference of Churches is sponsoring a bus departure from the Lehigh Valley to events taking place April 4 in Washington, DC, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Watch the video and visit for background on the event and sponsoring organizations, including the National Council of Churches.
Buses will depart at 4 a.m. from Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in Emmaus. Events at the National Mall include an interfaith service and a rally. For more information and schedule details, visit
The cost is $60 per person, with meals on your own. We need 55 people registered by March 15 to make this possible.
Please contact me at 610-433-6421 or with any questions. We hope you can join us and take part in this remembrance and call to action! 
Rev. Larry Pickens, Ecumenical Director
The Lehigh Conference of Churches

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

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, where he taught from 1991-2017, and is currently Adjunct Professor of Church History at Lancaster Theological Seminary.  He has published books on the theology of Luther and Calvin, and has also published articles and chapters on Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, and Barth, among others.  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:
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"