As I write this, I am sitting at the Kellogg Conference Center in Washington, DC preparing to speak to senators and congressional representatives about the funding for and policies of immigration that separate families, detain rather than comfort, and generally treat those trying to escape tyranny with more tyranny. Twenty-one other conference ministers are here with me, being educated on issues by our United Church of Christ Washington, D.C. staff.
No matter your specific concern around immigration, it is time to be educated about this important issue. The policies being advocated for are:
· Prioritize family unity
· Create a process that leads to legal status and citizenship
· Improve access to the legal immigration system
· Protect all workers and reduce exploitation
· Emphasize true community safety
· Protect human rights in enforcement practice and border policies
· Ensure prosecutorial and judicial discretion
· Reform detention policies
· Protect vulnerable populations in the UC and abroad
· Facilitate immigrant and refugee integration
· Strive for lasting solutions
These seem reasonable to me. It is important that we understand the process and the practices of financial support for immigration policies. For instance, were you aware that the current practice is to take money within the whole of the Department of Homeland Security budget and relocate it to detention and the building of the border wall? That means that funds from FEMA, the Coast Guard, TSA, election security and other programs is being reallocated. In this time of natural disasters, floods, fires, and hurricanes to reallocate monies from FEMA doesn’t seem to make sense to me.
There are currently 52,000 people in detention, down from an all-time high of 55,000 this summer. Most of these are in detention centers, rather than in Family Case Management Programs which cost 1/10
. Yet we continue to fund detention centers, some of which are affiliated with private prisons.
It's time to say, “enough” and act as the Christians we are called to be. We need to remember that our own savior was a refugee, escaping Herod’s death sentence for all male children under the age of 2. We need to be the communities of faith who love our neighbors, all our neighbors.
In the gospels the Jesus I see stood up for the children, for the stranger, for the least powerful among us. I see a Jesus who stood up to powers and principalities in order to protect the marginalized and call for dignity and respect for all people. I see a Jesus calling me to act, to move outside my comfort zone and to speak out for justice and compassion. This is the Jesus I follow. This is the Jesus who calls me, and you, to act on behalf of children, the lost, the refugee, the marginalized, the seeker of justice and freedom.
I have spoken often about the difference between being political and being partisan. Jesus was political. He spoke about and acted on his beliefs in addressing social issues, confronting those in power with the need to change social policies and practices that were injuring people. That is our call as well, and I will continue to proclaim the rights of people and the need for justice. To be partisan is to tell you which candidate to vote for. This I will never do.
Sometimes the issue in our world seem too big, too much to tackle. Yet, Jesus calls us, encourages us, and expects us to act in love. My friends, think about what you can do. Speak out about the injustice you see. Speak for the rights of children, even babies, who are separate from their families. Speak for the rights of people simply seeking a place of hope and refuge.
Now is the time for our voices to be heard. Share your thoughts through phone calls or letters to your congressional representatives and senators. Stand for the lost and the least. That is, after all, what Jesus did and what Jesus teaches us to do.
To view the UCC press release, click on the link below.
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
Dr. Jill Peters, Missional Leadership Developer, Moravian Theological Seminary
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.
UP-COMING EVENTS THAT YOU NEED TO REGISTER FOR...
don't wait, register now
Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic Day of Dialogue
Division in Society, Division in the Church: Healing & Hope for the 21st Century
Monday, October 28
Diocese of Harrisburg,
4800 Union Deposit Rd., Harrisburg
9AM and to 3PM - lunch provided
Cost - $30 single registrant;
$50 two from the same parish;
$20 each for 3 or more
Deadline October 18
Pastoral Leadership in Congregational Systems 101
3 Sessions of Learning-Improve Pastoral Leadership
Oct. 9, February 12, March 6
9AM to 5PM with a break for lunch
Faith UCC, 5992 Route 378, Center Valley
divided in cohorts of 10-12
-3 days of Experiential Learning about Congregational Systems
$350 / lunch and breaks each day
(deposit of $100 due with registration; full payment by October 1)
MONEY and MINISTRY
PNEC & Financial Ministries UCC
November 9 -- 9AM to 3PM
(NOTE: Change in time)
PNEC Office, 431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton --
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
Part-Time is Plenty: Thriving Without Full-Time Clergy
with award-winning journalist and author Rev. G. Jeffrey MacDonald
October 12 from 9AM to Noon
(Registration @ 8:30AM)
Shenkel UCC, 1580 Shenkel Rd., Pottstown
(NOTE change in location)
Thursday, October 10
9:00 AM to 3:30 PM (Registration 8:30 AM)
St. John's UCC (Fullerton),
575 Grape St.,
5 Hours of Continuing Education
: Rev. Dr. Gregory Edwards, founder and Sr. Pastor of Resurrected Life Community Church UCC, Allentown
Our Call...Building Relationships
: $15 (made payable to PNEC)
Deadline to Register: Monday, September 30
for the full flyer & registration form
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
Due to lack of registration,
the Adventures in Advent Event on October 5 is CANCELLED.
Faith Formation Programs
Saturday October 5 - 9:30AM at Panera Bread, Tilghman Square, Allentown
Monday, October 7 - 9:30AM also at Panera
These conversations will be centered around Advent Resources but there will also be an opportunity to share general questions/concerns about Faith Formation in your curch.
The goal of the Faith Formation Ministry Team is support YOUR educational ministries. It can feel lonely out there on your own; why not join us??
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...
DEADLINE TO REGISTER, Sept. 30
2019 - 2020 Vitality Days with Michael Piazza
Four - 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.
Each session will run from 9AM to 4:30 PM - Registration at 8:30AM
- Transformational Worship - October 26 - Good Shepherd UCC, 3940 Mt. Rd., Slatington
- Structure & Stewardship - November 16 - Jordan UCC, 1837 Church Rd., Allentown
- Craft Church Evangelism - March 28 - Good Shepherd UCC, 3940 Mt. Rd., Slatington
- Vintage Church Renewal - May 2 - Jordan UCC, 1837 Church Rd., Allentown
Cost: $1,000 for all four days of training for church teams (up to 10 people from each congregation) and the monthly coaching sessions; $15 per person for drinks & lunch on training days
for Questionnaire "Congregational Revitalization or Transition Model Assessment.
Fire at Heather Glen Senior Living
Some information from one of our pastors...
They are most in need of clothing for adults in a variety of sizes as their residence have been transferred to other facilities and have no access to their clothing at the present time. There is a disaster truck parked in front of the facility (
415 Blue Barn Rd, Allentown, PA 18104)
and they can receive clothing dropped off there during the day time. Thank you
Preaching Like the Choir
How to prepare & present sermons with rhythm, melody and prose
with Rev. Cean James
October 17, 2019
9AM to 3PM (registration @ 8:30AM)
$12 (lunch included)
First UCC, 110 Route 61 South, Schuylkill Haven
UCC Disaster Ministries Webinars
for full list of upcoming and past webinars that are available...
Mental Health Education for Families
Four Part Series
(attendance at three of the four would qualify as Cultural Competency Training)
October 7, October 14, October 21, October 28
Diocese of Scranton Pastoral Center
6:30 to 8PM
Our trained coaches will gladly support individuals and groups within congregations who are engaged in activities such as vision, mission, and core values development; governance structures, constitution and bylaws revisions; vitality efforts; transitions and search and call; conflict and behavioral covenant development.
Coaches will be assigned through the Conference Office based on the submission of the
Congregational Coaching application
to the Conference Office. Contributors to OCWM within the past two (2) years are eligible for coaching at $35 per hour (excluding services for the purpose of search and call.) For churches that have not contributed to OCWM the fee is $70 per hour. Once your congregation has contributed to OCWM for two (2) years, you will receive coaches at the reduced rate.
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
Take your pictures and record your stories and send them to
, so we can inspire others with your story.
for a list of PSEC and PNEC congregations that have offered to be drop-off locations for the kits you assemble.
ITEMS of INTEREST..
--Turning Point of the L.V. - Annual Domestic Violence Vigil -
Wednesday, October 16 from 6:30-7:30PM - doors open at 6PM - Third Street Alliance, 41 N. 3rd St., Easton - please join us to remember those who have lost their lives, honor survivors, and give hope for the future - live music - survivor speakers - candlelight vigil -
Lehigh Conference Of Churches...**
Diakon is seeking help from caring families to foster young adults- Information sessions are on October 30 from 6 to 8PM at St.Peter's Lutheran Church, 474 Vine St., Bethlehem - Also at the Topton Office, One South Home Ave. on September 12, October 10, and
November 14 - register by contacting the Diakon York Office 717-795-0320 -
Center for Humanistic Change
is seeking individuals to lead health programs...
Fall Food Festival - benefits the ecumenical soup kitchen - September 28 from 11AM to 2PM at
Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley, 1988 Schadt Ave., Whitehall...
--CROP WALK, October 6 Schuylkill Haven - October 13 Lehigh Valley, Carbon County - more info
--January 24-25, 2020 -
Cultivating Generous Congregations - How do YOU inspire Generosity?
Church of the Good Shepherd, Boyertown.
Watch for new details and flyer coming soon!