Lifelong Learning

MEF

Please save the following dates. Details to follow…

  • Fall 2021 Education Forums

    Third Tuesdays at 10am LIVE ONLY at St. Thomas, Linglestown and 6pm ZOOM ONLY

  • September 21 with Pastor Mark Harris

    As a sexual abuse survivor and pastor, Mark will talk with us about trauma informed pastoral care. Check out this information from Mark in preparation for our time together at safecommunitiespa.org (2 hours Boundary Training Credit)

    10am Live at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Register); 6pm Zoom (Register)

    Pastor Mark writes, “From the ages of 11 to 15, I was progressively groomed and led into a network of pedophile and child pornography by a charismatic man who was well known to my family. He was the director of an Outward Bound type school that worked primarily with adjudicated youth. Through progressive stages, I encountered a dozen men who sexually abused me, and made me the subject of child pornography. In the course of extensive therapy as a young adult, I took part in the prosecution of some of these men. My recovery from trauma took place over the next two decades, although I would hesitate to say that it is ever over. Recently, I graduated from Lancaster Theological Seminary, and I am well on my way to being ordained in the United Church of Christ. For now, I am a working Pastor, leading a small church as an authorized minister. I am working on a book about my experiences and see my path in ministry as including working with survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as survivors of other trauma. I feel strongly that the story of Jesus offers much to those who are recovering from traumatic experiences.”
    Pastor Mark Harris is the pastor at Salem UCC in Columbia.

  • October 19 with Rev. India Garnett

    Rev. India has been doing webinars with Healing From Racism Programs out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and will bring her expertise and life experience to share with Penn Central clergy. We each come to these sessions with our own stories which are part of the whole of humanity. We are called to love each other as Jesus loves us. In so doing — in following His imperative, there is no room for guilt and shame. Guilt and shame serve no useful purposes and are diametrically opposed to Universal Love — Agape. So, let us gather in the heart attitude of learning more about each other and our perspectives. In Psalm 139:1-18 (NRSV), we are assured that we “are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Let us, therefore, embark upon this journey with God, learning of the awe and wonder of each other… (2 hours Anti-Racism Credit)

    10am LIVE at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Register); 6pm Zoom (Register)

    Rev. India Elaine Garnett has extensive experience in pastoral counseling, mentoring, grief, loss and bereavement counseling, healing from racial discrimination and gender issues, and veterans and community issues. From 1985-2013, she designed, implemented and maintained long-term (one to five years) residential programming at the Bethesda Mission Women’s Center, Harrisburg, PA, focusing on services for the whole person — body, mind and spirit. In her role as Pastor, Counselor and Teacher for the Harrisburg Association, Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC), India established ethical guidelines for staff and residents (guests); spiritual directions and procedures for guests; mandatory reporting procedures; ties with the therapeutic community; relationships with judicial agencies and with local, city and state agencies; policy of requiring State abuse clearances; job descriptions for volunteers; practice of caring for volunteers; procedures and policies for daily operations; screening procedures for children’s needs. She also supervised and trained counseling staff and volunteers; instituted Servant Leadership Model of Care, and performed public speaking and officiating roles for life events. . India graduated in 1993 from the Masters of Divinity Program at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.

  • November 16 with Rev. Nora Foust

    Challenges of Living in Covenant – There has been a lot of change in the authorization process as well as departure ethics and fitness reviews for authorized ministers in recent years. Join Nora for discussion on nurturing calls in your congregation, mentoring Members in Discernment, connecting with your COM, updated pastoral profiles, navigating the theological breadth of the UCC, and so much more! Nora will also offer an update on the forthcoming Manual on Church. (2 hours Continuing Ed Credit)

    10am LIVE at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Register); 6pm Zoom (Register)

    Rev. Nora serves as the Associate Conference Minister for Congregational and Ministerial Excellence in the Penn Central Conference

All forums are for clergy. They will be held via Zoom.

Boundary Training – All Zooms unless otherwise noted, 2 credit hours

2021 Schedule

  • September 15

    10am (Register) and 6pm (Register) – Power and the Pastoral Office with Rev. Nora Foust
    This has been offered with some ministeriums this year so you may want to double-check before you register as you can only get credit once. Drawing from writings of Karen Lebacqz and Richard Gula, we will explore some of the aspects of the professional power that comes with the pastoral office. The power that pastors have is often understated and misunderstood. Some of you may remember this example from FaithTrust Institute and Margaret Atwood.

    • She unlocks her office door, then locks it behind her to disguise the fact that she’s in there. It’s not her office hours but the students take advantage. They can smell her out, like sniffer dogs; they’ll seize any opportunity to suck up to her or whine, or attempt to impress her, or foist upon her their version of sulky defiance. I’m just a human being, Tony wants to say to them. But of course she isn’t. She’s a human being with power. There isn’t much of it, but its power all the same.” Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood

    Like that of a professor and student, the pastoral relationship is one of unequal power between minister and congregant. Unequal power does not necessarily indicate abuse, but it is something for us to consider with some regularity and intentionality.

  • September 29

    10am-1pm LIVE at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Pepper Theo Café – Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH at Pepper Theo) $10 (register and pay)

    We will spend time reflecting on ways to let go of congregational life in the ways that you have experienced it as a pastor and learn to navigate it as a member. Retired and Supply pastors are often in and out of pulpits and we will look at the delicate boundaries that come with this type of ministry as well. Additionally, we will examine the boundaries outlined by MESA’s Departure Ethics for Retired Ministers.

  • October 13

    6pm (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust

    This session will review some of the self-care basics and boundary foundations as well as look a little deeper at social media and departure ethics that focus on moving from church to church. We will also spend some time with case studies around recurring situations that have come up over the past couple years.

  • October 25

    10am (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust

    This session will review some of the self-care basics and boundary foundations as well as look a little deeper at social media and departure ethics that focus on moving from church to church. We will also spend some time with case studies around recurring situations that have come up over the past couple years.

  • October 28

    10am-1pm LIVE St. John’s in Lewisburg Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH) $10 (register and pay)

    We will spend time reflecting on ways to let go of congregational life in the ways that you have experienced it as a pastor and learn to navigate it as a member. Retired and Supply pastors are often in and out of pulpits and we will look at the delicate boundaries that come with this type of ministry as well. Additionally, we will examine the boundaries outlined by MESA’s Departure Ethics for Retired Ministers.

**All clergy must accumulate 6 distinct hours every 3 years!**

Child Abuse History Clearances:

The state of Pennsylvania requires that volunteers and employees undergo background checks. Here are the three background checks they require:

  • Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Records Check
  • Federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI)

http://www.dhs.pa.gov/publications/findaform/childabusehistoryclearanceforms/index.htm#.VtCn1On-_ct

Morsels of Excellence

This is our first VLOG series and we hope it will be meaningful for you! These Morsels are intended to enhance and inform ministry in your local church. Each month (by the 15th), we will post a short video and discussion questions for your leadership team to engage each month.

We urge you to take the time to view these videos as a group. All are 5 minutes or less and are designed to begin a conversation and a learning journey to enhance your ministry.

After viewing the videos, please spend 5 minutes or so with one or two of the discussion questions that follow. Engage the questions for growth. Each video will include a scripture passage, read it and read it again. Ask questions. Grow spiritually.

Your ministry will be enhanced.

There is a feedback form included with the discussion questions each month and we would love to hear from you! How did these morsels feed your soul and nourish your ministry?

Evaluation for Morsels

November Morsels
Morsels November Discussion

October Morsels: Constitution & Bylaws
Morsels October Discussion

September Morsels: Constitution & Bylaws
Morsels September Discussion

August Morsels: Narrative Budget
Morsels August Discussion

July Morsels: Church Conflict
Discussion Questions

June Morsels: General Synod
General Synod Web Site

May Morsels – Hospitality
May Discussion Questions

April Morsels – Your Church’s Mission and Vision
April Discussion Questions

MARCH: BEHAVIORAL COVENANTS
Rules of the Road
Discussion
Resources

FEBRUARY: Social Media
Discussion

JANUARY: A Sure Foundation: resources for the relationships between pastors and congregations
Discussion