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PNNE-Connections for December 16, 2022
In this issue:


Christmas Joy Special Offering

November 27 - December 18, 2022

And the Word became flesh and lived among us ... John 1:14

  • The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s.
  • The Offering distributes gifts equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color.
  • The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families.
  • Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years.
Click for Resources on PCUSA

From your Resource Presbyter

Dear Friends,

It's an interesting question: "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"  This is a question in life and definitely the question of Advent.  Each Advent we wait on and affirm that Jesus is the One.  And while John asked this question of Jesus, we also need to realize that those around us ask the same questions of us.  Are you a disciple, are you the body of Christ, are we to wait for another?  As the people of the Presbytery of Northern New England, in this season of waiting, let us embody Jesus' response to John in verse four below---"the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them."  That's what being a Matthew 25 Presbytery is all abourt, Charlie Brown...

Joy and Peace,

Gospel reading for Friday, December 16:  Matthew 11:2-15

2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"  4Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.  6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.

7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at?  A reed shaken by the wind?  8What then did you go out to see?  Someone dressed in soft robes?  Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces.  9What then did you go out to see?  A prophet?  Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.  10This is the one about whom it is written, 
     'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 
          who will prepare your way before you.' 
11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  12From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.  13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; 14and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.  15Let anyone with ears listen!"

There he sat, awaiting his executioner.  John looked around at what God and His Messiah were not doing, and even the greatest among those born of woman had his doubts.  “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 

This question lurks in the hearts of all of God’s people who suffer in their faithfulness.  Every Christian asks it at some point (or multiple points) in life.  There is no sugarcoating the fact that the reign of Heaven, as it comes about through Jesus, does not make everything better; not yet, at least.  It does not remove the tears or dispel the fears which characterize life in this dark valley.  This is what makes John’s question so important.  His willingness to give it voice invites the preacher of every time and place to bring the question to the surface for us all.  Do not pass up this opportunity to name for your congregation the struggles and the doubts they may be afraid even to speak.

Common Prayer for Sunday Dec 18:  Councils of Churches and Ecumenical Partners

It is the great desire of God, expressed by Jesus, that we might come to him and abide in him.  He waits for us tirelessly, hoping that, united to him in love, we will bear fruit that will bring life to all.  Faced with the difference of ‘the other’, we risk withdrawing into ourselves and seeing only that which separates us.  But let us listen to how Christ calls us to abide in his love, and so bear much fruit.

"That they all may be one" ~ John 17:21a
Click this button to see some of PNNE's ministry partners.

Support your Pastor

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other, but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. — Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
          79% of Evangelical and Reformed pastors are happier personally 
          88% of churches are treating their pastors better, too 
          88% have a high view of Christ 
          75% are better at their spiritual formation 
          57% are more satisfied in their calling 
          However, 54% of pastors still work over 55 hours a week 
          57% can’t pay their bills 
          54% are overworked and 43% are overstressed 
          53% feel seminary had not properly prepared them for the task
          35% battle depression 
          26% are overly fatigued 
          28% are spiritually undernourished and 9% are burnt-out 
          23% are still distant to their families 
          18% work more than 70 hours a week and face unreasonable challenges 
          12% are belittled
          3% have had an affair 
          90% feel honored to be a pastor

Thus, there is a way to get it right.  Pastors need to delegate and train more; church boards and congregations must understand the proper roles of their pastors and learn to work with them, not against.  Synopsis: The biggest problems with pastors and the churches they serve, stem from a lack of desire to please Christ, a lack of love for one another; from a lack of authentic spiritual growth, and a lack of prayer.  Take care of these, and you will be an incredibly faithful and abundant church and a content pastor.
During this season of Advent, how can we embrace the monastic model and be better friends to our pastors?  If you are active in a church, how can you offer support and encouragement to your pastor?  And if you are a pastor, what practices might you put in place to allow others to share the joy and the burden of ministry?  What relationships, either within the congregation or between colleagues, might you foster to provide you support?
Loving God, during this busy season help us to make time to nurture the souls of our church leaders, and help us to support one another to proclaim your Good News more effectively to our world.  May we learn from Christ’s example and find ways to develop healthy systems of support.

Montreat hymn for Advent Week Three

Hymn for Week 3:
"My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout"

Please enjoy this week's hymn using the YouTube link above.  "My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout" is hymn 100 in the Glory to God hymnal.  Chosen by Dr. Mel Bringle, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Brevard College.

Click this button for YouTube of Hymn
The third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, with its theme of joy and its pink candle, reminds us to lighten up!  To join Mary and the angels in rejoicing, not because our circumstances are perfect or even because we can make sense of the pain, suffering and injustice of the world.  Mary’s first Christmas certainly wasn’t perfect, after all!  She was an unwed teen mother, far from home, going into labor and giving birth in a dark stable surrounded by animals and hay.  Shout Joyfully!


As attendance dips, churches change to stay relevant for a new wave of worshippers

A longtime pastor says the question used to be
How can the church change the culture?
Now, it's how to change the culture of the church.
Ways range from gardening to food giveaways to fire pits.

Click this button to Listen and read article on NPR

What do American Christians believe about their religion?

A new survey finds that American Christians' beliefs are as diverse as the country they live in.  From the traditional:  “Jesus Christ, we believe in God incarnate who came, died a death on a cross and then rose again on the third day."

To the surprising number of regular churchgoers who believe Jesus was a great teacher, but not divine.

“Whether or not in fact he is divine, and the son of God is actually, well, it’s a little irrelevant to me personally."

Click this button to read or hear WBUR report "On Point"

Creating a Culture of Generosity Webinar - Synod of NE

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2023, 10:30 AM

Facing the challenges of our post-pandemic world in your church?  If your congregation’s approach to stewardship is stuck in a rut, the Presbyterian Foundation can help church leaders create a culture of generosity that celebrates the resources God has given us and understands the spiritual impact that giving away those resources has on individuals and congregations.  Rev. Dr. Rose Niles, our Ministry Relations Officer in the Northeast Region, will bring an interactive Culture of Generosity workshop to us in a webinar on February 7, 2023, to help churches move from conducting a traditional stewardship campaign to building a year-round, spiritually-based culture of generosity.  Register now and plan to join us!
Click this button to Register for the Generosity Webinar

Camp Wilmot Winter Weekend with NE GLOW Feb 24-26

Join Youth Groups from across New England for a weekend of fellowship and fun hosted by Camp Wilmot and New England GLOW!  We'll gather for dinner Friday night and wrap up with Sunday breakfast in time for everyone to make it back to their respective churches for worship.  In between we'll enjoy outdoor games, art activities and baking, bible study and plenty of sledding.  Our theme for the weekend is "When Did We See You?", guided by Matthew 25 and the curriculum published by the PCUSA.  Cost is $100 per youth.  Scholarships are available.
Click this button for Registration and Scholarship info

Synod of the NE Advent Worship Service

The Synod of the Northeast

Advent Worship Service
is available for download 
This service is for our congregations to be used to provide pastors with a sabbath
and also to bring the community together as we pray... 
“Come Lord Jesus.” 
You can download the worship video here
The worship service can be viewed on the Synod of the Northeast Website here
View on Webpage
It can also be viewed on our Facebook Page here
View on Facebook

GLOW Postpones In-Person Gathering

GLOW is postponing their in-person gathering originally scheduled for Sat, Dec 17.  A new date is yet to be decided.


Presbyterian Women (PW) Fall 2022 Grapevine

The button below is a link to the fall newsletter which summarizes with pictures and text the PW Spring 2022 Retreat.  At the very end of the Grapevine there is an up to date list of contact information for all the PW Coordinating Team.  The pictures relive some wonderful moments from May of 2022.
Click this button to go to the Fall 2022 Grapevine on PNNE's Google drive

SAVE THE DATE FOR 2023 May 12 and 13 PW Retreat

Theme: “Planting faith seeds in the next generation”

2023 PNNE Policy on Minimum Compensation for Parish Ministers

Congregations of the Presbytery of Northern New England shall adhere to the following practices when setting compensation for pastoral service.  It is recommended that all pastors’ compensations be increased by 5% for 2023 in concurrence with current recommendation of the Synod Personnel Committee.

Click button to retrieve full document for 2023 Compensation

Changes in the Book Of Order

The Presbytery of Northern New England (PNNE) will vote on the amendments to the constitution at the PNNE stated meeting on January 12, 2023.  We are giving advance notice because it is a lot of reading.  If you have questions as you review them, you can contact the Stated Clerk, T. J. DeMarco at  The 225th General Assembly (2022) approved 33 proposed amendments to the Book of Order—including a replacement for the entire D-section—to be considered and voted on by the 166 presbyteries prior to July 9, 2023.  For an amendment to be adopted, 84 presbyteries must vote to approve it.
Proposed Amendments to The Constitution Booklet - DOWNLOAD

~~~~~~~~ REGULAR FEATURES.........

Connecting: For All Ministers

We have two weekly opportunities for ministers to connect for support and encouragement.  Click here to join the Zoom meeting at the days and times, below.

  • Mondays at 10:00 am
  • Tuesdays at 3:00 pm

Connecting: For Retired Clergy

Fourth Wednesday of the Month at 10am.

Pastoral Openings


Prayer Calendar

2022 Common Prayer Calendar


PNNE sign-up form

News from Camp Wilmot

News from Mission at the Eastward (MATE)

PNNE Presbyterian Women:

The Grapevine Fall 2022

On Facebook

Our larger church:


Synod of the Northeast


Did he know that the stable
 he found for his girl
would stand starlit forever?
Did she sense that the manger
that cradled her child
would resound across centuries in song?
Could they guess that their headlong dash
from the fields would be told,
then retold, then retold.
Would they ever have dreamt their long
star trek might end up portrayed
in a myriad locations?
So take thought what you do
in this season of clear expectation.
There’s no telling just where
or with whom it will end.
J. Barrie Shepherd

PNNE Contact Information

Resource Presbyter, Scott DeBlock | 518-423-7901

Stated Clerk, T.J. DeMarco | 401-523-7417

PNNE Website
Copyright © 2022 Presbytery of Northern New England, All rights reserved.

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