UEK Forum Report from the Penn Central Conference Committee of the United Church of Christ
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The partnership among the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg (now the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia), the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, and the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ was established in 1990. At the present time 18 pastors and lay persons from PCC congregations serve on the UEK Partnership Team. Pastors Dietmar Plajer and Ed Dickel serve as the team’s chair and vice-chair. Doug Macneal is the group’s secretary. The team meets bi-monthly at the Conference Center in Harrisburg.
Pastors and lay persons from Penn Central and the EKBO have participated every other year since 1997 in theological colloquies in the two countries. The first colloquy was held in Berlin-Schwanenwerder. The most recent took place in July, 2012, in Lancaster. Its theme was, “Invitational Ministry”. The ninth colloquy in the series has been tentatively scheduled for August 17 to 22, 2014, with the possible theme, “The Reception of Bonhoeffer’s Theology in the Church; A Theology of Resistance”.
During the past 23 years many pastors from both Regional Churches have served PCC congregations for terms that lasted from three months to a full year. Several pastors from Pennsylvania have also served churches in the Rhineland. A number of Pennsylvania churches and associations have joined with their partner churches in Germany in the observance of Ten Days for Peace in November.
A representative from PCC attended the 2011 Kirchentag in Dresden; others will be traveling to Hamburg for the 2013 Kirchentag. Members of the PCC Committee have over the years promoted the partnership with displays and workshops at the Annual Meetings of Conference.
The Penn Central Conference signed an official Partnership Agreement with the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (EKiR) in June 2011. It was confirmed by the EKiR Synode in January 2012.
A major event has been planned for June 6 – 20, 2013, entitled, “Partners in Peace”, that will bring together young people between the ages of 17 and 20 from the Penn Central Conference, the UCCSA Namibia Synod, the Dakota Association of the UCC, and our two Regional Churches in Germany. One of the purposes of this two-week event is to help the participants “think globally and act locally”. The event will be held in Central Pennsylvania and Washington.
Contact persons for the two Regional Churches and the Conference are:
Pfarrer Frank Schuerer-Behrmann, Melanchtonstr. 4, 15517 Fuerstenwalde/Spree, Germany
Kirchenraetin Christine Busch, Hans-Boeckler-Str. 7, 40476 Duesseldorf, Germany
Rev. Dietmar Plajer, 504 N. High Street, Selinsgrove, PA 17870