Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| November 27, 2019
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” (Luke 14:13)

As a child I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with extended family on our family’s farm in western NY State. The farm was run by my father’s two brothers. They and their families, along with my grandmother, still lived on site. My father’s 3 sisters would come to the farm as well, and with them all of the nieces, nephews, cousins, spouses, and various special guests. The massive Thanksgiving dinner could top 60 people. Our gathering had the format of a ritual that rarely varied: a ham dinner Wednesday night at Uncle Bob’s house; Thanksgiving Day parade and donuts the next morning; getting dressed up; going to Uncle Dick’s house; helping to set the multiple tables; joining hands in a large circle for prayer; and then eating. After eating came pie, football, naps, walking through (or playing in) the barns, visiting the cows (and barn cats), and looking over now-dormant fields frosted with snow. The day ended with turkey sandwiches at Uncle Bob’s house as we watched a slide show of someone’s recent travels.

If it sounds ideal, it was. Not until I was older did I come to learn that not everyone’s Thanksgiving looked like ours did. I knew my friends had “good” Thanksgivings, but I didn’t know beyond that. Only in time did I learn that for some, Thanksgiving was an anxiety-fueled event that involved things like alcohol abuse, harsh words, familial rejection, political argument, or simply silence and emptiness. I learned that the reality of holidays was emotionally complicated, psychologically messy, and politically fraught. Turns out, that’s true of all of life, not just the holidays. As we mature, we come to see the nuances, the shades of hidden pain, the diversity of lives around us – and ideally we become more empathetic.

When I imagine a church at its best, I think of that that dinner on the farm. A place of warmth, abundant spiritual food, loving acceptance, and great joy. And I hold to an image of worship at its best as the heavenly banquet, where all are fed, there is a seat for all (and not just at the children’s table), and no one goes away hungry. But for many people, as with holidays, they have not known the church to be the place of abundance and acceptance. They haven’t heard a good word, been warmly welcomed, or fed to bursting. Our gathering as church should offer - at the very least - a taste of the heavenly banquet. A feast where those who have known pain as well as joy; abuse as well as healing; estrangement as well as acceptance, can find a place at the table.

As you sit to enjoy your own Thanksgiving dinner this week, consider what kind of a feast your church offers to the world. May it one of abundance, inclusion, and grace.


Penn Central Conference offices will be closed on November 28 & 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Penn Central Conference is excited to announce the hiring of our new Coordinator for Camps and Retreats - Zoë D’heedene! Please join us in welcoming her to the team!

"Greetings members of the Penn Central Conference! My name is Zoë D’heedene and I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the staff of the PCC in the role of Coordinator of Camps and Retreats. I am in the last stretch of my seminary education, am a member in discernment of the York Association, and a proud member of Dover UCC. I have been blessed to experience some of the wonderful variety our conference has to offer throughout my life as a youth and one new to ministry. Before even officially beginning in this role, I have felt the tremendous support of our conference and the passion surrounding our outdoor ministries program. I look forward to working with all of you to see what God has in store. Blessings and Shalom!"
Preaching Around the Conference

December 1 - Zion UCC, Herndon - Rev. Carrie Call - 10:00AM
December 8 - First UCC, Carlisle - Rev. Carrie Call - 8:00AM
December 15 - St. John's UCC, New Columbia - Rev. Nora Foust - 10:00AM
Prayers for Penn Central Conference
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)

This week, we pray for each other as we continue to live into God's calling...

Trinity UCC, Watsontown
Church of the Apostles UCC, Waynesboro
Trinity UCC, Waynesboro
Mazeppa Union, Lewisburg

December 4, 7:00PM

Salem (Rohrerstown) UCC
2312 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603

It seems everywhere we look, people are taking sides and calling names. How can we learn to find common ground? On December 4, Sherry K's groundbreaking vocal group The Ripple Effect Vocal Visionary Project presents "If You Knew Me, You'd Love Me" concert -- an evening of music and words designed to build understanding. Uplifting songs of unity and inspiration will be interwoven with speakers from the community who will share personal stories to help us understand how it feels to walk in their shoes.
Conference Ministers tour sacred sites in Alabama in a group commitment to racial justice

Thirty United Church of Christ Conference Ministers, along with national officers John Dorhauer and Karen Georgia Thompson, shared an immersion experience around racism and racial justice in Alabama, touring several sacred sites forged in the struggle for equal rights. Read more here.

Pictured at Dexter Avenue Ling Memorial Church in Birmingham, AL are Pennsylvania Conference Ministers Rev. Bill Worley (PSEC,) Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates (PNE,) Rev. Dr. Carolyne Call (PCC) and Rev. David Ackerman (Penn West)
UCC's countdown to #GivingTuesday has arrived!
Help them reach their goal of $50,000 by Tuesday, December 3rd.

Thousands living at or below the poverty level are hesitant to seek needed treatment because of the fear of staggering medical costs. Some are deciding between doctor visits and groceries. Medical debt has consumed their income.

Perhaps you know a family member or neighbor faced with these overwhelming challenges. Support the UCC on Giving Tuesday by helping us to relieve the medical debt for thousands.
Don't forget to choose Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ as your AmazonSmile recipient before you begin your holiday shopping!
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

January 26 - Installation of Rev. Betsy Bruaw at Peace Church, Swartzville - 3:00PM
Association Meetings and Ministeriums

January 15 - Harrisburg Ministerium (with Rev. Carrie Call) - Kindred Place - 9:30AM
Association Special Events

January 12 - York Association Town Hall w/ Rev. Carrie Call - Mt. Zion UCC, York - 2:00PM   

February 3 - Harrisburg Association Town Hall w/ Rev. Carrie Call - Chapel Hill UCC, Camp Hill - 6:00PM   

April 18 - York Association Earth Day Anniversary Weekend w/ Jim Antal - Mt. Zion UCC, York - 9:00AM

Hartman Center Retreats
Confirmation Retreat - March 27 - 29 (details to come)
Pride Retreat for LGBTQ Folks & Allies - May 29-31 (details to come)
Clergy Events
"Clergy Advent Peace" Breakfast and Worship Retreat - PCC Cafeteria - December 11, 9:30AM-Noon Register here

Lenten Worship: A Collaborative Planning Event - Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg - January 9, 10:30AM-3:00PM Register here
 Save the date
January 21-23 - Clergy Sabbath at Sheraton Harrisburg/Hershey
February 19 - MEF at St. Thomas
March 18 - MEF at St. Thomas UCC
April 22 - MEF at St. Thomas UCC
May 13 - Worship Planning at Colonial Park UCC
From PCC Partners & Friends
LTS Music Sundays "A Thrill of Hope, the Weary World Rejoices " - Franklin & Marshall Chamber Singers - December 8
Open & Affirming

Save the date:
February 22 - ONA Winter Gathering at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg PA

In the News:
From our Local Churches
Community Thanksgiving Eve Service Zion Goshert's Church, Lebanon -November 27, 7:00PM

Live Nativity First UCC, Middleburg - December 14, 6:00PM - 8:00PM

DVD Lending Library - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg
The more you know...
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon

Northern and Central Association Churches
Rev. Sally Dries

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. John Fureman

Staff Directory
Rev. Carrie Call, PhD
Transitional Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 12

Rev. Nora Driver Foust
Associate Conference Minister 
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex.13
Rev. Patricia Dodds
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats/Youth Ministry
Phone: 570-506-0677
Scott Watts
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 15
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
Laura Dalton
Administrative Assistant/Search & Call Assistant
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 10
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560