Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| December 01, 2021
Message to the Conference
Dear Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping promises, as some understand slowness." - 2 Peter 3: 8-9

I find this thought a perfect fit for Advent. Observation of Advent is more, for many, an unwanted intrusion into our Christmas preparations than in integral aspect. Everywhere around us songs of the season are playing as shoppers head home with their treasures. The people we meet are mostly cheerier and eager to offer greetings, and even the first snowfall of winter is welcomed by most persons. Persons attending worship anticipate singing the most familiar carols and hear uplifting passages of the familiar and beloved story of Christ’s birth. 

Advent appears to contradict all that is joyful. Scriptures, particularly this year, have a sharp almost harsh edge to them. Is it any wonder that there are often complaints when the focus is upon the Advent themes? The warnings of John the Baptists and even Jesus’ pronouncements, the seemingly crude laments of the Prophets, these are not the sounds of making merry. ‘Why do we have to endure Advent? Can’t we just get on with celebrating the newborn babe? After all, everybody loves the baby Jesus! 

To fully appreciate Christmas, a deeper participation in Advent and its long history is encouraged. Many consider our four season an endurance test, something to get out of the way. Children struggle to only open one square of their Advent calendar each day; we often think we do not have time for daily devotional time with all the many tasks ahead; and we already know the story, don’t we? So many time we those ‘some people’ Peter referred in saying, “as some understand slowness.” 

Perhaps the struggle we face results from a failure to plan for the Advent season. This year I frequently heard the phrase, ‘HallowThankMas’, describing how Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all seem to blend together. The intentionality for observing seasons and their meaning has been absorbed by our hectic culture and our impatience with intrusions, particularly the pandemic, incline us to just want to get on with it. 

The words of the Prophet need come to us again, “Surely the days are coming when the Lord will cause a righteous branch to spring up…” This becomes our Hope and call to patience, loving discipleship, and mission. Until that day dawns, or until we are willing to recognize and understand its presence is already at hand, many of us will contend with distractions and a fainting of spirit. The counsel of St. Paul becomes a beacon for the time of Advent, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving, making the most of the time…” Let us, each and everyday live in the awareness and hope of Advent.

Rev. Rick Luciotti
Clergy Care Coordinator, Penn Central Conference
Address Change!

As you may have been hearing, the PCC offices will be moving in the month of November. Please begin mailing any correspondence to our new PO Box:

Penn Central Conference
PO Box 6625
Harrisburg, PA 17112

Our physical address starting the week of November 15 (Do not mail letters to this address!)
St. Thomas UCC
6490 Linglestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17112

We thank you for your patience during our move!

Updated phone numbers:
Marisa Laviola: 717-433-3564
Nora Foust: 717-433-2587
Carrie Call: 717-433-3196
Rick Luciotti: 717-433-6306
Paul Keller and main office line: 717-652-1560
Scheduling notes:

December 12 - Myerstown UCC, Myerstown - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
Printable eNews are available. Pastors and secretaries, please feel free to share with your congregation members that don't get this weekly email. Download and print this PDF with the weekly message to the conference, prayers for Penn Central and brief list of events.
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...

Shiloh UCC, Danville
St. James (Ridgeville) UCC, Danville
Trinity UCC, Danville
St. John's UCC, Denver
The Virtual Choir is back! 
The Virtual Choir, which brought us so much lovely music last year, is back and will be continuing through this year, and probably as an ongoing effort!  Our first piece will be And the Glory of the Lord, from Messiah, which we will be recording in late November, and will be available to all churches by December 7 for your Advent/Christmas use.
If you did not receive an email from Pastor Julie Holm, and you want to be part of this group, you can email her at  If you are a church that would like to be on the mailing list when we have news, you can also email Julie. Of course, you'll get a link here to any music produced, as well.
Outdoor Ministries Winter Events

December 4 @The Wittel Farm (9 a.m. - 2 p.m.)
Enter into the Advent spirit by participating in a day of Bible study, worship, and prayerful reflection.

For more information & to register, go to:  

December 19 @ The Wittel Farm (7-8:30 p.m.)
Come gather around the outdoor fire and have cookies and cocoa in the barn. There will be inspiring lights and seasonal decorations!

For more information & to register, go to: 

"[Every]Body Of Christ" Youth/Confirmation Retreat
March 18-20 at Camp Nawakwa, located near Gettysburg. The weekend will begin at 7:00 on Friday evening and end with a closing program at 10:00 on Sunday morning. Cost is $100 for 2 nights of lodging and 4 meals (3 on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday) Learn more here. Registration link coming soon!
Local Church Events
An Advent Jazz Service

The Buzz Jones Quintent

Myerstown UCC
306 West Main Ave.
Myerstown, PA 17067

Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 10:00AM
19th Annual Creche Festival

Friday, December 3: 1:00PM - 7:00PM
Saturday, December 4: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Sunday, December 5: 12:00PM - 4:00PM

Colonial Park UCC
5000 Devonshire Rd
Harrisburg, PA 17109
Clergy Events
Penn Central Conference Lectionary Discussion Group - This group is open to all clergy, meets weekly on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss upcoming lectionary passages. Us this Zoom link here.
Advent Prayer Group
Pastors are you weary? Is the yoke of pastoring in this extended season of COVID heavy? Share your burdens and joys as we pray together on Thursdays at Noon during the season of Advent! A brief period of facilitated check-in will be followed by curated poems, prayers, and silence. Light a candle and feed your spirit this Advent by gathering in prayer with colleagues from Penn Central, Penn Northeast and Pennsylvania Southeast Conference and prepare for the inbreaking of Emmanuel once again!

Join us December 2, 9, 16 and 23 at noon We will end promptly at 1pm each week.
Zoom #882 9955 4125, passcode Pray
"History & Polity of the UCC" Class for Spring 2022
This annual course is being taught by Carrie Call and Penn Central Conference staff with special guests. Join with students from all over the UCC to learn more about who we are and where we came from as a denomination!

Classes will take place Fridays at 2:00PM starting February 11, 2022 through April 01, 2022. Register by January 30th. Registration is limited. Classes are online via Zoom. Register here.
UCC Webinars

These webinars are designed to help you enhance your local church ministries. Most are free to attend. Check out the calendar here.

Global HOPE Blue Christmas Worship - December 1, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Purple Church - December 2, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

The History of Afro-Christian Churches in the UCC - December 7, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

The State of Black Bodies in the US - December 9, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Global H.O.P.E. Kit Matching Grant Application (20-22)
- Grant Application will be awarded to churches that have submitted a completed Global H.O.P.E. Kit Matching Grant Application.
- Grant Applications for 2021 will be received through January 28, 2022. 
- Congregations that raise $250 or more (monetary or in-kind supplies) for Church World Service Kits are eligible to apply for a $250 matching grant from UCC Global H.O.P.E.
- Grant Applications must be accompanied by a completed W-9 form at
- 100% of Matching Grant funds must be used for purchasing supplies for the assembly of the CWS Kits or for processing costs ($3/Clean Up Bucket, $2/School or Hygiene Kit).
From our friends and partners
Conducting Church Safety Inspections
Webinar: December 9th, 2pm EST
It is critical for ministries to understand the importance of conducting regularly scheduled safety inspections of their facilities and grounds. This webcast will dive into the specifics about what needs to be evaluated at your church. Join us for our webcast on Thursday, December 9th, at 2:00 p.m., while Howard Sewell, Board Member of Insurance Board and retired insurance risk manager, offers suggestions on how to mitigate loss based upon inspection findings, as well as discussing the major loss drivers for churches.
Click here to register and learn more.
NEW online classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry:
Introduction to Pastoral Care, Jan. 6 – Feb. 10, 2022. This class provides an introduction to pastoral care with attention to trauma histories, healthy boundaries, self-care, and social justice. You will be introduced to pastoral care practices in a variety of settings, including organizing caring ministries within the congregation, and attend to particular circumstances of ministry, such as loss and grief, illness, marriage, and family. Learning activities include use of role play and analysis of case studies.
Fundraising Fundamentals: Churches and Other Non-Profits, Feb. 22 – March 29, 2022. This class provides essential fundraising tools for lay leaders, pastors, and other ministerial leaders. Whether working in a congregation or not-for-profit, all ministerial leaders need to be able to raise money. Taught by an experienced fundraising consultant, this class helps participants hone their skills in developing the fundraising “ask,” writing letters for fundraising, and leveraging networks to grow your ministry.
Each six-week class is offered online. 2.5 CEUs. $325. Deadline to register for Pastoral Care is December 21.
Employment Opportunities
Zion UCC, Arendtsville job openings

The Choir Director directs a 15-member choir to prepare music for regular Sunday morning services. The choir director also works with the minister and the organist to plan special services. Duties include preparing music, scheduling choir practices, identifying soloists, and developing special music presentations. Salary compensation is negotiable.
The organist/pianist accompanies a 15-member choir at regularly scheduled Sunday morning services. Applicants must have the ability to play both the piano and the organ, and be prepared for weekly choir rehearsals. Duties include following the direction of the choir director and minister in planning musical services. This includes Sunday worship and special services. He/she must attend regularly scheduled and special choir rehearsals. Salary compensation negotiable.
Position available: Church Musician

This 9 to 12 month position includes playing for weekly adult choir rehearsals, a scheduled single Sunday 10:30 a.m. worship service and occasional evening/special services. Proficiency with piano is required. We have two Yamaha studio upright pianos that are well maintained via regular tuning/maintenance. We also have the historic 1868 Durner tracker pipe organ that was restored in 1998 and is well maintained via regular tuning/servicing. Candidates will work with church/choir leaders in rehearsing and planning musical material appropriate to the liturgical calendar. Candidates should send a letter of introduction and resume to or mail to St. John's UCC, PO Box 88, Boalsburg, PA 16827
Hamilton Park UCC, Lancaster has two positions open:

Director of Children & Family Ministry: Authentic, Out-going, Creative, Enthusiastic and have a passion for sharing the love of Christ with children and their families? Raise your hand if that is you! Hamilton Park United Church of Christ (HPUCC) is looking for someone like you to become our Director of Children and Family Ministries (DCFM). Join the commitment leaders and members of HPUCC in finding new, innovative ways to share and experience the love of Christ within the church and the community. Contact the Administrator of the Church for more information:

Worship Accompanist: Like to lift a joyful noise? Do you love playing a wide variety of music among an enthusiastic congregation? Hamilton Park United Church of Christ (HPUCC) is searching for someone to bring their gifts to their Sunday morning worship service where we appreciate both piano and organ music as well as a blend of contemporary and traditional pieces. The successful candidate will provide piano and organ music during one Sunday worship service as well as accompany one weekly rehearsal throughout the choir season.
Contact the Administrator of the Church for more information: Read more here.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.
Conference Minister
Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. Nora Driver Foust
Associate Conference Minister 
Phone: 717-433-2587

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Phone: 717-433-3564

Rev. Rick Luciotti
Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Phone: 717-433-6306
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560
If you have future eNews stories, please send them to C. Paul Keller
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560