Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| June 02, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference -
 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:12-13
“Are we there yet?” our children would ask as we travelled to our vacation destination. “Soon, very soon. Take a nap, do some reading.” Silence for no more than 12 minutes, and then again, “Are we there yet?” After a half dozen of these complaints, my patience wore thin and I ratcheted up a notch: “Stop asking. We’ll get there when we get there!” Which led to the kids to ratchet it up: “Ah, we’re so bored!”

I must admit after this long year of suffering and uncertainty, I am asking God (and anyone else who will listen): “Are we there yet?” Answers of “soon” or “almost there” don’t cut it with me any more than those responses cut it with my kids. Yes many, many people are vaccinated and the Governor is predicting 70% by the end of June. Yes, many churches in Penn Central are opening or are planning openings soon. And yet, we’re not there yet, are we? I know I constantly look over my shoulder at the possibility of a new variant breaking through my vaccination. And many experts say that the new normal will be different from what we’ve known. But we don’t know yet what it will look like.

The Hebrew people to whom Isaiah was prophesying were asking similar questions. They had been in exile, stripped of their land, suffering great financial and person loss; and were asking “are we there yet?” Are we going back to our homeland, even though it will be occupied by the Babylonians? Unlike my children who complained that the long trip caused them tribulation, these Hebrews knew true tribulation.

We may feel like we have gone through great tribulation this past year. Many of us have suffered unspeakable trials of loss: loss of loved ones, loss of health, loss of job security. Some of us have been terribly inconvenienced and long for a return to “normal”, or a semblance thereof.

Isaiah told the Hebrew people to take heart, to be assured that they will know joy again: “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up myrtle.” In spite of unspeakable grieving, God will make good, Isaiah is telling them. For me these words of Isaiah speak to a God who knows the peoples’ pain and brings healing out of that pain; brings hope out of understandable despair.

And Isaiah also tells the people:  “You shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace” Will we experience that? “The mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Can we imagine that for ourselves? Can we grasp these words of the prophet speaking the word of God to us?
“Are we there yet?” Maybe we won’t know exactly where “there” is. But I think God is saying to us that God has been with us every step of the journey this past year. And I am reminded of another prophesy from Isaiah:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; God’s understanding is unsearchable.  God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.  Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

“Are we there yet?” Maybe not quite yet and we don’t know quite when. But maybe until then we can embrace and bind our wounds, heal and soothe those who have known tribulation, and enter—together--onto the journey toward joy, peace, strength, and hope.

Praying for you to know blessing upon blessing,

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
Associate Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
Note about Staff Engagement:
As we move into new practices around meetings and worship, the Penn Central Staff is committed to joining with you in person for worship and for special meetings. Regularly scheduled meetings (e.g. COM, Executive Committees, etc.) – if at all possible – should be hybrid so our staff can attend remotely. This allows for good stewardship of both time and resources on the part of the Conference. 
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.
The 59th Annual Meeting of Penn Central Conference
June 12, 2021
"Called to Covenant"

Registration is now open!
Click here to read more.

See documents as they are uploaded on the PCC website.
Submit budget questions in advance here:
General Synod 33
"Rooted In Love"
July 11 – 18, 2021
Important links below

Scheduling notes:

June 6 - Zion UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
June 6 - Salem UCC, Harrisburg - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
June 13 - St. John's UCC, Shamokin - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
June 20 - Church of the Redeemer UCC, Hershey - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
June 27 - Starview UCC, Mt. Wolf - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
June 27 - St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
Rev. Nora Foust's latest Morsels of Excellence continues to explore Healthy Churches with a look at "Building Leadership Skills." Click the video link above to watch, or check out a playlist of all of the Healthy Church series here.
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, Mercersburg
First UCC, Middleburg
St. John's UCC, Mifflinburg
Trinity UCC, Millersburg
Penn Central Conference is once again accepting applications for the PCC Innovation Grants which is for PCC churches who are looking for funding for a bold & innovative approach to ministry. Application can be found here, please email completed forms to Paul.
PCC Virtual Choir

Check out the newest videos from the PCC Virtual Choir - Be the Church by PCC's own Rev. Scott Siciliano and If Ye Love Me by Thomas Tallis.
You can view all the PCC Virtual Choir video on the Conference's Youtube channel, at this link.
Our last piece of the 2020-2021 Virtual Choir Season will be prepared for worship at the Penn Central Conference Annual meeting.  If you are interested in joining us, contact Julie Holm at or call (814)349-5515. 
COVID-19 Resources

Penn Central Conference has added a special section on our website for COVID-19 resources, including the times and links for Zoom meetings. Find them here:

Outdoor Ministries

The 2021 summer camp schedule is set! There are camps for all ages and interests at both Kirchenwald and Nawakwa. Check out what is offered online. There is an early-bird registration discount if you register before April 3. Also, if you attend the Open House, you can get an additional discount. Full brochure here. Special PCC discounts available on camp registrations! Read more here.

Calling all high school kids, college-age young adults, and adults interested in working at camp this summer! Lutheran Camping Corporation is recruiting now for this summer's camp season. Learn more here.

This will be a week of summer camp dedicated to carrying on the memorable and special experiences at Hartman Center. It will be a week for folks from Penn Central Conference and friends of Hartman Center to come together and celebrate outdoor ministry with familiar faces and through familiar traditions. There are a variety of camp options ranging from coming for a single day to staying the whole week, from bringing your own food to eating all the meals provided! The Conference has scholarships available - please reach out for more info.

Check out the all new Outdoor Ministries page on the PCC website here!
And a history of Hartman Center is hosted on the PCC website here.
Mercersburg Society Presents
2021 Mercersburg Convocation
Polarization and Reconciliation: Hints From the Mercersburg Tradition
Jun 7 & 8, 2021

Learn more here.

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.
 On Saturday, June 5 at 7:00 p.m. Christ Church United Church of Christ in Elizabethtown will host Br. Stefan Andre Waligur in concert. This is a benefit concert to support the new Community of Peace in Louisa, VA near Charlottesville. The concert offers original songs and chants for peace and justice, stories and poetry from the Celtic tradition, and opportunity for shared sacred silence. Br. Stefan is a monk in the Benedictine tradition who has offered retreats and concerts across the country and around the world. His music has been described by famed jazz musician Wynton Marsalis as “very beautiful and uplifting” and by Krista Tippett, host of On Being as “just beautiful” and again by author Brian McLaren as “a soulful gift.” Phyllis Tickle says Br. Stefan’s music is “absolutely breathtaking” and Parker Palmer writes that it is “a fascinating blend of traditions. I urge people to listen to this music.” 
Go Green Sunday
August 8, 2021
Mt. Zion UCC, York
St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg
15th Annual Blueberry Sale
Order deadline June 30, 2021
UCC Webinars

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

Pulse 5 years after, a Remembrance June 3, 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Sexuality & The Black Church June 8, 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Creating Rituals for our Virtual Synod Worship June 10, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

UCC Musicians Association Conference 2021
July 8-10, 2021

Join us online for workshops, worship services, a wonderful concert, vendors and networking. We will be virtually hosted by the First Church of Christ, Congregational, UCC in the historic town of Glastonbury, Connecticut. From Thursday evening through the Saturday 4 pm closing worship service, we provide a plethora of activities that will enhance your music skills and give you resources and ideas for new ways of expressing God's Spirit in these pandemic times. We also provide glimpses of the historic scenery around the church in Glastonbury, which you would have enjoyed if you had come in person as originally planned. Join us instead online for a mental reset and spiritual refreshment with a taste of Connecticut. Learn more here.
From our Partners & Friends:
The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Seminary announces:

Ministry Job Search Toolkit: Bivocational and Beyond, instructor TBA, July–August 2021. Grant funding allows us to offer this 2.5 CEU class for $100 per participant (or $50 for auditors, no CEUs).
Mt. Gretna Tabernacle
Ecumenical Program
Friday Nights in June - 7:00PM

"GOD'S PRESENCE" is the common theme for Friday night worship services
during June at the historic Mt. Gretna Tabernacle. For speakers and more info, check out the full flyer here.

Parking GPS Address: 41 Boulevard St., Mt. Gretna, PA 17064
Save the Date! June 13th is ERHS Heritage Sunday
The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society looks forward to partnering with you in celebrating the continuing legacy of our historic E and R churches throughout the Penn Central Conference on Sunday, June 13th. Additional details are forthcoming. In the meantime, you can always visit us at and follow us on Facebook @erhistoricalsoc and Instagram @erhistoricalsociety
Parish Resource Center highlights their June webinars:
Intuitive Gifts & Skills – June 12, 10-11:30am
Intuitive Gifts and Skills will help you identify and enhance your own intuitive ability, allowing you to move beyond your five physical senses into deeper awareness.

Praying in Color – June 14, 21 & 28, 7-8pm
Praying in Color is a simple but profound way of praying, using doodling. Connect with God in prayer via creative artistic expression - no artistic talent required!

Mindful Families – June 17, 7-8:30pm
This workshop will lead you in several mindfulness/contemplative practices that foster connection and awareness, love and imagination, resilience and hope within your family.

Intro to Gmail – June 24, 7-8:30pm
Whether you already use Gmail, or if you want to transition, join us. This course will patiently walk you through the basic controls and functions of Gmail.
Employment Opportunities

The Lebanon Valley Home, a continuing care retirement community affiliated with United Church of Christ Homes, is seeking a compassionate and resident focused team member for the position of Chaplain. This position is Part Time (15 hours per week).
The primary duty of the Chaplain is to provide spiritual support and comfort for the residents of the facility in coordination with the resident’s home congregation.

The chaplain will communicate a caring friendship with a tolerant attitude for multiple cultural traditions and a wide range of spiritual beliefs. The chaplain will offer encouragement and support to clergy and churches as they continue to minister to the needs of their members.
The chaplain will be available to offer comfort to the individual as well as the family. During difficult times, sensitivity and compassion are requisite for the spiritual support needed by all involved; the resident, family, and staff.
Providing comfort for the dying is a key part of the Chaplain's job as well as coordinating and conducting regularly scheduled religious services for residents.

Requirements – Must be an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ with a minimum of one year experience in a pastoral ministry as well as one unit Clinical Pastoral Education.
A resume and letter of interest should be submitted to:
Meredith Schell Fields
Executive Director
The Lebanon Valley Home
550 East Main Street
Annville PA, 17003
Fax (717) 867-7060
PT Church Office Administrator - Christ UCC, Elizabethtown, an ONA congregation, looking for PT Church Office Administrator—28 hrs/wk. The Office Administrator should have skills, education, and experience in church office administration which includes web site construction, word processing, office management, and inter-personal relationships. Send application letter, résumé, and two references to or mail to: Christ Church UCC, 247 So. Market Street, Elizabethtown, PA 17022 by May 13, 2021
Trinity United Church of Christ in Waynesboro, Pa. is looking for a Director of Faith Formation and Programming. The position is part-time (20-25 hours per week) and is open beginning August 1st, 2021. The Director position will be responsible for developing programs for youth, adults and children from pre-school age through fifth grade. The Director will engage children with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Director will be responsible for providing leadership and effective communication for youth and adult Sunday School classes and other Christian Formation offerings (such as Vacation Bible School, book studies, outdoor education, etc.). The Director will engage all ages with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Full description here.
PT Director of Music - Christ Church UCC, an ONA congregation in Elizabethtown, PA seeks a candidate to lead worship through music and oversee the church’s music program. The candidate will possess strong skills in music, leadership, cooperation, organization, and recruitment. A music degree or equivalent experience, broad knowledge of church music, and a willingness to grow the music program are required. Salary up to $19,975 depending on background and experience.
The responsibilities include:
  • Director of Music (Approx. 3-5 hours required/week)
Oversee and coordinate the overall music ministry of six choirs
Meet regularly with pastors to plan worship
Coordinate special music for worship services
  • Chancel Choir Director (Approx. 10 hours required/week)
Direct the adult choir (not during summer)
A letter of application, resumé and two references can be sent to by May 27, 2021.
PT Musician Position - We're looking for someone to assist with the casual service at St. Thomas UCC in Linglestown. This person would help to plan worship, coordinate musicians, and lead the music for Sunday services by playing (keyboard or guitar) and singing. This is a paid, part-time position; for more information, contact Dan Schmidt (
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.
Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 12

Rev. Nora Driver Foust
Associate Conference Minister 
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex.13

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 15

Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
phone: 717-719-1895
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
If you have future eNews stories, please send them to C. Paul Keller
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560