Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | February 15, 2023

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Message to the Conference

Greetings members and friends of Penn Central Conference,

“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19)

Years ago, I was the pastor of a small church in New Jersey. A young couple from Liberia who came to the United States to work for Bell Labs joined our church. Soon after they became members the congregation was overjoyed to learn that the young woman was pregnant. Even more so when we learned she was to have fraternal twins. Months later when her delivery day came, I received a call from the hospital. The infant girl had survived, but not the boy. The news was crushing for everyone. Some days later the husband called to let me know their infant son had been cremated and they wished to put his ashes in the church’s new memorial garden. I said yes, knowing his ashes would be the first to grace the garden. The couple and I gathered at the small garden while the baby girl slept in a carrier nearby. They took out a very small plastic bag containing the ashes of their son. The parents poured the ashes into the ground and shook out the tiny bag whereupon ashes clung to the mother’s hands. We filled in the hole and then we joined hands to pray. As the young mother put her hand in mine, I immediately felt the grit of the ashes and the dirt from the tiny grave. Then I felt the warmth of her hand. 

In that instant I knew we were joined in a profound moment of realization. As we were surrounded by gravestones, I had a sudden awareness that we are truly both dust and life. Our existence includes the grave at our feet and the warm life between our hands. I recognized that we all live between ash and flesh, encompassing both the chill of emptiness and loss, and the warmth of loving and living. The moment was holy and humbling.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the portal into the season of Lent. Standing on the threshold of Lent we allow ourselves to be drawn forward in prayer, being reminded that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 

This year I feel the presence of ash on my hands and in my heart. The death of a colleague, the gun violence claiming young lives, the infants and tiny children pulled alive from rubble where their families have perished – these aches of life rest heavily on me. On Ash Wednesday at worship, I expect to be reminded that we all share the gift and weight of mortality. I expect to see again how the burden and reality of death is lessened when we hold it together and acknowledge it before the Lord of Life. On Ash Wednesday we are reminded that we came from the dust of the earth, and we shall return to it. But we are also to remember that the hands of God hold both the grit and the warmth of all life, including our own.  



Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

The news continues to unfold about the devastating earthquake on the border of Turkey and Syria. The death toll continues to rise to well over 40,000. This is shattering news and adds to the challenges of the war in this area for over a decade.

The UCC has posted a prayer and short statement in response to this crisis. While the earthquake was on the border, the tremors were felt as far away as Lebanon and Cyprus. At this time, we are issuing an appeal to help recovery efforts in Turkey and Syria. It is hard to tell what other areas are affected or the extent of the damage from this seismic event.

Amid this current uncertainty, you can be certain that with your financial support the United Church of Christ will be there helping those in need. Give generously by clicking here. You may also text UCCDISASTER to 41444.

Churches of Penn Central Conference:


Yearbook reporting has begun! Here's the full instructions. Churches can enter their own data through March 1st.

Reporting your annual church data cultivates the covenantal relationship with other local churches, associations, conferences and national. It helps us at the conference level to provide appropriate support and resources based on the trends in your statistics. Membership numbers determine the number of delegates the Conference can designate, one of the ways your voice is heard on important issues. Annual reporting is also frequently required for receiving grants and loans from the National Setting and Cornerstone Fund. If you'd like to know more, please see this document.

The Conference staff knows that gathering and inputting all the requested information can be time consuming. Please reach out to us for assistance! If you can only provide the membership and attendance figures, please submit even that much as that is the most valuable data.

Scheduling notes:

February 26 - St. John's UCC, Fredericksburg & Christ Church UCC, Annville - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

February 27 - March 4 - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call in Cleveland for Council of Conference Ministers

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...

Mt. Bethel UCC, Mill Hall

Trinity Reformed UCC, Mountville

Zion (Gosherts) UCC, Lebanon

Myerstown UCC, Myerstown

Virtual Choir

Jaime Cortez's Rain Down is a Gospel-inspired contemporary anthem that celebrates the steadfast love and care of God. It is appropriate for ordinary time, but also for the Easter season, for Lent sundays where hope is major theme, and, with it's creation theme, for Earth Day.  It is free for all churches to use in services, and is freely available on YouTube; however, if you re-stream the content (i.e. you re-stream the video as part of your church service) you do need an appropriate license.  Fortunately, this song is included in the OneLicense streaming license. (It is not covered by the CCLI license.)  

For more information, or to become part of the virtual choir, contact Julie Holm at

Local Church


Who: For elders, deacons, church council members, and other leaders

What: A full day of worship, address, workshops, and fellowship

When: Saturday, April 15, 2023, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Where: Trinity and Zion U.C.C., Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Cost: $40 per person ($20 for persons coming for part of the program not eating lunch)

The event will include: Worship and Keynote address on

Empowering Lay Leadership

Workshops on some of the following topics:

Being effective as a post-Covid Church

Reviving the Sunday school

Stewardship of Financial Resources

Becoming Spiritual Leaders

Becoming an Environmentally Friendly Church

Church Meetings that get out on time

How does the U.C.C. work

Music ministry when the choir is shrinking

Worshiping when there is no pastor.

Register here

Sponsored by the Lay Leadership Education Team of Penn SE Conference, U.C.C.

ONA Ministry Team

Please register with Steve Roush through his email of by Sunday, February 26. 

Creation Justice Team

2023 Climate Hope Summer Fellowship Grants

Deadline: March 01 2023 at midnight EST

The Environmental Justice Ministry of the United Church of Christ is allotting $30,000 in grants of $2,500 to UCC churches, conferences, and associations as well as UCC-affiliated theological schools and non-profit organizations for the purposes of developing and furthering the work of youth and young adult leaders in the movement for climate justice. A central goal of this grant program is to further develop a prophetic culture of faith leadership that goes beyond a focus on individual behaviors to collectively address the institutions and systems responsible for the present crisis. Grants will be awarded to promote a climate justice movement that recognizes the root causes of the climate crisis in relation to corporate power and government policy as well as racial and economic inequity. Grants will be awarded to those seeking to advance climate solutions that effectively center the needs of those most impacted by the climate crisis, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

Grant applications:

Outdoor Ministries

Events with our partners at Lutheran Camping Corporation

LENTEN DAY APART - The Wittel Farm - March 4, 2023 - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

QUILTING WEEKEND - Kirchenwald - March 17 - March 19, 2023

SUMMER CAMP OPEN HOUSE - Kirchenwald -  March 19, 2023 - 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

SUMMER CAMP OPEN HOUSE - Nawakwa - March 19, 2023 - 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

WITTEL FARM GROWING PROJECT OPEN HOUSE - The Wittel Farm - March 19, 2023 - 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Summer Camp with Lutheran Camping Corporation - use code PENNCENTRAL2023 to use a 50% campership from PCC's Outdoor Ministries!

Hartman Center Homecoming week

July 31 through August 5, 2023

We will be returning to Hartman Center Campground in Milroy, PA as guests.

Camping experiences for all ages, including intergenerational camps. For more information, contact Rev. Alice Rauch (director) 

or Rev. Amelia Price (registrar)

Register here and print a brochure here

Summer camp with St. John's UCC, Chambersburg

2023 Summer Camps 

Camp Galilee (9-12) June 18-23

Camp Kum Ba Yah (5-8) June 25-30

Camp Noah (K-4) June 26-30

Learn more here.

Clergy Events

Winter/Spring 2023 MEFs (10AM hybrid, 6PM Zoom)

March 21 - "Just War, Just Peace in Scripture" with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom Only - register here

No April MEF, staff will be on retreat

May 16 - "Starting Justice Conversations: Part 1" with Rev. Carla Christopher

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom Only - register here

Winter/Spring Boundary Training

Monday, March 20, 10:00AM & 6:00PM, Departure Ethics

via Zoom

Register 10am

Register 6pm

Thursday, April 13, 10:00AM & 6:00PM, Humility as Spiritual Practice

via Zoom

Register 10am

Register 6pm

Please join the Pension Boards for its upcoming two-day Planning for the Transition to Retirement seminar on March 29-30, 2023.

Whether you are planning to retire soon or are in the middle of your career, clergy or lay, this seminar is designed to help you transition to retirement. If you are an actively-contributing Pension Boards member, 45 years of age or older, we invite you to participate.


Here is what you can expect:

• On Day One of our presentation, we discuss some of the landmark issues along the journey to retirement and how we can best prepare to hit those milestones. We will then focus on the two largest financial sources for most of our members: Social Security and the Annuity Plan for the United Church of Christ.


• One Day Two of our presentation, we will dig a little deeper into some of the accompanying details of the retirement journey. We will look at how our investment choices should be informed by our current lives and future goals, and review additional benefits to help smooth our path. Finally, we will examine the way our lives will change and what we can do to continue leading purposeful, fulfilling lives in retirement.

Date: Day One: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on EST 

Date: Day Two: Thursday, March 30, 2023

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on EST 

Register here by March 28, 2023. The Zoom credentials you receive upon registration are the credentials you will use to participate in both Day One and Day Two of the Planning for the Transition to Retirement seminar.


A convocation for Retired Clergy and Spouses 

MAY 9, 10, 11 at the Doubletree Convention Center, Willow Street, PA 

Brought to you by Penn Central Conference

and the United Church of Christ Pension Boards 

The above announced convocation is for all retired clergy within the Penn Central Conference. It will be a time of renewing friendships and presentations on a wide range of topics of interest and concern during the retirement years. The Pension Boards will have personnel on hand to cover issues of finance, health care and general support services, such as the Annuitant Visitor program. There will be representatives from The UCC Homes and Phoebe Homes to share information on various levels of care available. We will also have persons representing the Area Agency on Aging, AAA and AARP available to assist with questions and interests you may have concerning services and opportunities available for retirees. 

We have reserved space for 150 registrants and so we are sending this information now and ask that you indicate your interest in this program. There will be both registration for staying at the convention center and also a commuter option. Finals details regarding cost have not yet been finalized and so we are only asking interest lever for our planning purposes.   

Please indicate your interest in participating by contacting:

Rev Rick Luciotti, Facilitator for Clergy Care 

Penn Central Conference 

PO Box 6625 

Harrisburg. PA 

Or by email: 

Suicide and Moral Injury Clergy Workshop

with Lebanon VA Chaplain Rev. Dean Luther

Full flyer here

Friday, March 24th 10-12 on Zoom

Register here

Friday May 19th 10-12 on Zoom

Register here

Pennsylvania UCC Clergy Convocation 2023

Being One: Clergy Wellness, Clergy Wholeness

May 2-4. 2023

DoubleTree by Hilton

2400 Willow Street Pike

Lancaster, PA 17602

UCC National Setting

UCC Webinars

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

OWL Taking Flight – Child Safety and Mandatory Reporting: Advice from a Pediatrician

MAR 1, 2023 | 12:00PM - 1:00PM

Is property a missional asset or liability?

MAR 1, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Migrant Sponsorship: Responding to the Heartbreaking Emails

MAR 1, 2023 | 2:00PM - 3:00PM

Movie Screening: The Ants and the Grasshopper

MAR 1, 2023 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM

How do we fund the future?

MAR 15, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

"Making All Things New"

General Synod 2023


"Making All Things New” will be the theme of the 34th biennial General Synod of the United Church of Christ, scheduled for June 30–July 4, 2023, in Indianapolis.


Delegates and visitors will meet June 30 through July 4 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.


For the full press release, click here.

Our Whole Lives training

In addition to an increasing number of in-person trainings across the country, Our Whole Lives trainings will continue to be offered online in 2023 for UCC and UUA members, at a cost of only $250 plus curriculum.

Registration applications will be accepted from Feb 21-Mar 6 for a Jr Sr High Level Training in April

Registration applications will be accepted from March 13 through March 27 for an Elementary (Grades K-1 and 4-6) Training in May

Registration applications will be accepted from April 17 through May 1 for a Jr Sr High Level Training in June

Registration applications will be accepted from July 17-July 31 for a Jr Sr High Level Training in September

Registration applications will be accepted from Aug 21-Sept 5 for an Elementary (Grades K-1 and 4-6) Training in October

Registration applications will be accepted from Sept 11-Sept 25 for an All Adult Levels Training in November

More information about these trainings, in addition to information about upcoming in-person trainings, can be found here.

From our friends and partners
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)


April 11 - May 16, 2023

Online on Zoom

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00-8:30pm


Join Rev. Matthew Deal to identify historical roots and analogies for contemporary ecclesial issues. We'll study the basic sweep of Christian history, including key figures, movements, denominations, and turning points in their cultural contexts

 For clergy/pastors and lay leaders

 $325 for the series of six classes

2.5 CEUs


May 23 - June 27, 2023



July 11 - August 15, 2023


Tuesday evenings via Zoom.

Clergy and laity are invited to join instructor Kelsey Wallace for an introduction to the art and practice of biblical interpretation. We will consider issues of historical context, translation, literary analysis, and social location and the skills necessary to be a responsible public interpreter of scripture.

For clergy/pastors and lay leaders

$325 for each of the two series of six classes

2.5 CEUs may be earned for each series

Information and Registration:

Insurance Board Webcast:

Please join us on February 28th at 2:00 p.m. EST for our upcoming webcast, Internal Controls for Financial Operations, facilitated by Insurance Board’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Andrea Gauding, to learn about financial controls and best practices to protect ministries. For additional information and the registration link, please see the attached flyer or visit our website at:

Do you have a passion for helping others? Do you like to drive and explore local areas? If your answer is yes, The Lebanon Valley Home has the perfect volunteer opportunity for you!

The Lebanon Valley Home in Annville, PA is seeking an energetic and funloving person to serve as Volunteer Van/Bus Driver to transport residents on short local trips in our 14 passenger bus.

Trips occur several times a month and may include a visit to a local restaurant for 12 Independent Living residents on a Thursday or lunch trips for Personal Care residents on occasion. Rides to Indiantown Gap Military cemetery and seasonal drives to view fall foliage and Christmas lights also are also scheduled, in addition to shopping trips to Boscov’s and Walmart.

No special license needed! A valid PA Driver’s License is required and the driver must be 25 to 75 years old. A complete physical is needed, which the staff at The Lebanon Valley Home will arrange.

If you would like to share your time with the residents of The Lebanon Valley Homes, please contact Amy Tillinger, Director of Activities, at (717) 867-4467.

Thank you in advance for your prayerful consideration of this opportunity to add value not only to your own life but also to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

2023 Festival of Biblical Storytelling

AUGUST 2,3, AND 4, 2023

At the Maritime Conference Center near BWI and Baltimore, MD


Employment Opportunities

Current Openings - UCC National Setting

OPTIC – MarCom

Editorial Communications and News Strategist, Extended Close: Open Until Filled

Web and Digital SpecialistClose: 3/31/23 - new 

Event Management

Associate for Event Technology Extended Close: February 28, 2023

Faith Education, Innovation & Formation (INFO)

Minister for Congregational & Community Engagement Close Date: March 6, 2023

Digital Programming and Event Producer Application Close: March 6, 2023 

Global H.O.P.E.

Minister for Volunteer Engagement Close: 3/8/23

Faith UCC Grantville, PA seeks Director of Music, Choir Director, Organist, Pianist

Faith UCC Grantville, PA in the Harrisburg Association of the Penn Central Conference United Church of Christ, seeks a Director of Music-Choir Director-Organist-Pianist. Responsibilities may be assumed by one or two individuals. Responsibilities include:  

·     Collaborating with the Pastor to organize worship experiences

·     Choose seasonally appropriate anthems

·     Conducting Faith’s vocal choir

·     Playing organ and/or piano for choir accompaniment, leading congregational singing, prelude, postlude and special pieces, as able.

·     Organ is a Rodgers 2-manual with 5 ranks of pipes. Piano is relatively new 

This is (these are) part time position(s) in the range of 10-15 hours per week or time needed to prepare/practice 

About Faith UCC Grantville: Faith honors its historical roots with a traditional worship style in a relaxed atmosphere where fellowship is highly valued. 

Faith UCC is located in Grantville, a rural/commuter community in Central Pennsylvania, 7 miles north of Hershey, 15 miles east of Harrisburg, and 30 miles from Lancaster. We are easily accessed via Route 81.  

If you would like more information, please contact Pastor George Robertson at: 2/22/23

Peace United Church of Christ is seeking candidates for the position of Church Musician. Primary responsibility is to provide piano and/or organ music during one contemporary and one traditional worship service on Sunday mornings, with adult choir accompaniment September-May. Salary dependent upon experience. Resumes may be sent via email to:, or mailed to: Peace UCC 37 E. Swartzville Road Denver, PA 17517 For additional information or questions, please contact Rev. Betsy Bruaw at 717-484-4400. 2/8/23

Job opening for Director of Music of Salem UCC, Campbelltown, PA     


The Salem UCC Director of Music will be responsible for performing the music used in worship services, including the congregational, choral and special group music throughout the church liturgical year, including Sundays and some holy days. Currently there is one traditional service at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday. The candidate should be a person of faith, comfortable theologically with the United Church of Christ and a person who brings vitality and flexibility to the duties of this ministry. Musical ability on pipe organ or piano are required. The candidate should have the ability to play a variety of types of musical expressions; possess good communication and organizational skills; the ability to sight‑read would be a plus. Salem UCC is a congregation that highly values and encourages creativity and musical abilities of all ages within the congregation. The Director of Music will be encouraged to use creativity to help foster and nurture the music ministry within the church community in the years ahead. Employment at Salem UCC requires compliance with the Pennsylvania Child Protection Laws, with employees being subject to the required background checks and clearances.

Note: The congregation is open to this position being an accompanist only position, rather than a Director of Music with choir director responsibilities. See contact below for more information.

Details of Director of Music position:          

Quarter-time position (approximately 10 hours a week) includes:

 - preparing worship music

 - accompanying congregation singing in worship

 - selecting choir anthems, preparing and leading Wednesday evening choir rehearsals 2-3 times a month (12-15 adult choir members)

 - accompanying the choir during the regular Sunday worship service (2-3 times a month)  and occasional holy day evening services. Choir rehearsals and singing in worship usually occur September through May.

 - attending Worship & Music Committee evening meetings (3-4 times a year).

Salary - $9000 - $12000 per year (negotiable based on experience and skill level)

- paid twice a month

- additional income from occasional weddings and funerals is possible, based upon

  availability of the organist/accompanist.

Vacation - four paid vacation Sundays a year with the responsibility of arranging substitute organist/accompanist, substitute’s fee paid by the church.


Contact Rev. Dwight Hein, Pastor of Salem UCC, Campbelltown

717-838-4236 – office 2/8/23

Music Ministry Positions at Emmanuel UCC, Hanover PA

Emmanuel United Church of Christ is a forward-looking, Open and Affirming faith environment. These part-time positions offer competitive salary and vacation packages. For details, visit Submit your cover letter and resume to

Organist/Accompanist Needed

EUCC is excited to be searching for an Organist/Keyboardist for Sunday worship and special occasions. We’re open to you leading our Choirs and Handbells as well if you have the experience and savvy. Contact us soon before someone else slides into the bench before you! 

Choir/Handbell Director

EUCC is excited to be searching for a Choir and Handbell Director for Sunday worship and special occasions. We’re open to you playing our organ/keyboards as well if you have the experience and savvy. Contact us soon before someone else slides into the lead before you! 1/11/23


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.

Conference Minister


Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. Dr. Nora Driver Foust

Associate Conference Minister 


Phone: 717-433-2587

Rev. Rick Luciotti

Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families


Phone: 717-433-6306


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
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