Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| November 4, 2020
Message to the Conference
November 4, 2020
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:7-8, NRSV)

I am writing this message before Election Day and so I do not know the political reality in which it will be read. I have thought about the election, of course, but I have been thinking more about what is required of us as believers regardless of the outcome of any election. The preaching, teaching and enacting of the gospel – the forgiveness and mercy of God through the life, death and resurrection of Christ – remain our primary task. Elections do not change what the gospel requires of us. Elections do not shift our focus from how Jesus calls us to live – as merciful servants who feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit the prisoner, stand in solidarity with the oppressed, and proclaim the Good News.

Outcomes of elections certainly affect how we live as American citizens. And history shows us that political life and leaders have tremendous power to oppress as well as to liberate. As disciples of Jesus our task is not to be a good American. Our task is not even to be a good citizen, as our loyalty to God may at times be in direct conflict with the loyalty demanded by the state. That has been true throughout history, including in America. Our task is to embody the gospel in every possible way, regardless of leader, election, party, or citizenship.

The words of Abraham Joshua Heschel have been echoing in my mind for a few weeks. Heschel was a Polish-born American rabbi who was a leading Jewish theologian and philosopher in the 20th century. In all these contentious days leading up to the presidential election, I have been reading these words and asking myself how I might embody them:

What is urgently needed are ways of helping one another in the terrible predicament of here and now by the courage to believe that the word of the Lord endures forever as well as here and now; to cooperate in trying to bring about a resurrection of sensitivity, a revival of conscience; to keep alive the divine sparks in our souls, to nurture openness to the spirit of the Psalms, reverence for the words of the prophets, and faithfulness to the Living God.

Heschel is referring to interreligious dialog in particular, but his poetic words reach far beyond that topic alone. If our task remains to preach, teach and embody the gospel, how will we do that in the days, weeks and years to come? How will we help one another in the terrible predicament of here and now? How shall we bring about a resurrection of sensitivity or a revival of conscience? Heschel reminds us of an orientation to life and practice that focuses on the well-being of self and others. As disciples of Jesus our orientation must be toward Christ. And regardless of any election, our goal remains always the same: faithfulness to the Living God.


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Conference Minister
Scheduling Notes:

November 15: Mt. Zion UCC. Herdon - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

November 15: St. Paul UCC, Urban - Rev Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

November 22: St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

November 22 Trinity UCC, Palmyra - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
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...

New Covenant UCC, Williamsport
Willow Street UCC, Willow Street
St. John's Union (Dry Valley) UCC, Winfield
Emmanual UCC, York
Join to Pray for Unity and Peace
These are difficult days. Tension on the streets, fires in the west, flooding in the south, and political rhetoric all around us. Many feel anxiety, anger, frustration and fear. In response to this and looking ahead to a Thanksgiving and Advent season unlike we've seen before, the Conference invites you to join us in prayer. During the month of November, every Wednesday evening you are invited to join together for prayer at 7:00 PM for 30 minutes. The zoom prayer time will be devoted to prayers for peace and unity.
This prayer time is open to all clergy and members of UCC congregations within the Conference. We ask you to register only so that we may send you a password directly for the zoom calls. There is no pressure to attend – but this way we can make sure these gatherings remain peaceful and prayerful. Register here.
PCC Virtual Cantata

The director is hard at work, the singers and instrumentalists have been briefed and are receiving their scores, the narrator is practicing, and more than 65 people are hard at work creating a transcendent Christmas piece for your church to use in worship.

You can sign up to receive the Penn Central Conference Advent Cantata at:

We will begin distributing the files by November 22, in case you wish to use them for the first Sunday of Advent.
If you have any questions, contact Julie Holm at
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. Keep checking regularly for updates.

From Our Local Churches

St. Matthew's UCC, Carlisle just installed an electronic sign. They have a complete set of 4 inch, black, changeable letters, numbers, and punctuation that they’d love to donate to a church that could use them.
Interested parties should call the church at 717-243-1537, that’s St. Matthew’s UCC office number.
From the PCC Creation Justice Ministry Team
Advocacy! Have you ever wanted to write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper about an issue that you are passionate about or that your church is passionate about? Writing an LTE helps to get the word out about important issues and inspires conversation and learning in the community. Gail Landers from New Covenant UCC, Williamsport, wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Sun Gazette, her hometown paper, which was published in July 2020. Gail has has been passionately involved with the recycling movement for 40+ years in her own life, her church life and in the City of Williamsport. The Article is entitled "What Does Going Green Really Mean?" Please take the time to read this Letter to the Editor. It is a great example of a public statement that we could all create... individually or as a church. What issues have "fired you up"? What issues have "fired your church up"? Can you, your family, or a group from your church share your ideas with your community and research how to submit a Letter To The Editor to your local newspaper? Let's let our voices be heard.
You may find these resources helpful:  
UCC National Events
UCC Congregations for Mental Health – Fall 2020 Seminar
November 13-14, 2020
Congregations are invited to explore becoming WISE: Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged for Mental Health by attending the WISE Congregations for Mental Health Fall 2020 Webinar.  This is an opportunity to:
– learn about mental health
– explore how our faith communities can support those among us with mental health challenges
– attend practical workshops
– receive resources
– begin the steps to become a WISE Congregation for Mental Health, following the UCC resolution passed at General Synod in 2015.
Everyone is welcome to attend:
– church members, lay leaders and visitors
– clergy
– seminary students
– mental health professionals
Learn more here.
Reset for Renewal virtual gathering

An upcoming national virtual gathering for everyone serving in youth ministry on November 12-14, 2020. Participants will be able to select workshops and small groups, as well as other items that speak to their individual needs. Registration is now open and will close November 10th. More information, as well as the link for registration can be found 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.

Worshipping through Unprecedented Times Thursday, November 05, 3:30 PM

Weekly Book Reviews
A new weekly feature!
November's reviews by Rev. Sue Fritz
“The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II” by Katherine Sharp Landdeck

Theme: The Perseverance and Gifts of Women
Women have always had a love of flying. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Army Air Force sought female pilots to help them with war efforts. Women, such as Cornelia Fort, a young twenty-two-year-old were thrilled to leave the debutante scene and fly for their country.  Through the guidance of two trailblazing pilots, Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, women not only served their country ably, but they trained males to fly bombers, ferried bombers across the country, and earned silver wings. Despite their success, Congress disbanded the program, refused to recognize the women for the many harrowing contributions they made, and ignored their pleas for veterans’ benefits, despite the loss of thirty-eight pilots. The women never forgot the bonds they forged while training and working together. For decades following the war, they gathered and continued to support young women’s desires to fly for the United States Air Force. Their perseverance, skill, and talent paved the way for today’s young female pilots.
Association Events
November 8 - York Association 2:00PM
November 8 - Installation of Rev. Patty Dodds, Trinity UCC, Mountville 3:00PM - via Zoom
November 15 - Gettysburg Association 2:00PM (includes Town Hall with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call)
Clergy Events
Upcoming Boundary Training Online

Boundaries in Seasons of Crisis (2 hours)
Join with your colleagues on Tuesday, November 17th at 10am for discussion of a variety of topics including: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Self-Care and Allyship in an Activist Age. Rev. Nora Foust will lead this discussion.
Register for the 10am-12pm Zoom session here

For online boundary training options, Convergance offers an online course.
Attention Chaplains! We see you in this challenging season of ministry and invite you to a time of self-care, boundary awareness and continuing education with UCC Minister for Ministers in Specialized Settings, Rev. Stephen Boyd. Rev. Boyd has 2 zoom sessions planned on Nov 12th and 13th from 1pm-3pm both days. We hope that you can join us for this special connection and education time for chaplains. Registration is required for this free event.
Insurance Board: Securing Your House of Worship Webcast

November 19th, 2020 - 2:00PM
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is committed to helping houses of worship navigate security concerns such as civil unrest, active intruder, cybersecurity, and so much more. Learn more here.
Looking Ahead:

General Synod "Rooted in Love: Special Edition"
General Synod 33 will take place Sunday July 11, 2021 – Sunday July 18, 2021. Pre-Synod events will occur on July 7-10, 2021. Learn more here
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at LTS

Nondegree classes are ideal for:
  • Lay Ministers already pastoring churches
  • Pastoral Leaders in part-time or bi-vocational ministries
  • Individuals in discernment
  • Laity serving Christian denominations and independent churches

Theology II: “Leadership and Community,” Jan 9–Feb 18, 2021. The Rev. Holly MillerShank offers a six-week online class through the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary. The class provides an introduction to Christian theology, focusing on the human condition, Christian hope, the church, ministry, and mission. Students may take this class without having taken Theology I. This 2.5 CEU class starts Saturday, Jan 9, followed by five weeks of asynchronous online instruction. Cost $325. Apply online at
Employment Opportunities
Volunteer engagement, disaster response positions open at UCC
United Church of Christ National Ministries has two open positions on the Global H.O.P.E. (Humanitarian. Opportunities. Progress. Empowerment.) team of Wider Church Ministries - Minister for Volunteer Engagement and Minister for Disaster Response and Recovery. The application close date for both positions is November 20, 2020. Learn more now.

The Center for Spiritual Formation ( is seeking applicants for the position of Center Director beginning July 1, 2021. For more information or for an application, contact the center office at
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon

Northern and Central Association Churches
Carolyn Herman
H: 570-538-9704
C: 570-220-8589

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. Richard Luciotti

Staff Directory
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
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
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