Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | January 18, 2023

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Message to the Conference

Dear Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19 NRSV)


The lectionary for the third Sunday after Epiphany includes the dramatic call of the first disciples. First, however, Jesus withdraws to Galilee upon learning of John the Baptist’s arrest. We do not know what ruminating thoughts or wonderings he had about his own future or John’s fate. We do know, however, that his first words spoken echoed those of John: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near.” (4:17) Jesus proclaims the message throughout the region and then appears by the sea with a sense of focused purpose. There, by the Sea of Galilee, he calls the first disciples.

By the sea, Jesus sees Peter and Andrew and speaks to them. Peter and Andrew likely knew nothing of this man or of his preaching. They have not witnessed any miracles. They have not seen a girl returned to life or a paralytic healed. And yet, they respond to Jesus’ call and drop their nets. For Matthew, this is the beginning of the messianic community. The church here springs to life “In response to Christ’s own word.”[1]

Jesus speaks directly to Simon and Peter. His word, in the imperative tense, is a command: “Follow me.” The word is not yet “accept me as your personal Lord and savior” nor is it “come and admire my principles.” Jesus’ call is to a life of following him. There’s no discussion with Peter and Andrew. No explanation. No sense of where they will be going or what lies ahead. What will this discipleship mean?  What will it look like? We only learn what it means by following.

We come to Jesus by various paths. Those paths may be crooked or uneven. Yet in some way, via those paths, Jesus speaks his word to us at some point in our lives. When he speaks to us, we can choose to follow a new path or not. Or can we? In Matthew’s narrative, Peter and Andrew dropped their nets where they were. The power of Jesus’ word kindled faith in them, enough to blaze up and burn away the idea of choice. When the word of Jesus comes to us, we are changed. Our lives are refocused toward following him, regardless where we have been before.

The disciples learn how hard it is to understand and truly follow Jesus. They will misunderstand and talk back to his commands. As will we. But for Matthew, perfect understanding is not necessary. What is necessary is to drop our nets where they are, whatever they are, and to follow. To walk with Jesus and learn (over and over) what he demands of us. To walk with him and learn the actions and behaviors that spring forth from listening to his word.

Come, leave your nets where they are and commit to follow him again.



Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

[1] New Interpreter’s Bible

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay 

AM21 considers how church is ‘breaking open’

by Kayla Berkey | published on Jan 13, 2023    

It was a gathering four years in the making. When the Authorizing Ministry for the 21st Century gathering took place in December, it was the first time since 2018 that Conference staffers, the Local Church Ministries Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization team, and other national staff could come together in one place.

The wider church has witnessed a lot of change during those years.

PCC's own Nora Foust is among the presenters quoted in this article from the UCC website. Read the rest of the article here.

Scheduling notes:

January 29 - St. John UCC, Red Lion - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

January 29 - Trinity UCC, Lewistown - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust 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...

Redeemers UCC, Littlestown

St. Luke's UCC, Lock Haven

Sandy Hill (Kistler) UCC, Ickesburg

St. Peter's UCC, Lykens

Local Church

Grace UCC, Hanover has 6 oak, blue padded 20' pews to be given to any organization, church, or group that could use them. Currently the pews are in two 10' sections for easy transport. Anyone interested please call Grace UCC 717 632 1146.

ONA Ministry Team

ONA Ministry Team Winter Gathering

SAVE THE DATE: “Embracing the Beloved LGBTQ+ Community: The Role of the Church”.  

This year's winter gathering will be held on Saturday, March 4th, 2023 at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg, PA. The featured speaker is Attorney Henry Sias.  After graduating from Yale Law School, Henry Sias has been working tirelessly as a defense and civil rights lawyer. He’s also a commissioner on Pennsylvania’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. Mr. Sias is a trans man and had a previous run for Judge. He will share his perspective on reasons why our country's political discourse is so focused on the LGBTQ community.

Breakout Sessions - The Role of the Church include:

1. Queer Bible Study 

2.  The “T” in LGBTQ 

3.  ONA 101 – How to get started.

4. ONA 201 – We're ONA, Now What?


Lunch will be provided. There is NO COST to attend, but donations will be collected to cover the cost of the speaker and lunch.


Stay tuned for registration information. 

Outdoor Ministries

WINTER FUN DAY - Kirchenwald - February 19, 2023 - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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!

Also, save the date for Hartman Center Homecoming week July 31 through August 5, 2023. Registration link coming soon!

Clergy Events

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

Monday, February 6, 6:00 – 9:00pm ET, Specialized Minister Boundary Training with the Rev. Tara Barber and the Rev. Stephen Boyd

This training, hosted by Revs. Tara Barber and Stephen Boyd, is open to ministers serving in specialized settings throughout the United Church of Christ. Serving in specialized setting requires particular attention to boundaries within the ministry setting and home church that are challenging and different from those serving as local church pastors. This training will focus on matters that relate specifically to issues that these ministers face, providing opportunities for clergy to reflect on best practices and growth in their practice of ministry. *Note - This training completes individual requirements for boundary training ONLY WHEN authorized by a local Committee on Ministry. Register here

February 21 - "Diversity, Equality & Inclusion" with Rev. Alice Rauch

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom Only - register here

March 21 - "Just Peace, Just War: Part 2" 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


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: 

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.

Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith: Dismantling Shame and Stigma about Bodies and Relationships

JAN 19, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Against Islamophobia & White Supremacy with Linda Sarsour

JAN 22, 2023 | 3:30PM - 5:30PM

3 Best Practices: Set a New Year’s Resolution for Increasing Giving

JAN 25, 2023 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM

Visions of Truth Telling, Reparation, and Forgiveness

JAN 26, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

I Heart Orgasms–Pleasure, Sexual Health and Consent

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

The Virtual National Gathering of UCC Rural/Small Town Churches and Ministries

Theme: Nourishing the Seeds of Faith (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Presented by the Coalition for UCC Rural Ministries

Hosted by the UCC National Faith INFO Ministry Team of the Justice and Local Church Ministries

February 9-11, 2023 - 4:00-7:00 pm EST

Registration Now Open:

Contact: Rev Roberto Ochoa, UCC Minister for Ethnic Inclusion, Rural and Small Churches –

"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 Jan 17-30 for an All Adult Levels Training in March

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

From Pheobe Ministries:

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM) NEW CLASS DATES

Jews and the American Civil Rights Movement, Feb. 8 and 15, March 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2023. Wednesdays, 7–8:30pm via Zoom. Instructor, Jack Paskoff. The American Jewish community played a meaningful role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This class opens a window into this complex and multi-faceted era in Black-Jewish relations. 2.5 CEUs. $325.

Church History 1, Beginnings to Reformation Rumblings, four Tuesdays and two Thursdays, Feb. 23 and 28, March 7, 14, 23, 28. 7–8:30pm EST, via Zoom. Instructor, the Rev. Matt Deal. Exploring how the church sorted out key paradoxes from the first century up to the Reformation. 2.5 CEUs. $325.

Information and Registration:

The Pension Boards is pleased to invite you to join our inaugural quarterly investment webinar series, entitled Investment Watch, beginning on Thursday, January 19 at 3:00PM (ET)

In preparation for the webinar, we ask that you provide any advance questions that you may have concerning your investments or retirement plan account by no later than January 13 here.

Members may register for the Investment Watch webinar here by January 18

We also encourage you to save the dates below for upcoming Investment Watch events.

• Thursday, April 20 (First Quarter 2023)

• Thursday, July 20 (Second Quarter 2023)

• October 19 (Third Quarter 2023)

• January 18, 2024 (Fourth Quarter 2024)

Learn more here.

If you are an actively-contributing Pension Boards member, 45 years of age or older, we invite you to join a Pensions Boards' Financial Wellness Seminar themed “Planning for the Transition to Retirement. 


Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 

Time: 12:00PM. to 4:00PM on EST 

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.


Register here by January 24, 2022. Zoom credentials will be available upon registration 

In this session, we will discuss the following:   


·       The retirement planning process and assessing if you are on track 

·       Social Security planning including common questions 

·       Decisions you'll need to make when starting your PBUCC retirement benefits 

·       Medicare and other insurance considerations 

·       Investing planning as you approach retirement  

·       Common estate planning documents 

·       Planning for a fulfilling life after retirement 


We hope you will join us! 

Employment Opportunities

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! 

Bookkeeper Position

Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ, located in Harrisburg, PA, is seeking a part time bookkeeper (averaging 10 hours a week.) A working knowledge of financial systems and processes, computer skills (including Microsoft Office and Servant Keeper) and a willingness to learn new skills as necessary are essential. Responsibilities include preparing payables; tracking receipts and payments of conduits; assisting in preparation of materials requested by auditors; working closely with accounting firm, bankers, auditors, and other financial partners; generating reports; preparing and generating year end giving statements. Hourly pay, compensation commensurate with experience. This position will report to the Office Manager. Interested parties may send a resume to Paul at by February 1, 2023

Now Accepting Applications or Referrals for


General Responsibilities 

Conducts variety of religious activities and provides for the spiritual needs of residents and families and ministry with staff. Provides clinical oversight and mentoring for CPE intern chaplains, per diem chaplain and volunteers. Works closely with inter-disciplinary staff to meet the needs of residents. Conducts outreach to churches and community. Works collaboratively with other chaplains in the department. Will help establish pastoral care at our new Chestnut Ridge at Rodale campus in Emmaus, PA.


  • Master of Divinity; ordination in the United Church of Christ or a denomination closely related or dual standing in the UCC.
  • Minimum of 4 units of CPE; Eligible for APC Board Certification or working toward this certification
  • 2-3 years of ministry experience in a parish or chaplaincy setting

Part time music director

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg, is looking for a music director beginning in January 2023. Dreisbach enjoys a diverse collection of music in its services including both contemporary and traditional. We have a small adult choir, a bell choir, and a praise band. We are looking for someone who can work approximately 3-6 hours per week. Position responsibilities include leading and directing the adult choir in rehearsal and worship, leading the praise band, directing the bell choir, and picking music for all ensembles.

Appropriate clearances are required. Qualified applicants should send their resume, cover letter, and references to: Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Road, Lewisburg, PA. 17837, or email to

Organist and piano accompanist

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg, is looking for an organist and piano accompanist beginning in January 2023. Dreisbach enjoys a diverse collection of music in its services including both contemporary and traditional. Dreisbach has an Allen digital organ that was installed in 1997. The organ has 2 manuals, a midi system, and a recording system. We are looking for someone who can work approximately 3-6 hours per week. Position responsibilities include accompanying the worship service and the choir, working with the pastor to choose music for the worship services, and reporting organ and piano repair and tuning needs to the consistory.

Appropriate clearances are required. Qualified applicants should send their resume, cover letter, and references to: Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Road, Lewisurg, PA. 17837, or email to

Starview United Church of Christ has a Director of Music position open. This position involves 1 Sunday morning worship service, special liturgical services throughout the year, and direction of the church choirs. The estimated time per week is a 6 hours, which naturally, will vary depending on the church season and number of services planned. Compensation is negotiable. Resumes may be emailed to: or mailed to 4832 N. Sherman St. Ext., Mount Wolf, PA 17347.

For additional contact information to address specific questions with the Worship Committee Chairperson or the pastor, please call 717-266-4248.

Starview United Church of Christ is located approximately 6 miles off of I-83 at Exit 24 and 6 miles north of the Galleria Mall on Rt. 24 (Mt. Zion Exit off of Rt. 30).

UCC National Positions:

Global Ministries

Area Executive, Southern Asia Office Extended Search: Open Until Filled

Shiloh UCC, York
Family and Children Ministry Coordinator

Part-time Position Summary: Nurture and develop a caring Christian community where children and youth have a meaningful and fun relationship with other youth and adults; have an opportunity to grow in God’s grace; develop the spiritual and personal resources necessary for life’s journey and develop a loving relationship with God, themselves and others. Learn more here.
Accompanist Position Available
We are searching for an Accompanist to bring their gifts to our church where we appreciate a blend of contemporary and traditional music.

General Responsibilities:
In support of the vision of the church, this year-round, part time, salaried position will provide music for worship and other events in a manner that enhances the spirit of worship and enriches the congregation's appreciation of music.

The current music ministry of HPUCC consists of one volunteer choir, as well as instrumental and vocal soloists.

For more information, please call the church at 717-397-9791 or email: If interested, please mail or email resume to: Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, Attn: Search, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603


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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