Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| November 17, 2020
Message to the Conference
Meditation based on Psalm 46: To calm our hearts in the midst of turmoil…
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”
We can relate to the psalmist, can we not? With the uptick in COVID cases, the continued turmoil as our country attempts to unite, our intense desire to seek health in the midst of COVID fatigue, peace in the midst of division. We certainly are feeling the earth change, the mountains shake, the waters roar and foam. And yet, we know deep within our hearts God is with us:
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city,] it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
And how we long for that river to flow with nourishing streams. We may not feel very nourished right now. We may feel like a people in an endless desert. And yet, we know, deep, deep within our hearts, God is our refuge:
“Be still, and know that I am God!  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
It’s so very hard to be still. We wiggle and squirm as we hear case after case, warning after warning of illness, of turmoil. And we quake, and we shake, and we cry out “Where are you God?” And as Elijah discovered, God is not always felt in those anxious stormy times, in our experience of the wind or earthquake or fire. God’s constant presence is most often deeply sensed in the silence—sheer silence. “Be still and know that I am God”, the psalmist claims to have heard. Perhaps we need to sit in the midst of the wind and earthquake and fire of our experience in this world right now—to sit in silence. Perhaps we, like the psalmist, will then hear God say: “Be still, and know that I am God”. And we will know, if just for those moments, God is still with us, God is yet our refuge.
Peace and blessing upon us all,
Marisa Laviola
Scheduling Notes:

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...

Mt. Zion UCC, York
St. Stephen's UCC, York
Shiloh UCC, York
Trinity 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 any we've experienced, 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
Survey from the Women's Table

We invite female clergy and lairt to complete this survey prepared by the Women’s Table of the United Church of Christ. It is intended to gather information from women in the UCC about the issues and concerns you most care about, are engaged with, and for which your faithful responses make a difference in the world around us.

We are not yet certain of the future of the Women’s Table but we are cognizant that as a denomination which has provided a great deal of leadership and advocacy on gender justice and for women in ministry within ecumenical and interfaith partnerships, that we need to find ways to remain visibly engaged, accessible, and resourceful on these matters. This survey, sent out to a diverse cross-section of women in the UCC, is designed to help inform next steps. What is on your minds and hearts matters to us.

Again, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time to offer your feedback. We look forward to hearing from you and to reporting our findings. Your responses will be strictly confidential and anonymous. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete the survey. Please have your responses included by Friday, December 11, at 11:59 pm EDT.
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.

Prayers For When You Feel Anxious Coloring Pages from Illustrated Ministry NEW!

UCC Webinars

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

Jennifer Knapp in Concert! Thursday, November 19, 3:30PM

New Church Starts, the Future of our Church Tuesday, November 24, 3:30 PM
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.
Due to Covid 19 Salem UCC Harrisburg is not going to have the Annual Toy Giveaway with Mr. & Mrs. Santa. Instead we are gathering items for residents of a local women's shelter which includes more than 50 children also 30 + kids that are in a group home waiting for placement into foster care. In addition to items on hand from the clothing bank, we are putting together bags of toiletries for the residents.  
Among the organizations served were individuals at Bethesda Mission, 2nd Chance Ministries, Group Home for Special Needs, Morning Star Pregnancy Center, Daily Bread, Justice Youth Center and others. 
If any local Churches would wish to donate please contact Sandy Sgrignoli at 717-635-0569.
Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg will display creches from around the world at their 19th Annual Creche Festival (with social distancing and masks required.)
Friday, December 4: 1:00PM - 7:00PM
Saturday, December 5: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Sunday, December 6: 12:00PM - 4:00PM
Weekly Book Reviews
A new weekly feature!
November's reviews by Rev. Sue Fritz
Theme: Women and Culture

Chambers grew up in Owsley County, Kentucky. Tobacco farming and mining were a way of life for those living in Owsley. 

Cassie’s mother and aunt, Wilma and Ruth, forged two different paths: Ruth stayed in the holler, working the tobacco fields. Wilma was the first from her family to graduate from high school, later from college. Because of Wilma’s influence, Cassie was taught to persevere.
Cassie did. She desired more for her future and, following a meandering path, she ultimately graduated from Harvard Law School.  But there was something about the world of privilege, whose doors were now open to her, that didn’t feel authentic to Cassie. So, she moved back to rural Kentucky to begin a new life, providing free legal services to the women of Kentucky. 

This book is touching and dark, all at the same time. It opens your eyes to the reality of domestic violence, the opioid crisis, and systems that continually fail the poor. It shows you how even poor women who grow up in hollers can overcome great odds with love and assistance from others.  
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