Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| October 28, 2020
Message to the Conference
Photo by Carolyn Bahm on Unsplash
October 28, 2020
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ (Luke 23.42)

Last week while hiking at Hemlock Gorge in Maryland my husband and I came upon a small graveyard. Within the fenced, leaf-covered grounds were the remains of those who had lived in a tiny settlement called Hoffmanville on the banks of the creek. The first white settlers at the site were members of the Hoffman family and they built a paper mill in 1775. I worked to decipher names and dates as I walked through the plots, recognizing immediately that many were children. In the corner was a large, more recent granite monument from the 1980s that had all of the names and dates of everyone buried in the grounds. As expected, quite a few were children. I read through the names and dates and then reached the end of the list. And the very last line read, “Many of their faithful slaves are buried here also.”

Sometimes the brutality of American history sneaks up on me. I face a terrible historical fact with no preparation and I am struck speechless. I am aware that no words of mine can match, erase or properly acknowledge the reality of whole families of slaves being buried without names or recognition. I cannot deny the stark privilege of having access to a list of my ancestors’ names and dates within an extensive geneology. Nor can I fail to recognize my place in a family within a social group that would never be relegated to an anonymous bottom line on a gravemarker in the woods.

Many of you know that I am passionate about history. I am passionate about the importance of memory (social and personal) and raising up events, people and places that have been forgotten. I am painfully aware that my Puritan ancestors sold their own kin into slavery (for being Quakers) and my highly admired ancestor Roger Williams encouraged the sale of Native Americans into slavery who were refugees from King Phillip’s War. In that moment in the Maryland graveyard I knew (again) that I must do what I can to lift and acknowledge the lives of those who have died while enslaved so that they will not be relegated to the unremembered dead. This is no small feat and can only be undertaken with humility and a spirit of repentance.

This weekend is when we usually celebrate All Saints Day. We gather names of those who have passed before us and we lift them in recognition and in praise for their faithfulness. This Sunday I want to lift up those who were not nameless, but whose names have been involuntarily changed, removed, forgotten or lost. I believe that our God knows each person by heart. The names may be lost to humanity, yet God knows and God holds the souls – of those who were victims as well as perpetrators, the slaves and the free, the just and the unjust. God remembers. As we read in Psalm 56, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?”


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

November 1: Salem UCC, Dover 9:30AM - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

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...

Trinity UCC, Waynesboro
Mazeppa Union, Lewisburg
St. Paul's UCC, West Milton
St. Peter's UCC, Lewisburg
Join to Pray for Unity and Peace before the Election
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 November 3, the Conference invites you to join us in prayer. During the month of October, 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 as we approach the national election. There will be nothing partisan and no candidates will be mentioned by name.
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.

Just announced! Wednesday evening prayers will continue through November 25th!
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.

Hartman Center Gatherings

11/14 - Fire for our High Schoolers, Staff, & Families 4:00 pm Register here

11/21 - Youth Retreat - "It's A Party!" 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Register here

11/21 - Women's Retreat with Kara Young 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Register here

12/13 - evening vespers at Hartman Center - 4:00 pm
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.

All Saints Service November 01, 6:00 PM

Our Faith Our Vote November 03, 3:30 PM
Weekly Book Reviews
A new weekly feature!
October's reviews by Rev. Julie Holm
Dancing With God: The Trinity from a Womanist Perspective by Karen Baker-Fletcher. © 2006 Chalice Press

If you are searching for a meditation on theology that recognizes the very broken contemporary world, Dancing With God is a rich and deep read. It spends a lot of time acknowledging the courage and the experience of evil and hate from within the African American community. It reads as contemporary as the headlines on your table today, but also acknowledges historical pain, hate and violence.

Baker-Fletcher interweaves these concerns with a systemic theology approach that dances with, though does not completely embrace, open and process theology, as well as traditional claims for and about God, and brings to bear the contemporary and historical experience of black women. She dances with the work of an astounding variety of theologians and cultures and addresses the problem of murder, focusing on the death of James Byrd, but her work expands easily to embrace George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all of the black lives lost in violent hateful ways.

Still at the end, Dancing With God insists on a view of the Spirit of God that leads us to healing and on a journey toward wholeness in a perpetual dance with the persons of the Trinity.
OCWM Reporting
2020 OCWM giving has been up and down. I apologize for not including this in the past couple of months.

As you can see, September was a much better month which helped make up for August being so low. We saw a 7% increase from 2019 for the month of September, but remain almost 11% behind for year to date and 28% behind budget.

We are so blessed by the generosity of the churches and individuals in Penn Central Conference. May God bless you for your giving.
Association Events
November 1 - Mercersburg Association 3:00 PM
November 8 - York Association 2:00PM
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 or 6pm 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
Register for the 6pm-9pm 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.
From Our Partners & Friends:

Awareness, Response and Prevention of Hate Crimes,
Bias Incidents and Extremist Activity
Join us for this Zoom presentation on
Thursday, October 29
5:30 - 6:30pm
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
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.
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