Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| September 23, 2020
Message to the Conference
September 23, 2020
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
I share these opening words from 2 Corinthians 13 with you all today with an invitation to ponder this familiar passage. It is one we often hear at weddings, but these Pauline words weren’t originally directed towards newlyweds, but to the Church. It’s a passage that reminds us that without love, even our greatest efforts and achievements fall flat. It’s a passage that challenges us to love one another patiently, humbly, graciously, truthfully, and with perseverance. 
I have spent my life in the Church and I have been blessed enough to see the love that Paul speaks about here demonstrated many, many times. It’s part of our identity. It’s something we, the Church, strive for and something that we don’t always get right! (Don’t worry, that’s where Grace comes in.) It’s a love that stays with us not only through celebration, but also through sacrifice, struggle, and conflict.
On Saturday, September 12th, that love filled Hartman Center to the brim. Standing in front of the nearly 200 of you who gathered (and masked, and social distanced) was one of the most humbling and profound experiences of my lifetime. As I looked out over your faces, I thought to myself “This is Church.” 
Because, what I saw looking out at all of you wasn’t just an easily cohesive group of people, naturally coming together out of convenience or fun, it was something much deeper. I saw a Church, bound in love and bound in our connection to Jesus Christ. When I looked out at you all, I saw a Church which is sustained by a love that isn’t dried up in the face of disappointment or anger, but which continues to grow within and through the most challenging of times. Looking out at you all, I saw a Church bound by a love which always perseveres.
Saying goodbye to our beloved Hartman Center is hard. Many of us in the Conference, if not the Conference as a whole entity, grieves its loss. We don’t understand the greater Mystery in which we exist, and we wish that God would answer our prayers and comfort our souls. Friends, God is at work in doing just that, but it is not through a massive shift in the universe or a mysterious miracle donation which makes everything “ok.” God is at work within us and through one another. God is at work when we recognize the love which binds us, explore what it means to be the Church together, and accept the challenge to love one another with the love of Jesus Christ - patiently, humbly, graciously, truthfully, and with perseverance. Friends, lean on one another through these challenging times, and remember to look for God at work.


Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Fires at Hartman Center
We still have a few short months until Hartman Center is shuttered after the new year. So, we've planned a few times to gather together in our Sonshine Place.
10/24 - Fire for Campers 4:00 pm (Getting Started-Middle school adventure) Register here
11/14 - Fire for our High Schoolers, Staff, & Families 4:00 pm Register here
-details on day retreats for Youth & Women coming shortly-
Also, be sure to mark your calendars for December 13th, when we will gather for one last evening Vespers.
12/13 - evening vespers at Hartman Center - 4:00 pm
Virtual Choir

If you were part of the Annual meeting, you heard the virtual choir, made up of singers from all over the conference coming together for a choral anthem.
This anthem has been published, on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Soundcloud, and can be used by you or your church for your services.
To get the anthem:
Contact Julie Holm ( or if you prefer to download a copy of the video or audio (mp3) file.
If you use this publicly, please appropriately attribute the work:
Leaning on the Everlasting arms, arranger/composer: Geordie Roberts
Sheet music available from Cypress Choral Music; visit

Do you want to form your own virtual choir?
Join Julie Holm, who coordinated that showstopping virtual choir at Annual Meeting, for an online workshop to learn how! Register now - event is September 28 at 6:00PM.

And on the topic of choirs, the New York Times has an article on a London choir who has been meeting socially distanced.
Scheduling Notes:

September 27: Bethany UCC, Ephrata - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola in attendance

September 27: Salem UCC, Rohrerstown -Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola in attendance for Rev. Maria Yocum call Sunday

October 4: St. Paul's UCC, West Milton at 10:30 AM (via Facebook Live or Youtube) - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call Preaching

October 4: Bethel UCC, Spring Grove at 9:00AM - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

October 4: St. Jacob UCC, York-New Salem at 10:30AM - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

October 10 - 18: Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola on vacation
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...

St. Matthew (Coleman's) UCC, Spring Glen
Bethel UCC, Spring Grove
Mount Zion UCC, Spring Grove
St. Paul's UCC, Spring Grove
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 3rd, 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. Gatherings will be October 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th. Register here.
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.

Fiduciary Focus from UCF

Every church and non-profit organization has its own unique mission and financial objectives. With that understanding, Matthew Wagner, Vice President, Institutional Relationships at United Church Funds, has written a helpful guide that describes the building blocks for customized, workable, and effective investment policy. See it here.
Taking Action for Anti- Racism
Christ Church in Annville will be hosting a three part workshop series on Taking Action for Anti- Racism. There will be three 90 minute workshops focusing on anti-racism, including understanding of racist attitudes, inner work to combat racism and more. The workshop will be held via Zoom on October 4, 18 & 25. Learn more 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.

"Thursdays for the Soul" 3:30PM
Sept 24: Deus Ex Musica: Deepening Spiritual Reflection and Community Through Music learn more here

Lake Institute/UCC Webinar Oct 07, 4:00 PM Planning the Annual Communications and Development Calendar learn more here
Creation Justice News
UCC Climate Ambassador Training
Free Event on Zoom
Saturday - October 3  -  11:30 am
With the more severe wildfires and hurricanes that the world is experiencing now, the time for faith-rooted and hope-filled climate action is here. To assist churches across Pennsylvania to answer this call, the United Church of Christ has partnered with Blessed Tomorrow to train clergy and laity who want to join with others to act for climate solutions as a matter of faith. This free, four-hour training will equip participants to go back to their faith communities with the tools and motivation needed to give presentations and develop concrete plans of action that actualize hope. This online training will take place on Zoom Saturday, October 3rd from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm (with a short lunch break and stretch breaks).
As part of the training, everyone who registers will be able to receive a free copy of Cathedral on Fire!: A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis from the Rev. Brooks Berndt, the UCC Minister for Environmental Justice
Association Events
September 27 - Installation Service for Rev. Melinda LaMontagne, Ph.D - Shiloh UCC, York - 3:00PM
October 11 - Lebanon Association Fall Meeting - 3:00 PM
October 25 - Harrisburg Association Fall Meeting 2:00 PM
October 25 - Lancaster Association 3:00 PM (Includes E-council at 4:00)
November 1 - Mercersburg Association 3:00 PM
November 8 - York Association 2:00PM
Clergy Events
Upcoming Boundary Training Online

For Retired and Supply Pastors (2 hours)
Join with your colleagues on Tuesday, October 20th at 10am or 6pm for a discussion on supply and retired clergy boundaries. Rev. Sally Dries will join Rev. Nora Foust for leadership of this session. 
Register for the 10am-12pm Zoom session here
Register for the 6pm-8pm Zoom session here

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.
Kairos Spiritual Direction Training Program Enrolling Now
The Parish Resource Center is excited to announce that we are accepting applications for a new cohort of the Kairos Spiritual Direction Training program. The next cohort for this two-year certificate program begins in January.
There is an early bird discount of $500 if you register before November 1, 2020. You can find more information and apply online at
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.
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 I and II have new dates, beginning Oct 3. Additionally, these classes now feature three synchronous Zoom sessions with the instructor, Holly MillerShank, to enhance online learning. Please note the following updated information to include in your conference communications:

Theology I: “Faith Seeking Understanding,” Oct 3–Nov 12, 2020. 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 God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in relation to congregational leadership. This 2.5 CEU class starts Saturday, Oct 3, followed by five weeks of asynchronous online instruction. PLUS bonus Zoom sessions with the instructor: Wednesdays Oct 21 and Nov 4, 6–7:30pm. Cost $325. Apply online at by Sept 25.
Introductory video:
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
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