Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| September 30, 2020
Message to the Conference
September 30, 2020
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?”

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Paul indicates that he cannot yet call the people “spiritual” because they continue to do things that are of the flesh and not of the Spirit. They are still serving themselves, worshiping their teachers, placing a competition between the Christian teachers and in extension between themselves and Jesus.

This was Paul’s third metaphor to describe the local church in Corinth. In his first metaphor, he compared them to a field being planted and watered by himself as well as Apollos as God’s workers. His second metaphor was his comparison of their community of Christians to a building being constructed on the top of the foundation of Jesus by the teachers and the religious leaders. Now Paul uses a third metaphor where Paul compares the church people to the temple of God.

When reading Paul’s third metaphor, we may get an image of a massive temple in which the Spirit of God dwells. However, when Paul wrote the word “you” he intended it to be plural not singular, meaning all the church members.

Although Paul intended his letter to be addressed to the entire church in Corinth, it is just as important for each one of Jesus’ followers to think of their individual bodies as a temple where God’s spirit dwells. Therefore, it is important that we take care of our body, mind and spirit. The question is, how do we do this? Normally life can be quite hard on our bodies, our minds and our spirit. However, during a pandemic where there is much uncertainty, grief and anxiety, self-care cannot be just thought about, it is essential.
There are three practices that can help us to take care of ourselves and nurture our temples.

1. Conserve your energy. Don’t re-invent the wheel or take on really creative and complex tasks when planning worship. (Unless it relaxes you.) There are many resources that have been created and used that can help you to plan worship whether it is with liturgy, prayers or songs and technological information. Developing partnerships whether inside the church or in the community to take charge of specific areas can be beneficial. Church should never be a competition. Talk with other churches in the community and work together.

2. Keep your boundaries. Texting, phone use, emails etc can consume so much time and have negative effects on the temple. Schedule breaks throughout the day. Get up and walk around. Stay hydrated. Get some sunshine. Breathe deeply and relax your body
and mind.

3. Give yourselves some grace and compassion. Pastors and chaplains are so hard on themselves. What your people need most is a healthy YOU. Place a post-it on your bathroom mirror, reminding yourself to give yourself grace just like the grace you would give to others.

Remember the church is the people, not the building. Paul understood just how important it was for the “church” to take care of their temples. Our temples house the Spirit of God. When we think of our bodies, minds and souls in that way, housing the Spirit of our God, how could we not take the best care of ourselves?

Blessings and peace,


Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Scheduling Notes:

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
Virtual Cantata

The Penn Conference is organizing a virtual choir to do a virtual cantata or set of anthems for the use of the whole conference during this Advent/Christmas season. If you are a singer or an instrumentalist, whether or not you are part of a choir, please consider signing up for this experience by October 15 at or email for more information. 
If you are a pastor or music minister wishing to use the resulting files, email for more information. We are excited about this opportunity, and we invite you to be part of it!

If you missed the workshop on Virtual Choir with Julie Holm, please reach out to Paul for a link to a recording.
Hartman Center Gatherings

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
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. Peter's (Lischey's) UCC, Spring Grove
Trinity Roths UCC, Spring Grove
Grace UCC, Spring Mills
Starview UCC, Starview
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. Gatherings will be October 7, 14, 21 and 28. 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.

World Communion Voices 2020 - Oct 01, 3:30PM learn more here

Shifting Focus: Youth Ministry in 2020 and Beyond - Oct 06, 3:30PM learn more here

OWL & Racial Justice - Oct 07, 12:00PM 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 (STILL TIME TO REGISTER!)
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 AND, those who complete the training will have the opportunity to become a Certified Blessed Tomorrow Climate Ambassador. 
Association Events
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 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