Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 7, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference -
Psalm 133:1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Acts 4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul…

Once upon a time in the land of Penn Central Conference I traveled about from church to church meeting with congregations and pastors discussing the life and health of their churches. I was reminded of those travels this week as I began looking at the lectionary passages for this coming Sunday as so often those visits were invited because of multiple hearts, minds and souls.

The lectionary passage from Acts this week both reminds us of our call to give “testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (v. 33), but also this statement about how the community was of “one heart and soul” about possessions. There is argument to be made that this is the church at its best – the Beloved Community! But I won’t make this about communal property so much as about how effective a community can be when it is of one heart and soul. The psalmist called it unity.

Part of my work with churches then and now is to help each find unity around a project or issue that needs attention. Seeking one heart and soul is so often the hardest of the hard work in community.

In this last year when space has so separated us and ideology has seemed to make that space even more distant for some, what will one heart and soul look like for your congregation moving forward? How will your congregation seek this biblical unity as you all work together on mission and worship in-person again (and probably online, still)? What will emerge as the one thing that can bring you together in ministry?

A good place to start is in rallying around love. While there is usually a bit of work involved in finding that one thing that can move a congregation together in unity, seeking the place where love is needed is generally a strong launching pad. Weekend food backpacks for local school children, a transportation program for local veterans to the VA clinic 90 minutes away, a Saturday Bingo program at the local nursing home, or annual activities on Earth Day with monthly green initiatives for the church – all of these are possibilities that I have seen congregations rally around in unity of purpose because of their experiences of the love of God.

Proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus points one to love. Ask where love is needed in your community and as you pray and ponder in search of the unity of heart and soul that Christ prays for among us, new life and passion will be found.

Christ has risen! Christ has risen indeed!

Acts 4:33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.


Rev. Nora Foust
Associate Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
Returning: printable eNews! Download and print this PDF with the weekly message to the conference, prayers for Penn Central and brief list of events. Pastors and secretaries, please feel free to share with your congregation members that don't get this weekly email.
Coffee With The Conference Staff

April 8, 2021 - 10:00 AM Zoom Link

Clergy - as a society we are coming to the end of a lengthy season of grief and loss. Many of the losses during the pandemic were not grieved in traditional ways and some possibly weren't even acknowledged at all. How will your church offer time, space and ritual for the recognition of the spectrum of feelings people will carry as we return to in-person gatherings and worship, recognizing, too, that not everyone will be back at the same time?

Join colleagues from across Penn Central as we gather for virtual coffee with our conference ministers on Thursday at 10 and engage the discussion.
Scheduling notes:

April 4 -11 - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola on Retreat
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. John's UCC, Jonestown
Church of the Apostles UCC, Lancaster
Faith UCC, Lancaster
First Reformed UCC, Lancaster
Virtual Choir

The Penn Central Conference virtual choir presents our final Lenten Anthem: Hallelujah!  This anthem, a movement from the Oratorio Messiah by George Frideric Handel, is an Easter tradition in many churches, and we are thrilled to be able to bring it to you! 

You can stream this and the other Virtual Choir Anthems on our playlist here. While these were recorded with Lent and Easter in mind, they can be incorporated in services year round.

You can also download this, and all of our anthems from my Google Drive, at:

If you have questions, or if you'd like to join the group for any of our music that delights you, 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.

From the Climate Justice Team
Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections Between Our Faith, Our Food, and the Climate. We examine how our food systems contribute to injustice and to climate change, and how our faiths call us to respond through practical solutions.
Join Interfaith Power & Light’s annual premier week of worship and action focused on climate – Faith Climate Action Week, April 16-25, 2021. Learn more here
Penn Central Conference is once again accepting applications for the PCC Innovation Grants which is for PCC churches who are looking for funding for a bold & innovative approach to ministry. Application can be found here, please email completed forms to Paul.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) - See Information Needed!

What is OWL? Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith respond to General Synod actions calling for the development of sexuality education materials for all ages. Participating in a human sexuality program in a supportive and affirming environment in the church will help participants understand that sexuality is an important part of the way God created us; that their church cares about their sexual development; and that caring Christian adults are willing and able to talk with them about their questions and concerns. 
A number of churches have expressed interest in holding a facilitator training right here in Penn Central Conference. If there is interest, the training would be some time in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. If your church is interested in sending folks to a facilitator training, please email Shirley Keith Knox
OWL is...
  • A series of sexuality education programs for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, Young Adults and Adults. The resources are written by professional sexuality educators and provide accurate information for parents, teachers and pastors to be used in the affirming and supportive setting of our churches. 
  • The resources are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
Our Whole Lives , together with Sexuality and Our Faith , helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior in the context of their faith. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
Outdoor Ministries

The 2021 summer camp schedule is set! There are camps for all ages and interests at both Kirchenwald and Nawakwa. Check out what is offered online. There is an early-bird registration discount if you register before April 3. Also, if you attend the Open House, you can get an additional discount. Full brochure here.

Just announced - special PCC discounts available on camp registrations! Read more here.

Calling all high school kids, college-age young adults, and adults interested in working at camp this summer! Lutheran Camping Corporation is recruiting now for this summer's camp season. Learn more here.

All are invited to come out to help clean-up the grounds at The Wittel Farm & participate in the first round of planting. Want more information about other volunteering dates and to register to help out? Click HERE!

You are invited to visit Kirchenwald or Nawakwa on April 11. Take a tour of camp with members of our summer staff and see what camp is all about. As a bonus, we will give a $10 gift certificate for the camp store to every brand new camper! Register here

Outdoor Ministries: Men's Retreat at Kirchenwald, April 30 - May 1 Need a weekend with the guys? Come on out to Kirchenwald for a retreat that’s sure to put hair on your chest. $85 Register here.

More events and information here.
Check out the all new Outdoor Ministries page on the PCC website here!
And a history of Hartman Center is hosted on the PCC website here.
Spring 2021 Ministerial Education Forums – Third Tuesdays
Due to the constraints of Zoom interactions, MEFs will have registration limits. If a registration is full, email Paul to be added to a waiting list. Please let us know if you need to cancel so your spot can be given to someone on the waiting list.

April 20: Personalities and Communication with Dr. Bob Fogel
How often have these words occurred to you after a meeting or a difficult conversation? What I could have said. . . . What I should not have said was. . . . What we say to others and how we say it is a complex process. Psychological personality type seen through the lens of Meyers-Briggs (commonly known as the MBTI©) provides a useful roadmap to engaging others with authenticity and integrity—and care. Come to learn about others and yourself! (Qualifies for Boundary Training.)

May 18: Life-Giving Leadership with Rev. Bill Worley, Conference Minister in the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference
“Wherever you see significant progress in an organization, it’s because a leader made difficult decisions.” – John Maxwell.
The central task of leadership is influencing God’s people toward God’s purposes.” – George Barna
Where there is faithful and effective ministry happening, there is a faithful and effective leader helping people make difficult decisions. The pastor cannot be the only leader—but the pastor MUST be among the leaders equipping church members to do ministry. Instead, pastors burn out because the pastor and the church members expect the pastor to do most or all of the ministry. This is a failure of leadership. So, what is life-giving leadership? What makes a good leader? This workshop addresses that question by examining some of the core characteristics, qualities, and examples of solid pastoral leadership.
Continuing Education in Theology – Open to all MIDs and Authorized Ministers
PCC Staff have been thinking a lot about theology and liturgy. You are invited to join us for a deeper discussion of our worship elements. We have designed a number of discussions for a registration required, limited-size continuing education opportunity. Twelve hours of theology credits will be offered.
Do you spend much time thinking about the theology behind the elements of the liturgy? What does an assurance of pardon really mean when pastors offer these words following a congregational prayer of confession? Did anyone really confess anything? How do we know? And what about communion - what happens when we speak the prayer of consecration and words of institution?
Register and join us for deeper discussion and community learning!
Theology of Liturgy (Day): May 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th and June 3rd, 10th
           Thursdays from 3:00 – 4:30 PM (TIME CORRECTED)
           Limit 15 Registration
Theology of Liturgy (Evening): May 27th, and June 3rd, 10th, and 17th
           Thursdays from 6:30 – 8:00 PM
           Limit 10 (minimum 6) Registration
Book Discussion Group
Tuesday, April 22nd and 29th: White Too Long: the Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones. Participants can choose a 10:00-12:00 Noon or a 6:00-8:00 PM timeslot for the dates. This is an excellent text that will generate deep and insightful reflection. Register now as space is limited. Once you have registered, order the book and start reading!
Lectionary Discussion Group continues in the new year! Join other clergy on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss the lectionary passages. NEW Zoom link here.

Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler was asked about what book she uses for lectionary planning. She recommends "Prepare!: An Ecumenical Music & Worship Planner 2020-2021" (She uses the NRSV Edition.) Published by Abingdon Press
Book Reviews
This month's reviews by Rev. Jane Compton
The title, “The Old Testament: Canon, History, and Literature”, would not have necessarily caught my attention. But the author’s name, Richard Nelson, drew my eye to this book in the Central Association lending library at St John’s UCC in Lewisburg. He is identified as professor emeritus at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, but I recognized the name of my former Old Testament professor at the Gettysburg Seminary. I checked out the book from the lending library. And as I expected, an internet search confirmed that this Richard Nelson had formerly taught at Gettysburg. 

The title of this book sounds scholarly, and Nelson is a fine Old Testament scholar. But this is a readable book that would be suitable for the inquisitive layperson as well as the seminary-educated.   There is a separate consideration of each book of the Old Testament, as well as the books of the intertestamental literature. Each one is firmly anchored within its historical context. I was fascinated to realize there are references to some of the kings of Israel and Judah outside of the Bible, in other literature of the ancient Near East.   I additionally appreciated the careful attention to detail in Nelson’s review of the Biblical books. I would highly recommend this book as a treasure trove of information that truly brings the Old Testament to life for the reader.  
Association Events:

Sunday, April 12, 2021 - Northern Association Spring Meeting - 2:00PM
Sunday, April 18, 2021 - Service of Ordination of Sue Schmidt - 3:00 PM York Association - Dover UCC (invitation here)
Sunday, April 18, 2021 - Gettysburg Association Spring Meeting - 3:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - York Association Spring Meeting - 2:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Central Association Annual Meeting - 3:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Lancaster Association Spring Meeting - 3:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Ecclesiastical Council for Joao Teixeira - 3:00PM - Lancaster Association (invitation here, register 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.

Towards a Sustainable Future - April 7, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Let’s Talk About Abortion - April 8, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Telling Our Story(ies) - April 13, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

#StopTheHate – A Call to Prayer and Action - April 15, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Since 2008, Retirement Housing Foundation has helped rebuild the lives of people impacted by these types of natural disasters. We are pleased to partner again with the United Church of Christ’s Disaster Ministries to help those impacted by this severe winter weather.

For those who choose to respond with a tax-deductible gift through RHF Charitable Foundation, donations received through April 30, 2021 will be matched up to a grand total of $50,000 and sent to UCC Disaster Ministries. (If we receive $50,000, RHF will respond with $100,000 in total aid.) 100% of the donations received will go directly to efforts supporting needs for shelter and food, clean-up, and essential repairs.

To participate in this matching opportunity, note “Disaster Relief” as the gift designation when you make your gift online or mail a check payable to RHF Charitable Foundation and send to:
RHF Charitable Foundation
911 North Studebaker Road
Long Beach, CA 90815
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
From our Partners & Friends:
The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary is delighted to offer a new, six class series: Introduction to Worship Leadership and Liturgical Practices.
Taught by the Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma, this class will prepare worship leaders to plan, prepare, and practice congregational worship, rites, and rituals, especially baptisms, weddings, and funerals/memorial services.

Register and learn more here.
Veterans’ Moral Injury and
Suicide Prevention

Lebanon VAMC Clergy Virtual Training Event

April 13 or May 11, 2021 from 9 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Veterans are at higher risk for suicide than the average population. Moral
Injuries can have an underlying effect upon the Veteran, as the Veteran feels overwhelmed with shame and guilt. Faith community leaders are encouraged to join us for this virtual training event to learn more about how to help Veterans who may be contemplating Suicide and/or suffering from moral injury.

Guest speakers include: Chief of Chaplains, Dean Luther Suicide Prevention Coordinator, John Lucas

To register and receive the link call: 717-272-6621 ext. 5085 or Email Vince:
Heifer International has released their 2020 Report. Read more about how this organization, regularly supported by several of our churches already, has continued working during the pandemic here.
Pennsylvania Council of Churches

If you missed the Women's History Month service, you can watch it here.

Intersectional Realities Around COVID-19: Impacts on Vulnerable Communities and Partnering to Address the Problems—April 19
April 19, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm
Virtual event: register here
Parish Resource Center Webinars

Intro to Restorative Circles – April 8, 7-8:30pm

Loss and Restoration: in Life and Faith – April 22, 8-10am
Save the Date! June 13th is ERHS Heritage Sunday
The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society looks forward to partnering with you in celebrating the continuing legacy of our historic E and R churches throughout the Penn Central Conference on Sunday, June 13th. Additional details are forthcoming. In the meantime, you can always visit us at and follow us on Facebook @erhistoricalsoc and Instagram @erhistoricalsociety
Employment Opportunities

The Lebanon Valley Home, a continuing care retirement community affiliated with United Church of Christ Homes, is seeking a compassionate and resident focused team member for the position of Chaplain. This position is Part Time (15 hours per week). Requirements – Must be an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ with a minimum of one year experience in a pastoral ministry as well as one unit Clinical Pastoral Education. A resume and letter of interest should be received by April 9, 2021. Learn more here.
There is a summer ministry opportunity open at Locust Lake State Park for this summer. The PA Council of Churches has supported a program of chaplains in PA's state parks for 60 years. The Schuylkill Association of the PA Southeast Conference supports the chaplain at Locust Lake State Park.

The Committee is looking for a lay or ordained chaplain to serve at Locust Lake State Park on weekends from Memorial Day, May 31, through Labor Day, September 6, 2021. It is a part-time position. Duties of the chaplain include leading Sunday worship in the park, and walking through the campground, visiting campers in a socially distanced manner on a Friday or Saturday. All ministry takes place outdoors, so it is among the safest ministries!
Worship draws many kinds of people from many different church backgrounds.

The position description can be found at:
Training is provided.

APPLICATION and SCREENING FORM Summer Campground Ministry (Section 1 of 8)
******PLEASE READ****** Do not hit the back arrow button or attempt to go back while completing this form. You will have an option at the end of the form to edit any information you have entered. An older paper version of this form can be found at this link: - Please do not include your SSN or Drivers License number on the paper version of this form. If you complete the paper version of this form, please email a scanned copy to or mail to: Pennsylvania Council of Churches Campground Ministry Coordinator 900 South Arlington Ave. - Suite 211A Harrisburg, PA 17109-5089

For more information contact the Committee Chair, Rev. Maureen Duffy-Guy at or (570) 952-5474.
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
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
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