Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | May 03, 2023

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Message to the Conference

Greetings members and friends of Penn Central Conference,

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23)


Many of us love the 23rd psalm. Written about 1000 BCE, the psalm offers assurance of God’s presence. Most are familiar with the psalm from funerals and memorial services and associate it with rituals around death and dying. However, in the Christian tradition it did not gain ‘fame’ as a funeral psalm until the 20th century and the advent of television and movies which started using the psalm in funeral scenes. The association took off from there.

However, Psalm 23 is about life, hope, and faith as well. I saw that on display while leading a retreat for clergy in the Florida Conference this past week. We used the 23rd psalm for reflection about ourselves and our life experiences. Questions we explored included, “Who/what are your enemies?”, “What does the valley of the shadow of death look like for you?”, “If God laid a table for you in the presence of your enemies, what would be on it?” and “How do we know when our souls are ‘restored’?” Participants spent time reflecting on the questions and sharing insights.

The conversations became deep and meaningful very quickly. We learned that “enemies” can be interpreted in various ways – from those people we feel might be trying to do us harm to aspects of our own personalities that work against us. “The valley of the shadow of death” might mean grief around personal losses but may also refer to addiction or divorce. We saw that our interpretations were shaped by our own life experiences and sharing those facilitated new perspectives for all of us. The stand-out terms in the psalm (particularly ‘enemies’) provided windows into our own histories, struggles, and healing.

The clergy engaged in psalm-writing of their own, which followed from a series of prompts I provided. The results were astonishing. Not only were several of them very beautiful, but they were all moving and deeply personal. I was reminded that engaging with scripture very intentionally can take us to places we would not go otherwise.

As part of my own interior work during the retreat I did a ‘remix’ of the 23rd Psalm. I shared this with participants and share it with you here.

Psalm 23 (Remix by C. Call)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

I fear no evil.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

You make me lie down in green pastures;

You lead me beside still waters;

You lead me in right paths for your name's sake;

You restore my soul.

You anoint my head with oil;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

My cup overflows.

The Lord is my shepherd;

goodness and mercy shall follow me.

Surely, all the days of my life

I shall not want. 

I look forward to an opportunity for PA clergy to engage in this kind of intentional study on a retreat. And I give thanks to Rev. John Vertigan, the Florida Conference Minister and my former boss in the Indiana-Kentucky Conference, who made this retreat possible.


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

Annual Meeting registration is now open!

"Renewing the Covenant We Share"

 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a 

The 61st Annual Meeting of the Penn Central Conference will return to in person, with virtual options for plenaries. We will gather at the Doubletree Resort by Hilton; 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, PA 17602 on June 9th & 10th, 2023.

Our special guest is Rev. Dr. Jane Fisler Hoffman, author of Covenant: A Study for the United Church of Christ. She will be our keynote speaker as well as lead a workshop. If you'd like to read her book, it is available to purchase here.

We will be voting on two bylaws changes as well as a slate of nominees. You can see more about those bylaws in the full invitation here.

Read all about the tentative schedule, workshops and more on the registration page here.

We have special rates through the DoubleTree if you are staying overnights. The website to make reservations is here. If you have had problems making reservations, the website should be working now. You can make reservations by calling the hotel directly at (717) 464-2711, press 0 for the front desk and request the group rates for Penn Central Conference Annual Meeting (group code 20902). Hotel reservations due by May 11th!

Scheduling notes:

May 7 - Emmanuel UCC, Abbottstown - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

May 14 - St. John UCC, Red Lion - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

Printable eNews are available. Pastors and secretaries, please feel free to share with your congregation members that don't get this weekly email. Download and print this PDF with the weekly message to the conference, prayers for Penn Central and brief list of events.

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. Paul UCC, Shrewsbury

St. Matthew (Coleman's) UCC, Gratz

Bethel UCC, Spring Grove

Mt. Zion UCC, Spring Grove

Creation Justice

National UCC Climate Hope Cards Campaign!

On April 29th, the UCC will be launching an effort to collect as many petition postcards as possible to seek government action for cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Such action could both save lives and put our nation on track to meet climate goals. Sign-up to get updates on the Climate Hope Cards campaign and this launch event.

UCC Webinar on Police Violence and Environmental Justice

May 10. 2023 - 10:00AM


In Atlanta, faith leaders have been involved in a struggle to confront violence in multiple forms as they seek to prevent the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest for the building of a police training facility in a predominantly Black community. Through their actions for a just world, these faith leaders have additionally sought to honor Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán who was killed by the Georgia State Police while protecting the forest. This webinar will feature faith leaders from Atlanta as they share with us about this cause of justice. Even if you cannot make the webinar at its scheduled time, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!

Local Church

Congratulations! The United Church of Christ has awarded St. Paul's UCC, Stoverstown in Spring Grove, PA with a $250 matching grant for their fundraising efforts and commitment to assemble 144 Hygiene Kits. These Hygiene kits mean the difference between sickness and health for struggling families facing natural disasters, violence, or poverty. We are so proud of this church's ministry!

Is your church looking to sell or donate surplus church chairs? St. Paul's UCC, Milton is looking for some. Please contact Pastor Tim Hogan-Palazzo if you do.

St. Paul's UCC, Dallastown has a large quantity of Chalice Hymnals they no longer need. If your church is in need of them, please contact the church via email or phone (717) 244-2090.

Himmel's UCC, Dornsife (107 Covered Bridge Rd; Dornsife, PA 17823) is celebrating 250 years with events throughout the year. On Saturday afternoon, May 20, 2023 beginning at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary, “A Journey Upstream” will be presented at Himmel’s Church. It will be a walk back in time and a virtual cemetery walk which will include the meeting of interesting personalities from Himmel’s 250 year history. Light refreshments will be served following the “walk.”

Foundations of Worship Planning with PSEC

May 20, 2023 - 9:00AM - 1:00PM via Zoom

This workshop prepares lay leaders and refreshes authorized ministers on the foundational principles of worship with an emphasis on practical application. Participants will gain tools and sharpen skills for planning meaningful worship that facilitates holy encounters. No previous experience with worship planning is necessary.

Participants should bring a recent bulletin or order of service from their context as well as a Bible and music selection resources (i.e. hymnal and/or songbook). Register Here

About the Facilitator: The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay serves as the Minister for Worship and Theology for the National Ministries of the United Church of Christ as well as Pastor and Teacher of First Congregational UCC of Wellington, OH.

Association Events

May 7, 2023 3:00PM - Mercersburg Spring Meeting

May 7, 2023 3:00PM - Ordination of Jeff Hauck - St. Peter's UCC, Lewisburg

May 21, 2023 2:00PM - Ecclesiastical Council for Joslin Kearse - Heidelberg UCC. York

Outdoor Ministries

Events with our partners at Lutheran Camping Corporation

KIRCHENWALD WORK DAY May 6, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Summer Camp with Lutheran Camping Corporation - use code PENNCENTRAL2023 to use a 50% campership from PCC's Outdoor Ministries!

Hartman Center Homecoming week

July 31 through August 5, 2023

We will be returning to Hartman Center Campground in Milroy, PA as guests.

Camping experiences for all ages, including intergenerational camps.

2 night camps - Monday, July 31 at 4PM through Wednesday, August 2 at 4PM

Getting Started - Grades 1 and 2 ($125)

Intergenerational Camp ($125)

3 night camps - Wednesday, August 2 at 4PM through Saturday, August 5 at 11AM

Intergenerational Camp ($190)

Camp of the Heart ($250)

5 night camps - Monday, 31 at 4PM through Saturday, August 5 at 11AM

Elementary - Grades 3 - 5 ($300)

Junior High - Grades 6 - 8 ($300)

Senior High - Grades 9 - 12 plus ($300)

Leadership - Grades 9 - 12 plus ($300)

For more information, contact Rev. Alice Rauch (director) 

or Rev. Amelia Price (registrar)

Register here and print a brochure here

Summer camp with St. John's UCC, Chambersburg

2023 Summer Camps 

Camp Galilee (9-12) June 18-23

Camp Kum Ba Yah (5-8) June 25-30

Camp Noah (K-4) June 26-30

Learn more here.

Clergy Events

Winter/Spring 2023 MEFs (10AM hybrid, 6PM Zoom)

May 16 - "Starting Justice Conversations: Part 1" with Rev. Carla Christopher

Becoming a community connected congregation grows membership, mission, and meaning for churchgoers but how do we start when the demographics of our congregations ofton look or live differently than the neighborhoods around them? We can use effective and accessible tactics from community organizing, diversity education, and the trauma-informed care field! Beginning conversations around justice and community advocacy in our congregations can be deeply effective even in this divided time when we accompany our parishioners in a dynamic and practical way.

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom Only - register here

Suicide and Moral Injury Clergy Workshop

with Lebanon VA Chaplain Rev. Dean Luther

Full flyer here

Friday May 19th 10-12 on Zoom

Register here

From our Friends and Partners

Mercersburg Convocation 2023: Tradition in Crisis

May 22-23, 2023

Lancaster Theological Seminary

In his most recent book, Tradition in Crisis, Peter Schmiechen describes the various crises confronting Centric Protestants—i.e., those reformed by the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the theological and biblical revolutions of the twentieth century—and calls for a further reform of Centric Protestantism today by reclaiming Luther’s conviction that the true treasure of the church is Jesus Christ, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community in America. In other words, he calls for a further reformation of Centric Protestantism based on grace and community. The 2023 Mercersburg Convocation will address various aspects of Peter Schmiechen’s analysis of the tradition in crisis, in order to explore productive ways of creating a future beyond this crisis.

See schedule and full list of presenters here.

Register here

On June 15, Phoebe will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our Clinical Pastoral Education program with current students, alumni, staff, generous donors and members of the community. The Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, currently Director of Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia will be speaking at the event. She is a graduate of Lancaster Seminary and an ordained UCC minister. The event will take place at the Lehigh Country Club, at 2319 S Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown, PA 18103. 

If your church, business or organization would like to be a sponsor for the event, here is the link to the sponsorship page on our website: If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to be in contact with me. 

UCC National Setting

UCC Webinars

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

Sacred Reckonings

MAY 4, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Stop Cop City: A Moral Call

MAY 10, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Security and Faith: Faithfulness and Vulnerability

MAY 11, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

What is changing in ministry?

MAY 17, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Church

MAY 17, 2023 | 2:00PM - 3:00PM

General Synod Frequency Town Hall 3/3

MAY 17, 2023 | 6:00PM - 7:00PM

Security and Faith: Abolitionist Perspectives

MAY 18, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

"Making All Things New"

General Synod 2023


"Making All Things New” will be the theme of the 34th biennial General Synod of the United Church of Christ, scheduled for June 30–July 4, 2023, in Indianapolis.


Delegates and visitors will meet June 30 through July 4 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.


For the full press release, click here.

Our Whole Lives training

In addition to an increasing number of in-person trainings across the country, Our Whole Lives trainings will continue to be offered online in 2023 for UCC and UUA members, at a cost of only $250 plus curriculum.

Registration applications will be accepted from July 17-July 31 for a Jr Sr High Level Training in September

Registration applications will be accepted from Aug 21-Sept 5 for an Elementary (Grades K-1 and 4-6) Training in October

Registration applications will be accepted from Sept 11-Sept 25 for an All Adult Levels Training in November

More information about these trainings, in addition to information about upcoming in-person trainings, can be found here.

From our friends and partners
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)


May 23 - June 27, 2023



July 11 - August 15, 2023


Tuesday evenings via Zoom.

Clergy and laity are invited to join instructor Kelsey Wallace for an introduction to the art and practice of biblical interpretation. We will consider issues of historical context, translation, literary analysis, and social location and the skills necessary to be a responsible public interpreter of scripture.

For clergy/pastors and lay leaders

$325 for each of the two series of six classes

2.5 CEUs may be earned for each series

Information and Registration:

2023 Festival of Biblical Storytelling

AUGUST 2,3, AND 4, 2023

At the Maritime Conference Center near BWI and Baltimore, MD

Learn more and register here.

Employment Opportunities

Current Openings - UCC National Setting

OPTIC - Philanthropy

Generosity Officer, West Central Region Open until filled

Generosity Officer, New England Region Open until filled

Faith Education, Innovation, and Formation (Faith INFO)

Program Assistant Close: 5/21/23

Assistant Project Administrator for Love of Children Close: 5/21/23

Hummelstown UCC Seeking Director of Music /Organist/Musician


Are you a musician who values a progressive Christian community? Apply now to the small church with a big heart! Hummelstown United Church of Christ is seeking a flexible and engaging musician to serve as Director of Music and Organist/Musician. Note: The congregation is open to this position being an accompanist only position, rather than a Director of Music with choir direction responsibilities. If interested in one or the other, please note that in your application to the contact below.


This vibrant and inclusive congregation has a deep appreciation for music, and is excited to hire a musician for the following:

·      Collaborate with the Pastor, choir, and other team members to select, prepare, and present music for all services

·      Assist in integrating music into the life of the church

·      Accompany and/or direct choir for rehearsals and performances

·      Play the piano and/or organ for hymns and other parts of the worship services 


Benefits include paid time off from 4 worship services per year, education and training budget and team based creative atmosphere. 


Our beautiful sanctuary has both a Yamaha baby grand piano and an organ built by Gundling, a two- manual pipe organ with foot pedals.


If you have musical passion and would like to join us on our journey, send an application/resume to


For details on open positions, see position descriptions posted on our website: Director of Music and Organist/Musican3/22/2023


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.

Conference Minister


Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. Dr. Nora Driver Foust

Associate Conference Minister 


Phone: 717-433-2587

Rev. Rick Luciotti

Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families


Phone: 717-433-6306


C. Paul Keller

Office Manager


Phone: 717-652-1560

Penn Central Conference Ministry Opportunities Page

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