Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | July 05, 2023

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Message to the Conference

Greetings members and friends of Penn Central Conference,

“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

  we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” - Matthew 11:16-19

When Jesus says, “To what can I compare this generation”, in Matthew 11: 16, is he not making a statement that has likely been spoken regarding far too many persons of all generations?  There simply seems to exist a tendency toward inward and self-centered thinking plaguing humanity in general.  Even the church, as an institution, has suffered and suffers from the proverbial, “It’s never been done this way before”, or “It’s my way or else.”   

So rather than viewing this as a singular assessment of those of Jesus ministry and culture, let us consider just how insular and parochial our own thinking and attitudes can be.  The story has been told, and it is more apocryphal than accurate, of Charles Duell.  He was Commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899 and is widely quoted as having stated to Congress, “We may as well close the Patent Office, as everything that can be invented, has been invented.”  And, while that is not what he said, the illustration is useful in highlighting the attitudes of many, even today.   

There are today many who focus on opinions or as is written throughout scripture, “persons becoming gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not say”. Instead, each of us should be willing to listen, study and pray concerning matters, and be open to considering other thoughts on subjects.  Near where I live a long standing and revered Riding Club was sold, demolished and the land being prepared for a strip mall and other commercial usage.  The nostalgia regarding the former venue has spawned much sadness and anger at the new developer.  However, if truth be told, the current actions ultimately have been the results of decisions made years earlier.  Those decisions were to not modernize the facility, not invest wisely and pretend that everything would be fine going forward.  Thus, time passed the venue by.  We learn from this that nostalgia is not a strategy and complaining only deepens wounds. 

Jesus’ admonition is that belief is far more than opinion. Faith requires careful and prayerful listening and consideration and then action upon what Jesus has said.  We may not be able to significantly influence others, but each of us can practice this admonition more fully and completely and thus be a positive example to others. 


Rev. Rick Luciotti

Coordinator of Clergy Care

Penn Central Conference

Annual Meeting Service Project Update

We are so pleased with the generosity of our churches at this year's Annual Meeting! We delivered 227 packages of maxi pads, 158 packages of tampons and 83 packages of wipe (for a total of 468 packages of products) to The Period Project Harrisburg. We have also received $70 to pass on to the Period Project.

We have begun uploading video from the 61st Annual Meeting to YouTube. We have several workshops up now, with more to come, as well as the photo booth slide show up now. Watch our channel for more workshops and clips from the meeting soon!

Scheduling notes:

July 9 - St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

July 9 - St. Luke's UCC, Lititz - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

July 9 - Salem UCC, Elizabethtown - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

July 16 - Trinity UCC, Palmyra - Rev. Rick Luciotti preaching

July 16 - St. John's Blymire's UCC, Dallastown - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

July 16 - Willow Street UCC, Willow Street - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

July 23 - St. Luke's UCC, Lititz - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

August 13 - September 4 - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust on sabbatical

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, York

Zion UCC, York

St. Jacob's UCC, York New Salem

St. Peter's UCC, Aaronsburg

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.

Local Church

St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg is having their 17th Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, August 4, 2023 at Manada Golf Club. Register by July 23rd. See the brochure here.

Carol Dieffenbach Kantner of Bernville will speak at Himmel’s Church, 107 Covered Bridge Road, Dornsife on Sunday, August 6, 2023 at the 9:00 a.m. service. Kantner is a church organist and a direct descendant of Christian Dieffenbach who was an organ builder from Berks County. In 1818 after the stone edifice was built at Himmel’s, there was $800 left in the building fund. That money was used to purchase a pipe organ for the church. Because no other local churches at that time had an organ, Himmel’s became known as the “organ church.” That organ was in use until about the 1940s and was destroyed in the 1959 fire in the frame church at Himmel’s. Kantner is also a member of the Dieffenbach Organ Preservation Society.

The Dieffenbach family came to America and settled in Schoharie, New York in 1709. In 1723 along with ancestors of the Kobel, Reed and Schneider families at Himmel’s, they sailed down the Susquehanna River and settled in the Tulpehocken area of Berks County. John Jacob Dieffenbach built his first organ between 1776 and 1778. He made wagons, furniture and coffins and wanted to build an organ. When he heard that a pipe organ had been purchased by a church in Philadelphia, he stuffed his pockets with dried beef and bread, a notebook and measuring stick and walked 75 miles to Philadelphia to learn about it. Thus began the Dieffenbach Organ builders’ story. Christian Dieffenbach was a son of John Jacob Dieffenbach.  Ms. Kantner will share the story of the organ builders during her talk. For those who cannot attend in person, you can watch later on the Himmel's Church Facebook page.

Looking for a good choice for a book club or book discussion group in your church? Try Learning to See: A Memoir of Southern Africa, by the Rev. Dr. Rich Christensen, long-time pastor, missionary and church historian. Taking the reader on a journey through an African culture where magic spells are a reality, tribal meetings gather for as long as eight hours to resolve community problems, and vibrant singing in four-part harmony overwhelms visitors with its beauty, the book relates the story of Rich and his family as they lived and worked in the early 1980’s at a secondary school in Botswana. It’s a story of family, genuine hospitality, and the gospel that keeps hope alive in difficult circumstances.

Professor Lee Barrett of Lancaster Seminary describes the book as “a rare combination of spiritual insight, theological reflection, poignant interpersonal anecdotes, and political passion. It provides a nuanced critique of the implicit colonialism in many missionary movements in southern Africa without minimizing the value of spreading the gospel in word and deed.”

The book is available through or

Association Events

This year, the churches of the Northern Association of the Penn Central Conference are hosting an Outreach Mission Event to fight world hunger.  The Association is working with the organization "Rise Against Hunger", a group striving to end world hunger in our lifetime.  Rise Against Hunger is a program that packages nutritious dehydrated meals of rice, soy, vegetables, and 23 essential vitamins and minerals.  The packaged meals are then sent to developing countries and areas affected by natural disasters as needs dictate.

The Association meal packaging event will be held on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at the Centre Hall Lion's Club beginning around 10 am.  WE NEED YOUR HELP!  Please consider contributing to this event either by volunteering to help package the meals and/or donating to the event (each meal costs 38¢).

This is a great fun activity and no special skill or equipment is required.    VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:  Volunteers can vary in age from 5 years old  to 99 years old.  The goal is to package 20,088 meals--meaning we need to raise $5,850 to cover the meals and transportation expenses of the Rise Against Hunger Team traveling from Pittsburgh.  We will also need approximately 60 volunteers.  We are looking to run two shifts 10 am to 12 noon; and 1 pm to 3 pm. and 30 volunteers for each shift.  If you feel comfortable you can sign up for both shifts.  You may register online at  or you may contact Susan Rudy at 1-303-349-3028 and provide her your information and she will register you.  We are also looking for a few strong arms to lift 50 pound bags when the truck arrives to unload.  They would need to arrive around 8:30 am that day July 29, 2023.

To make your tax deductible donation please make checks payable to Northern Association and mail them to:

Trinity United Church of Christ

ATTN:  Bob Rumbaugh

PO Box 212

Centre Hall, PA  16828

(please note in memo line "Rise Against Hunger")

Outdoor Ministries

Events with our partners at Lutheran Camping Corporation

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

From our Friends and Partners

Bethany Children's Home

Celebrating 160 Years

Summer Concert Series

July 14th - Flamin' Dick & the Hot Rods - 5:00PM, $5.00 per car

August 19th - Anniversary Day Returns: Raffles, Live Music, Carnival Games, Food & Ride - $5.00 per car & additional costs for activities

Jeff Krick Jr: Elvis Tribute - 12:00PM

The Celtic Martins - 3:00PM

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.

Summer Artist Series III: Music That Makes Community

JUL 13, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Discover Your Why: How a Clear Purpose Strengthens Evangelism, Giving, and Impact  

JUL 26, 2023 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM

Narrative Budgets: Telling your Story by the Numbers

AUG 23, 2023 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM

UCC Webinar— Seeing through the Smoke: Wildfires, Climate, and a Path Forward

How can we find a path forward in addressing the wildfires that have created a landscape of crisis in our climate changed world? This webinar will feature leading thinkers and practitioners in answering this question. Panelist John Vaillant has recently released an acclaimed book entitled "Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World,” while panelist Kimiko Barrett from Headwaters Economics is a wildfire research and policy analyst who has been interviewed by national news outlets for her insights. Even if you cannot make the webinar at its scheduled time on July 12th at 1 pm ET, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!

Rev. Dr. Aaron B. Wade, Minister for Congregational Leadership Development,

Granting & Scholarships, is delighted to share the exciting news that the 2023 Justice and Local Church Ministry Common Application is NOW OPEN. I encourage you to share the link provided below with individuals and churches who may be interested in applying for Operational support, Neighbors in Need, CASA New and Renewing Church, and Pension Board New Church Start Benefit Support grants.

Link to the application:

This convenient link allows applicants to either print the application or start filling out the common application for any of our four grant offerings. Please note that all applications will require a reference from their respective Conference Minister.

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)


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

Global H.O.P.E. - Humanitarian. Opportunities. Progress. Empowerment.

Minister for Disaster Response and Recovery Open until filled


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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