Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| February 26, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central Conference -

“For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath…all are from the dust and all turn to dust again.” (Ecclesiastes 3)
While a young pastor in New Jersey, I was blessed to have a young couple in the congregation from Liberia. The wife was pregnant when I arrived and they were overjoyed to learn they were expecting twins. The day of the birth came, yet only one twin survived. In the days to come the couple struggled with the joy of their baby boy’s life and grief at the death of their baby girl. This was a classic pastoral situation – one fraught with sorrow and questions and anguish in the face of a seemingly capricious universe. Their faith sustained them, but it did not soothe their heartbreak.
The church had recently created a small memorial garden in our historic graveyard. We were not expecting the first set of ashes to be those of a tiny girl. When I stood with the parents in the garden, they took out the small bag holding the cremains (how was it possible this was all the remained?) and I shook the contents into the space we had made in the ground for her. As I did this, the ashes stirred in the wind and my hands received a light dusting. A moment later I reached out for the mother and fathers’ hands and we stood in prayer. In that one, singular moment, I felt the grit of the baby’s ashes in the palm of my hand against the warmth of the mother’s hand in my own, and I knew mortality as a complete, wrenching fact. These ashes – to this we are reduced.
Historically Lent was a time to confront our mortality and ponder our life on earth as preparation for returning to God and ash. Our task remains the same today. Death has a way of reminding us of both the fragility and promise of life. During Lent we consider anew the inevitable fact of our own death alongside how to live into the promise of God during our days on earth.
Every Ash Wednesday I think of that young couple and that moment of standing in the garden. I also remember the faith that encircled us, and the warmth of the living hands that held my own. Ash Wednesday is about remembering – from whence we come and where we will go – both into the cold earth and into the warm hands of God. Today I sit with my hands in my lap and remember the ash-covered hands that held mine in the garden. I remember Mary Oliver’s words, “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?” And I remember, day after day, to grab hold of Jesus’ hand, the one that will lead me through 40 days of reflection, truth-telling, and healing, all the way to another garden, where we will see the glory of our true end.


Preaching Around the Conference

March 1 - Heidelburg UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call - 10:00AM

March 8 - Trinity UCC, East Petersburg - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call - 7:45AM & 10:30AM
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...

Mount Olivet UCC, East Berlin
Zwingli UCC, East Berlin
Saint John's Center UCC, East Earl
Trinity UCC, East Petersburg
The Perfect Blend: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
A day with author Bishop Robert Schnase
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Lancaster Theological Seminary, Santee Chapel

Come spend a day in conversation around how these practices can help your church live out the Gospel and be a missional presence in your community.
We will hear 3 presentations from Bishop Schnase and have a few guided, small group discussions along the way. See a full flyer here. Seating is limited, so registration is required. $25 per person, or a discounted rate of $100 for groups of 5 people. Register here!
Pastoral Colloquy 2020
Penn Central Conference, United Church of Christ
Evangelische Kirche Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz
Penn Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ
Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland
Southern Conference, United Church of Christ
Wisconsin Conference, United Church of Christ
in cooperation with
The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
26 to 31 July 2020
“Building a Just Peace in an Unjust World:
Learning with and from Our Anabaptist Colleagues”

Who?   Pastors from all the church bodies listed above
What?  A week of learning, discussion, and fellowship
Where?            Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
When? Sunday, 26 July, through Friday, 31 July, 2020
                       Weekend visits before and after the colloquy are
                                   available for our German guests.
Why?   “All we are saying is ‘Give peace a chance!’” ~John Lennon, 1969

Welcome and Hospitality are major themes of our UCC culture. You have the opportunity to provide welcome and hospitality to a guest from German during the weekend before and/or after the PCC/UEK Pastoral Colloquy.  Hosts are needed throughout the conference to host German visitors, primarily single individuals and couples, from July 24 -26 and/or from July 31 to August 2. If you have a guest room, an open heart and a passion to share yourself with new friends, contact Julie Holm ( or 814-349-5515).  Join us in providing a warm welcome for our overseas guests.
UNITE! Purdue University
July 22-25, 2020
Who’s headed to NYE this summer? I remember my first NYE at UT Knoxville where I realized just exactly what this Church I am a part of was all about. I remember how so many of the conferences sat together and had matching t-shirts and cheers as we would transition from one stage event to the next. Singing, praying, and worshiping with so many gave me glimpses of a different way to be church. Workshops with youth and leaders from across the country helped me get outside the box of the “way I had always done it.” Hopefully, your church youth are already fundraising for this exciting time! If you are planning to join the more than 3000 youth at Purdue University, please contact Rev. Nora Foust so we can UNITE! our Penn Central presence!
Climate Justice

From the Pollinator:

If our nation placed children first in determining our policies, how different would our society be? In such a society, I think it is safe to say that by now we would already have a Green New Deal. We would no longer see industrial facilities pumping toxic chemicals into nearby neighborhoods. We would no longer permit greenhouse gases to be emitted as if there were literally no tomorrow for our children to inherit. We would no longer allow inequalities to persist that severely shape the life prospects and well-being of the majority of children. 

A child-centered approach to the Green New Deal has its merits. I invite you to keep this in mind as the UCC releases a new environmental justice repor t on Ash Wednesday that places particular focus on the impact of toxic air pollution on children. Further keep this approach in mind when you consider the Kairos Call to Action and its call for an all-out mobilization of churches to address climate and inequality. This week's kairos action focuses on ways congregations can support the Green New Deal .

With gratitude for your ministry,

Read the introduction to " A Kairos Call to Action ."
Read about the first suggested action : Enter a Period of Study and Immersion.
Read now about the third suggested action : Know Your Environmental Justice History and Become a Zero Waste Church .

Keystone 10 Million Trees
Does your church or business own land? Do you want to improve Pennsylvania's communities, economy, and ecology by planting 10 million trees throughout
the Commonwealth? Learn more about Keystone 10 Million Trees here
Earth Day
The UCC Celebrates the Love of Creation by Planting Trees for Earth Day and your church can too! Hope you will join in! Read more here.

The impetus for this comes from an UMCOR Grant we received to purchase plastic free sample products for area churches and small business in our county. It’s an educational endeavor spirited from our own PCC initiative, Annual Meeting Resolution and Synod 2019.
Yearbook 2020
Has your church starting filling out your yearbook information? The Data Hub is now open! All the links are below. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS MIDNIGHT MARCH 4!

If you need assistance - reach out to the conference office and we will be glad to assist.

If you cannot access the DataHub and want to submit the paper forms to the office, please find those here and here . Email them to Paul ASAP!

Church Officer Reporting

In addition to your online Yearbook reporting via the Data Hub, PCC will still be collecting the voluntary Church Officer reporting. Please complete this form and email to Paul at the PCC office.
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

June 7 - Ordination of Gary Nottis at St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 3:00PM
Association Meetings and Ministeriums

March 9 - Mercersburg Ministerium–Spiritual Care in the Congregation with Rev. Nora Foust - 9:00am
April 25 - Harrisburg Association Meeting (Rev. Carrie Call attending)
April 26 - Central Association Meeting with Rev. Nora Foust
April 26 - Gettysburg Association Meeting and Town Hall with Rev. Carrie Call
April 30 - York Ministerium with Rev. Nora Foust
May 3 - Lancaster Association Meeting (Rev. Carrie Call Attending)
May 11 - Mercersburg Ministerium (Rev. Carrie Call Attending)
May 14 - Gettysburg Ministerium with Rev. Nora Foust
Association Special Events

Outdoor Ministry Retreats at Hartman Center
Confirmation Retreat - March 27 - 29
What is Good Leadership? with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call - April 14 - 15
Learning to See - A Photography Retreat with Nelson Dodson - April 27 - 29
Pride Retreat for LGBTQ Folks & Allies - May 29-31 (details to come)

Early bird pricing for those who pay in full before March 31, 2020.
Clergy Events
May 13 - Ordinary Team Worship Planning - Colonial Park UCC - More info to come
July 26 - 31 - UEK Pastoral Colloquy 2020 - Elizabethtown College; register here
 Boundary Training & MEFS
March 3 - Crossing Boundaries, Tending Boundaries: Collective Wisdom for Best Pastoral Practices with Rev. Ed Dickel - Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg - 6:30-8:30pm
March 18 - MEF: Civility, Empathy and Well Being in Community with Therapist Judith Kennedy, MS, MA, NCC, LPC at St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - 12:30-3:30pm
April 22 MEF: Recognizing and Responding to Disruption in Community or Life Together: Its Challenges and Rewards with Scott Watts - St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - 12:30-1:30pm
May 7 - Retired and Supply Boundary Awarenes s with Rev. Sally Dries and Rev. Nora Foust - PCC Office, Harrisburg - 10:00am-1:00pm
From our Local Churches
Chicken and Waffle Dinner, to benefit the Hartman Center Sponsored by the Brush Valley Fusion of Faith, UCC and ELCA at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 120 East Main St., Rebersburg, PA
Saturday, February 29 from 4 to 7 PM. Eat in and Take Out available. Adults $10, Children 5-10 $8 and under 5 Free

Mended Heart Lenten Concert/Potluck - Salem UCC, Elizabethville - March 15 - 3:00pm

DVD Lending Library - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg

Free Choir Robes - Emmanuel UCC, Hanover
Emmanuel UCC has 36 choir robes (made in the US by E.R. Moore.) They are green, in a traditional style, gathered yoke, front zip with stoles. (See picture here.) Call Emmanuel UCC at 717-632-8281 for details.

Looking to borrow - A congregational set of "Unbinding Your Heart" by Martha Grace Reese. If your church has a set to lend, contac t Hamilton Park UCC, Lancaster
5 for 5
Is your church 5 for 5? The next Special Mission Offering is One Great Hour of Sharing - which takes place on the 4th Sunday of Lent, March 22, 2020.

OGHS channels resources for international programs in health, education and agricultural development, emergency relief, refugee ministries, and both international and domestic disaster response, administered by Wider Church Ministries, Global Sharing of Resources.

For more information on the 5 for 5 offerings, click here.
From PCC Partners & Friends
Beyond Bullet-Points: Preaching with Screens workshops - Parish Resource Center - Jan 29, Feb 5, Feb 12 and Feb 19, 9:30 – 11:30 am

Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshop - Palm Lutheran Church, Palmyra - March 14, 9:00AM - 1:00PM

Tuesday Topics - Women Who Speak for God: Females Among the Prophets - Dr. Julia O'Brian - Lancaster Theological Seminary - March 24, 10:00AM

The Path Between Us: Enneagram & Healthy Relationships - Parish Resource Center - March 27-28

LTS Discovery Days - Lancaster Theological Seminary - March 28 & April 1

2020 UCC History & Polity Class - Lancaster Theological Seminary - February 21 through April 3

Mid-Atlantic Association of United Church Educators (MA-AUCE) 2020 Annual Conference Holistic Faith Formation: Engaging Our Whole Selves - Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center, Mt Bethel, PA - April 27 through April 29, 2020 - register online by March 1st here

WISE Conference - UCC Mental Health Network in partnership with Penn Northeast Conference - Jordan UCC, Allentown - May 16
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting - June 12-13, 2020

Recognition Dinner - September 19, 2020 (info to come!)
The more you know...
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon

Northern and Central Association Churches
Rev. Sally Dries

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. John Fureman

Staff Directory
Rev. Carrie Call, PhD
Transitional Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 12

Rev. Nora Driver Foust
Associate Conference Minister 
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex.13
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
Scott Watts
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 15
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560