Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| August 18, 2021
Message to the Conference
Dear friends and members of Penn Central Conference,

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; God’s understanding is unsearchable. God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
For my last epistle on August 4, I focused on “What do you need?” In that epistle I centered on what any of us may need as we go through hard times, uncertain times, times of grieving; times of wondering about our individual, family, and church future—especially as COVID continues to grip us.
Two weeks later, I could republish the same epistle and it would still be relevant for us. It is always relevant for us to ask, “What do you need? What do I need?”

This week I’d like to turn the lens just a bit toward how God meets us in our need, especially who God is and how God helps us and strengthens us. Being reminded of what we know full well—that God is everlasting and tireless—can be very comforting when we feel faint, or powerless, or weary to the point of exhaustion. We may not like to hear that we need to WAIT for God to revitalize us, but O the experience we have when we do wait upon God: renewing our strength, flying like eagles, running and not fainting.
In my role as ACM that oversees church transition and empowerment, my thoughts and heart are very much with all of you in our churches who struggle, feel faint, who need to (continue to) WAIT on God; who can look forward to flying and running. I am also heartened to have preached in many churches this summer and experienced the love, the welcome, the community, the willingness to find new ways of being church that reach out to more and more in your greater communities.

As we rise from the ashes of the pandemic (and with the beautiful reminders in Isaiah, I believe we will rise), we will be poised to wonder anew how God yearns to give us strength and vision to be God’s church in the 21st century.

In that spirit, I encourage you to look for a survey that I am sending out to you this week in which I invite pastors and laity to consider participating in an endeavor regarding the health and future of your congregation. The Congregational Empowerment Team is planning in 2022 to hold a Congregational Empowerment Academy for all churches of any size and situation. You may recall that we offered an Academy during 2021 and 14 churches participated.

As we anticipate such an Academy, we hope to hear from you the topics that would be helpful to your church. Topics that we are mulling include:
·        Right-sizing governance—particularly for smaller churches
·        Considering shared ministry with another church
·        Becoming a vital mission center in your community
We want to hear from you. Please respond to the survey and let us know if these topics would be helpful, or if there are other topics that you would like to explore. The overarching question is: “What do you need?” What do you need in the next 6 months, year, and beyond?

Beloved, I deeply know that we continue to be in the midst of uncertain times and we are all dancing as well as we can. We all need a break from the continued concerns around how and how long the pandemic will continue to be front and center in our considerations for being and doing church. We all need to rest and to wait upon God. I also hope we can look to our future—as early as 2022—to participate in conversations around how our churches can be empowered and vital for the future of God’s church in the Penn Central Conference.

I remain faithfully your Associate Conference Minister for congregational transition and empowerment.
Blessing upon blessing,

The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Transitions
Penn Central Conference
Summaries of General Synod Resolutions:

Becoming a Church of Contemplatives in Action – Resolution Summary
By Sterling Fritz & Charlotte Pinette Read here...

Declare and Respond to Racism as a Public Health Crisis – Resolution Summary
By Shirley Keith Knox Read here...

A Resolution to recognize the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) - Resolution Summary
by Terry McGarry

Racism has been a topic that the United Church of Christ has made a priority for many years. Prior UCC Synods have addressed it numerous times. In 2003 two resolutions were adopted that addressed a commitment to combat racism. But racism still endures in 2021. There are disparities in healthcare, housing, and education among a myriad of interconnected issues. In 2020, four black men were found hanged to death. Continues here...
Scheduling notes:

August 22 - St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
August 29 - Dover UCC, Dover - Rev. Nora Foust 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...

Faith UCC, State College
St. Peters UCC, State College
Trinity UCC, State Line
First Reformed UCC, Sunbury
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. Find them 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.
Local Church News:
Connect 2021 was a collaborative outreach event of four churches (St. John’s Center UCC, East Earl; Bowmansville Mennonite; Bethany Grace Fellowship; Vibrant Church) and Pathways Homeschool Cooperative, which took place July 11-15. The vision was cast about what it would look like if churches came together in the name of Christ display the “light” of God’s love in the community. The theme for the week became “The Hands and Feet of Christ.”

Different faith communities came together to work at 12 work sites. More than 50 people came together in planning and working to help “the least of these.” We also did a little extra work around 2 of the churches in the community. God blessed this event and we are beginning to plan next summer’s collaboration.

We are always willing to share more for those that would like to know. Our name will change to be an ongoing work and we will be called Connect ELANCO. We look forward to other faith communities to join us so that we may be the “hands and feet of Christ.”

See more in the video below! Thanks to Pastor Ken Evitts for sharing!
The newly chartered Lebanon County chapter of the NAACP elected PCC's own Rev. Tony Fields as president on August 17th. Congratulations to Tony and the other new officers! Read more here.
If you wished you had been able to attend Hayshire UCC's Go Green Sunday event, and/or would like to hear it again, here is a link for where you can download a recording of Jim Antal's talk:
Please note the things everyone can and should be doing to help slow the progression of Climate Change and its negative effects on our world.
Special thanks to Denny Daugherty from Mt Zion UCC for helping out with the Zoom session and providing the recorded version.
Outdoor Ministries

Volunteer for The Growing Project through October! This project reclaims a portion of the acreage for farming. The crops harvested are donated to assist those in need in Lancaster County. For more information about The Growing Project, visit:
To volunteer as an individual, or a multi-generational group, youth group or family, contact project director, Pastor Matt Lenahan at or sign up 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.
Clergy Events
Boundary Training – All Zooms unless otherwise noted, 2 credit hours
September 15 10am (Register) and 6pm (Register) – Power and the Pastoral Office with Rev. Nora Foust
This has been offered with some ministeriums this year so you may want to double-check before you register as you can only get credit once. Drawing from writings of Karen Lebacqz and Richard Gula, we will explore some of the aspects of the professional power that comes with the pastoral office. The power that pastors have is often understated and misunderstood. Some of you may remember this example from FaithTrust Institute and Margaret Atwood.
  • She unlocks her office door, then locks it behind her to disguise the fact that she’s in there. It’s not her office hours but the students take advantage. They can smell her out, like sniffer dogs; they’ll seize any opportunity to suck up to her or whine, or attempt to impress her, or foist upon her their version of sulky defiance. I’m just a human being, Tony wants to say to them. But of course she isn’t. She’s a human being with power. There isn’t much of it, but its power all the same.” Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood
Like that of a professor and student, the pastoral relationship is one of unequal power between minister and congregant. Unequal power does not necessarily indicate abuse, but it is something for us to consider with some regularity and intentionality.
September 29 10am-1pm LIVE at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Pepper Theo Café – Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH at Pepper Theo) $10 (register and pay)
We will spend time reflecting on ways to let go of congregational life in the ways that you have experienced it as a pastor and learn to navigate it as a member. Retired and Supply pastors are often in and out of pulpits and we will look at the delicate boundaries that come with this type of ministry as well. Additionally, we will examine the boundaries outlined by MESA’s Departure Ethics for Retired Ministers.
October 13 6pm (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
This session will review some of the self-care basics and boundary foundations as well as look a little deeper at social media and departure ethics that focus on moving from church to church. We will also spend some time with case studies around recurring situations that have come up over the past couple years.
October 25 10am (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
This session will review some of the self-care basics and boundary foundations as well as look a little deeper at social media and departure ethics that focus on moving from church to church. We will also spend some time with case studies around recurring situations that have come up over the past couple years.
October 28 10am-1pm LIVE St. John’s in Lewisburg Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH) $10 (register and pay)
We will spend time reflecting on ways to let go of congregational life in the ways that you have experienced it as a pastor and learn to navigate it as a member. Retired and Supply pastors are often in and out of pulpits and we will look at the delicate boundaries that come with this type of ministry as well. Additionally, we will examine the boundaries outlined by MESA’s Departure Ethics for Retired Ministers.
Do you think of yourself as a RURAL CONGREGATION? If so, there is a new coalition designed to address some of the unique realities in this setting. Their first conversation is August 24th at 3pm on zoom. Conference Ministers from Penn Northeast and Montana-Northern Wyoming partnered with the UCC Minister designated for RURAL CHURCHES, Roberto Ochoa, to lead this conversation. If you have questions or need more information, contact Rev. Nora Foust in the Penn Central Office.

Join Zoom Meeting
Penn Central Conference Lectionary Discussion Group - This group is open to all clergy, meets weekly on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss upcoming lectionary passages. Us this Zoom link here.
August/September 2021

We are a community working together to welcome and support individuals who suffered child sexual abuse and other sexual traumas as we recover together.

Meeting 1 -Tues Sept 7th @ 7pm via zoom
Meeting 2- Thurs Sept 26th @ 2pm in person

CONTACT Mark Harris for meeting details at
"Dr. Joe" Utterback live in concert!
Joe is a church musician, jazz musician, composer and improvisor who has been on the American jazz scene for more that fifty years, playing both here and abroad to wide acclaim. Hallmarks of his style include blues, ballads, Broadway, gospel, and especially traditional jazz.
You will not want to miss this incredible concert!

Friday, August 20, 7PM

Colonial Park UCC
Harrisburg, PA

Also appearing:
Sunday, August 22, 7PM
Christ Church UCC Elizabethtown, PA
and Sunday, August 22nd for 9:30 a.m. worship.
“Don’t Join the Cloister” is the theme for the 2021 Old Zion Reformed Church Anniversary Service to be held on Sunday, September 12th at 4:00 p.m. The theme is taken from the religious controversy in the 1730’s with the establishment of the Cloister in Ephrata. The Old Zion Anniversary Service will reenact how the churches might have responded to this controversy. Our guest preacher will be Rev. Bruce Farrell, pastor of Zion Goshert’s Reformed Church, United Church of Christ, in Mt. Zion, PA. Read more about it here.
Association Events:
Sunday, August 29 - Lancaster Association Ordination Service for Joao Teixeira - 3:00PM - Wisdom’s Table at St. Peter’s. The service will be in-person and live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.
UCC Webinars

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

In their book “Saying No to Say Yes” (written by David C. Olson and Nancy G. Devor), we are invited into a discernment process that engages our family of origin legacies alongside systems thinking and an astute sense of life in ministry. The authors write, “Part of our job as clergy is to model an understanding of who saves us—and for what. It is our job to preach, teach, and live a gospel that doesn’t depend on human over-functioning but on God’s grace. Ultimately, such a life enables us all to become masters of renunciation: saying “a hundred nos for the sake of an overwhelming Yes.”

While this is true for pastors, it is also true for congregations and other ministry settings. In a time where we face the tension between “going back” to how it used to be and forging ahead to a new way of engaging in ministry, it will be vitally important to discern what nos will allow us to say YES to the future God imagines. Take some time to read the book and join us in conversation with COMs, PPRCs, pastors, and congregational leaders.
August 23, 2021, 7:30PM-9pm

Explore the behind-the-scenes craft of Our Whole Lives design! This “tour,” will help you with scheduling and implementation and provide tools you can use to craft other types of lessons and programs. You’ll learn the rationale behind workshop length, scope, and sequencing; how to use learning goals and objectives to your group’s advantage; and how to tailor OWL to a group’s personalities and needs. You’ll also get the scoop on field testing and keeping current between revisions of the curriculum.
Note: There will not be a live chat or Q & A feature for this webinar. You may submit questions which will be forwarded to the presenter for answering at a later time. Please include contact information in your question.
September 1, 2021, 12:00PM - 1:00PM
The Valarie Russell Lecture during General Synod featured a keynote address from international scholar, lecturers, and author Dr. Joy DeGruy on the socio-political impact of racism in our society. The lecture was so well received we are offering a 2 day BE THE HEALING course with Dr. DeGruy featuring her Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome Work as well as her healing work to an anti-racist world on Frontline Faith. The registration link is below:
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry

Job-Hunting Field Guide: Bivocational Ministry and Beyond, Tuesday nights September 7 – October 12, 2021, via Zoom. $100 for 2.5 CEU credits. Instructor: Packard Brown. Hands-on classes will equip you to create your own promotional package, develop and hone interview skills, find jobs before they are posted, and design your own job-search campaign. This class is beneficial for secular as well as ministerial job searches. Register by Aug 31.
Money and Ministry: A Theology for Congregational Leaders, Thursday, October 14, 7–8:30pm and Tuesdays, 7–8:30pm, Oct 19–Nov 16, 2021, via Zoom. Instructor: Mike Little, Director of Faith and Money Network. 2.5 CEUs. $325. Register by October 5.
Employment Opportunities
Phoebe Berks (Wernersville, PA)
Part time and full time
Resident Care Assistants (no exp. necessary)
Dining Services positions

Trinity United Church of Christ in Waynesboro, Pa. is looking for a Director of Faith Formation and Programming. The position is part-time (20-25 hours per week) and is open beginning August 1st, 2021. The Director position will be responsible for developing programs for youth, adults and children from pre-school age through fifth grade. The Director will engage children with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Director will be responsible for providing leadership and effective communication for youth and adult Sunday School classes and other Christian Formation offerings (such as Vacation Bible School, book studies, outdoor education, etc.). The Director will engage all ages with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Full description here.

St. Paul’s United Church of
Christ in Selinsgrove is looking for a part-time Youth Leader who will build up
our children and youth programs. The candidate is to closely connect with and
relate well with children, youths and their families, should be tech savvy, work well in a team, and have all necessary clearances. Compensation is based on 20 hrs/week at $15-18/hr based on education and experience. St. Paul’s UCC is an Open and Affirming Congregation that extends an extravagant welcome to all of God’s children reflecting God’s unconditional love by celebrating diversity and inclusion. The individual best fit to fill this position will be dedicated to collaborating closely with church leadership to revitalize the
youth programming at St. Paul’s following the disruption caused by the pandemic
over the last 15 months. Please send your resume to by July 15.
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).
The primary duty of the Chaplain is to provide spiritual support and comfort for the residents of the facility in coordination with the resident’s home congregation.

The chaplain will communicate a caring friendship with a tolerant attitude for multiple cultural traditions and a wide range of spiritual beliefs. The chaplain will offer encouragement and support to clergy and churches as they continue to minister to the needs of their members.
The chaplain will be available to offer comfort to the individual as well as the family. During difficult times, sensitivity and compassion are requisite for the spiritual support needed by all involved; the resident, family, and staff.
Providing comfort for the dying is a key part of the Chaplain's job as well as coordinating and conducting regularly scheduled religious services for residents.
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 submitted to:
Meredith Schell Fields
Executive Director
The Lebanon Valley Home
550 East Main Street
Annville PA, 17003
Fax (717) 867-7060
Zion UCC, Arendtsville job openings

The Choir Director directs a 15-member choir to prepare music for regular Sunday morning services. The choir director also works with the minister and the organist to plan special services. Duties include preparing music, scheduling choir practices, identifying soloists, and developing special music presentations. Salary compensation is negotiable.
The organist/pianist accompanies a 15-member choir at regularly scheduled Sunday morning services. Applicants must have the ability to play both the piano and the organ, and be prepared for weekly choir rehearsals. Duties include following the direction of the choir director and minister in planning musical services. This includes Sunday worship and special services. He/she must attend regularly scheduled and special choir rehearsals. Salary compensation negotiable.
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
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