Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| October 20, 2021
Message to the Conference
Dear Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
And yet:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come!” (Isaiah 60:1)
When our kids were small, we were very diligent about celebrating the seasons from Halloween to Christmas—in order—with no blurring of the lines. We allowed no talk about Thanksgiving until all the candy had been handed out at Halloween. We did not appreciate any stores that had Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. Even to this day, our kids bristle when they see the Christmas season begin too early. Our older daughter and her partner will be putting Christmas decorations up early, but not until December 1. Both she and Mike love Christmas, but I imagine Kristyn has set the rule. Our younger daughter Kathryn bemoans having to put new sets of Christmas themes up where she works at Bath and Body Works—red and green and white candles before the orange and brown candles have all been sold.

I think I was such a stickler when our kids were young because when I was growing up my parents taught me that the Christmas season did not arrive until Santa Clause climbed into the window of Gimbel’s Department Store at the end of the Thanksgiving parade in Philadelphia. Only then did we even begin talking about Christmas. My brother and I received Advent calendars, and the nativity went up right away, although Jesus was not placed in the manger until after midnight mass on Christmas eve.

When I think of these traditions, I wonder: wouldn’t it be rich and fun to share the history of each of our traditions? Everyone has one, of course. In the church’s calendar, liturgical seasons are very strictly observed with ordinary time not ending until Reign of Christ Sunday. And only then can we put up the purple colors of Advent to adorn the sanctuary. Many pastors struggle with keeping the congregation in the Advent season of waiting and preparing, not going too quickly to the joy of new life on Christmas day.
As a local pastor I was quite diligent about Advent hymns, much to the consternation of our congregation, although I bent a bit on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Over time, I became more and more comfortable with the spirit of Advent beginning on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, a day to give extra special thanks. And on Thanksgiving Day, giving thanks is a wonderful way to anticipate Advent—not just thanks for our families, friends, or the food on the table. But giving thanks for the light we anticipate that shines all year through, that shines anew—anticipated every Advent and experienced every Christmas.

I realize talking about Advent and Christmas in this epistle violates my own rules. Halloween hasn’t even arrived yet! Nonetheless, barring decorations prematurely showing up on houses and in malls, I am very willing to talk about Advent and Christmas—all year round. Waiting for the light of the world to shine--do we not need that all the time? Do we not need to acknowledge that the light is already here—if we open ourselves to that light that seeks to shine deep into the dark places of our lives, wherever those places are? Any season of the year?

Let us indeed contemplate our Advent and Christmas traditions and make sure they are meaningful for ourselves and for others. Even more than that, let’s celebrate that we can anticipate and wait and prepare all year long; we can rejoice and bask in the light of Emmanuel—God with us—all year long.

Blessings and prayers to each and all of you,

The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Scheduling notes:

October 24 - Faith UCC, State College - Rev. Nora Foust
October 24 - St. Peter's (Lischey's) UCC, Spring Grove - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
October 24 - St John's UCC, Jonestown - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
October 31 - Solomon's UCC, Chambersburg - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
October 31 - St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
October 31 - Trinity UCC, Glen Rock - 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...

Emmanuel UCC, Abbottstown
Christ UCC, Annville
Zion UCC, Arendtsville
St. John's UCC, Bellefonte
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.
Church World Services Bucket Project

Grace UCC, Lebanon has begun to collect the items to fill CWS buckets for those affected by disasters like Hurricane Ida. They will be collecting through the end of October. If you church would like to contribute, learn more here.
Outdoor Ministries Fall Events
October 24; 1-6 p.m. @ Kirchenwald and Nawakwa [Free]
Come to camp for the afternoon to enjoy fall activities, worship, and a picnic supper. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet up with old friends or introduce new folks to camp. An evening meal is included.

November 7 @ Nawakwa
This fun-filled day of bidding raises money for the Lutheran Camping Corporation’s Endowment Fund, which helps to financially sustain LCC’s outdoor ministry activities and programs.
Donate an item: Download the Donation Form

More events can be found here!
Clergy Events
Rethinking Advent Preaching
October 20, 6:30 – 8:00 PM via ZOOM
with Dr. Julia O’Brien from Lancaster Theological Seminary
The Old Testament readings for Advent come from the Hebrew prophets and are familiar to most of us. Our traditions and our hymns encourage us to treat these texts as predicting the coming of Jesus as Messiah. And yet, there are significant historical as well as ethical problems raised by a predictive reading of the prophets.
In this session, Dr. Julia O’Brien from Lancaster Seminary will talk about these problems and explore other ways of understanding and proclaiming the “good news” of the prophetic books for the church.
Registration is limited to clergy in the Penn Central, Penn Northeast and Penn Southeast Conferences. Continuing Education credits are available.
Please register here.
Q&A and Panel Discussion
Our General Minister and President Rev. John Dorhauer will be in town and has asked to meet with clergy from Penn Central and our two adjoining Conferences. The event will happen at Lancaster Seminary and includes a catered lunch by Pepper Theo (yum!).

John wishes to hear how clergy have been adapting to the past 18 months and what the issues/challenges/joys have been. There will be a panel of 3 clergy – one from each Conference - and John will facilitate a discussion. This will also allow for substantial Q&A with clergy who attend.

Our numbers will be limited, so please register soon. The cost is $15 each and you can pay at the time of registration below.

Date: Monday November 22nd
Time: 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Gathering
           12:00 – 12:45 Lunch
           12:45 – 2:00 Panel and Discussion
Boundary Training – All Zooms unless otherwise noted, 2 credit hours
(read full descriptions here.)
October 25 10am (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
October 28 10am-1pm LIVE St. John’s in Lewisburg Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH) $10 (register and pay)
Fall 2021 Education Forums
Third Tuesdays at 10am LIVE ONLY at St. Thomas, Linglestown and 6pm ZOOM ONLY

November 16 with Rev. Nora FoustChallenges of Living in Covenant
10am LIVE at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Register); 6pm Zoom (Register)
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. NO GROUP MEETING ON 10/26/2021
Association Events
Harrisburg Association Meeting - October 24, 2:00PM - Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg, with ecclesiastical council for Rev. Judy Strayer
Mercersburg Association Meeting - October 31
York Association Annual Meeting - November 14, 1:00PM - Shiloh UCC, York
UCC Webinars

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

Spirit Day with GLAAD - October 21

The Sermons That Keep Preaching - October 21, 3:30 pm

If your local congregation wants to send contributions to the national offices, the best way to do so is via the conference. However, if you are sending any directly, please send to the updated address:

United Church of Christ
PO BOX 71957
Cleveland, Ohio 44194
PCC Board Member Rayna Cooper has put together a sheet of Afghan Resettlement Info and Training for Churches with links from the UCC and Church World Services. Click here for that list.
Global H.O.P.E. Kit Matching Grant Application (20-22)
- Grant Application will be awarded to churches that have submitted a completed Global H.O.P.E. Kit Matching Grant Application.
- Grant Applications for 2021 will be received through January 28, 2022. 
- Congregations that raise $250 or more (monetary or in-kind supplies) for Church World Service Kits are eligible to apply for a $250 matching grant from UCC Global H.O.P.E.
- Grant Applications must be accompanied by a completed W-9 form at
- 100% of Matching Grant funds must be used for purchasing supplies for the assembly of the CWS Kits or for processing costs ($3/Clean Up Bucket, $2/School or Hygiene Kit).
Summaries of General Synod Resolutions, by our PCC delegates.
Read them all here.
From Our Partners and Friends
Clergy Spouses Connect Across Denominations

Groups are limited to eight participants to safeguard confidentiality and create a sacred space for healthy discussion. Each group initially runs for only six sessions, with an option for the group to decide to continue longer. Participants register for two “try it before you buy it” free sessions, before committing to four paid sessions at $20* per facilitated hour-long session. This fall, two different groups will meet:
  • Monthly - First Saturday mornings from November through April
  • Semi-monthly - First and third Tuesday evenings from November through January
Contact Julie to learn more or to register for either group by Friday, Oct 22, 2021.
*Financial assistance available on request. Learn more here.
The Zachariah Walker Racial Justice Symposium
White Supremacy, Racism, & the Christian Church:
The Call to a Discipleship of Liberation and Justice
Saturday, October 23rd & 24th
Weekend and daily registration options are available. For group rates see registration. Register by clicking here and full flyer here.
Employment Opportunities
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.
Position available: Church Musician
This 9 to 12 month position includes playing for weekly adult choir rehearsals, a scheduled single Sunday 10:30 a.m. worship service and occasional evening/special services. Proficiency with piano is required. We have two Yamaha studio upright pianos that are well maintained via regular tuning/maintenance. We also have the historic 1868 Durner tracker pipe organ that was restored in 1998 and is well maintained via regular tuning/servicing. Candidates will work with church/choir leaders in regearsing and planning musical material appropriate to the liturgical calendar. Candidates should send a litter of introduction and resume to or mail to St. John's UCC, PO Box 88, Boalsburg, PA 16827
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. Rick Luciotti
Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Phone: 717-679-0001
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