Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| December 11, 2019
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Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central
I love the old German tale retold by Helen Steiner Rice, The Christmas Guest. When I was a child, my family would read the little book about Conrad and Jesus over and over this time of year. I really liked how dedicated Conrad was to preparing his home for the Lord's visit; yet he always had time for those that stopped by his shop needing love, needing hope, needing peace and joy.
This past Sunday was Lessons and Carols at Christ Church in Elizabethtown. One reader said "along with Mary we are all expecting." Whew! I almost doubled over with the punch to the gut from the teenager at the mic. I looked around to see if I had audibly made that “oopph” sound that I hoped I had made in my head. No one was staring at me, so I quickly assumed I had remained silent in my Advent epiphany.
But I was awestruck by the power of that moment. I don’t think that I had spiritually arrived in this Advent season until that moment! Am I expecting, I wondered. The kids had sung something about would I have seen the star or had room if I were there. Would I? Will I?
Here we are right in the middle of this season of expectancy and preparation. There are near constant reminders of what to expect beneath the tree in a couple weeks. What reminders do we have as individuals and the Church, for preparing ourselves and our communities for hope and peace, the Advent candles already burning? This Sunday, we ignite joy. Are we ready for joy? Is there room in our lives for true joy?
Sweeping out fear and doubt, we can prepare space for hope.
Getting rid of clutter and turning off the gadgets that cry out for our time, we make space for peace in our hearts and lives.

Moving out of melancholy and despair helps to create the space needed for joy to live in and through us.

Friends, God’s love is about to be born anew in each of us! Use this season of preparation and expectancy to ensure that you have space for all of the hope, and peace and joy that the arrival of that love promises. Yes, God’s love is about to be born anew in each and every one of us! Friends, that is reason enough to be about our homes, our lives, preparing for the Lord to come.
Start a conversation today about your preparation or expectancy. Who will you talk to? What will you say about God’s love coming again? Or the hope, peace and joy that its arrival promises? Do you see the star? Have you made room? God’s love is coming anew. Get ready!



[editor's note: Reba McEntire reads The Christmas Guest on her album Merry Christmas To You and listening to it is one of my favorite Christmastime memories. Listen here . - Paul]
Preaching Around the Conference

December 15 - St. John's UCC, New Columbia - Rev. Nora Foust - 10:00AM

January 5 - Trinity UCC, Hanover - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call - 9:00AM
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. John's Union (Dry Valley) UCC, Winfield
Emmanuel UCC, York
Faith UCC, York
Hayshire UCC, York
Penn Central Conference presents
Mid-Winter Clergy Sabbath
January 21-23, 2020

Join Jill Peters and Maggie Wellert as they lead us through a look at balance with workshops and discussions. PCC's own Rev. Carrie Call and Scott Watts will also be leading sessions. There will also be fellowship, self care spaces, time to speak with chaplains and more! See the full agenda here . Learn more about our speakers here .

Year End OCWM
Thank you for your gifts to OCWM . All 2019 donations (OCWM or others) must be received at the Penn Central Conference Office by Friday , January 17, 2020.   Any money received after that date will be counted as 2020 donations.

Pledge Forms
We are grateful for the monthly OCWM gifts and appreciate those churches that added OCWM as a line item in their 2020 annual budget. Please let us know what you have pledged to OCWM in the coming year by completing and submitting this  online pledge form  or by sending this paper form  into Paul via email or mail.
Don't forget to choose Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ as your AmazonSmile recipient before you begin your holiday shopping!
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

January 26 - Installation of Rev. Betsy Bruaw at Peace Church, Swartzville - 3:00PM
Association Meetings and Ministeriums

January 15 - Harrisburg Ministerium (with Rev. Carrie Call) - Kindred Place - 9:30AM
Association Special Events

January 12 - York Association Town Hall w/ Rev. Carrie Call - Mt. Zion UCC, York - 2:00PM   

January 17 - Retiree Breakfast sponsored by the Gettysburg Association COM - Trinity UCC, Hanover - 9:00AM (snow date is January 25th)

February 3 - Harrisburg Association Town Hall w/ Rev. Carrie Call - Chapel Hill UCC, Camp Hill - 6:00PM   

April 18 - York Association Earth Day Anniversary Weekend w/ Jim Antal - Mt. Zion UCC, York - 9:00AM

Hartman Center Retreats
Confirmation Retreat - March 27 - 29 (details to come)
Pride Retreat for LGBTQ Folks & Allies - May 29-31 (details to come)
Clergy Events
Lenten Worship: A Collaborative Planning Event - Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg - January 9, 10:30AM-3:00PM Register here
 Save the date
February 19 - MEF at St. Thomas
March 18 - MEF at St. Thomas UCC
April 22 - MEF at St. Thomas UCC
May 13 - Worship Planning at Colonial Park UCC
From our Local Churches
Live Nativity - First UCC, Middleburg - December 14, 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Cookie Walk - St David's UCC, Hanover - December 14, 8:00AM - 11:00AM

“Angels of Christmas” Cantata - St. Paul’s UCC, Manheim - December 22, 9:30 am

109th Annual Carol Sing - Emmanuel UCC, Hanover - December 22, 7:00PM

DVD Lending Library - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg
Open & Affirming
Save the date:
February 22 - ONA Winter Gathering at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg PA
Creation Justice
From PCC Partners & Friends

2020 UCC History & Polity Class - Lancaster Theological Seminary - February 21 through April 3
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting - June 12-13, 2020

Event with Bishop Robert Schnase - 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
Rev. Patricia Dodds
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats/Youth Ministry
Phone: 570-506-0677
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
Laura Dalton
Administrative Assistant/Search & Call Assistant
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 10
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560