Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| January 20, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

Your conference Board of Directors met this past Saturday via a ZOOM meeting, opening with prayer:

The World Peace Prayer*
Lead us, O God.
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth. 
Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace. 
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe. Amen.

Meeting highlights
Conference staff work diligently to stay connected to our local churches and we were updated on the many activities and opportunities that exist for support, rejuvenation, and spiritual growth, such as: Chaplain’s Retreats, Communities of Practice, Lectionary Discussion, and clergy care. Staff have written liturgies, preached at local churches, provided digital worship services, and assisted with Committees on Ministry and Search and Call, just to name a few. Your conference staff are there for you!

Special attention to the following:
a. Communities of Practice: Rev. Nora Foust provided an update and reminded us that the enrollment period for new communities is now open. If there is enough interest, 2-3 more communities could begin in the coming weeks.
b. Search & Call: Twenty -eight churches are at various stages of their search and call.
c. Congregational Empowerment: The team has obtained a Brown Education Grant to fund a Congregational Empowerment Academy. This is a tremendous way for local congregations to gain the support of the conference – focusing on growth and empowerment in this age of pandemic and envisioning beyond.  Contact Rev. Dr. Laviola for details.

Hartman Center Update: Our partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ECLA) and their camping program will offer summer camp and retreats in an established, accredited camping environment. News about the summer offerings at Camps Nawakwa and Kierkenwald will be forwarded to each local church in the coming weeks. The sale of the property continues to move forward and currently there is interest by several parties. Most buildings have been “mothballed”, and work is underway to improve the universal water drainage system for the entire camp. Security for the camp is being addressed by the committee.

THANK YOU Pastor Zoe D-heedene:  The Board expressed their appreciation to Zoe who submitted her resignation. She has brought grace and passion to her role with Hartman Center and Outdoor Ministry.  She is leaving her staff role to serve Bethel UCC in the Gettysburg Association, to continue her MDiv degree, and will spend more time with her 4-year-old. A transition team is forming led by Tom Downing and Janis Taylor.  Guidelines are being drafted for actions following the sale of Hartman Center to continue Outdoor and Retreat Ministry within our conference.

Board and staff continue to work on strengthening the work of the conference. A new Strategic Plan is being finalized and will be presented at Town Hall Meetings March through May for feedback by all. The Bylaws are under review.  Personnel policies are being revamped to comply with current law and best practices.

Finances: The 2022 Budget is under development.  We continue to operate at a loss; at the time of our meeting, the loss was $51,767.

Other Business:
a. Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 12th. It will be conducted via ZOOM. At this meeting, we will be installing Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola and Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak, Conference Minister from the Vermont Conference, will be preaching.
b. Sunday, September 12, 2021 – Installation of Rev. Dr. Carrie Call. Stay tuned for more information.
c. General Synod: July 11 – 18th, 2021. Delegates have a meeting on Monday, January 25th to discuss upcoming plans.

WHAT YOU CAN DO! Staff at the conference office continue to reach out and support many of our struggling local congregations. While many congregations remain strong and vital, some smaller congregations are struggling. In addition, there is great concern about care for our many clergy, as they pivot to meet the needs of their congregations. Clergy are dealing with members with COVID-19, changes in how we all connect with each other due to ZOOM and social distancing, learning new ways of offering pastoral care, technology stressors, staying healthy, children learning from home, etc. Please remember to reach out to your pastoral staff – let them know they are appreciated. Offer words of encouragement. Be graceful – they, as other people in the helping professions, are doing the best they can. We all need to be the family of faith we are called to be. 

Shirley Keith-Knox

Board of Directors
Penn Central Conference

*The World Peace Prayer is a paraphrase of a verse from the Upanishads, the most ancient scriptures of Hinduism, and is also prayed daily by Roman Catholic Benedictine Sisters.
The PCC gives special thanks for the ministerial work of our Search and Call Associates (Rev. Sally Dries, Rev. Richard Gordon, Carolyn Herman andRev. Rick Luciotti) over the past two years. They provided critical support during a time of staff transition and uncertainty. All search and call work is now handled by our new ACM Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola (email) and she joins with the rest of the staff in thanking the associates for their faithfulness and dedication!
Scheduling Notes:

January 24 - Trinity UCC, Mountville - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
January 24 - Trinity UCC, Hanover - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
January 31 - Shiloh UCC, Danville - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
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...

Shiloh UCC, Danville
St. James UCC, Danville
Trinity (Strawberry Ridge) UCC, Danville
St. John's UCC, Denver
Last fall, Indiana-Kentucky Conference created a series of videos that churches can use as a virtual Children's Sunday School option. The curriculum was written by a gifted group in the Conference, and they graciously allowed us to use it. The curriculum theme is, "God Loves Our Feelings." There are 12 weeks of videos, and each video focuses on a different feeling that our children of all ages have probably felt during these pandemics.
Here is the link to the videos:
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. Keep checking regularly for updates.

"Continuity Planning for Houses of Worship" with FEMA. Tuesday, January 26, 2021 from 11:00 am-12:30 pm

This webinar will provide communities of Faith and their constituencies with the knowledge and tools to develop a continuity plan and sustain continuity of operations before, during and after an incident or emergency. Who should attend? Houses of Worship and the whole community – individuals and families, volunteer and community-based organizations, local, state, federal government and private sector. Links to register:
The DataHub is now open through March 3rd for Yearbook reporting! Please learn more on the process here. If you need assistance, please contact Paul.

Make sure you also complete the supplemental survey! Link here.
Virtual Choir for Lent & Easter

Are you sad you missed the lovely Advent Virtual Choir? Are you a Choir member missing singing, but just didn't have the time in the fall? Good news!  Julie Holm is again organizing virtual music between now and Easter. Be part of a group of musicians from all around the Conference singing 3-5 pieces. Resulting videos will be made available to all churches for use as they will in Lent and Easter. The emphasis will be on public domain (think classical) and freely available music, and will be SATB hymns and anthems for Lent and Easter. These are single anthems, so you can do 1 or you can do all of them! To be part of this project, contact Julie at
Weekly Book Reviews
January's reviews by Rev. Dave Downer
Migrations is the Amazon editors’ 2020 Fiction Book of the year. It takes place in a time in the not-too-distant future when numerous species have been forced into extinction by global warming and human negligence. The primary protagonist is a woman named Franny Stone obsessed with tracking what could be the final migration of the Arctic Tern, a bird that migrates each year from one pole to the other. Shortly after reading this book, I was shocked by an article in The Guardian on September 16th, 2020 describing how the climate crisis and massive California wildfires had caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. As an avid amateur bird watcher, I was deeply saddened and subsequently joined the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a group dedicated to understanding and protecting birds. 

Charlotte McConaghy is a relatively new author, this being her first novel published in the United States. Born in Australia, the inspiration for this book came while roaming the Irish coastline where her passion for wildlife and distress over the extinction crisis prompted her to write this novel of a troubled young woman’s pursuit of the world’s last few birds. There is more than enough suspense and mystery to hold your attention while awakening you to the urgency of environmental justice.
New Communities of Practice Forming Now

"The gift of a Community of Practice lies in the safe space and deep engagement it provides. I know that I have a group of people with whom to be my authentic self, where I can receive wisdom and compassion and do the same for the other group members. We laugh and we cry, we celebrate and console. Communities of Practice can draw us out of the isolation in which ministers often place ourselves." –PCC Clergy Participant

“I was unsure of what to expect when I joined the group, but something told me this was a commitment I felt called to make. Over a year in now and oh, how thankful I am. Nora prayed over the groups as she was putting people together and I believe those prayers were heard. Our group, we are here for one another, we trust in each other, we pray for one another, we genuinely enjoy one another. We may be physically in different spaces, however spiritually and emotionally we are connected. It’s like having pastor’s recess when we get together. I give thanks to God for this group on a regular basis.” –Another PCC Clergy Participant 

As you can see, Clergy Communities of Practice have been invaluable for participants over this past year. These are covenanted groups that meet monthly for worship, check-in and learning topics. More information available on the attached flyer or contact Nora if interested in participation.
Spring 2021 Ministerial Education Forums – Third Tuesdays
Due to the constraints of Zoom interactions, MEFs will have registration limits. If a registration is full, email Paul to be added to a waiting list. Please let us know if you need to cancel so your spot can be given to someone on the waiting list.

February 16: Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola – Pastoring Parishioners: A Mental and Relational Health Perspective
Pastors know the dear ones in our congregations who are beloved yet bristly; loveable and frustrating at the same; and sometimes just a perennial thorn in our sides. We may struggle how to be in relationship with these dear ones, while not allowing their bristle to push us or others away. This two-hour workshop will present a compassionate framing for how to understand these folks and how to relate most effectively with them in effective pastoral ways.
10:00AM registration
6:00PM registration

March 16: Stephanie Rader-Titzel - Mission Central and Connecting to Local Mission Possibilities
“Mission Central is about ‘Connecting God’s Resources with Human Need.’ This is accomplished by following three areas of focus…Mission Outreach, Mission Education and Disaster Response.” Mission Central – located in Harrisburg - partners with over 180 different organizations and they provide resources to groups who are doing humanitarian work locally, across the country and around the world. Stephanie will talk with us about connecting with Mission Central as well as how to tap into mission opportunities and organizations in our various counties.
April 20: Dr. Bob Fogel - Personalities and Communication
How often have these words occurred to you after a meeting or a difficult conversation? What I could have said. . . . What I should not have said was. . . . What we say to others and how we say it is a complex process. Psychological personality type seen through the lens of Meyers-Briggs (commonly known as the MBTI©) provides a useful roadmap to engaging others with authenticity and integrity—and care. Come to learn about others and yourself! (Qualifies for Boundary Training.)

More event registration links here.
Specialty Retreats for Clergy
January 27, 7:00 – 9:00 PM: Connect and Create: Spiritual Painting with Kara Young
A time to create and connect. Learn to use a canvas as a physical space to process stress, sadness, joy, and prayers. No painting experience needed. Shopping list will be provided to you upon registration. (All items are available at Michael’s, Dollar Tree and on-line). Kara Young is a member of Penn Central, resides in Gettysburg and is a published liturgical artist. Registration here.
February 2, 10:00 – 11:15 AM: Nourishing Your Inner Sanctuary with Allie Kochert
Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Sensing your burnout and weary for all that encompasses ministering to others in Covid times? Know you need spiritual self-care, but have trouble fitting it in? Join us as we center in on our spiritual self-care together. Practice mindful listening and learn ways to keep your resiliency up during these trying times. Allie Kochert, MA, LPC, CSD is a spiritual director and therapist who specializes in serving clergy, women in ministry, and helpers and healers. Learn more at
Lectionary Discussion Group continues in the new year! Join other clergy on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss the lectionary passages. NEW Zoom link here.
Association Events:

Sunday, January 24, 3:00 PM - Ecclesiastical Council for Sue Schmidt held via Zoom - Dover UCC, Dover

Sunday, January 31, 3:00 PM - Kelsey O'brian Ordination via Zoom

Saturday February 13, 2:00 PM - Ecclesiastical Council for Genevieve Beatty by Zoom
UCC Webinars

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

MLK Day of Service - February 15 & 16, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Looking Ahead:

General Synod "Rooted in Love: Special Edition"
General Synod 33 will take place Sunday July 11, 2021 – Sunday July 18, 2021. Pre-Synod events will occur on July 7-10, 2021. Learn more here
Do you - or someone you know - need to complete the UCC History & Polity requirement for authorization? Are you interested in learning more about the UCC?
Now's the time to sign up for the seven-week 2021 online course UCC History & Polity.
The Zoom classes will meet live from 2-5pm on Fridays from Feb. 12 through March 26. Just $100! Questions? Contact Dr. Carrie Call, at

Class is filling fast - so register soon!
From our Partners & Friends:
Waynesboro Area Fellowship of Churches presents
Reconciliation: Bringing Us Together
First Zoom Webinar on January 21st, 6:30PM
"Reconciliation: Desiring and Achieving Unity and Oneness" with Rev. John Dorhaur
Parish Resource Center is partnering with CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health for a FREE Parenting Webinar Series: Mindfulness, Brain Development, and Behavior - January 14, 7- 8:30pm; Simplicity Parenting - February 11, 7-8:30pm; Unplugged - March 11, 7-8:30pm; Family Communication - April 15, 7-8:30pm. For more information and to register for these workshops,
Parish Resource Center offers basic, stand-alone Technology Webinars: Intro to PowerPoint – January 14, 7-8:30pm; Zoom for Presenters – February 8, 7-8:30pm; Intro to Word – March 1, 7-8:30pm; Intro to Excel – April 28, 7-8:30pm; Intro to Publisher – May 13, 7-8pm. For more information and to register for these workshops,
A Gift Acceptance Policy is an essential but often overlooked section of endowment governance. Matthew Wagner, Vice President of Institutional Relationships, has prepared this article that lays out practices and strategies in creating a Gift Acceptance Policy. Click here to read and download the article.

The Alumni Council of Lancaster Theological Seminary awards these special honors annually to graduates of any denomination.The Meck Award honors the memory of Allan S. Meck, Class of 1911, president of the Seminary from 1947-57. It is presented for distinguished service in the practice of pastoral ministry.TheMoss Awardis named for Robert V. Moss, Jr., Class of 1945, president of the Seminary from 1957-69. Itis presented for distinguished service in the practice of specialized ministry (e.g., chaplain, administrator, educator, judicatory staff, etc.). Learn how to nominate someone here!
Employment Opportunities

The Brush Valley Fusion of Faith, a small, ecumenical (ELCA/UCC), rural congregation in Central Pennsylvania, seeks a temporary, part time pastor to fill in for 15 weeks while our pastor goes on Sabbatical. Current anticipated timeframe is between mid-July or early August and mid-November, 2021. Worship leadership and supply preaching required, plus 4-5 hours per week to be negotiated, which may include worship preparation, leading Bible Study and adult education, or other pastoral tasks. Visitation of a small number of shut ins, either in person or via phone, also requested. $300 per week, plus mileage. This will probably require you to be in person on Sunday morning only in the area of Rebersburg, Pennsylvania, as we hope to move back to in person worship by then, but may also a simultaneous phone conference option. No housing. Prefer someone who can be designated for this term by the UCC or who is ordained to Word and Sacrament in the ELCA.This may include ecumenical partners of both denominations. Seminarians encouraged to apply, and mentoring can be arranged for a seminarian who serves. Contact or call (814) 349-5515 for more information.

Mission Central has a part time Business Administrative Assistant position open. This position functions primarily as the Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director but lends clerical and collaborative support to the Development Director. As such, the employee assists in implementing administrative strategies and objectives. Learn more here.
Staff Directory
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. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
phone: 717-719-1895
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
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