Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | April 12, 2023

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Message to the Conference
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Greetings members and friends of Penn Central Conference,

This is a General Synod year for the United Church of Christ and I want to take this opportunity to encourage all congregations to join in the conversation that Synod Resolutions begin. In the shadow of the Louisville bank shooting, I offer this conversation starter to our congregations. Please click on the link to look over all of the Synod Resolutions and have discussions within your congregation. This is a moment when the General Synod speaks to our congregations, let us each and all engage the conversation. - Nora

Article by Kayla Berkey, published on Apr 4, 2023 on Full texts of each of the proposed resolutions are available at the General Synod website.

In the wake of the shooting in a Nashville school that took the lives of three children and three adults March 27, another community is left to grieve and mourn. 

The people of Community United Church of Christ in Boulder, Colo. know these feelings all too well, having just passed the two-year anniversary of the King Soopers grocery store shooting. Ten people were killed just a couple blocks from the church in March 2021. 

Two years ago, when Community UCC gathered for an online vigil following the shooting, an attendee described a feeling of hopelessness that nothing would change and all they could do was offer thoughts and prayers.

These words ignited Community UCC’s pastor, the Rev. Nicole Lamarche.

“We said, no — we’re going to do something,” she said. “We can do more than thoughts and prayers. We can do at least one thing to shift this culture of gun violence.”

It didn’t take long. In June 2021, the congregation partnered with other area churches to host a “Guns to Gardens” event that invited community members to safely surrender their unwanted firearms in exchange for gift cards. Together with the organization RAWTools, they turned the guns into garden tools.

“It was our way of saying we can move beyond thoughts and prayers and do some actions that are helpful — taking the scripture from Isaiah literally that we should turn swords into ploughshares,” said the Rev. Jackie Hibbard, associate pastor at Community UCC.

Now, they are helping to bring a resolution to General Synod 34 encouraging others to action.

The resolution, Affirming Guns to Gardens and Other Gun Violence Prevention Ministries, is sponsored by the Metropolitan Denver Association of the Rocky Mountain Conference. It addresses several types of deaths caused by guns and emphasizes the necessity of responding to the gun violence “epidemic” in the United States.

“It’s not simply the mass shootings,” said Hibbard. “We’ve had members of our congregation who are touched by gun violence through suicide. Just looking at the statistics, of the over 10,000 gun deaths so far in 2023 — which is mind-boggling and terrible — over half are death by suicide.”

Hibbard and Lamarche, who co-wrote the resolution with input from many others, both experienced friends dying by guns at a young age. Growing up, one of Lamarche’s friends accidentally shot and killed his brother while handling a gun in a barn.

The resolution acknowledges such tragedies with a strong sense of urgency: “Though it may be easy to be overwhelmed with the complexity and scope of gun violence prevention, we MUST do something — anything. Peace-making action is required urgently, and there is no time to be afraid.”

It lists a variety of “meaningful actions” that congregations and other UCC settings can do to address “the scourge of gun violence in our country” in a way that makes sense for their contexts. 

Suggestions include:

  • offering gun locks and safes to promote safe storage and handling;
  • raising awareness and fostering education around gun violence;
  • advocating for legislative action on gun control;
  • and supporting broader mental health services.

The resolution specifically uplifts the ministry of Guns to Gardens. It describes such initiatives as practical because they reduce unwanted guns; pastoral because they accompany people through what can be a difficult process; and prophetic by demonstrating “the biblical vision that God creates us to live in gardens, not battlefields.”

In a UCC webinar that highlighted these gun violence ministries, the Rev. Mike Martin, founder and director of RAWTools, shared that following Community UCC’s gun buy-back event, councilmembers from the cities of Aurora and Denver reached out to him and scheduled eight more.

He estimated that altogether, these events collected almost 1,300 firearms to become garden tools.

“Our congregation isn’t huge, but what an impact,” Lamarche said. “We inspired sister churches. The Denver Broncos even did a thing. We had an impact that’s spreading. What an invitation for a church that’s any size to become a catalyst for something so much bigger than you.

“That’s how you know it’s Spirit led — when things are amplified in this mystical way beyond what makes sense.”

Hibbard said she never envisioned bringing a resolution to Synod, being someone who often feels comfortable staying in the background. But she reflected that “we can’t be in the background anymore.”

Bringing this to General Synod is part of taking action and inspiring hope.

“I do what I can do to make a difference in my corner of the world,” she said. “Whether it’s writing this resolution and going to Indianapolis of all places to talk about it, doing workshops, wearing my little pendant of recycled gun material, talking to people about this — whatever little things I can do to bring hope in the world, I have to hold onto that.”

“I would love if people did feel hope,” Lamarche said. “I think hope is contagious. We will come to Synod with hope. Maybe others will hold it and catch it somehow.”

Scheduling notes:

April 16 - Mt. Zion UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

April 23 - Trinity UCC, East Petersburg - Rev. Dr Carrie Call preaching

April 23 - Faith UCC, State College - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

April 23 - St. John's (Blymire's) UCC, Dallastown - Rev. Rick Luciotti preaching

April 30 - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg - Rev. Dr. 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...

Richfield UCC, Richfield

Grace UCC, Richland

Tulpehocken UCC, Richland

St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento

Dear Friends of Phoebe,

The Clinical Pastoral Education program at Phoebe Ministries is designed to offer clergy, seminary students, and qualified community members of all faiths the opportunity to practice ministry to senior adults in a variety of settings under supervision. This program has been accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education since 1998. To date we have trained over 200 students who now serve in various pastoral roles and ministries.

On June 15, Phoebe will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our CPE program with current students, alumni, staff, generous donors and members of the community. The Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, currently Director of Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia will be speaking at the event. She is a graduate of Lancaster Seminary and an ordained UCC minister. The event will take place at the Lehigh Country Club, at 2319 S Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown, PA 18103. 

If your church, business or organization would like to be a sponsor for the event, I’m attaching a form which explains the various levels that you can sponsor at. Our UCC Churches, Associations and Conferences and Phoebe have been partners in preparing people for ministry for many years. Your support of this significant milestone in our history will help the CPE endowment fund as well as make this event possible. Our CPE endowment at Phoebe now ensures that any student wanting to do CPE with us, can do so regardless of their ability to pay. 

Here is the link to the sponsorship page on our website: If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to be in contact with me. 

Peace, Scott

Scott Brooks-Cope, D. Min.

Regional Director

Pastoral Care and Education

Phoebe Ministries 

Adam and Matt Podd responded to the Pandemic by creating a library of "virtual choir kits," choral anthems approachable by people who are not singing in the same room, and with a lot of support for chorus and for the director.  Our Easter presentation is their arrangement fusing the favorite Easter hymn, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" with Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Use the video any time in the Easter Season and whether you share it on Easter morning, or on a Sunday when you want to give your choir a break, enjoy it!

If you are intrigued by the Virtual Choir and want to give it a try, consider joining us for our last piece of the season, Donna Peña's "I Say "Yes," my Lord/Digo Sí, Señor," which we will present for the Conference Annual meeting.  

To view or stream the Easter medley, go to

To download or join the choir, contact Julie Holm at [email protected]

Feeling Called to authorized ministry in the church can be a fantastic and flooring scenario! Answering that call and following the UCC’s Member in Discernment (MID) process can feel overwhelming at times. Come zoom with Nora and learn more about the process in Penn Central Conference. This session is open to all discernment partners and the simply curious: local pastors, church members, committee on ministry members, advisors, mentors, MIDs, potential MIDs, anyone. Registration is required. 

April 24th - 10 am

April 24th - 6 pm

Creation Justice

Join the First Ever UCC Earth Day Summit!


This online event will take place on Saturday, April 22nd at 11 am ET. The theme is “What’s Possible?: Earth Day Stories of Hope.” This two and a half hour summit will feature a keynote from the Rev. Jim Antal, a panel of inspiring speakers, the presentation of the Dollie Burwell Prophetic Action Award, and a video showcasing the uplifting story of Mayflower UCC in Minneapolis. Even if you cannot make the event at its scheduled time, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!


April 22, 2023 

A Lancaster County 2023 Earth Day Climate Summit will be held in downtown Lancaster on Saturday April 22, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Over 50 presentations, workshops, and exhibits will be held at multiple sites in Lancaster City (all walkable distances) including The Ware Center, Tellus 360, First Reformed UCC, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, St. James Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church.

Each site of the Summit will feature an important sector like Land, Food, Water, Buildings and Materials, Transportation, Public Health and Environmental Justice. There will also be a site for Faith Based Climate Action. Keynote speakers will include: President Pedro Rivera (Stevens College of Technology) and President Daniel Wubah (Millersville University). 

If you’d be willing to volunteer to help at the Summit contact Dave Bushnell ([email protected]). Dave is the Chair of the Planning Team. For more information go to  

Creation Justice in York County

York Go Green in the City

7:45-9:45am set up -Volunteers needed.

10 am – 3 pm Volunteers Needed 

Contact Event Manager, Megan Whittle, at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering 

Celebrate Earth Month with IPC!

April 22nd is Earth Day, and here at Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake's our One Water Partnership is embracing the spirit of the holiday throughout the month. That's right, Happy Earth Month!

Join us for a special (virtual) gathering exploring Chesapeake Bay environmental issues through the eyes of our Riverkeepers! We'll circle our way around the Chesapeake, hearing from river-keeping organizations about issues affecting their watersheds, and how you can get involved. Stick around after for Q&A with our amazing speakers!

Register here.

Local Church


Who: For elders, deacons, church council members, and other leaders

What: A full day of worship, address, workshops, and fellowship

When: Saturday, April 15, 2023, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Where: Trinity and Zion U.C.C., Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Cost: $40 per person ($20 for persons coming for part of the program not eating lunch)

The event will include: Worship and Keynote address on

Empowering Lay Leadership

Workshops on some of the following topics:

Being effective as a post-Covid Church

Reviving the Sunday school

Stewardship of Financial Resources

Becoming Spiritual Leaders

Becoming an Environmentally Friendly Church

Church Meetings that get out on time

How does the U.C.C. work

Music ministry when the choir is shrinking

Worshiping when there is no pastor.

Register here

Sponsored by the Lay Leadership Education Team of Penn SE Conference, U.C.C.

Is your church looking to sell or donate surplus church chairs? St. Paul's UCC, Milton is looking for some. Please contact Pastor Tim Hogan-Palazzo if you do.

Outdoor Ministries

Events with our partners at Lutheran Camping Corporation

SUMMER CAMP OPEN HOUSE April 16, 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm - Kirchenwald

SUMMER CAMP OPEN HOUSE April 16, 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm - Nawakwa


EARTH DAY CELEBRATION April 23, 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm - Kirchenwald

NAWAKWA WORK DAY April 29, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

KIRCHENWALD WORK DAY May 6, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Summer Camp with Lutheran Camping Corporation - use code PENNCENTRAL2023 to use a 50% campership from PCC's Outdoor Ministries!

Hartman Center Homecoming week

July 31 through August 5, 2023

We will be returning to Hartman Center Campground in Milroy, PA as guests.

Camping experiences for all ages, including intergenerational camps.

2 night camps - Monday, July 31 at 4PM through Wednesday, August 2 at 4PM

Getting Started - Grades 1 and 2 ($125)

Intergenerational Camp ($125)

3 night camps - Wednesday, August 2 at 4PM through Saturday, August 5 at 11AM

Intergenerational Camp ($190)

Camp of the Heart ($250)

5 night camps - Monday, 31 at 4PM through Saturday, August 5 at 11AM

Elementary - Grades 3 - 5 ($300)

Junior High - Grades 6 - 8 ($300)

Senior High - Grades 9 - 12 plus ($300)

Leadership - Grades 9 - 12 plus ($300)

For more information, contact Rev. Alice Rauch [email protected] (director) 

or Rev. Amelia Price [email protected] (registrar)

Register here and print a brochure here

Summer camp with St. John's UCC, Chambersburg

2023 Summer Camps 

Camp Galilee (9-12) June 18-23

Camp Kum Ba Yah (5-8) June 25-30

Camp Noah (K-4) June 26-30

Learn more here.

Clergy Events

Winter/Spring 2023 MEFs (10AM hybrid, 6PM Zoom)

No April MEF, staff will be on retreat

May 16 - "Starting Justice Conversations: Part 1" with Rev. Carla Christopher

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom Only - register here

Winter/Spring Boundary Training

Thursday, April 13, 10:00AM & 6:00PM, Humility as Spiritual Practice

via Zoom

Register 10am

Register 6pm

Suicide and Moral Injury Clergy Workshop

with Lebanon VA Chaplain Rev. Dean Luther

Full flyer here

Friday May 19th 10-12 on Zoom

Register here

Though the proposed Retiree Convocation scheduled for May 9-11 has been postponed, work on redeveloping "Journey Into and Through Retirement" will continue. Please watch this space for announcement regarding a rescheduled date.

Mercersburg Convocation 2023: Tradition in Crisis

May 22-23, 2023

Lancaster Theological Seminary

In his most recent book, Tradition in Crisis, Peter Schmiechen describes the various crises confronting Centric Protestants—i.e., those reformed by the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the theological and biblical revolutions of the twentieth century—and calls for a further reform of Centric Protestantism today by reclaiming Luther’s conviction that the true treasure of the church is Jesus Christ, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community in America. In other words, he calls for a further reformation of Centric Protestantism based on grace and community. The 2023 Mercersburg Convocation will address various aspects of Peter Schmiechen’s analysis of the tradition in crisis, in order to explore productive ways of creating a future beyond this crisis.

See schedule and full list of presenters here.

Register here

UCC National Setting

UCC Webinars

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

Status of Welcome Corps with Church World Service

APR 13, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

What’s Possible?: Earth Day Stories of Hope

APR 22, 2023 | 11:00AM - 12:00PM

General Synod Frequency Town Hall 2/3

APR 26, 2023 | 6:00PM - 7:00PM

"Making All Things New"

General Synod 2023


"Making All Things New” will be the theme of the 34th biennial General Synod of the United Church of Christ, scheduled for June 30–July 4, 2023, in Indianapolis.


Delegates and visitors will meet June 30 through July 4 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.


For the full press release, click here.

Our Whole Lives training

In addition to an increasing number of in-person trainings across the country, Our Whole Lives trainings will continue to be offered online in 2023 for UCC and UUA members, at a cost of only $250 plus curriculum.

Registration applications will be accepted from April 17 through May 1 for a Jr Sr High Level Training in June

Registration applications will be accepted from July 17-July 31 for a Jr Sr High Level Training in September

Registration applications will be accepted from Aug 21-Sept 5 for an Elementary (Grades K-1 and 4-6) Training in October

Registration applications will be accepted from Sept 11-Sept 25 for an All Adult Levels Training in November

More information about these trainings, in addition to information about upcoming in-person trainings, can be found here.

From our friends and partners
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)


May 23 - June 27, 2023



July 11 - August 15, 2023


Tuesday evenings via Zoom.

Clergy and laity are invited to join instructor Kelsey Wallace for an introduction to the art and practice of biblical interpretation. We will consider issues of historical context, translation, literary analysis, and social location and the skills necessary to be a responsible public interpreter of scripture.

For clergy/pastors and lay leaders

$325 for each of the two series of six classes

2.5 CEUs may be earned for each series

Information and Registration:

2023 Festival of Biblical Storytelling

AUGUST 2,3, AND 4, 2023

At the Maritime Conference Center near BWI and Baltimore, MD

Learn more and register here.

Employment Opportunities

Current Openings - UCC National Setting

OPTIC - Philanthropy

Generosity Officer, West Central Region - Open until filled

Generosity Officer, New England Region - Open until filled

Hospitality Ministries and Event Services

Associate for Event Technology - Open until filled

Cornerstone Fund

Social Impact Investing Internship Close date: April 30, 2023

Chief Financial Officer and VP Close date: April 21, 2023

Hummelstown UCC Seeking Director of Music /Organist/Musician


Are you a musician who values a progressive Christian community? Apply now to the small church with a big heart! Hummelstown United Church of Christ is seeking a flexible and engaging musician to serve as Director of Music and Organist/Musician. Note: The congregation is open to this position being an accompanist only position, rather than a Director of Music with choir direction responsibilities. If interested in one or the other, please note that in your application to the contact below.


This vibrant and inclusive congregation has a deep appreciation for music, and is excited to hire a musician for the following:

·      Collaborate with the Pastor, choir, and other team members to select, prepare, and present music for all services

·      Assist in integrating music into the life of the church

·      Accompany and/or direct choir for rehearsals and performances

·      Play the piano and/or organ for hymns and other parts of the worship services 


Benefits include paid time off from 4 worship services per year, education and training budget and team based creative atmosphere. 


Our beautiful sanctuary has both a Yamaha baby grand piano and an organ built by Gundling, a two- manual pipe organ with foot pedals.


If you have musical passion and would like to join us on our journey, send an application/resume to [email protected]


For details on open positions, see position descriptions posted on our website: Director of Music and Organist/Musican3/22/2023

Faith UCC Grantville, PA seeks Director of Music, Choir Director, Organist, Pianist

Faith UCC Grantville, PA in the Harrisburg Association of the Penn Central Conference United Church of Christ, seeks a Director of Music-Choir Director-Organist-Pianist. Responsibilities may be assumed by one or two individuals. Responsibilities include:  

·     Collaborating with the Pastor to organize worship experiences

·     Choose seasonally appropriate anthems

·     Conducting Faith’s vocal choir

·     Playing organ and/or piano for choir accompaniment, leading congregational singing, prelude, postlude and special pieces, as able.

·     Organ is a Rodgers 2-manual with 5 ranks of pipes. Piano is relatively new 

This is (these are) part time position(s) in the range of 10-15 hours per week or time needed to prepare/practice 

About Faith UCC Grantville: Faith honors its historical roots with a traditional worship style in a relaxed atmosphere where fellowship is highly valued. 

Faith UCC is located in Grantville, a rural/commuter community in Central Pennsylvania, 7 miles north of Hershey, 15 miles east of Harrisburg, and 30 miles from Lancaster. We are easily accessed via Route 81.  

If you would like more information, please contact Pastor George Robertson at: [email protected] 2/22/23

Peace United Church of Christ is seeking candidates for the position of Church Musician. Primary responsibility is to provide piano and/or organ music during one contemporary and one traditional worship service on Sunday mornings, with adult choir accompaniment September-May. Salary dependent upon experience. Resumes may be sent via email to: [email protected], or mailed to: Peace UCC 37 E. Swartzville Road Denver, PA 17517 For additional information or questions, please contact Rev. Betsy Bruaw at 717-484-4400. 2/8/23


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.

Conference Minister

email: [email protected]

Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. Dr. Nora Driver Foust

Associate Conference Minister 

email: [email protected]

Phone: 717-433-2587

Rev. Rick Luciotti

Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families

email: [email protected]

Phone: 717-433-6306


C. Paul Keller

Office Manager

email: [email protected]

Phone: 717-652-1560

Penn Central Conference Ministry Opportunities Page

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