Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| November 30, 2022

LinkedIn Share This Email
Message to the Conference

Greetings Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,

Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:42)

Bear fruit worthy of repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NRSV)

The lectionary readings from the first and second Sundays in Advent are a wake-up call. Both readings speak of preparation, but of different kinds. One is from the end of Matthew and one from the beginning. At the end of Matthew, we read about the coming of the Son of Man on clouds of glory following cataclysmic events here on earth. Chapter 24 in Matthew is a hair-raising read especially when some of the things listed by Jesus are familiar to us. The placement of this reading makes sense when we remember that Advent was originally a penitential season similar to Lent. And in the case of Advent, we were to prepare ourselves for the Second Coming when Jesus would return, and all would face judgment.

The reading for the second Sunday goes back to the beginning of Matthew and paints a vivid picture of John the Baptist and his wild teachings and practices in the desert. While not as cataclysmic as Chapter 24, the passage about John is still a bit unnerving. We may wonder, what does this wild-eyed desert prophet have to do with the God of love we usually hear about? And why all the talk of repentance?

Both passages are about accountability. At the end of Matthew, Jesus’ words remind followers to be ready for the coming judgment lest we be asleep when he arrives. The parables in chapters 24 and 25 indicate that the Son of Man will come ready to discern between people as to their faithfulness and practice. The way to be prepared is to live the life Jesus has called us to, which is the hard ethical work of discipleship. And if we back up to the beginning of Matthew, the whole story begins with repentance. John the Baptist’s first word is “repent”.

So why would accountability – of all things - bookend Jesus’ ministry? The writer of Matthew demonstrates that Jesus is the great spiritual teacher. Jesus knows the way we want to be seen by others and knows that self-deception is a fundamental sin. What the ancients knew about human nature has been borne out by recent research showing that we tend to assume ourselves to be “better than most people”. Our own shortcomings, mistakes, biases, sin, and judgments are regularly glossed over in comparison to those of others. Yet John the Baptist and Jesus remind us that to prepare to meet God we must begin by examining our own hearts and entering a place of humility and teachableness. That examination of our own hearts works best when done with someone who functions as a compassionate mirror. The role of accountability in discipleship can be very difficult. We fear judgment and condemnation from Jesus (and the church). Yet we also know that humility, especially about ourselves, opens us to receive what God will bring to us. Consider asking yourself some tough advent questions in the next few weeks. Do it with a person you trust. How and in what ways have I been deceiving myself? When have I not lived up to the life Jesus has called me to? What is the root of that? Where is my own ego getting in the way of who God calls me to be? When do I fight repentance?

This is a time of preparation. Be not afraid. May our hearts be opened, examined, and receive the mercy God waits to pour out upon us.  




Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

Scheduling notes:

December 18 - Trinity UCC, Lewistown - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

December 18 - Grace UCC, Lebanon - Rev. Rick Luciotti 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...

Salem UCC, Harrisburg

Trinity UCC, Hallam

Davids UCC, Herndon

St. Pauls UCC, Herndon

Local Church

St. Thomas Dulcimer Society

cordially invites you to a dulcimer concert and sing-along

on Sunday, December 4 at 1:30PM

St. Thomas UCC

6490 Linglestown Road

Harrisburg, PA 17112

Available Free, May Be Picked Up At Trinity UCC, 2340 State St., East Petersburg, PA:

32 Used Blue Children and Youth Choir Robes, some white yokes to go with them and assorted metal crosses

34 Used Cranberry Adult Choir Robes plus one with a broken zipper, some Cranberry and White Stoles (stoles mostly badly stained)

Trinity UCC

2340 State St.

East Petersburg, PA 17520

Contact Michael or Dina Slechta

Association Events

December 4 - Ecclesiastical Council for Julia Brown - Mercersburg Association - 3:00PM

December 17 - Ecclasiastical Council for Jeffery Hauck - Central Association- 3:00PM

Outdoor Ministries

ADVENT DAY APART at The Wittel Farm

December 3

We don’t like to wait for anything, and especially Christmas. With all its secular attraction, this holiday is often a focus on over-indulgence, and too often neglected is the best gift of all… one worth our waiting. You are invited to The Wittel Farm for a day apart from the busyness of life for prayer and contemplation as we journey toward the celebration of Christmas. $15 registration includes lunch.

More Information -

Clergy Events

Fall MEFs (10AM hybrid, 6PM Zoom)

January 17 - "Grief and Loss" with Rev. Dr. Joel Hummel

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom Only - register here

Spring 2023 dates and topics to be announced soon!

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.

Celebration of Harvest and Ministry in Yunnan Province, China

NOV 30, 2022 | 8:00PM - 9:00PM

World AIDS Day 2022 Interfaith Service

DEC 1, 2022 | 1:00PM - 3:00PM

World AIDS Day of Prayer and Remembrance

DEC 1, 2022 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Global H.O.P.E. Blue Christmas Service

DEC 5, 2022 | 3:00PM - 4:00PM

Gift Giving and Worker Justice

DEC 7, 2022 | 2:00PM - 3:00PM

The Midterms and Beyond: A Path for Climate Justice

DEC 14, 2022 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Engaging Christian Contemplative Practices

What does “contemplation” mean? When we “contemplate” an idea, contemplation implies something deeper than thinking only. In contemplation, we start from a place of mystery and an acceptance of not knowing. This is often called the “mystical” dimension of faith, which shares a root with the word “mystery”. Spiritual truths often begin as a mystery because there is much we must spiritually unlearn, including many beliefs that no longer serve us. As we release fear’s grip and open our minds and hearts, new revelations are revealed to us. We shall talk more about these foundations over the course of our “Engaging Christian Contemplative Practices” gatherings

Six virtual 90-minute evening sessions on these 2023 dates (with one optional in-person meeting in Mass.): January 18, February 1, February 15, March 1, March 15, March 29

"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.

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

Beginning January 2023:

Jews and the American Civil Rights Movement, January 11–February 15, 2023. Wednesdays, 7–8:30pm via Zoom. Instructor, Rabbi Jack Paskoff. Ideal for lay and clergy leaders.


Church History To the Reformation, Jan 10–Feb 14, 2023. Weeknights via Zoom. Instructor, the Rev. Matt Deal. Ideal for lay and clergy leaders.


Information and Registration: 

Faith and Money Network has two opportunities starting in January for deeper study, reflection and community:

The next Money, Faith and You online group will begin meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11. This group meets weekly via online video conference for six weeks to study some of today’s leading thinkers on faith and money and reflect on our own faith and money journeys. Learn more and  sign up.

A new cohort of Household Practices Covenant Groups will also begin in January. Covenant Groups meet monthly to work through the seven household practices outlined in the sabbath economics framework developed by Ched Myers and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. A Faith and Money Network facilitator leads an online group (via video conference) of six to ten people who have have already completed a Sabbath Economics Workshop or a Money, Faith and You study group and commit to meeting monthly and supporting one another in discerning how to put Sabbath economics to work in their daily lives. Learn more and sign up.

Eden Seminary Events

NEXT Steps: Re-imagining Your Elderhood

NEXT Steps introduces participants to theological, philosophical, and psychological concepts of vocation and aging. The Spring 2023 semester is set to be a clergy only cohort. It is a gathering for adults contemplating or entering retirement, and for those who are recently retired.

Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, Rev. Steve Lawler, and Jill Schantz would like to invite you to an optional brief orientation to the course and introduction to the instructors on January 10, 2023, at 5:30 CST/6:30 EST. 

Employment Opportunities

Now Accepting Applications or Referrals for


General Responsibilities 

Conducts variety of religious activities and provides for the spiritual needs of residents and families and ministry with staff. Provides clinical oversight and mentoring for CPE intern chaplains, per diem chaplain and volunteers. Works closely with inter-disciplinary staff to meet the needs of residents. Conducts outreach to churches and community. Works collaboratively with other chaplains in the department. Will help establish pastoral care at our new Chestnut Ridge at Rodale campus in Emmaus, PA.


  • Master of Divinity; ordination in the United Church of Christ or a denomination closely related or dual standing in the UCC.
  • Minimum of 4 units of CPE; Eligible for APC Board Certification or working toward this certification
  • 2-3 years of ministry experience in a parish or chaplaincy setting

Part time music director

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg, is looking for a music director beginning in January 2023. Dreisbach enjoys a diverse collection of music in its services including both contemporary and traditional. We have a small adult choir, a bell choir, and a praise band. We are looking for someone who can work approximately 3-6 hours per week. Position responsibilities include leading and directing the adult choir in rehearsal and worship, leading the praise band, directing the bell choir, and picking music for all ensembles.

Appropriate clearances are required. Qualified applicants should send their resume, cover letter, and references to: Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Road, Lewisburg, PA. 17837, or email to

Organist and piano accompanist

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg, is looking for an organist and piano accompanist beginning in January 2023. Dreisbach enjoys a diverse collection of music in its services including both contemporary and traditional. Dreisbach has an Allen digital organ that was installed in 1997. The organ has 2 manuals, a midi system, and a recording system. We are looking for someone who can work approximately 3-6 hours per week. Position responsibilities include accompanying the worship service and the choir, working with the pastor to choose music for the worship services, and reporting organ and piano repair and tuning needs to the consistory.

Appropriate clearances are required. Qualified applicants should send their resume, cover letter, and references to: Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Road, Lewisurg, PA. 17837, or email to

Starview United Church of Christ has a Director of Music position open. This position involves 1 Sunday morning worship service, special liturgical services throughout the year, and direction of the church choirs. The estimated time per week is a 6 hours, which naturally, will vary depending on the church season and number of services planned. Compensation is negotiable. Resumes may be emailed to: or mailed to 4832 N. Sherman St. Ext., Mount Wolf, PA 17347.

For additional contact information to address specific questions with the Worship Committee Chairperson or the pastor, please call 717-266-4248.

Starview United Church of Christ is located approximately 6 miles off of I-83 at Exit 24 and 6 miles north of the Galleria Mall on Rt. 24 (Mt. Zion Exit off of Rt. 30).

UCC National Positions:

Global Ministries

Area Executive, Southern Asia Office Extended Search: Open Until Filled

Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC Executive Director

The ED position implements the strategic goals and objectives of the Coalition and provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s mission and vision. Reporting to the Leadership Team (the Board of Directors), the ED manages the Coalition staff and provides effective and impactful leadership to this national non-profit. The Executive Director will vision and implement a movement that is energized, provides a full spectrum of advocacy and care, and promotes the mission and vision of the Coalition. The ED should have experience in working with diverse populations and lead the mission of the coalition with a commitment to intersectionality, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Learn more and apply here.

Shiloh UCC, York
Family and Children Ministry Coordinator

Part-time Position Summary: Nurture and develop a caring Christian community where children and youth have a meaningful and fun relationship with other youth and adults; have an opportunity to grow in God’s grace; develop the spiritual and personal resources necessary for life’s journey and develop a loving relationship with God, themselves and others. Learn more here.
Accompanist Position Available
We are searching for an Accompanist to bring their gifts to our church where we appreciate a blend of contemporary and traditional music.

General Responsibilities:
In support of the vision of the church, this year-round, part time, salaried position will provide music for worship and other events in a manner that enhances the spirit of worship and enriches the congregation's appreciation of music.

The current music ministry of HPUCC consists of one volunteer choir, as well as instrumental and vocal soloists.

For more information, please call the church at 717-397-9791 or email: If interested, please mail or email resume to: Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, Attn: Search, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603

Hospice & Community Care

Chaplain- Home Hospice/Inpatient Unit

Per Diem (as needed)


Works in collaboration with the Home Hospice team and Palliative Medicine Consultants assessing and addressing spiritual care needs of patients and caregivers. Qualifications include board certification w/APC or NACC (or ability to be certified within 5 years of hire). M.Div. or equivalent from an accredited theological institution. Accredited training and a minimum of 4 units of CPE required. Must be able to complete 6-8 weeks of a FT, day shift orientation.


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.

Conference Minister


Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. Dr. Nora Driver Foust

Associate Conference Minister 


Phone: 717-433-2587

Rev. Rick Luciotti

Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families


Phone: 717-433-6306


C. Paul Keller

Office Manager


Phone: 717-652-1560

If you have future eNews stories, please send them to C. Paul Keller
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560
Visit our website
Join our mailing list