Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 1, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central Conference -

“After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.” (John 18:1)
Posted on social media lately are images of beautiful vistas – ocean sunsets, mountain peaks, and rolling farmland – all in an effort to share beauty in the midst of a very difficult time. The efforts are laudable and beauty helps to lift us. There has been plenty of research in recent years showing the mental health benefits of beauty and especially being in the out-of-doors. We need to know, now more than ever, that in the midst of anxiety and fear beauty can be balm and solace. Beauty and sorrow intertwine in surprising ways.
I saw a physical manifestation of this a few years ago while in London. During the London blitz many churches were bombed. There was no place safe to hide and being part of a religious body offered no protection. In the years after the war, as a broken people began to rebuild, a decision was made about one particular, modest church in the city. For this church, there would be no rebuilding. The bare, stone walls of the church that remained on three sides would stay standing, along with the small tower. The war damage could still be seen – the windows were empty of glass and the roof was gone, and walls were pockmarked. However, in the middle of the sanctuary, where people had gathered in prayer and where bombs had fallen directly, a garden was planted. The garden filled the entire interior and over time took on a well-established presence, enhanced with prayer flags. On the day of my visit there were flowers blooming and the grass paths invited pedestrians to contemplation. I was stunned at the juxtaposition. Here in one place was evidence of the original faith of the builders, damage done by the evil actions of humanity, and quiet restoration through beauty. The experience would not have been the same had the building been a store, or a pub, or even a school. The power came from the location of the garden in the heart of a bombed church. It spoke volumes about hope, perseverance, suffering, death, healing, new life – in short, about resurrection. And it spoke all of it in silence.
In the midst of the Covid-9 pandemic this image is a powerful one for me. The church garden speaks to me of life on the other side of suffering. It also speaks to me of how churches can serve as places of healing and hope, even when it appears that some are on the edge of ruin. We will come to that place on the other side in time. But first, next week we will hear again of two gardens. One will be the site of agony and betrayal. The other will host angels and an empty tomb. Redemption and resurrection will come, even in the face of pockmarked and windowless days.

Penn Central Conference desires to stay connected during these uncertain times. We have set up multiple weekly Zoom Video Conferences and are sharing daily Prayer Pauses with PNEC and PSEC. Join us for any and all of these. This week's can be found here.

Prayer Pauses continue throughout April, learn more here.

We also want to let you know that the Pennsylvania Church Center has locked it's doors, meaning only those with codes can come and go. Paul has begun working from home some days, so there will be about three days a week that no one will be in the office. We are all checking our emails and voicemails, however, so continue to be in touch.
Can your organization or business help feed or shelter Pennsylvanians in need?
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is collecting information on capabilities commonwealth wide so that we can match people in need with available resources. Please take this survey to share your information and disseminate the link widely.
Need for iPads
I know that there may be some limitations in giving and offerings at our churches during the ongoing shelter-in-place and the recovery period, so, I hesitate to ask. But many of our residents are unable to Facetime with their families because of the very few iPads we have on campus. Like many things, this has not been an issue or priority for us before, but it is now. Families of residents who are actively dying are permitted to visit in person VERY BRIEFLY. I came in this evening to be present with one such family. Many family members are at a distance and are unable to get here for even a brief visit. I am asking if your churches have any benefactors that might be interested and willing to sponsor one or more iPads for our residents to use during this difficult time. I am told they cost about $500 with a case. Thank you for any consideration of this proposal. I hope to see you here visiting with your parishioners again soon.

In the Spirit,

Rev. Dr. Joel B. Hummel
Director of Pastoral Care
Bruce Epperly, UCC minister, has written a book called Faith in a Time of Pandemic. I preread it this morning, and I am attaching a doc with my favorite quotes from the book. It can be purchased in a Kindle version here.

It will come out in print this weekend, or soon thereafter. It is a short book, less than 40 pages and took me all of 15 minutes to read.
This would be a great resource for local churches. Each chapter ends with a prayer and a list of to dos and questions to ponder that would make for a great adult study.
Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President
Online Giving Tips
As churches make the difficult decision of whether they should cancel their worship services and/or move them online, many folks are asking us: "what about our finances?" Click here for some ways to accept tithes and offerings online:
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...

Saint David's (Sherman's) UCC, Hanover
Saint Paul's (Dubs) UCC, Hanover
Trinity UCC, Hanover
Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg
Outdoor Ministries at Hartman Center
It is with a heavy heart that, due to the risks of Covid-19, we are postponing the following events until the public health emergency has passed:

What is Good Leadership Retreat, April 14-15
Learning To See Photography Retreat, April 27-29
PRIDE: LGBTQ+ Retreat, May 29-31

Hartman Center Golf Outing Fundraiser has been put on hold. Golfers who have already paid for registration should watch for refund checks in the next few weeks.

The Perfect Blend: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
A day with author Bishop Robert Schnase
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Lancaster Theological Seminary, Santee Chapel

Come spend a day in conversation around how these practices can help your church live out the Gospel and be a missional presence in your community.
We will hear 3 presentations from Bishop Schnase and have a few guided, small group discussions along the way. See a full flyer here. Seating is limited, so registration is required. $25 per person, or a discounted rate of $100 for groups of 5 people. Register here!
UNITE! National Youth Event
"Due to recent CDC protocols regarding COVID-19, registration for NYE2020 has been suspended indefinitely. All paid registrations will be refunded" - Traci Blackmon
Creation Justice

We are looking for pictures of congregations involved with Hopeful Climate Action . Please email any pics of your church to Libby at . Could be an creation centered worship space, a group studying Climate church Climate World, a church garden, recycling, planting a tree, writing letters to our elected officials about environmental concerns, using alternatives to styrofoam during coffee hour....etc. etc..... the sky is the limit. Get creative! Thanks.

Over the course of 50 days in 2013, the United Church of Christ planted over 141,000 trees as part of Mission 4/1 Earth. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd, this year we are seeking to plant over 50,000 trees in ten days from April 17th to 26th. Learn more here.
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

May 17 - Laura Ramsey’s installation at Emmanuel UCC, York, service at Hayshire UCC, York - 3:00pm
June 7 - Ordination of Gary Nottis at St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 3:00PM (Rev. Nora Foust attending)
Association Meetings and Ministeriums

April 25 - Harrisburg Association Meeting (Rev. Carrie Call attending)
April 26 - Central Association Meeting POSTPONED (new date TBD)
April 26 - Gettysburg Association Meeting POSTPONED (new date TBD)
April 30 - York Ministerium with Rev. Nora Foust
May 3 - Lancaster Association Meeting (Rev. Carrie Call Attending)
May 3 - Mercersburg Association Spring Meeting
May 11 - Mercersburg Ministerium (Rev. Carrie Call Attending)
May 14 - Gettysburg Ministerium with Rev. Nora Foust
Clergy Events
May 13 - Ordinary Time Worship Planning - Colonial Park UCC - register here
July 26 - 31 - UEK Pastoral Colloquy 2020 - Elizabethtown College; register here
 Boundary Training & MEFS
April 22 MEF: Building Community - Within and Beyond the Building with Rev. Carrie Call and Rev. Nora Foust - St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - 12:30-1:30pm
May 7 - Retired and Supply Boundary Awarenes s with Rev. Sally Dries and Rev. Nora Foust - PCC Office, Harrisburg - 10:00am-1:00pm
May 20 - MEF: Civility, Empathy and Well Being in Community with Therapist Judith Kennedy, MS, MA, NCC, LPC at St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - 12:30-3:30pm DATE CHANGE
From our Local Churches
Emmanuel Union UCC in Tusseyville in Northern Association will be holding a Blessing Of the Tractors Service on May 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. during our regular church service. The service honors and centers on the contributions of all farmers and food providers who help feed our nation. The service begins in the social rooms and ends in the parking lot where water is sprinkled from an evergreen branch on assembled tractors and samplings of seed, water, and earth. Further information is available from our Pastor Craig Munnell at or myself, Bette Bender at

DVD Lending Library - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg
5 for 5
Is your church 5 for 5? The next Special Mission Offering is Strengthen The Church - which takes place on the Pentecost, May 31, 2020.

Re-imagines and builds the future of the UCC. Shared at the conference and national levels, STC largely supports youth ministries and full-time leaders for new churches in parts of the country where the UCC does not have a strong presence. Its also provides support for existing church's new initiatives

For more information on the 5 for 5 offerings, click here.
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting - June 12-13, 2020

Recognition Dinner - September 19, 2020 (info to come!)
From PCC Partners & Friends

Seeing Stewardship Clearly 2020 - Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Lancaster - April 20, 27, May 4 - Register here
Hiring News

The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society seeks applications for an executive director. This a two-year grant funded position. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and works with them to carry out the current mission of the ERHS, to collect, organize, preserve and make available for research the records of the Reformed Church and the Evangelical & Reformed Church. Resume, cover letter, and references should be submitted to by July 15, 2020. For questions about this position, please contact Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell at .

Learn more here and here .
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
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560