Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | April 05, 2023

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Message to the Conference

Greetings members and friends of Penn Central Conference,

“And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came in the temple to hear him.”  St. Luke 21: 37-38 

Traditionally Holy Wednesday is recognized as the day Judas chose to offer his services to the Sanhedrin as the betrayer of Jesus and the evening wherein Jesus took dinner at the home of Simon the Leper and was anointed by a woman. The two events cannot appear to be at greater variance: betrayal and adoration. At the same time, are these two themes not representative of our very living? Do we not worship and praise and in the next breath say or do something which is either a denial or betrayal of our Lord? 

In between the betrayer Judas, and the woman anointing, sat Jesus. We see Jesus attempting to relax and enjoy a quiet evening, his last such moment.  Perhaps the contrast serves as a lesson to us on what it means to strive to bring to reconciliation to the conflicting tendencies of our own spiritual journeys.  

Judas knew, and he probably had marveled at the Spoken Word(s) of Jesus. But try as he might, he had not internalized the Living Word of God. Whatever his motivations were, Judas’s transaction with the leaders demonstrates his failure to internalize all that he had seen and experienced.  

The woman, on the other hand, likely had precious little understanding of the Spoken Word, yet fully grasped and embraced the meaning of the Living Word. Her experience of Jesus was all that she required to allow Grace to fill her spirit with a wholehearted and indivisible commitment to follow Jesus’ invitation to God’s full embrace of her spirit. 

The lesson for us is simple. We can focus on the Spoken Word(s) of Jesus and all scripture and even speak thoughtfully on all that is represented in them. But, if we presume that an intellectual understanding is sufficient, then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 

This does not mean that we should only develop an emotional response to the experience of the Living Word. I do believe the woman had an understanding that she was experiencing truth and would seek to learn more of its meaning. The woman’s anointing of Jesus displays not only an act of adoration, but a willingness to commit and thus risk everything in following Jesus.  

But without allowing the spoken word to completely infiltrate our spirit, we are likely to only become, as St. Paul would later write, ‘noisy gong or clanging cymbal’. Judas appears to have had understanding, but not a commitment of allowing the spirit to embrace and thus lead his spirit. 

On this Holy Wednesday may we take some time from the busy week’s agenda and reflect on how deep our understanding and commitment is. Let also relax in preparation for the intensity of the days to follow. 


Rev. Rick Luciotti

Clergy Care Coordinator

Penn Central Conference

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...

St. Peter's UCC, Rebersburg

Himmel's Church UCC, Dornsife

Emmanuel (Freysville) UCC, Red Lion

St. John's UCC, Red Lion

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

The Conference Ministers of the four Pennsylvania UCC Conferences will host a Service of the Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows for ordained clergy on Maundy Thursday, April 6, at 10:00a via ZOOM.

It’s a long-standing custom in liturgical traditions for clergy to gather on the same day Jesus offered “a new commandment”-- to love and serve one another-- for the reaffirmation of their ordination. We hope this will be an experience of spiritual encouragement and connection.

Clergy are encouraged to wear a stole received at their ordination, a red stole, or any other stole that has significant meaning. The service includes the sacrament of virtual communion so please prepare in advance.

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 ( 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 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 (director) 

or Rev. Amelia Price (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.

A Palestinian Christian Reflection on the Meaning of Easter

APR 12, 2023 | 12:00PM - 1:00PM

How do we effectively use social media to message progressive Christianity?

APR 12, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Getting Ready for Earth Sunday: Resources for Congregations

APR 12, 2023 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM

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

This event will be held at

Jordan UCC, 1837 Church Rd., Allentown.

Breakfast and lunch are included with the cost of your ticket.

To register you can email Barbara Jennings at and send your check for $35 made payable to PNEC to the Conference Office (PNEC, 431 Delaware Ave., Palmerton, PA 18071)


you can register and pay through at

Keynote; “Repenting of the unforgivable” Through the medium of storytelling, Rev JimBear Jacobs will share how the legacy of Indigenous residential boarding schools has left a stain upon the church. The sin of complicity in the boarding school has for far too long been ignored or rationalized away. It is time to face this sin head on and enter into a season of lament that can hopefully lead to repair. Workshop: “Beyond lament; Movement towards repair” In this workshop Rev. JimBear Jacobs will explore some tangible and challenging steps that churches might wrestle with as they consider reparations for the traumatic legacy of the boarding school system

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)


April 11 - May 16, 2023

Online on Zoom

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00-8:30pm


Join Rev. Matthew Deal to identify historical roots and analogies for contemporary ecclesial issues. We'll study the basic sweep of Christian history, including key figures, movements, denominations, and turning points in their cultural contexts

 For clergy/pastors and lay leaders

 $325 for the series of six classes

2.5 CEUs


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

Global H.O.P.E.

Minister for Disaster Response and Recovery - Close: 4/10/23

Cornerstone Fund

Social Impact Investing Internship Close date: April 30, 2023

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

Book Strategist

The Pilgrim Press - United Church of Christ has an opening for a Book Strategist for 3 months at full-time. We are hoping to fill the position by the week of April 10. 2023. Use the following link to view the position description and to apply:


To learn more about The Pilgrim Press, please use the link below.

The Pilgrim Press & Stillspeaking Publications - United Church of Christ (


We endeavor to recruit employees from backgrounds that vary by race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, genetic information, past, present or future service in the uniformed services, religion, or any other legally protected characteristic under applicable federal, state or local law.  

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


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: 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:, 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


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

Penn Central Conference Ministry Opportunities Page

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