Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| June 24, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear friends of Penn Central Conference,
“If you love me, keep my commands.   And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” John 14:15-17

Greetings and blessings to all you, beloved of our conference. I greet you in the name of our God who loves us with an infinite and intimate love. Since I joined the staff as your new Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Transitions on June 1, I have been slowly meeting and getting to know some of you through ZOOM and phone calls. I long for the time to get to know each of you in person. Until then, please call me, email me, send me your newsletters. If you wish to know more about me, see my bio on our web site.

As I prayerfully contemplated my message to you, I considered many scriptures that I hoped would bring comfort and courage in this uncertain, anxious and wearying time: uncertain when and how the many areas of turmoil in our country will resolve; anxiety that comes with protecting the health and wellbeing of one another, especially the most vulnerable; weariness that longs for things to return to normal, and slowly realizing that a new normal may be different than what we hope.

I chose these pastoral words of Jesus to his disciples as he was preparing them for uncertainty, anxiety, and a new normal that they could not begin to imagine—life without him after his death. He knows they love him, but with the love of children looking to a good parent to comfort and teach them. And he challenges them to love in deeper ways. “If you love me, keep my commands.” I can just imagine them searching their memories for all he has commanded them. But his commands are simple: love God with all your heart and love others as God loves you. I can just imagine them thinking: love as God loves? We’re just getting used to God loving us as Jesus loves. Not giving them too much time to ruminate over his words, he says that God will give them all they need—the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Truth will comfort them and guide them in the ways of loving God and loving others.

Perhaps we can ponder in this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and a new normal that we can’t yet imagine, Jesus sitting with us and saying to us: Do you love me? Love one another as I love you—care for one another, protect one another, especially the most vulnerable—just as I did during my ministry on earth. (In the words of Theresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.”) And as we also wonder how we can do that, we can also have these words of Jesus ringing in our ears: The advocate, the comforter, the Spirit of Truth will guide you every step of the way. 

Beloved, I pray that you will take in Jesus’ words of love to you. I pray that you will lean on the Spirit of comfort and truth to guide all of your ways in the coming days and months.

Together in Christ’s love and care,


Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Transitions
Friends , we want to share a music resource with you from Rev. Scott Silciliano . He is posting traditional, contemporary and original hymns on his YouTube channel and offers them to you for use in worship as we continue to navigate worship in creative ways. Please be sure to share links with your congregation and include your CCLI or ONELicense information to cover lyrics (and be sure your license covers that particular song.) If using an original song, please contact Scott at .

There's also a virtual choir video that was produced by Convergence Leadership for Pentecost Sunday that's great. You can download it from their website with permission and use it in virtual services. It's a setting of a well-known African American Spiritual with new lyrics. Scott is one of the accompanists in the video.
These are Hard Times for Clergy.
Penn Central Conference, in response to the difficult situations, news, and decisions of the past months and weeks, the Conference wants to inform you of three things:
1.      These are very stressful times . Please reach out to our Clergy Care Facilitator ( Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler ) if you or someone you know needs support. This is confidential and pastoral. No matter what the issue, please reach out.
2.      Penn Central is in the process of creating an anti-racism program for clergy to begin at the close of summer. We will be providing information about a text soon (so you can read over the summer) along with our follow-up plans for clergy gatherings and discussions.
3.      Let us know what you need. We are committed to serving everyone in this Conference, so please send us your suggestions and ideas about how we can best provide you with support, education, and communication in these trying times.
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. Paul's UCC, McConnellsburg
St. John's UCC, McEwensville
St. John's UCC, McKnightstown
St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg
Celebrating Hartman Center

A digital worship service is being put together to be available early July. We want your testimonials! Please, take a moment to record a video sharing some words about what Hartman Center means to you and send them to so that we can include lots of different voices in this sacred time.

Our social media accounts will be hosting a “Month of Hartman Center Memories” throughout the month of July. So get your pictures and stories ready and watch the Facebook page for a calendar of each day's themes!

“Hartman Hikes” will take place each Sunday from July 12th-August 2nd. Participants are asked to register, bring a mask, maintain social distance, and bring a packed lunch.
  1. Northern & Central, 07/12, register here!
  2. Gettysburg & Mercersburg, 07/19, register here!
  3. Harrisburg & York, 07/26, register here!
  4. Lancaster & Lebanon, 08/02, register here!

A Service for the Decommissioning of Hartman Center will take place September 12th [Date Changed] at Hartman Center, which will include a hike.
Forum participation requested by DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives

The US Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives is seeking input from Houses of Worship and Faith-Based Organizations. They would like to know how they can better support these organizations. Therefore, they are asking the following questions about your COVID-19 response:
What went well?
What can be improved?
What do we need to do more of?
Conversely, what do we need to do less of or differently?
Please visit  this website , the week of 06/22/2020. This is a forum where you can have a freeform discussion about the COVID-19 response to date and how it has affected you as Houses of Worship and Faith-Based Organizations.
From our friends at Mission Central
Thank you for your support in making Mission Central Care Kits and for setting a goal of 500 (almost 3 per church!) We are grateful for the support of the Penn Central Conference.

In 2019, these Care Kits were distributed throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as internationally to the Philippines, Belize, Niger, Cuba, Ghana, Dominica and Sierra Leone.

As needs have increased, we expect these to immediately go out within our communities in Pennsylvania.

We are grateful for your support!
This is our mission project for Annual Meeting 2020. Please email Sherry Spencer ( ) or Shirley Keith Knox ( ) if you have any questions. Click here for a flyer to share with your congregation and friends.
General Synod 33 to be a virtual experience

For the first time ever, the United Church of Christ General Synod will gather virtually in 2021. The biennial gathering is moving entirely online next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Church of Christ Board made this historic decision this week after considering a number of factors. Read more here...
Every four years for four decades, the United Church of Christ's  National Youth Event  has attracted young people from all over the denomination for high-energy inspiration, faith-building and educational activities, community service, and in-the-moment actions for social justice.
Now, like so many other events in the Year of the Coronavirus, the live event has been postponed, with online opportunities taking its place this summer (including live chats, a playlist and more.) Learn more here .
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

June 28 - Ecclesiastical Council for Stephanie Dorsey - 3:00PM via Zoom. (Lancaster Association) 

Aug 2 - Ordination of Gary Nottis at St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 3:00PM (Rev. Nora Foust attending)

Association Meetings

June 27 - Harrisburg Association Meeting - via Zoom - 10:00AM
July 28 - Harrisburg Association Northern Cluster Meeting - St. Peter's - 7:00PM
Clergy Events
 Boundary Training & Ministerial Excellence Forums

Boundary Training - July 15, 2020
The pandemic season has brought a host of new boundary challenges to many clergy among us. Among the most recent challenges is responding to the injustices in the headlines that have brought demonstrators and protesters to the streets. Join Rev. Nora Foust for a discussion of boundaries in this season. Discussion topics will include: Self-care in crisis, digital presence, performative ally-ship and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

This will be a zoom discussion with 2 credit hours for Boundary Training. You must register in order to receive the zoom link. Registration is limited to 20 participants in each session.
To Register for 10am:
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
To Register for 6:30pm:
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For other boundary training options, Convergance offers an online course.
The Perfect Blend: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations - A day with author Bishop Robert Schnase - Saturday, September 19, 2020 Cancelled
Serving as an associate or assistant pastor provides its own set of unique challenges and opportunities in ministry. Having a safe environment with others who understand your position can be extremely helpful, particularly during difficult seasons. 
That’s why for the next two months, Samaritan’s Clergy and Congregation Care program is waiving the fee for associate pastors and assistant pastors to meet in an ecumenical, facilitated group with peers. 
The group will provide an arena to talk about the challenges, joys and sorrows related to ministry, as well as to test ideas of how to best serve congregations. Additionally, these sessions will provide a safe space for clergy to be vulnerable with trusted colleagues who know where they’re coming from.
Sessions will be facilitated on Zoom by the Rev. Don Hackett. The group will be limited to 6 participants, who will collaboratively determine the frequency and tone of these sessions. After the initial free sessions, participants can elect to continue with the group for a monthly fee.

If you’re feeling stressed amid this trying time, or just want to join with others, click here today to email Don and sign up for one of the 6 openings.
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting via Zoom - August 29, 2020
Hiring Information:
Executive Director – Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light
(Half-time position)

We are seeking a visionary: a flexible and creative individual who can help guide PA IPL into the next decade, particularly with the work of expanding and deepening the organization’s base of support and of helping PA IPL realize its broader goals from its strategic plan such as clarifying our organizational identity (rebranding and diversifying stakeholders), developing more focused programming, and building the necessary internal infrastructure to see PA IPL into the future. Learn more here.
Office Experience Required
24 hrs./week ($15/hr.) – M-F
Proficiency in: Microsoft Publisher, Word, and Excel
Learn more here...
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at LTS

Nondegree classes are ideal for:
  • Lay Ministers already pastoring churches
  • Pastoral Leaders in part-time or bi-vocational ministries
  • Individuals in discernment
  • Laity serving Christian denominations and independent churches

Register by June 19, 2020

Register by August 7, 2020
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. Richard Luciotti

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

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
Associate Conference Minister

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