Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 13, 2022
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends and Members of Penn Central Conference,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Ah, Holy Week. Our most sacred of weeks; a week that begins with Hosannas and ends with Alleluias; a week when pastors dedicate faithful time and energy that sometimes leaves them with a profound need for rest. And many pastors hope beyond hope that folks will take in all of Holy Week; will come to worship, prayer, and meditations on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, will hold close the deeply sacred liminal space of Saturday.

When I was a pastor, I encouraged the dear ones of our congregation to hold the sacredness of the entire week. I encouraged them not to run from Palms to Sunrise too quickly, although I understand the human desire to do so. As pastor, I knew the multitude of hurts that needed healing, pains that needed healing presence; and I believed in my heart of hearts that everything between Hosannas and Alleluias can offer deep healing presence.

If we put ourselves in the shoes of Jesus’ disciples those millennia ago as the week progressed, we may, like they, find ourselves pulling away from the pain of every moment as calls for Jesus’ torture and death became louder. We, like they, may not grasp that everything Jesus said and did the three years of his ministry leads to the cross. All the healing, teaching, calling disciples, fasting and praying, driving out demons and calming raging waters, multiplying loaves and fishes and blessing bread, the temptations in the wilderness and the dinners with friends, words to disciples and words to the powerful; all of Jesus’ life leads to the cross. Because all of Jesus’ life and work point to God’s ways of love that invite and sustain us unconditionally: God’s ways of peace that ruthlessly promotes nonviolent measures, God’s justice that lifts the lowly and brings down the mighty, that seats the last in the honored position; that seeks the lost until all are found. Life and work that angered those in power, those who had the earthly power to silence that life and work in a torturous way. But the power of Jesus is not earthly. The power of Jesus is the power of God to bring life in heaven onto the earth—and we witness that heaven on earth through everything Jesus said and did. 

As blasphemous as it may sound, Jesus’ death and the torture is a deeply healing gift to each one of us. With his death, and the torture that accompanied, Jesus shows us that God’s own son was committed to bringing God’s power of healing love to earth, even though it meant meeting the power of injustice and violence. Jesus’ healing gift shows us the ultimate gift of love and compassion of a God who suffered and wept at the death of Jesus, and who grieves alongside us every time we suffer.

When I was in training for ordination, I spent a semester at a hospital outside of Boston learning how to meet people in their deepest pain, illness, and death. Topics of why God allows suffering and God’s attitude toward those who suffer would invariably arise. I received so much more from sick or dying folks and their families than I could ever offer through inadequate theological answers to their questions. One woman’s words still stay with me today, words that helped me to come to a new level of understanding of God’s deeply healing loving presence for us through the cross of Jesus. Her 10-year daughter was dying a most painful death, inflicted with metastatic stage 4 cancer. I would have understood if this woman was angry or bitter toward God, or if she waxed philosophical that “this is God’s will” a philosophy that many people use to ease their grief. But this woman did not shy away from Holy Week. She was on a journey with Jesus all the way to the cross. She said to me, “You might guess that I’m angry with God, and I have been very angry, wondering why God did this to her and to me. But when I cried out to God, my anger was met with the whispered words of Jesus saying to me, ‘I know exactly what your daughter is going through; I know exactly what you are going through. I have been there, and I stay here with you. My grace is carrying you.’ Through tears of comfort amid unspeakable grief, she said to me, “That’s a God I can worship; a God who has been there; a God who is right here.”

This woman’s profoundly personal, heartfelt theology illustrates beautifully how the mortal illness of an innocent child touches the heart of God. The death of anyone, the pain of anyone, the suffering of anyone touches the heart of God, because God who came in the flesh knew all earthly pain, suffering, and death. God-with-us who lived and suffered and died in the flesh lets nothing come between us and the love that holds and keeps us every day of our lives, not just during Palm Sunday Hosanna! and Easter Sunday Alleluia!

As we struggle not to withdraw from the cross this week, as we stumble with Jesus to Jerusalem, God does not only walk beside us. God’s healing grace carries us deep within our hearts and spirits. And God continues to travel with us; God’s grace continues to carry us. We are an Easter people! We can shout Alleluia! for new life! We are beloved people of the God who holds us with a deep, deep, healing presence each and every day of our mortal lives.
Deep prayers for healing this Holy Week,

The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
PCC Virtual Choir

Natalie Sleeth's Joy in the Morning, is a favorite anthem for the Easter Season, and can be used at any time during that season or during ordinary time. Written in 1977, the anthem's title comes from Psalm 30:5 "weeping may stay for the night but joy comes in the morning" and it provides a positive view of end times.  It is a favorite piece among our virtual choir members.
While this music is being shared with permission from the publisher, Hope Publishing Co., please report it when you use it in re-streamed services if you have a OneLicense or CCLI account for streaming.
Scheduling notes:
April 17 - Trinity UCC, Centre Hall - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
April 24 - Faith UCC, Lancaster - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
April 24 - Wisdom's Table, Lancaster - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
Save the Dates:
PCC's 60th Annual Meeting
Opening Plenary: 6:30PM, June 6, 2022
Workshops: 6:30PM, June 7-9, 2022
Business & Worship: 9:30AM, June 11, 2022 Registration link coming this week!
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...

First UCC, Middleburg
St. John's UCC, Mifflinburg
Trinity UCC, Millersburg
Mt. Bethel UCC, Mill Hall
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.
Your Penn Central Conference Creation Justice Team is in the process of preparing a guidebook for local congregations regarding Creation Justice activities in local churches. We are seeking samples of Investment Policies that attempt to take Creation Justice issues into consideration when making investment choices.  
Does your congregation have an investment policy that takes Creation Justice into consideration when making investment decisions?  If yes, would your congregation be willing to share that policy with other congregations who are interested in creating similar policy for their church? If yes, a copy of your congregational investment policy can be sent as an email attachment to Bill Wealand at or mailed to Rev. Bill Wealand, 250 Parkview Heights Road, Apt. 229 Ephrata, PA 17522.  Thank you for your help in aiding congregations who wish to take Creation Justice into consideration when investing church funds.
Outdoor Ministries

Watch for Rev. Nora Foust's emails on Thursdays for links to register for Outdoor Ministries events and a taste of the summer camp curriculum. Read last week's here or on our Facebook page. If you aren't getting these emails, contact Paul to be added to the mailing list.

Coming events:
HC Spirit Week - What's in a Name?
"Naming and Claiming Who God Made Us to Be"
Saturday, August 6 through Friday, August 12
Camp Mt. Luther

See the full brochure here for all the details!
Register online here or mail your registration form to the PCC offices.
Local Church
Working with Habitat for Humanity, St. John's in Chambersburg held a very successful used book sale. Tremendous community response brought donations of over 25,000 books, cd's, dvd's games and puzzles. The local Patriot Federal Credit Union and the Habitat Restore location served as collection points along with the church.
Over 50 volunteers worked together separating and displaying the items. The sale on 2 days, March 19th and 20th was very crowded. The community responded again purchasing the donations allowing us to donate $15,000 to Habitat for Humanity. Mark Story from Habitat was presented with the check by Pastor Caroline Saxton and Harold Collier.
God was truly blessing this endeavor. - Harold Collier
On Thursday, 04/07/2022, on your behalf we delivered 2,955 items for Ukraine to Mission Central located in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Our SUV was filled to the roof line with your most generous donations and monetary gifts for the people of Ukraine. You may already know that many of the churches located in PCC's (Penn Central Conference's) Northern Association, joined St. John's UCC, Boalsburg in gathering donations for the people of Ukraine. So, the amazing number of 2,955 of donated items is a collaboration of our all siblings in PCC's Northern Association. We thank you and Mission Central thanks you for your amazing generosity, love, and prayers!
On April 8th, Stephanie Titzel, Director of Development and Communications at Mission Central wrote "Due to the overwhelming amount of material goods we have received, we are going to pause our acceptance of items for Ukraine on April 20". So, on Wednesday, April 20th, we will make one more trip to Mission Central with your donations for Ukraine. Then we will honor the pause as requested by the staff of Mission Central until some time in the future. As soon as we learn of any new changes from Mission Central related to items requested by Ukraine for Ukrainians we will let you know.
You may continue to help the Ukrainians by donating money to the UCC's appeal titled "UCC appeal tops $1 million to help Ukrainians find safety, inside and away from their county". Click here to open the link:
Please pray for peace,
Bill & Ellen Matten
Salem UCC Rohrerstown in Lancaster has 25 gently used green choir robes they no longer has need for.They would like to see them go to a good home. Call Eileen Shipe at 717-575-9966 and leave a message if you're interested.
Christ Church UCC, 200 S White Oak St, Annville, (on 934) is hosting an outdoor Flea Market on Saturday, June 18 from 8am - 2pm. Rain or Shine - Food for sale too! Call 717-867-1641 to reserve a spot ($10) or for more information. We look forward to having you to sell, shop & eat!
Colonial Park UCC, 5000 Devonshire Road, Harrisburg (near the Best Buy on Rt. 22) is hosting an outdoor Flea Market on Saturday, May 7 from 8am - 1pm. Rain Date is may 14. Food for sale too! Call 545-3782 to reserve a spot or for more information. We look forward to having you to sell shop & eat!
Association Events:
April 24 - 2:00PM - Northern Association Spring Meeting
May 1 - 2:00PM - Central Association Spring Meeting
May 1 - 2:30PM - Gettysburg Association Spring Meeting
May 7 - 9:30AM - Harrisburg Association Spring Meeting - St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento
May 15 - 3:00PM - Mercersburg Association Spring Meeting

May 1 - 3:00PM - Ecclesiastical Council for Allyssa Boyer - St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg with a Zoom option
Clergy Events
PCC has launched a new monthly email just for clergy, with news, events and clergy transitions. If you did not get this month's email on Tuesday, please let Paul know.

We will be including some items in the eNews (see below), but please check out the full email here for more events and news!
Building a Just Peace in an Unjust World:
Learning with and from Our Anabaptist Colleagues
Pastoral Colloquy 2022
Sunday, 24 July, through Friday, 29 July, 2022 - Learn more and register here.
Ministerial Excellence Forums

Apr 26 10am Planning for Developing Effective Self-Care MEF with Rev. Rick Luciotti
Apr 26 6pm Planning for Developing Effective Self-Care MEF with Rev. Rick Luciotti

May 18 10am - Retired Boundary Training (Contact Nora if in person is needed)

See the rest of the winter/spring educational opportunities here.
UCC Webinars

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

Maundy Thursday - April 14, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Ukraine Support Drive Update:

UCC appeal tops $1 million to help Ukrainians find safety, inside and away from their country

As Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on, so does the suffering of the country’s people. And they have been leaving their homes in record numbers. Donors in the United Church of Christ see them and have stepped up to send help.

The response to the UCC’s emergency appeal for Ukraine has been unprecedented. Some 3,700 donors have given more than $1 million to the effort, launched days after Russia attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24. The $1,073,208 in gifts as of April 5 may be the church’s largest international relief effort ever. Read more here.
From our friends and partners
Cousins: Connected Through Slavery
Saturday, May 7
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
$8-$26 adults
Free for youth under 18
This extraordinary evening of storytelling will feature an African American woman, Dr. Betty Kilby Baldwin, and a European American woman, Phoebe Kilby, whose ancestors enslaved Betty’s. Their relationship began when Phoebe contacted Betty, saying she suspected they were connected through slavery. Betty responded, “Hello, Cousin.” Betty, a life-long advocate and trail-blazer, found an activist partner in Phoebe. Together they have committed to a path of honesty, reconciliation, and reparations.

Betty and Phoebe – “a two-woman racial reconciliation juggernaut” (Baltimore Sun) – have been telling their story on BBC News, at Virginia Tech, and in a Netflix documentary. Now they're bringing their powerful story of reconciliation to Lancaster.

PRC has compiled resources to help groups lead studies around Cousins, reconciliation, and reparations. Each ticket purchased includes a free book, which can be picked up early at the PRC office to facilitate your group study prior to the event. To view study resources or to register, visit or call 717-299-1113.
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)

The Future of Multivocational Ministries, April 21–May 17, instructor Darryl W. Stephens. For lay and clergy leaders seeking to understand the benefits and challenges of bivocational and multivocational ministry. Participants will receive a copy of the forthcoming ebook, Bivocational and Beyond. $125* (supported by a grant from the Walters Trust). Register by April 18.
Personal and Spiritual Development, May 24–June 28, Tuesdays, 7–8:30pm. This Ministerial Institute class is taught by PCC Conference Minister Carrie Call. Participants will learn about spiritual disciplines, congregational systems, and vocational discernment. Appropriate for lay leaders, clergy, and MIDs. $325. Register by May 18.
Employment Opportunities
Audio/Visual System Operators Needed
Church of the Apostles, United Church of Christ in Wayne Heights is looking for two people to operate our Audio/Visual system during Sunday morning worship services at 10:45 am (summer worship at 10 am, beginning the first Sunday in June and ending with Labor Day weekend). Other services would include weddings, funerals, Lenten services and Christmas Eve. These are part-time, independent contractor positions; paid per service. Responsible teenagers will be considered. Training will be provided. Read the full description here.
Position:     Music Director
Effective:   Immediately
As a part of the United Church of Christ denomination, we at Hamilton Park UCC seek to provide a welcoming, inclusive, and caring environment where people of all backgrounds and from all walks of life can experience the support of a community where they are valued and loved and where they can experience the love of God given by Christ.
General Responsibilities:
In support of the Pastor and the vision of Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, this year-round, part time, salaried position will coordinate the total music ministry program of HPUCC, to include playing instruments, such as piano, organ, guitar, etc. in a manner that enhances the spirit of worship and enriches the congregation's appreciation of music.
Primary Responsibilities:
The Music Director plans and oversees a diverse musical program that enhances the total worship programming of the church that includes worship services and special events.
If interested, please mail or email resume to: Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, Attn: Search, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603.
The Schuylkill Association of the PA Southeast Conference, UCC, has a ministry opportunity for a part-time chaplain at Locust Lake State Park near Tamaqua, PA. If you are a Christian (Clergy or lay) who can function in an unstructured situation and who has a love of God, God’s creation, and God’s people, then this might be the opportunity for you.

The chaplain represents the church as a Christian presence and quiet witness among those who camp at this beautiful state park. The responsibilities of the chaplain include:
·        Conduct campsite visitation weekly.
·        Provide informal, inspirational weekly worship services.
·        Provide availability to park/campground staff and campers for crisis situations.
·        Provide informal programs such as campfires, hymn sings, special musical events, and activities for children, as needed.

Training and ministry support and resources will be provided by the PA Council of Churches Chaplains in the Park program and the Locust Lake Committee.
You can learn more about this ministry opportunity, including compensation, at Or you can contact the Locust Lake Ministry chair, the Rev. Maureen Duffy-Guy at or cell (570) 952-5474. To apply for this position go to Make sure that you click the box for Locust Lake on the application. The application will be open until the position is filled.
St. Matthew’s UCC (Carlisle) is seeking a part-time
church administrative assistant. Starting pay 15.00 or higher
based on experience/credentials. 10-15hrs/week. Read full description here.
If interested, please contact Pastor Tim Dugan
Preferred contact phone number: 570-428-4290.
Preferred contact email:
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.
Conference Minister
Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. Nora Driver Foust
Associate Conference Minister 
Phone: 717-433-2587

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Phone: 717-433-3564

Rev. Rick Luciotti
Coordinator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Phone: 717-433-6306
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
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