Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| December 07, 2022

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Message to the Conference

Greetings Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,

“Do not be Afraid….” 

Was Mary immediately calmed by the Angel Gabriel’s words, or was her first thought, ‘Easy for you to say that, robed in all that power.’ My guess is that it took some time for her to accept the reassurance. Who among us easily or quickly change our mind concerning long held beliefs and attitudes, especially when our lives are suddenly turned upside down. When her meeting with the Angel ended and Mary had heard all that Gabriel told her, she then picked up and went to her relative Elizabeth for counsel and consolation.  

The nostalgia we associate with the Christmas Story and season frequently finds us reading the accounts without giving much thought to the impact on characters involved. If we take a moment, we can easily begin to appreciate the confusion and fear Mary experienced at that moment. What could possibly have prepared her ahead of time for such an encounter?  

Doing the will of God is rarely a walk in the park. And for Mary the words, ‘Do not be afraid’, were not a promise that everything would be okay. We see many times wherein Mary had to pluck up the courage to cope with the journey God presented. As with her first encounter with the Angel Gabriel, Mary would frequently need time, prayer and consolation prior to finding the solace in the words, “Do not be afraid.” 

Beyond the nostalgia and possibly thinking about how these events impacted Mary, I believe the story invites us to consider deeply just how we respond to our own calling to ever become disciples of our Lord. “Do not be afraid,” is this not a part of the message to each of us in our individual calling. We like Mary may well respond, “It is easy for you to say that, but you are not confronted by what I am.” The pull of and challenges from culture to our well being are always confronting our professions of faith. So how do any of us find the confidence to go forth in confidence? 

If we consider how Mary went forward meeting with Elizabeth and, in what was likely a lengthy meeting, Mary found her voice. In prayer, thought, discussion Mary embraced the words of ‘Fear not’ and proclaimed her willingness to be God’s servant. Mary’s assent began a long, challenging and heartbreaking journey. But through it all, as she continued to experience her role and accept it as her pathway, we sense her discovering that God only appeared to her on that unexpected occasion but was always with her. It is the same promise to each of us that will guide and inspire us as we cope with our call to discipleship.  



Rev. Rick Luciotti

Coordinator of Clergy Care

Penn Central Conference

The Annunciation ca. 1644 Philippe de Champaigne 

The next Virtual Choir offering, for the Christmas Season, is up! John Rutter, a composer famous for his Christmas Carols and beloved choral works wrote Christmas Lullaby for the seventieth birthday of his longtime collaborator, Sir David Willcox. This Carol is a gentle anthem focusing on the intimacy of the mother and baby at the center of the Christmas story. It is appropriate for anywhere in the Christmas season, from Christmas Eve through the Epiphany, with it's focus on the wise men and their treasures at the beginning and ending of the anthem. 

If you don't have a choir, let this enhance your Christmas Eve Services. If you do have a choir, you can give them the Epiphany Sunday off! Or you can just enjoy it. Remember to include it in your OneLicense reporting if you have that service and embed it in a streamed service!  

The YouTube link is The music is also available for download at

Keystone Study Group – Communications Summary from 2022-11-11 Gathering

On Friday, November 11, 2022, the second gathering of the Keystone Study Group (a study and discernment group of the 4 PA UCC Conferences – Penn West, Penn Central, Penn NE, Pennsylvania SE) continued to build our understanding and framing around the possibility of coming together for the work of mission and ministry as one (1) Pennsylvania conference. Over the last several months, using resources provided by all 4 conferences, initial conversations have occurred to explore what new thing God may be calling together in our area.

We spent much of our time identifying a vision for healthy congregations, the supports needed from the conference, and the potential roadblocks to moving forward together. As churches and leaders across many denominations discern the changing landscape of “doing church” and how we can “Be the Church” in new and life-giving ways, we are exploring what we, as conferences, could do to help local congregations and pastors experience deeper connections and provide support for vitality. We are identifying the challenges of navigating through uncertain times and new ways of intergenerational connections to our present and future communities with the message of hope our faith, experience and tradition has to offer. Together, the study group will be asking the significant questions to strengthen the connection between pastors and local congregations and larger conference networks of the PA UCC conferences to share support, resources, experiences, training and equipping and offer hope.

We welcome and appreciate your prayers as this body of leaders from the 4 PA UCC Conferences study and explore together, gaining valuable information from you and melding the ways we work together to imagine and see the possibilities God is bringing to us. We hold all these things in sacred trust of our shared covenantal relationships.

Respectfully submitted,

Keystone Project Communications Team

Communications Team

Steve Davis                       St. John’s UCC, Fullerton (Penn NE)

Sterling Fritz                     Redeemer’s UCC, Littlestown (PCCUCC)

Robin Hightower             Peace In Zion UCC, Zigglerville (Penn SE)

Deb Long                           First Trinity UCC, Youngwood (PWC)

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...

Zion UCC, Herndon

Church of the Redeemer UCC, Hershey

Emmanuel UCC, Howard

Hummelstown UCC, Hummelstown

Local Church Events

Live Nativity

First UCC, Middleburg

Saturday, December 17


Live animals, carols, refreshments, and children's activities

Association Events

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

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.

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

WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) for Mental Health

DEC 15, 2022 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Near the Brokenhearted

DEC 22, 2022 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

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
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