Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| December 14, 2022

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Message to the Conference

Greetings Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Mt 1:24 (18-25 in context)

Every time I gather with colleagues from across our great denomination I am left with deep thoughts for pondering. Last week was the first of such gatherings since 2019. Many topics related to the Church and local congregations were on the agenda. A recurring theme across many of the conversations was call.

We had three workshops and a plenary on the call of gathered congregations as the national setting works on a 21st century Manual on Church to include a definition of church, Marks of a Vital Congregation, and deep discussion of lived covenants. Each time I was in awe of what the working group heard God calling our church to be in the world today. I heard visions of engaged lay leadership participating in all settings of mission and ministry. Stories were shared of congregations selling buildings and sharing spaces to better live into the community they heard God beckoning them to be. We've seen that here in Penn Central, too.

These congregational call stories were set alongside individual call narratives as we pondered ministerial authorization and further use of the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers. We talked about ministerial portfolios and multiple paths to authorized ministry in the UCC. We also spent a couple of workshop sessions diving into what many conferences are experiencing as a search and call crunch. The national opportunities listing has about 300 postings for church vacancies. That's roughly double the pre-pandemic average. There are more ministerial profiles than job postings but there are often mismatches between the two pools.

I facilitated an open space discussion on what it might look like for searching congregations to have intentional seasons of discernment around collective and individual calls to lay pastoring. One ACM talked about this possibility as a return to the New Testament Church. We listened to one another talk about how conferences and associations might be called to facilitate these discernment sessions and to empower and equip lay pastors who might not seek authorization from our Committees on Ministry. It was clear to everyone that we needed to be building a culture of call in our churches.

With these deep thoughts rolling around in my head, I read the gospel passage for this Sunday and Joseph's call lept off the page. He had decided to dismiss Mary quietly until an angel visited him and shared God's call to be present with Mary and to parent the son of God with her. This was most definitely not on Joseph's to-do list but when God called, he (like Mary in Luke's gospel narrative) responds with a holy "yes" and moves as God calls.

How many of us are still sitting waiting on an angelic visitor to come and make clear God's call in our individual or congregational lives? What if Emmanuel, God with us, was the voice of your friend that said "let's go pack food boxes this weekend," or your fellow church member pushing for a new community mission project? What if the calling is to more formal ministry, lay or authorized?

Listen. Discern. Reach out and discuss.

May each of you know God's call on your own life and how the Christ-child's arrival again might be speaking it into reality.

Wishing each of you a meaningful Advent and joyous Christmas season.



Rev. Dr. Nora Foust

Associate Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

Christmas blessings to all this holiday season from the United Church of Christ, and peace in the New Year.

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

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...

Faith United UCC, Ickesburg

Pleasant Hill Chapel UCC, Ono

St. Johns UCC, Jonestown

Church of the Apostles UCC, Lancaster

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/Winter 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.

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

The Importance of Continuing Education in Sex Ed

JAN 4, 2023 | 12:00PM - 1:00PM

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

BLACK NATIVITY: A Holiday Gospel Celebration



Get your free tickets now for BLACK NATIVITY: A Holiday Gospel Celebration at 3:00pm Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, at Lancaster Seminary's Santee Chapel.


Seating is limited. Register now:


The famous Christian nativity story turned into an inspirational musical by Langston Hughes features an all-African-American cast. This professional production of the Erie Theater Company is co-produced by Lancaster Seminary graduates Dominique Denman and Kellie Turner.


Don't miss this celebration of faith and resiliency!


A free-will donation will go to the Seminary's Nathan Baxter Fund for African American Studies.

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.

Church Building & Loan Fund

Regional Mission Interpreter, West (part-time) Application Close: 1/6/23

OPTIC - Philanthropy

Generosity Officer (Southern Region) Extended close: 12/31/22

Generosity Officer (Western Region) Extended close: 12/31/22

Generosity Officer (Middle Atlantic) Extended close: 12/31/22

Generosity Officer (West Central) Extended close: 12/31/22

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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