Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| March 03, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

“For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.” - Matthew 25:35
As part of my Lenten devotional practice, I read from a devotion book titled: The Living Gospel by Theresa Rickard. I like these devotions because each devotion is broken down into sections to give the reader a full devotional experience. Typically, I do all of the sections and I continue on with my day. However, one of the devotional passages from Matthew continued to surface in my mind throughout the day. Why would this verse in Matthew have such an effect on me? After all it is not like it’s the first time, I’ve read it. Perhaps it was the story that was included in the devotional.

The story was called “Surprised by a Sheep.” It was about a priest from India that was asked to do a wake in the United States. He did not know the deceased and he was not given any information about the man or his family. The priest chose a “generic” scripture to use at the wake. As he entered the funeral home, he ran into the deceased man’s brother. The brother asked if the Lions Club could conduct their service first. The deceased was not a church goer but was very committed to the Lions Club. The priest agreed to let them go first.

The priest took a seat as the Lion’s Club representative began to speak. He talked about how inspirational the man was to them. He volunteered at a soup kitchen, collected eyeglasses for the poor and elderly and he had helped many of his brothers and their families in their club.

Immediately, the priest changed his scripture to the one about the sheep and the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) When the priest had entered the funeral home, he thought the man might have been a goat but quickly changed his mind after he heard the man’s accolades. Now the priest believed that man was indeed a sheep and made the connection between the man’s life and the words that Jesus spoke. “Whatever you did for one of these least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

I wondered how many times we jump to judgement about people we do not really know. How many times we ignore or ostracize someone just because of the way that they look or the way we think they must be. It really changes our perspective when we put Jesus in the place of the person that we dismiss. What practice could we do as part of our Lenten journey to change this trajectory?

Perhaps we can try to do something that could make a difference in someone’s life. This does not have to be something difficult. It could be as simple as taking the time to send a “Thinking about you card” to a neighbor that you haven’t seen in some time. Or giving someone a phone call from your church family that you really don’t know in an attempt to get to know them. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness make the biggest impact in someone’s life.

What practices have become part of your Lenten journey? How can these practices make an impact on your spiritual well-being and at the same time have a positive impact on someone else’s life?

Blessings and Peace,


Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Coordinator of Care to Clergy and Clergy Families
Penn Central Conference.
Returning: printable eNews! Download and print this PDF with the weekly message to the conference, prayers for Penn Central and brief list of events. Pastors and secretaries, please feel free to share with your congregation members that don't get this weekly email.
Scheduling notes:

Sunday March 14 - St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

Sunday March 28 - Heidelburg UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
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...

Grace UCC, Greencastle
Emmanuel UCC, Hanover
Grace UCC, Hanover
St. David's (Sherman's) UCC, Hanover
COVID-19 Resources

Penn Central Conference has added a special section on our website for COVID-19 resources, including the times and links for Zoom meetings. Keep checking regularly for updates.


The DataHub is now open through March 3rd for Yearbook reporting! Please learn more on the process here. If you need assistance, please contact Paul.

Make sure you also complete the supplemental survey! Link here.

If you cannot get your information into DataHub by end of the day, PLEASE fill out the paper forms and return them to Paul by March 20th.
Virtual Choir for Lent & Easter
The PCC Virtual Choir has been working on music for Lent and Easter. Check out the playlist on YouTube here.

This week, the Virtual Choir released their latest video "When Jesus Wept" - check it out now!

Because John 3:16 is in our lectionary for March 14, the Virtual Choir has moved up it's release of John Stainer's "God So Loved the World." It will be released next Tuesday, February 9, in time for you to use in worship on the 14th!

After a break, the Virtual Choir will return with Hallelujah Chorus.

If you have questions, or if you'd like to join the group for any of our music that delights you, contact Julie Holm at
Faith In Action: Christians and Gun Violence Prevention
As Christians, how do we reconcile being our “brothers’ keeper” with increasing numbers of gun injuries and deaths - even in our community? Gun violence tragedies can include suicide, or domestic violence, or unsupervised children and accidents. When firearms are present, the result is often deadly. You are invited to reflect on this question in a webinar on March 10th at 7:00 p.m. Peter Murchison (Quaker), Rev. Carrie Call (United Church of Christ), Father Michael Rothan (Roman Catholic), and Rev. Don Gaffney (Disciples of Christ) will each share how their faith calls them to respond to gun violence. Register here to attend this Zoom webinar.
Treasurers - please find below a 2021 updated Remittance Form We have changed just a few lines, most notably adding a line to support Outdoor Ministries. Some folks have had issues downloading the the Word document, please email Paul if you do.

From the Climate Justice Team
Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections Between Our Faith, Our Food, and the Climate. We examine how our food systems contribute to injustice and to climate change, and how our faiths call us to respond through practical solutions.
Join Interfaith Power & Light’s annual premier week of worship and action focused on climate – Faith Climate Action Week, April 16-25, 2021. Learn more here
PCC ONA Ministry Team
Outdoor Ministries 2021

The 2021 summer camp schedule is set! There are camps for all ages and interests at both Kirchenwald and Nawakwa. Check out what is offered online. There is an early-bird registration discount if you register before April 3. Also, if you attend the Open House, you can get an additional discount. Full brochure here.

Calling all high school kids, college-age young adults, and adults interested in working at camp this summer! Lutheran Camping Corporation is recruiting now for this summer's camp season. Learn more here.
Lenten Day Apart sessions will include restorative spiritual practices and restorative soil work. We will learn about the soil on the farm and how we can improve its health. We will plant seeds in our greenhouse in the afternoon. Register here.

More events and information here.
Check out the all new Outdoor Ministries page on the PCC website here!
And a history of Hartman Center is hosted on the PCC website here.
Spring 2021 Ministerial Education Forums – Third Tuesdays
Due to the constraints of Zoom interactions, MEFs will have registration limits. If a registration is full, email Paul to be added to a waiting list. Please let us know if you need to cancel so your spot can be given to someone on the waiting list.

March 16: Stephanie Rader-Titzel - Mission Central and Connecting to Local Mission Possibilities
“Mission Central is about ‘Connecting God’s Resources with Human Need.’ This is accomplished by following three areas of focus…Mission Outreach, Mission Education and Disaster Response.” Mission Central – located in Harrisburg - partners with over 180 different organizations and they provide resources to groups who are doing humanitarian work locally, across the country and around the world. Stephanie will talk with us about connecting with Mission Central as well as how to tap into mission opportunities and organizations in our various counties. Lay persons and clergy welcome!
April 20: Dr. Bob Fogel - Personalities and Communication
How often have these words occurred to you after a meeting or a difficult conversation? What I could have said. . . . What I should not have said was. . . . What we say to others and how we say it is a complex process. Psychological personality type seen through the lens of Meyers-Briggs (commonly known as the MBTI©) provides a useful roadmap to engaging others with authenticity and integrity—and care. Come to learn about others and yourself! (Qualifies for Boundary Training.)

More event registration links here.
Poetry as Prayer Retreat will be rescheduled, registration is paused until new date is announced.
Lectionary Discussion Group continues in the new year! Join other clergy on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss the lectionary passages. NEW Zoom link 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.

The State of Women - March 4, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Looking Ahead:

General Synod "Rooted in Love: Special Edition"
General Synod 33 will take place Sunday July 11, 2021 – Sunday July 18, 2021. Pre-Synod events will occur on July 7-10, 2021. Learn more here
Since 2008, Retirement Housing Foundation has helped rebuild the lives of people impacted by these types of natural disasters. We are pleased to partner again with the United Church of Christ’s Disaster Ministries to help those impacted by this severe winter weather.

For those who choose to respond with a tax-deductible gift through RHF Charitable Foundation, donations received through April 30, 2021 will be matched up to a grand total of $50,000 and sent to UCC Disaster Ministries. (If we receive $50,000, RHF will respond with $100,000 in total aid.) 100% of the donations received will go directly to efforts supporting needs for shelter and food, clean-up, and essential repairs.

To participate in this matching opportunity, note “Disaster Relief” as the gift designation when you make your gift online or mail a check payable to RHF Charitable Foundation and send to:
RHF Charitable Foundation
911 North Studebaker Road
Long Beach, CA 90815
In 1975, the United Church of Christ honored two clergywomen with the first Antoinette Brown Award, celebrating the life and ministry of the first woman ordained into Christian ministry since biblical times as well as the lives and ministries of UCC clergywomen who exemplify Brown’s spirit of trailblazing leadership in church and society.
Nearly fifty years later, the pathways, thankfully, are considerably widened for women in ministry in the UCC. And there continues to be a call to lift up pioneers and innovators in our midst, women who lead in extraordinary ways and who make possible other women’s ministries. From now until March 15, 2021, we invite your nominations of trailblazers (UCC clergywomen who honor Antoinette Brown’s vision of women in leadership in church and society) as well as catalysts (collectives, projects, congregations, or organizations that serve as provocative spaces that advance women in ministry) below. Honorees will be celebrated at our online General Synod 33 in July 2021. The nomination form is attached and completed nominations can be sent to Rev Tara Barber at by March 15, 2021.

From our Partners & Friends:
Insurance Board

In collaboration with the Active Assailant Security division of CISA, two special Active Shooter training events specifically for member denominations of Insurance Board are being offered on 3/4/21 and 3/12/21. We encourage each church to take advantage of one of these free training opportunities to help them prepare for potential active shooter events. We recommend that churches sign up as quickly as possible. Thank you!
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry

Introduction to Worship Leadership and Liturgical Practices
April 10 – May 15, 2021

The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary is delighted to offer a new, six class series: Introduction to Worship Leadership and Liturgical Practices.
Taught by the Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma, this class will prepare worship leaders to plan, prepare, and practice congregational worship, rites, and rituals, especially baptisms, weddings, and funerals/memorial services.

Register and learn more here.
Mission Central's online auction starts this March. This is a great opportunity to support Mission Central and shop for yourself or others!

The auction runs March 4 - March 7, 2021 and all items can be found at Items will be added daily until the auction kicks off. Learn more here.
Penn North East Conference presents:

Congregational Leadership Training

What: Training for Congregational Boards, Councils and Consistories

When: Saturday, March 20, 2021 – from 9 am – 4 pm

Who: Congregational leaders, board members, board secretaries, board treasurers, pastoral
relations teams, and pastoral care teams

How: Register on this form or on line to

A Zoom link will be sent for the training
Cost: $25 each or $100 maximum per church

Topics covered: leadership basics, meeting management, defining core values, behavioral covenants, governance and ministry models, specific position training for Chairs, Vice-Chairs, Secretaries, Treasurers, Pastoral Care Teams, Pastor Relations Teams

Registration form here.
For $10, you can attend a morning of workshops on bivocational ministry, March 13, 8:30am–12:30pm. The Rev. G. Jeffrey MacDonald, author of Part-time is Plenty, will offer two workshops. (Many other workshops to choose from, too.) Sponsored by the Eastern PA Conference of the UMC, Tools for Ministry event. Persons of all denominations are invited to participate. (FREE registration for students.)
Save the Date! June 13th is ERHS Heritage Sunday
The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society looks forward to partnering with you in celebrating the continuing legacy of our historic E and R churches throughout the Penn Central Conference on Sunday, June 13th. Additional details are forthcoming. In the meantime, you can always visit us at and follow us on Facebook @erhistoricalsoc and Instagram @erhistoricalsociety
Employment Opportunities

The Brush Valley Fusion of Faith, a small, ecumenical (ELCA/UCC), rural congregation in Central Pennsylvania, seeks a temporary, part time pastor to fill in for 15 weeks while our pastor goes on Sabbatical. Current anticipated timeframe is between mid-July or early August and mid-November, 2021. Worship leadership and supply preaching required, plus 4-5 hours per week to be negotiated, which may include worship preparation, leading Bible Study and adult education, or other pastoral tasks. Visitation of a small number of shut ins, either in person or via phone, also requested. $300 per week, plus mileage. This will probably require you to be in person on Sunday morning only in the area of Rebersburg, Pennsylvania, as we hope to move back to in person worship by then, but may also a simultaneous phone conference option. No housing. Prefer someone who can be designated for this term by the UCC or who is ordained to Word and Sacrament in the ELCA.This may include ecumenical partners of both denominations. Seminarians encouraged to apply, and mentoring can be arranged for a seminarian who serves. Contact or call (814) 349-5515 for more information.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.
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, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 15

Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
phone: 717-719-1895
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
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