Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| September 29, 2021
Message to the Conference
Dear Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness." Jeremiah 33:14-16

The book of Jeremiah is filled with prophesies about how God is intimately with the Hebrew people, even as they have been exiled to Babylon. In chapter 29:11, one of my favorite verses, we read: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah is speaking the words of God to the Hebrews as they have lost everything: home, land, temple, culture. I have turned many times to the prophet Jeremiah as I have traveled through the ups and downs, uncertainties, sadness and grieving at different stages of my life journey.

During the staff meeting of the Conference yesterday, we contemplated the grieving that we have all experienced during this past year and a half: how pastors especially, and churches, have prayed and struggled and worked long and hard to keep church in the hearts and minds of the beloved even as buildings have been slow to open. We have rejoiced as the pandemic ebbed over the summer and we have slipped into trepidation as we are faced with the uncertainty of a variant. And we all may yearn for the words of God spoken through the prophet. And we may identify with Jeremiah’s lamentations for Israel and Judah as well. The staff also wondered how we can continue to help churches and pastors to keep the promise of hope and a future filled with good things, especially as we begin to anticipate the joy of awaiting the coming of the Light one more time at Christmas. How do we prepare our hearts during this season of Advent?

It is a blessed thing that Jeremiah 33 is our Hebrew Scripture lesson for the first Sunday in Advent for Year C. How appropriate a verse to meditate upon as we consider that we are not unlike the Hebrew people of old who were longing for relief, a fulfillment of the promise, awaiting “a righteous Branch to spring up for David.”

Our conversation yesterday was rich and full, as we realized lamentations and Advent, sorrow and anticipation of joy, being saviorless and anticipating a savior, allies us very much with the Hebrew people who heard the word of God spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined” Is that not our message from God as well? Especially this year? We indeed are a people who have walked in darkness—spiritually, physically, emotionally. And we await God’s promise for a great light to shine upon us.

For me, the road from lament to joy; from darkness to light; is more of a journey of realizing that no matter my plight, even if I make me bed in Sheol, (says the psalmist), God is with me intimately, tenderly, surely. Even if the darkness is slow to lift in the world of pandemic, even if I know sorrow and uncertainty in any aspect of my life, the light of God shines into the deep darkness to give me great comfort and show me a path forward.

May we each and all anticipate the Advent season: a season that we share with our ancestors in faith; a season that clearly tells us that God gives us hope; that God will break through onto this earth one more time; that God is with us as GOD always has been with us, with a light, God’s light, that shines into the deepest darkness.
Blessings and prayers to each and all of you,

The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Summaries of General Synod Resolutions:

Becoming a Church of Contemplatives in Action – Resolution Summary
By Sterling Fritz & Charlotte Pinette Read here...

Declare and Respond to Racism as a Public Health Crisis – Resolution Summary
By Shirley Keith Knox Read here...

A Resolution to recognize the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) - Resolution Summary
by Terry McGarry Read here...

The Alliance of Associate Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ Request to be Recognized as a Formal Group - Resolution Summary
by Shirley Keith Knox Read here...

Resolution to Ban the Practice of Conversion Therapy - Resolution Summary
by Alice Rauch Read here...

Declaration For a Just Peace Between Israel and Palestine - Resolution Summary
by Kathy Brown Read here...

Rights of Nature - “Who will speak for the trees?”
by Gail Landers Read here.

A Commitment to Gender Safety & Equity In Ministry Settings
by Shirley Keith Knox
This resolution calls the United Church of Christ to renewed accountability for the theology of equality that we have long professed as the United Church of Christ. In a climate of increased violence and hatred, where women in public leadership are targeted with intimidation by the highest office of government, women and non-binary clergy are uniquely vulnerable as they stand in the pulpit. Read more here

A Resolution To Advocate And Act To Change The Cash Bail Bond System To Eliminate Racial And Social Injustices Inherent In The Present System
by Shirley Keith Knox
This resolution calls on the United Church of Christ to advocate and act to change the Cash Bail Bond System in the individual states and United States of America to be more just to the economically disadvantaged. Read more here

A Resolution Encouraging To End 128 Years Of War Between The United States Of America And The Hawaiian Kingdom
by Shirley Keith Knox
This Resolution calls the United Church to actualize its historical commitment to justice and peace with the friendly Christian Hawaiian Kingdom nation whose constitutions are founded upon Christian values. Read more here
Scheduling notes:

October 3 - Richfield UCC, Richfield - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
October 3 - Hayshire UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
October 10 - Starview UCC, Mt. Wolf - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
October 17 - Shiloh UCC, York - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
October 17 - Peace UCC, Denver - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call 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...

Mt. Zion UCC, York
St. Stephen’s UCC, York
Shiloh UCC, York
Trinity UCC, York
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. Find them here:
Penn Central Conference is once again accepting applications for the PCC Innovation Grants which is for PCC churches who are looking for funding for a bold & innovative approach to ministry. Application can be found here, please email completed forms to Paul.
Local Church:

A church in PCC is looking for additional copies of The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration. They would like 30 to 50. If your church has some they were looking to sell or donate, please reach out to Paul and he will connect you!
Members of Christ Church UCC in Elizabethtown will continue to work to repair, update, and create new items for the Wittel Farm. Penn Central Conference of the UCC is in partnership with the Lutheran Camping Corporation which includes Wittel Farm. The Growing Project, at Wittel Farm, is a ministry to the community providing fresh produce to local food distribution centers for needy families.

Despite Covid restrictions, Christ Church is able to accomplish their local mission trip this year through this local outlet. Many fund-raising events and donations produced funds that will pay for the materials for the projects. Volunteers are welcome to help accomplish the work and projects which the Project Director, Pastor Matt Lenahan, provided.

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, October 2. Work will begin at 8:00 am and conclude at 3:00 pm. Lunch will be provided. Volunteers who are able to work less that the 7 hours are welcome. Give what time you are able.

Your help will enable Wittel Farm to continue to produce fresh vegetables for distribution to the food pantries in Lancaster County. Thank you.
Church World Services Bucket Project

Grace UCC, Lebanon has begun to collect the items to fill CWS buckets for those affected by disasters like Hurricane Ida. They will be collecting through the end of October. If you church would like to contribute, learn more here.
Outdoor Ministries Fall Events

Volunteer for The Growing Project through October at The Wittel Farm! This project reclaims a portion of the acreage for farming. The crops harvested are donated to assist those in need in Lancaster County. To volunteer as an individual, or a multi-generational group, youth group or family, contact Pastor Matt Lenahan at
For more information about this project, visit:
October 3; 3-5:30 p.m. @ Kirchenwald [Free]
Review your camp map, paint your face, and practice your cone zone celebration dance! Invite your friends and family – of all ages! - to join you in this Capture the Flag event. Campfire worship to follow.
October 5-7 @ Nawakwa [$150/person]
All meals (7) are included in the price and served at the Dining Hall. This mid-week retreat begins Tuesday morning and ends with lunch on Thursday. Lodging in Zinn-Tozer Lodge.

More events can be found here!
Clergy Events
Save the Date: Advent Planning
October 20, 2021 - 6:30PM via Zoom
More info to come! Register here.
Boundary Training – All Zooms unless otherwise noted, 2 credit hours
(read full descriptions here.)

October 13 6pm (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
October 25 10am (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
October 28 10am-1pm LIVE St. John’s in Lewisburg Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH) $10 (register and pay)
Fall 2021 Education Forums
Third Tuesdays at 10am LIVE ONLY at St. Thomas, Linglestown and 6pm ZOOM ONLY

October 19 with Rev. India Garnett – Rev. India has been doing webinars with Healing From Racism Programs out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and will bring her expertise and life experience to share with Penn Central clergy. We each come to these sessions with our own stories which are part of the whole of humanity. We are called to love each other as Jesus loves us. In so doing — in following His imperative, there is no room for guilt and shame. Guilt and shame serve no useful purposes and are diametrically opposed to Universal Love — Agape. So, let us gather in the heart attitude of learning more about each other and our perspectives. In Psalm 139:1-18 (NRSV), we are assured that we “are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Let us, therefore, embark upon this journey with God, learning of the awe and wonder of each other… (2 hours Anti-Racism Credit)
10am LIVE at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Register); 6pm Zoom (Register)
More Education Forums: (read full descriptions here.)

November 16 with Rev. Nora FoustChallenges of Living in Covenant
10am LIVE at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Register); 6pm Zoom (Register)
Penn Central Conference Lectionary Discussion Group - This group is open to all clergy, meets weekly on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss upcoming lectionary passages. Us this 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.

World Communion Sunday Worship - Sept. 29, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Ministry on the Move - Sept. 30, 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Copyright Concerns For Ministries:
During these challenging times, ministries rely heavily on the virtual environment and various electronic mediums to share the printed forms of inspiring poetry, quotes from prayer books and daily affirmations, as well as words from songs during worship and through other forms of ministry.
As a result, some ministries have been shocked to discover they are actually in violation of copyright infringement; join us as Heather Kimmel General Counsel, United Church of Christ, offers valuable information on how to help your ministry avoid this situation.
Join us on September 29th at 2:00 p.m. EST
If your local congregation wants to send contributions to the national offices, the best way to do so is via the conference. However, if you are sending any directly, please send to the updated address:

United Church of Christ
PO BOX 71957
Cleveland, Ohio 44194
PCC Board Member Rayna Cooper has put together a sheet of Afghan Resettlement Info and Training for Churches with links from the UCC and Church World Services. Click here for that list.
Global H.O.P.E. Kit Matching Grant Application (20-22)
- Grant Application will be awarded to churches that have submitted a completed Global H.O.P.E. Kit Matching Grant Application.
- Grant Applications for 2021 will be received through January 28, 2022. 
- Congregations that raise $250 or more (monetary or in-kind supplies) for Church World Service Kits are eligible to apply for a $250 matching grant from UCC Global H.O.P.E.
- Grant Applications must be accompanied by a completed W-9 form at
- 100% of Matching Grant funds must be used for purchasing supplies for the assembly of the CWS Kits or for processing costs ($3/Clean Up Bucket, $2/School or Hygiene Kit).
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry

Money and Ministry: A Theology for Congregational Leaders, Thursday, October 14, 7–8:30pm and Tuesdays, 7–8:30pm, Oct 19–Nov 16, 2021, via Zoom. Instructor: Mike Little, Director of Faith and Money Network. 2.5 CEUs. $325. Register by October 5.
From Our Partners and Friends
Pennsylvania Council of Churches:
Fruitbelt Farmworker Christian Ministry
Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 16, 10 am-2:00 pm
United Church Center, 900 S. Arlington Avenue, Harrisburg 17109
Bring your lawn chairs and join us for a day of music, prayer, food, fellowship, and fun! Learn more and print off a flyer here!
Clergy Spouses Connect Across Denominations

Groups are limited to eight participants to safeguard confidentiality and create a sacred space for healthy discussion. Each group initially runs for only six sessions, with an option for the group to decide to continue longer. Participants register for two “try it before you buy it” free sessions, before committing to four paid sessions at $20* per facilitated hour-long session. This fall, two different groups will meet:
  • Monthly - First Saturday mornings from November through April
  • Semi-monthly - First and third Tuesday evenings from November through January
Contact Julie to learn more or to register for either group by Friday, Oct 22, 2021.
*Financial assistance available on request. Learn more here.
Employment Opportunities
Zion UCC, Arendtsville job openings

The Choir Director directs a 15-member choir to prepare music for regular Sunday morning services. The choir director also works with the minister and the organist to plan special services. Duties include preparing music, scheduling choir practices, identifying soloists, and developing special music presentations. Salary compensation is negotiable.
The organist/pianist accompanies a 15-member choir at regularly scheduled Sunday morning services. Applicants must have the ability to play both the piano and the organ, and be prepared for weekly choir rehearsals. Duties include following the direction of the choir director and minister in planning musical services. This includes Sunday worship and special services. He/she must attend regularly scheduled and special choir rehearsals. Salary compensation negotiable.
POSITION OPENINGS: The Quentin UCC (Quentin, PA) is seeking a person to fill the position of choir director (approximately 15-20 persons). We are also looking to hire a church organist. If you’d like a copy of the job descriptions, please email the church office at Or you can send your resume directly to QUCC, P.O. Box 1138, Quentin, PA 17083
Position available: Church Musician
This 9 to 12 month position includes playing for weekly adult choir rehearsals, a scheduled single Sunday 10:30 a.m. worship service and occasional evening/special services. Proficiency with piano is required. We have two Yamaha studio upright pianos that are well maintained via regular tuning/maintenance. We also have the historic 1868 Durner tracker pipe organ that was restored in 1998 and is well maintained via regular tuning/servicing. Candidates will work with church/choir leaders in regearsing and planning musical material appropriate to the liturgical calendar. Candidates should send a litter of introduction and resume to or mail to St. John's UCC, PO Box 88, Boalsburg, PA 16827
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
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