Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| July 8, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends and Family of Penn Central Conference :

Psalm 147:3 God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Look at this rock! I know it looks like a regular old rock, but it holds incredible meaning for me. This rock has been on my mind (and in my hands) a lot recently.

I have had this rock for 25 years. What I love about this rock is the way it is both rough and smooth. You can’t tell in the picture but the bottom near my pinky is glassy smooth while the rest of the rock is bumpy and every line and dent can be felt. I have no idea what broke this rock. But in the years following the break, this rock lay in running water that combined with time to bring a solid healing.

To the geologists out there, please don’t ruin my rock. I don’t know, nor have I tried to study the type of rock or the science of how this came to be. I only know that when I am down or feeling less than whole, this rock – held lightly or tightly, in my hand or in my mind – restores my soul.

Well, God restores my soul, but this rock is the tangible thing on which I focus while God does the transformative work. During the pandemic, I have frequently gone to this rock. I trace the lines and bumps and dents. I run my fingers over the edges and across the flat side. I pray for God to work in me and prepare my spirit to work for, bring about, and usher in a necessarily changed society. I hope for smooth edges as communities do the work of coming back together in new and safe ways. I seek ways to address the systemic impacts of centuries of racism. I push myself to recognize implicit biases I carry. I read scripture and listen for God’s still speaking voice instructing and calling me today.
Do you have a “rock?” How have you prepared for re-entry to the world? In what ways are you inviting God’s transformative work in your spirit?

Full disclosure, this rock came from the river at my childhood church camp and I can’t hold it in these days and not also reflect on the closure of our Hartman Center. I have a short history with Hartman Center, but I know this loss cuts deep for so many. It is a thin place, as the Celtic Christians might say; a place where so many of us encountered God in transformative and memorable ways. It is right to grieve the loss of this special place. Share memories, tell stories and celebrate all the ways that Hartman Center has made a lasting impact. And know that through it all, God is holding and healing your broken heart.

Join us on September 12th as we decommission the space and say a collective farewell. Plan your own visit through Zach Hassman for a personal time of thanksgiving.

May we all look to God for the transformative and healing work that is needed individually and communally as we grieve so many losses and changes these last few months have held.


Celebrating Hartman Center

A digital worship service is being put together to be available early July. We want your testimonials! Please, take a moment to record a video sharing some words about what Hartman Center means to you and send them to so that we can include lots of different voices in this sacred time.

Our social media accounts will be hosting a “Month of Hartman Center Memories” throughout the month of July. So get your pictures and stories ready and check out the calendar on the Facebook page here.

“Hartman Hikes” will take place each Sunday from July 12th-August 2nd. Participants are asked to register, bring a mask, maintain social distance, and bring a packed lunch.
  1. Northern & Central, 07/12, register here!
  2. Gettysburg & Mercersburg, 07/19, register here!
  3. Harrisburg & York, 07/26, register here!
  4. Lancaster & Lebanon, 08/02, register here!

A Service for the Decommissioning of Hartman Center will take place September 12th [Date Changed] at Hartman Center, which will include a hike.
Scheduling Notes:

Thursday July 2 - Wednesday July 8 - C. Paul Keller will be on vacation. He will reply to emails and phone messages when he returns.
Monday July 6 - Sunday July 19 - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call will be on vacation. She will reply to emails and phone messages when she returns.
Friends , we want to share a music resource with you from Rev. Scott Silciliano . He is posting traditional, contemporary and original hymns on his YouTube channel and offers them to you for use in worship as we continue to navigate worship in creative ways. Please be sure to share links with your congregation and include your CCLI or ONELicense information to cover lyrics (and be sure your license covers that particular song.) If using an original song, please contact Scott at .

There's also a virtual choir video that was produced by Convergence Leadership for Pentecost Sunday that's great. You can download it from their website with permission and use it in virtual services. It's a setting of a well-known African American Spiritual with new lyrics. Scott is one of the accompanists in the video.
These are Hard Times for Clergy.
Penn Central Conference, in response to the difficult situations, news, and decisions of the past months and weeks, the Conference wants to inform you of three things:
1.      These are very stressful times . Please reach out to our Clergy Care Facilitator ( Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler ) if you or someone you know needs support. This is confidential and pastoral. No matter what the issue, please reach out.
2.      Penn Central is in the process of creating an anti-racism program for clergy to begin at the close of summer. We will be providing information about a text soon (so you can read over the summer) along with our follow-up plans for clergy gatherings and discussions.
3.      Let us know what you need. We are committed to serving everyone in this Conference, so please send us your suggestions and ideas about how we can best provide you with support, education, and communication in these trying times.
4. The Congregational Empowerment Team is ready to assist churches and congregations in the complicated decisions facing them in this season. Read more about the CET here.
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...

Mount Bethel UCC, Mill Hall
St. John UCC, Milton
Trinity Reformed UCC, Mountville
Zion (Gosherts) UCC, Mt. Zion
From our friends at Mission Central
Thank you for your support in making Mission Central Care Kits and for setting a goal of 500 (almost 3 per church!) We are grateful for the support of the Penn Central Conference.

In 2019, these Care Kits were distributed throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as internationally to the Philippines, Belize, Niger, Cuba, Ghana, Dominica and Sierra Leone.

As needs have increased, we expect these to immediately go out within our communities in Pennsylvania.

We are grateful for your support!
This is our mission project for Annual Meeting 2020. Please email Sherry Spencer ( ) or Shirley Keith Knox ( ) if you have any questions. Click here for a flyer to share with your congregation and friends.
General Synod 33 to be a virtual experience

For the first time ever, the United Church of Christ General Synod will gather virtually in 2021. The biennial gathering is moving entirely online next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Church of Christ Board made this historic decision this week after considering a number of factors. Read more here...
Every four years for four decades, the United Church of Christ's  National Youth Event  has attracted young people from all over the denomination for high-energy inspiration, faith-building and educational activities, community service, and in-the-moment actions for social justice.
Now, like so many other events in the Year of the Coronavirus, the live event has been postponed, with online opportunities taking its place this summer (including live chats, a playlist and more.) Learn more here .
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

Aug 2 - Ordination of Gary Nottis at St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 3:00PM (Rev. Nora Foust attending)

Association Meetings

July 28 - Harrisburg Association Northern Cluster Meeting - St. Peter's - 7:00PM
Clergy Events
 Boundary Training & Ministerial Excellence Forums

Boundary Training - July 15, 2020
The pandemic season has brought a host of new boundary challenges to many clergy among us. Among the most recent challenges is responding to the injustices in the headlines that have brought demonstrators and protesters to the streets. Join Rev. Nora Foust for a discussion of boundaries in this season. Discussion topics will include: Self-care in crisis, digital presence, performative ally-ship and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

This will be a zoom discussion with 2 credit hours for Boundary Training. You must register in order to receive the zoom link. Registration is limited to 20 participants in each session.
To Register for 10am:
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
To Register for 6:30pm:
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For other boundary training options, Convergance offers an online course.
PCC Clergy Book Study: How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

Completion of all four components will earn 4 hours of Antiracism Training and
2 hours of Boundary Training. You will have July and August to read the book and respond in writing to reflection questions. Discussion groups via Zoom will follow in September. Register now, space is limited. Registration links and more information here.
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting via Zoom - August 29, 2020
Hiring Information:
Executive Director – Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light
(Half-time position)

We are seeking a visionary: a flexible and creative individual who can help guide PA IPL into the next decade, particularly with the work of expanding and deepening the organization’s base of support and of helping PA IPL realize its broader goals from its strategic plan such as clarifying our organizational identity (rebranding and diversifying stakeholders), developing more focused programming, and building the necessary internal infrastructure to see PA IPL into the future. Learn more here.
Office Experience Required
24 hrs./week ($15/hr.) – M-F
Proficiency in: Microsoft Publisher, Word, and Excel
Learn more here...
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at LTS

Nondegree classes are ideal for:
  • Lay Ministers already pastoring churches
  • Pastoral Leaders in part-time or bi-vocational ministries
  • Individuals in discernment
  • Laity serving Christian denominations and independent churches

Register by August 7, 2020
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon

Northern and Central Association Churches
Carolyn Herman

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. Richard Luciotti

Staff Directory
Rev. Carrie Call, PhD
Transitional 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
Associate Conference Minister

Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
phone: 717-719-1895
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
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