Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| September 14, 2022

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Message to the Conference
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Members and friends of Penn Central Conference,

This week, we wanted to highlight these new Church World Services kits and matching grants available when your church wants to start creating them. Photo: Young volunteers sort supplies for 22 CWS Cleanup Buckets assembled at Medina UCC, Medina, Ohio. Photo by Becky Bauer.

Welcome Backpacks and Period Packs join CWS service kit lineup; matching grants available

by Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | published on Sep 2, 2022 on

United Church of Christ congregations have long assembled school kits and cleanup buckets to help others through Church World Service.

They now have two new opportunities. Church World Service Kits now include a Period (Menstrual Hygiene) Pack and a Welcome Backpack.

These join CWS’s well-established Hygiene and School Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets. And UCC churches assembling and donating any of the CWS Kits can apply for UCC Match Grants of up to $250 to help stretch their contribution.

For refugees, asylum seekers

That’s what Longswamp UCC in Mertztown, Pa., did. Church members had already started to fill 10 Welcome Backpacks when Jill Shade, the congregation’s 2022 missions “lead,” contacted the national office. She reached Craig Hoffman, Global H.O.P.E. program assistant, who administers the CWS Kits matching grants. Shade wanted to be sure that the congregation could apply for the $250 grant.

Welcome Backpacks are created to respond to needs of refugees or asylum seekers who’ve just arrived in the United States, carrying few if any possessions and sometimes still facing a long bus ride to their final destination. They are stocked with food bars, water, a blanket, crayons, a coloring book to occupy children, and more.

Hoffman not only confirmed Longswamp UCC could access the grant – the congregation became the first to receive matching grant money to assemble those backpacks.  

This is not the church’s first mission project to underscore its concern for refugees. Most recently, in April, Longswamp UCC contributed $1,150 to the denomination’s Ukraine Emergency Appeal.

“Many of our church members were excited to hear that we also were going to support refugees coming from Ukraine and other countries with Welcome Backpacks,” Shade said. ”They are another way our congregation can support refugees and immigrant families.”

Expensive hygiene

Church World Service developed the new Welcome Backpacks and Period Packs based on what CWS partners indicate “would be helpful to respond to the daily needs of the people they serve,” said Matthew Stevens, CWS director of congregational campaigns.

“Across our programs,” CWS President and CEO Rick Santos added, “we are seeing the impact of high costs making it more difficult for the families to afford household necessities.”

Affordability comes into play especially with Period (Menstrual Hygiene) Packs, which address what has come to be called “period poverty.”

The person in need could be an immigrant or refugee arriving to a border shelter or local resettlement office “with little more than the clothes on their backs,” Santos said, with no money or access to menstrual hygiene supplies. Or it could be someone who has lost everything to a disaster.

Implications at school

Or, as Ellen Nolan in Medina, Ohio, learned, it could be someone whose household simply cannot afford the estimated $13.25 a month per person for menstrual hygiene supplies, which are not covered by government assistance.

When Nolan and other members at Medina UCC talked about assembling discreet Period Packs for their menstruating teenagers to take to school, they quickly came face-to-face with their own families’ privilege and the extent of period poverty.

As Nolan told the Medina Weekly News, they learned that some of their children’s classmates skipped school when menstruating, because they did not have the products and did not want to be embarrassed. She said this was especially acute in families below the poverty line just struggling to put food on the table.

Church members also learned that many menstruating teens already relied on their school’s nurse to provide hygiene products each month – and that Proctor & Gamble had missed its latest annual donation of these products to the area schools.

Medina UCC stepped in to make a difference. An appeal brought an outpouring of donations from the Medina community. The Rev. Luke Lindon and congregants assembled 1,230 packs and shared them among 11 Medina County middle and elementary schools.

Nolan said the packs could become a regular outreach for the Medina UCC.

Powerful activity

Assembling Period Packs is easy and supports recipients’ dignity and health, Santos said.

The Rev. Amy Johnson would agree. As the UCC’s minister for sexuality education, she introduced Period Packs to the guests at her ordination at Wayside UCC in Federal Way, Wash., on Aug. 13.

“I bought contents for 50 Period Packs and asked people to participate in putting them together at the reception,” Johnson said. “As someone who works to dismantle shame and stigma about bodies and relationships, and to seek justice for all people, I am aware of period poverty and wanted to do something tangible as part of my ordination event.

“Many people commented about how wonderful and powerful the activity was.”

All CWS’s established kits remain very much needed. This summer, the Medina congregation also packed 22 Emergency Cleanup Buckets.

“This was a great project in which to involve our youth,” said Becky Bauer, a volunteer with the congregation’s local missions team. “They sorted items then worked together to fill the buckets.”

Kit and grant instructions

In 2021, thirty $250 grants totaling $7,500 allowed 30 churches to produce 202 Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 944 Hygiene Kits and 753 School Kits. CWS calculates the total value of these 1,899 items at $40,605.

Not all churches that assemble CWS Buckets and Kits apply for UCC matching grants. As CWS reported, at least 132 UCC churches assembled CWS Kits in 2021.

This CWS webpage provides complete information on how to assemble CWS Kits and where to send them. Congregations and agencies may request CWS Kits and blankets for their program needs from Digna Bautista, CWS Business Coordinator, at [email protected]

Churches can apply for UCC Matching Grants for CWS Kits here. Read a July 22 Encounters at the Well column, “Toward Period Equity for All,” by the Rev. Monica Dawkins-Smith, here.

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Items assembled to to build a Period Pack. Courtesy: CWS.

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Items assembled to build a Welcome Backpack. Photo by Longswamp UCC, Mertztown, Pa.,

Scheduling notes:

September 18 - St. John UCC, Denver - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

September 25 - Salem UCC, Harrisburg - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

September 25 - Shiloh UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

October 2 - Grace UCC, Spring Mills - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust 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...

First UCC, Carlisle

St. Matthews UCC, Carlisle

Salem Stone UCC, Carlisle

Trinity UCC, Cashtown

Local Church News
Congregation Granting, Scholarship and Leadership Development on the faith INFO team of Justice and Local Church Ministries has launched their common application for congregational grants for 2022. They are ready to receive applications. The common application allows grantees to apply for four different funding sources offered through Justice and Local Church Ministries: Neighbors in Need, Operational Support, CASA: New and Rebirthing Churches and the Pension Board New Church Start.
Below please find a link to the informational video that goes over frequently asked questions and walks through the grant application key aspects. Additionally, you will find the link for the application beneath it. Thank you for your assistance!
Grant Informational Video Link

Hybrid Hope

Church of the Future for Churches with a Future

Rev. Dr. Michael Piazza Workshop

Saturday October 1 from 9:00-2:00

Church of the Apostles United Church of Christ

1850 Marietta Ave. Lancaster, PA – (717)392-5718

Register here

Association Events
Kayak Vespers (on Land and Lake) at Lake Redman in Jacobus
Fellow members of the York Association!!
Please join fellow boaters for a 30-minute Vesper Service around 5 pm on September 25 at Lake Redman in Jacobus. Meet at the Muskie Pavilion; then gather for vespers on land or sea. Please bring a snack to share! Volunteers are needed to plan vespers and read. Boats may be available to rent, if ordered in advance. Please contact Pastor Martha Boyer, St Paul Church at 717 858-2991 for questions or more information! We will be including in prayer those in York County who are continuing to suffer hardship due to damage from Hurricane Ida in 2021.
This event will be live-streamed on the St. Paul Shrewsbury Facebook Page and available later on YouTube!

Sunday, September 25 - Installation Service of Rev. Heather Kurtz - Zion UCC, Arendtsville - 3:30PM

Sunday, October 9 - Installation Service of Rev. Brad Haws - St. John's UCC, Denver - 3:00PM

Sunday, October 16 - Installation Service of Rev. Carla Christopher - Heidelberg UCC, York - 3:00PM

Sunday, October 23 - Installation Service of Rev. Ken Peterkin - Emmanuel UCC, Hanover - 3:00PM

Clergy Events

PCC has launched a new monthly email just for clergy, with news, events and clergy transitions. If you did not get this month's email on Tuesday, please let Paul know.

We will be including some items in the eNews (see below), but please check out the full email here for more events and news!

Fall MEFs (10AM hybrid, 6PM Zoom) - now with registration links

September 20 - "Contemplatives in Action" with Janeen Adil

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom only - register here

Contemplatives in action may sound like a contradiction in terms. In fact, though, it's precisely the way of life and love that Jesus modeled for us. On Sept. 21st we’ll explore what it means to live as a contemplative in action, as together we open ourselves to transformative spiritual growth.

Our facilitator will be Janeen R. Adil, a spiritual director, writer, and teacher; within the United Church of Christ, she is Commissioned Minister of Christian Spirituality.

October 18 - "Humility as Spiritual Practice" with Rev. Dr. Nora Foust

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom only - register here

November 15 - "Just War, Just Peace - A 21st Century Discussion" with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PN Zoom only - register here

Boundary Training - now with registration links

September 29 - "Bi-Vocational Boundaries and Ethics" with Darryl Stephens

6PM via Zoom - Register here

Can ministry really be part-time? What is reasonable to expect of your bivocational pastor? How can pastors and congregations successfully navigate shared or bivocational ministry? This advanced boundaries training workshop is designed for clergy, MIDs, and consistory members as they consider issues distinct to bivocational or multivocational ministry. Topics include: time management, scheduling, and self-care; clarification of roles and responsibilities; and preparing the congregation for bivocational ministry.


The Rev. Dr. Darryl W. Stephens is director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry and director of United Methodist Studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

October 17 - Retired Clergy Boundary Training with Revs. Tara Barber, Stephen Boyd, and Rev. Melanie Oommen

Maintaining healthy boundaries is challenging at any stage in ministry and it is particularly tender and difficult attending to boundaries as we transition out of our last call, and while in retirement. Using "A Sure Foundation," "The Ministerial Code" and Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperley's new book, "The Jubilee Years,” Rev. Stephen Boyd, Rev. Tara Barber, and Rev. Melanie Oommen will offer a focused Boundary Awareness Training for those entering and living in retirement. Note - This training completes individual requirements for boundary training ONLY WHEN authorized by a local Committee on Ministry. 6:00 – 9:00pm via Zoom - register here

November 9 - "The Ministerial Code: A Way of Being" with Rev. Dr. Nora Foust

10:00AM hybrid - register here

6:00PM Zoom - register here

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.

The Birth of a Movement: A 40th Anniversary Retrospective - September 14, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Just Peace Churches and the Disruptive Power of Peace! - September 15, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

How to Grow A Movement: Invest to End Racism September 15, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

40th Annual Parker Lecture & Awards Ceremony - September 22, 8:00 am - 10:00 am

Shared Learning From the Disarmament Movement - September 22, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

New OWL materials available! Designed for use with parents and caregivers of children and teens, this free PDF resource can be downloaded here.

Produced jointly by the UCC and the Unitarian Universalist Association, they’re the latest offerings from Our Whole Lives. The two denominations have occasionally expanded and updated the unique curriculum and its companion, Sexuality and Our Faith, since introducing it in the 1990s.

"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.

The Space Between: The Emerging Church in a Post-Pandemic World
September 19, 2022 – September 21, 2022

Join us to reflect on what we've moved through as church experiencing pandemic, to recognize the innovative ways we have survived and in some ways thrived: What did we learn when faced with the need to pivot quickly and still be effectively present as church? Where do we need to stretch ourselves? What and how do we need to build capacity to resource how we're evolving as church? What might we each offer to help us become? These and other questions will be contemplated as we lean in to lessons learned about adapting with agility, and unpack potential possibility. Learn more and register here.
From our friends and partners

Christianity in America: Sacred or Supremacist?

Presented by PA Council of Churches Ministry of Public Witness

Colonial Park UCC 5000 Devonshire Rd, Harrisburg, PA 17109

October 6, 2022 11:30am to 4:15pm

To be live-streamed to satellite locations throughout Pennsylvania.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Robert P. Jones

This dialogue on Christian Nationalism is a topic of rising interest in a critical election year where many candidates are describing themselves as members of this movement. Dr. Jones’ presentation will be followed by a panel discussion which, in addition to him, includes:

  • Marilyn Mayo, Senior Research Fellow, Center on Extremism, Anti-Defamation League, addressing anti-Semitism in the movement;
  • Rev. Dr. Gregory Edwards, Founder and Senior Pastor, Resurrected Life Community Church, United Church of Christ, Allentown, addressing racism and white supremacy; and
  • Rev. Jennifer Butler, Founder in Residence, Faith in Public Life, addressing a scriptural response to the movement.
  • Dr. Greg Carey of Lancaster Theological Seminary will moderate.

Learn more and register here.

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)

Upcoming Classes:

Church Finances, Oct 11–Nov 15. Tuesdays, 7–8:30pm. Instructor, Lovett Weems. Practical skills for creating and presenting budgets grounded in the church’s mission, expanding means of giving and sources of income, presenting accurate tracking and reporting of giving, proper financial administration of funds, and exploring new options for funding ministry. For pastors and lay leaders. 2.5 CEUs. $125.


Information and Registration:

2022 Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness Conference
September 22, 2022

This workshop is designed to improve the knowledge in the business continuity planning areas related to an armed intruder incident. It is intended for professionals from the public and private sectors as well as faith-based organizations responsible for business continuity planning and emergency planning. This workshop is free of charge courtesy of the South Central PA Task Force, Millersville University and grants from US DHS! Seating is limited so register soon.
Employment Opportunities

Office Administrator - Christ Church UCC, Elizabethtown

The Office Administrator provides administrative support for Christ Church UCC, Elizabethtown's pastors and lay leaders and coordinates church-wide communications. The Office Administrator position is Part Time—4 days per week, 7 hours per day, 28 hours total.


The Office Administrator should have education and/or training and/or experience in secretarial, clerical and computer skills—specifically in databases and publishing software; mainly MS Publisher, MS Word both for word processing, skill in inter-personal relationships, ability to honor confidences, and organize and implement an office routine.

The Office Administrator should have education and/or training and/or experience in secretarial, clerical and computer skills—specifically in databases and publishing software; mainly MS Publisher and MS Word, bookkeeping and accounting skills, skill in inter-personal relationships, ability to honor confidences, and organize and implement an office routine.

Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg
(Available Immediately)
Full-Time: 52 weeks per year
37.5 Hours per week
The purpose of this position is to provide administrative support for the pastor, staff, Council, and committees. This person is appointed and dismissed by CPUCC Council and reports to Senior Pastor. Read full description here.
The communities of United Church of Christ Homes are seeking to fill several positions for Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Dining Service Assistants. If you or someone you know is looking for a new employment opportunity, please visit the UCC Homes Employment Opportunities page on our website at for more details. Our communities include The Lebanon Valley Home in Annville, Thornwald Home and Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home in Carlisle, Ephrata Manor in Ephrata and Kindred Place at Annville and Kindred Place at Harrisburg.  

These highlighted employment opportunities are also available:
Information Technology Specialist: UCC Homes is seeking an Information Technology Specialist for a full-time position for an experienced individual to install, troubleshoot, and maintain computer software, hardware, and accessories, as well as network hardware and accessories for a multi-site healthcare organization. 
Benefits include: Insurance coverage beginning the first of the month after hire! Employee Health Insurance for $40/month! $20 Doctor Office Visits with Prescription coverage; Free Dental Insurance with no deductible for preventive services! Two Vision Coverage Options to choose from! Free Life Insurance equal to your annual salary! AMAZING company-paid retirement plan! Pet insurance plan available! Other voluntary insurances available! Subject to reasonable accommodations for religious or medical reasons, proof of vaccination against COVID-19 virus is a condition of employment for this position. Please mail or email resume and letter of interest to: United Church of Christ Homes, 30 North 31st Street, Camp Hill, PA 17011; [email protected].
Director of Nursing: Ephrata Manor is seeking a Director of Nursing. This is an exempt full-time position for a caring individual with exceptional organization, communication, and multi-tasking skills and a focus on quality resident care. The successful candidate will be a PA Licensed RN or BSN (in good standing) with three years of management experience in senior living care. Must have a thorough knowledge of Pennsylvania State and Federal regulations, MDS 3.0, CMI, UMR, QM, Care Planning Process. Excellent wages and benefits including retirement plan. Please mail or fax resume and letter of interest to: Heather Brand, Executive Director, Ephrata Manor, 99 Bethany Road, Ephrata, PA 17522; 717-738-7478 FAX by August 19, 2022. Subject to reasonable accommodation for religious or medical reasons, proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus is a condition of employment for this position.
Social Worker: Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home is seeking a Social Worker for a regular full-time position. Bachelor's Degree in Social Work is required. Excellent wages and benefits including retirement plan. Subject to reasonable accommodation for religious or medical reasons, proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus is a condition of employment for this position.  Interested persons should please mail, e-mail or fax resume and letter of interest to Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home, Attn: Erin Jayman, 1000 West South Street, Carlisle, PA 17013; [email protected]; (717) 245-9733.
Director of Social Services: Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home is seeking a Director of Social Services for a full time-exempt position. Bachelor's Degree in Social Work or related human services field and one year in long-term care experience is required. Excellent wages and benefits including retirement plan. Subject to reasonable accommodation for religious or medical reasons, proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus is a condition of employment for this position.  Interested persons should please mail, fax or email resume and letter of interest to Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home, Attn: Erin Jayman, 1000 West South Street, Carlisle, PA 17013; (717) 245-9733 FAX; or to [email protected]. EEOE.

UCC National Positions:

Faith Education, Innovation & Formation (Faith INFO)

Team Lead & Minister, Faith Education, Innovation & Formation Close Date: October 3, 2022

OPTIC - Marketing and Communications (MarCom) Digital Content Specialist Close Date: September 30, 2022

Human Resources (HR) Human Resources Generalist Close Date: September 30, 2022

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: [email protected]. If interested, please mail or email resume to: Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, Attn: Search, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603
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. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Phone: 717-433-3564

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: [email protected] | phone: 717-652-1560
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