Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| November 16, 2022

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Message to the Conference

Greetings Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other…rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

(1 Thessalonians 5:11a, 16-18, NRSV)

Yesterday I was part of a meeting on Zoom with our General Minister and President John Dorhauer and other Conference Ministers. Our GMP asked us what was heaviest on our minds as we look at a new living-with-Covid reality. Several things were raised, and I want to share the top two concerns so that you know what’s happening in the wider church – and what I pray our response will be. 

Numerous clergy across the denomination have reported that their congregations are not returning to in-person worship. Naturally, some members have returned and there are some clergy who have not felt this particular sting. For others, this is a source of confusion, hurt, and even despair. The reasons for the lack of return are mixed. Some still feel under threat of Covid (particularly older members) while others have adapted to a new way of life that doesn’t include church. The reasons are many. The face of our worship life is different now. In some places, local church pastors have prayed for God to call them to a new (secular) vocation. Others are retiring early or seeking calls other than a local parish. The changes to in-person worship have affected our leaders deeply.

While the ‘delayed return’ is a recent development, the other topic raised has been building for some time and now appears to have reached a tipping point. I am referring to the clergy shortage and the difficulty we face in finding and securing clergy for our churches. Available (and interested) clergy profile numbers have bottomed out. Several colleagues agreed this was the primary crisis in their Conferences. When the Conference and Associate Conference Ministers meet in two weeks in Atlanta, we will find a way to make sure this topic receives the attention it requires. In the meantime, however, I want to acknowledge this is a crisis for our Conference as well. There are multiple forces that bring us to this place: decrease in numbers overall, various changes in seminaries, decline of interest in parish ministry, and the role of the church in the wider culture, to name a few. It is a complicated problem. 

This information is not meant to depress or dissuade you. Instead, I want you to know that you are not alone if you have felt discouraged, confused, conflicted, or even despairing about the church and your role in it. There will be no quick fix. However, your PCC staff members are deeply committed to seeking root causes, encouraging deep conversation, providing needed help, and navigating through these troubled waters. We are joined by our other Pennsylvania colleagues who are also committed to seeking, encouraging, providing, and navigating. What we experience here in Penn Central is a microcosm of the entre denomination. We are not alone. You are not alone.

In closing I ask three things of you: First, pray for one another and for our churches. Bring the state of the church into your daily prayer and Sunday worship. Pray for perseverance, hope, insight, and inspiration. Pray for our clergy by name. Pray for churches searching for a new pastor. Pray for the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Second, please tell your clergy and clergy colleagues that their ministry matters. Thank them for how they have touched your life or helped to sustain you. Pull in closer to one another and intentionally build each other up. Ask them how they are and if there are ways you can help. Bake bread for them, share meals together, read scripture in preparation for Sunday. Demonstrate in person that we are not alone.

Finally, do not be afraid. With Jesus as our teacher and guide, we will lean into the challenges we face. Do not shy away from the truth about what is happening in the church. God calls us to encounter the present and the future without fear. In the place of fear then, let us pray ourselves forward, step by step, trusting completely in God’s providence and the presence of Christ beside us. Building on that trust, there is nothing we cannot face together as God’s people.




Rev. Dr. Carrie Call

Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

Scheduling notes:

November 20 - Trinity UCC, East Petersburg - 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...

Emmanuel UCC, Hanover

Grace UCC, Hanover

St. David's (Shermans) UCC, Hanover

St. Paul's (Dubs) UCC, Hanover

Local Church

25th Anniversary Organ Concert and Art Exhibit to Usher in

Sestercentennial at Himmel’s Church

Dan Dorty, accompanist for Men in Harmony and the Susquehanna Chorale, will present an organ concert on Sunday evening, November 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Himmel’s Church, on Covered Bridge and Schwaben Creek Road, Dornsife. The event will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the installation of the Patrick J. Murphy Associates Pipe Organ. A brief demonstration of the organ and variations on hymns will comprise the majority of the concert.

In 1818, when the stone edifice was built, the remaining money left over from the construction in the amount of $800 was used to purchase a pipe organ built by Christian Dieffenbach. That organ had eight stops and a 51 note manual. It was used until 1953 and was destroyed in a fire in 1959. Himmel’s Church became known as the “organ church” in the 1800s because it was one of few churches that had an organ at the time. With the construction of a new building in 1960 an electric organ was purchased and used until 1997. When older members were asked about their memories of Himmel’s, one of the most common responses was that they remembered Charles Herbie Rebuck, the sextant, operating the bellows for the organist.  Fond memories prompted the wish to purchase a pipe organ which was realized 25 years ago. The Patrick Murphy pipe organ has multiple options for great, swell and pedal.

In addition to the organ concert, the event will also feature a small art exhibit of locally done paintings and artwork of the various buildings that have existed over the 250 years of Himmel’s existence and be the kick off for the 2023 sestercentennial celebration. A love offering will be taken after the service using a replica of the “Klingelsack,” the wooden handled pole with a metal ring with an attached cloth bag and bell that was used during early church services to collect the offering. 

To make the event even more memorable and to usher in the Advent season, cookies baked from heirloom family recipes, will be served following the concert in the adult Sunday school room where the art exhibit can also be viewed. The public is invited to attend this special event. 

Available Free, May Be Picked Up At Trinity UCC, 2340 State St., East Petersburg, PA:

32 Used Blue Children and Youth Choir Robes, some white yokes to go with them and assorted metal crosses

34 Used Cranberry Adult Choir Robes plus one with a broken zipper, some Cranberry and White Stoles (stoles mostly badly stained)

Trinity UCC

2340 State St.

East Petersburg, PA 17520

Contact Michael or Dina Slechta

Association Events

November 27 - Ordination Service for Allyssa Boyer - St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg - 3:00PM

December 4 - Ecclesiastical Council for Julia Brown - 3:00PM

Outdoor Ministries

ADVENT DAY APART at The Wittel Farm

December 3

We don’t like to wait for anything, and especially Christmas. With all its secular attraction, this holiday is often a focus on over-indulgence, and too often neglected is the best gift of all… one worth our waiting. You are invited to The Wittel Farm for a day apart from the busyness of life for prayer and contemplation as we journey toward the celebration of Christmas. $15 registration includes lunch.

More Information -

Clergy Events

Fall 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

Boundary Training - POSTPONED

November 30 (new date) - "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.

“Introduction to Christian Contemplative Practices” with Matt Carriker

NOV 17, 2022 | 12:00PM -

Becoming a Creation Justice Church

NOV 17, 2022 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Celebration of Harvest and Ministry in Yunnan Province, China

NOV 30, 2022 | 8:00PM - 9:00PM

The UCC "Climate Hope Cards" art contest is still open through November 29th! Eight PCC churches have already participated but there is still time for your congregation to join in. Learn more about the program here.

"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.

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

From our friends and partners

Abuse Prevention Considerations: Keeping Your Ministry Safe

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 @ 2pm EST

Featuring: Christy Schiller – Vice President of Account Services, Praesidium.

Failure to discover a sex offender can affect those in your care, your reputation, financial stability, and trust within the community. Join us on November 30th at 2 p.m. EST to learn about targeted solutions that will strengthen your ministry’s abuse prevention efforts. Register here

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: 

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

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

OPTIC - Philanthropy

Generosity Officer (Southern Region) Close date: 11/30/22

Generosity Officer (Western Region) Close date: 11/30/22

Generosity Officer (Middle Atlantic) Close date: 11/30/22

Generosity Officer (West Central) Close date: 11/30/22

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.

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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