"They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season." Psalm 1:3b
“Rooted in Love” is the theme for this year’s special online edition of General Synod. Events have only just begun the weeklong Synod. The Penn Central Delegation along with staff and a thousand or so others from across the wider church have joined via livestream for Opening Worship and Plenary on Sunday evening and a keynote speaker on Monday. We have already passed three resolutions and workshops and other special events fill each one’s computer screens.
Knowing that I would be addressing the conference today, I have been listening for quotes that might help share Synod with each of you. For months I have been encouraging any of you to register and participate as a visitor since this Synod is so easy for so many to join. And it is not too late for you to join worship tonight at 8pm or next Sunday at 6pm on the UCC’s YouTube channel. You can also sign up for workshop packages for on demand viewing at www.generalsynod.org.
There have been a few lines here and there that are still floating around in my head, but one big idea keeps rising to the top. In Monday night’s keynote, Valarie Kaur spoke about love being a “choice we make again and again and again.” Valarie is a Sikh activist who seeks to birth the beloved community here in our midst. She spoke with deep emotion that filled our virtual space as she shared stories of the hate that she has witnessed and experienced first-hand. Her address and the revolutionary love that she outlined gave me and all viewers a lot to chew on. Her book “See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love” moved quickly onto many reading lists if following the #UCCSynod can be believed.
I agree with her on this point about love as a choice. It is indeed a decision that we must continually make as we go about our daily lives. Admittedly it is often hard for me to choose to love someone who has caused me or others I care about pain, but I do try and I encourage those around me to look for the Divine Presence in each one and to see the image of God in the other. Kaur noted that as long as we see others as others, it is harder to choose love. She acknowledged the real challenge and shared a tool for meeting it.
I was excited to hear her tell us to turn to wonder. This past Sunday I talked with the congregation at Grace in Greencastle about turning to wonder in order to keep our hearts and minds from judgement, specifically regarding Michal in Sunday’s scripture. I shared that perhaps we didn’t know the whole story that resulted in her change of heart. I wondered if she was sad to be excluded from the celebration or mourning Uzzah’s death. I talked about using wonder to try to see things from another’s point of view and how this might soften our hearts toward them.
This was Valarie’s point too. Wondering will help widen our perspective. And may even open our hearts. It will not happen in an instant but is worth the pursuit.
I have been told that my sermons always take a turn toward living the commandment to love one another. Wonder is yet another tool in the bag to equip us in loving. Just once today, choose love, on purpose and check in on your heart afterwards.
Rev. Nora Foust
Associate Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
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.
July 18 - St. John's, Boalsburg - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
July 18 - Heidelberg UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
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, Richland
St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento
Salem - Walmers UCC, Annville
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: https://pccucc.org/covid-19-resources/
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.
Colonial Park UCC has 17 bread and 16 juice trays for communion they would like to donate to a church who may need a set like this.
Another church has a silver communion set they would like to find a home for.
Check out the all new Outdoor Ministries page on the PCC websitehere!
And a history of Hartman Center is hosted on the PCC website here.
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.
Go Green Sunday
August 8, 2021
Mt. Zion UCC, York
"Dr. Joe" Utterback live in concert!
Friday, August 20, 7PM - Free Admission
Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg
Chapel Hill UCC, Lemoyne
Chapel Hill will be hosting an open house on SUNDAY, JULY 18!
Join us for our 10 AM worship service. Afterwards plan on staying and enjoying a Farm Show milk shake from the Dairymen’s Assoc. vendor truck and a delicious sandwich from the Bucky’s Festival Food truck. We will have games available and will be giving tours of our new facility. This is a community event! Everyone is welcome.
Chapel Hill Church
1019 Mumma Road
Lemoyne, PA 17043
Salem's Closet, a ministry of Salem UCC Harrisburg, will re-open on August 7 from 10-12AM. Curated clothing, toys and small household items are offered to those in need in our community. Salem is located at 231 Chestnut Street in downtown Harrisburg. Free parking is available for four hours on Saturday by downloading the Parkmobile app and using the code LUVHBG at checkout.
Sunday, August 29 - Lancaster Association Ordination Service for Joao Teixeira - 3:00PM - Wisdom’s Table at St. Peter’s. The service will be in-person and live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.
These webinars are designed to help you enhance your local church ministries. Most are free to attend. Check out the calendar here.
The MESA team offers regular zooms for Committees on Ministry and will offer a Special Boundary Event on August 23rd from 7:30-9pm. Click on the title to register.
In their book “Saying No to Say Yes” (written by David C. Olson and Nancy G. Devor), we are invited into a discernment process that engages our family of origin legacies alongside systems thinking and an astute sense of life in ministry. The authors write, “Part of our job as clergy is to model an understanding of who saves us—and for what. It is our job to preach, teach, and live a gospel that doesn’t depend on human over-functioning but on God’s grace. Ultimately, such a life enables us all to become masters of renunciation: saying “a hundred nos for the sake of an overwhelming Yes.”
While this is true for pastors, it is also true for congregations and other ministry settings. In a time where we face the tension between “going back” to how it used to be and forging ahead to a new way of engaging in ministry, it will be vitally important to discern what nos will allow us to say YES to the future God imagines. Take some time to read the book and join us in conversation with COMs, PPRCs, pastors, and congregational leaders.
The Lebanon Valley Home, a continuing care retirement community affiliated with United Church of Christ Homes, is seeking a compassionate and resident focused team member for the position of Chaplain. This position is Part Time (15 hours per week).
The primary duty of the Chaplain is to provide spiritual support and comfort for the residents of the facility in coordination with the resident’s home congregation.
The chaplain will communicate a caring friendship with a tolerant attitude for multiple cultural traditions and a wide range of spiritual beliefs. The chaplain will offer encouragement and support to clergy and churches as they continue to minister to the needs of their members.
The chaplain will be available to offer comfort to the individual as well as the family. During difficult times, sensitivity and compassion are requisite for the spiritual support needed by all involved; the resident, family, and staff.
Providing comfort for the dying is a key part of the Chaplain's job as well as coordinating and conducting regularly scheduled religious services for residents.
Requirements – Must be an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ with a minimum of one year experience in a pastoral ministry as well as one unit Clinical Pastoral Education.
A resume and letter of interest should be submitted to:
Meredith Schell Fields
The Lebanon Valley Home
550 East Main Street
Annville PA, 17003
Fax (717) 867-7060
Trinity United Church of Christ in Waynesboro, Pa. is looking for a Director of Faith Formation and Programming. The position is part-time (20-25 hours per week) and is open beginning August 1st, 2021. The Director position will be responsible for developing programs for youth, adults and children from pre-school age through fifth grade. The Director will engage children with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Director will be responsible for providing leadership and effective communication for youth and adult Sunday School classes and other Christian Formation offerings (such as Vacation Bible School, book studies, outdoor education, etc.). The Director will engage all ages with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Full description here.
Christ in Selinsgrove is looking for a part-time Youth Leader who will build up
our children and youth programs. The candidate is to closely connect with and
relate well with children, youths and their families, should be tech savvy, work well in a team, and have all necessary clearances. Compensation is based on 20 hrs/week at $15-18/hr based on education and experience. St. Paul’s UCC is an Open and Affirming Congregation that extends an extravagant welcome to all of God’s children reflecting God’s unconditional love by celebrating diversity and inclusion. The individual best fit to fill this position will be dedicated to collaborating closely with church leadership to revitalize the
youth programming at St. Paul’s following the disruption caused by the pandemic
PT Director of Music - Christ Church UCC, an ONA congregationin Elizabethtown, PA seeks a candidate to lead worship through music and oversee the church’s music program. The candidate will possess strong skills in music, leadership, cooperation, organization, and recruitment. A music degree or equivalent experience, broad knowledge of church music, and a willingness to grow the music program are required. Salary up to $19,975 depending on background and experience.
The responsibilities include:
Director of Music (Approx. 3-5 hours required/week)
Oversee and coordinate the overall music ministry of six choirs
Meet regularly with pastors to plan worship
Coordinate special music for worship services
Chancel Choir Director (Approx. 10 hours required/week)
PT Musician Position - We're looking for someone to assist with the casual service at St. Thomas UCC in Linglestown. This person would help to plan worship, coordinate musicians, and lead the music for Sunday services by playing (keyboard or guitar) and singing. This is a paid, part-time position; for more information, contact Dan Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ST. PAUL'S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA
The Administrative Assistant is an employee of St. Paul's United Church of Christ, hired by Consistory, working under the supervision of the Pastor and Consistory.
· The Administrative Assistant is responsible for assuring the timely and accurate completion of all assignments to effectively meet the needs of the church.
· This on-site hourly position is responsible for providing administrative support services to St. Paul's for 35 hours per week.
· The Administrative Assistant provides support for a variety of people such as the Director of Music, Director of Christian Education / Youth Pastor, various committees and members of St. Paul's, prioritizing the work of the Pastor. Read more here...