Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| March 9, 2022
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends and Members of Penn Central Conference,

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”.
 Isaiah 43:18-19
When I was a local church pastor in Vermont, every year at the beginning of Lent I would encourage my congregation to “give up all that keeps you from getting closer to God.” This was a twist on the “giving up something” or “fasting” during Lent. I suggested that “giving up” is not just an exercise in not eating our favorite foods. It is not just an exercise in depriving ourselves of the things we enjoy or denying what brings us pleasure. I encouraged them to consider that “giving up” is taking a deep inventory of those things that keep us from God, especially during the Lenten season when we have an opportunity to meet God at all the raw and painful places of human existence. It is a time to know deeply that through Jesus’ humanity, we have the blessed assurance of a God who understands our deepest sorrows and anguish.
Heaven knows, we’ve had an overload of pain and anguish these past 2 years. But any year it is a good thing to wonder how I, or you, are holding onto things that keep us from God’s love; that keep us from knowing our God who meets and understands us at the deepest levels our lives; that keeps us from knowing God’s will for our lives.
So, let’s ask ourselves, “what is keeping me from becoming closer to my God who is doing a new thing—making a way for me through the wilderness of my spirit and bringing streams of living water to the desert of my heart? 
These questions can also be asked in the context of our lives in our churches. What is it about how we see or do church that is keeping us from getting closer to God? What is it we dwell upon from the past? How are we missing the new thing to which God is inviting us to perceive? This Saturday, and on three more Saturdays in April and May, I will be gathering with small churches to encourage them to heed Isaiah’s prophecy: to “forget the former things”; to let go of and not dwell on the way church used to be--to wonder how God is “doing a new thing” in the life of our churches. Although these workshops are for small churches, all churches can heed God’s words through Isaiah. All churches can be encouraged to focus on what new thing God is preparing for us and the future of Christ’s church in the 21st century.
During this Lenten season, as we each ponder our lives in Christ and our journey with Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, I invite you to open yourselves to the deep assurance that God is doing a new thing. God is always doing a new thing: making a way in the wilderness of our spirits and bringing flowing water to the wasteland of our hearts. Let us bring our pains and sorrows to our God who, through the suffering of the human Jesus, understands us in a deep and abiding presence. Let us then ask God to help us not to dwell on whatever we can do nothing about. Let us ask God to help us to focus upon following God into the future. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Amen. May it be so.
With deep blessings for renewal during this Lenten season,

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
Associate Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
Take a Prayer Break
Every Thursday at noon during Lent join colleagues from the four PA UCC conferences for a short time of prayer on zoom. Each gathering will be led by a conference staff member and will include readings, reflection, and a time for intercessory prayer. All are welcome to join. Zoom information is below and is the same for every week. We begin March 3rd and will end on April 14th.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 841 7677 4603
Passcode: 260414
Ways to Support the People of Ukraine
Dear Colleagues and friends – please see the two links below for some specific information about ways we can assist those in Ukraine. The Global Ministries staff at the national UCC setting has worked diligently to make connections with mission partners in the area and there are several opportunities for giving as well as joining in prayer.
Yearbook Data Entry

If your church did not submit their information for the 2022 Yearbook before the Data Hub closed, it's not too late! Please email your info to Paul in the office no later than March 18th and he will enter it. Accurate attendance, membership and financial information is vital to our work as a conference and as a denomination so please get this info to us!
Scheduling notes:
March 13 - St. Johns UCC, Jonestown - Rev. 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.
Save the Dates:
PCC's 60th Annual Meeting
Opening Plenary: 6:30PM, June 6, 2022
Workshops: 6:30PM, June 7-9, 2022
Business & Worship: 9:30AM, June 11, 2022
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...

Trinity UCC, Lewistown
St. Luke's UCC, Lititz
Faith UCC, Littlestown
Redeemers UCC, Littlestown
Ecumenical Service of Prayer for the People of Ukraine
Sunday, March 13th, 7:00PM
St. John's UCC, 117 N Eighth St, Shamokin, PA

A joint service of the congregations of Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. John's United Church of Christ.

All members of the wider community (whether representing another congregation or not) are cordially invited to share in this service - as we stand with the Ukrainian people during this difficult time. The preacher for the occasion will be Father Mykola Ivanov, priest at Transfiguration Ukrainian Church, Shamokin. The service will also be live-streamed on St. John's UCC's Facebook page.
Outdoor Ministries Winter Events

Lenten Day Apart (March 12 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at The Wittel Farm)

Women's Spring Quilting Retreat (March 18-20 at Kirchenwald)

* Summer Open House (March 20, April 10 from 2-4:30 p.m. at Kirchenwald & Nawakwa)

Confirmation and Youth Retreat has been postponed, watch for new date and registration soon.

Check out a full slate of winter and spring Outdoor Ministries events here!
HC Spirit Week - What's in a Name?
"Naming and Claiming Who God Made Us to Be"
Saturday, August 6 through Friday, August 12
Camp Mt. Luther
New this year: help design a T-Shirt for our HC Spirit Week!! Learn more in the brochure. (Deadline for entries is May 1, 2022.)

See the full brochure here for all the details! Brochure is printable, please share with your congregations or anyone interested in camp.

Register online here or mail your registration form to the PCC offices.
Local Church Events
Northern Cluster of Churches – Lenten Concert at Salem UCC
The Northern Cluster of UCC Churches will host a special Lenten Concert on Sunday, March 27, 3pm, at Salem UCC. Jeremy Goodling, a Christian singer from McAlisterville, will share wonderful gospel music with us. Please join us for a wonderful afternoon of music and fellowship. Read more here.
Calling all Small Churches in Penn Central Conference

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, ACM for Congregational Transitions, is planning Small
Church Vitality Workshops that will be offered on four (4) Saturdays across the
conference. These workshops are for any church that self-identifies as “small.”
Small refers to size and not importance or robustness! Typically, small churches
are less than 100 members and/or cannot afford a fulltime minister. Click here for more information and a list of dates.

***For information or to register, contact Dr. Laviola:***
Association Spring Meetings:
March 27 - 3:00PM - Lancaster Association - St. John's UCC, Denver
April 24 - 2:00PM - Northern Association
May 1 - 2:00PM - Central Association
May 1 - 2:30PM - Gettysburg Association
May 7 - 9:30AM - Harrisburg Association - St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento
May 15 - 3:00PM - Mercersburg Association
Clergy Events
Ministerial Excellence Forums
There are monthly MEFs specific Tuesdays that will be offered at both 10am and 6pm via zoom. (Some morning sessions may become in-person later in the spring, depending on virus status).

March: On March 15th Nora will discuss Covenant Keeping in the World Today in a 6pm only session. (Qualifies as Boundary Training)

See the rest of the winter/spring educational opportunities here.
Return of the Lectionary Discussion Group!

Starting March 1st, join other clergy to discuss the upcoming Sunday's lectionary text each week. Zoom Meeting link Meeting ID: 858 1593 0557 Passcode: LECTIONARY
Clergy Convocation 2022

Clergy are invited to register for the upcoming Clergy Convocation happening May 3rd-5th at the DoubleTree Hilton in Willow Street.

Our own Rev. Cindy Garis August will be leading the program! Her focus will be "Phoenix Faith: Catching up with the Spirit of God". We know the saying “like a phoenix rising from its ashes” - and we know that from the burn out of recent years, we are ready for an image of life anew. Our Christian faith recognizes the cycle of life, death, and new life. It is the transformation of the Holy Spirit. At least, that’s what we say. How do we encounter the Spirit of God? Is it elusive? Tangible? Nourishing? Challenging?

Come and join with colleagues from Penn Southeast and Penn Northeast and have your spirit refreshed! More information on the attached flyer. To register, go here.
Special Event: What is the Status of Pennsylvania UCC churches?
A presentation with Dr. Erica Dollhopf, Director of the UCC Center of Analytics, Research, Data and Development (CARDD)

Date: March 24, 2022

Time: 10:00 AM via Zoom

In this time together with other PA colleagues we will examine the statistical trends of our churches in Pennsylvania as a whole, as well as within individual Conferences. Dr. Dollhopf will discuss changes in membership over time and engagement with Christian education. We will also consider where growth is happening in the UCC and what correlates with that growth. Bring you curiosity and your questions!

Travel with Pastor Julie: Presentations on Julie Holm’s Sabbatical

Zoom on Mondays (recordings available after)
● March 14: Greece: A Lagniappe, Journeys with Paul, and the Orthodox Church.

For Zoom information, please email Zoom capability provided via the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ.
UCC Webinars

These webinars are designed to help you enhance your local church ministries. Most are free to attend. Check out the calendar here.

Midwifing Grief - March 10, 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Preparing for Youth & Young Adult Summers - March 24, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Holy Joe's Cafe Sees Greater Need Due to Russia–Ukraine Conflict

Holy Joe's Café is seeing an urgent increase in the need for coffee and support for U.S. military chaplains in response to the Russia–Ukraine conflict.

Holy Joe's Café has supported U.S. military chaplains since its origin at a UCC church in Wallingford, CT in 2006. The organization provides coffee to military chaplains to help them make connections with active-duty military personnel. The simple act of providing coffee to soldiers gives chaplains a comforting way to reach out to troops and often initiates conversations that might not have occurred in the regular daily routine, giving these troops a place to talk, share concerns, and get guidance that can help keep them mentally and spiritually healthier in their work. Learn more here.
From our friends and partners
Hope Rising: A Time of Healing & Inspiration
MA-AUCE Hybrid Conference 2022
When: March 28-30, 2022
Where: Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center
Mt. Bethel, PA
Cost:     In-Person - $300 (single room, meals & programming included)
AUCE/APCE Member Discounted Rate - $275
Commuter (Tuesday Only) - $75
Online Only - $50 (Monday & Tuesday evenings, & Wednesday morning)
The Mid-Atlantic Association for United Church Educators (MA-AUCE) is inviting all Pastors, Faith Formers, and Ministry Leaders to share in a time of healing and inspiration. Ministry and faith formation can take a lot out of us during “normal” years, and the past 2 years have been anything BUT “normal.”
Come join ministry leaders and faith formers from New York to Virginia as we gather to share stories, reflect on what has been working for us in ministry, brainstorm what could work in the future, and take some time to refresh ourselves as we prepare to lead our ministries into new areas. Learn more here.
Clergy Wellness Boundaries Training
Lexington Theological Seminary (IB 582)
April 18-30, 2022
Register by March 9, 2022

This half-credit, two-week online course will help equip clergy for pastoral leadership across ministry settings by addressing issues pertaining to boundaries in the Church. The goal of the course is to facilitate authentic and healthy fellowship and communication with God’s people in congregational and denominational life. Students will grow in their identification and development of healthy boundaries. Contact admissions here.

Instructor: Dr. Yvonne Martinez Thorne 
Costs: $25 Registration Fee / $30 Tuition / $30 Tech Fee
Explore Buddhism via the Mercy Seminar
Christian spirituality has adopted many Buddhist ideas and practices such as mindfulness and meditation. However, one of the major purposes of these practices for Buddhists is the development of mercy and compassion for all sentient beings, as one can see in this exhortation to universal love:
"Just as a mother would protect her only child even at the risk of her own life, even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings. Let one's thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world--above, below, and across--without any obstruction, without any hatred, without any enmity. Whether one stands, walks, sits or lies down, as long as one is awake, one should maintain this mindfulness" (Metta Sutta).
Join us this term, beginning on March 3, as we explore the role of mercy and compassion in the Buddhist tradition, by means of a close and contemplative reading of short selections from Buddhist scriptures.

All classes are on zoom and are only $75 (for the series). To learn more, check out the fuller description on this link.
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry UPCOMING Classes
The Future of Multivocational Ministries, April 21–May 17, instructor Darryl W. Stephens. A Financial Basics class for lay and clergy leaders.
Personal and Spiritual Development, May 24–June 28, instructor Carrie Call. Tuesdays, 7–8:30pm. A Ministerial Institute class on spiritual disciplines, congregational systems, and vocational discernment.
Short Term Disaster Response Virtual Coordinator – You Are Needed Now
Do you have 4-5 extra hours a week to organize (virtually) disaster rebuild volunteers? Are you interested in working with people helping people? Do you want to help people whose lives have been dramatically changed because of natural disasters?
Southeast PA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Eastwick United and many other supporting groups need your help. We are rebuilding the Eastwick neighborhood of Philadelphia which was so badly damaged after Tropical Storm Isaias right at the beginning of the pandemic. We have registered about 45 homes needing repair, have installed air handler systems in 22 homes and have housing for volunteers at the Salt and Light Church in Philly. 
We have had 50+ teams (over 160 volunteers) come to Eastwick. We have welcomed church groups, college groups, disaster recovery groups as well as unaffiliated folks.  
You would work from home, attend two zoom team meetings a week and communicate with current and prospective rebuild volunteer groups. You would recruit volunteers, manage volunteer mission groups (from afar), as well as create monthly records, forms and literature. 
You would be replacing our current Volunteer Coordinator who is retiring April 1. She is available to train you and assist as necessary. There is a small stipend with this position. Learn more about this opportunity at this link.
Please get in touch for more info: Judy Moore at 802-299-8290 or
Employment Opportunities
Position:     Music Director
Effective:   Immediately
As a part of the United Church of Christ denomination, we at Hamilton Park UCC seek to provide a welcoming, inclusive, and caring environment where people of all backgrounds and from all walks of life can experience the support of a community where they are valued and loved and where they can experience the love of God given by Christ.
General Responsibilities:
In support of the Pastor and the vision of Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, this year-round, part time, salaried position will coordinate the total music ministry program of HPUCC, to include playing instruments, such as piano, organ, guitar, etc. in a manner that enhances the spirit of worship and enriches the congregation's appreciation of music.
Primary Responsibilities:
The Music Director plans and oversees a diverse musical program that enhances the total worship programming of the church that includes worship services and special events.
If interested, please mail or email resume to: Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, Attn: Search, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603.
The Schuylkill Association of the PA Southeast Conference, UCC, has a ministry opportunity for a part-time chaplain at Locust Lake State Park near Tamaqua, PA. If you are a Christian (Clergy or lay) who can function in an unstructured situation and who has a love of God, God’s creation, and God’s people, then this might be the opportunity for you.

The chaplain represents the church as a Christian presence and quiet witness among those who camp at this beautiful state park. The responsibilities of the chaplain include:
·        Conduct campsite visitation weekly.
·        Provide informal, inspirational weekly worship services.
·        Provide availability to park/campground staff and campers for crisis situations.
·        Provide informal programs such as campfires, hymn sings, special musical events, and activities for children, as needed.

Training and ministry support and resources will be provided by the PA Council of Churches Chaplains in the Park program and the Locust Lake Committee.
You can learn more about this ministry opportunity, including compensation, at Or you can contact the Locust Lake Ministry chair, the Rev. Maureen Duffy-Guy at or cell (570) 952-5474. To apply for this position go to Make sure that you click the box for Locust Lake on the application. The application will be open until the position is filled.
St. Matthew’s UCC (Carlisle) is seeking a part-time
church administrative assistant. Starting pay 15.00 or higher
based on experience/credentials. 10-15hrs/week. Read full description here.
If interested, please contact Pastor Tim Dugan
Preferred contact phone number: 570-428-4290.
Preferred contact email:
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.
Conference Minister
Phone: 717-433-3196

Rev. 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
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
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