Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| November 20, 2019
Welcome to the all new Penn Central Conference eNews! It is my hope that you will find this newsletter both easy to read while remaining full of the information and news you need. You will see many places where text is underlined. Please click those spots for details on events and news items, including registration pages and printable flyers. If you have any questions or comments, please email me! Thanks, Paul
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central
 
In the October 9 th issue of The Christian Century , several first person narrative essays about Dirt were published as part of The Buechner Narrative Writing Project. The cover elicited a clear memory. This week’s Psalm (46) brought it to mind again. As I think about the things I am thankful for, I list dirt and the bounty of the earth among them.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

Several years ago, Valerie Tutson shared a prayer at a National Youth Event that has never been far from my spiritual tool-kit. In it, she has a coliseum of youth and adults facing the four directions and then crouching on the ground and reaching toward the sky. Separated by layers of concrete, our prayer about and for the earth as we crouched connected me in a way that years of camping had not. Connection to the earth literally and figuratively grounds me. After reading these essays on Dirt, I returned to this prayer for a week or so as the weather allowed.

In my backyard facing East, standing with my arms outstretched – God of the rising Sun, thank you for the gift of this new day. May I use it to spread your love.

Turning to face the North, standing with hands out in front of me and palms up – God may you be my true North always directing my ways and calling me closer to you. When I stray, pull me back to you.

Turning to face the South, wrapping my arms around myself – Comforting God, may the warmth of your love so embrace me this day that I might share it with those that need it most.

Then facing West, palms down and out in front of me – At the close of the day, God of Sabbath, remind me to rest in you.

Down on knees with body folded over (as if in a ball) with hands outstretched and palms down touching the ground – Creator, Source of my being, may I live today in ways that respect the Earth and all that comes from it and all that dwell on it. Help me to BE today.

Standing up and stretching to tip-toe and reaching skyward with my head tilted up – God of all creation, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! May I be a blessing in the world today. Amen

(Often each of these positions are held for minutes as the prayer takes life of its own. When I have led it with groups, I try to hold 20-30 seconds of silence in each pose after the introductory line for participants to include prayers of their hearts that the words or action inspires.)

Get outside and pray with your face to the rising sun or your body connected to the dirt.

Shalom,

Nora
Penn Central Conference offices will be closed on Friday 11/29/2019
Preaching Around the Conference
November 24 - Trinity UCC, Mountville - Rev. Carrie Call - 10:00AM
December 1 - Zion UCC, Herndon - Rev. Carrie Call - 10:00AM
December 8 - First UCC, Carlisle - Rev. Carrie Call - 8:00AM
December 15 - St. John's UCC, New Columbia - Rev. Nora Foust - 10:00AM
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, Turbotville
Emmanuel UCC, Tusseyville
Saint John's UCC, Tylersville
Saint Paul's UCC, Verdilla

December 4, 7:00PM

Salem (Rohrerstown) UCC
2312 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603

It seems everywhere we look, people are taking sides and calling names. How can we learn to find common ground? On December 4, Sherry K's groundbreaking vocal group The Ripple Effect Vocal Visionary Project presents "If You Knew Me, You'd Love Me" concert -- an evening of music and words designed to build understanding. Uplifting songs of unity and inspiration will be interwoven with speakers from the community who will share personal stories to help us understand how it feels to walk in their shoes.
Generosity
2019 continues to be a giving roller coaster! October OCWM was down from 2018 - approximately 25%. Nevertheless, we are thankful for your giving! We continue tracking at 75% of our 2019 Budget, year-to-date and are still at 96% of 2018 OCWM. 

Please continue to send your OCWM gifts monthly and budget OCWM in your 2020 church budgets. We appreciate your prayers for the Conference. If you haven't already, please read and share Dale Mease's letter about OCWM giving.
Salem's Closet Christmas Toy Giveaway - deadline for gifts is November 25.

Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

November 23 - Installation as Senior Pastor of Rev. Cindy Garis at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg - 3:00PM (Rev. Nora Foust attending) 
January 26 - Installation of Rev. Betsy Bruaw at Peace Church, Swartzville - 3:00PM
Save The Date - Association Special Events

January 12 - York Association Town Hall w/ Rev. Carrie Call - Mt. Zion UCC, York - 2:00PM   

February 3 - Harrisburg Association Town Hall w/ Rev. Carrie Call - Chapel Hill UCC, Camp Hill - 6:00PM   

April 18 - York Association Earth Day Anniversary Weekend w/ Jim Antal - Mt. Zion UCC, York - 9:00AM

Hartman Center Retreats
Confirmation Retreat - March 27 - 29 (details to come)
Pride Retreat for LGBTQ Folks & Allies - May 29-31 (details to come)
Clergy Events
"Clergy Advent Peace" Breakfast and Worship Retreat - PCC Cafeteria - December 11, 9:30AM-Noon
 Save the date:
January 8 - Worship Planning at Colonial Park, snow date 1/9
January 21-23 - Clergy Sabbath at Sheraton Harrisburg/Hershey
February 19 - MEF at St. Thomas
March 18 - MEF at St. Thomas UCC
April 22 - MEF at St. Thomas UCC
May 13 - Worship Planning at Colonial Park UCC
From PCC Partners & Friends
Blue Christmas Retreat - November 23, 10:00AM - 2:00PM; Lancaster
LTS Music Sundays "A Thrill of Hope, the Weary World Rejoices " - Franklin & Marshall Chamber Singers - December 8
Open & Affirming
Transgender Day Of Remembrance - Capitol Building steps, Harrisburg - November 20, 6:00PM


Save the date:
February 22 - ONA Winter Gathering at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg PA

In the News:
From our Local Churches
Community Thanksgiving Eve Service - Zion Goshert's Church, Lebanon - 7:00PM

DVD Lending Library - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg
The more you know...
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon
717-940-8345

Northern and Central Association Churches
Rev. Sally Dries
570-850-6062

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. John Fureman
717-274-5981

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. Patricia Dodds
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats/Youth Ministry
Phone: 570-506-0677
 
Scott Watts
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 15
 
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
 
Laura Dalton
Administrative Assistant/Search & Call Assistant
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 10
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email:  pkeller@pccucc.org | phone: 717-652-1560