Paid for by your OCWM Contributions | January 04, 2023

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Message to the Conference

Dear Members and Friends of Penn Central Conference,

Where is the child who has been born King of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage. (Matthew 2:2, NRSV)

The retail world around us is already preparing for Valentine’s Day. We Christians cling to our Christmas season and to the Holy Day of Epiphany, swimming like salmon against a very strong current. Epiphany remains important to those who follow the liturgical calendar (especially the Eastern Orthodox churches) and traditionally it was a celebration of the reception of the gospel by the Gentiles. The visit of the Magi to the toddler Jesus symbolized the exposure of the gospel to all the world. The Magi were likely Zoroastrian priests who consulted the cosmos to ascertain upcoming events of importance to various kingdoms within Persia. They would have been well respected and well connected.

The Magi are a compelling image for beginning a new year since they are models of seeking. Their social position allowed them to spend time in discernment, exploration, and drawing conclusions. That included reaching consensus about events of significance in other lands and other religions. Their discernment led them to be seekers – in this case, to travel far to find the child who was born King of the Jews.

I like to meditate on the image of the Magi as seekers and their singular focus on one star over Bethlehem. My own focus on seeking Jesus has not been nearly as single-minded. I confess to starting the journey over and over again. I am drawn aside by work demands, personal anxieties, and general lassitude. The challenge to determine which star we should be following is daunting when the world is crammed with false stars that shine very brightly. Staying on track is challenging amidst the flash and din. Truly our world is full of so much distraction (like sparkly Valentine’s Day cards!) that our window for reflecting on Epiphany and what star we are following is often a narrow one that passes quickly.

This is a time of spiritual discernment well worth our effort. Refocusing on the star to follow and seeking Jesus despite all the world’s distractions will bring us to a place of grace, “no matter what star you’ve followed, no matter how far you have walked, no matter how lost you got…”[1] That place of grace and the company of Jesus may be found in a stable, a house, or even a church. Make time to consider what and who you are seeking this Epiphany. The Magi set their focus on the horizon and a star and began their journey. May we do likewise. 



Rev. Dr. Carolyn Call

Conference Minister

Penn Central Conference

[1] From a Sanctified Art resource ( used by Rev. Katie Cort at Grace UCC in Lancaster, January 1, 2023.

Scheduling notes:

January 8 - St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

January 15 - Mt. Zion UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Nora Foust preaching

January 29 - St. John UCC, Red Lion - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

January 29 - Trinity UCC, Lewistown - 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...

Hill UCC, Lebanon

St. Marks UCC, Lebanon

St. Pauls UCC, Lemaster

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg

Clergy Events

Fall/Winter 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

Spring 2023 dates and topics to be announced soon!

Monday, February 6, 6:00 – 9:00pm ET, Specialized Minister Boundary Training with the Rev. Tara Barber and the Rev. Stephen Boyd

This training, hosted by Revs. Tara Barber and Stephen Boyd, is open to ministers serving in specialized settings throughout the United Church of Christ. Serving in specialized setting requires particular attention to boundaries within the ministry setting and home church that are challenging and different from those serving as local church pastors. This training will focus on matters that relate specifically to issues that these ministers face, providing opportunities for clergy to reflect on best practices and growth in their practice of ministry. *Note - This training completes individual requirements for boundary training ONLY WHEN authorized by a local Committee on Ministry. 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.

Dancing in the Darkness with Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III & Rev. Traci Blackmon

JAN 5, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

UCC Ethnic and Congregations of Color in Rural Communities

JAN 12, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

UCC Ethnic and Congregations of Color in Rural Communities

JAN 12, 2023 | 3:30PM - 4:30PM

The Coalition for UCC Rural Ministries


Nourishing the Seeds of Faith

(Isaiah 55:10-11)

A Virtual National Gathering of Rural/Small Town Churches & Ministries in the United Church of Christ

Save the dates: February 9-11, 2023

Registration to open in January 2023

Hosted by Faith education, innovation & formation (faith info) and Justice and Local Church Ministry of the UCC

For more information contact

Rev. roberto Ochoa –

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

"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.

From our friends and partners

Sacred Connection: Trauma Conscious Spiritual Care Course for Spiritual Caregivers

led by Allie Kochert

Training for Spiritual Directors, Soul Care Providers, Chaplains, Pastors, Counselors and others who offer sacred listening space. We are wired for resilience--but often in a world of despair and fear, we don't feel it. As spiritual care providers, we must nourish components in ourselves so we're better able to hold sacred space for others. Welcome to this self-paced online course as we deep dive into the landscape of Trauma and Spiritual Care

This course is specifically to equip spiritual care providers and soul support professionals with the information, skills and guidance needed to hold space in a trauma conscious way.

Starts January 9th


Link to the course:

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)

Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM) NEW CLASS DATES

Jews and the American Civil Rights Movement, Feb. 8 and 15, March 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2023. Wednesdays, 7–8:30pm via Zoom. Instructor, Jack Paskoff. The American Jewish community played a meaningful role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This class opens a window into this complex and multi-faceted era in Black-Jewish relations. 2.5 CEUs. $325.

Church History 1, Beginnings to Reformation Rumblings, four Tuesdays and two Thursdays, Feb. 23 and 28, March 7, 14, 23, 28. 7–8:30pm EST, via Zoom. Instructor, the Rev. Matt Deal. Exploring how the church sorted out key paradoxes from the first century up to the Reformation. 2.5 CEUs. $325.

Information and Registration:

Faith and Money Network has two opportunities starting in January for deeper study, reflection and community:

The next Money, Faith and You online group will begin meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11. This group meets weekly via online video conference for six weeks to study some of today’s leading thinkers on faith and money and reflect on our own faith and money journeys. Learn more and  sign up.

A new cohort of Household Practices Covenant Groups will also begin in January. Covenant Groups meet monthly to work through the seven household practices outlined in the sabbath economics framework developed by Ched Myers and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. A Faith and Money Network facilitator leads an online group (via video conference) of six to ten people who have have already completed a Sabbath Economics Workshop or a Money, Faith and You study group and commit to meeting monthly and supporting one another in discerning how to put Sabbath economics to work in their daily lives. Learn more and sign up.

A new year brings new opportunities to learn and grow in faith! PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc. is pleased to announce our January term online, asynchronous courses that are accessible and affordable for curious Progressive Christians. All courses are designed with the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers at their core, and are helpful to anyone who wants to develop spiritual and leadership gifts for use in the church and the world.

—United Church of Christ History and Polity, January 11-April 7; this course is designed according to the content recommendations of the UCC History and Polity Network Teachers group (12 weeks, $625)

—Practicing Our Faith in the Public Square, January 11-February 21(6 weeks, $325)

—Understanding the Bible as a Progressive Christian, January 11-February 21 (6 weeks, $325)

—The Art of Worship, January 11-February 21 (6 weeks, $325)

We will also offer a three week Introduction to Supervised Ministry for student ministers and their site supervisors who are participating in the PATHWAYS Supervised Ministry track.

For more information about PATHWAYS as an organization, our courses, and to register, please visit

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

Bookkeeper Position

Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ, located in Harrisburg, PA, is seeking a part time bookkeeper (averaging 10 hours a week.) A working knowledge of financial systems and processes, computer skills (including Microsoft Office and Servant Keeper) and a willingness to learn new skills as necessary are essential. Responsibilities include preparing payables; tracking receipts and payments of conduits; assisting in preparation of materials requested by auditors; working closely with accounting firm, bankers, auditors, and other financial partners; generating reports; preparing and generating year end giving statements. Hourly pay, compensation commensurate with experience. This position will report to the Office Manager. Interested parties may send a resume to Paul at by February 1, 2023

Now Accepting Applications or Referrals for


General Responsibilities 

Conducts variety of religious activities and provides for the spiritual needs of residents and families and ministry with staff. Provides clinical oversight and mentoring for CPE intern chaplains, per diem chaplain and volunteers. Works closely with inter-disciplinary staff to meet the needs of residents. Conducts outreach to churches and community. Works collaboratively with other chaplains in the department. Will help establish pastoral care at our new Chestnut Ridge at Rodale campus in Emmaus, PA.


  • Master of Divinity; ordination in the United Church of Christ or a denomination closely related or dual standing in the UCC.
  • Minimum of 4 units of CPE; Eligible for APC Board Certification or working toward this certification
  • 2-3 years of ministry experience in a parish or chaplaincy setting

Part time music director

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg, is looking for a music director beginning in January 2023. Dreisbach enjoys a diverse collection of music in its services including both contemporary and traditional. We have a small adult choir, a bell choir, and a praise band. We are looking for someone who can work approximately 3-6 hours per week. Position responsibilities include leading and directing the adult choir in rehearsal and worship, leading the praise band, directing the bell choir, and picking music for all ensembles.

Appropriate clearances are required. Qualified applicants should send their resume, cover letter, and references to: Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Road, Lewisburg, PA. 17837, or email to

Organist and piano accompanist

Dreisbach UCC, Lewisburg, is looking for an organist and piano accompanist beginning in January 2023. Dreisbach enjoys a diverse collection of music in its services including both contemporary and traditional. Dreisbach has an Allen digital organ that was installed in 1997. The organ has 2 manuals, a midi system, and a recording system. We are looking for someone who can work approximately 3-6 hours per week. Position responsibilities include accompanying the worship service and the choir, working with the pastor to choose music for the worship services, and reporting organ and piano repair and tuning needs to the consistory.

Appropriate clearances are required. Qualified applicants should send their resume, cover letter, and references to: Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Road, Lewisurg, PA. 17837, or email to

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

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.

Church Building & Loan Fund

Regional Mission Interpreter, West (part-time) Application Close: 1/6/23

OPTIC - Philanthropy

Generosity Officer (Southern Region) Extended close: 12/31/22

Generosity Officer (Western Region) Extended close: 12/31/22

Generosity Officer (Middle Atlantic) Extended close: 12/31/22

Generosity Officer (West Central) Extended close: 12/31/22

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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