Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 14, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference -
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures…” (Luke 24:45a NRSV)
For no one will ever be a good teacher if they do not show themselves to be teachable and always ready to learn.”
(John Calvin, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:31, edited for inclusivity)
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus are filled with wonder, surprise, fear, pathos and hope. They also include teaching, which we may miss in all of the Easter glory. In the passage at the end of the gospel of Luke, Jesus appears and stands among the disciples, offering them peace. They were “startled and terrified” until he speaks again and shows them his wounds. In showing them his wounds he literally opens himself physically to them, inviting them into his wounded self. Afterward, while they remain joyful and disbelieving, he asks a basic question: “Have you anything here to eat?”
I admit, that line always makes me laugh. The words are so wonderfully basic and simple. I can imagine the disciples fumbling to find the cooked fish and giving it to Jesus to eat as they watch in wonder. After this moment the story transitions into teaching.
Jesus spends years teaching the disciples prior to his death and resurrection. Scriptures relate how they did not always understand his teachings or they tried to stop what he was telling them. The lessons were too difficult or threatening to grasp at times. Their own preconceived notions created filters through which the teachings flowed and sometimes not everything got through. By the end of his life the disciples were perhaps better versed in some aspects of kingdom life, but they were not prepared for the final lesson.
In the post-resurrection stories I see something different happening. The transformation of Jesus and the disciples’ direct experience of his transformed presence casts everything they have learned previously into a new light. Now Jesus is able to “open their minds” to his teachings. The foundational claim of the gospel is presented to them “…repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations…” and the disciples grasp and retain it. The disciples are transformed in in their encounter with Jesus and that encounter renders them teachable in a way they had not been previously. They take the teaching and run with it.
I think often about how my own encounter with Jesus has made me teachable. Studying psychology has taught me that human beings have an innate need to believe themselves to be correct. In other words, we hate being wrong. This shouldn’t surprise any of us. But what does surprise me is how my relationship with Jesus constantly pushes me to question whether I am remaining teachable, or if I’m slipping into the comfort of certainty and dogmatism. The disciples were sure about certain things prior Jesus’ death. His resurrection went against everything they thought they knew to be right. Yet their encounter with his new life opened their minds and they were able to receive his teaching in a new way. That teachable spirit allowed them to embrace the gospel (finally) and to make it the center of their lives, even unto death.  
Our platitudes, deflections and intellectual certitudes always remain a temptation. How has your encounter with the risen Christ transformed your own mind? Have our spirits become teachable in light of Easter? 


Rev. Dr. Carolyne Call
Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
Returning: printable eNews! Download and print this PDF with the weekly message to the conference, prayers for Penn Central and brief list of events. Pastors and secretaries, please feel free to share with your congregation members that don't get this weekly email.
Scheduling notes:

May 2 - Faith UCC, Grantville - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
May 2 - Trinity UCC, Centre Hall - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
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...

Grace UCC, Lancaster
Hamilton Park UCC, Lancaster
Wisdom's Table UCC, Lancaster
Salem (Rohrerstown) UCC, Lancaster
COVID-19 Resources

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:
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.
Virtual Choir

All of the Penn Central Conference Virtual Choir Anthems can be found on our playlist here. Please contact Julie Holm if you would like to download the videos.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) - See Information Needed!

What is OWL? Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith respond to General Synod actions calling for the development of sexuality education materials for all ages. Participating in a human sexuality program in a supportive and affirming environment in the church will help participants understand that sexuality is an important part of the way God created us; that their church cares about their sexual development; and that caring Christian adults are willing and able to talk with them about their questions and concerns. 
A number of churches have expressed interest in holding a facilitator training right here in Penn Central Conference. If there is interest, the training would be some time in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. If your church is interested in sending folks to a facilitator training, please email Shirley Keith Knox
OWL is...
  • A series of sexuality education programs for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, Young Adults and Adults. The resources are written by professional sexuality educators and provide accurate information for parents, teachers and pastors to be used in the affirming and supportive setting of our churches. 
  • The resources are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
Our Whole Lives , together with Sexuality and Our Faith , helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior in the context of their faith. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
Outdoor Ministries

The 2021 summer camp schedule is set! There are camps for all ages and interests at both Kirchenwald and Nawakwa. Check out what is offered online. There is an early-bird registration discount if you register before April 3. Also, if you attend the Open House, you can get an additional discount. Full brochure here.

Just announced - special PCC discounts available on camp registrations! Read more here.

Calling all high school kids, college-age young adults, and adults interested in working at camp this summer! Lutheran Camping Corporation is recruiting now for this summer's camp season. Learn more here.

Outdoor Ministries: Earth Day Celebration at Kirchenwald April 25 2:00 – 6:00pm Enjoy an afternoon of environmental activities, games, and crafts at one of your favorites places within God’s creation: CAMP! An evening meal is included in the $10 fee. All ages welcome. Register here.

Outdoor Ministries: Men's Retreat at Kirchenwald, April 30 - May 1 Need a weekend with the guys? Come on out to Kirchenwald for a retreat that’s sure to put hair on your chest. $85 Register here.

This will be a week of summer camp dedicated to carrying on the memorable and special experiences at Hartman Center. It will be a week for folks from Penn Central Conference and friends of Hartman Center to come together and celebrate outdoor ministry with familiar faces and through familiar traditions. There are a variety of camp options ranging from coming for a single day to staying the whole week, from bringing your own food to eating all the meals provided! The Conference has scholarships available - please reach out for more info.

More events and information here.
Check out the all new Outdoor Ministries page on the PCC website here!
And a history of Hartman Center is hosted on the PCC website here.
Spring 2021 Ministerial Education Forums – Third Tuesdays
Due to the constraints of Zoom interactions, MEFs will have registration limits. If a registration is full, email Paul to be added to a waiting list. Please let us know if you need to cancel so your spot can be given to someone on the waiting list.

April 20: Personalities and Communication with Dr. Bob Fogel
How often have these words occurred to you after a meeting or a difficult conversation? What I could have said. . . . What I should not have said was. . . . What we say to others and how we say it is a complex process. Psychological personality type seen through the lens of Meyers-Briggs (commonly known as the MBTI©) provides a useful roadmap to engaging others with authenticity and integrity—and care. Come to learn about others and yourself! (Qualifies for Boundary Training.)
10:00AM registration full

May 18: Life-Giving Leadership with Rev. Bill Worley, Conference Minister in the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference
“Wherever you see significant progress in an organization, it’s because a leader made difficult decisions.” – John Maxwell.
The central task of leadership is influencing God’s people toward God’s purposes.” – George Barna
Where there is faithful and effective ministry happening, there is a faithful and effective leader helping people make difficult decisions. The pastor cannot be the only leader—but the pastor MUST be among the leaders equipping church members to do ministry. Instead, pastors burn out because the pastor and the church members expect the pastor to do most or all of the ministry. This is a failure of leadership. So, what is life-giving leadership? What makes a good leader? This workshop addresses that question by examining some of the core characteristics, qualities, and examples of solid pastoral leadership.
Continuing Education in Theology – Open to all MIDs and Authorized Ministers
PCC Staff have been thinking a lot about theology and liturgy. You are invited to join us for a deeper discussion of our worship elements. We have designed a number of discussions for a registration required, limited-size continuing education opportunity. Twelve hours of theology credits will be offered.
Do you spend much time thinking about the theology behind the elements of the liturgy? What does an assurance of pardon really mean when pastors offer these words following a congregational prayer of confession? Did anyone really confess anything? How do we know? And what about communion - what happens when we speak the prayer of consecration and words of institution?
Register and join us for deeper discussion and community learning!
Theology of Liturgy (Day): May 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th and June 3rd, 10th
           Thursdays from 3:00 – 4:30 PM (TIME CORRECTED)
           Limit 15 Registration Full
Theology of Liturgy (Evening): May 27th, and June 3rd, 10th, and 17th
           Thursdays from 6:30 – 8:00 PM
           Limit 10 (minimum 6) Registration
Book Discussion Group
Tuesday, April 22nd and 29th: White Too Long: the Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones. Participants can choose a 10:00-12:00 Noon or a 6:00-8:00 PM timeslot for the dates. This is an excellent text that will generate deep and insightful reflection. Register now as space is limited. Once you have registered, order the book and start reading!
Lectionary Discussion Group continues in the new year! Join other clergy on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss the lectionary passages. Zoom link here.

Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler was asked about what book she uses for lectionary planning. She recommends "Prepare!: An Ecumenical Music & Worship Planner 2020-2021" (She uses the NRSV Edition.) Published by Abingdon Press
Book Reviews
This month's reviews by Rev. Jane Compton
Dr Neal Barnard is an advocate for the maintenance of personal and environmental health by changing our eating patterns. In this book, he examines the impact of our dietary choices upon the changes which our brains may undergo as we age. There is technical information such as a discussion of the APOE e4 allele, which is among the genetic risk factors for the development of late-onset Alzheimer’s. There are also fascinating anecdotes such as the story of Dr Benjamin Spock’s recapture of youthful vitality through making dietary changes in his later years. The well-known author of “Baby and Child Care” subsequently spent his final years working with Dr Barnard’s organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, to promote plant-based eating. There are also some excellent recipes in the book, recipes which are both tasty and easy to prepare. The copyright date is 2013 so this is not cutting-edge information, but it is a good read that I recommend to everyone, and especially to anyone with a family history of Alzheimer’s and/or vascular dementia.
Free Book Offer

Brooks Berndt's new book "Cathedral on Fire - A Church Handbook For the Climate Crisis" is on it's second printing. In appreciation of PCC's environmental justice ministry, he is giving away copies of the first printing while supplies last! Order the book here and use code 2020FREE when it asks for a promo code.

It's a short read, 57 pages and only 7 chapters, and would be great for a Sunday School class or Bible study.
Association Events:

Sunday, April 18, 2021 - Service of Ordination of Sue Schmidt - 3:00 PM York Association - Dover UCC (invitation here)
Sunday, April 18, 2021 - Gettysburg Association Spring Meeting - 3:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - York Association Spring Meeting - 2:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Central Association Annual Meeting - 3:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Lancaster Association Spring Meeting - 3:00PM
Sunday, April 25, 2021 - Ecclesiastical Council for Joao Teixeira - 3:00PM - Lancaster Association (invitation here, register here)
UCC Webinars

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

#StopTheHate – A Call to Prayer and Action - April 15, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Getting Ready, Getting Rooted Part I - April 20, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Spiritualities and Powers - April 21, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Getting Ready, Getting Rooted Part II - April 22, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Looking Ahead:

General Synod "Rooted in Love: Special Edition"
General Synod 33 will take place Sunday July 11, 2021 – Sunday July 18, 2021. Pre-Synod events will occur on July 7-10, 2021. Learn more here
Since 2008, Retirement Housing Foundation has helped rebuild the lives of people impacted by these types of natural disasters. We are pleased to partner again with the United Church of Christ’s Disaster Ministries to help those impacted by this severe winter weather.

For those who choose to respond with a tax-deductible gift through RHF Charitable Foundation, donations received through April 30, 2021 will be matched up to a grand total of $50,000 and sent to UCC Disaster Ministries. (If we receive $50,000, RHF will respond with $100,000 in total aid.) 100% of the donations received will go directly to efforts supporting needs for shelter and food, clean-up, and essential repairs.

To participate in this matching opportunity, note “Disaster Relief” as the gift designation when you make your gift online or mail a check payable to RHF Charitable Foundation and send to:
RHF Charitable Foundation
911 North Studebaker Road
Long Beach, CA 90815
From our Partners & Friends:
Veterans’ Moral Injury and
Suicide Prevention

Lebanon VAMC Clergy Virtual Training Event

May 11, 2021 from 9 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Veterans are at higher risk for suicide than the average population. Moral
Injuries can have an underlying effect upon the Veteran, as the Veteran feels overwhelmed with shame and guilt. Faith community leaders are encouraged to join us for this virtual training event to learn more about how to help Veterans who may be contemplating Suicide and/or suffering from moral injury.

Guest speakers include: Chief of Chaplains, Dean Luther Suicide Prevention Coordinator, John Lucas

To register and receive the link call: 717-272-6621 ext. 5085 or Email Vince:
Parish Resource Center Webinars

Loss and Restoration: in Life and Faith – April 22, 8-10am
Heifer International has released their 2020 Report. Read more about how this organization, regularly supported by several of our churches already, has continued working during the pandemic here.
Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Intersectional Realities Around COVID-19: Impacts on Vulnerable Communities and Partnering to Address the Problems—April 19
April 19, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm
Virtual event: register here
Save the Date! June 13th is ERHS Heritage Sunday
The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society looks forward to partnering with you in celebrating the continuing legacy of our historic E and R churches throughout the Penn Central Conference on Sunday, June 13th. Additional details are forthcoming. In the meantime, you can always visit us at and follow us on Facebook @erhistoricalsoc and Instagram @erhistoricalsociety
May 16 is Seminary Sunday at Lancaster Seminary, a day when our faculty, students and staff visit (this year it'll be virtual visits) congregations to either preach, teach or simply say a few words about LTS and the importance of educating the next generation of leaders to serve the church. The pastor decides the level of involvement and are invited to email their interest / availability to our Admissions Team at, which is organizing the outreach this year.
Allentown, PA – Phoebe Ministries seeks applicants for the 2021 Summer CPE Program for those seeking Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) certification.
The 2021 Summer CPE program is full-time, 40-hours per week and runs ten weeks beginning May 24, 2021 through July 30, 2021. Three and a half days are spent in clinical assignments available at Phoebe Berks in Wernersville, PA and Phoebe Richland in Richlandtown, PA. Group seminars include one day on the Allentown campus and four hours virtually.
The Phoebe Ministries’ CPE program is designed to offer clergy, seminary students and qualified community members of all faiths the opportunity to practice ministry to senior adults in a variety of settings, including nursing homes and retirement communities. The CPE curriculum includes Spiritual Assessment, Bioethical Issues in Aging, Ministry to Persons with Dementia, and Life Review. Phoebe staff chaplains provide mentoring and guidance for students as they lead worship, Bible study, bereavement and support groups, and Spirit Alive™, Phoebe’s proprietary Montessori-based program developed for seniors with dementia. Interdisciplinary care conferences and case consultations for residents are also part of each student’s education. Each campus setting provides opportunities for students to develop long-term pastoral relationships comparable to parish experiences.
Phoebe Ministries is accredited as a center for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. It is one of only ten accredited CPE programs in the nation serving the long-term care setting.
For more information and application, visit Phoebe Ministries-Clinical Pastoral Education or contact Rev. Dr. Scott Brooks Cope, Director of Pastoral Care and lead educator at, or Rev. Leah Knox, CPE Certified Education Candidate and co-facilitator at Application deadline is May 1, 2021. Scholarships are available for those who qualify.
About Phoebe Ministries
Phoebe Ministries is a not-for-profit, multi-facility organization specializing in healthcare, housing, and support services for seniors. Founded in 1903 and affiliated with the United Church of Christ, Phoebe Ministries offers a full continuum of care — from independent living to rehabilitation, personal care, and memory support — through four continuing care retirement communities. In addition to eight managed or owned affordable housing locations, four pharmacies, and several other community based services, Phoebe offers 14 entities serving 11 Pennsylvania counties. For over a century, Phoebe's tradition of excellence and passion for caring have made us the leader in care for senior adults and their family members. For more information about Phoebe Ministries, call toll free 800-453-8814, visit, “like” us on Facebook ( or visit our YouTube page ( 
Employment Opportunities

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). 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 received by April 9, 2021. Learn more here.
There is a summer ministry opportunity open at Locust Lake State Park for this summer. The PA Council of Churches has supported a program of chaplains in PA's state parks for 60 years. The Schuylkill Association of the PA Southeast Conference supports the chaplain at Locust Lake State Park.

The Committee is looking for a lay or ordained chaplain to serve at Locust Lake State Park on weekends from Memorial Day, May 31, through Labor Day, September 6, 2021. It is a part-time position. Duties of the chaplain include leading Sunday worship in the park, and walking through the campground, visiting campers in a socially distanced manner on a Friday or Saturday. All ministry takes place outdoors, so it is among the safest ministries!
Worship draws many kinds of people from many different church backgrounds.

The position description can be found at:
Training is provided.

APPLICATION and SCREENING FORM Summer Campground Ministry (Section 1 of 8)
******PLEASE READ****** Do not hit the back arrow button or attempt to go back while completing this form. You will have an option at the end of the form to edit any information you have entered. An older paper version of this form can be found at this link: - Please do not include your SSN or Drivers License number on the paper version of this form. If you complete the paper version of this form, please email a scanned copy to or mail to: Pennsylvania Council of Churches Campground Ministry Coordinator 900 South Arlington Ave. - Suite 211A Harrisburg, PA 17109-5089

For more information contact the Committee Chair, Rev. Maureen Duffy-Guy at or (570) 952-5474.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D.
Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 12

Rev. Nora Driver Foust
Associate Conference Minister 
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex.13

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.
Associate Conference Minister
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 15

Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
phone: 717-719-1895
Anne Rankin
Outdoor Ministries Liaison
phone: 717-945-4585
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
If you have future eNews stories, please send them to C. Paul Keller
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560