Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| March 24, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference -
 
Let us pray: We remember that March is Women's History Month. Thank you for the women in our scripture and our stories: Eve, Hagar, Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, Bilhah, Dinah, Tamar, Shiphrah, Puah, Miriam, Deborah, Judith, Naomi, Ruth, Esther, Rahab, Susanna, Abigail, Bathsheba, Elizabeth, Mary of Nazareth, Anna, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Tabitha, Priscilla, Joanna, Rhoda, the Syrophoenician woman, the bleeding woman, the Samaritan woman at the well, and countless other women whose names were lost, or never recorded, but who lived and died as your beloved children.

Thank you for all the cherished women in our lives and in our histories: mothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors. God, may women across the globe continue to be empowered, knowing the love you offer. 
Source: The Sojourner’s Magazine & Pastor Allyssa Boyer

The Board of Directors met this past Saturday, and we are glad to update the conference on the major actions and decisions made by your board. Here are the highlights:

1.      Our conference staff, under the leadership of Dr. Carrie Call, continue to remain busy despite meeting and travel restrictions. They remain in regular contact with and offer spiritual support and guidance to our local churches on many issues.  A weekly calendar shares all the group meetings that are held to keep us in covenant with one another.  There are weekly lectionary discussions, church empowerment teams, Poetry as Prayer group meetings, and staff continue to attend Ministerium and Association meetings.  Rev. Nora Foust is holding Ministerial Education Forums and Communities of Practice, and she has restarted the Morsels of Excellence vlog for 2021. Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola continues to support 18 churches in various phases of the search and call process and supporting the Congregational Empowerment Academy.   If your church needs search and call or has other transition needs, please reach out to her. Rev. Dr. Comfort-Butler is recruiting and training our chaplains and staying in touch with clergy with a focus on how pastors make changes and deal with a year of change.  She can provide support to clergy on many issues, so please do not hesitate to reach out to her. Mr. Paul Keller is busy with communications and the DataHub, as well as coordinating numerous ZOOM meetings for the conference and our associations.  Ms. Anne Rankin has been providing outreach for Outdoor Ministry, keeping us updated on the upcoming summer camp programs and enticing us with new ministry opportunities. Associations and churches are encouraged to have Ms. Rankin present these new opportunities at upcoming meetings.

2.      The board reviewed the NEW draft Strategic Plan which outlines the direction for the board and conference over the next 3 years. It does not include a merging of associations, as per our previous plan.   We approved changes to the Bylaws and a meeting will be held before the June annual meeting to review the changes and ask questions. The personnel policies are near completion, and the board will review. A format and procedure for annual staff evaluations is underway.

3.      The finance committee shared that we are operating at a loss of $45,000 according to the February financials. The committee will be providing a detailed financial overview at our “Special” April budget meeting.  Reports have been reformatted and new reports designed to assist the board in careful review of the conference’s financial statements have been finalized.

4.      Hartman Center: The Hartman Center Sales Committee receives monthly updates from the realty company. The listing has received interest, inquiry, and visitation in the last several months. One offer has been made.

5.      The Sale of St. John’s Lebanon – The closing of this church, while sad, has created new opportunities. The board is discussing that the proceeds from the sale be provided back to the Lebanon community, providing microgrants for community-serving organizations.

6.      Outdoor Ministry/Summer Camping: The board approved that money from the current endowment investment accounts be used to provide support for the 2021 summer camp enrollment. Guidelines will be established for the use of this money. Members of the board have attended some of the events at Kirkenwald, Nawakwa, and The Wittel Farm. In fact, learning that a Medical Director was needed, Dr. Janis Taylor, a member of our board, agreed to serve in this capacity. We so appreciate her willingness to fill this need and to know that the medical needs of our campers will continue at a high standard.

7.      Possible Office Relocation: The current conference space has been long underutilized and inefficient for conference needs. Alternate space is being considering keeping mind location, accessibility, and changes in work needs.

We have an amazing staff and board of directors. We understand the gift we have in our conference and know the responsibilities that we have been given as your Board of Directors. Thank you for supporting and praying for us as we do the work of the Conference!

Respectfully submitted,
Shirley J. Keith Knox
Moderator, PCC
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:

Sunday March 28 - Heidelburg UCC, York - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
March 29 - 31 - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call on Retreat
April 4 -11 - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola on Retreat
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...

St. Paul UCC, Herndon
Zion UCC, Herndon
Church of the Reedemer UCC, Hershey
Emmanuel UCC, Jacksonville
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 for Lent & Easter

The PCC Virtual Choir has it's newest video "God So Loved the World" available. Watch it here now, and the full playlist here.

After a break, the Virtual Choir will return with Hallelujah Chorus.

If you have questions, or if you'd like to join the group for any of our music that delights you, contact Julie Holm at bvfofmusic@gmail.com
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. Keep checking https://pccucc.org/covid-19-resources/ regularly for updates.




From the Climate Justice Team
Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections Between Our Faith, Our Food, and the Climate. We examine how our food systems contribute to injustice and to climate change, and how our faiths call us to respond through practical solutions.
Join Interfaith Power & Light’s annual premier week of worship and action focused on climate – Faith Climate Action Week, April 16-25, 2021. Learn more here
Our Conference Minister, Carrie Call, served on a panel recently sponsored by Bucknell University entitled Faith in Action: Christians and Gun Violence Prevention. The event drew over 100 people and provided a lively discussion among 4 religious leaders (representing the UCC, Quakers, Disciples of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church). You can view the video here: https://mediaspace.bucknell.edu/media/1_koj7hxga
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.
 
You are invited to visit Kirchenwald or Nawakwa on April 11. Take a tour of camp with members of our summer staff and see what camp is all about. As a bonus, we will give a $10 gift certificate for the camp store to every brand new camper! Register here

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.
Our regularly scheduled Coffee With The Conference Staff for April has been moved to the SECOND Thursday in April, the 8th, so as not to add another item to your Holy Week. Watch for more info, including topic and link, in your inbox soon!
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.)

May 18: Life-Giving Leadership with Rev. Dr. 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 1:00 – 2:30 PM
           Limit 15 Registration
 
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. NEW Zoom link here.
"Congregations of the German Reformed Church in the United States," is a new book, recently released, that summarizes the life of over 4,000 Reformed churches, including the many churches in the Penn Central Conference. The book begins with a social and organizational history of the denomination, including six maps, as well as charts, and illustrations. A useful tool for genealogists, its over 700 pages also note about 1,300 Lutheran churches that were in union arrangements with Reformed congregations. Its author is the Rev. Richard H. Taylor, a former Chair of the Historical Council of the United Church of Christ. People interested in procuring a copy of the book can contact him at 610-438-3771 or  pilgrimrht@rcn.com. More information is available at the website: www.rhtpublishing.com.
Association Events:

Sunday, April 12, 2021 - Northern Association Spring Meeting - 2:00PM
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
UCC Webinars

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




Stories Rooted in Love that Dismantle Stigma - March 30, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Commission on the Status of Women - March 31, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Maundy Thursday - April 1 @ 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
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
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
From our Partners & Friends:
The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary is delighted to offer a new, six class series: Introduction to Worship Leadership and Liturgical Practices.
 
Taught by the Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma, this class will prepare worship leaders to plan, prepare, and practice congregational worship, rites, and rituals, especially baptisms, weddings, and funerals/memorial services.

Register and learn more here.
Veterans’ Moral Injury and
Suicide Prevention

Lebanon VAMC Clergy Virtual Training Event

April 13 or 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: Vincent.Zvorsky@va.gov
Pennsylvania Council of Churches presents:
Women's History Month Service
A celebration of the role and contributions of women everywhere

Featured preacher:Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates
Conference Minister Penn Northeast Conference UCC

March 28, 2021 7:00 pm
Register here
Live stream here
Download flyer 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 erhistoricalsociety.org and follow us on Facebook @erhistoricalsoc and Instagram @erhistoricalsociety
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 March 24, 2021. Learn more here.
Directory
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: pkeller@pccucc.org | phone: 717-652-1560