Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| October 14, 2020
Message to the Conference
October 14, 2020
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

" Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name." Psalm 100: 4

In August, the Rev. Martha Spong virtually joined our Adult Sunday School Class at St. Paul’s in Mechanicsburg, in the reading of her newest book titled “The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle”. Rev. Spong is a contributor and editor of this collection of devotionals from 10 women who discover what the psalms say to us today. At the end of the month, we each chose one or two verses that spoke to us and I chose this verse. At the time of this writing, it has been 8 months since I have worshiped in our Sanctuary. I miss gazing at the rugged wooden cross above the altar, the choirs, hearing the sermon among the presence of other believers and so much more. Yet, I realized, that in what every way I continue to worship, whether on my sun porch with my laptop or with my mother in her computer room, I enter worship with thanksgiving and praise. Always!

It is my pleasure to start my term as Moderator of the Penn Central Conference. Our most recent meeting was held this past Saturday, and we covered a great deal of business! On behalf of your Board of Directors, I will share just a few highlights:

  • We welcomed 7 new members to the conference board: Bruce Weaver, Dwight Hein (Vice Moderator), Barbara Albert, Tom Downing, George Evans, Janis Taylor, and Rayna Cooper. 
  • The Clergy Compensation Guidelines for 2021 were discussed and it was recommended that, due to financial impact of COVID-19 on our local churches, the recommended 2% increase in salaries be provided ONLY if churches can do so. 
  • Heather Kimmel, UCC General Counsel, provided a presentation on board engagement including details on Good Governance, Responsibilities of a Governing Board, and the Legal Duties of Individual Board Members. 
  • Dr. Carrie Call provided a detailed review of the Strategic Plan and the board is pleased with the progress made by the task force.
  • The Treasurer’s Report was provided, and the conference continues to operate with an $80,000 deficit, although September giving has been ahead of giving during the same month last year. In addition, expenses are down.
  • The board was provided an extensive update related to Hartman Center: 
  • Hartman Center is now for sale and the asking price for the 154 acres is roughly $1.9 million. The Conference hired High Associates as our realtor and you may visit High Associates Website for additional details related to the sale:
  • The closing down of Hartman Center is underway. Various items have been distributed to entities that can use them. Further, materials from the Nature Nook will go to various state parks and the Prisoner of War paintings from Michaux Lodge have gone to the Cumberland County Historical Society for their POW display. 
  • John Freed continues to provide onsite support and downsizing work. Collette *** is the on-site contact from UCCR. No further reservations for anyone (including PCC individuals) will be accepted after December 1st.
  • Finally, we learned of the work that staff have already accomplished exploring the summer camp, day camp, and retreat opportunities with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The board unanimously approved a motion in support of a partnership with ELCA which would result in a rich and robust outdoor ministry program for the Penn Central Conference. 
  •  A committee was formed to review the current Bylaws of the Conference. 

I want to close by expressing gratitude to the amazing work of our conference minister and conference staff during the last few months. They, along with your board, look forward to a year of serving the needs of the Penn Central Conference.

Shirley Keith Knox
Moderator, Board of Directors
Scheduling Notes:

October 10 - 18: Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola on vacation

October 18: Zion UCC, York 10:00AM - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching

October 25: Zion UCC, Chambersburg 10:45AM - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching

November 1: Salem UCC, Dover 9:30AM - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
Hartman Center Gatherings

We still have a few short months until Hartman Center is shuttered after the new year. So, we've planned a few times to gather together in our Sonshine Place.

10/24 - Fire for Campers 4:00 pm (Getting Started-Middle school adventure) Register here

11/14 - Fire for our High Schoolers, Staff, & Families 4:00 pm Register here

11/21 - Youth Retreat - "It's A Party!" 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Register here

11/21 - Women's Retreat with Kara Young 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Register here

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for December 13th, when we will gather for one last evening Vespers.
12/13 - evening vespers at Hartman Center - 4:00 pm
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...

Peace UCC, Swartzville
Paradise UCC, Milton
Trinity UCC, Turbotville
Emmanuel UCC, Tusseyville
Join to Pray for Unity and Peace before the Election
These are difficult days. Tension on the streets, fires in the west, flooding in the south, and political rhetoric all around us. Many feel anxiety, anger, frustration and fear. In response to this and looking ahead to November 3, the Conference invites you to join us in prayer. During the month of October, every Wednesday evening you are invited to join together for prayer at 7:00 PM for 30 minutes. The zoom prayer time will be devoted to prayers for peace and unity as we approach the national election. There will be nothing partisan and no candidates will be mentioned by name.
This prayer time is open to all clergy and members of UCC congregations within the Conference. We ask you to register only so that we may send you a password directly for the zoom calls. There is no pressure to attend – but this way we can make sure these gatherings remain peaceful and prayerful. Gatherings will be October 7, 14, 21 and 28. Register here.
PCC Virtual Cantata

The director is hard at work, the singers and instrumentalists have been briefed and are receiving their scores, the narrator is practicing, and more than 65 people are hard at work creating a transcendent Christmas piece for your church to use in worship.
The piece uses 7 Spirituals and Gospel songs from African American heritage, along with Christmas poetry by African American pastor, theologian and mystic Howard Thurman.   The whole cantata, as well as the the seven individual pieces of it are going to be available for use in worship by all the churches of the Penn Central Conference of the UCC, and will be available via YouTube to the general public.  We've attended to Revised Common Lectionary readings in our selections, we will have a diverse group of musicians, and an interpretive guide you can share with your congregations.
If you want to use the music, and especially if you will need a download to use it, we encourage you to register. This helps us determine the distribution for our Mechanical licenses, ensure that your use of the music is properly documented, as well as make sure you have appropriate technical help in getting and using these files. You can sign up to receive the Penn Central Conference Advent Cantata at:
We will begin distributing the files by November 22, in case you wish to use them for the first Sunday of Advent.
If you have any questions, contact Julie Holm at
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 regularly for updates.

Attention Chaplains! We see you in this challenging season of ministry and invite you to a time of self-care, boundary awareness and continuing education with UCC Minister for Ministers in Specialized Settings, Rev. Stephen Boyd on November 12th and 13th. Right now we are building the sessions, but will offer three, 2-hour zooms over those days. Please mark your calendars and watch for registration information.
Virtual Church Meetings: All You Need to Know will take place via Zoom on Monday October 19th from 6:30 – 8:00. Registration required. This gathering is designed for clergy and lay leaders to provide information (legal and logistical) for holding on-line meetings.

Poetry as Prayer begins again this month! After checking schedules, the date that works best for the most people is the third Wednesday every month from 2:00 – 3:30. Our first meeting will be Wednesday October 20 at 2:00. This group already has a number of committed participants. If you would like to join as well, please register here as soon as possible to ensure you have a space! If you would like to join the group but cannot make the Wednesday time slot, please let Paul know – we are considering creating a second group for Monday afternoons.
Taking Action for Anti- Racism
Christ Church in Annville will be hosting a three part workshop series on Taking Action for Anti- Racism. There will be three 90 minute workshops focusing on anti-racism, including understanding of racist attitudes, inner work to combat racism and more. The workshop will be held via Zoom on October 4, 18 & 25. Learn more 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.

What is the Doctrine of Discovery?, Oct 13 3:30PM learn more here

Faith Rally: Election Day Home Stretch, Oct 14, 1:00PM learn more here

Celebrating Bodies: Embodying Our Faith, Oct 14, 3:30PM learn more here
Weekly Book Reviews
A new weekly feature!
October's reviews by Rev. Julie Holm
An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor. © 2010 Harper One

Episcopal priest Barbara Brown Taylor famously left leadership in the church to teach, first preaching, then world religions.  In the process she revisited her own faith. This book celebrates incarnational faith: faith entwined in and interrelated with humanity: Jesus’ humanity and our own humanity.  Finding the spiritual in the human world has always been her forte, here it is presented as twelve spiritual practices grounded in human life.

As always, Taylor’s descriptions of life are vivid. We dig potatoes with her, we experience the isolation of a devastating winter storm, we deliberately or accidentally get lost, we experience real sabbath, we experience call, and are present with God through these twelve essays.

In addition to charting Taylor’s journey, this book invites us to find God in our own lives. It is uniquely designed for reading groups, if they trust each other enough to share their own experience of God in whatever they do: cooking, digging ditches, struggling their own way through life.  Informing all of us as a geography it also invites us to share our own personal geographies of life experience.
Travel as a Political Act, 3rd Edition © 2018 Rick Steves and Europe Through the Back Door, 38th Edition © 2019 Rick Steves, both by Rick Steves

Travel books seem a strange choice for a church newsletter, especially in a time when no one can actually travel anywhere. But lifelong Lutheran author and travel guru has devoted his life to an approach to travel that goes beyond just seeing the world’s most interesting sights.  

Rick sees travel as a political act, one that maximizes experiences of grace, opening us to the lives of others.  He reminds us that the “American Dream,” is only one dream, that there is a German, Serbian, even an Iranian dream, and that all these are important and valuable. Through fascination with the lives of others, Steves leads us on a trip heavy on interpersonal experience.

The sights we visit, Steves writes, open us to the lives of others, to their passions and concerns even when we don’t agree with them.  In doing this, Steves encourages us to love one another, engaging faith (at least for me) and finding the special experiences that others have to share in ETBD, understanding why different countries do things differently, and opening ourselves to the importance of those points of view in TAPA. His books can help rework our expectations for our travel when we finally are ready to go again.
Association Events
October 25 - Harrisburg Association Fall Meeting 2:00 PM
October 25 - Lancaster Association 3:00 PM (Includes E-council at 4:00)
November 1 - Mercersburg Association 3:00 PM
November 8 - York Association 2:00PM
November 15 - Gettysburg Association 2:00PM (includes Town Hall with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call)
Clergy Events
Upcoming Boundary Training Online

For Retired and Supply Pastors (2 hours)
Join with your colleagues on Tuesday, October 20th at 10am or 6pm for a discussion on supply and retired clergy boundaries. Rev. Sally Dries will join Rev. Nora Foust for leadership of this session. 
Register for the 10am-12pm Zoom session here
Register for the 6pm-8pm Zoom session here

Boundaries in Seasons of Crisis (2 hours)
Join with your colleagues on Tuesday, November 17th at 10am or 6pm for discussion of a variety of topics including: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Self-Care and Allyship in an Activist Age. Rev. Nora Foust will lead this discussion.
Register for the 10am-12pm Zoom session here
Register for the 6pm-9pm Zoom session here

For online boundary training options, Convergance offers an online course.
Kairos Spiritual Direction Training Program Enrolling Now
The Parish Resource Center is excited to announce that we are accepting applications for a new cohort of the Kairos Spiritual Direction Training program. The next cohort for this two-year certificate program begins in January.
There is an early bird discount of $500 if you register before November 1, 2020. You can find more information and apply online at
From Our Partners & Friends:

Awareness, Response and Prevention of Hate Crimes,
Bias Incidents and Extremist Activity
Join us for this Zoom presentation on
Thursday, October 29
5:30 - 6:30pm
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.
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at LTS

Nondegree classes are ideal for:
  • Lay Ministers already pastoring churches
  • Pastoral Leaders in part-time or bi-vocational ministries
  • Individuals in discernment
  • Laity serving Christian denominations and independent churches

Theology II: “Leadership and Community,” Jan 9–Feb 18, 2021. The Rev. Holly MillerShank offers a six-week online class through the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary. The class provides an introduction to Christian theology, focusing on the human condition, Christian hope, the church, ministry, and mission. Students may take this class without having taken Theology I. This 2.5 CEU class starts Saturday, Jan 9, followed by five weeks of asynchronous online instruction. Cost $325. Apply online at
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon

Northern and Central Association Churches
Carolyn Herman
H: 570-538-9704
C: 570-220-8589

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. Richard Luciotti

Staff 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
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
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