Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 22, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central Conference -

You have heard; now see all this;
   and will you not declare it?
From this time forward I make you hear new things,
   hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6)

There is great mystery in these times. As scientific knowledge of the coronavirus grows, we learn more about its strangeness. How it infects people who can carry it and never have any symptoms, while others succumb quickly and with deadly results. We struggle with trying to learn how to function as we never have before – with families both functional and dysfunctional, in employment and unemployment, in hoarding and in hunger. Questions proliferate, while answers seem elusive. We realize that simple rituals of daily living are no longer simple. And we feel a shaking of our foundations.

The changes to church life have been immense. I imagine our buildings sitting empty. There is quiet in the halls and parking lots dotted with leaves. Yesterday a colleague cried while telling me of how she cannot stand the thought of the empty sanctuary. The grief catches her off-guard. Members of our congregations speak of driving by their churches, just to see and feel close to the place they love. This time of upheaval is breaking our worlds open – even when we are more closed-in in terms of physical space.
Some writers have encouraged us to see this as enforced Sabbath and to see how our new schedules can be perceived as a gift. How the extra time for family and hobbies can enrich us. How this may be a time to re-think priorities and directions. I will not be one of those writers. Not when I know that millions do not experience unemployment as a gift, or chronic hunger and economic fragility as enriching. 

But I do know this. I know that for some of us, we are being pushed (or forced) into looking at the world in a new way. Pushed out of our regular rituals and out of our sanctuaries, we might consider how we have depended so heavily on those buildings and rituals. Provocative questions that reflect upheaval percolate in me: When the sanctuary is empty, where is evidence of the church? When a preacher cannot stand in the pulpit and speak to upturned faces, how do we share the power of the Word? When the communion bread is in our own hands at our own table at home, how is last supper experienced? When the pastor is suddenly equal on the Zoom screen with everyone else, how do we think about authority and leadership? These questions call out for reflection. They invite deep conversation and theological engagement.

The shaking of our foundations includes grief and fear. But the cracks and questions that emerge demand attention. Isaiah wrote the words above after Jerusalem was destroyed, when destruction seemed complete. Yet God was with them and doing a new thing. Even when they could not see it. Hear the prophet’s voice: I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?


Preaching Throughout the Conference

April 25, 8:00AM - Lancaster Theological Seminary - Zoom Chapel - Rev. Carrie Call
Book Group

Clergy are invited to join with colleagues to read and discuss How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going by Susan Beaumont. Daytime group is full but there is still room for participants in the evening group. More info here.
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...

Pleasant Hill Chapel UCC, Jonestown
St. John's UCC, Jonestown
Church of the Apostles UCC, Lancaster
Faith UCC, Lancaster
Connect With Us

Penn Central Conference desires to stay connected during these uncertain times. We have set up multiple weekly Zoom Video Conferences and are sharing daily Prayer Pauses with PNEC and PSEC. Join us for any and all of these. This week's can be found here.

Prayer Pauses continue throughout May 15, learn more here. Please note that there is now a new link and a password.
Survey on Church Communication & Outreach During Social Distancing

Churches throughout PCC are using a myriad of ways to communicate during this season of social distancing. From the latest and greatest in live streaming to good old fashioned mail - we would like to find out what folks are using, as well as what's working and what isn't. If your church hasn't filled out our survey, please do so here.
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.

April 23 3:30PM UCC Webinar: Self-Care in a Pandemic

The South Central PA Task Force, in collaboration with the Parish Resource Center of Lancaster, will be presenting a 1 hour Webinar on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 11 AM  "Houses of Worship- Transitioning to Normalcy" . As soon as we have a link to registration, we will include it.
Can your organization or business help feed or shelter Pennsylvanians in need?
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is collecting information on capabilities commonwealth wide so that we can match people in need with available resources. Please take this survey to share your information and disseminate the link widely.
Thursday May 7, 2020 1:00 – 3:00
Leaders: Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Rev. Nora Foust, Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates, Rev. Sharon Morris
What does a healthy church look like? How would we ever measure heath or faithfulness when it comes to UCC congregations?
Join us on May 7 th and explore some answers!

In 2018 four UCC regional women leaders (Including Carrie Call and Nora Foust) worked to create a document entitled The Marks of Faithful Expression of a Healthy Local Church (‘Marks for Churches’). This congregational self-assessment was built off the Marks of Effective Authorized UCC Ministers and offers congregations a way to reflect on their own practices, identity, skills, engagement, theological reflection, and more. The Assessment has been shared with the national church and is an excellent tool for use in a variety of church settings.
We will share the document in advance and spend our time on the MEF Zoom moving through the various sections. We guarantee excellent and robust discussion! Hope to see you on the 7 th .
Creation Justice Links

Wednesday's powerful webinar on the "Coronavirus and the Climate Crisis" recording is  now on YouTube.

Outdoor Ministries at Hartman Center
It is with a heavy heart that, due to the risks of Covid-19, we are cancelling all Conference events at Hartman Center until September 1st.

Hartman Center Online!

Join PCC's Outdoor Ministries for online meetups:
Mondays at 3:30 - Time for the Young at Heart on Facebook Live
Mondays at 4:00 - Bible Study on Zoom -
Wednesdays at 6:00 - Devotional & Hangout time on Zoom - 9124829107
Plans are being made for ways we can stay connected as a Hartman Center family through the summer of 2020. Stay tuned for programming announcements coming May 15th!
The Perfect Blend: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
A day with author Bishop Robert Schnase
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Lancaster Theological Seminary, Santee Chapel

Come spend a day in conversation around how these practices can help your church live out the Gospel and be a missional presence in your community.
We will hear 3 presentations from Bishop Schnase and have a few guided, small group discussions along the way. See a full flyer here. Seating is limited, so registration is required. $25 per person, or a discounted rate of $100 for groups of 5 people. Register here!
Association Events
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

May 17 - Laura Ramsey’s installation at Emmanuel UCC, York, service at Hayshire UCC, York - 3:00pm
Aug 2 - Ordination of Gary Nottis at St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 3:00PM (Rev. Nora Foust attending)
Clergy Events
May 13 - Ordinary Time Worship Planning - Colonial Park UCC - register here
July 26 - 31 - CORRECTION: No decision to cancel has been made at this time! UEK Pastoral Colloquy 2020 - Elizabethtown College; register here
 Boundary Training & MEFS

May 7 - Special Zoom MEF: Congregational Evaluation with Rev. Carrie Call and Rev. Nora Foust - via Zoom - 1:00PM-3:00PM
May 7 - Boundary Training - POSTPONED new date TBA
For those who need boundary training in the meantime, Convergance offers an online course.
May 20 - MEF: Civility, Empathy and Well Being in Community with Therapist Judith Kennedy, MS, MA, NCC, LPC at St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - 12:30-3:30pm DATE CHANGE
From our Local Churches
Emmanuel Union UCC in Tusseyville in Northern Association will be holding a Blessing Of the Tractors Service on May 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. during our regular church service. The service honors and centers on the contributions of all farmers and food providers who help feed our nation. The service begins in the social rooms and ends in the parking lot where water is sprinkled from an evergreen branch on assembled tractors and samplings of seed, water, and earth. Further information is available from our Pastor Craig Munnell at or Bette Bender at

DVD Lending Library - St. John's UCC, Chambersburg
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting - August 29, 2020

Recognition Dinner - September 19, 2020 (info to come!)
Servant Keeper Discount

Servant Keeper Church Software has reached out to us and offered our churches an incredible discount for the month of April to help you get set up with amazing cloud church management software apps in addition to online giving. They reached out to us because we use them here in the office. Read more here...
Hiring News

The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society seeks applications for an executive director. This a two-year grant funded position. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and works with them to carry out the current mission of the ERHS, to collect, organize, preserve and make available for research the records of the Reformed Church and the Evangelical & Reformed Church. Resume, cover letter, and references should be submitted to by July 15, 2020. For questions about this position, please contact Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell at .

Learn more here and here .
5 for 5
Is your church 5 for 5? The next Special Mission Offering is Strengthen The Church - which takes place on the Pentecost, May 31, 2020.

Re-imagines and builds the future of the UCC. Shared at the conference and national levels, STC largely supports youth ministries and full-time leaders for new churches in parts of the country where the UCC does not have a strong presence. Its also provides support for existing church's new initiatives

For more information on the 5 for 5 offerings, click here.
The more you know...
Search & Call Associates
Mercersburg, York and Gettysburg Association Churches
Rev. Richard Gordon

Northern and Central Association Churches
Rev. Sally Dries

Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon Association Churches
Rev. John Fureman

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. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Families
Zoë D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps/Retreats
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 16
C. Paul Keller
Office Manager
Phone: 717-652-1560 ex. 14
Contact information: C. Paul Keller | email: | phone: 717-652-1560