Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| March 31, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference -
“For I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” (1 Corinthians 11:23 NRSV)
Maundy Thursday has always been special to me. During high school I gathered with my youth group friends at the church for the evening service of hymns, communion, and the bell tolling 33 times at the close of worship. I knew in my bones that the night mattered – that is was a time when I saw a vulnerability appear on the faces of men and women who were normally running the world around me with great confidence. When we sang “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” I saw adults weeping. And while I did not know yet the depths of adult betrayal or the experience of rejection by friends, I knew that something was being remembered and revealed that was different than at other, regular times of worship.

I have been told many times that “You can’t have Easter without Good Friday.” This is true, in the sense that the actual death of Jesus is the foundation. However, the deeper and more difficult truth is that we cannot have Easter without Holy Thursday. The actions of the humans at the table with Jesus are the ligaments that hold the story together. I have had had countless conversations with believers who claim confidently, “If I were there I would have stood by him.” Easy for us to say. Harder for us to admit that we might not have – that we too might have betrayed him, denied him, run away, hidden, or fallen asleep at this critical moment. How much more difficult to see and acknowledge the depths of our ability to reject God in deceivingly simple ways.

The acceptance of who we are, in light of the failure of our discipleship, is what is necessary before Easter comes. Which makes the communion meal on Holy Thursday so remarkable. Jesus is sitting with those he already knows will leave him. He knows them well enough by now, loves them enough, to see what will come. They will betray, they will deny, they will turn away. And yet even “on the night of his betrayal” he feeds them. He shares a sacred meal with them in this midst of his own (and their own) deep vulnerability. Love abides at the table, even in the presence of sin. Knowing what swims in the depths of their hearts, he breaks bread. Here at the table is a quiet, nuanced foretaste of the glory of Easter resurrection – the holy power of divine love.

This week my prayer is that may come before the table showing my own vulnerability. Resisting self-deception and pious bravado. And opening myself to know what it means that in the face of all my sin, I will still be fed by Jesus, the one whom God will raise. Divine love breaks bread, and I will eat with thanksgiving.


Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, Ph.D
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:

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...

Hummelstown UCC, Hummelstown
Faith UCC, Ickesburg
Salem UCC, Jacobus
Pleasant Hill Chapel UCC, Jonestown
Virtual Choir for Lent & Easter

For your Easter service the Penn Central Conference virtual choir presents Hallelujah!  This anthem, a movement from the Oratorio Messiah by George Frideric Handel, is an Easter tradition in many churches, and we are thrilled to be able to bring it to you for your Easter pleasure! 

You can stream the video from the Penn Central Conference YouTube channel. The direct link is

You can also download this, and all of our anthems from my Google Drive, at:

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
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.

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
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.
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.
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. 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 More information is available at the website:
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
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.

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

Maundy Thursday - April 1, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

The State of Black Bodies in the US - April 6, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Towards a Sustainable Future - April 7, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Let’s Talk About Abortion - April 8, 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:
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

If you missed the Women's History Month service, you can watch it here.

Virtual Screening: Philly D.A. Episode 1, with Panel Discussion—April 1
The Pennsylvania Council of Churches is excited to join as a co-host for a special screening of the first episode of “Philly D.A.,” produced by Independent Lens. The series will air on PBS affiliates, but this is an opportunity for you to view this first installment of the program and hear from a panel of experts on prosecutorial issues and reform.
Thu, April 1, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
Register here
Watch the trailer

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
Parish Resource Center Webinars

Intro to Restorative Circles – April 8, 7-8:30pm

Loss and Restoration: in Life and Faith – April 22, 8-10am

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
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