Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| August 04, 2021
Message to the Conference
Members and friends of Penn Central Conference-

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11-14

I never grow tired of reading this passage. In fact, it’s one of my favorites, right up there with Psalm 139 and Romans 8 and Philippians 4. Especially now in this continued uncertain time of COVID variants, new infections in younger people, and vaccination holdouts, I need the reminder that God holds my—all of our--future. I find it interesting that God says first that God has plans “to give you hope and a future.” Only after that, “then—you will call on my me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.” That brings even more hope. I don’t have to beg God to give me hope and a future. God first gives me re-assurances that hope and a future are in God’s plan. And those re-assurances will inspire prayer, because God reached out to me first.

Isn’t that what any of us needs? Especially now? As we are uncertain about the future of our nation’s medical and mental health, as well as political health; as we are uncertain about if we can continue to worship in person; as we continue to wonder what the “new normal” will look like in our individual, family, and church lives?

I believe I am remiss if I assume our needs of God are cookie-cutter collective, even though we all struggle and strain in the continued unknown. The future is always unknown except to God, and any of us has our own needs and uncertainties about our future.

So let me pose the question: what do you need? What do you need from God in order to indeed receive hope for your future? Do you need healing from grieving around illness and death in your recent (or distant) memory? Do you need rest and renewal from the toil and struggle of putting one foot in front of the other? Do you need wisdom and vision to carve a path for your church as you discern your care for your people and ministry for those in the greater community? Do you need courage to continue masking, prepare for your children to return to school, have faith in your neighbor's decision around safe gathering?

If I am to interpret God’s response to those needs: I believe the prophet suggests to us that as God yearns to re-assure us to know that God has plans for a hopeful future, God also yearns to meet our needs. As we can take that in, then we can come to the God of re-assurance and deep love and care to give us whatever we need to heal, to rest and renew, to gain wisdom and vision, to have a measure of courage.

Perhaps we can come to God on our own. Maybe we need to pray with others. Maybe we need to have others pray for us when we do not have words.

However you come to God, come with the deep assurance, the profound heart and spirit knowledge, that God meets you where you are, is yearning to give you hope beyond hope, and is eager to meet your every need.

May it be so.

With prayers for deep blessings to each of you,

The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Associate Conference Minister
Penn Central Conference
They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruits in its season. Psalm 1:3a
The 33rd General Synod of the United Church of Christ was held in July. 26 delegates from the Penn Central Conference (delegates from each Association) represented the voices of our conference. This is the first time that GS was held virtually, and while we would have wanted to be in person in Kansas City, all the virtual logistics went as planned.  The Penn Central delegates joined together in Lancaster for the last part of General Synod - we worshiped together, listened to the plenary sessions, voted on the resolutions, and attended educational intensives. 
While it is impossible to share all that we learned and how the spirit touched us, we wanted to share the actions taken at General Synod #33 on each of the resolutions. The national setting of the United Church of Christ does not 'speak for' the local church, but it is important to share what transpired at this year's Synod with the local church. 
Over the next few weeks, many of your delegates will share a brief overview of a resolutions, the action taken at Synod, and if available, some resources for learning more. Some of them may inspire you to learn more!
Shirley Keith Knox
Penn Central Conference
Becoming a Church of Contemplatives in Action – Resolution Summary
By Sterling Fritz & Charlotte Pinette

This Resolution of Witness (a resolution affirming the UCC’s position on moral, ethical, and religious matters) was overwhelmingly passed by General Synod 33. Biblically based on Jesus’ life, examples, and teachings as found in Matthew 4:1-11 Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-21, 13 among other verses. Jesus could often be found teaching, praying, supporting the marginalized, and seeking solitude to commune with God. Continues here...
Scheduling notes:

August 8 - St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
August 8 - St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
August 15 - St. Paul's UCC, Sacramento - Rev. Nora Foust preaching
August 15 - St. John's UCC, Boalsburg - Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola preaching
Printable eNews are available. Pastors and secretaries, please feel free to share with your congregation members that don't get this weekly email. Download and print this PDF with the weekly message to the conference, prayers for Penn Central and brief list of events.
"Rooted in Love" at PCC

Check out the video the staff and delegates for General Synod 33 put together, describing how we are Rooted in Love in Penn Central Conference! Share with your congregations. Watch 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...

St. Matthew (Coleman's) UCC, Gratz
Bethel UCC, Spring Grove
Mt. Zion UCC, Spring Grove
St. Paul's UCC, Spring Grove
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.
Communion Plates

Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg has communion trays that are looking for a new home. There are 16 juice trays plus two lids. There are 17 bread trays plus one lid. There is one "contraption"
The one lid is engraved "Donated by the Sunshine Class 1940."

Please contact Paul if you are interested in learning more.

A church has about 100 copies of "The Hymnal" they are looking for a new home for. Please let Paul know if you are interested.

The Hymnal - Authorized by the General Synod of the E&R Church, Copyright 1941, Seventeenth Printing 1959.. 
Outdoor Ministries

August 7; 9-10:30 a.m.
Join Pastor Matt and Cherie Lenahan for a morning of education, with special guests, to learn about the farming practices at The Wittel Farm and how they support a healthier ecosystem, climate, and community. For more information and to register visit:
August 15; 8-9 p.m.
Come to the farm for summer Campfire worship nights. Songs, stories, s’mores. For more information and to register, visit:
Volunteer for The Growing Project through October! This project reclaims a portion of the acreage for farming. The crops harvested are donated to assist those in need in Lancaster County. For more information about The Growing Project, visit:
To volunteer as an individual, or a multi-generational group, youth group or family, contact project director, Pastor Matt Lenahan at or sign up here:
August 8-14
Bring your family - whatever that looks like! - to one of the camps for a week of all the camp activities -- swimming, crafts, canoeing, hiking, bike rides, tournament games, book discussions, playground time, challenge courses, bible studies, championship napping, evening worship...and more!
For more information and to register, visit: 

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.
Clergy Events
Boundary Training – All Zooms unless otherwise noted, 2 credit hours
September 15 10am (Register) and 6pm (Register) – Power and the Pastoral Office with Rev. Nora Foust
This has been offered with some ministeriums this year so you may want to double-check before you register as you can only get credit once. Drawing from writings of Karen Lebacqz and Richard Gula, we will explore some of the aspects of the professional power that comes with the pastoral office. The power that pastors have is often understated and misunderstood. Some of you may remember this example from FaithTrust Institute and Margaret Atwood.
  • She unlocks her office door, then locks it behind her to disguise the fact that she’s in there. It’s not her office hours but the students take advantage. They can smell her out, like sniffer dogs; they’ll seize any opportunity to suck up to her or whine, or attempt to impress her, or foist upon her their version of sulky defiance. I’m just a human being, Tony wants to say to them. But of course she isn’t. She’s a human being with power. There isn’t much of it, but its power all the same.” Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood
Like that of a professor and student, the pastoral relationship is one of unequal power between minister and congregant. Unequal power does not necessarily indicate abuse, but it is something for us to consider with some regularity and intentionality.
September 29 10am-1pm LIVE at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Pepper Theo Café – Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH at Pepper Theo) $10 (register and pay)
We will spend time reflecting on ways to let go of congregational life in the ways that you have experienced it as a pastor and learn to navigate it as a member. Retired and Supply pastors are often in and out of pulpits and we will look at the delicate boundaries that come with this type of ministry as well. Additionally, we will examine the boundaries outlined by MESA’s Departure Ethics for Retired Ministers.
October 13 6pm (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
This session will review some of the self-care basics and boundary foundations as well as look a little deeper at social media and departure ethics that focus on moving from church to church. We will also spend some time with case studies around recurring situations that have come up over the past couple years.
October 25 10am (Register) – A Boundary Refresher for All Stages of Ministry with Rev. Nora Foust
This session will review some of the self-care basics and boundary foundations as well as look a little deeper at social media and departure ethics that focus on moving from church to church. We will also spend some time with case studies around recurring situations that have come up over the past couple years.
October 28 10am-1pm LIVE St. John’s in Lewisburg Retired and Supply Boundaries and Departures (with LUNCH) $10 (register and pay)
We will spend time reflecting on ways to let go of congregational life in the ways that you have experienced it as a pastor and learn to navigate it as a member. Retired and Supply pastors are often in and out of pulpits and we will look at the delicate boundaries that come with this type of ministry as well. Additionally, we will examine the boundaries outlined by MESA’s Departure Ethics for Retired Ministers.
Penn Central Conference Lectionary Discussion Group - This group is open to all clergy, meets weekly on Tuesdays at 1:00PM to discuss upcoming lectionary passages. Us this Zoom link here.
Go Green Sunday
August 8, 2021
Mt. Zion UCC, York
"Dr. Joe" Utterback live in concert!
Friday, August 20, 7PM - Free Admission
Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg
Salem's Closet, a ministry of Salem UCC Harrisburg, will re-open on August 7 from 10-12AM. Curated clothing, toys and small household items are offered to those in need in our community. Salem is located at 231 Chestnut Street in downtown Harrisburg. Free parking is available for four hours on Saturday by downloading the Parkmobile app and using the code LUVHBG at checkout.
Association Events:
Sunday, August 29 - Lancaster Association Ordination Service for Joao Teixeira - 3:00PM - Wisdom’s Table at St. Peter’s. The service will be in-person and live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.
UCC Webinars

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

The MESA team offers regular zooms for Committees on Ministry and will offer a Special Boundary Event on August 23rd from 7:30-9pm. Click on the title to register.

In their book “Saying No to Say Yes” (written by David C. Olson and Nancy G. Devor), we are invited into a discernment process that engages our family of origin legacies alongside systems thinking and an astute sense of life in ministry. The authors write, “Part of our job as clergy is to model an understanding of who saves us—and for what. It is our job to preach, teach, and live a gospel that doesn’t depend on human over-functioning but on God’s grace. Ultimately, such a life enables us all to become masters of renunciation: saying “a hundred nos for the sake of an overwhelming Yes.”

While this is true for pastors, it is also true for congregations and other ministry settings. In a time where we face the tension between “going back” to how it used to be and forging ahead to a new way of engaging in ministry, it will be vitally important to discern what nos will allow us to say YES to the future God imagines. Take some time to read the book and join us in conversation with COMs, PPRCs, pastors, and congregational leaders.
Is your church planning any Back to School events? A colleague from the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania chapter is hoping to partner with anyone who is doing this with a message about returning safely and trying to counter some of the vaccine hesitancy out there.
If you are interested or know of anyone doing this, just let me know and I will make a connection with the AFT representative.
Thanks for considering!
Blessings and peace,
 Director of Advocacy & Ecumenical Outreach
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
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).
The primary duty of the Chaplain is to provide spiritual support and comfort for the residents of the facility in coordination with the resident’s home congregation.

The chaplain will communicate a caring friendship with a tolerant attitude for multiple cultural traditions and a wide range of spiritual beliefs. The chaplain will offer encouragement and support to clergy and churches as they continue to minister to the needs of their members.
The chaplain will be available to offer comfort to the individual as well as the family. During difficult times, sensitivity and compassion are requisite for the spiritual support needed by all involved; the resident, family, and staff.
Providing comfort for the dying is a key part of the Chaplain's job as well as coordinating and conducting regularly scheduled religious services for residents.
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 submitted to:
Meredith Schell Fields
Executive Director
The Lebanon Valley Home
550 East Main Street
Annville PA, 17003
Fax (717) 867-7060
Trinity United Church of Christ in Waynesboro, Pa. is looking for a Director of Faith Formation and Programming. The position is part-time (20-25 hours per week) and is open beginning August 1st, 2021. The Director position will be responsible for developing programs for youth, adults and children from pre-school age through fifth grade. The Director will engage children with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Director will be responsible for providing leadership and effective communication for youth and adult Sunday School classes and other Christian Formation offerings (such as Vacation Bible School, book studies, outdoor education, etc.). The Director will engage all ages with exciting and relevant opportunities for learning, serving, and growing towards a meaningful relationship with God. Full description here.

St. Paul’s United Church of
Christ in Selinsgrove is looking for a part-time Youth Leader who will build up
our children and youth programs. The candidate is to closely connect with and
relate well with children, youths and their families, should be tech savvy, work well in a team, and have all necessary clearances. Compensation is based on 20 hrs/week at $15-18/hr based on education and experience. St. Paul’s UCC is an Open and Affirming Congregation that extends an extravagant welcome to all of God’s children reflecting God’s unconditional love by celebrating diversity and inclusion. The individual best fit to fill this position will be dedicated to collaborating closely with church leadership to revitalize the
youth programming at St. Paul’s following the disruption caused by the pandemic
over the last 15 months. Please send your resume to by July 15.
Zion UCC, Arendtsville job openings

The Choir Director directs a 15-member choir to prepare music for regular Sunday morning services. The choir director also works with the minister and the organist to plan special services. Duties include preparing music, scheduling choir practices, identifying soloists, and developing special music presentations. Salary compensation is negotiable.
The organist/pianist accompanies a 15-member choir at regularly scheduled Sunday morning services. Applicants must have the ability to play both the piano and the organ, and be prepared for weekly choir rehearsals. Duties include following the direction of the choir director and minister in planning musical services. This includes Sunday worship and special services. He/she must attend regularly scheduled and special choir rehearsals. Salary compensation negotiable.
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