Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 15, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central Conference -

"Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid!" Mt 28:10

We are living in a time of uncertainty. Our lives as we know it have been turned upside down. Many of us have never witnessed nor experienced a time when we are quarantined to our homes, or when grocery store's shelves are vacant, when the air is filled with fear and anxieties.

Ironically, in our Gospel reading on Easter morning taken from the book of Matthew, it reveals a four-word phrase: "do not be afraid." The phrase came first as an instruction from an angel and then again, given as an instruction from Jesus Christ. It is a simple phrase. However, in times like these when we are consumed with fear of contracting a deadly virus, how can we not be filled with fear?

Easter morning this year was celebrated quite differently from years past. The sweet aroma of the Easter flowers did not fill the sanctuaries. Nor did the Easter lilies gather at the bases of the cross. Pews were empty in most churches. And the melody of the familiar hymn "He Lives" was not sung by congregations. For me as well as others, church services were mostly done virtually, either Either by pre-recorded church services, by Zoom, or by other means of virtual worship.

The question that many of us may be asking is, where is the Good News? The answer is in the Resurrection. Whether we are inside of the sanctuaries, or behind the screens in our own homes, Christ is Risen…..He is Risen indeed!

Even amid the Coronavirus pandemic, when everything has changed and has caused uncertainty, there is Good News and it is the one thing that remains consistent. He is risen. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of her beloved brother Lazarus. "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies." (JN 11: 25-26) Christ will raise us up on that last day. By the Holy Spirit, in our Christian life and faith, we are already in some way participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter is a celebration that encourages us and gives us hope. Even while experiencing paralyzing fear and uncertainty, Easter is a great reminder that life is worth living. We hold the presence of the Risen Christ that we hold deep in our souls and in our churches, and in the eucharist. This presence of Christ gives us positive meaning to each one of our prayers, especially in times of trouble.

Let us be surrounded in peace through those four words: "Do not be afraid." Let us turn our sorrows, our fears, our anxieties into the comfort that we are not alone. Our Risen Lord is with us, always. He is risen…. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah.


Rev. Dr. Ronnette Comfort-Butler
Facilitator of Care to Clergy & Clergy Care
Preaching Throughout the Conference

April 22, 11:00AM - Lancaster Theological Seminary - Zoom Chapel - Rev. Carrie Call

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

David's UCC, Herndon
St. Paul's UCC, Herndon
Zion UCC, Herndon
Church of the Redeemer UCC, Hershey
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 April, learn more here. Please note that there is now a new link and a password.

We also want to let you know that the Pennsylvania Church Center has locked it's doors, meaning only those with codes can come and go. Paul has begun working from home some days, so there will be about three days a week that no one will be in the office. We are all checking our emails and voicemails, however, so continue to be in touch.
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.
Need for iPads
I know that there may be some limitations in giving and offerings at our churches during the ongoing shelter-in-place and the recovery period, so, I hesitate to ask. But many of our residents are unable to Facetime with their families because of the very few iPads we have on campus. Like many things, this has not been an issue or priority for us before, but it is now. Families of residents who are actively dying are permitted to visit in person VERY BRIEFLY. I came in this evening to be present with one such family. Many family members are at a distance and are unable to get here for even a brief visit. I am asking if your churches have any benefactors that might be interested and willing to sponsor one or more iPads for our residents to use during this difficult time. I am told they cost about $500 with a case. Thank you for any consideration of this proposal. I hope to see you here visiting with your parishioners again soon.

In the Spirit,

Rev. Dr. Joel B. Hummel
Director of Pastoral Care
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. More info 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.

United Church of Christ's library of COVID-19 resources for churches and their members keeps getting richer. You will want to have a look right now at . Among new sections: how to talk with children, statements from church leaders, and avoiding scams.  Click here to access the resources .  And check back often!
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...
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 .
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. Be watching for ways to connect online with our Outdoor Ministries!
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!
Creation Justice Links

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

On Earth Day, April 22, there will be  a live address from the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr.

Rev. Jim Antal, who was scheduled to speak for Earth Day in York before social distancing began, will be giving a message via live stream on April 19 , which can be viewed afterwards.
Association Events
Association Meetings

April 21 - Lebanon Association Ministerium meeting via Zoom - 10:30AM
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & Ordinations

May 17 - Laura Ramsey’s installation at Emmanuel UCC, York, service at Hayshire UCC, York - 3:00pm
June 7 - 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
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
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.
Planning Ahead
Annual Meeting - August 29, 2020

Recognition Dinner - September 19, 2020 (info to come!)
From PCC Partners & Friends

Seeing Stewardship Clearly 2020 - Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Lancaster - April 20, 27, May 4 - Register 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 .
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