Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. (Genesis 32:24)
The story of Jacob wrestling with a man/angel/God from Genesis is in the lectionary this week. I always approach this passage with humble reserve. I do not want to trivialize it (making the wrestling somehow not so bad) and yet I am hesitant to claim such a difficult wrestling match for myself. After all, Jacob is a patriarch of scripture! However, wrestling with the Holy One is real.
When I was younger, deep wrestling came for me after I stood in Dachau Concentration Camp. It also came when I learned in detail about the means of forced conversion of southwest Native Americans by the Jesuits. These two wrestling matches resulted in tiny blessings, in time. After I had railed against God and struggled to believe anything could be redeemed, I learned of the concentration camp residents sharing bread. And I learned of those Christians who resisted what the Jesuits did. Inspiration was found in both, although just a handful in comparison to the evil. I wrestled with God in these two instances by asking how humanity could be created by God and yet capable of such systematic evil, and especially within the guise of the holy church.
There have been other times in my life when personal wrestling matches drove me to my knees. If God had appeared in the guise of a person in front of me, I would have shaken him/her in rage. I would have poured out all the burning questions and demanded a reckoning. Eventually the answers came, but it took years to hear and embrace the blessings. The limp remains.
I found through the years that superficial understandings of being a follower of Jesus are prevalent in our society. This especially pertains to pastors. I’ve heard people say that I should be close to God and in a state of blessed union because I am clergy. That doubts should not touch me, and I have a ‘special relationship’ with God that somehow precludes any anger, bewilderment, or fear. That I wouldn’t wrestle with my Creator because I had overcome all that. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a disciple who follows Jesus to the cross (not always very well), I must engage with all aspects of human and natural reality. I must pay close attention to that which hurts, maims, and destroys as well as that which amazes, inspires, and blesses. I believe as active, imperfect disciples we must dive deeply into the mysterious, paradoxical, contradictory, and liminal spaces where wrestling matches are often held. Places where struggles with God and reality may break apart our world as we know it. In time, our wrestling can bring us to a limping yet authentic place that knows how blessings arise out of what seemed endless struggle. And like Jacob, we may even say, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”
Rev. Dr. Carrie Call
Penn Central Conference
No Creation Justice meeting this Thursday! Reach out to Libby Loser for information about an upcoming Creation Justice gathering at Wittel Farms.
Three PCC churches have received Kit Matching Grants from Church World Services. We are proud of the work they are doing.
Redeemer's UCC, Littletown received a $250 grant for 48 Hygiene Kits.
Emmanuel UCC, York received a $250 grant for 5 Welcome Backpacks and 10 Menstrual Hygiene Kits.
New Hope UCC, Landisburg received a $250 grant for 10 Emergency Cleanup Kits.
Thank you to Church World Services for partnering with our congregations!
We are also proud to announce that St. John's UCC, Boalsburg have collected funds through their VBS to purchase and send 92 solar powered Luci Lights to Ukraine for the relief efforts there. Those lights were shipped out last week.
The Virtual Choir is kicking off a third season of music! Between now and next summer they will record and deliver 5 new pieces which can be used by any of your churches! We're starting off with a Jazz-inspired anthem with social justice themes for the fall, and we'll do a Rutter Christmas Carol as well as other contemporary and traditional anthems.
If you'd like to join us to sing, or receive notice of the anthems as they come out (they are also in this newsletter) contact Julie Holm at email@example.com.
October 16 - Bethany UCC, Ephrata - Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
October 23 - St. Matthew's UCC, Carlisle Lancaster- Rev. Dr. Carrie Call preaching
October 23 - St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - Rev. Rick Luciotti 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.
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. John's UCC, Denver
Dover UCC, Dover
Salem UCC, Dover
Mt. Olivet UCC, East Berlin
Local Church Events
TRUNK OR TREAT - October 29, 6-8 p.m. at Christ Church UCC in Elizabethtown. Monster Mash cars and trucks, Halloween candy and games for kids in the church parking lot on Saturday before Halloween. Come dressed in your favorite costume!
Sunday, October 16 - Installation Service of Rev. Carla Christopher - Heidelberg UCC, York - 3:00PM
Sunday, October 23 - Installation Service of Rev. Ken Peterkin - Emmanuel UCC, Hanover - 3:00PM
Sunday, October 23 - Installation Service of Rev. Barbara Albert - Salem Stone UCC, Carlisle - 3:00PM
October 30 - Harrisburg Association Fall Meeting - Penbrook UCC, Harrisburg - 2:00PM
November 6 - Mercersburg Association Fall Zoom Meeting - 3:00PM
November 6 - Installation Service of Ruthann Seibert - Grace UCC, Lebanon - 10:15AM
November 27 - Ordination Service for Allyssa Boyer - St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg - 3:00PM
FALL FOLIAGE DAY at Kirchenwald & Nawakwa
October 23, 1-6pm
Bring your family and friends to camp for a fall afternoon! Enjoy some of your favorite camp activities. An evening meal will be provided. Please RSVP to the Camping Office by October 14.
Registration Fee: $15 per person - includes all activities and meal (5 & up)
Projects are provided AND you may bring your own to work on! Meals, lodging, and most supplies provided. Please register by November 1. Registration Fee: $160 (Arrive a day early for an additional $35, meals not included)
We don’t like to wait for anything, and especially Christmas. With all its secular attraction, this holiday is often a focus on over-indulgence, and too often neglected is the best gift of all… one worth our waiting. You are invited to The Wittel Farm for a day apart from the busyness of life for prayer and contemplation as we journey toward the celebration of Christmas. $15 registration includes lunch.
Maintaining healthy boundaries is challenging at any stage in ministry and it is particularly tender and difficult attending to boundaries as we transition out of our last call, and while in retirement. Using "A Sure Foundation," "The Ministerial Code" and Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperley's new book, "The Jubilee Years,” Rev. Stephen Boyd, Rev. Tara Barber, and Rev. Melanie Oommen will offer a focused Boundary Awareness Training for those entering and living in retirement. Note - This training completes individual requirements for boundary training ONLY WHEN authorized by a local Committee on Ministry. 6:00 – 9:00pm via Zoom - register here
November 9 - "The Ministerial Code: A Way of Being" with Rev. Dr. Nora Foust
Volunteers Needed to Help Working Families with Tax Preparation
Volunteers are needed to offer free tax preparation to help working families receive the federal and state tax credits they are eligible for.
The service is offered through the Money in Your Pocket (MIYP) program, a community partnership led by United Way of the Capital Region that is committed to the economic stability of local families. Since the program began, more than 65,600 federal returns have been filed bringing more than $71 million back into the community. An additional $9.85 million has been saved in tax preparation fees.
No previous experience is required and training is provided. Volunteers are also needed to serve as greeters (no tax preparing required for this position).Scheduling is flexible with daytime, evening and Saturday opportunities available at sites throughout Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties.
For those interested in learning more, several informational sessions will be held throughout the Capital Region during October and November. For more information, contact Heidi Neuhaus at 717.724.4055 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM)
Parish Resource Center presents:
Becoming Your Best Self: Introduction to the Enneagram
Saturday, October 22nd - 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
$65 for non-members, $50 for members
In-Person or Zoom
The Enneagram is a system that can help us understand human behavior. This system describes nine personality styles with many variations. Although it is first and foremost a journey of self-discovery, this model of the Enneagram can also increase understanding and harmony in our relationships, offering a path for personal and spiritual growth. This hybrid workshop will introduce you to the basics of each type and how they understand the world and their place in it. Register here: https://parishresourcecenter.org/events/enneagram-intro/
Insurance Board presents:
Trending Business Concerns for Ministries: What Churches Need to Know
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 @ 2pm EST
Featuring: Heather E. Kimmel, General Counsel of the United Church of Christ
Misclassification of workers, including ministers, as independent contractors when they are legally employees may result in financial liability to churches as well as unfairness to employees. Understanding the difference between an employee and an independent contractor is key to reducing this risk.
Allowing community groups to utilize your facility may further your church’s mission as well as offset some of the costs of operating your church. Good stewards of church assets will consider the legal and financial risks associated with a third party’s use of the church property when establishing or revising the church’s facilities use policy. Register here.
Office Administrator - Christ Church UCC, Elizabethtown
The Office Administrator provides administrative support for Christ Church UCC, Elizabethtown's pastors and lay leaders and coordinates church-wide communications.The Office Administrator position is Part Time—4 days per week, 7 hours per day, 28 hours total.
The Office Administrator should have education and/or training and/or experience in secretarial, clerical and computer skills—specifically in databases and publishing software; mainly MS Publisher, MS Word both for word processing, skill in inter-personal relationships, ability to honor confidences, and organize and implement an office routine.
The Office Administrator should have education and/or training and/or experience in secretarial, clerical and computer skills—specifically in databases and publishing software; mainly MS Publisher and MS Word, bookkeeping and accounting skills, skill in inter-personal relationships, ability to honor confidences, and organize and implement an office routine.
The communities of United Church of Christ Homes are currently seeking candidates to fill several positions, including Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Dining Service Assistants. If you or someone you know is looking for a new employment opportunity, please visit UCC Homes Employment Opportunities page on our website at https://www.ucc-homes.org/employment-opportunities/ for more details or to fill out our Quick Application Form.
The Corporate Office of UCC Homes is seeking an Executive Assistant for a full-time position, working 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday. The Executive Assistant performs clerical services for the President/CEO including recording/transcribing meeting minutes, data processing, handling mail, maintaining files, answering phone calls, and overseeing office supplies and petty cash. The successful candidate will have exceptional hospitality skills, the ability to multi-task with ease, and exhibit poise under pressure. A High School diploma or GED is required. An Associate Degree and three years experience as an Administrative Assistant is preferred. Excellent wages and benefits including retirement plan. Interested persons should please mail, fax or email resume and letter of interest to UCC Homes, Attn: Beth McMaster, 30 N. 31st Street, Camp Hill, PA 17011; (717) 303-1607 FAX or email@example.com by September 23, 2022.
UCC National Positions:
Team Leader and Minister of Gender & Sexuality Justice/Executive Director
The Team Leader/Executive Director is responsible for oversight and coordination of United Church of Christ (UCC) strategies, programs and resources related gender, gender expression, and LGBTQI+ education, equity, and advocacy. This includes serving as the Executive Director of the United Church AIDS Network (aka UCAN), and assigned liaison to The Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC, United Church of Christ Wellness Ministries, and the Unitarian Universalist Association specifically regarding agreements related to Our Whole Lives Program. Please follow the link to view the full position description and to apply:
Digital Content Specialist, Extended Application Process through 10/21/22
Work alongside and under the direction of OPTIC’s Editorial Communications and News Strategist to coordinate and report the news of the denomination in a timely manner and disseminate communications from the national setting of the United Church of Christ. Primarily responsible for planning and executing the Strategist’s vision in the development of a comprehensive news and communications program for the national setting of the United Church of Christ. Engage in personal interactions with churches and people who are involved in news articles. Helps support the work of the OPTIC department by working with team leads to curate and develop news content for UCNews in support of department goals. Full job description here: Job Information: Digital Content Specialist, Extended Application Process through 10/21/22 Job (appone.com)
Loan Portfolio Manager, Close Date: October 14, 2022
The Cornerstone Fund
The Loan Portfolio Manager will be responsible for managing the daily activities related to servicing the Cornerstone Fund’s loan portfolio and facilitating new loan closings and disbursements. The Loan Portfolio Manager will be responsible for delivering excellent service to both internal and external clients and will manage the Cornerstone Fund loan portfolio, aiding in risk ratings and digitization of loan files, among other duties.
Part-time Position Summary: Nurture and develop a caring Christian community where children and youth have a meaningful and fun relationship with other youth and adults; have an opportunity to grow in God’s grace; develop the spiritual and personal resources necessary for life’s journey and develop a loving relationship with God, themselves and others. Learn more here.
Accompanist Position Available
We are searching for an Accompanist to bring their gifts to our church where we appreciate a blend of contemporary and traditional music.
In support of the vision of the church, this year-round, part time, salaried position will provide music for worship and other events in a manner that enhances the spirit of worship and enriches the congregation's appreciation of music.
The current music ministry of HPUCC consists of one volunteer choir, as well as instrumental and vocal soloists.
For more information, please call the church at 717-397-9791 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If interested, please mail or email resume to: Hamilton Park United Church of Christ, Attn: Search, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603
Hospice & Community Care
Chaplain- Home Hospice/Inpatient Unit
Per Diem (as needed)
Works in collaboration with the Home Hospice team and Palliative Medicine Consultants assessing and addressing spiritual care needs of patients and caregivers. Qualifications include board certification w/APC or NACC (or ability to be certified within 5 years of hire). M.Div. or equivalent from an accredited theological institution. Accredited training and a minimum of 4 units of CPE required. Must be able to complete 6-8 weeks of a FT, day shift orientation.