Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| March 25, 2020
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central Conference -

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” Psalm 13:2

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” I John 4:16b

It was 1985 and I was away at sleep-away summer camp. It was a first for me. Hiking, cooking on the fire, singing by the fire, hauling fresh water, collecting wood, meeting nature in the dark – were all new experiences. At the time I struggled to really have fun in these news activities because I was overwhelmed by fear. It was a feeling shared by a cabin-mate named Lily. Lily was only slightly braver than I was but we vowed to try everything. We weren’t exactly sleeping that first night when Lily announced it was time for a trip to the latrine. We put on our bravest faces, grabbed my flashlight (the night sun) and headed into the darkness. I remember that fear as if it were yesterday. We began singing at the top of our lungs, “ You are my hiding place, you always fill my heart with songs of deliverance, whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

We made it through that first night! In the morning, the whole camp was talking about our nighttime serenade. Many were making fun of our fear. The director told us how brave he thought we were because we faced our fear and in the midst of it, and remembered that God was with us. He reshaped the morning devotion to remind us all that no matter what we are feeling, that feeling was OK and God is always with us. (Read Psalm 13 for more validation of your feelings.)

This past week, there have been a number of moments where I was again overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. I repeatedly turned to scriptures and my faith to dispel these feelings. No matter how many times I read verses directing me to not be afraid or not to worry, I would continually find myself deeper in despair because I couldn’t seem to shake the fear and anxiety.

Then one morning as I was reading Psalm 56, I remembered that morning devotion at camp. Once I was able to validate my feelings as OK, rather than try to dispel them, I was able to do something with them. I made conscious decisions to only look at the news at designated times, not constantly or every time a news alert flashed on my phone. I limited my moments on social media and I sat with my fears and anxieties and invited God to help me hold them rather than assume God would take them away.

One verse that I kept returning to was I John 4:18, “perfect love drives out fear.” As I sat with God and my feelings of fear of anxiety, I began to feel God’s presence with me. God is love. Now I cannot say to you that knowing that love and presence drove out my fear, but it has in fact helped me to hold it and carry it differently.

I am beginning to feel that part of holding fear inside the same space as God’s perfect love is exactly what is driving my desire to DO something. So right now the things I am DOING to show God’s perfect LOVE for me and others include:
·         Being at home
·         Being isolated and with God
·         Being connected through the phone, social media, zoom, etc.
·         Being with my feelings

I am praying about ways that I might be called to DO in the coming weeks and days. There is going to be a wave of need the likes of which many of us have never seen before. There is going to be increased food needs, clothing needs, cleaning needs, hygiene needs, and shelter needs, as well as unforeseen needs. This season of being with God and my feelings and connecting with others in new and different ways will have me spiritually prepared to DO the acts of LOVE that share God with others when the time is right and necessity calls on me.

How are you sitting with God’s perfect love right now? How might that sitting prepare you for doing in the tomorrows that will come?


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.

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.
Online Giving Tips
As churches make the difficult decision of whether they should cancel their worship services and/or move them online, many folks are asking us: "what about our finances?" Click here for some ways to accept tithes and offerings online:
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...

Faith UCC, Grantville
Grace UCC, Greencastle
Emmanuel UCC, Hanover
Grace UCC, Hanover
Outdoor Ministries at Hartman Center
Dear Hartman Center family,

It is with a heavy heart that, due to the risks of Covid-19, we are postponing the following events until the public health emergency has passed:

Countdown to Opening Day Fishing Retreat, Mar. 16-18
Confirmation Retreat, Mar. 27-29
What is Good Leadership Retreat, April 14-15
Learning To See Photography Retreat, April 27-29
PRIDE: LGBTQ+ Retreat, May 29-31

A decision on whether Summer Camp will continue as planned will be made once we are closer to the summer and can make informed decisions. However...

I remain optimistic and excited about our Summer Camp program. We have an amazing Summer Service Team lined up and the registrations seem to be flooding in! I want to reassure everyone that, should a decision be made that the programming cannot continue throughout the summer, full refunds will be issued.

All of us who see these posts love Hartman Center. The measures which we must take to keep ourselves and each other safe right now are difficult. Giving up opportunities to gather at Hartman Center are one of the most painful sacrifices we must make, and the very thought of not gathering in our beautiful camp this summer is heartbreaking for each and every one of us.

But Hartman Center is more than a place, we are a ministry. Since I have come into this chapter in my life, I have been moved innumerable times by the love of and devotion to this camp, which I have seen demonstrated by just about each and every one of you.
Just like our churches, we are called to stay connected. Therefore, I am inviting the Hartman Center family to join me for some virtual fellowship and light brainstorming:

Adults- Wednesday, March 25th, 6 pm. --

Know that I am holding each of you in prayer.
Your sister in Christ,
Zoë A. D'heedene
Coordinator of Camps and Retreats
Hartman Center Golf Outing Fundraiser has been put on hold. Golfers who have already paid for registration should watch for refund checks in the next few weeks.

Early bird pricing for those who pay in full before March 31, 2020.
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!
UNITE! National Youth Event
"Due to recent CDC protocols regarding COVID-19, registration for NYE2020 has been suspended indefinitely. All paid registrations will be refunded" - Traci Blackmon
Creation Justice

We are looking for pictures of congregations involved with Hopeful Climate Action . Please email any pics of your church to Libby at . Could be an creation centered worship space, a group studying Climate church Climate World, a church garden, recycling, planting a tree, writing letters to our elected officials about environmental concerns, using alternatives to styrofoam during coffee hour....etc. etc..... the sky is the limit. Get creative! Thanks.

Over the course of 50 days in 2013, the United Church of Christ planted over 141,000 trees as part of Mission 4/1 Earth. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd, this year we are seeking to plant over 50,000 trees in ten days from April 17th to 26th. Learn more here.
Association Events
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)
Association Meetings and Ministeriums

April 25 - Harrisburg Association Meeting (Rev. Carrie Call attending)
April 26 - Central Association Meeting with Rev. Nora Foust
April 26 - Gettysburg Association Meeting and Town Hall with Rev. Carrie Call
April 30 - York Ministerium with Rev. Nora Foust
May 3 - Lancaster Association Meeting (Rev. Carrie Call Attending)
May 3 - Mercersburg Association Spring Meeting
May 11 - Mercersburg Ministerium (Rev. Carrie Call Attending)
May 14 - Gettysburg Ministerium with Rev. Nora Foust
Clergy Events
May 13 - Ordinary Time Worship Planning - Colonial Park UCC - register here
July 26 - 31 - UEK Pastoral Colloquy 2020 - Elizabethtown College; register here
 Boundary Training & MEFS
April 22 MEF: Building Community - Within and Beyond the Building with Rev. Carrie Call and Rev. Nora Foust - St. Thomas UCC, Harrisburg - 12:30-1:30pm
May 7 - Retired and Supply Boundary Awarenes s with Rev. Sally Dries and Rev. Nora Foust - PCC Office, Harrisburg - 10:00am-1:00pm
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 myself, 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 - June 12-13, 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

Mid-Atlantic Association of United Church Educators (MA-AUCE) 2020 Annual Conference Holistic Faith Formation: Engaging Our Whole Selves - Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center, Mt Bethel, PA - April 27 through April 29, 2020 - register online by March 1st 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
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