Paid for by your OCWM Contributions| April 8, 2020
Ray Holland shared this idea that started with three towns in Schuylkill County area but is moving throughout the state. At 12 noon on Easter Sunday, April 12th, the churches in Pennsylvania will ring their bells for 5 minutes to give Praise and Remembrance of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Years ago, the continuous ringing of church bells in a community was a notification of tragedy and alarm. This year, it will be use as a symbol of Hope and Renewal. God Bless. If your church is able, please join in!
Message to the Conference
Dear Friends of Penn Central Conference -

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.
Isaac Watts 1719

These words of the great hymn we know so well sustains and encourages me in these new times we are all living into. Based on words from the psalmist, they ring as true for me today, as they have for those faithful ones over the past three centuries. They offer me the hope I need to be focused in these trying days and remind me of God’s presence past, present and future. It is in the context of this hope that I report on the regular Penn Central Conference Board of Directors meeting we held last Saturday by Zoom.

There were several decisions that you need to know up front.

1. The Annual Meeting of Penn Central Conference has been moved to Saturday,
August 29, 2020. Please put this date on your calendars!  It will be a one day meeting with the location to be determined - hopefully at a church in Harrisburg. Since there will be important business to conduct, it is imperative that we attain our quorum of 225 delegates (2 from our congregations plus all clergy). I suspect this may be a busy time, but we will need as many there as possible. More information will be coming as we adjust to this re-schedule. We will be working with Susquehanna University to hold our 2021 Annual meeting there next year.
2. All Penn Central Conference related activities scheduled for Hartman Center have been canceled until September 1. That means there will be no camping season this year. I know it’s a great disappointment for us all this summer, but under the present circumstances, it seemed to be the best decision we could make. Zoe D’heedene, Coordinator of Camps/Conferences will continue her work, meeting regularly with camp folk, SSTs, directors and others that have committed for the summer season. Given her considerable gifts and creativity, we will wait to see what may happen instead of camp at Hartman Center. All this of course, dependent on how things go in the days to come. All monies received thus far for camps this summer will be returned, unless they are donated to Hartman Center. At this time, no further decisions are being made in regard to Hartman Center. The work on Michaux Lodge is set to be completed when it can be scheduled. The sewer line problem has been found and repaired - it turned out to be a fairly easy solution and not very expensive.
3. The Finance Committee presented a proposed budget for 2021, but the Board decided to wait until our June meeting before finalizing it for presentation at the Annual Meeting.
The Board, upon the suggestion and hard work of our treasurer, Ron Royer, voted to support Ron to apply for an SBA loan from our bank as part of the recent CARES act passed by Congress. This would amount to around $60,000. He has been authorized to do this on behalf of the conference. Should all this be approved (and no one, including the government knows what’s happening just yet), the loan amount will go toward supporting the salaries of our conference staff. He will also be applying for a $10,000 EIDL grant on behalf of the Conference. Currently, the Conference is doing okay financially. OCWM giving is on a par with this same time last year and we are grateful for this. Thank you to all our churches that continue to give their OCWM support to the conference and the wider church. However, we recognize that under the current circumstances, nothing is guaranteed for the future. This is where our living in hope and faithfulness comes in! I would urge us all to do what we can to maintain our giving, with the knowledge that the present circumstances will perhaps change what our churches are able to do. We are confident we can find our way through all this and look forward to the future when we are able to once again move and work freely.
4. Upon the recommendation of the Personnel Committee, the Board unanimously voted to present the Rev. Dr. Carolyne Call as our candidate for election by Penn Central Conference as our settled Conference Minister at the Annual Meeting in August. This will be for a 6 year term, as stated in our by-laws. The Personnel Committee did a thorough assessment of her work with us thus far, as our Transitional Conference Minister and all the reviews were excellent. We are indeed blessed with the leadership that she has provided for the conference and our churches. There will be more information about this as we near the Annual Meeting time. For those who might have forgotten, we did do a thorough search last year, interviewing several candidates, before selecting Dr. Call as our choice for the Transitional CM position. Our contract with her provided that she would be eligible for the settled Conference Minister position after an evaluation of the goals we set for her during this transitional year. We also agreed to extend her current contract with us until the Annual Meeting. Board members and elected officers of the conference will also continue until that time.
We look forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola who will begin her position with us on June 1. Her phenomenal gifts will be greatly needed by our churches as she works with us all to sort out how we may remain faithful and strengthen our ministries in Christ’s name. We are acting in trust and hope that we will be able to maintain our Conference staff and walk with confidence through these difficult days in anticipation of a new day coming soon.
We will be holding our next meeting as scheduled on June 13. As Moderator of the Board of Directors, I welcome your comments and concerns and encourage you to contact me at any time.

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.
Still be our God while troubles last, and our eternal home!

Rev. Ann M. Graves
Moderator, PCC Board of Directors
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
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!
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...

Saint Thomas UCC, Harrisburg
Penbrook UCC, Harrisburg
Salem UCC, Harrisburg
Trinity UCC, Hellam
Outdoor Ministries at Hartman Center
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:

What is Good Leadership Retreat, April 14-15
Learning To See Photography Retreat, April 27-29
PRIDE: LGBTQ+ Retreat, May 29-31

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.

Summer Camp is also not going forward in 2020. 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

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)
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
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 - 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