I am pleased to report that our PCC Board of Directors has moved quickly to address our Conference leadership needs following the departure of Rev. Dr. Monica Dawkins-Smith as our Conference Minister. At a special meeting of the Board of Directors this past Saturday, the Board has appointed our current Moderator, Rev. Ann Graves, to serve as Acting Conference Minister. She will serve in this position until a Transitional Conference Minister has been called. While Rev. Graves is in this position, I have been appointed to serve as Acting Conference Moderator.
Our first priority is to assist those congregations who are in transition seeking pastoral leadership. In the absence of an Associate Conference Minster for Congregational Discernment, the Board has appointed three "Search and Call Ministers" who assist local congregations in the search process. The distribution of profiles will continue to be handled by Laura in the Conference office. Rev. John Fureman will cover the Lebanon, Lancaster, and Harrisburg Associations. Rev. Richard Gordon will cover the York, Gettysburg and Mercersburg Associations. Rev. Sally Dries will cover the Northern and Central Associations. Acting Conference Minister Graves will be providing written guidelines and expectations for this role of Minister of Search and Call. They will be meeting together on a regular basis with the Acting Conference minister to provide communication and consistency in their work with local churches in transition.
The Board of Directors has appointed the Board officers and committee chairs to serve as a search committee for a "Transitional Conference Minister." A Transitional Conference Minister is a new term used by the national church for a person to serve as a temporary minister for a specific period of time with specific areas of responsibility to work on during his/her tenure. The Transitional Conference Minister would be eligible to apply for the Settled Conference Minister position. The Board voted to seek a Transitional Conference Minister to serve for one year with the option to negotiate an extension if necessary.
Looking ahead, a Staffing Task Force has been appointed to review current job descriptions and make recommendations to the Board any changes, taking into consideration the self-study priorities and financial parameters. We will share more on this at a later date.
Please know that you have a good group of Board members who are working hard in the best interests of the churches in our Conference. Please keep them, the Conference staff team, and our temporary leadership, in your prayers as they work on your behalf. And, continue to keep Monica in your prayers in this difficult time.
Rev. William J. LaSalle
Acting Conference Moderator
A Lenten Message from Rev. Nora Foust - NEW
I am reading the UCC Lenten Devotional "Take Nothing with You" and Quinn Caldwell's writing for March 7 is still moving around in my being. "Could I maybe just have my own nest next door? God seems to love a lot of people I don't, and doesn't love all the stuff I do. Just how much room is there under these pinions?" (Psalm 91:4) And then I land in this week's Psalm inviting me to remember that God is my stronghold; armies encamp and evildoers assail, but I am called (and challenged) to WAIT - FOR - GOD!
I am trying to find a few moments each day of this season to be contemplative, quiet, still; to rest empty-handed and empty-minded, before God and waiting for God's voice in that moment. The Annual Meeting theme of Renaissance Ministry is my desktop art and so I frequently ponder what renewal is God calling forth from the Church? What seeds of yesterday are giving new life to something today? What am I being called to lay down? What am I then called to take up? How long do I have WAIT, my coffee will be ready in 90 seconds and that meeting will start at 10 with or without me...
As we journey together this Lenten season in the Penn Central Conference, we are in a season of trusting and waiting. We must trust that God is working in these moments of transition and will continue to move God's church in the direction of God's will and not our own. We must wait for God to call and lift up the next leaders for the next season of ministry in our conference. But even as we WAIT-FOR-GOD, we must also know that God is our strong-hold, journeys with us and will protect us ALL under God's wings.
Yearbook Forms - NEW
A great big thank you to the York Association as 100% of York churches have submitted their Yearbook information.
There is still time! If you have Yearbook information, please turn that in to Wendy by March 22. (You can no longer submit online yourself.)
If you need assistance, please reach out to Wendy or Laura.
Recap: March 7 MEF: Pastoring Everyone in Divisive Times - NEW
A great big thank you to Dr. Greg Carey for his leadership in facilitating a great MEF: Pastoring Everyone in Divisive Times. As facilitator, Dr. Carey was able to draw out the expertise in the room and allow for great dialogue and discussion around this timely subject.
Attending a Ministerial Excellence Forum (MEF) is an excellent way to gain knowledge, connect with colleagues, and discover new ways of being a pastoral leader. In addition to counting as continuing education and boundary training, it is refreshing to be with other clergy who are in the same boat, navigating similar waters. I am so pleased that Penn Central Conference offers these opportunities. I make it a point to attend.
-Rev. Caroline E. Saxton, St. John's UCC, Chambersburg
3 Great Loves - Share Your Story This Lent
3 Great Loves: Celebrate and Lift Up Your Story -
This Lenten Season, share you story with us! We are looking for 40 (or more!) stories where churches, congregations and people have shared in 3GL.
We want to hear from you so we can all celebrate and lift up the work throughout Penn Central Conference.
Please send your story to Stephanie and look for exciting stories from Penn Central Conference churches to celebrate each week.
Pastor Cindy Garis shares reflections of Love of Creation, Love of Neighbor and Love of Children through their mission trip to Kenya....
St.Paul's, Sacramento shares their Love of Children... When early Christians would pray, they would cross their arms and touch each shoulder with the opposite hand. They also fasted very strictly during Lent, making their bread with only water, flour, and salt. A monk shaped this in the form of praying arms for children, and the pretzel was born. On March 10, our Sunday School students will make some of these pretzels during Sunday School class to share!
During the past few months, we, Bill and Ellen Matten, your PCC Conference Disaster Coordinators, have had the opportunity to speak to a number of PCC congregations about the work of UCC disaster ministries. While at these churches we have noticed the ways these congregations have prepared for emergencies. We saw fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, first aid kits, AEDs, marked exits, etc. We would like to encourage all congregations in Penn Central Conference to take this time to reevaluate their own emergency plans and facilities, invite their local police and/or fire departments to visit and review their building and emergency procedures with them, and acquaint their church members with their procedures to use in case of an emergency.
Earlier this month we talked with our counterpart in the Northern California/Las Vegas Conference. She had just visited the town of Paradise which was totally destroyed by the Carr Fire in November 2018. She noted the importance for congregations there to have not one, but two contact numbers for their members. There may have been no one at the first number to verify whether the occupants there were alive or dead. As PCC churches are updating their emergency plans, we would also encourage congregations to prepare such a contact list so that members can be found in case of fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, or other disaster. The list should be kept updated and in multiple locations.
Members of the Penn Central Conference Disaster Readiness and Response Team would be happy to assist your congregation in updating its plans. We would encourage you to contact us and also visit us at our display at Annual Meeting in Selinsgrove June 7 and 8.
Disability Ministries - NEW
The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) has a tradition of presenting awards at the biennial General Synod. The UCCDM Awards recognize the contributions of congregations, other church settings, and individuals who have contributed to the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the church.
Nominations are now open for the UCCDM Awards which will be announced at the Health and Wholeness Luncheon at General Synod 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The lunch will take place on Sunday, June 23rd. Individuals, churches, and other settings of the church may nominate others or themselves. Awards may be given in the following categories:
● churches & organizations that have demonstrated leadership in accessibility & disability culture
● individuals who have shown exceptional leadership in disabilities ministries or advocacy and
● the Virginia Kreyer Award, a lifetime achievement award given to an individual who has made significant contribution to disabilities ministries in the larger church.
Nominations can be submitted online only, using this
In the Executioner's Shadow
March 17, 2019
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg
626 Williams Grove Road - Mechanicsburg
Please RSVP to email@example.com. There is no cost to attend; however donations are accepted to cover pizza and speaker costs. Flyer
Lancaster Theological Seminary is launching the new Ministerial Institute of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry that will offer a new, non-degree program to prepare people for ministerial leadership.
The Ministerial Institute's three-year program includes online classes plus an on-campus summer session for one week each year. The Seminary is accepting applications for the first summer session to run from July 21 - 26. An associate degree or higher is required for admission. Tuition is $3,000 per year for the three-year program. Individual classes, ranging from one to three units each, cost $600 per unit.
For more information.
Tea with MOM: Open to All - NEW
You are invited to St. Peter's UCC, Rebersburg, for an afternoon team and discussion with Rev. Nora Foust about the new Manual on Ministry.
Now is a great time to be thinking about all the ways we measure generosity in the church (financial giving, volunteering, through our relationships, our generosity to others and the ways we see our selves) and How Do We Do "Congregation" in the 21st Century?
Clergy News and Information
Even if you are getting the eNews, we have a PCC Clergy distribution list as well.
Please sign up to get the latest news, events and information just for clergy.
Cutting Edge Faith Formation Conference
April 1 -3, 2019. Join us at MA-AUCE's annual Cutting Edge Faith Formation Conference and learn more about how to be anti-racist with Dr. Jennifer Harvey!
Lots of people committed to many different opportunities to serve in many different ways. And the organization of such a group needs "called out". And so in 2019, we are announcing a Hartman Center Legion. For details...
Prayers for Penn Central Conference
Ephesians 6:18 (NLT): 18
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
This week, we pray for each other as we continue to live into God's calling...
Penn Central Conference Staff Team
PCC Board of Directors
Churches, congregations and volunteers across the Conference