A Message from our Acting Conference Minister - NEW
Greetings from your Acting Conference Minister,
Our beloved Conference has been moving through some rough seas the past few weeks, but smoother sailing is on the horizon. I especially want to express my deepest appreciation to our phenomenal staff in the Conference office - Wendy, Stephanie and Laura who are doing an amazing job of steering the ship and keeping us all afloat. Until we have a question or concern, we might not even be aware of their presence, diligently doing their best to keep us up to date, and moving our ministries forward. So many things are in good shape because of their hard work and diligence on behalf of us all. Thanks also to Rev. Patty Dodds and Scott Watts as they have continued to pursue their work and keep the waters as calm as possible. So when you get a minute, along with me, please express your thanks and appreciation to them. We could not get along without them!
Our ACM for Congregational and Ministerial Excellence, Rev. Nora Faust, is truly a blessing to us all. She's an incredible resource of information and guidance for our Committees on Ministry, as well as providing great leadership the ongoing events for our pastors and churches in the area of church vitality. If any of you are wondering about our strategic plan goals, our Ministerial Educational Forums, Healthy Church workshops and Jerusalem Table events are specifically aimed at church vitality. I am grateful for Nora's wisdom and strength, and that she's with us here in Penn Central Conference.
You may have wondered why the Rev. William LaSalle was recruited to step in as Acting Moderator for the Board of Directors while I am temporarily the Acting Conference Minister. Bill was Moderator of the Board two and a half years ago, during the previous time of transition in our conference. He has the experience, knowledge and leadership that we need for right now. The Vice-Moderator of the Board, Shirley Keith-Knox, was glad to have him do this, as she continues to become familiar with her responsibilities and recovers from recent surgery. Shirley has been actively involved with all our decisions, and has been extremely helpful in this transition time.
We are making good progress in finding the right person to be our Transitional Conference Minister and hope to have this person in place before too long. The Board of Directors has appointed a Task Study Group to look at the job descriptions for our ACM for Congregational Discernment, our Conference Minister as well as our current ACM for Congregational and Ministerial Excellence before we begin any new search processes to fill the two openings we have. Unless there is a major upswing in OCWM giving by our churches, it will not be financially possible to fill the third ACM position for Church Vitality in the near future.
As we continue to move through this time of transition and change, we are buoyed up by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit moving and stirring the winds around us and through us. God is indeed doing a new thing, even when we may not recognize it. The love and grace of Christ our Lord will sustain and nourish us on this journey we make together.
Please do not hesitate to call or e-mail me with any of your questions and concerns.
Acting Conference Minister
A Lenten Message from Rev. Nora Foust - NEW
Several years ago my Lenten sacrifice was parking place related. Rather than drive around in search of rock star, front row parking, I deliberately parked in the last row of spaces everywhere that I went. In theory, this was so that I could devote my time to prayer as I trekked from car to building. When I made that pledge to myself and to God, the goal was spending more time in conversation with God about the things God thought important in my life. What I realized through those, often long, walks with God was that I was thirsting for God's voice and presence in some very real decisions that I was making at the time.
Both the Psalm (63) and Isaiah passage from this week's lectionary remind us when we are thirsty for God, we need only to acknowledge the thirst and come for God is there, loving us in the same sure and steadfast way that God loved David through all the ups and downs and curly-ques of David's life and each of ours.
As we travel in the Lenten season together, how do we experience thirst for God? In what ways do, or can, you name that feeling? How do you pant for God and how is your thirst satisfied? Perhaps more importantly, how do you know the covenant of God's love to be true in your life and living, even in the Lenten Wilderness?
Last Call for Yearbook Information - NEW
Yearbook is coming to a close! We are currently at 69% and would love to be above 70% (and beyond!) Please get anything you have into
Wendy. Thank you for your ongoing support of this important initiative.
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. This week...
Love Your Neighbor in a Bar- 1st Carlisle UCC
Theology Pub has been occuring on a weekly basis since 2015. The goal of the ministry is for people to meet out in the community, thereby eliminating the foreign landscape of a church building. On Sunday, a group of people gather at a table in a local bar or restaurant.
Vonny Eckman shares her Love of Nature - check it out int the Creation Justice section!
What about you?!? What have you seen through your 3 Great Loves Googles - where does Penn Central Conference show their Love of Children, Love of Neighbor and Love of Creation?
Join people of faith from around Pennsylvania for inspiration, education and participation - in worship, service, learning and advocacy. Focus on setting bigger, more welcoming, tables in our lives, our congregations, our communities and our Commonwealth. Bring a friend - or a team!
Vonny Eckman lives in a part of Pennsylvania that serves as the transportation hub of the Mid-Atlantic. In a community plagued each day by the pollution caused by thousands of 18-wheelers, Eckman has drawn a powerful connection between what she witnesses and the Three Great Loves: love of neighbor, love of creation, and love of children. Read more about why and how she has become an environmental advocate.
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
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
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.
Great News - Trinity, Waynesboro and Creation Justice's
resolution on Plastic Foam is headed to Synod! Thank you to Kathy Brown, Gail Landers, Bill Lochstet, Wendy Anderson, Tom Hocking and Libby Loser for all your work on this!
Moving forward, we will be updating you monthly on our OCWM (monthly totals as well as % to budget.)
We currently have a significant shortfall as we are 45% of our budget. January and February 2019 OCWM totals are $73,763 and our budget for this time period is $165,110. We are at 93% of 2018. (January-February 2018 - $79,049 versus $73,673 for the same time period in 2019.)
Thank you for your financial support for the Penn Central Conference and Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM). Your support strengthens and sustains a movement of equipping and empowering congregations and clergy for the declaration and demonstration of the courageous love of Christ.
Clergy Housing Allowance - NEW
The Seventh Circuit ruled today in a 3-0 decision that the clergy housing allowance is constitutional. This is terrific news for our clergy. It is likely not the end of the fight, but it is a reprieve. The housing allowance continues.
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.
Hartman Center Golf Outing
Hartman Center 12th Annual Golf Outing
May 11, 2019 1:30pm start
Fairview Golf Course, Quentin (Lebanon), PA 2399 Quentin Road, Lebanon, PA 17042 in memory of Rev. Lee Lawhead
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...
Full-Time Chaplaincy Position: Raystown Lake - NEW
The PA Council of Churches is seeking a summer campground chaplain for Raystown Lake near Huntingdon, PA. Stipend for this full-time chaplaincy (38 hrs/week) is $4,890. Housing accommodations will be provided if needed. This is an exciting opportunity to cultivate preaching and pastoral skills in a beautiful setting. Please contact
Rev. Donna Jarrellfor more information. Other parks are also available for chaplaincy.