"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.' But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me." (Genesis 32:22-26)
I read this passage at the beginning of the Board of Directors meeting on October 5
th to those gathered. I knew it was a lectionary selection for October 20
th and I had been thinking about it for several days. I knew that it kept cropping up in my mind because of the decisions we were facing at that meeting. I knew we would wrestle with them. And I knew we would need to hear a blessing by the end of the day.
Some passages of scripture lend themselves well to metaphorical interpretation. Sometimes that isn't the best use of scripture and the interpretations take us far afield. But this passage from Genesis lends itself well to reflecting on our lives as believers. In the Genesis version Jacob is said to be wrestling with "a man." In Hosea 12:4 the prophet claims that Jacob wrestled with "the angel," which explains why we often refer to Jacob wrestling with an angel on the banks of the river. This is the image we see depicted in artwork through the ages and the one that lends itself so well to our own reflections.
Which one of us hasn't wrestled within our faith? I mean wrestling to the point of pain, and tears, and almost being overcome. I have known it in my own life - in private moments and in public ones. At the time I would never have said it was an angel. I might have claimed the opposite. And I recognize now that this wrestling leaves us with a limp - as it did Jacob - we are changed and we carry our wounds within us. We may also carry a blessing, but only if we have asked for it.
Jacob's refusal to release the angel until it has blessed him is remarkable to me. Far from begging the angel to leave (as I've done many times, I admit), Jacob refused to release him - even in the midst of physical pain - and instead humbles himself in asking for a blessing. In response the angel asks for his name, and then changes it. What would it take for us to do the same? Could we ask God for a new name, a new sense of identity that reflects what we have been through? That would be a blessing not only to us, but also to those who come after us?
Whatever the wrestling includes - spiritual questions, vocational calling, momentous decisions, or existential anxiety and fear - demand of it a blessing. In the blessing we will find the hope for moving forward.
Penn Central Conference Offices will be closed on Thursday, October 24, 2019 as all staff will be offsite. If you have any needs, please email or leave a voicemail and we will contact you when we are back in the office.
Fall Women's Retreat: Living Well - In The Moment
Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7:00PM - Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 11AMregister online
Fall Youth Retreat: Never Alone
Friday November 15, 2019 7:00 PM - Sunday, November 17, 2019 11:00 AMregister online
Men's Retreat:Seasons of a Man's Life
Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7PM - Sunday January 19, 2020 at 1PM register online
Friday, March 27, 2020 - Sunday, March 29, 2020
Penn Central Conference's FIRST Men's Retreat
This promises to be the beginning of a new tradition in the Conference or maybe a first step in a Men's movement!
Seasons of a Man's Life is the theme of the January 17-19 Men's Retreat at Hartman Center. Using the familiar text of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (To everything there is a season), the men will have an opportunity to experience the phrases of that text in multiple ways (talks, workshops, interactive displays, films, and worshipful moments.)
The Penn Central Conference Confirmation Retreat will be held March 27 - 29, 2020 at Hartman Center. This weekend is always a great opportunity for our confirmands to explore "Being The Church"
and to connect with other youth.
Planning for this retreat is done by the Pastors and/or youth leaders of the participating churches. We will gather for an initial planning meeting on Monday November 18 from 1 - 3 pm at the conference office, and Zoom will be avalable.
Please contact Pastor Patty Dodds as soon as possible if your church is interested in participating. 1-717-502-2246 or Program@HartmanCenter.com
REACH Mission Trips
REACH Mission Trips is a youth organization that invites youth & adult volunteers to follow in Jesus' footsteps, sharing God's love. Youth & adult volunteers chose one of several mission camps to help people in need with home repairs, maintenance, and building projects. The homeowner becomes the volunteer's Neighbor. As volunteers share their time, labor, & efforts, they also share their faith in God with each other and their Neighbor, putting their faith into action. This year, our group chose to go to Newfane NY July 15-20, 2019. Read more about this important ministry from St. Jacob's (Stone) UCC, Glenville.
50th Anniversary CROP Hunger Walks
CROP Hunger Walks - stepping up to end hunger since 1969.
Celebrating the 50
th anniversary of the national CROP Hunger Walk movement; CROP Hunger Walks continue to raise millions of dollars each year to help end hunger and poverty through long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger. In each CROP Hunger Walk community, 25% of money raised comes back to local agencies. Across the country, over 1600 local agencies receive funds from CROP Hunger Walks
This year some 800 communities nationwide are joining together in interfaith CROP Hunger Walks around the theme "Stepping up to End Hunger Since 1969." Because teens and their communities in North Dakota and Pennsylvania cared 50 years ago, the CROP Hunger Walk is now America's main hunger walk. Millions of people around the nation have since responded to the invitation to end hunger. We celebrate this 50-year legacy and challenge ourselves to keeping moving forward until there is enough for all.
Join Hummelstown UCC and other churches in the Hershey/Hummelstown area at the CROP Hunger Walk in Hershey on October 27th.
Click here to learn more.Interesting Factoid - George Sturgeon, who worked for Church World Service and started the CROP Walk, was a member of Hummelstown UCC at the time of his passing.
The 48th Harrisburg Region CROP Walk will be held on October 20 on the Capital Steps (3rd St. side) beginning at 1:30pm. For more information on how churches may become involved, contact Kathy Neely, Hbg. CROP Treasurer at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-545-3782.
Every year, on the 1st Saturday in December, Salem UCC, 231 Chestnut Street, Harrisburg, Pa. hosts a free toy giveaway with Mr. & Mrs. Santa. We also try to have small items available for the children, if they would like something for a parent or grandparent. Also last year the children asked if we could have the gifts wrapped so that they had something to open on Christmas Day. Last year 120 children attended. The only requirement Salem asks is that they preregister for the event so that we have an idea how many will show up.
We were wondering if any of the other Churches would be interested in helping giving monetary to Salem's/toy give away or donating new toys to this cause? Please make checks payable to: "Salem UCC" memo line "Salem's Closet/toy giveaway". Toys should be unwrapped. Deadline for monetary/toys is November 25th. We never turn a child away and the numbers keep growing. Please e-mail email@example.com or contact: Sandy Sgrignoli at 717-635-0569.
Upcoming Ministerial Excellence Forums
November 20 - Rev. Donna Hale and Rev. Gloria McPherson,
The Opioid Crisis
It seems as though every corner of American life has been touched by the current Opioid Addiction Crisis, so much so that at General Synod this summer the
UCC urged every congregation to recognize it at a health epidemic. Revs. Donna Hale and Gloria McPherson have been working in their communities for some time now in various capacities. Gloria will be talking with us about the physical and personal realities of addiction, and Donna will follow with ways for churches to assist in the spiritual recovery as well as through community partnerships. They both highly recommend the book
In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids, by Travis Rieder, as a good read in preparation for our time together, however the reading is not required. (3 hours of Continuing Education) To register,
All forums are for clergy and will be held at
St. Thomas UCC - 6490 Linglestown Road - Harrisburg, PA 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Save The Date!
For those filling up their 2020 calendars, please save:
January 8 (Worship Planning at Colonial Park, snow date 1/9)
February 19 (MEF at St. Thomas)
March 18 (MEF at St. Thomas)
April 22 (MEF at St. Thomas)
May 13 (Worship Planning at Colonial Park)
More info to come!
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils and Ordinations
October 20 - Ecclesiastical Council for Rose Shepley at St. John's, Shamokin - 3:00PM
(registration deadline October 10; meeting of Central Association, quorum required)
November 10 - Installation of Alice Rauch at St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 3:00PM
November 17 - Ecclesiastical Council for Gary Nottis at Paradise UCC, Milton - 3:00PM (registration deadline November 1; meeting of Central Association, quorum required)
November 23 - Installation as Senior Pastor of Rev. Cindy Garis at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg - 3:00PM
Association Meetings & Ministeriums
October 20 - Lebanon Association Annual Meeting
at Salem UCC, Campbeltown - 3:00PM (registration starts at 2:30PM)
October 27- Harrisburg Association Fall Meeting at Colonial Park UCC - 2:00PM
October 27 -
Lancaster Association Fall Meetingat Zion UCC, Marietta - 3:00PM
November 3 -
Mercersburg Association Fall Meeting at St. Paul's UCC, McConnellsburg - 3:00PM-5:00PM
November 3 -
Gettysburg Association Social at Bay City Restaurant, Hanover - 1:00PM
November 10 - York Association Fall Meeting at Mt. Zion UCC, York - 1:30PM (fellowship) 2:00PM (program)
Association Town Halls
You are invited to gather with others from your association (clergy and lay people alike) for fellowship and a light dinner of soup, sandwiches and dessert. (See dates, times and locations below)
Conversation with Rev. Carrie Call will follow our dinner. She will provide updates about Penn Central Conference, touching on topics such as new staffing, updated strategic planning, and the Hartman Center.
Please bring your questions and concerns as well as your enthusiasm and ideas for our Conference!
October 28 - Mercersburg Association - First UCC, Carlisle - 6:00PM
October 29 - Northern & Central Associations - St. John's UCC, Lewisburg - 6:30PM
October 30-Lancaster Association - Trinity UCC, East Petersburg - 6:00PM
November 13 - Lebanon Association - Quentin UCC, Quentin - 6:00PM
Local Church Events
Christmas at Salem
November 6 & 7
9:30AM - 7:00PM
Colonial Park UCC
5000 Devonshire Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
Booths include Attic Treasures, Books/Media Center,
Men's Den, Children's Shoppe, Homemade Crafts & Goodies
Served from 10:00AM - 1:30PM
includes hot dogs, chili, soups, salads, ham sandwiches
Served from 5:00PM-6:30PM
Wednesday - Turkey & fixin's
Thursday - Roast Beef dinner
Boston & Salem Trip with Grace UCC, Hanover
The Resource Committee of Grace United Church of Christ of Hanover is offering a trip of beauty, education and spooky adventure. We will be thoroughly touring Boston and JFK Memorial Library (many rare documents, the oval office desk, Jackie's gowns and much more.)
Enjoy a guided trolley tour of the city of BOSTON, then off to SALEM to tour the House of the Seven Gables and learn of the Witch History - Tour dates October 27th thru 30th. The perfect time for witches and Halloween!
Call 717-637-1513 for more information
Reservations by availability! Call Now!
PCC Partners & Friends Events
Pastor Appreciation Breakfast Invitation
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The chaplain of the Pastoral Care ministries of Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village CCRC, Lewisburg, Pa recognizes your ministry to our community and are greatly appreciative of the love that you give to our residents. In thanks and praise for your commitment to sharing God's love, we are celebrating October as Clergy Appreciation Month with a Pastor Appreciation Breakfast.
All clergy and members of ministry in our communities are invited to a Pastor Appreciation Breakfast on October 24, 2019 at 9 a.m. on the campus of Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village, Lewisburg, PA. The breakfast will be an informal time of food and fellowship amongst local clergy and members of ministry. It will provide everyone with an opportunity to connect with other workers of the harvest.
The Village Common building on the western side of Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village's campus off of Reitz Boulevard will be the site of the breakfast.
The address of the Village Common building is:
6 E. Tressler Boulevard, Lewisburg, Pa 17837
We certainly hope you will be able to join us for this time of fellowship celebrating our shared ministry with the residents of Riverwoods Senior Living and Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village.
Please R.S.V.P. by email or phone message to Reverend Marian K. Anderson by October 18, 2019 to be included in the count for breakfast.
Keep your calendar open for
Saturday, October 26th!
Join us for Mission Central's 5
th annual 5K Run/Walk!
This is the perfect combination of a family-friendly event and a great 5K. This is professionally timed with awards for top overall male and female runners and awards for the top male and female runners in each age group.
For those who aren't serious runners, this is a great morning walk. Families/groups of friends/church groups can participate and have a blast together... and you can walk our warehouse!
Mission Central has previously partnered with the UCC DR&R team so we are happy to pass this information along to PCC churches and friends.
Lancaster Theological Seminary Events
LTS Discover Days
Lancaster Theological Seminary is holding two Discover Days, open house events, on
Saturday, November 9 and
Wednesday, November 13. This is a wonderful opportunity for people who are considering a theological education to visit campus, sit in on a class, worship with our community, enjoy lunch and meet current students and faculty, and explore the programs, schedules, and costs. The events are free and registration is required. The details are on our website,
lancasterseminary.edu and by clicking this
Tuesday Talks at the Seminary
Seminary professors present free talks on current topics in Santee Chapel at 10:00 am on Nov. 19, Jan. 21andMarch 24. Attendees who buy lunch afterwards at the Gypsy Kitchen on campus receive a complimentary dessert.
Nov. 19 - The Future of Religion in America: The Situation 20 Years From Now
Who's in the pews? Join Dr. Lee Barrett, Professor of Systematic Theology, for a look at American worship in 2040.
Jan. 21 - Christianity and Immigration
Dr. Lee Barrett explores a prickly contemporary topic with deep, ancient roots.
March 24 - Women Who Speak for God: Females Among the Prophets
During Women's History Month, Dr. Julia M. O'Brien explores the stories of women called "prophets" in the Bible, and why they are important to our understanding of prophecy.
Download a printable flyer for your bulletin board or to share with a friend here.
Music Sundays at the Seminary
FREE MONTHLY CONCERTS IN SANTEE CHAPEL
Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm.
Complimentary light refreshments will be served after each show.
Nov. 10 - Leaves of Many Colors
Dr. William Wright leads the 24-member Franklin & Marshall College Chamber Singers in spirituals and sacred motets, madrigals and contemporary art music celebrating the beauty of human voices in harmony.
Dec. 8- A Thrill of Hope, the Weary World Rejoices
Get your Christmas spirit flowing and feet tapping with a heart-warming holiday program of music for voice, organ, piano and Celtic harp. Presented by Scott Siciliano, pastor, composer, musician and Seminary grad known for his angelic voice and musical versatility.
More performances in 2020 to be announced! Download a printable flyer for your bulletin board or to share with a friend
Resources & Calendar
United Church of Christ Musicians Association
Inspiring, educating and nurturing those who minister through music and the arts
WHO ARE WE?
The United Church of Christ Musicians Association, Inc. (UCCMA) is a non-profit, national organization with a membership made up of musicians, clergy and interested laity. We are a grassroots, member-supported association run entirely by volunteers.
UCCMA was founded in 1993 by a small group of musicians in Connecticut who felt a need for professional support from colleagues in our denomination. We incorporated in 1994 and held our first national conference in 1998.
As we have grown both in membership and mission, our focus has broadened to include individuals with many different roles, both formal and informal, in their churches' music and worship life. People from other denominations have always been welcome.
WHAT DO WE OFFER?
We offer professional development and support, education programs, networking, resources, publications and conferences.
To those who join UCCMA, we provide:
* UCC Musicians News, an electronic newsletter published six times a year
* Worship, Music and Ministry, a
professional journal published three times a year
* Job placement listing service
* Biennial national conference offering
an array of workshops and worship services
* Online address directory
* Supportive environment for learning
skills and connecting with colleagues
This is a part-time position. The Hartman Center will provide a full camping season in summer 2020. Further, we hope to offer multiple adult learning events such as retreats and seminars.
Due to the urgent and time-sensitive nature of this position, we are open to two individuals sharing the responsibility for this job. Dedicated and highly organized single applicants are encouraged as well. Possible candidates should send their names and resumes to Paul Keller at
firstname.lastname@example.org (ministerial candidates will have their profile reviewed). Serious applicants please contact us to indicate interest no later October 21st.