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President of United Church of Christ Scheduled to Retire

On August 14, the Rev. Geoffery A. Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, announced his retirement following the conclusion of General Synod 30 in June 2015. The content of his letter may be found on www.ucc.org. Please keep Rev. Black in your prayers as he anticipates his upcoming retirement, and please keep the national setting of our church in your prayers as we look to new leadership in the future.

Installation Service

The Rev. David Ackerman is scheduled to be installed as our new Conference Minister on Sunday, November 16, at 4 PM at First Reformed UCC in Greensburg. We hope that you will be able to come to this day of celebration in the life of our Penn West Conference!

A Message from Our Conference Minister-Elect

I hope to visit all of our churches for Sunday morning services. Obviously, it will take me several years at least to do this. And even though my calendar is filling up quickly, I’d love to hear from you at some point about scheduling a Sunday for me to come out and visit you and your congregation. Ideally, I’d like for your Consistory/Council to work with your pastor to schedule a visit with me on a Sunday when your pastor is there. This will reinforce the covenantal commitment that our Conference shares with our local churches. I love to preach but am also happy to simply bring greetings from the Conference. If I don’t hear from you, I may show up some Sunday (I will try to give some notice). Please be patient with me when you try to schedule, but please do try! - David

Global Prayers

The World Council of Churches has recently asked for our prayers and called for advocacy in regard to the plight of Christians, Yazidis and other religious and ethnic groups in Northern Iraq.

Also, the recent news from Ferguson, Missouri, concerning the shooting of Michael Brown and the protests that have followed demand our prayers and embolden our church to work to bring an end to racism in our society. Please pray for a world where God’s justice and peace are at home.

Finally, Zach Wolgemuth, our Executive for UCC Disaster Ministries has informed us that there are still 144 grants available for congregations interested in assembling CWS school kits. For more information, go here.

Fall Association Meetings

Our Association Fall Meetings are scheduled as follows:

Clarion Association on October 26 at St. Luke’s, Luthersburg. Registration begins at 2:30 PM

Juniata Association on October 19 at Salem, Martinsburg. Begins at 2 PM.

Lake Erie Association TBA

Pittsburgh Association on November 2 at Community of Reconciliation, Pittsburgh. Lunch will be served at 12:30 PM. Prayers will be held at 1:45 PM and the meeting begins at 2 PM.

Somerset Association TBA

Westmoreland Association on November 2 at Emmanuel Reformed (Hill’s), Export. Registration begins at 2:30 PM

The Westmoreland Association will also be hosting a Christian Education event on Sunday, October 12, at Denmark Manor UCC. More details on this event should become available soon.

Penn West Academy for Ministry Welcomes New Faculty

The Penn West Conference Church & Ministry Committee recently named a new dean and two new faculty members for our 2014-2015 academic year. The Rev. Joseph Hedden was named Dean, the Rev. Meredith Hutchison was named instructor in Covenant & Polity, and the Rev. Cindy Parker was named instructor in Worship & Preaching (formerly Practical Theology). We welcome our new Dean and faculty members to the program. Please keep our program in your prayers. If you believe that God is calling to you to serve in authorized (typically licensed) ministry or that God is calling you to deeper study and growth, the Penn West Academy may be for you. To obtain a catalog, contact the Conference Office. You may call our new Dean at his office at Emmanuel Reformed UCC in Export at 724-327-3050 or email him here.

Dates for the Calendar

There are some important dates ahead that we hope you will put on your calendar. The first is our Congregational Vitality Event February 6-7, 2015, at Antiochian Village in Bolivar. It is again hosted by our Transformation & Renewal Team and we look forward to welcoming back the Rev. Graham Standish as our presenter.

Also, we are looking forward to an All-Association Gathering hosted by St. John’s UCC in Evans City on Saturday, April 18, 2015. The theme of the day is, “Beyond Sunday Morning,” and we will address issues of emergency management for local churches.

Finally, don’t forget to mark May 29-30, as the dates for our 2015 Penn West Conference Annual Meeting at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. We hope to see you there!

Pastor’s Retreat

Our Pastor’s Retreat this year will be held from noon on September 30 through lunchtime on October 1 at Living Waters. Registration forms should be going out soon. Our retreat leader is Dr. Leanna K. Fuller, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The theme of the time is, "Coping with Conflict in Congregations: Problems and Possibilities.” This should be an important time together for all our pastors. Please see the registration flier for more details.

Women’s Retreat at Living Waters

The Penn West Conference Women’s Retreat will be held at Living Waters on September 18-19 and 20-21. A registration form is included in the mailing with the hard copies of this newsletter. For more information, you may contact us here or at 724-834-0344.

Work Day at Living Waters

Living Waters Camp & Conference Center will host a Work Day on September 27, beginning at 9 AM. For more details, visit the camp website here. To RSVP, email Joni here or call 814-733-4212

"God is Still Speaking"

Welcome to the PWC Website!

The Penn West Conference website is a platform for sharing the mutual ministries and missions (that our churches and members carry forward) of God. Members and visitors will find insights and resources, documents and materials, our resource center and catalog, Ministry Teams, links to local PWC church websites, and more. We are linked to the national site as well as other important ministry sites. As we move forward, we will have Annual Meeting information and registration online.

Combined with the periodic PWC eNewsletter (for current information and updates), churches and members will have greater access than ever before. Moving to electronic media is a challenge for the reader and for the originator. We will learn together how we can become collaborators in God’s Ministry and in God’s Message. Join in this by sending in articles about your church life and all the emails of members in your church.



Rev. Char Burch
Interim Conference Minister

Suggested Links:

Visit UCC.org
Visit LivingWatersCamp.org