Keeping you informed of happenings around the New York Conference, UCC.

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. David Gaewski
I love thunderstorms. My family finds that odd knowing that when I was almost five years old, my home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. For decades it was known as the worst fire in the history of Monroe, Connecticut. No one was hurt, but my parents literally lost everything.
Still, I really do like storms. I like it when the windows shake. I love the sound of cascading rain. I also like the clearness of the air after a really good storm.
It seems to me that for quite some time there have been less thunderstorms than when I was younger. I looked online to see if this was the case. Is there a correlation with climate change? What I've found online is inconclusive. It seems to be the case that in El Nino years, there is less lightning, but with each increase of the average global temperature, there appears to be more lightning. I can attest to many storms growing up in New England, but global maps show the NE as a lower frequency area.
But when the humidity and mugginess linger day after day, week after week, I long for a good storm to clear the air. Clear air is good. You can breathe deeper and see farther.

Rev. David R Gaewski, Conference Minister Twitter : @davidgaewski1
The Building Bridges Initiative
In light of recent events including the back-and-forth between the Khan family and the Donald Trump campaign, the UCC Communications Team wants to make you aware of an interfaith initiative of inclusivity we launched last month, and invite you to encourage you and your congregation to participate.
The Building Bridges initiative invites all people across the wider church build relationships between Christians and Muslims in local communities around the country. The one-church effort to extend the extravagant welcome of the United Church of Christ to all is building on a successful Pacific Northwest Conference Ramadan initiative, 'Honoring Sacred Time,' which posted visible signs of welcome, solidarity and support for Muslim Americans in dozens of churches around Washington state.
"This initiative is very much in line with the spirit of love and compassion that the gospel invites us to bear witness to. While we celebrate this bold, public witness, we also realize that Muslims in America live in fear all the time. It is going to take a concerted, collaborative effort on our part to shift the dialogue and engender feelings of trust, of love, and of mutual support across interfaith lines."  John C. Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President

There are four simple actions individuals and congregations can do to get involvedGet educated about Islam, meet with your Muslim neighbors, offer a visible sign of solidarity, and become an advocate.
The Building Bridges webpage offers resources and ideas to help you get started.


"Thank You to all who supported, prayed for, and attended the National Youth Event of the UCC at Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The theme of the event was "Believe" and the 200 youth, young adults and chaperones from NY Conference were encouraged to "Believe" in Faith, Kindness and Justice in new ways each day of the event.
Our days began with large Group gatherings and ended with worship~ being led by inspirational speakers and preachers.
Speakers included: Hadiqa Bashir- Recent Mohamed Ali Humanitarian award recipient,Trisha Prabu- creator of ReThink- A website created to combat Cyberbullying,  and Aidan Thomas Hornaday who created a website called AidanCares to teach  youth how to care for others.. 
Our NY Conference group had a great time and many are planning for 2020 for the next National Youth Event..."
Make sure to Follow the New York Conference facebook feed for pictures and updates or follow the hashtag #NYBelieve2016   

Communications Coordinator Needed

The New York Conference, UCC together with the Regional Synod of New York, RCA are jointly seeking a Communications Coordinator. This is a part-time position (10 hours/week).
Tasks include maintenance of two websites and the sending of both the UCCNY weekly e-blast as well as the Regional Synod electronic communications.
Interested persons should contact Rev. David Gaewski at no later than August 19.

Sign Your Name to Support NY Conference Letter to Gov. Cuomo: "Stop denying our rights. Rescind your executive order now!"

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I am writing on behalf of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ, a judicatory with 260 churches in the state of New York. For decades our denomination, the United Church of Christ, has been committed to supporting a just peace in Israel/Palestine. We have sought to build relationships with people of all faiths in the region - both Palestinian and Israeli - who share our desire for justice and healing. Through those relationships we have learned about the realities of the Israeli Occupation and the truly devastating impact it has on everyone in the region, especially Palestinians. We have asked ourselves and our partners in the region how we, as American Christians, can be in solidarity with those who are tirelessly struggling to end the occupation. One of the clearest answers was to use our financial resources to apply economic pressure to the structures supporting it. Keep reading and SIGN YOUR NAME in support!
Donna Schaper Books on Sale

The following books are on sale from the New York Conference and include Free Shipping and Handling!

Approaching the End of Life - A Practical and Spiritual Guide
Regularly Priced $32.00 -  Sale! $20.00
Prayers for People who Say they Can't
Regularly Priced $16.99  Sale! $12.00

Contact Sueli Gaewsky to order:
Constitution and Bylaws Survey

  A new survey out today is intended to include all voices of the wider church in the conversation about proposed changes to the United Church of Christ Constitution and Bylaws. 
Take the survey >>

Faith for a Fair NY 2016 Conference
September 25-27, Syracuse

New Yorkers of all faiths are compelled by our traditions to seek justice. How do we do so faithfully and effectively in a time of increasing inequality, poverty and ideological division?
Over three days of presentations, workshops, and small group reflection, we will:
  • Build connections with other justice-seeking New Yorkers from different regions and faiths
  • Build knowledge of issues and movements through a moral/faith-rooted lens
  • Build the capacity to do justice work through skills training and strategic reflection
  • Be energized and inspired to continue working for justice - or to get involved for the first time
Pastoral Coaching Opportunity from the Center for Progressive Renewal

Attention church leaders, the start of the church program year is right around the corner! Use this summer as an opportunity to reboot and be renewed. We have created a diverse coaching program that excels in meeting you where you are and helping you figure out what to do next. Sign up for a free coaching session today.
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
August 7 - Homer Community-wide Worship service
August 28 - Binghamton Eastside

Rev. Freeman Palmer
August 7:  Sayville Congregational UCC Sayville
August 14:  Emmanuel UCC Massena
August 21:  Walton First Congregational Church, Walton
Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
August 28:  Plymouth Congregational Church, Syracuse
September 18:  Homer Congregational Church, UCC
August 26-28 in Indianapolis

¡Missionworks! is an experience for pastors, mission board members, and anyone interested in global mission to connect with the global work of the church. Over the weekend of  Aug. 26-28  in Indianapolis you will find out how to build on your congregation's existing passion for mission and receive tools for sharing about God's mission in the world.  For more information go to 

Opportunities for Education
Study of Islam

First Congregational United Church of Christ, 171 West Pulteney Street, Corning will be hosting a six week series on Islam.

The series will be offered from Sunday, June 10 - Sunday, August 14th, at 3PM. It will be based on the DVD lecture series The Great Courses - Great World Religions: Islam by John L. Esposito, professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University.

For more information contact the church at: 607-962-7423 or
Global Missionary Available to Speak

The Rev. Judy Chan, who has served with Global Ministries for 22 years will be available to speak to congregations and groups around the New York Conference from Saturday, Oct. 22-Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Western/Central Region: Oct. 22 - Nov. 1
Metro Area: Nov. 2-9 

Judy serves with the Hong Kong Christian Council, as a communications Specialist in charge of Ecumenical Broadcasting Ministry and Editor of English publications and speaks fluent Cantonese.  She has a powerpoint with pictures of her work and enjoys meeting with small groups.    

If you would like to schedule Judy or have questions, contact Kay Woike at:; 716-834-9781

News from Our Committees
Stewardship Committee

So mark this day, August 2nd.  Today I had the first Pastor call to talk about the "fall Financial campaign".

So yes, even though I think about Stewardship all year long, this was the little poke I needed to get me to write about OCWM, Our Churches Wider Mission. 
OCWM starts with the local Church, your church! 
In the New York Conference there is not a "per capita" charge for OCWM; local churches make decisions about how much they give to OCWM. 
The Conference, usually in a letter addressed to the Pastor and the Treasurer, will ask the church to consider a fair share, or to make a small increase over the prior year's giving.
Do you know how much your church gives to OCWM?
Over the next few weeks in August I will write more about OCWM.
Printed with permission from Rev Dwight Lee Wolter
Part-Time Jesus: On Being Church in the Summer

I have read the Bible many times and have found no evidence that Jesus ever took the summer off. Therefore, my philosophy has always been that neither should we. But I am also confident that when the summer breeze wafted over the Sea of Galilee, Jesus took some time off to go swimming, grill some fish, and play Frisbee (or the ancient equivalent).
We should also keep the churches open and ready to welcome and serve because Jesus said, "the poor shall always be with you." I take "the poor" to include those who cannot afford to go to some exciting vacation by land or sea. And I take "the poor" to include those who are grieving or in poor health and need support at a time when many other persons are at the beach and its "summertime and the livin' is easy." And I take "the poor" to include those who feel "poor" if they cannot start their Sunday and their week with one hour of devotion, prayer, music and message.

I really enjoy church in the summer. I enjoy the informality and the lack of fuss. I enjoy listening to soloists or other instrumentalists not on vacation or sabbatical until the week after Labor Day. I even enjoy fine recorded music if that is all there is to offer. I enjoy the intimate setting and the special bond with the Summer Service People. And I really enjoy and feel good knowing that we are "present and accounted for" in case someone needs us.
For the remaining Sundays between now and Labor Day ~ if you cannot physically be in church ~ then continue to be there spiritually, wherever you may wander, wherever you may roam. Pray for your church while you are away. And if indeed you are away somewhere ~ don't forget that the church is still here "holding up the fort" and that the bills never take a vacation. Let us remember to thank those who keep the church open. And remember to thank God for a full-time Jesus in a summertime season.

Dwight Lee Wolter is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York. He blogs at ~ tweets @dwightleewolter ~ and on Facebook under Dwight Lee Wolter.

This fall's stewardship webinars:
Tuesday, August 9, 2016                                                    
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Dana Ostomel

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Grace Duddy Pomroy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Grace Duddy Pomroy

You can always call me or email me with Stewardship questions

Support the New York Conference
Covenant Share

Covenant Share is the Special Offering approved by the New York Conference in 2013. This offering can be taken up any time during the year. Covenant Share is to be received in the manner as One Great Hour of Sharing and Neighbors in Need. The Covenant Share Offering makes possible ministries specific to the United Church of Christ in New York.

Click to Learn More and Support:
Amazon Smile
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the  New York Conference of United Church of Christ  whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

Click to Sign Up:
Donate Directly

Make your contribution to the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ today.

Join Us in Ministry:
What's Happening at Your Local Church?

Do you have an item of news that you would like to share throughout the New York Conference? Please email our Communications Coordinator at and send the details - preferably with links and pictures!
Please note that the New York Conference does not publish news related to fundraisers.
New York Conference | United Church of Christ
315-446-3073 | |