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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. David Gaewski
Moral Re-construction. I reflected upon this several times in 2016 and continue to find this of paramount importance in our country for 2017. I asked for feedback on what the readers of My Thoughts considered moral reconstruction to mean. Here are a few of the comments I received:
"We need to seek a better balance between the concepts of "the protection of individual rights" and "working together for the good of the whole community."
"The simple kindness we show to other people like in a civil greeting. The respect each person is due and should have in every situation. Realizing that robbery, fraud, avarice,  repression, force, coercion, discrimination, corruption, and abuse are not the way God wants us to behave."
"Moral reconstruction for our society has to include a major shift in our relationship with children."
Five hundred years ago Martin Luther chose to challenge the status quo of church and society with his 95 theses. My studies of Luther's thought resulted in understanding that just as Luther believed Christ is the center of the Church, so is the role of the Church to be central in society-the moral/ethical compass that continues to reform all of society into a more perfect reflection of who and what God has created humanity to be. It is the role of the church to be the verbal conscience of society.
This is why I am so deeply troubled-and outraged-that our Congress has moved to eliminate the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The O.C.E has historically been unbiased by party affiliation and has raised the ethical standard for our leaders. How can we morally reconstruct our society when our leaders have lowered the standards of monitoring their own ethical behavior?

Rev. David Gaewski
Conference Minister Twitter: @davidgaewski1
Conference Minister Endorses Camp Fowler

Two years ago Camp Fowler (and several other summer camps) requested that I endorse and promote their summer youth programs. Having worked extensively with summer camps in both Maine and New Hampshire, I am aware that a camp accredited by the American Camping Association is of critical importance in order for a conference to stand behind their programs. ACA accreditation ensures the highest standard for program safety in the summer camp industry. For this reason I told every camp that requested my backing that as soon as they achieved the ACA standard, I would support them.
I am very pleased to communicate that Camp Fowler on the shores of Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondack Mountains responded to my challenge and has been granted ACA accreditation. Having gone through the accreditation process in Maine, I can attest that this is no small achievement. For this reason I will promote Camp Fowler (or any other ACA accredited facility) for New York youth to enjoy! Camp Fowler is associated with the Reformed Church in America (Albany Synod). Ryan Henderson and I have met with their Director several times and we are pleased to support their program.
Registration for summer camp is now open online at Check out their programs. Several members of the New York Conference have been very active in their programs throughout the years including Marian Shearer, Janelle Richardson, and Emily Otto. They will attest to the inclusive, spiritual, and safe attributes that make Camp Fowler a wonderful experience for youth. Visit their website. You can also call Camp Fowler at 518-631-6789.
David Gaewski
Public Servants Describing Public Service

A UCC Minister from Maine is spearheading a project of collecting essays from public servants, such as ministers, local, state, and federal governmental workers, librarians, etc. The purpose of collecting these essays is to guide a national discourse on what public service means to us as Americans.
Reverend Brian Gruhn writes: "I am asking you to speak directly to the aspects of public service that you see as being most vital, and speaking directly to what we should expect of any public servant looking to serve. It is my hope that this could be the basis for a new dialogue, a dialogue that breaks us out of our current public discourse that is forever stalled by wedge-issues, scandals, false accusations, and flamboyant personalities. This would be an attempt to reset our discourse, to center it around shared values that help us to properly identify the goals of Public Service, identify Public Servants with the ability to honor that work, and separate them from con artists who cannot be trusted to serve the public good, or individuals desperately seeking a pay check more than they seek a higher call.
My goal would be to collect these into a single work and publish it by January 20, 2017, the day our next President takes the oath of office. With that deadline in mind, I would ask for all submissions to be submitted to my personal email:   by Tuesday, January 17, 2017."
"Transforming Holy Places" free art event Tuesday in Syracuse

As programming for the current exhibition at ArtRage Gallery,
In God's House, an evening presentation is scheduled chron
icling the transformation of one Christian church into an Islamic mosque. In the Syracuse North side neighborhood, what was once Holy Trinity Church has become Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam, which translates to Mosque of Jesus Son of Mary. The transformation was not an easy one but through patience, community leadership and neighborly outreach, the Christian and Islamic neighbors have found a way to embrace each others beliefs and differences.
Panel members include members of both the original church and current mosque. The discussion will be facilitated by Beth Broadway, President and CEO of Interfaith Works.
The event is free to the public on Tuesday, January 10 from 7:00-8:30 at ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse.
Metro Association Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The Metropolitan Association, UCC, invites you to join us for A Song in a Weary Throat: Racial Justice and the American Church, our annual tribute to the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 16 at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, New York from 9:00a-12:00p. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Director of the Center for Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary.
2016 Offerings Reminder

The final date to send in your 2016 offerings is January 17, 2017. Any offerings received after this date will be included in the year 2017. To be a 5 for 5 Church in 2016, we must receive offerings from OCWM, One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church and The Christmas Fund by January 17, 2017. Thank you for support of the ministries of the New York Conference and the United Church of Christ.
"Day of Remembrance" liturgy and study resource

worship and study resource for the "Day of Remembrance" for Japanese Americans who were exiled and imprisoned during World War II has been prepared by Ellen Godbey Carson of the Hawaii Conference. Ellen is a retired attorney and member of Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, Hawai'i. She was one of the lead counsel in the class action suit for Americans of Japanese ancestry who were exiled from their homes and imprisoned in racial prison camps by the United States government during World War II. That case assisted in obtaining a Presidential apology to those imprisoned and Congressional redress payments to those who survived.
Permission is granted for use in our churches. Day of Remembrance is typically recognized February 19.
Be part of a Community of Practice

Focus on the praxis of ministry, learn from colleagues, be fed spiritually and physically. The challenge for clergy is often how to find ways to continually be renewed in your own faith and practices. Communities of Practice (CoP) groups are designed to do that and so much more.

Led by trained, experienced facilitators, these groups offer pastors, new ministers, and those in specialized ministry settings an opportunity to find affirmation, support, and accountability within a peer-learning environment. Ministry becomes a shared endeavor and ministers are stronger because of their group experience.

Groups are forming for January. Don't miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this exciting new ministry endeavor. In-person and virtual groups are available.  For more information or to sign-up to participate click here.
Western Area Youth Advisor's event coming in January

The Western Area Youth Advisor's/Minister's Education Event is scheduled for Saturday, January 21 at Ebenezer United Church of Christ in West Seneca, NY. The event is 10:00-4:00 and your $10 registration includes lunch. Topics include trends among teenagers, drug use, LGBTQ and our teens, and worship. Click here for more information and a printable flyer.
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
January 8 - Nazarene Congregational Church, Brooklyn
January 28 - Church of the Living Hope (ordination: Chris Lawrence)
March 5 - First Congregational Church of Corning
March 12 - United Church of Rockville Centre
March 19 - United Church of Spring Valley
April 2 - First Congregational Church, Albany
April 9 - Corona Congregational Church
June 4 - Pilgrim St. Luke/El Nuevo Camino, Buffalo
June 11 - Congregational Church of Farmingville

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
January 22 - Briarcliff Congregational Church
February 5 - Stanfordville United Church of Christ
February 12 - First Congregational UCC, Norwich
February 26 - Corona Congregational Church UCC

Opportunities for Education
American Church History course scheduled

American Church History
Rev. Steven Johnson, Ph.D., instructor
Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9 pm: January 18 & 25; February 1, 8, 15, 22; March 8 & 15
Cost: NY Conference Participants: $250;  Audit: $175; Repeat Course Audit: $100
Participants outside the New York Conference: $275; Audit: $200 (plus the Distance Learning Support fee).
Distance Learning Support fee:  $69 per 20-hour course or $133 per semester.
Registration Deadline: January 10, 2017
This course, required for the Christian Leadership Program, offers an overview of the development of Christian churches in the United States with an emphasis on ideas and events that have shaped the United Church of Christ. Click here for a flyer with registration links. In NYSOM's Christian Leadership Program, the essential elements of a UCC History, Theology, and Polity class (as defined by the Polity Teachers Network) are spread across various courses: American Church History, UCC Polity, Intro to Christian Theology, and Liturgy & Worship. American Church History is the pre-requisite for our UCC Polity course. There is no pre-requisite for American Church History (and no expectation that UCC Polity will be taken). We advise those who need only a UCC History, Theology, and Polity course for authorization to take Rev. David Gaewski's UCC History, Theology, and Polity (offered Saturdays in January and June, via webconferencing) or an equivalent, free-standing course. American Church History fulfills 20 hours of continuing education for authorized ministers seeking to meet CE requirements.
January Free Webinars from Practical Resources for Churches

For more information about the webinars, the leaders, and to register, click on the title of the webinar.

Thursday, January 5; 7:00-8:00p

Thursday, January 19; 7:00-8:00p

Tuesday, January 24; 7:00-8:00p

Tuesday, January 31; 7:00-8:00p
Boundary Awareness Training Refresher Course

Saturday, January 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oneidea Association will be holding a Boundary Awareness Training Refresher Course on Saturday, January 14, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Conference Office. Cost is $75, and you need to bring lunch. Register with Oneida Registrar, Diana Pelletier, at Payment will be made the day of the event.
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