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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. David Gaewski
As I come to this Thanksgiving and I ponder my own sense of thankfulness, the words from a T.S. Elliot poem come to mind:
 
"Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered."
 
These days I am indeed finding "stranger" and more complicated patterns to living and I sense a longing for "home". Over the next few days I will be with family (except my son who must work). We will do the usual things: Turkey dinner, pies, and pinochle. There will be movies and naps. We will get the Christmas tree and take out the decorations. We will string lights. I am thankful that my family holds a relatively analogous world view, so I doubt there will be any political arguments...just lamenting. 
 
But after the holidays there will certainly be, for me, stranger and more complicated patterns. Landscapes have changed before, and with time we make sense of seismic activity. We change, we adapt, we move forward. I will focus on the lifetimes burning in every moment, which is to say, I will fix my sight on the sacredness of all life rather than on the "old stones" I am unable to understand.

"We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion..."

Pursuing the deeper communion in turbulent times is both comfort and challenge. It is not a question of whether we or I are "up for it". It is a matter of still moving and being moved by faith in the home where we first began-in the womb of God.

David

Rev. David R Gaewski, Conference Minister
DavidGaewski@uccny.org Twitter: @davidgaewski1
Announcements
Berlin City Deanery covenant signed in Germany

On November 13, the second part of the partnership covenant between the New York Conference and the Berlin City Deanery was signed in Berlin. Rev. David Gaewski and Rev. Bertold Hoecker (Dean) were the co-signers in Berlin. Accompanying Rev. Gaewski to Berlin were Sueli Gaewsky and Melva Victorino (Garden City). The new covenantal agreement calls each partner church to pray for our ministries and to engage in dialogue over the changing nature of church. 
While in Berlin the New York delegation visited Berlin ministry with the refugee communities, an urban Protestant intentional Christian community, the Office of the EKBO Bishop, and a ministry to the urban homeless population. A service of celebration took place at the Deanery Cathedral (St. Mary's- Marienkirche) on Sunday, Nov. 13. The Deanery truly expressed "extravagant welcome" to the New York visitors.

To read about this first part of the signing of the partnership covenant, click here.


Thank you to our Friends of the Conference volunteers

The New York Conference would like to say THANK YOU for helping with our largest annual mailing of the Friends of the Conference appeal to:
Bonnie Connolly
Chris Hopkins
Janet Hammond
Mona Arnold
Deanne Bellinger
S. Scott Kraemer
Barbara Forsstrom
Joanne Ferguson
Mary Dahn
Susan Frost
Peggy Kinner

Friends of the Conference is an annual appeal sent directly to individuals who have participated in the life of the New York Conference. It is not mailed to churches. The gifts from the Friends offering directly assist with the ministry and mission of the conference.
Parish Nurse survey

The UCC Faith Community Nurse Network Leadership Team is revising the UCC Manual on Faith Community Nursing. We ask that all health ministry teams or faith community nurses (parish nurses) please collaborate with us in this process by responding to a brief survey so that we can include the information most helpful to this ministry.  This link will take you to the  brief survey .
  
We ask that the survey be completed before Wednesday, Nov. 30th.
 
Thank you in advance for sharing your valuable insights!
 
The UCC Faith Community Nurses Leadership Team
2017 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs info available

Details and application materials for the 2017 programs are now available.

In the 2017 Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program eligible congregations will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 each to support a renewal program for their pastor. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program. Activities funded by a grant in the 2017 programs may begin anytime in 2018.

Application materials (the "Request for Proposals" document) for the 2017 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs include a full description of program guidelines and eligibility. Applicants may apply using either the print application or the online application system. The deadline to apply is April 21, 2017.
Teaching Gratitude

From the Spirituality & Practice Website:
 

Charlaine Apsel
Executive Director of the Parish Resource Center
NYSOM Clerk Needed

The New York Conference is seeking a NYSOM Clerk to provide administrative support for the New York School of Ministry. This is a part-time position (5 hours/week). This is a work-from-home position and does not require office time in Syracuse. Tasks include coordinating registration for NYSOM events and courses, promoting events online (through Happenings, the NYSOM update, and the Conference website), tracking tuition and course fees, and assisting in coordinating events on our database. Interested persons should contact Rev. David Gaewski at davidgaewski@uccny.org no later than December 1.
Opportunities for Education
Upcoming Webinars from Practical Resources for Churches
 
Thursday, December 1, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Debbie Kolacki
ONLINE: UCC History, Theology and Polity Course, Jan. 2017
 
A UCC History, Theology and Polity Course that meets the requirements as set forth by the UCC Polity Teacher's Network will be offered online during January 2017. Classes will begin at 9:00am and end at 4:00pm on the following dates: January 7, 21 and 28 and February 4. The platform utilized will be Zoom Video Conferencing ( zoom.us). The tuition will be $465. For more information contact the instructor, Reverend David Gaewski, NY Conference Minister, at  davidgaewski@uccny.org
 
This polity course is sponsored by the Oneida Association of the New York Conference. Payments should be sent no later than December 20 to Diana Pelletier, 114 Munro Dr., Camillus, NY 13031. Make checks payable to Oneida Association UCC.

A syllabus is available upon request. Laity, Members in Discernment and Privilege of Call candidates are all invited! Class size is limited to the first twelve to register. The course will be cancelled if we do not obtain seven registered students. A student is considered registered when full payment has been received. Students who cancel enrollment will receive reimbursements up until January 6.
News from Our Committees
Global Ministries
From Deanne Bellinger: It has been two weeks since I returned from my month's stay in East Jerusalem. I was a short term volunteer for Global Ministries and was working at one of our partners, Radat El Zuhur School. This is a grade school, K-6, and the children are taught both Arabic and English, as well as those subjects taught in all schools.

They have a large number of English books in their library, but they needed to be cataloged. That was my job. As such, I did not have a lot of interaction with the children except when they came to the library for class.

While I was there, classes K-2 went on a field trip to pick olives, as it was olive picking season. Naturally, the children were very excited. The were bussed to Beit Hanina, still in Palestine, on the way to Ramalla. It was a small orchard of perhaps eight trees and the children sat around while the teachers spoke to them about the olives and then a gentleman dressed in Palestinian garb read them a story. Later I asked what the story was about. The story was about a grandfather who had olive trees and every morning he would get up, get dressed and go out to attend to his trees. One day when the trees matured, and the olives were ripe, the soldiers came to take the trees but the grandfather and his grandchildren held hands to form a ring around the trees to protect them. When I asked how the story ended, I was told that was the end and when I asked if that was kind of scary for the children, I was told that probably some had already witnessed something similar.

And so it is living in an occupied land. Destruction and/or confiscation of property, checkpoints, or closing of roads for an Israeli holiday. Children snatched from their homes and thrown in prison, parents late for work and children late for school because of the checkpoints. But there is hope that maybe someday there can be peace and equality in this land.

* * * * *

From Kay Woike: I recently had the privilege to go on an 11 day study trip to the Middle East sponsored by One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion. Led by Peter Makari, Global Ministries Area Executive for the Middle East and Europe and Phyllis Richards, Associate for Global Sharing of Resources, we had the opportunity to meet with global ministries partners and experience some of the projects supported by OGHS and Week of Compassion in Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Morocco. We we were warmly welcomed wherever we went by hopeful, resilient people eager to share their stories.  You can view a blog of our trip by clicking here . While some are hesitant to visit this part of the world because of news coverage of random acts of violence, I always felt completely safe. I would encourage anyone interested in visiting the Middle East to check out group educational travel opportunities at www.globalministries.org/trip_calendar .
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