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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. David R Gaewski
Yesterday we received in the mail our invitation to our daughter's wedding.  They designed it themselves.   It is a boat with the name "Emily and Chris" on it's bow.   They will be married outside next to the ocean in Boothbay, Maine.   I know Chris drew the boat himself.   Seeing this very simple post card made with care and love I was immediately transported nearly exactly thirty years ago when I was a seminary student in Argentina.   I bought pink "velvety" paper and drew a design of a teddy bear holding three balloons.  Inside it said, "Sueli and I are pleased to welcome our daughter Emily Alves Gaewsky into the world."

I've had a pretty decent career and can point to a variety of accomplishments. Nothing, however, comes anywhere close to the deepest pride I take in being a father. Nothing I have ever done has approached the satisfaction and meaning of nurturing those three lives: Emily, Lyvia, and Chase. If you know me, you know I do not hesitate to talk about my "kids". Do I live vicariously through them....well, maybe a little. But more than being so proud of the globally responsible, socially committed, and darn decent people they are, my amazement never ceases with how deeply God has revealed divine love to me through them. 

So the seasons and circles of life continue, round and round, just as God miraculously created them. While I am not one to anthropomorphize God, I cannot help but wonder what picture God would draw on the card that reads: "Here is the world that I have loved into being."?


~To Equip the Saints~

Rev. David R Gaewski
Conference Minister  Twitter: @DavidGaewski1

A nnual Meeting Business Items

You can now find the following three business items on the New York Conference website. They are:
1.  Proposed By-Law Revisions
2.  2018 Conference Budget
3.  Proposal to create a Conference Per Capita to replace Covenant Share.
Register for Annual Meeting

Registration is open for the Annual Meeting and pre-meeting Authorized Ministers Retreat. Annual Meeting will begin at 2:00 on Thursday, May 25 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. For more information, visit the conference website:
To register, use these links:
Hotel Reservations - click here to book your group rate for New York Conference of the United Church of Christ, Inc.
Annual Meeting - click here to register for the meeting and meals
Retreat - register for the Pre-Annual Meeting Authorized Ministers' Retreat by clicking here
Wednesday Hotel The Westchester Marriott is out of rooms for our group rate on Wednesday, May 24. An additional block of rooms has been secured at the Hampton Inn, Elmsford -- which is a 7 minute walk or a 1 minute drive from the Marriott -- at the same price as the Marriott, $139. For reservations, call the hotel at 914-592-5681; the rooms the rooms are held under the organization name "Regional Synod of New York", which is also the name of the event.
Choir - click here to sign up for the Annual Meeting Choir
Senior Ministry Inquiry

For the last 17 years, I have served the United Church of Christ in Bayberry in the position of Director of Ministry to Seniors. I have visited folks in their homes, nursing homes and hospitals; initiated informational and entertainment programs; participated in funerals; and, have established long-term relationships with private entities and governmental agencies which deal with the senior population.

At this time, I am requesting information from our New York Conference churches regarding any positions, services, activities that would be considered to be in the arena of serving your seniors. Some such activities may be formal - others may be informal.

This information will provide me with new ideas and strategies to help me better serve Bayberry's seniors. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Bob Welcher


Address:       7724 Jennings Road
                      Liverpool, NY 13090

Honduras mission trip planned for July

NY/HELP HONDURAS is planning a mission trip to La Laguna in mid July. La Laguna is a rural mountain community in northern Honduras, where NY/HELP has been working for 28 years. We will be working with the people there on community projects, which include the new Sewing Academy, where women from nearby communities are learning new skills; possible construction projects, including stoves, latrines, and school improvements; and the medical clinic.
If you are interested in participating in this trip, contact Ginger or Gordon Comstock at or c/o Arcade UCC, 297 Main St, Arcade, NY 14009.
Moderate Islam: Dialogue and Understanding

First Congregational Church in Canandaigua is sponsoring a two-day community event on moderate Islam on Friday, April 28 to Saturday, April 29. Dr. Khalid and Sabeeha Rehman will be spending the weekend leading discussions, answering questions and generally educating participants about moderate Islamic religion. For more information, registration, and a schedule, click here.
Add Your Name: Faith Leaders for the New York Health Act

Even after full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a million New Yorkers lack insurance. Others continue to find their healthcare unaffordable and go without care they need. As faith leaders, we believe every New Yorker - rich or poor, urban or rural, U.S. citizen or undocumented, upstate or downstate - deserves access to quality, affordable health care. The New York Health Act would bring single-payer universal health care to everyone in our state. If you're a clergy person or faith leader, please add your name and share with your colleagues!
Register now for New York Women's Annual Conference

Join the New York Women of the United Church of Christ for their annual conference on May 4-6 at Watson Homestead. This year's theme is God Brings New Beginning
. The conference features: workshops, Biblical drama, worship services, mission projects, card making, crafts, fellowship and activities, meditation room, book exchange, and Pennies for People.

For more information and pictures from last year's retreat, click here.
For a printable flyer to share or hang in your church, click here.
For a registration form, click here.
From Global Ministries:
Loren McGrail itinerating in New York Conference

Loren McGrail, a missionary appointed jointly by the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ will be itinerating in the New York Conference from April 29-May 15.  Loren, one of our New York Conference missionary partners, has been serving a four-year term in Bethlehem with the YWCA of Palestine and in Jerusalem with St. Andrews Scottish Church, assisting with worship and other pastoral duties. 

She will be preach at Greenpoint Reformed UCC in Brooklyn on April 30, and be the keynote speaker and preacher at the NY Conference Women's event at Watson Homestead May 4-6. She will preach at Corning UCC on May 7 and at Journey UCC, Slingerlands, on May 14.  She will present a program at First Congregational UCC, Gloversville on  May 10, following a soup supper and participate in the Hudson-Mohawk Association Meeting on May 13.  All are welcome to attend any of these worship services or programs.
From Global Ministries:
The Westras, Global Missionaries to Honduras, to visit UCCNY

Don and Maryjane Westra will be itinerating in the New York Conference in June. They have served the last 4 years with  CEVER (Center for Vocational Education and Evangelical Reformed) in Yoro, Honduras.  Sponsored by the Evangelical and  Reformed Church of Honduras, CEVER's mission is to provide vocational education, such as welding, automotive repair and  culinary arts to young people ages 14-30 with an emphasis on spiritual and moral development,  Maryjane, a medical social  worker has also been working with the church to reopen a rural health clinic whose mission is to provide basic health care  and nutrition support to an indigenous community in Yoro.
The Westras will be preaching in Honeoye UCC on June 4, Arcade UCC on June 11 and Henrietta (Rochester) UCC on June 18. They will also present a program at Webster UCC in Rochester on June 7 following a potluck supper.  They  will be available June 5-10 and June 12-17 to present programs in the western and central regions. Please consider organizing a daytime or evening program where they can talk about their work. Also, you can invite them to meet with a women's, men's, youth or retirees group, or participate in a Bible study. They would also enjoy hanging out with  a small group of interested people. If you would like to invite the Westras to  your church or if you have questions,  contact Kay Woike:; (716)834-9781.
Orient Church searching for relatives of former ministers

The Orient Congregational Church, UCC, is looking for former ministers, as well as children, grandchildren, etc. of ministers who have served the church in the past.
The church, located on the eastern end of Long Island (Suffolk Association) is celebrating its 300th Anniversary, and would like to invite these people to a celebration weekend, Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13. 

Please e-mail Rev. Dr. Ann Van Cleef, at .
Upcoming Boundary Training Opportunities:

Renewal Class offered at Conference Office, May 20
The Oneida Association will be providing a one day refresher Boundary Awareness Training on Saturday, May 20, from 9am to 3pm, at the Conference Office in Dewitt. Cost is $75 and will be collected the day of the event. Registration can be made through Diana Pelletier, Oneida Registrar, at . A maximum of 20 individuals can attend. Registration deadline is May 10th. Please bring your lunch.

Renewal Class offered in Hudson-Mohawk, May 20
The Hudson-Mohawk Association will be providing a one day refresher Boundary Awareness Training on Saturday, May 20, from 9:00a to 1:00p, at the Interfaith Center at the University of Albany. Cost is $50; please bring your own lunch. This training will help increase awareness of the need for healthy and appropriate boundaries in the clergy/congregant relationship. Promote effective ministry by illustrating the impact of appropriate vs. inappropriate boundaries. Provide guidelines and suggestions for developing appropriate boundaries and necessary self-care strategies for ordained and non-ordained leaders. Help create healthy and safe churches . Register before May 13 with Sandy Damhof, or 518-495-0029.

Renewal Class offered in Western, May 23
The Western association is hosting a one day renewal Boundary Awareness Training on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Ebenezer UCC,630 Main Street, West Seneca, NY 14224. This is the only scheduled BAT for 2017, so if you are due this year, this is the training for you. Cost for the training (9:00a-4:00p) is $75 if paid before May 10, or $100 at the door. For "no-shows" at the training event, a $25 fee will be retained from your refund. To register and for further information, please contact Rev. Robert C. Dievendorf at  or 585-492-4530.
Join the Climate March in Washington, DC on April 29

A climate march in Washington, DC on April 29th is being organized by the same broad coalition of groups that brought together more than 400,000 people for the 2014 climate march in New York City. The UCC Council for Climate Justice along with the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries are official co-sponsors for the upcoming march. We want to have a strong UCC presence at this march. RSVP to join the UCC contingent and receive updates from the Rev. Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice. One can also look online for the nearest sister march .

Sister March Webpage:
Free accommodations for DC marches

Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ is offering free sleeping space and basic accommodations for any UCC groups coming to Washington DC for the following events
  • People's Climate March, Saturday, April 29
  • Immigrants March, Saturday, May 6
  • Equality March for Unity and Pride, Sunday, June 11 
Westmoreland UCC is located at 1 Westmoreland Circle in Bethesda, MD -- immediately across the street from DC at the intersection of Massachusetts and Western Avenues. From senior minister Rev. Tim Tutt: "The accommodations we can offer are not luxurious -- basically floor space for sleeping bags and pillows. But the cost may be right -- free."

Interested people can contact the church at 301-229-7766.
ONLINE: UCC History, Theology and Polity Course, June 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 June 2017. Classes will begin at 9:30am and end at 4:00pm on the following dates: June 3, 10 (we will start at 9am on this date), 17, 24. The platform utilized will be Zoom Video Conferencing ( ) The tuition will be $475. For more information contact the instructor, Reverend David Gaewski, NY Conference Minister, at
This polity course is sponsored by the Oneida Association of the New York Conference.  Payments should be sent no later than May 20th 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 fifteen 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 June 1st. Please note the last online class reached maximum capacity.
2017 UCC Musicians Association National Conference

Click here for the website dedicated to this national conference.
To download a brochure for the conference, click here.
Choirs invited to free workshops, festival

The Festival of Choirs USA® is a free church choir event, open to the public and scheduled for Saturday, May 13 at Sawyer Evangelical Church, 777 South Kendall Ave., Bradford, PA from 10:00a-6:00p.
The Festival is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for: Promoting public awareness of the need to reestablish and reinvigorate the choirs that were once in small town churches and communities.
Come for the day and enjoy great fellowship, music, workshops, and food or just come to hear the choirs perform in the afternoon. For more information or to register, click here. If you would like more information please contact:
Arcade UCC Choir:  Dona Roll- 716-676-2573
Festival Founder:  Jerry Goochee- 757-630-1490. 
Click here for a schedule of events.
Free hymnals in Ithaca

First Congregational Church of Ithaca has a large stock of Pilgrim and New Century hymnals that need new homes. We would love to give away our Pilgrim hymnals, and possibly sell our New Century hymnals ($5/hymnal). Is your church looking for new hymnals? Contact our church office (607-257-6033; for more information.
Register: United Church of Canada's Women's Conference

Women in the United Church of Christ are invited to the "55th Anniversary National United Church Women 'Celebrating Women'" conference. Please find below an electronic copy of the Conference Brochure as well as the Registration Form for the upcoming United Church Women (UCW), the women's conference of the United Church of Canada. The gathering is in Vancouver July 10-14, 2017 at the University of British Columbia.
Click here for a brochure.
Click here for the registration form.
Click here for the event website.
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
Association Spring Meeting schedule

April 29
Susquehanna Association, McLean -- All Ministry Team members present
Metropolitan, St. Albans
Genesee Valley, Community Christian
Suffolk, Middle Island

April 30
Oneida, Pulaski -- Marjorie Purnine

May 7
Black River/Saint Lawrence, Hopkington -- Marjorie Purnine
Western, TBA -- Ryan Henderson
Essex, Lewis -- David Gaewski

May 13
Hudson Mohawk -- Marsha Williams  
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. David R Gaewski
April 30 - First Congregational Church, Ithaca
May 14 - Henrietta United Church of Christ

Rev. Ryan W. Henderson
May 7 - St. Peter's UCC, West Seneca
May 14 - Kenilworth UCC, Buffalo

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
April 30 - Christ Community Church, Cortland

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
April 30 - Groton Community Church

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
April 30 - Greene UCC
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:
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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.
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