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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
Recently I received the sad news of the passing of Debby Butterworth. Yes, I am certain you have not heard the name. Debby was a French teacher at Georgetown Day School in Washington DC, where I attended from seventh through twelfth grade. The daughter-in-law of Eric Butterworth, a longtime and well-known minister of Unity Church in New York City, Debby (we were one of the those schools who called teachers by their first names) was beloved by every student she taught. As you may recall from your middle and high school experiences, that was no small achievement.  
I had taken French every year beginning in third grade. Although I did well academically, several students, including yours truly, were more than disenchanted with our seventh grade French teacher. She was a visual artist by profession who had spent a few years in France. Although she spoke French fluently, she should have stuck to her 'day job' as the saying goes. Yet in eighth grade we received Debby, and Debby's clear calling was that of a teacher. With grace, patience, and kindness, she inspired and challenged us to be better students of the French language. By the time she was through that year, I loved endless conjugations of verbs, was prepared to read French novels the next year, and went on to minor in French Literature as an undergraduate at Swarthmore.
This week is National Teacher Appreciation week. Often we describe our ministers, based on the example of Jesus, as 'preachers and teachers.' Sometimes we emphasize the value the first part of that description and not the second. While there was no 'Rev' or 'Rev Dr.' attached to her name, make no mistake, Debby Butterworth was a minister. Reflecting on her legacy contains the reminder that teaching, whether in a pulpit or in a classroom, can transform a life. Teachers certainly transformed mine. As the school year comes to a close, in gratitude to God for Debby and all teachers, I pray that we honor them by learning and following their lessons well.

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Development
Online Training: Justice ministry, strengthen church life

For over 70 years community organizing has been an effective strategy for churches to prioritize themes and do powerful social justice ministry in their community while also strengthen congregational life. This September 30 (10:00 - 12:00) Online Training will share numerous strategies, examples, and the opportunity for theological reflection.  The trainer is UCC Minister Rev. Paul Cromwell who did community organizing in the United States for 25 years and since 2004 has served as a trainer and consultant with organizations and churches in Germany and Central-Eastern Europe.

This training is sponsored by the Commission on Ecumenism and Inter-Faith Relations of the New York Conference.

To register, please send an email to: Registration is limited to the first 15 persons who sign up.
From Global Ministries:
The Westras, Global Missionaries to Honduras, to visit UCCNY

Don and Maryjane Westra will be itinerating in the New York Conference from June 4-18. They have served the last 4 years with CEVER (Center for Vocational Education) 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 the indigenous community in Yoro.
The Westras will be speaking at Honeoye UCC on June 4, Arcade UCC on June 11, Henrietta (Rochester) UCC on the morning of June 18, and at Riverside-Salem UCC, Grand Island, at 4pm. They will also present a program at Webster UCC on Wednesday, June 7 following a potluck supper, and at Irondequoit UCC on Friday, June 9, at 7pm. On Wednesday, June 14 they will be speaking at Fox Run in Orchard Park at 10:00am and on Thursday, June 15 they will be presenting a program at 12:30 pm at Church of the Nativity UCC for the Northtowns clergy, Nativity members and anyone else who is interested. If you would like to attend one of these opportunities to meet the Westras and learn about their work, check with the host church to verify the time. Questions? Contact
Interests, Concerns, Passions

The NY Conference is collecting data on interests, concerns, and passions regarding social issues in your community, our state, and our country.  This data will be useful to us as we partner with other organizations and endeavor to provide resources to individuals and churches who wish to engage a variety of issues.  Please take 3 minutes to respond to this simply online survey.
With gratitude,
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
Going to Annual Meeting -- How about a tour of NY City?

The Westchester Marriott rate of $139 per night is good through Saturday. With New York City just a 40 minute drive or train ride away, you can stay an extra night and take some time for sightseeing. Click here for some available tours.
Clergy: Add Your Name for Criminal Justice Reform in NYS

At the end of last year, the New York Times published a series of investigative articles exposing racial injustice at every level of the New York State Prison system. For people of faith and conscience, this situation is simply unacceptable. The ongoing abuse and violence of our criminal justice system, which bears disproportionate impact upon communities of color, the poor, and other vulnerable populations like LGBTQ people, must end.

Recently, a group of grassroots organizations formed and developed a holistic platform for ending the injustices of incarceration in our state. Read the platform and 2017 priorities here.

Clergy and faith leaders: Sign this letter to endorse the platform and tell our state legislative leaders that ending the injustice of our prison system is a moral duty.
Learn about sanctuary congregations at Syracuse event

Free Webinar: Kids' Multi Faith Camp -- YOU Too Can Do It!

In this webinar, Thursday, May 11 from 7:00-8:00p, Del Hokanson will share how she created a weeklong kids' summer camp in collaboration with Islamic, Jewish, and Buddhist communities in Colorado Springs. She will discuss the process that was used by the groups and the thinking that helped to build trust while avoiding the appearance of proselytizing, so that the kids and faith communities had fun while building relationships. They are now in the midst of excitedly collaborating on their second camp. There will also be discussion with attendees about what might work in their context.

Click here to register.
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.
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 preach 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.
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.
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  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.
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

Susquehanna Association, McLean -- All Ministry Team members present
Metropolitan, St. Albans (April 29)
Genesee Valley, Community Christian (April 29)
Suffolk, Middle Island (April 29)
Oneida, Pulaski -- Marjorie Purnine (April 30)
Black River/Saint Lawrence, Hopkington -- Marjorie Purnine (May 7)
Western, TBA -- Ryan Henderson  (May 7)
Essex, Lewis -- David Gaewski  (May 7)

May 13
Hudson Mohawk -- Marsha Williams  
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. David R Gaewski
May 14 - Henrietta United Church of Christ

Rev. Ryan W. Henderson
May 14 - Kenilworth UCC, Buffalo

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
May 14 - Sayville Congregational UCC
June 4 - Pilgrim St. Luke's and El Nuevo Camino UCC, Buffalo
June 11 - Congregational Church of Farmingville
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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.

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