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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
Oh, the holidays.  Everywhere you look, there's the hustle and bustle of crowds shopping in the mall.  There is the twinkling of lights and the smell of homemade goodies baking in the oven.  Our psyches are inundated with wrapping paper, bright bows and animated television specials.  Oh, yes, the holidays.
Personally, I'm not really into all of the holiday hype and festivities.  It seems that as my daughter outgrew Santa, I began to prefer the quiet stillness of "chestnuts roasting" as opposed to the deafening din of "bells jingling."  Maybe it's age, or the fact that I've spent this entire year battling cancer, but this year there is a gentle comfort in Emmanuel, God with Us.  This year I think I'll embrace a perspective that embodies the heart of the One whose birth we celebrate.  Hmmm...? A new, quiet approach to the holidays could be a novel idea.
Not to sound like Scrooge, but perhaps this could be the holiday season where instead of trimming huge trees, why not light a single candle in honor of a fallen soldier whose name you may not even know.  What if those homemade sprinkle cookies anonymously found their way to a nearby group home?  Or try a new hairstyle and then donate a few strands to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for chemotherapy patients.  That's right, a quiet, gentle holiday season, where you smile at the stressed out sales clerk or share a warm cup of coffee with a the homeless guy you pass on the street.  This year, instead of endless holiday parties, try curling up with someone you love, hot cocoa, and a sappy movie. 
A new, quiet approach to the holidays, now there's a novel idea.
Blessings of the season,
Rev. Marsha

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams, Associate Conference Minister for Clergy and Authorized Ministry Concerns
Amigos of NY/HELP update

This is a photo of the new Kindergarten chairs and tables. These are going to furnish the new Kindergarten at El Chorro which was constructed with NY/HELP support. The tables and chairs were made by the carpentry students at CEVER, the vocational school in Yoro which is affiliated with our sister E&R churches.
The students do beautiful work, don't they?
Gordon Comstock
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.
Provide info on your environmental justice initiatives

As the UCC continues to expand its growing network of environmentally active churches, the UCC Environmental Justice team is working to construct a comprehensive environmental justice database to document the environmental initiatives of churches and parishioners. This information will help us to unite our efforts, identify our achievements, apply for grants, and encourage other churches to be environmentally responsible.  
Please take a moment to help us create this environmental justice database by replying to with the following information:
Your first and last name:
Your church's email (just to make sure we have the right one!):
Your UCC church:
City and state of your church:
Does your church have...
  • a Green Team?
  • energy efficient upgrades and practices?
  • coordinated environmental advocacy?
  • a community garden?
  • solar panels?
  • a financial portfolio divested from fossil fuels?
  • environmental recognition or certification? (Please specify the organization and program that awarded recognition. Examples include Earth Ministry's Greening Congregations, the Connecticut Conference's Green Church Congregation, and former UCC programs like Green Justice Congregations or Whole Earth Church. If your church no longer identifies with this recognition/certification due to broad lack of awareness and practice, please indicate that as well.)
  • any other noteworthy environmental initiatives?
Furthermore, if you have not learned about the new UCC's Creation Justice Churches program, we encourage you to do so by visiting:
Lastly, if you have not already subscribed to the UCC's environmental justice e-newsletter, the Pollinator, we encourage you to do so here:
Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath

The weekend of December 14-18 is Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath. This month we mark the 4th anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. This past year has offered no respite from the continuing toll of gun violence, including the June Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, yet more shootings in schools and workplaces, and the thousands upon thousands of lives lost every day to gun violence in our homes and city streets. Despite a courageous witness in the House of Representatives this summer led by Rep. John Lewis calling Congress to action for meaningful gun violence prevention, Congress recessed for the fall campaign having taken no action to end gun violence. More than ever, your witness is needed as part of the Faiths United Against Gun Violence December Sabbath.
Broadway UCC hosts "A Traveler's Christmas Eve" service

Join Broadway United Church for "A Traveler's Christmas Eve," our annual event to celebrate the holidays! This service is a little bit whimsical, a little bit serious, and all are welcome, whether your holidays are cheery and bright or blue. The service is scheduled for Friday, December 16 at 7:30p at 263 West 86th Street (between Broadway and West End).
Invite a few friends, bring your loved ones, and celebrate a special evening for those in our community who will be traveling away from the city at Christmas time. We will gather as if it is Christmas Eve, with carols, candlelight and the Christmas story. 
Following the service we're throwing a potluck Christmas cookie party, so bring your favorites to share!
If you are a Facebooker, you can use the event page to invite your friends.
Norwich cantata planned to benefit Food Closet

"Ceremony of Candles: A Cantata for Advent and Christmas" by Joseph Martin will be performed in Norwich on December 18 at 4:00 p.m. at the United Church of Christ, 11 West Main St.  Directed by Mary Williams, a choir of over 70 community members will sing carols of faith that speak of the light of Christ coming into the world. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit Our Daily Bread Food Closet. For information, contact the UCC Norwich at 607-334-3434 or
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.
Opportunities for Education
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 ( The tuition will be $465. 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 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
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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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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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