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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. David Gaewski
A Prayer for Our Nation

Eternal Holy One,
We pray that with your divine help, we will make American great. 

Again, as when our founding fathers set our direction with the words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all... are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights... that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Again, as when embattled President Lincoln cast the best of our convictions writing: "That...all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State...shall be... thenceforward, and forever free..."
Again, as when our hearts and minds were made right with the conviction of Harriet Tubman: "I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other."
Again, as young men and women of our country risked their lives to stop tyranny in Europe.
Again, make this nation great as Rosa Parks stood tallest declaring: "I will not get up."
Again, as when brother Martin etched the essence of our humanity into our souls saying:  " The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Holy God, make America great again as when President Kennedy reminded us what it truly means to be an American, declaring: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
Make this nation great as it was when New York first responders on that infamous September morning, ran toward the smoke and rubble and not away from it.
Again, as when President Barak Hussein Obama spoke to our collective conscience saying: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
Eternal Divine Spirit and Author of All that is Just, awaken us to what truly is greatness. Let us not wander aimlessly in self absorption and mindless distraction but rather set us on the hill, plant our feet in the shining city, light our path forward toward that destiny that we share with all nations, all peoples, all of your perfect creation. Amen.

Rev. David R Gaewski
Conference Minister  Twitter: @davidgaewski1
NY/HELP Honduras January trip started this week 

The NY/HELP January trip to Honduras is under way! On Tuesday, seven people left for Honduras to work in the communities of the tribe of Mataderos around La Laguna. They were met in Yoro by our UCC missionaries there, who have been working at CEVER, the vocational school sponsored by our sister E&R churches there. The main focus for NY/HELP this trip is to institute a sewing academy for the women of the tribe. In addition, some of the group will be working on school construction projects in near-by communities.

Our Honduran coordinator, Jorge "Joel" Ramirez, has developed a comprehensive plan of activities, in consultation with our trip leader, David Makepeace of Honeoye UCC. Some details are below so you can see what is planned for the trip. It looks to be really exciting!

As James says, "let us show our faith by our acts."

Tuesday, January 17 -- Group arrives at the airport; from there buses to the city of Yoro to Hotel Marquez, dinner, preparations for the trip and rest.

Wednesday, January 18 -- Group makes purchases and other formalities in the City of Yoro and prepares luggage. Noon, group is mobilized to La Laguna community lodging and dinner at the clinic.

Thursday, January 19 -- Preparation of equipment for beginning of sewing academy. Visit the families who were celebrated for your project; see the progress.

Friday, January 20 -- Beginning of sewing classes, presentation of women who participate. And a group of NY/Help volunteers who will participate in the education of the women in the lower part of the tribe; La Mision, Mescales, Las Brisas, El Charro, Agua Blanca, Coral de Piedras, Kiloma.
Group is organized into two groups: Group 1 will be assigned to the La Fortuna community to support Kindergarten floor work; Group 2 will support sewing classes.

Saturday, January 21 -- Group 2 continues to support sewing classes. Group 1 supports work in La Fortuna Kindergarten, with parents from the community.

Sunday, January 22 -- Perform "Quadrangular Soccer," communities that participate: La Mision, Agua Blanca, La Laguna, El Paraiso. Rest in the afternoon for the rest of the group and plan activities for Monday.

Monday, January 23 -- Group 2 continues to support sewing classes. They can also support Mirtila in the care of patients if they wish. Group 1 travels to the community of Calichal to support cook stove construction to two families. Lunch in the El Calichal Community.

Tuesday, January 24 -- Meeting with Tribal Council leaders in the Tribal Development Committee. Meeting with community leaders. Patronato, Water Board, PTA, and others. Purchase of crafts for women. Continue with sewing lessons.

Wednesday, January 25 -- Group leaves La Laguna for La Habana then to San Pedro Sula.

Thursday, January 26 -- Day of rest and fun. Visit museum and other places.

Friday, January 27 -- Time in Pan Pedro preparing for travel and analyzing work completed, giving suggestions for future trips.

Saturday, January 28 -- Travel back to New York.

Follow what's going on with the trip on the NY/HELP blog.
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
UCCNY churches at Women's Marches

Broadway UCC in Manhattan is joining the Women's March on Washington! The church has chartered a bus for the twenty four parishioners, who along with pastors James Campbell and Emily Brown, will participate in this historic event. They will be joined on the bus by an equal number of folks from Saint Paul and Saint Andrew UMC, with whom Broadway UCC shares a building.

If your church is going to participate in the Women's March in Washington DC this Saturday, or any of the 600+ "sister marches" around the world, please send us pictures, information, and the number of participants your church sent to no later than Tuesday, January 24.
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 now forming. 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.
Opportunities from Back Bay Mission

Mission Trip Calendar Open: You can reserve mission trip week for 2018 by emailing the volunteer coordinator at Click here for more information and the 2018 calendar.

Internship Applications : Applications are now being accepted fro the 2017 Shari Prestemon Social Justice Internship, providing people ages 19-35 with a 10-week summer program tailored to their needs., nurturing participants' passion for social justice and develop their appreciation for the church's roll in seeking social justice. Click here for more information.
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 emailed to  by January 17."
Clergy Well-Being Study to Begin Next Month

All UCC clergy and Members in Discernment are being invited to participate in the Flourishing in Ministry project, a national study on clergy well-being. This research is being done in partnership with the UCC national setting and all Conferences. Ministers and MIDs will be receiving an email on February 7, 2017 that will invite you to participate in this study, though you are not required to do so. Details can be found here:
"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.
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.
Saratoga Springs church seeks Sunday School Coordinator

The Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church, a progressive federated church of PCUSA and the United Church of Christ in Saratoga Springs, NY is seeking a Part Time Sunday School Coordinator to be a part of our leadership team. This person would be responsible for the overall children's ministry and spiritual formation of our congregation.

Prior experience with children and volunteer recruitment and coordination a plus. We are a growing church with many young children and lots of potential. If you are interested, please send a resume and cover letter to by February 15th..
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
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

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

News from Our Committees
NYC Justice Ministries Coordinator

Call-In Week to Governor Cuomo
January 23 - 27, 2017
The Pilgrim Pipelines would carry explosive fracked oil along the New York State Thruway and through six counties, from Albany to New Jersey, and return flammable refined products north.
If constructed, the two pipelines would threaten our drinking water, risk the safety of dozens of communities, and promote fracking and climate change chaos.
Fortunately, Governor Cuomo has the authority to stop this dangerous project by denying Pilgrim's Thruway Right-of-Way permit.
The Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines - NY is seeking nonprofit organizations, community groups, houses of worship, businesses, political clubs, unions, and other institutions to help make this call-in week to Governor Cuomo as successful as possible!
Fill out this organization sign-up form, and we'll follow up to make sure you have the information and materials you need, like fliers and sample email alerts.
Click here to download a flyer or bulletin insert to share information about the Pilgrim Pipelines.
UCCNY Global Ministries: A Christmas Reunion in Buffalo

This past Christmas Eve at Church of the Nativity UCC in suburban Buffalo was particularly special because of the presence of some long-time as well as new friends at the 4:30 service. Former Laotian refugees Boulien and Bounlome, sponsored by the congregation in the 1980s, along with other family members, were in attendance, as were former Iraqi refugees, Ali and Emann with their three children, who were co- sponsored by Nativity in 2007. They joined Welongo and his family, refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were welcomed by Nativity in August.

Nativity has had a refugee ministry dating back to the mid-1980's. Over the years the congregation has welcomed refugees and asylum seekers from Laos, Ethiopia, Iran, Liberia, Serbia, Somalia, Iraq, and most recently the DRC. 
Opportunities for Education
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 19; 7:00-8:00p

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

Tuesday, January 31; 7:00-8:00p
Boundary Awareness Trainings offered in Metro

The Metropolitan association is hosting a Boundary Awareness Training on Monday, March 27 at the Garden City Community Church. Regular BAT is being offered as well as the Clergy BAT Renewal. Cost for the entire training (9:00a-4:00p) is $80 if paid before March 13, or $100 at the door. Cost for the renewal training is $60 paid before March 13 or $80 at the door.  Click here  for a registration form, registration information, and directions for the training.
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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.

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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