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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

I wasn't feeling up to my usual Christmas lights extravaganza this year. So at first I just put one string on the Charlie Brown twig wreath that hangs on the front of the house year round. My children would tell you that their Dad is something of a Christmas lights advocate. Not extremist, not gaudy, just a good amount of white lights. But for a long list of reasons, I just wasn't feeling it. Until Sunday, second Sunday of Advent (Vision of Peace) when Sueli said to me: you should put up more lights.
 
More lights. Yes, that is needed. I've always thought that when the days grow shorter and darkness lingers longer, the soul needs more light. So despite my "embrace your inner-Grinch" attitude, I put up more lights. Can't say it's as much as other years, but it's enough. Just a little more light.
 
My prayer this advent is that we as the United Church of Christ, and particularly we in New York,  focus on being more light so that a Vision of Peace may be seen, a Heart of Justice can be heard beating within us and that the Emmanuel within each of us is the Gift we share with every single person our lives touch. And.... each life is interwoven with all lives.
 
And it's not that we haven't been light nor have we been inadequate in our light. We have been and are. But now is not a time for any weariness to compel us to be less.
 
Be light.
David

Rev. David R Gaewski, Conference Minister
DavidGaewski@uccny.org Twitter: @davidgaewski1
Announcements
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
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.
New overtime law put on hold

A nationwide injunction has postponed new overtime laws that were scheduled to take effect on December 1. According to a blog on Church Law and Tax, "The changes would have significantly increased the salary threshold used under the Fair Labor Standards Act to determine which white-collar employees are eligible for overtime time." The law, if enacted, will double the salary exemption level from $23,660 to $47,476. For more information on the injunction and how this law could affect your church, click here.
Central Square cantata scheduled

Central Square Community Church will host the 34th Annual Central Square Community Cantata on Saturday, December 10 at 4:00p and Sunday, December 18 at 10:00a. This year's performance will be "Invitation to a Miracle" by Joseph M. Martin. Admission is free.
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 office@uccnorwichny.org.
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 Clarence Center, 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 ( 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
Thanks from Rev. Judy Chan, Missionary to Hong Kong

Let me take this opportunity to thank the New York Conference for your wonderful hospitality during my visit from October 21- November 10. Your kind invitation gave me the chance to experience the beauty and diversity of the state all the way from Buffalo to New York City. My schedule included preaching on Sundays, evening presentations in churches, and speaking to theological students and faculty. It was a joy to share with you about our mission in Hong Kong, China and how we deal with the political controversies and social polarization in the community. At the same time, I learned so much about the challenges you face in New York and how your faith in Christ makes a world of difference for so many. Surely we are all called to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God both globally and locally. On behalf of Global Ministries and the Hong Kong Christian Council, I want to express our gratitude to the churches, institutions, host families, Rev. David Gaewski, the Commission on Global Mission of the NY Conference, and Rev. Kay Woike who not only coordinated my schedule but opened her home and heart to this traveling missionary. May the Lord bless you and keep you always until we meet again!
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