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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

Rev. David Gaewski
Being myself. And being my self. These are not the same. The former is about affect, the latter is about ownership. When do I know I am my self? Do I have a claim on my own life or am I living as if I were someone else's? I can genuinely be myself, and that is generally a good thing. But am I living a life that is my own or am I allowing the circumstances in my life to define me, control me, direct me. 

This is more difficult than it seems. I am comfortable thinking about myself. But the question of being my self is unsettling. Am I driving or being driven? Am I choosing my steps or adjusting to the terrain before me? Am I living my life or am I following expectations and directions? And if I am not my own, then who or what have I given my self to?

My spiritual tradition values giving my self to the divine. But I am finding this problematic because that separates the holy and me. Is the sacred out there somewhere or is it inside of me. If I value and honor the inward sacredness, I believe how I live is of eternal importance. If I see, or look for, the sacredness that resides within each person, then how I interact with every person is an act of prayer. And if disassociate the holy from the me and the you, then my actions are of minimal importance while being myself and not being mindful of my self.

Rev. David R Gaewski, Conference Minister Twitter : @davidgaewski1  

Free: Fair Labor Standards Webinar on October 18

New Overtime Rules
from Administration Matters
The U.S. Department of Labor has adopted new overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which go into effect on December 1, 2016. 

Many congregations, synods, and other ministries of the church have questions about how this impacts their employees and ministries. Does it apply to churches? What about pastors? Youth workers? Sextons? How about schools? Or camps? Join us for a free webinar on how the new regulations will affect religious institutions, and try to answer many of these questions.

Register  today for this free webinar. Instructions for connecting to the webinar will be sent to all registrants prior to the event.

Date and Time: October 18, 2016, 12 noon, CDT
Hosts:  Steve Knowles, Senior Attorney, Davis & Kuelthau
Thomas Cunniff, Associate General Counsel, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 
Registration deadline: October 14, 2016

Fall Learning Event on Leading Changing Churches

The New York School of Ministry Fall Learning Event, "Discerning the Body: What We Need to Know about our Churches to Lead Them Effectively through Change,"
will be held on November 18-19 (from Friday dinner through worship, mid-afternoon on Saturday) at Notre Dame Retreat House, 5151 Foster Road, in Canandaigua.
J. Mark Lawson will be our leader.
Eugene Peterson wrote, "Once you stop struggling, you're dead." A church congregation completely free of conflict has ceased to be a living body of Christ. Not all conflict is good or even necessary, and any conflict that is misunderstood or mismanaged can lead to long-term dysfunction. On the other hand, properly discerning the true source of conflict and negotiating it successfully leads to new life.  This event will familiarize participants with common and often misunderstood sources of church conflict and explore how honestly engaging these struggles can lead to new growth in size and spirit. Note: focus will be given to small and medium-size congregations of with average worship attendance of less than 120.This program fulfills 6 hours towards the continuing education requirement for authorized ministers.

Cost: Overnight: $105; Commuters: $50. 
To register, go to:
God and Gun event at Riverside

The Riverside Church in the City of New York, along with a growing list of partners, will host an intensive training on gun violence for faith leaders of all traditions beginning the evening of October 6 through the evening of October 7, 2016. Designed for millennial faith leaders, a demographic with the capacity to shift our culture, the training is also open to ministry teams of any age that include a millennial attendee. Those who attend do not have to agree on the solutions to the epidemic of gun violence, only that something must be done. 

Evangelicals and mainline Protestants make up 40 percent of the population, but own guns at higher rates than the rest of the country.   The power to change our culture is in our pews.

Attendees will gain concrete tools to educate, engage, and mobilize your congregations to enact change in your community. Each God and Guns 2016 participant will commit to taking concrete action in their circles of influence.

Space is limited. Click here to purchase tickets.

Following the training, The Riverside Church will provide ongoing support, resources, and reporting mechanisms. This will help those who attend stay connected and share the work you are doing in your congregations.

The training begins with a free, open to the public screening of "The Armor of Light" on Thursday, October 6 at 7PM. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers Rev. Rob Schenck, Abigail Disney, and Lucy McBath.

Visit for more information.

"Sisters 4 Sisters"  Online Cancer Survivor Support Gathering


If you are a cancer survivor (any type) or are currently in the fight, join your fellow sisters for a time of sharing and support.  During the month of October we will meet via the online Zoom platform for one hour to share our stories and encourage one another.  Remember,  "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."  ( Proverbs 27:17) .  Join us.  The dates, times and Zoom link are below:

October 6   -   10:00 am    
October 13  -   3:00 pm     
October 20  -   5:00 pm     
October 27  -   6:00 pm

If you have any questions please email or call 845-500-5082.

Rev. Marsha Williams

Save the Date: Ecclesiastical Council

An Ecclesiastical Council is set for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 13 at Church of the Living Hope, 161 East 104th Street, New York, NY 10029 to example, authorize, and approve the ordination of Chris A. Lawrence to the Christian ministry.
Chris emigrated with his family to the United States from the United Kingdom, where he received his education for ministry through the United Reformed Church of the UK. He has 15 years of experience working in religious settings in leadership teams, community development and outreach which ultimately brought him to the United States. He has been serving Church of the Living Hope since 2014, as a licensed minister. Chris holds a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Theology from Angela Ruskin University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology (as well as a Bachelor of Arts) from Cambridge University in the UK and a certification for ministry from Westminster Seminary, administered by the United Reformed Church which made him eligible for ordination there. Chris made the decision to be educated in the ways of the UCC and to follow through with the process for ordination. He is married to Naomi Lawrence and has four young children.
In order to convene a duly constituted council, all Metro Association churches are urged to designate a representative to attend.
Learn about NY/HELP

Click here to read a account written by David Woodruff about the NY/HELP trip to Honduras. There are several more pictures at the link above, as well. Dr. Gordon Comstock and David Woodruff went to Honduras in July.

For more information on NY/HELP and how you can help, please contact Gordon and Ginger Comstock.
Resource: Inter-generational Worship

Are you looking for information and resources for intergenerational worship?
Check out this article by  Joan Huyser-Honig titled  "All Ages Needed for Intergenerational Worship" on the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website.
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website also has an article called  "Nine Tips for Designing Intergenerational Worship."
Ivy Beckwith, Faith Formation Team Leader for the UCC, asks  "How Intergenerational Are You?" on the UCC website.

PRC - Practical Resources for Churches will be offering a free webinar on the topic October 18 at 7 PM Eastern Time. You  can  click here  to register; the webinar will also be recorded. Webinar presenter Karen Ware Jackson also has number of resources for intergenerational worship on her  website

Debbie Kolacki, senior consultant at PRC - Practical Resources for Churches

Help the UCCNY Conference Office

The front steps at the Conference Offices in DeWitt (Syracuse) are crumbling. The conference staff is looking for a mason who would be willing to volunteer their time and talents to help with this. Anyone willing to help should contact Sueli Gaewsky: or 315-446-3073.
*  *  *  *
The New York Conference is looking for 5-10 volunteers to help us to stuff about 5000
envelops for the Friends of the Conference mailing.
Friends of the Conference is an annual appeal sent directly to individuals who have participated in the life of the New York Conference. It is not mailed to churches. The gifts from the Friends offering directly assist with the ministry and mission of the conference.
Date: November 16th and 17th, 2016.
Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm - You can sign up for as many hours as you can during these 2 days.
Refreshments and lunch will be provided.
If you are interested in helping with this mailing please contact Sueli Gaewsky at the Conference office via email or phone number 315-446-3073.

Deadline TOMORROW: Basic Boundary Training Course

Mondays, October 10 and 17 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Registration deadline extended to September 29
In the UCC, authorized ministers need to take Boundary Awareness Training. After the basic unit is completed, a "refresher" course is taken every few years. Associations offer refresher courses, since that is what most folks need. However, some still need the basic unit. With NYSOM's technological support, Penny Cannon will be offering the first half of a basic unit of BAT training via web conferencing, on Mondays, October 10 and 17, from 7-9 pm.
If you have ever taken a Boundary Awareness Training, this IS NOT for you. And these two sessions are not a complete unit: they need to be combined with a face-to-face refresher  to constitute a basic unit of Boundary Awareness Training. Refresher courses are offered in October by Susquehanna and Western Associations. The cost is $50 for the two web-conferenced sessions. Participants will read Cloud & Townsend's,  Boundaries: When to Say yes, how to say no to take control of your life, in preparation for the sessions.  Registration will open in a few days at (look at "Events"). The registration deadline is September 28 (so that participants will have time to order and read the assigned book). If you have questions about registration, contact Sueli Gaewski at

Register now for the Open and Affirming Workshop

When: October 22, 2016
Time: 9:30A-2:30P
Place: Journey United Church of Christ NY, 27 Hannay Lane, Glenmont NY 12077 518.729.7127
Special Guest: Andy Lang, Executive Director, Open and Affirming Coalition United Church of Christ
  • Biblical foundations for making and keeping Open and Affirming Covenant
  • Ways to be an Inclusive Congregation
  • "What's Next?" Best practices for your ONA church's growth

Cost: $15/Person, $50 for congregations of five or more (includes materials, continental breakfast, and lunch)


This workshop is sponsored by Journey UCC in conjunction with the New York Conference.

To register as an individual, click here.

To register a group of five or more from a single congregation, click here.

Fall Association Meetings

Black River-Saint Lawrence Association
Theme: Bold Faith for Today: A Conversation with the New York Conference Ministry Team
Date: October 2, 2016
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: Richville UCC
Address: Main Street,  Richville, NY 13681

Essex Association
(Spring Meeting Only)

Genesee Valley Association
Theme: Food and Faith
Date: October 16, 2016
Time: 1:00 pm
Place: South Livonia UCC
Address: 5104 South Livonia Rd,  South Livonia, NY 14487

Hudson-Mohawk Association
Date: October 29, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Place: North Congregational Church, Middletown
Address: 96 N Beacon St,  Middletown, NY 10940

Oneida Association
Met earlier this fall (September 18, Central Square)

Metro Association
Date: November 19, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Place: Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church
Address: 1845 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, NY 11793.

Suffolk Association
Theme: History and Current Situation of Racism in Long Island - Presenter: Elaine Gross
Date: November 2, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: The Congregational Church of Huntington, UCC
Address: 30 Washington Drive,  Centerport, NY 11721

Susquehanna Association
Met earlier this fall (September 24, Preble)

Western Association
Theme: Bold Faith for Today: A Conversation with the New York Conference Ministry Team
(Covenant signing with the Berlin City Deanery)
Date: November 6, 2016
Time: 2:00pm
Place: Lockport UCC
Address: 98 East Ave.,  Lockport, NY 14094
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. David R Gaewski
October 2 - First Congregational Church of Antwerp
October 9 - Sayville Congregational UCC
October 16 - Orient Congregational Church, UCC
October 23 - Corona Congregational UCC (Queens)
Rev. Ryan Henderson
October 2 - Emmanuel Congregational UCC, Massena

Rev. Freeman Palmer
October 2 - First Congregational Church of Lisbon

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
October 2 - Ogdensberg First Congregational UCC

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
October 2 - United Community, Carthage
October 16 - Scarsdale Congregational 
October 23 - First Congregational, Ithaca
November 13 - Lemuel Haynes
November 20 - Church of the Pelhams  
Opportunities for Education
Global Missionary Available to Speak

The Rev. Judy Chan, who has served with Global Ministries for 22 years will be available to speak to congregations and groups around the New York Conference from Saturday, Oct. 22-Wednesday, Nov. 9.   All her Sunday mornings are filled, but she still has some availability on other days.  She is available in the Western Region October 25-29&31; In the Central Region and Hudson Mohawk Nov. 3-4 and in Metro-Suffolk Nov. 5, 7-10.

Judy serves with the Hong Kong Christian Council, as a communications Specialist in charge of Ecumenical Broadcasting Ministry and Editor of English publications and speaks fluent Cantonese.  She has a powerpoint with pictures of her work and enjoys meeting with small groups.  Congregations can sponsor daytime or evening programs with coffee and cake or potlucks.  Women's, men's, youth groups, or Bible studies are also a possibility, as is inviting her to speak to a clergy group, an open meeting of a mission committee, or simply a group of interested people. If you would like to schedule Judy or have questions, contact Kay Woike:; 716-834-9781 or 716-308-7719.
News from Our Committees
Stewardship Committee

Downstate at the Westminster United Presbyterian Church, 109 Udall Road. West Islip, NY 11795
Generosity Rising: Lead a Stewardship Revolution
Saturday October 1, 2016
9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Leader: Dr Scott McKenzie
20 Seats left, Call 631-486-4350 to PRE REGISTER FEE $20 pp or $25 at the door
Registration and breakfast begin at 9:00 am, day includes breakfast, lunch, and a copy of the book.
In this workshop you will come to understand in a clear and compelling way, why now is the time for a stewardship revolution. You will be given specific guidelines and instructions for recruiting a team of revolutionary stewardship leaders. You will leave this workshop with a plan for your next steps toward a true Generosity Rising revolution in your church. Specific topics to be discussed include: The Call for a Stewardship Revolution, The current state of giving, Naming the enemy in our midst, A new stewardship declaration How to Start a Stewardship Revolution, Being a revolutionary leader, Recruiting and training the right leaders, Strategies for Success, Best practices, Creating your personal plan for revolution.
On Your Computer, From the Ecumenical Stewardship Center
Holistic Stewardship is part of the six-course series of Steward Leaders Engaging God's Mission online courses. The course includes audiographic sessions, readings, and four real-time conference calls. 7 CEUs are available. Sandy Lindahl, Commissioned Minister for Stewardship in the United Church of Christ, is the instructor. Course registration is just $49.95. The first call is October 3; register today!   Learn More, Register 
Up-coming Stewardship webinar
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Grace Duddy Pomroy

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.

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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!
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