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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. David Gaewski
I think it was one those bikes with the long handlebars and a banana seat.  It was around 1970.  I would pack a peanut butter sandwich and tell my mother "I'm going for a bike ride."  I'd be gone for hours.  Still today when I think of how far I road that bike, I am amazed.  Riding that purple (yes, but hey, it was the 70s) bike I believed in the basic goodness of everything: nature, people, and the world.  The Kennedy's and Martin Luther King Jr. were my heroes.  We had walked on the moon.  Ella Grasso was elected the first woman governor in my home state of Connecticut.  Star Trek promised our future potential.  I grew up with hope and confidence.  With no disrespect intended toward my parents, I found all this hope without their help.  My long bike rides instilled in me a self-confidence; instilled "I can".
I am thankful today for adults who work very hard to inspire hope in children.  Teachers and youth group leaders: what you do is so fundamentally important.  Thank you.  Much more than in 1970, we need to be intentional in providing the places where children can dream, find confidence, and hope.  This is why I think Camp Fowler is so important.  This is why I was so deeply moved when I heard about Camp Pride for LGTBQ+ youth.  And this is why my vision for next week's "New and Right Spirit" campaign will include reaching out to children in our schools to instill a deep understanding of human equality and uprightness.  As Black History month comes to a close I am again moved beyond words with MLK's insistence that "The time is always right to do what is right."  Youth workers please know that you are doing the right thing.
"To equip the saints."

Rev. David Gaewski
Conference Minister  Twitter: @davidgaewski1
New and Right Spirit:
Understanding race, racism, and white privilege

On Ash Wednesday the one day New and Right Spirit campaign will go viral. New and Right Spirit will fund a special effort within New York to intentionally engage communities throughout our state in conversations about racial divisions that persist in our culture. These will be engaging and safe opportunities to expand our understanding of the ways in which racial divisions challenge us. To have a conversation such as this, we need highly trained facilitators. This is what the one day New and Right Spirit campaign will fund.
So, on Ash Wednesday, check your email, check your Facebook, check your Twitter feed, and go to: Please make a donation. Please share all the links on Ash Wednesday
New and Right Spirit

UCCNY in Nicaragua now

There is a group from UCCNY on a mission trip this week in Nicaragua. For regular updates, check out their blog:
Congregational Development Workshop:
From Membership 2 Discipleship
Saturday, April 1
First Congregational Church of Albany
405 Quail Street, Albany, NY
In this workshop you will learn how to differentiate Discipleship from Christian Education, how to identify catalysts and build relationships that lead to spiritual growth and how build an intentional Discipleship Process for personal and congregational transformation. The workshop facilitation is Dr. Phil Maynard, author of the book Shift:  Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry.
Cost:  Individual  $25.00
Churches with Attendees of five (5) or more:  $100.00
(The Above Cost Includes Lunch, a workbook for each participant, and a complimentary copy of the book:  Membership to Discipleship:  Growing Maturing Disciples Who Make Disciples by Phil Maynard)
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Authorized Ministers who attend this event will receive six hours of continued education credited for this workshop!

Questions:  Please contact Rev. Freeman Palmer, Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Development at
UCCNY Looking for new Bookkeeper

The New York Conference, United Church of Christ is seeking a part-time (20 hrs/wk) bookkeeper. Responsibilities include data entry, as well as computations, classifications, and postings of primary financial data to ensure complete and accurate financial information. We are seeking someone with excellent computer and interpersonal skills (Microsoft Office use essential, Shelby financial and database experience a plus). Attention to detail and accuracy are essential.
The New York UCC is a not-for-profit church organization. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status or any other class or status protected by law.
Compensation: $19/hour plus holiday and paid-time-off. We will also offer pension benefit in the UCC Pension Board program.
Please send resume by March 1 to Mr. David Losito, NY Conference UCC, 5575 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214 or email to
Have you entered your church data yet?

Now is the time to enter your 2016 data into the national church data base. This will insure your church is accurately represented in the National UCC Yearbook.

While it is important to record numbers in the pews and monies in and out, last year, two new categories were introduced into Yearbook reporting:

Community Engagement and Total Church Participants . We began asking churches to begin tracking some outputs. Like how many lives were touched by the ministries of a congregation. For instance, how many from the community attend your spaghetti dinner, or how many are involved in the groups that use your building? How many people looked to the church and its minister for current and future pastoral needs? How reaching is the ministry you do, not just on Sunday morning, but all through the year?

Your treasure is not just in your bank account. It is also in the ministry you do!

Please be sure to share how your mission has been lived out within your local communities and the world. All data must be entered by March 8th. If you haven't received the instruction sheet please download it here or contact the conference office at . Our goal is 100% participation. Thank you!
Bulletin Insert: Seminary Sunday/Church Vocations Sunday

On February 26, Seminary Sunday/Church Vocations Sunday, we keep seminaries and all those preparing for authorized ministry in prayer. We give thanks for the education offered by our long-standing UCC seminaries, for the generations of pastors who have been equipped for ministry, and for those who continue to teach and form individuals for Christ's service. With a growing awareness that many who are called to ministry require a different path of preparation, we invite you to include regional theological education programs, like our own New York School of Ministry, in your prayers on the 26th. Click here for bulletin insert about The New York School of Ministry, for use that day.
Registration ending for Leadership Styles Learning Event

It's not too late to register for the Spring Learning Event. It will take place on March 
17-18 (from Friday dinner through worship, mid-afternoon on Saturday), at Watson Homestead (9620 Dry Run Road, Painted Post NY). Marsha Williams will lead the program entitled, "From Management to Leadership: How Leadership Styles Motivate and Empower Vital Ministry."    
This learning event will encourage participants to discover their personal leadership style and the role it plays in congregational growth and success This event is for all the leaders in your congregation: your pastor, moderator, council members, trustees, deacons, committee chairs, and anyone who would like to develop their leadership skills.

Before the event, participants need to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment, TOP 5 STRENGTHS online, which can be accessed through this link: .
The assessment costs $15 (if the extra cost poses a problem, please contact Marjorie Purnine at Please bring your report with you to the learning event.
Cost for the Learning Event: Overnight $105; Commuter $55 
For more information and to register as an overnighter : Click here
For more information and to register as a commuter: Click here
Is it time to take a break?

"When I give myself the space to breathe in the presence of God, I feel my soul coming back to life."
                                                                        Rev. Joseph Yoo
Let's face it, ministry is hard and at times the work can be mentally, physically and yes, even spiritually exhausting.   In this particularly difficult political and social climate, it is more important than ever that pastors are mindful of their own health and well-being.  Remember, even Jesus took time away from the rigors of ministry to "steal away" to pray, refresh and renew his spirit. 
Below is a brief list of retreat centers across New York that offer respite for ministry weary ministers.  We encourage pastors to take advantage of these spiritual sanctuaries.  If it worked for Jesus, it can work for you.
Two Angels Holistic Healing Retreats & Services - -- New Paltz, NY
Offering one day or multi-day directed healing retreats to de-stress and revive physically, mentally & spiritually.
Notre Dame Retreat House --- Canandaigua, NY
Offering one day or multiple day retreats of prayer and spiritual renewal.  Also offers a calendar of retreat opportunities throughout the year.
Mons Nubifer Sanctus Retreat Center --- Delphi, NY
Individual and Group Prayer and Silent Retreats.
Priory Retreat House --- Chestertown, NY
Ongoing schedule of Silent and directed retreat opportunities.
EvenSong Dell Christian Retreat House ---  Oneonta, NY
Individual Retreats and Spiritual Direction available.
Cormaria Retreat House  --- Sag Harbor, NY
Private, Guided and Directed retreats available.
Sky Lake Retreat Center  --- Windsor, NY
Quiet retreat center for rest, prayer & relaxation.
Available August - May
Preaching Social Justice webinar scheduled

The Center for Progressive Renewal is hosting a webinar: Preaching Social Justice with Rev. Jacqui LewisRev. Jacqui Lewis brings over a dozen years to the pulpit at Middle Collegiate Church where she has preached social justice in word and deed. Together we will talk about what it means to preach social justice, especially in such a time as this.
If you have any questions about the webinar or any specific questions for Jacqui, email them to
For more information or to order the video for $9.99, click here.
Manual on Ministry draft available for preview

Manual on Ministry, 2017 Draft Edition and Supporting Resources
The NEW 2017 Draft of the United Church of Christ's Manual on Ministry can now be found online at In addition to the re-visioned draft MOM a new Discussion Guide, Chart of 'what is still in discernment' and 'what can be used now' as well as feedback forms are all available on that webpage.
As a part of a denomination-wide discernment process four regional AM21 (Authorizing Ministry in the 21st Century) events will be taking place throughout 2017. Registration information and event details can be found at In additional to these in-person gatherings, a series of 24 webinars are being offered by the MESA Ministry Team; a full calendar and links to the sessions can be found at On this same web-page you can sign up for COMma, the UCC Committee on Ministry monthly newsletter in order to stay engaged with resources and conversations related to the work of COMs.
Finally, a revised set of the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers is now online at .  Updated companion resources such as a Marks Assessment Rubrics and new Journaling the Journey are currently available through UCC Resources ( 
All members of the United Church of Christ are encouraged to read, reflect and engage with these resources as we together commit to seeking faithful responses to God's call for excellence in ministerial formation, authorization and oversight.
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.
State Youth Event registration now open!

Registration is now open for 2017 UCCNY State Youth Event. This year's theme is "Realize, Relax, Reassure." The event will be March 3-5 at Watson Homestead Convention Center. For more information and to register, click here.

If you have any questions about the Youth Event, email Ryan Henderson at
If you have any problems with registration, contact Patti Rodrigues at 315-446-3073 ext. 15 or email her at
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
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
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
February 26 - Corona Congregational Church UCC
Opportunities for Education
Free Upcoming Webinars

Thursday March 2, 2017
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Leader: Lisa Brown
This webinar will focus on designing your own curriculum for Vacation Bible School. We will discuss theological appropriateness along with creat ing a good theme. How to use a ready-made curriculum and adapt it to fit your church's theology will also be addressed. 

Tuesday March 7, 2017
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Leader: Marissa Letscher 
Join us for a discussion about the Milestones program of First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Milestones is a series of classes (three classes every year at every age level from birth through 5th grade) that educate children on the whos, whats, whys, and hows of the faith, and equip parents as the primary developers of faith in their children. Milestones includes Bible classes once a year beginning at Kindergarten, lively discussions about worship, experiential sessions on prayer and spiritual practices, Communion instruction, church history, and stewardship.

For more information and other upcoming webinars, click here.
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.
Boundary Awareness Trainings offered in Western

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..
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.

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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