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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
You'll have to wait until next week for a new "My Thoughts." In the meantime, why don't you go back to the Conference website's "My Thoughts" Archive ? Read what Conference Minister Rev. David Gaewski was thinking during his first week at the New York Conference in 2012 and every "Happenings" since.
2017 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs info available

Details and application materials for the 2017 programs are now available.

In the 2017 Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program eligible congregations will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 each to support a renewal program for their pastor. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program. Activities funded by a grant in the 2017 programs may begin anytime in 2018.

Application materials (the "Request for Proposals" document) for the 2017 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs include a full description of program guidelines and eligibility. Applicants may apply using either the print application or the online application system. The deadline to apply is April 21, 2017.
NY Conference and The Berlin City Deanery Sign Partnership

Representing the Deanery in the picture above are Reverends Silke Radish-Hinder (Associate Dean of the Deanery) and Nils Huchthausen (UCC Partnership Liaison).  Representing the New York Conference in the picture are Ms. Dona Roll (Vice-Moderator of the Conference) and Conference Minister David Gaewski.

On Sunday November 6th a Partnership Agreement between the New York Conference and the Berlin City Deanery (Evangelischer Kirchenkreis Berlin Stadtmitte) was signed during the Western Area Fall meeting.  The Deanery is roughly the equivalent to a UCC Association.  The Berlin City Deanery is a part of Evangelische Kirche Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz).  The NY Conference voted in June to enter into this partnership and on Sunday at our UCC Church in Lockport, NY the first covenant document was signed.  There will be a second document signed at St. Mary's Church in Berlin on Sunday November 13th.  You may read the covenantal partnership agreement by clicking here.

Reverend Radish-Hinder spoke of the hope that the Deanery and Conference will have rich dialogue on how to be church and understand the role of the church in society in the 21st Century. While our contexts are different our faith is not and our challenges are more similar that we might imagine. Reverend Gaewski spoke of how this partnership allows the New York Conference to be in partnership with each of the four original streams of the United Church of Christ. The Berlin City Deanery grew out of the Church of the Prussian Union which gave birth to the "German Evangelical Church" or the "E" in "E&R".

A musical piece entitled "Amazing Gifts" for Cello and Organ was created by Lockport organist Paul Ferington in celebration of this event. Appreciation is expressed to the Lockport congregation, the Arcade UCC Church, and the Western Area Churches in Covenant for the hospitality shown for our guests and for hosting this event.
NYSOM Clerk Needed

The New York Conference is seeking a NYSOM Clerk to provide administrative support for the New York School of Ministry. This is a part-time position (5 hours/week). This is a work-from-home position and does not require office time in Syracuse. Tasks include coordinating registration for NYSOM events and courses, promoting events online (through Happenings, the NYSOM update, and the Conference website), tracking tuition and course fees, and assisting in coordinating events on our database. Interested persons should contact Rev. David Gaewski at no later than December 1.
Clergy Communities of Practice are coming to NY Conference

Do you long for a group of colleagues with whom you can be open, honest, and vulnerable in sharing about the joys and challenges your face in ministry?   Does the idea of studying with other ministers about theological/biblical issues excite you? Or maybe  you would appreciate a regular group worship and prayer experience where you do not have to be the leader? If this is you, than a Community of Practice group is the place for you.
The New York Conference is excited about the launch of Communities of Practice peer support groups. With the help of trained 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.
Read what the UCC Massachusetts Conference says about their Communities of Practice program: 
"When we created our program we hoped that pastors would find the support and guidance they needed as well as a greater sense of ministry as a shared endeavor. That has indeed happened, but there have been other outcomes as well...friendship among pastoral colleagues, healing, laughter, helpful perspectives, and a renewed sense of calling...When we started six years ago, we spoke about it as an experimental effort. Now, however, we cannot imagine our life without it..."
Want to learn more?  Want to sign up to participate?  CLICK HERE  
NY/HELP's new sewing project

We are particularly excited about a new project beginning this January: a sewing class for the women of the 13 villages in the tribe. Connie, one of our NY/HELP volunteers, is an expert seamstress, and will be leading the class. She will be teaching alongside Aracely Amaya from La Laguna, who has a diploma as a seamstress. 
NY/HELP hopes to supply each village with a treadle sewing machine for these women to use. The sewing machines cost an estimated $230 each. Donations towards these machines are welcome!
Donations can be sent to NY/HELP, c/o Arcade UCC, 297 Main St., Arcade, NY 14009.
Singers wanted for Community Cantata in Norwich

First Congregational UCC, Norwich invites members of church choirs, school choirs, and the community are invited to join together to perform: Ceremony of Candles: A Cantata for Advent and Christmas by Joseph Martin, under the direction of Mary Williams. For more information and to register, visit their website,, or call the church at 334-3434. 
Fall Association Meetings

Black River-Saint Lawrence Association
Met earlier this fall (October 2, Richville)

Essex Association
(Spring Meeting Only)

Genesee Valley Association
Met earlier this fall (October 16, South Livonia)

Hudson-Mohawk Association
Met earlier this fall (October 29, Middletown)

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

Metro Association
Theme: The Church of the 21st Century -- Is Your Church Ready to Change? (A Panel Discussion to explore what was and what will be)
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
Met earlier this fall (November 5, Centerport)

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

Western Association
Met earlier this fall (November 6, Lockport)
Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. Freeman Palmer
November 20 - Church of the Evangel, Brooklyn
December 11 - Ridgeview Congregational Church, White Plains

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
November 20 - Church of the Pelhams  
Opportunities for Education
Upcoming Webinars from Practical Resources for Churches
Thursday, December 1, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Debbie Kolacki
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
Global Ministries
I recently had the privilege to go on an 11 day study trip to the Middle East sponsored by One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion. Led by Peter Makari, Global Ministries Area Executive for the Middle East and Europe and Phyllis Richards, Associate for Global Sharing of Resources, we had the opportunity to meet with global ministries partners and experience some of the projects supported by OGHS and Week of Compassion in Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Morocco. We we were warmly welcomed wherever we went by hopeful, resilient people eager to share their stories.  You can view a blog of our trip by clicking here . While some are hesitant to visit this part of the world because of news coverage of random acts of violence, I always felt completely safe. I would encourage anyone interested in visiting the Middle East to check out group educational travel opportunities at .
Kay Woike, Church of the Nativity UCC, Buffalo NY
Stewardship Committee
Follow-up Phone Call for Fall Financial Campaign

For most of us the Stewardship campaign is almost finished. So what to do with those people who did not reply? You are left with is a list of people who have never pledged before and those who pledged last year and you have not heard from. So it's best to focus on the people who have pledged in the past and give them a phone call.
First put together a small team of people to do the calling, ask people who know the people on the list.   Put together a script, and then practice so your team feels comfortable calling.
Here are some websites that can help with how to "ask".
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:
Amazon Smile
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the  New York Conference of United Church of Christ  whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

Click to Sign Up:
Donate Directly

Make your contribution to the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ today.

Join Us in Ministry:
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.
New York Conference | United Church of Christ
315-446-3073 | |