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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

Rev. David Gaewski
By the time the next Happenings arrives in your inbox, the US elections (hopefully) will be over. There will be some who will be disappointed, some relieved, some angry, and still other left confused. How will we reconcile our different world views?  Can we?
I am left truly wondering "What Would Jesus Do?" I can't answer that, but my hunch is that he would talk about Caesar and God, and giving to each what is due to them. Regardless of how divided we may be as a nation, as communities, and even as families, I hope it is possible to separate loyalty to civil ideologies from spiritual integrity. I believe that this past political season has strained every aspect of our humanity. Speaking for myself in a confessional sense, I have been torn and have wrestled with my own intolerance and veiled anger. You have heard it said "hate the sin, not the sinner." Genuine integrity will bring us to places of severe disagreement. But Christian virtue will return us to love our neighbor (no matter who they voted for or how much we disagree with their ideology, their world views, and their prejudices). 
Confession of our own sins, I think, is the only place to begin the road toward moral reconstruction. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in My Thoughts this idea of moral reconstruction and it has been truly good to hear others reflect with me on what this means to them. Perhaps on November 9th we might begin our day with the verse: "all have fallen short of the glory of God" and "we live only by God's grace". (Romans 3:23-24). How might we confess our own failures? And how might we live in God's grace each morning?

Rev. David R Gaewski, Conference Minister  Twitter: @davidgaewski1
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.
Last Chance to Register for NYSOM Fall Learning Event

Registration for The Fall Learning Event, "Discerning the Body: What We Need to Know about our Churches to Lead Them Effectively through Change," with Mark Lawson, ends November 3 (that's tomorrow). The event will be held on November 18-19  at Notre Dame Retreat House, 5151 Foster Road, in Canandaigua. 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. 
Resources: Plan to join in "Vote Faithfully Sunday"

We invite you to join with our Ecumenical partners in observing the Sunday before Election Day as "Vote Faithfully Sunday." This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and uplift every voice in our community, reflect on our commitment to the common good and prepare to cast our ballots.

Election Eve Service in Williamsville

The Williamsville Interfaith Clergy Association, Network of Religious Communities, and The National Federation of Just Communities of Western New York are proud to co-sponsor an Interfaith Non-Partisan Election Eve Service at Faith United Church of Christ (corner of Maple and Hopkins), 1300 Maple Road, Williamsville, New York, on Monday, November 7 at 7:00p.
The Riverside Church hosts A National Call to Prayer

A National Call to Prayer! To Conscience! To Healing! A Call to Action and to Vote!
A Moral Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values
Sunday, November 6 at 6:30p at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York City. Featuring: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon and Sister Simone Campbell.
Click here to see a flyer with complete details and information the live-streaming of the event.
Free breakfast in Central Square

Central Square Community Church is hosting a Veterans Breakfast on Sunday, Nov. 6 from 8:00-9:30. The breakfast is free for everyone and includes scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, home fries, toast, and hot and cold beverages. Please call the church office (668-6278) before Nov. 4 to ensure there's enough food for everyone. A patriotic church service will follow at 10:00.
Click here to view an event flyer. 
Revised and Updated: Guide for Becoming Accessible to All

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board of Directors announced the release of an updated publication "Any Body, Every Body, Christ's Body: A Guide for Congregations, Associations, and Conferences for Becoming Accessible to All." Becoming A2A is a response to the growing need for churches to become accessible for all aspects of church life including worship, fellowship, and leadership. The new publication provides information and resources that will guide congregations as they answer this call. Click here to view the new guide. Questions can be sent to or
Clergy Participation Invited: Discussing Pastors' Grief

Marie Tracy, a third-year Master of Divinity student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, is completing a project on the potential ability for pastors to grieve within a congregational setting. She is looking to interview United Church of Christ clergypersons who lost a loved one while working in a church, to hear your story, and to discuss your experience as a pastor facing grief. Potential participants do not need to still be serving within a congregational setting. Please contact Marie at (908) 358-5436 or by email at with any questions or if you are interested in participating. All identifying information will remain strictly confidential.
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  
Save the date: State Youth Event

Youth ages 14-18 should save the dates -- March 3-5, 2017 -- for the 32nd Annual United Church of Christ New York Conference State Youth Event at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, NY. This year's theme will be "Realize, Relax, Reassure." For more information, contact Associate Conference Minister Rev. Ryan Henderson, or stay tuned to for more updates.

Click here to print a flyer advertising this event!
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. 
Sign your church up for Readiness 360

Are you ready?
  • To take a spiritual "snapshot" of your church?
  • To see how your church can be more vital in its ministry?
  • To evaluate your church's readiness for perhaps a new ministry?
Congregations meeting eligibility criteria can participate in Readiness 360, an online congregational assessment in areas of spiritual intensity, missional alignment, dynamic relationships, and cultural openness. This survey assists leaders in understanding and acting upon issues that drive vital, healthy congregations. Previously available to a limited number of congregations, the New York Conference is making this survey available to all of our churches at a nominal cost.You may find a document of "Frequently Asked Questions" by clicking here.
For questions or further information please contact Rev. Freeman Palmer at
Conference: Discovering God's Future for Your Church

Register now for this conference or live stream on Saturday, November 5 from 10:00a-1:00p. Learn a step-by-step process for discerning God's vision for your church. Participate in person in Washington, DC, or via live stream from your own computer or mobile device. Registration fee is $50 per person for conference registration or live stream registration; or pay $75 for live stream registration for groups.

Click here for an event flyer.
Click here for more information or to register. 
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
Theme: History and Current Situation of Racism in Long Island - Presenter: Elaine Gross
Date: November 5, 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. Freeman Palmer
November 13 - Church in the Gardens (Installation of Steven Moore as pastor), Queens
November 20 - Church of the Evangel, Brooklyn
December 11 - Ridgeview Congregational Church, White Plains

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
November 6 - Niagara Falls Congregational

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
November 13 - Lemuel Haynes
November 20 - Church of the Pelhams  
Opportunities for Education
Upcoming Webinars from Practical Resources for Churches
Thursday, November 3, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Debbie Kolacki
Thursday, November 10, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Bonnie Deroski
Thursday, December 1, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Debbie Kolacki
News from Our Committees
Global Ministries
The Rev. Judy Chan, Global Ministries missionary in Hong Kong, will be preaching and speaking in churches across the Conference. Everyone is welcome at any of her presentations. You may need to check with the church to find out the time of the event.

Thursday, Nov. 3 Evening program at Greene Congregational UCC, Greene NY

Sunday Nov. 6, 10:30am Preaches at Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, Wantagh
Stewardship Committee
You don't often see a really new idea but I found this today while reading an article about Millennials.
It's called Dipjar
It is a small credit card processor that a person would just slide their credit card into. 
Each transaction would be for the same amount.  You set the amount, $1.00, $5.00 or something different.  It requires an electrical outlet although it can run on a battery.  It connects by 3G.  You can buy the machine outright and then only pay $5 on the days you use the machine.  There are also other plans .
You will also pay a credit card processing fees.

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