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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
I have a stack of books on a table at home that I really need to read, that I really want to read, but right now ... right now, I'm in the middle of Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, and nothing else is likely to be touched before I've reached the end. It's a post-apocalyptic novel, a genre that I usually avoid (if I'm going to read a few pages before bed, I want the fictional world to be an inviting one), which was recommended by a woman in my congregation whose literary judgment I greatly respect. The story centers on a troupe of actors and musicians -- about fifteen years after a flu-like pandemic has left the world with a small fraction of its population, infrastructure in ruins, no electricity or countries or law -- who travel from town to town to perform Shakespeare's plays, because, as they've painted on their caravan, "survival is insufficient." 
As the story's focus jumps back and forth over that great dividing line marking the end of what was, the contrast deepens, and I find myself fundamentally challenged to discern what is important from what is trivial in my own life. I'm wondering which treasures of our past and present I'd most miss if they were lost. I'm not reading a few pages before waves of fatigue lull me to sleep; I'm alert and engaged, and only with effort can I put the book down.

In the morning, as I pull the milk from the fridge or drive to the dentist, I'm startled into an awareness of how much I take for granted. I appreciate the reminder that civilization, flawed as it is, grounds and shapes my days. Though tired, after reading so late, I give thanks for the power and beauty of art in all its forms. I bet I can finish it tonight.

With blessings,


Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
Associate Conference Minister for Leadership Development
315-446-3073 ext. 16
New email? Moving? Let us know!

Churches and clergy, please remember to let your association registrar and the conference registrar know if there is a change in your address, telephone number, or email. The registrar of the New York Conference, Gloria Halko, can be reached at or 315-446-3073. 
CHHSM Survey

Council for Health and Human Service Ministries  has launched a broad denomination-wide survey to glean the United Church of Christ's collective understandings of, attitudes about, and involvement with health and human service ministries today. 
We want to invite and encourage you to complete the survey before October 31 and to share it widely among your networks (congregations, etc.) Respondents do not necessarily need any knowledge of CHHSM or its member ministries, or even the UCC, in order to provide the constructive feedback we are seeking.

The survey can be found here:

The results will help to inform/shape CHHSM's strategic planning process and impact future ministry initiatives.  
General Synod... Already??

Since General Synod will be held in the Mid-Atlantic Region (Baltimore) it is not too early for us in New York to begin our planning. The dates of General Synod are June 30 - July 4.  General registration will open December 5. The full event visitor registration fee of $247.50 is discounted through the end of March. Full five-day visitor registrants pay only $225 if they register before January 5 and only $236.50 from January 6 through March 31. Information is now beginning to be posted at  
Hurricane Matthew Update

Winds rush. Water pounds. Buildings fall. People suffer.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti on the morning of October 4 and in Cuba later that afternoon. It slowly made its way toward the mainland United States. Winds of 135 miles per hour caused flash flooding, mud slides and violent winds. Devastation abounds.

The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are well situated to respond robustly to people impacted both in the Caribbean and within the United States. Global Ministries' (UCC/Disciples joint ministry) partners are reporting devastation of crops and houses in the southern regions of Haiti. Houses in Ganthier, Haiti, rebuilt for families displaced from the 2010 earthquake by Church World Service (including both the UCC and Disciples), now are flooded again. Torrential downpours have sent water rushing down streets, creating fears of waterborne diseases like cholera, an epidemic that was already occurring in Haiti prior to the hurricane. Cuba also has experienced extensive damage and several people in the Bahamas have perished.

Already, solidarity grants from the 2016 One Great Hour of Sharing Offering and Week of Compassion Fund are on their way to partners in in the region responding to immediate needs of food, shelter and safety. The UCC and Disciples are poised to respond with other churches to provide food, water, containers, roofs, mattresses, hygiene kits and psychosocial support. Within the United States, both denominations are active in local and national disaster response networks.

Your generosity to this disaster appeal will enable our churches to expand these responses and to walk closely with our neighbors now, in the immediate crisis, and through the long-term recovery process that will follow.

In the midst of tumultuous weather, people receive food and water to drink. In the midst of danger, people find safety and rebuild homes. In the midst of hopelessness, people experience a love that will not let them go.

Bulletin Insert - Hurricane Matthew

"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 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
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
Youth United Nations Trip

The New York State Council of Churches sponsors an annual trip for high school youth to the United Nations over President's Day (Monday, February 20 through February 22). This year, the seminar will focus on "Islamophobia." The $400 cost covers lodging, travel, and some meals.
Click here for a flyer with more information.
Click here for an application.
Mission Trip to Nicaragua February 2017

Dates: February 18-25, 2017
Work: The group plan is to head to Managua and help the teachers and Schools related to our Ecumenical partner  Iglesia Misión Cristiana. This is an inter-generational trip, but for safety concerns we ask that Youth under 15 have a chaperone/adult from your church. The plan is to work, teach, learn about the history and people of Nicaragua~ along with have a few moments to see all that Nicaragua has to offer. The average temperature will be hot/humid and most of our activity will be in dirt floor locations.
Cost: The Estimated Cost is $1,100 per person - which will include Airfare, Lodging, Food, and Transportation~ while in Nicaragua.
To Register: If you are interested~ Please Contact Mission Coordinator Sueli Gaewsky at  to be put on the list and receive an application to attend.
Space is limited and preference will be given to those who have not gone before.

Convencion de Iglesias Mision Cristiana de Nicaragua
The Christian Mission Church of Nicaragua (La Misión Cristiana) is a home-grown Pentecostal denomination situated both in the barrios of Managua and in the rural areas outside the capital.

Their vision is to encourage and support social transformation, incarnating the gospel as good news for the most vulnerable sectors of society: the poor, the sick, women, children, and people excluded from our socio-economic systems. The Christian Mission Church of Nicaragua began in the 1960s as a movement of ministry to prisoners, calling itself in those years "The Christian Mission in the Jails."  Throughout its history, the Association has participated in the founding of various Christian organizations at the national level, with the goal of strengthening ecumenical relationships and supporting the development of churches and their communities. Since its inception, La Misión Cristiana has sought to foster social justice in the communities it serves. It currently is at work on a number of educational and development projects that serve its member churches and their communities.

To learn more about Iglesia Mision Cristiana de Nicaragua go to:
Ecclesiastical Council Tomorrow

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.
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)

Deadline: Thursday, October 20, 2016


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
Met earlier this fall (October 2, Richville)

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
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 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 16 - Orient Congregational Church, UCC
October 23 - Corona Congregational UCC (Queens)
Rev. Freeman Palmer
October 23 - Journey UCC, Glenmont
October 30 - St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran UCC, Bronx
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. Marsha Williams
October 16 - Scarsdale Congregational 
October 23 - First Congregational, Ithaca
November 13 - Lemuel Haynes
November 20 - Church of the Pelhams  
Opportunities for Education
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:
Boundary Awareness Refresher Training

Boundary Awareness Refresher training is being offered this fall on October 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Church of the Nativity UCC, 1530 Colvin Blvd., Buffalo, NY 14223. Cost is $75, payable to WNYACIC (to register, contact Bob Dievendorf at

Another Boundary Awareness Refresher training will also be offered at Homer Congregational UCC, 28 S. Main Street, Homer, NY 13077. Cost is $75 (to register, contact Sue Frost at 
ONLINE:  UCC History, Theology and Polity Course,  Jan. 2017

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.
Panel for Teen Threats, October 23

Garden City Community Church (245 Stewart Avenue, Garden City, NY) will host a panel titled "Dangerous Liaisons: The Truth About Campus Predators, Toxic Relationships, and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Teens."  The panel, from 1:00-3:30 on Sunday, October 23, will address warning signs of toxic personal relationships and potential recruitment into unhealthy commercial or spiritual organizations. For more information, click here to see a flyer on the event, or visit the church website for more information and to RSVP.
News from Our Committees
Stewardship Committee

From the Cornerstone Fund:

The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) encourages all settings of the UCC to be Accessible to All (A2A).
So, how does a church become A2A?
The first step is the Church Building and Program Accessibility Audit
Find out more here >>

The next step is to complete an A2A Checklist.
Find out more here >>
Webinar: Becoming a Barrier-Free Congregation
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Sharon McCart

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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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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