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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

Rev. David Gaewski
"No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here." These were the words used by my cousin's Roman Catholic priest to begin a Mass in New Jersey. Given that it's quite clear where these words came from, was I at all irked? NOT AT ALL. Imagine if that proclamation could be made in all places of worship! Might that not be heaven breaking through the seam work of all creation?

We say it often. But most of us know it's only meant sometimes. Rather than dismaying over the failures to live up to those radical words of hospitality, might they not be embraced as the daily challenge to live a more Christ-like life? Whenever the neat order of how we make sense of life is shaken by: No matter WHO, No matter WHERE,  And welcome HERE; might that moment be an opportunity to practice the spiritual discipline of hospitality. Failures are inevitable, that is part of what it means to be human. And new breakthroughs of changed attitudes, beliefs, and actions are certain, because that is also what it means to be human.

When the uncomfortable moment is recognized, might that not be the knocking of the Divine on the heart? Despite past failures, might this be a new moment to open the door and allow the Holy to enter in?

I believe that in the United Church of Christ, where these words are so often used to open our times of worship, we feel good about the proclamation. My hope is that in addition to "feeling good" we allow ourselves to be disturbed by "Do we really mean it, right now, right here?" When the soul is disturbed, no doubt God is knocking on your door. Now that really is the beginning of worship, isn't it!

Rev. David R Gaewski, Conference Minister Twitter : @davidgaewski1
"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
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, 14, 21 and 28. 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
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.
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:
Mission Trip to Nicaragua February 2017

Are you interested in joining the Mission group from the New York Conference heading to Nicaragua in the third week of February? February 18th-25th, 2017.
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.

The Estimated Cost is $1,100 per person - which will include Airfare, Lodging, Food, and Transportation while in Nicaragua.

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.
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.
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.
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.

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.

Your Church can Produce an Email Like Happenings
There are hundreds of companies that are email services, here is a review of some of the top providers for not for profits.
Here is information on the three I see most often.
Max 2,000 email addresses - 12,000 emails per month
Nonprofits receive a 15% discount based on list size
Nonprofits Free 10,000 emails per month, no address limit
Nonprofits can receive 30% discount when they prepay
Minimum fee for Email $20 per month for email list under 500 addresses
Minimum fee Email Plus $45 per month for email list under 500 addresses
Charlaine PRC Consultant
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
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 9 - Sayville Congregational UCC
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
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

This might be a little late for this year, but I was reminded this past Saturday at the "Generosity Rising" workshop that there are still many churches not using a Narrative Budget as part of their fall appeal or when presenting the budget to the congregation.
We all know that most people's eye's glaze over when you hand them a line item budget, especially if it is longer than one page
So here is some information about how to get started and samples of narrative budgets.
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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AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

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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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