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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

Rev. David Gaewski
I suppose it is a sign of sanity when we recognize that there are often internal struggles over our own adequacy. If those questions never arose, then there probably is no real sense or understanding of self. But when one can truly look at oneself and ask: "is this all there is?" then an awareness of the self becomes more real. It may not always be comforting, but it is real. And real is good. So feeling, from time to time, not up to the task or inadequate can be a "humility check". And that too is not a bad thing.

Sensing inadequacy, however, has nothing to do with our human potential. I am convinced that our potential is closer to what I think of as infinity or eternity. As long as I try to wrap my brain around those two words, the more confounded I become. But when I think of human potential, ah, yes, then I begin to perceive what infinity might be. I have seen it over and over and over again in people who call themselves "ordinary".

Perceiving oneself, from time to time, as inadequate for the task before you is just the normal human condition. What may become the sacred surprise is the infinite potential that someone else sees in you. What courage it takes to ask a friend: what do you see in me?
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

Authorized Minister's Fall Retreat Cancelled

Due to low registration, this year's Fall Authorized Minister's Retreat has been cancelled. Those who have registered, please conference bookkeeper, Patti Rodrigues, to receive a refund.

Keep reading Happenings this week and every Wednesday for more exciting opportunities within the New York Conference.

Learn about NY/HELP

Click here to read a account written by David Woodruff about the NY/HELP trip to Honduras. There are several more pictures at the link above, as well. Dr. Gordon Comstock and David Woodruff went to Honduras in July.

For more information on NY/HELP and how you can help, please contact Gordon and Ginger Comstock.
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

Resource: Israel-Palestine Just Peace

In 2015, the 30th General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted the resolution "A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."
This guide, prepared by the United Christ of Christ Palestine Israel Network (UCC PIN), provides resources to equip UCC lay and ordained faith leaders to study and implement the resolution. The resolution's goal is to contribute to ending the Israeli military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The UCC resolution does not call for a blanket divestment or boycott of Israel. Rather, it calls only for divestment from companies which are complicit in or profit from human rights violations arising from occupation of the Palestinian Territories by the state of Israel, and for boycott of products produced in illegal Israeli settlements located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Click below to read the complete guide:
Apply Now for Chautauqua Chaplains

The Chautauqua United Church of Christ Society is seeking nine UCC clergy to serve as Chaplain of the Week during the summer of 2017. Each chaplain serves during one week, Saturday through Saturday, during the regular Chautauqua summer season. For information about schedules and themes, please see As Chaplain of the Week, you are expected to preach and lead worship on Sunday at the denominational service, briefly share your story during a social hour, lead an evening vesper service and participate in community life with our guests. You will receive housing, two gate passes, and parking pass. Applications are available on our website at The deadline for application is November 30.
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.

Basic Boundary Training Course Offered

Mondays, October 10 and 17 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
In the UCC, authorized ministers need to take Boundary Awareness Training. After the basic unit is completed, a "refresher" course is taken every few years. Associations offer refresher courses, since that is what most folks need. However, some still need the basic unit. With NYSOM's technological support, Penny Cannon will be offering the first half of a basic unit of BAT training via web conferencing, on Mondays, October 10 and 17, from 7-9 pm.
If you have ever taken a Boundary Awareness Training, this IS NOT for you. And these two sessions are not a complete unit: they need to be combined with a face-to-face refresher  to constitute a basic unit of Boundary Awareness Training. Refresher courses are offered in October by Susquehanna and Western Associations. The cost is $50 for the two web-conferenced sessions. Participants will read Cloud & Townsend's,  Boundaries: When to Say yes, how to say no to take control of your life, in preparation for the sessions.  Registration will open in a few days at (look at "Events"). The registration deadline is September 28 (so that participants will have time to order and read the assigned book). If you have questions about registration, contact Sueli Gaewski at

Concerts to #EndGunViolence

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.

Fall Association Meetings

Black River-Saint Lawrence Association
Theme: Bold Faith for Today: A Conversation with the New York Conference Ministry Team
Date: October 2, 2016
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: Richville UCC
Address: Main Street,  Richville, NY 13681

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
Theme: Nicaragua Mission Trip Reflections
Date: September 18th, 2016
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: Central Square Community Church
Address: 833 US Route 11,  Central Square NY, 13036

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
Date: September 24, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Preble Congregational UCC
Address: 1953 Preble Rd.,  Preble, NY 13141

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
On the Eve of the Reformation: Martin Luther and the Plague

With just a bit more than a year to go, all eyes are already looking towards Wittenberg in anticipation of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In recalling the events during the fall days of 1516, though, it was anything but self-evident that Martin Luther would live to post his 95 theses and ignite the Reformation one year later.

In autumn 1516, the first of eight outbreaks of the plague struck the university town of Wittenberg. Although he would not yet know the bacterium Yersinia pestis by name, nor the names of possible viral agents causing the disease, Luther knew firsthand the devasating effects of the Black Death, having lost two brothers and many friends to the plague.  First identified in 1347, the plague became responsible for millions of deaths in Europe. It is estimated that the Black Death, one of the worst pandemics in human history, destroyed one-fourth of the population of Europe, significantly impacting the social structure and religious attitudes of Europe.

Although the theologian Johann Lange strongly urged his friend and colleague to leave the city, Martin Luther chose to stay; and his bold reply illustrates the ReformerĀ“s abiding trust and depth of commitment:

You counsel me to flee for refuge to you. But why? The world will not come to an end although Brother Martin perish. But if the plague spread, I shall send the brothers out into the world. As for me, seeing I have been placed here, my vows of obedience demand that I remain till I am ordered elsewhere. Not that I have no fear of death, for I am not the Apostle Paul, but only his expounder, and I still hope the Lord will deliver me from this fear also.

During those fall days of 1516, Luther chose to stay in Wittenberg and continue his work, thereby placing himself at great risk.  The Reformer believed strongly that the Christian pastor, like a good shepherd, is called by Christ to stay despite danger because he is needed by his flock for comfort and strength in the hour of death. "No risk of harm," he wrote, "can withstand the enormous and sure resources of God." Luther reached out and ministered to the sick and dying, even sharing his home with children orphaned by the plague.  The wife of the mayor, Tilo Dene, is said to have died practically in Luther's arms.

It belongs to one of the important turns in history that Martin Luther lived to survive the outbreak of the plague in Wittenberg during those autumn days 500 years ago - and to live to write and nail his bold theses, one year later, to the door of the 
Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, forever changing the church and the world. 

On a final note: Martin Luther, taking the long view of history, recognized a "plague" far more decimating than the Black Death of his age:  "War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity, it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it."

Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. David R Gaewski
September 25 - Park Avenue Christian, Manhattan
October 2 - First Congregational Church of Antwerp
October 9 - Sayville Congregational UCC
October 16 - Orient Congregational Church, UCC
October 23 - Corona Congregational UCC (Queens)
Rev. Ryan Henderson
October 2 - Emmanuel Congregational UCC, Massena

Rev. Freeman Palmer
October 2 - First Congregational Church of Lisbon

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
October 2 - Ogdensberg First Congregational UCC

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
October 2 - United Community, Carthage
October 16 - Scarsdale Congregational 
October 23 - First Congregational, Ithaca
November 13 - Lemuel Haynes
November 20 - Church of the Pelhams  
Opportunities for Education
Global Missionary Available to Speak

The Rev. Judy Chan, who has served with Global Ministries for 22 years will be available to speak to congregations and groups around the New York Conference from Saturday, Oct. 22-Wednesday, Nov. 9.   All her Sunday mornings are filled, but she still has some availability on other days.  She is available in the Western Region October 25-29&31; In the Central Region and Hudson Mohawk Nov. 3-4 and in Metro-Suffolk Nov. 5, 7-10.

Judy serves with the Hong Kong Christian Council, as a communications Specialist in charge of Ecumenical Broadcasting Ministry and Editor of English publications and speaks fluent Cantonese.  She has a powerpoint with pictures of her work and enjoys meeting with small groups.  Congregations can sponsor daytime or evening programs with coffee and cake or potlucks.  Women's, men's, youth groups, or Bible studies are also a possibility, as is inviting her to speak to a clergy group, an open meeting of a mission committee, or simply a group of interested people. If you would like to schedule Judy or have questions, contact Kay Woike:; 716-834-9781 or 716-308-7719.
News from Our Committees
Stewardship Committee
Ideas for Resources Teaching Stewardship to Children from the Church of the Nazarene, including teaching activities, sermon ideas and projects.

From the New Community Project Sunday School Lessons: God's Early, Our Home for Elementary through High School

Fun ministry idea to teach kids stewardship from the United Methodist Church

Stewardship with Children from the Center for Faith and Giving

Upcoming  stewardship webinars:
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Grace Duddy Pomroy

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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