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

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts
Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
In these late Advent days, I take in the sounds of the season: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" one moment and NPR the next. I read the poetry of W.H. Auden and Luke's gospel. I fear that the stark divisions among Americans, made so clear by the results of our presidential election, are once again fading into silence. Auden's line, "we must love one another or die," has stayed with me long after I closed the book, yet I feel the temptation to narrow my focus to those dear to me, as I buy gifts for the young ones and reach out to far-away faithful friends, with a pressing awareness of the passing of time.
Still, the ancient tableau shows me magi and shepherds, drawn together across culture, class, and distance by the Reconciling One. The Advent candles remind me to hope for more than a merry little Christmas, to walk in the way of peace, to cherish moments of joy even as I open my heart to the suffering in Aleppo and Berlin, and to welcome love that is stronger and more spacious than I have yet been willing to embody.
As I wait for the lighting of the Christ candle, I pray, in the poet's words, that I might "show an affirming flame," not only within that circle of light on Christmas eve, but in each word and action throughout the challenging days to come. 
With blessings,

Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership Development
2016 Offerings Reminder

The final date to send in your 2016 offerings is January 17, 2017. Any offerings received after this date will be included in the year 2017. To be a 5 for 5 Church in 2016, we must receive offerings from OCWM, One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church and The Christmas Fund by January 17, 2017. Thank you for support of the ministries of the New York Conference and the United Church of Christ.
"Day of Remembrance" liturgy and study resource

worship and study resource for the "Day of Remembrance" for Japanese Americans who were exiled and imprisoned during World War II has been prepared by Ellen Godbey Carson of the Hawaii Conference. Ellen is a retired attorney and member of Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, Hawai'i. She was one of the lead counsel in the class action suit for Americans of Japanese ancestry who were exiled from their homes and imprisoned in racial prison camps by the United States government during World War II. That case assisted in obtaining a Presidential apology to those imprisoned and Congressional redress payments to those who survived.
Permission is granted for use in our churches. Day of Remembrance is typically recognized February 19.
Be part of a Community of Practice

Focus on the praxis of ministry, learn from colleagues, be fed spiritually and physically. The challenge for clergy is often how to find ways to continually be renewed in your own faith and practices. Communities of Practice (CoP) groups are designed to do that and so much more.

Led by trained, experienced 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.

Groups are forming for January. Don't miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this exciting new ministry endeavor. In-person and virtual groups are available.  For more information or to sign-up to participate click here.
Provide info on your environmental justice initiatives

As the UCC continues to expand its growing network of environmentally active churches, the UCC Environmental Justice team is working to construct a comprehensive environmental justice database to document the environmental initiatives of churches and parishioners. This information will help us to unite our efforts, identify our achievements, apply for grants, and encourage other churches to be environmentally responsible.  
Please take a moment to help us create this environmental justice database by replying to with the following information:
Your first and last name:
Your church's email (just to make sure we have the right one!):
Your UCC church:
City and state of your church:
Does your church have...
  • a Green Team?
  • energy efficient upgrades and practices?
  • coordinated environmental advocacy?
  • a community garden?
  • solar panels?
  • a financial portfolio divested from fossil fuels?
  • environmental recognition or certification? (Please specify the organization and program that awarded recognition. Examples include Earth Ministry's Greening Congregations, the Connecticut Conference's Green Church Congregation, and former UCC programs like Green Justice Congregations or Whole Earth Church. If your church no longer identifies with this recognition/certification due to broad lack of awareness and practice, please indicate that as well.)
  • any other noteworthy environmental initiatives?
Furthermore, if you have not learned about the new UCC's Creation Justice Churches program, we encourage you to do so by visiting:
Lastly, if you have not already subscribed to the UCC's environmental justice e-newsletter, the Pollinator, we encourage you to do so here:
Western Area Youth Advisor's event coming in January

The Western Area Youth Advisor's/Minister's Education Event is scheduled for Saturday, January 21 at Ebenezer United Church of Christ in West Seneca, NY. The event is 10:00-4:00 and your $10 registration includes lunch. Topics include trends among teenagers, drug use, LGBTQ and our teens, and worship. Click here for more information and a printable flyer.
Opportunities for Education
American Church History course scheduled

American Church History
Rev. Steven Johnson, Ph.D., instructor
Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9 pm: January 18 & 25; February 1, 8, 15, 22; March 8 & 15
Cost: NY Conference Participants: $250;  Audit: $175; Repeat Course Audit: $100
Participants outside the New York Conference: $275; Audit: $200 (plus the Distance Learning Support fee).
Distance Learning Support fee:  $69 per 20-hour course or $133 per semester.
Registration Deadline: January 10, 2017
This course, required for the Christian Leadership Program, offers an overview of the development of Christian churches in the United States with an emphasis on ideas and events that have shaped the United Church of Christ. Click here for a flyer with registration links. In NYSOM's Christian Leadership Program, the essential elements of a UCC History, Theology, and Polity class (as defined by the Polity Teachers Network) are spread across various courses: American Church History, UCC Polity, Intro to Christian Theology, and Liturgy & Worship. American Church History is the pre-requisite for our UCC Polity course. There is no pre-requisite for American Church History (and no expectation that UCC Polity will be taken). We advise those who need only a UCC History, Theology, and Polity course for authorization to take Rev. David Gaewski's UCC History, Theology, and Polity (offered Saturdays in January and June, via webconferencing) or an equivalent, free-standing course. American Church History fulfills 20 hours of continuing education for authorized ministers seeking to meet CE requirements.
Boundary Awareness Training Refresher Course

Saturday, January 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oneidea Association will be holding a Boundary Awareness Training Refresher Course on Saturday, January 14, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Conference Office. Cost is $75, and you need to bring lunch. Register with Oneida Registrar, Diana Pelletier, at Payment will be made the day of the event.
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.
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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