Finger Lakes District E-Newsletter  July 9, 2019

Rev. McDowell
Welcome to the Finger Lakes District e -Newsletter! Please share this with church members and staff, teams and organizations. We hope that you will find this a useful resource as we work to promote the missions, ministries and events of the Finger Lakes District. If you have something you would like to see included in a future issue of this e-newsletter, send to
May you have a blessed week!
Your friends at the Finger Lakes District Office,
       Rev. Jeffrey McDowell, District Superintendent
            Pam Deckard, Administrative Assistant

Please contact the office via email (above) or phone (315-781-0188) and your messages will be responded to.   
DISTRICT OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED during the following dates in July and August

Please note that DS Jeff McDowell will be on vacation July 8-31. He will be having surgery August 5th and will be recuperating the rest of August.   Office hours will be sporadic; please call before coming to office.   Pam will also be off during August. The phones will be checked throughout the month. Emails and phone messages will be checked daily. If you have an emergency please contact the Finger Lakes District Office at 315-781-0188 or
Jeff asks that you let us know if there are serious issues of any family member of the clergy, or legal and property issues with a church. Just email Pam or call the district office for help. He also asks that you connect with the area clergy around you on the district and resource each other when questions or needs come up. 
The next edition of this eNewsletter comes out on July 23, 2019.  To submit an item for the newsletter, please have it to the district office by July 16.   Thank you.
Word from the Superintendent:

            I welcome all our pastors serving on the district and I vow to remember you in prayer as you work in this field of the Lord! We will pray for all those who have moved off the district. See a list below of new pastors so you can welcome them individually. From July 7 through August 1, I will be on vacation. On August 5 I will have surgery on my urinary tract and recovery could last 4 weeks. Each week there is a superintendent on call for me. Pam Deckard, our Administrative Assistant has the contact information of each and will connect you with the person needed. I ask you to let us know if there are serious issues in any family member of the clergy or legal, and property issues with a church. Just email her or call the district office for help. I also ask you to connect with the area clergy around you on the district and resource each other when questions or needs come up.

            Dear Friends, I know this is a troubling time in the life of our church. I ask you to hold steady, knowing Jesus is on this wild ride with us. We are quite divided around the world as a denomination on the issue of sexuality, but God is still with us and we can still treat each other with respect. I have seen many of our members rise to the challenge and speak to others with great wisdom, grace and humility. Let's keep that going. We are still following the Book of Discipline. Some want it changed and it very well might be changed next May. In the meantime, let us all hear the call of Jesus Christ our common Lord to spread the news of God's love to all the waiting world.

          To that end, Pastors, Lay Leaders, Lay Servants, Annual Conference delegates and other interested Lay members are invited to join at one (or more) of the scheduled events at key locations. After a time of worship and music, the people will break up into two facilitated groups of Lay members and Clergy led by the District Leadership Team Members.  We will end with a time of reflection, processing and prayer. Please join us - and bring a friend! Please see the flyers with more details at:

Planned Dates:  July 15, 2019: Moravia UMC - 6:30 to 8:00 PM
                        July 18, 2019: Lyons UMC - 6:30 to 8:00 PM
                        August 1, 2019: Cortland 1st UMC - 2:00 to 3:30
                        August 5, 2019: Penn Yan UMC - 7:00 to 8:30 PM 
Growing in Christ with you, Jeff McDowell

Appointment News on the district:

Rev. Brett Johnson: Lyons and Seneca Castle United Methodist churches, full-time.
Rev. Mary Rublee: Moravia UMC, full-time.
Rev. Jane Sautter: One-year interim for Penn Yan UMC with Associate Pastor Sandi Perl and Certified Lay Minister Peggy Beckwith.
Rev. Matt Rowe: North Rose UMC, full time.
Rev. Rebecca Dolch: Forest Home Chapel, half-time.
Rev. Dr. Patience Kisakye: Newark First UMC, full-time.
Rev. Glynn English: Weedsport UMC half-time.
Ledyard: Mrs. Suzanne Finch, from the Tyre UMC as lay servant.
Chapin: Mr. James Wilck, from the Lyons UMC.
Port Gibson: Mrs. Dawn Wood, a lay servant who is considering certified lay ministry­­­­.
Reynoldsville: Mr. Rich Neno from the Newfield UMC.

Churches Still Open as of 6-27: Varna, Harmony. If you know of lay speakers, lay servants, or retired pastors who can assist in covering Sunday Services at Varna at 11:00 or Harmony at 10:00 a.m., please let Pam Deckard know and she will connect you with their SPR Committee chairpersons.

OCT. 26 LANSING UMC (Afternoon)
NOV. 2 AUBURN UMC (Morning)


Our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Jeff McDowell, is 
available to preach   at your church on these dates. 
 He prefers that the pastor is present,
 this is not intended to be used as pulpit supply.

Sept.22:   Preaching at Cortland First
Sept. 29:  Attending St. Paul's Ithaca for their 200th Anniversary Celebration
Oct. 20:  Preach at Sodus Third
Oct. 27
Nov. 3
Nov. 17:  Preach at Dryden UMC
Dec. 1
Dec. 8

Please contact the office to request a date.
Did You Know?

Staff Parish Relations Committees are called to support their pastor first and foremost in the ministry. " The committee shall reflect biblically and theologically on the role and work of the pastor(s) and staff as they carry out their leadership responsibilities. The committee shall assist the pastor(s) and staff in assessing their gifts, maintaining health holistically and work-life balance, and setting priorities for leadership and service. It is the responsibility of the committee to communicate with the committee on nominations and leadership development and/or the church council when there is a need for other leaders or for employed staff to perform in areas where utilization of the gifts of the pastor(s) and staff proves an inappropriate stewardship of time." Paragraph 258.2a in the Book of Discipline, United Methodist Church 2016 version

Go to our site:   

What better way to spend your summer than at camp? Our  summe r camps offe r l ots of act i on a n d plenty of fun, sun-soaked days . Meet li fe l ong friends, eat great meals, and have the time of your  life i n a spectacular setting! What makes our camp weeks so special? We offer a wide var i ety of programs and activities for chi l dren and youth to experience while they are at camp.
Camp & Retreat Ministries   (CRM) 
is looking forward to a great summer programming season at Aldersgate,  Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm. We are excited that campers, families, and retreat guests are registering for fun-filled and life-changing programs where skills will be learned and honed, and confidence will be gained. They will join us in learning and deepening their understanding of what it means to live in a Christian Community being reminded that: There is a God, God loves you, and God wants a relationship with you. If you have yet to sign up your camper, yourself, or your family, there are still spaces in most programs - check them out here.
  CRM is also looking for some key summer staff for this summer. There is a critical need for a Health Director at Casowasco and Skye Farm. This can be an EMT, LPN, RN, PA, NP or Physician with current CPR FPR w/AED and valid Driver's License. This individual would live on site for 1 week to the full summer season depending on availability. Please feel free to share this Health Director flyer with your local EMS, Hospital, School Nurse, or Fire Department to help us recruit this key position. If interested or more information is needed, call Casowasco (315) 364-8756 or apply here or call Skye Farm (518) 494-7170 or apply here .

Aldersgate, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm are also in need of additional summer staff as male counselors and lifeguards. If you know anyone that would make a good candidate, please let us know or ask them to contact us. If YOU would be interested in serving at our sites and being a part of the team of staff caring for campers and our site so they may know and experience God's love, please contact us. It may be the most impactful experience (week or summer) of your life!
Call Aldersgate (315) 348-8833 or apply here.
Call Casowasco (315) 364-8756 or apply here.
Call Sky Lake (607) 467-2750 or apply here.
Call Skye Farm (518) 494-7170 or apply  here.
If you are interested in receiving training and participating as a volunteer at any of our sites, there are many ways you can serve.  Please call the site where you'd like to volunteer for more information.
UNY CRM Spring 2019 Xenia newsletter available

What's new with Upper New York's Camp & Retreat Ministries (UNYCRM)? A lot! There are many new updates to each of the Camp & Retreat Centers. There are opportunities to give back through various volunteer opportunities.   Click here to learn all the latest news related to UNYCRM in their Xenia newsletter. This newsletter can be viewed electronically or downloaded.
Did You Know? John Wesley wrote a health manual for the common family in England called "primitive physic, or an easy method of curing most diseases." Wesley provided remedies for a range of ailments and diseases, from headaches to the plague, and gout to obesity. Some of his remedies should stay firmly in the eighteenth century, such as drying and powdering a toad to make pills to help ease asthma! But he was also way ahead of his time in re-establishing the value of prevention rather than (by then fashionable, but expensive) 'cures'; recommending fresh water, a light diet low in spices and salt, and exercising around two to three hours a day in order to "soften the evils of life". Dr Richard Vautrey, Former Vice-President of the Methodist Conference and a practising GP, said: "John Wesley took the command to 'love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind' seriously, working to ensure that Methodists were not only nurturing their spiritual health, but looking after their physical health as well. ...All today would do well to follow his advice by increasing the amount of exercise we do and reducing the amount of salt in our diets. By doing so whilst our hearts may still be "strangely warmed" - as Wesley's was [by accepting Christ as his saviour] - they won't overheat!"
  VIM and Aloquin/Flint UMC invite you to our upcoming Event for UMCOR

What: Kayaking/Canoe Fundraising Event.
When: Saturday July 27, 2018 starting at 8:00 am ending Noonish.
Why: to Raise Money for UMCOR Mission Hub of the UNY Conference.
Cost: of this event is from Donations only. Sponsor sheets are available.

If you want more information or to participate in this event please
Contact Pastor Charlie at for a brochure and sponsor sheet.

Or call Aloquin/Flint UMC at 585-526-5875 (leave message)
There will also be more information on UMCOR and VIM and all they do as well as how you can be involved in both.
Please Note:

If there are changes in the names, addresses, phone numbers, and  e-mail addresses  for you, and/or any of your committee chairs, please contact the  district office with the changes. Thank you  
Mission Central HUB Winter thaw season
The imminent flood season will require a lot of cleaning kits -
With the warming temperatures throughout our Conference this week, flood season is on its way! In a fun yet educational video, Director of Missional Engagement, Mike Block explains the need for flood buckets, supplies, and help assembling buckets at the Upper New York Mission Central HUB. Click here to watch the video or click on the picture.
Funniest moments of Annual Conference 2019
- watch the video here:      

Black College Fund ambassador Jalen Lawson moves AC2019 attendees to tears 

One of the biggest challenges facing the 11 United Methodist-related historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is funding. The United Methodist Church supports the largest number of Black colleges and universities of any church body in the United States and this is done through the Black College Fund.

Each year at the UNY Annual Conference, a graduate of one of the HBCUs serves as a Black College Fund ambassador, delivering a speech explaining how the Black College fund helped them.
There were few dry eyes in the crowd when life-long United Methodist Jalen Lawson gave her Black College Fund speech at the Upper New York Annual Conference on June 7, 2019.
A graduate of Bennett College, and currently a graduate student of High Point University, Jalen believes in her dreams to become an empowered, Black, female leader. Jalen is achieving her dreams because of the support of UMCs across the Connection through Ministry Shares.

Click here to watch Jalen deliver her speech.   
UMW: Mission u - Learning Together for the Transformation of the World
The UNY Conference UMW and United Methodist Church
continue to offer Mission u programs in locations across the Conference. For more information,  please CLICK HERE 
To register for 2019 Mission u - Silver Bay, please complete and return the Registration  Form on the attached brochure. This year, you may select either the Spiritual Growth Study or the  Issue Study as your first choice. In addition, the Special Study will be open to everyone.
Mission u - Silver Bay is always a wonderful weekend filled with fellowship, singing, worship,  and learning on beautiful Lake George. Come, join the fun this September!
One Conference - Three Choices:

Cazenovia College
July 12 - 14, 2019
Dean - Patricia Briggs 

Asbury Camp and Retreat Center
July 25 - 27, 2019
Dean - Ellen Klock
Silver Bay YMCA Conference &
Family Retreat Center
September 6 - 8, 2019
Dean - Ilah Sisson Walser
CLICK HERE for Flyer/registration form 
Bishop's Retreat

The 2019 Bishop's Retreat is  October 22-24, 2019 at the RIT Inn and Conference Center in Rochester, NY. The theme is, "Biblical Risk Takers" and the keynote speaker is the Rev. Grace Imathiu

CLICK HERE to register
                                       CLICK HERE for more information
Introducing the UNY Delegates

The Upper New York Conference would like to extend a warm welcome to the clergy and lay delegates elected to the 2020 General Conference as well as the 2020 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. These individuals were elected at the Upper New York Annual Conference held June 5-8 in Syracuse.

The clergy delegates for the 2020 General Conference are: the Rev. Bill Mudge, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady II, the Rev. Beckie Sweet, the Rev. Carmen Perry, and the the Rev. Rachel Morse.

The lay delegates for the 2020 General Conference are: Carmen Vianese (head of the delegation), J.J. Warren, Ian Urriola, Marthalyn Sweet, and Sam Smith.
The clergy delegates for the 2020 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: the Rev. Dr. Michelle Bogue-Trost, the Rev. Carlos Rosa-Laguer, the Rev. Martha Swords-Horrell, the Rev. Drew Sperry, and the Rev. Rebecca Laird.

The lay delegates for the 2020 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference are: Samuel Mudge, Drew Griffin, Rachel John, Linda Barczykowski, and Melysa Acevedo. 
The clergy reserve delegates are the Rev. Bill Allen and the Rev. Herald Wheat. The lay reserve delegates are Dan Fuller and Rachel Giso.  Stay tuned for more information about your newest delegates.  
New York State Employers required to provide
sexual harassment prevention training
New York State employers must provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training upon hire and on an annual basis. For this year, the training must be completed by all current employees and new hires by Oct. 9, 2019. Once the initial training is complete, the employer can decide the timing of the annual training (calendar year, anniversary date, or any other date). Employers are encouraged to track completion of training through attendance sheets or some other manner for audit purposes.
In addition to the sexual harassment prevention training requirement, each employer is required to have a sexual harassment prevention policy in place. This policy should be shared with employees prior to the training. If you have yet to create a sexual harassment prevention policy, click here to learn more.
To learn more about programs that qualify for the sexual harassment training, click here. 
2019 Employer Updates 

There are two changes that will affect Upper New York churches and employees in the new year.

Effective Dec. 31, New York State's hourly minimum wage rate is increasing to $11.10. All employers in the Upper New York Conference must pay non-exempt employees minimum wage regardless of how many people they employ. Click here to read more about the wage increase.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, New York State (NYS) Paid Family Leave is increasing to 55% benefit and 10 weeks for eligible employees. Click here to learn more about the updates and changes.

If you have any questions, contact Tracy Rickett, Upper New York Conference's Human Resources Generalist, at (315) 898-2017 or

How to use VitalSigns

We introduced you to VitalSigns, a platform that can help your church to track key  indicators and uncover important insights. Click here to watch a video that shows you just how easy this program is to use. 
For more information about the VitalSigns tool, free to all United Methodist churches, contact Aaron Bouwens, Upper New York Conference Director of Vital Congregations at

Counseling available for all of our appointed Clergy, part time and full time, and some paid church staff...

Dear Pastors of the Finger Lakes: You have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you are appointed by our bishop to serve.  During this tumultuous time in the life of our world and church, I ask you to utilize this helpful tool to deal with stress related to being in leadership. This service is completely confidential and is very helpful.  
In Christ, DS Jeff McDowell.
The benefit for all part-time clergy is through a company called "EIS" and provides 2-3 visits per year fully paid with a counselor.  Call 800-252-4555 and tell them who you are and what conference you are with.
The benefit for all full-time clergy is through a company called Optum Health and provides 8 visits per year fully paid with a counselor.  Call 800-788-5614 and tell them who you are and what conference you are with.

Download the lastest issue of the  Bridge
The latest issue II of the  Bridge is now available for download. It is available in both color and black & white formats.   Click here to select the version you prefer and make copies as necessary. This issue focuses on ways to celebrate Pentecost at home and also informs readers about the meaning of Peace with Justice Sunday.
The  Bridge is a communications tool designed for local churches to stay connected to each other and to the ministries taking place around the Upper New York Conference and The United Methodist Church. The newest volume will be listed at the top of the web page, with older volumes below. The  Bridge is designed to be handed out in worship, as a church bulletin insert, or as a standalone item. If you have questions or are unable to make copies, please contact .
The  Bridge is a bi-monthly publication from September-May and for the months of June-August, the  Bridge is published during the week prior to the third Sunday of the month. 
Bishop Webb announces clergy appointments 

Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb has announced eight new appointments pending approval of clergy session. View the full list of changes  here.
Camp & Retreat Ministries - Seasonal Maintenance Positions

Camp and Retreat Ministries has part-time seasonal  Maintenance Assistant positions currently available  at Aldersgate and Skye Farm Camp and Retreat Centers. 

Detailed information about the position is available in the attached job description. If you know someone that may be interested, please ask them to apply online through our website by using the link below.
ALL of our sites are still in need of some key positions  to be filled before summer. 
CLICK HERE for Work Days schedules
CLICK HERE for Open House schedules
CLICK HERE for Retreat schedules
CLICK HERE for Staff Recruitment Poster
UMC Family Fun Night at the Ballpark, Tuesday, July 23rd

It's time again for the UM Night at the Ballpark, sponsored by the Crossroads District UMM! Join us on Tuesday, July 23rd at the NBT Bank Stadium, near DestiNY USA and the Regional Transportation Center on the north side of Syracuse

The UNY Conference-wide tailgate party begins at 4:45 pm. Bring a dish to pass and your own drinks and table service please. The district UMM will be grilling hot dogs and coneys for all. As we fill our stomachs, help us remember those who are less fortunate and bring along some non-perishable foods or canned goods to donate to the Food Bank of CNY. Just look for the collection barrels located at the tailgate party.

Join the Conference as we sing the National Anthem at home plate at 6:15. Click here for flyer with more information and an order form. Please contact Steve Ranous at or 315-427-3515 with any questions.
New - COS Satellite School Information:

Wesley Course of Study Extension School
to have satellite location in Liverpool
The Wesley Course of Study Extension School, Buffalo will be permanently closing on May 6, 2019. A satellite school will now be offered at the Upper New York Conference United Methodist Center in Liverpool.   Click here  for more information, including admission requirements and local pastor responsibilities. 
 Disciple I Bible Study - Correction
Disciple I is being offered by David Pritchard and Paul Winkleman beginning 6-7:30 p.m.  Mon., Aug. 5th, 2019. This is a 34-week Bible Study. Meetings will be done primarily online through ZOOM with no requirement to meet in person. Cost TBA as there is a cost to use ZOOM. The more people that sign up, the less the cost will be. ZOOM link will be forthcoming. This class is open to all who would like to participate, especially those seeking CLM status.
Register with Pastor Dave Pritchard & ask questions at email:
Become a New Places for New People Partner!

New Faith Communities (NFCs) are one of the best ways to introduce people to God in fresh new ways-sometimes in public settings like cafes, movie theaters, outdoor settings, other times in peoples' homes. NFCs welcome people who may not initially be comfortable in the "church" setting. Additionally, NFCs help ethnic-minorities connect to God through building groups of people from a similar cultural background to gather together for prayer, fellowship, and worship.
Upper New York (UNY) Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb and the Rev. Dave Masland, UNY Director of New Faith Communities, have launched the "New Paces for New People" Partnership campaign. UNY individuals and churches who become "New Places for New People" partners will greatly help develop and grow NFCs.
Click here to watch a video of Bishop Webb and Rev. Masland describing this partnership and also offers testimonials of NFC members throughout the UNY Conference. 
There will be a New Faith Communities table in the lobby across from the registration tables at Annual Conference where you can donate to the New Places for New People campaign and get a Partners button.  

UNYUMC Job Posting

We are currently seeking a part-time District Administrative Assistant for our district office located in Gouverneur, NY. This is a part-time position for up to 29 hours per week.The person in this position must maintain a good working relationship with staff members, and attend quarterly Conference staff meetings, as well as the Annual Conference.This person should also foster and maintain good relationships with clergy, retirees, and local church members.

CLICK HERE for more information.
CLICK HERE for the Media Resource Center Newsletter for June/July 2019

If you've never used the Media Resource Center before, I invite you to give us a try. Funded by your Shared Ministry dollars, we can supply you with small group discussion materials, Bible studies, children and youth curriculum, adult curriculum, and a myriad of subjects such as stewardship, evangelism, social issues and VBS materials, just to name a few. Our quick and easy online ordering is just a click away. You can add things to a "shopping cart", then once submitted, you'll receive an email with your invoice attached. We send your order through the USPS and we'll supply the mail back envelopes and label with instructions on mailing. Your only cost is the postage to return it. Please feel free to search our online catalog below.  ONLINE RESOURCE CATALOG
If I can assist you in any way, please don't hesitate to give me a call at 315-898-2027 or email me at:

How Do I connect?

Denominational Website: The United Methodist Church
District Website: Finger Lakes District 
If you would like to subscribe to this e-newsletter, please send your email address to:
Finger Lakes District
of the Upper New York Conference

Rev. Jeffrey McDowell , District Superintendent
Pam Deckard, Administrative Assistant

12 North Park St., Suite 11
Seneca Falls, NY 13148  
Office:  315-781-0188     efax: +1-315-282-2367 
 click here for: Finger Lakes District Map