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Annual Meeting

June 8-9 in Syracuse, New York

Official Call to Annual Meeting

Keynote Speaker and Authorized Minister Retreat leader

Continuing Education Institute

The Call to the Fifty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the New York Conference United Church of Christ

January 30, 2018


To: Churches and Ministers of the NEW YORK CONFERENCE, UCC 


From: Dona Roll, Moderator of the Conference


The Fifty-fifth Annual Meeting of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ will convene at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 701 East Genesee Street, Syracuse NY 13210, beginning at 2:00 PM on Friday, June 8, 2018 and will be in session until after the Closing Service of Worship on Saturday, June 9, 2018. (The Continuing Education Institute - formerly the Clergy Retreat - will begin on Thursday, June 7. More information to follow.)


Each member Church of the Conference is entitled to representation by two lay delegates. A church of more than 250 members is entitled to representation by one additional lay delegate for each additional 250 members or major fraction thereof.


The Schedule printed below indicates the number of delegates to represent the Churches of various sizes of membership. The standard is provided in the 2017 Yearbook and Directory of the Conference for which each Church provided its own accurate statement of membership.

Number of Members Number of Delegates
 1  -   250
251  -   500
501  -   750
751  -  1000
1001  -  1250
1251  -  1500
1501  -  1750
1751  -  2000
Delegate Designation forms are no longer necessary. At your Annual Meeting or at another appointed time, elect or designate those who are to be your representatives this year. Their names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses should be registered on line with the Conference Office as delegates as soon as possible in advance of May 1, 2018. Registration forms and other pertinent information will be published on our website. We anticipate registration forms and information available on or before March 1, 2018.
All persons holding ministerial standing in the Conference shall be considered voting delegates. Members of the Conference Board, and moderators and registrars of the Association, during their respective terms, shall also be considered voting delegates.
Business Items
These are the action items that will come before the Annual Meeting of the New York Conference during the Business Sections of our Plenary time together. Action items will be:
  1. Vote on the 2019 Conference Budget
  2. Vote on a slate of Nominees for Conference Board and General Synod Delegates. To be posted on conference website.
  3. Any resolutions brought to and approved by the Conference Board prior to April 20th. 
  4. Other items which may properly come before the gathering.  Please refer to the New York Conference website:, which will be updated with pertinent documents and information.

Keynote Speaker and Retreat Leader

e heath 2The Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath is the pastor of the Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire. A native of Virginia, Emily grew up in Winter Park, Florida and is a graduate of Emory University, Columbia Theological Seminary, and Andover Newton Theological School. Before serving in Exeter, Emily served as a hospital trauma chaplain, and later as the pastor of a UCC congregation in southern Vermont, and as a volunteer firefighter on the local fire department. 

Outside of the parish Emily serves as a member of the Alumni Council of Columbia Theological Seminary, and previously served on the national Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ. Emily also coaches speech and debate at Phillips Exeter Academy and is an accomplished writer who is a regular contributor to the UCC’s Still Speaking Daily Devotionals, as well as the Christian Century and Huffington Post’s Religion section. Their first book, Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity, was published by Pilgrim Press in 2016, and their second, Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in an Age of Fear, was published this winter.

Emily’s hobbies include fly fishing, watching the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox, and managing a fantasy football team that manages to regularly implode spectacularly during the first round of the playoffs.


Continuing Education Institute

Continuing Education Institute to replace Pre-Annual Meeting Authorized Minister’s Retreat

God is doing a new thing in the New York Conference. In the past, each year, our authorized ministers have gathered prior to the opening of the Annual Meeting for a learning retreat. We have heard your request for smaller group settings and more in-depth conversations. So this year we are going to try a learning “retreat,” with a twist. On June 7-8, beginning at 10:00 a.m., we will host our first Pre-Annual Meeting Continuing Education Institute. The Institute will consist of 4 continuing education course offerings. Upon registration, authorized ministers will select one of the offerings and participate in a one-day intensive course.  During the Institute, we will continue to worship and share meals as a group, however, the hope is that ministers will come away with solid skills sets and a richer learning experience from the smaller groupings and focused subject matter. For our first Continuing Education Institute, the course offerings for authorized ministers are:

“Stuck on Pause?” Live into your best self, Church! - Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Arlen Vernava

Often our churches, as “households of faith,” seem like households stuck on “pause,” feeling they are too little or too fragile to pour goodness into the world. This day-long exploration will engage pastors in considering the household of faith as a “living system.”  How can pastors assist congregations to leverage their best selves in service to Christ’s call, while refreshing, renewing, and equipping these households of faith to pour grace and love into the wider world?

Insight and Personal Growth for Ministry - Facilitated by Mr. James Krisher

In ministry, understanding who you are is as important as understanding what you do and caring for yourself while you do it. The morning session of this course will engage participants in the vital work of Cultivating a Healthy Christian Self-love. Through guided prayer and reflection, you will learn the importance of being good and compassionate to yourself. In the afternoon, you will come to understand yourself and others through the use of the Enneagram.

Getting off Book: Preaching from the Heart – Facilitated by Rev. Kaji Dousa

Are you ready to take your preaching to a new level? Do you want to tackle difficult topics in your sermons, yet stay connected to those who are listening? In this course, you will explore the challenges of preparing heart-engaging sermons and discover the wonder of “getting off book” and preaching extemporaneously. This course will have two online sessions prior to this in-person gathering. These online sessions will prepare you for the in-class work of sermon preparation. Registrants will be notified of the date and time of the online sessions.

Boundary Awareness Refresher Course - Facilitated by: Ms. Penny Cannon

If you are in need of the Boundary Awareness Refresher Course to maintain your ministerial standing, here is your opportunity to fulfill this requirement.


As an added bonus to these individual courses, Institute attendees will have an opportunity to engage in conversation with our annual meeting keynote speaker, Rev. Emily Heath. Rev. Heath’s new book, Courageous Faith: How to Rise & Resist in a Time of Fear, will be the topic of discussion. Join us for this exciting new learning opportunity.

Participation in the Continuing Education Institute requires a separate registration from the Annual Meeting.  Registration will open soon.




Pre-Annual Meeting Continuing Education Couse for LAITY

For the first time, the New York Conference is offering a Pre-Annual Meeting Continuing Education Course for Lay Persons. The course will be held June 7, beginning at 10 am. All participants in this lay continuing education course will receive one Learning Event credit from the New York School of Ministry (NYSOM). The lay course offering is:

Why Paul Matters: The Creative Genius of the Apostle to the Gentiles – Facilitated by Rev. Dr. J. Mark Lawson

Discover the background, richness, and spiritual depth of the New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul.


Lay participants are also invited to join the ministers on June 8 for conversation with keynote speaker Rev. Emily Heath.

Participation in the Lay Continuing Education Institute course requires a separate registration from the Annual Meeting.  Registration will open soon.

5575 Thompson Rd. • DeWitt, NY 13214 • 315-446-3073 • Fax: 315-446-3076 •