New York Conference Happenings


Inspired to Serve God
New York Conference
United Church of Christ

Annual Meeting Registration is Now Open!

March 15th 2022
In this week issue:
  • My Thoughts
  • Lent 3 Harp Video
  • UCC Webinar—Getting Ready for Earth Sunday:
  • New York Conference Updates
  • Annual Meeting Registration is Now Open!
  1. Spring Meetings of New York Conference Associations
  2. Registration is Open for NYSOM’s Church History
  3. Retiree Boundary Awareness Training
  4. 2022 Boundary Awareness Training
  5. Culturally Responsive Ministry Training
  6. Holy Joe’s Café Sees Greater Need to Russia-Ukraine Conflict
  7. Commission on the Global Church: David Southard, Sr. Award for
  8.  Excellence in Global Mission Work, Dr. Gordon Comstock Healthcare Award
  9. Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe
  10. PRC’s Webinars for February/March 2022
A Special COVID-19 Happenings will be sent this Friday.

Orient Congregational UCC
Photo by: Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

My Thoughts
From early in my life when I became more spiritually aware, and since the time I intentionally chose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I believed that I (well, actually we) was (were) called by God to incarnate unconditional love in my (our) life (lives). Being more like Jesus has been my life goal.
Recently I’ve had some new thoughts about this. Does trying to be like Jesus mean that I think I can achieve that. I’m older now than when I first heard the call to discipleship, and life has shown me, I can’t. I can try, but I can’t be like Jesus. And that makes a colossal difference.
Don’t get me wrong. I am profoundly grateful for the grace that God has shown me. I praise God for the unconditional love God has offered me. But I have come to a place where I believe “conditional love” is important… more than important, essential… to have in my life. I also now believe that discipleship in this life means we are to love one another conditionally. God will continue to love all of us unconditionally (at least, I believe so). However, conditional love calls each of us individually, and all of us as a global community, to accountability. Unconditional love does not require us to “order our steps” in any way. Conditional love does. When a bully invades another country, kills, and declares sovereignty, a disciple of Jesus Christ does not respond with unconditional love. Rather, a disciple demands accountability. Likewise, when we witness a bully inflicting pain on another person, a disciple of Love, does not respond with unconditional love, but rather with a demand that they “order their steps” to honor the sacredness of all life. And hardest of all, when a bully causes us pain, we should not respond with unconditional love. Real love means we call everyone, including those we love, to accountability. God’s unconditional love for each of us is certain. Loving one another is something different.
Reverend David R Gaewski
Conference Minister

Lent 3 Video
from Harpist Martha Gallagher
Repent or Perish- Tough, Jarring words for this moment in history and in this lenten journey
Luke 13: 1-9
“Nothing can Trouble…God Alone Fills us… Be With God”

UCC Webinar—Getting Ready for Earth Sunday: Resources for Congregations.
With the recently released report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the dire situation faced by our world has never been clearer. To help meet this moment, Creation Justice Ministries has created an ecumenical resource to assist churches. The resource is entitled “Weathering the Storm: Faithful Climate Resilience.” It specifically helps churches respond to the question, “How can our churches be hubs of resilience, helping our neighbors weather the physical and spiritual storms of the climate crisis?” The resource can be used year-round and is also particularly useful in preparing for Earth Sunday (April 24th). In this webinar, Avery Davis Lamb, Co-Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries, will introduce the resource and talk about specific ways churches can deliver a powerful message and experience on Earth Sunday. Even if you can’t make the scheduled time of 1 pm ET on Wednesday, April 13th, still sign-up, and we will send you a recording. 


Annual Meeting Registration is NOW Open
June 10-12
Silver Bay on Lake George
“Family Reunion: Release, Rest, Rejoice!”
“For you shall go out in joy,
    and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall burst into song,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12
There are TWO steps for registering:
First, Click HERE for event registration (June 6 deadline)
Second, Contact Silver Bay to make your room/board reservation via phone 518-543-8833 or online portal available 3/7 (May 9 deadline)
If you are in need of childcare, you must call: 585-329-3018
Registration Fee:      $75 Adult
                                  $35 2nd Adult from same family
                                  $35 17 years old and younger
Housing/meals Fee for Annual meeting:
Inn and Trinity: $237/Single Occupancy, $159/Double Occupancy, $79/youth, $55/child
Bayview Lodge: $206/Single Occupancy, $138/Double Occupancy, $69/youth, $48/child
Meals are included above.
Check in starts at 4pm, check out is 10am.
Current New York Conference Covid protocol for all conference events:  
Because of our love for one another, and out of an abundance of caution you will be required to:
1.    Wear a mask for all indoor activities. 
2.    Show proof of vaccination and booster (at check-in at Silver Bay), or
3.    Show a negative PCR or Rapid Covid test within the last 72 hours (home tests not accepted)
Please bring a kite to Annual Meeting for a special event.
Speakers will be shared online. Plenaries will not. Online voting will not be available.

Spring Meetings of New York Conference Associations

Genesee Valley Association
Saturday, April 30
9 a.m – 12 p.m. (no lunch)
First Congregational Church of Canandaigua, UCC 58 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424
 Please join us in worship and celebration!

Reformed Association
May 19th at 6:30 pm. 
Via Zoom

Registration is Open for NYSOM’s Church History
Registration is now open for the third 20-hour core ministry course of spring 2022, “From Resurrection to Reformation: A History of the Christian Church (1-1650).” Rev. Steven Johnson, Ph.D., will be teaching it on 9 Wednesday evenings from 6:45 – 9 pm, beginning after Easter, on April 20. For more information, click here . If a scholarship would help you participate, reach out to Marjorie Purnine at Learning event and short course information will be coming soon.

The New York Conference will be instituting a new Boundary Awareness Training (BAT) curriculum designed to meet the specific needs of retired ministers who are still engaged in occasional ministry tasks like pulpit supply, weddings, and funerals.  This training will also be open to active ministers who are contemplating retirement within 18-24 months.  The training content will assist “soon-to-retire” ministers with skills for a successful personal and professional departure from ministry as well as provide tools for maintaining healthy boundaries with a former congregation.
For currently retired ministers, this training will fulfill your association’s boundary awareness requirement.  For those “soon-to-retire” ministers, continuing education units will be provided, but it will not substitute for your association’s BAT requirement.
This Retiree BAT Training will be conducted online via Zoom and registration will be $25.  Registration for upcoming 2022 sessions will begin in April.  Watch the weekly Happenings for the registration link.  Should you have questions about BAT requirements, please contact your association Committee on Ministry. 

For March and April, and May
Click on the link for the calendar 
then click on each training for more information and to register

In 2017 the Thirty-First General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed a Resolution that
“calls upon all the judicatory and educational settings of the denomination to include the study of cultural diversity/sensitivity and institutional racism in clergy preparation and continuing education, and as a requirement for maintaining standing for all persons engaged in authorized ministry within and on behalf of the United Church of Christ.”  (GS-31 Resolution #10)
In support and compliance with this General Synod Resolution, the New York Conference has developed a Culturally Responsive Ministry Training (CRMT) program for all authorized ministers.  The entire diversity curriculum will consist of 3 distinct cultural training modules, with a different module offered every two years.  The first module, “Culture & Race” will be offered beginning in April 2022.  Subsequent modules, “Culture & Sexuality/Gender” and “Culture & Disabilities” will be offered in 2024 and 2026 and all will continue a rotating basis thereafter.   Each Association Committee on Ministry in the New York Conference has now adopted this training program as a mandatory requirement for all authorized ministers.
Each 6-hour CRMT session will be conducted online via Zoom and registration will be $55 per authorized minister.  A variety of training dates and times will be available and registration for upcoming 2022 sessions will begin in April.  Watch the weekly Happenings and the conference website for upcoming registration links and information.  Should you have questions about this new training requirement, please contact your association Committee on Ministry. 

Holy Joe’s Cafe Sees Greater Need Due to Russia–Ukraine Conflict

Holy Joe’s Café is seeing an urgent increase in the need for coffee and support for U.S. military chaplains in response to the Russia–Ukraine conflict.
Holy Joe’s Café has supported U.S. military chaplains since its origin at a UCC church in Wallingford, CT in 2006. The organization provides coffee to military chaplains to help them make connections with active-duty military personnel. The simple act of providing coffee to soldiers gives chaplains a comforting way to reach out to troops and often initiates conversations that might not have occurred in the regular daily routine, giving these troops a place to talk, share concerns, and get guidance that can help keep them mentally and spiritually healthier in their work.

Commission on the Global Church

With the approach of our Conference’s Annual Meeting, it is once again 
time to seek candidates for our Commission’s two awards. Each of the 
gentlemen below was a dedicated member of our Commission; we have chosen to honor them by presenting the two awards below to deserving candidates.
David Southard, Sr. Award for Excellence in Global Mission Work
Dr. Gordon Comstock Healthcare Award  
The Southard Award is specifically intended for churches. The process of
applying for this award is informal. It is entirely appropriate for churches to 
nominate themselves. A narrative list of your achievements and participation 
in global mission work is all that is required.
The Comstock Award is specifically intended for individuals. Purposely,
the term ‘healthcare’ is quite broad to include anyone who has served with
distinction and competence in this field. Again, the process is informal – 
a narrative list of this person’s achievements and participation in the broad 
healthcare field is all that is required.
Our deadline for the submission for each of these awards is Thursday,
March 31st. Please e-mail your materials to  by
the above deadline. Thank you.

Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe

Your conference staff is available to you on Wednesdays for
Virtual Office Hours from 11am – 12 noon 
We are here to listen, to have you bounce ideas off of us, to ask for specific resources, to pray and perhaps even to laugh together.  All are invited.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022
2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern
Leader – GenOn Ministries
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern
Leader – Larry Doornbos
Thursday, March 24, 2022
2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern
Leaders – Roberta Egli and Johannah Myers
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
2:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern
Leader – Jill Benson
Thursday, Mar 31, 2022
3-4:30 PM Eastern
Our team of experts:
The Rev. Heidi C. Heath 
The Rev. Callie Swanlund
Rev. Laura Stephens-Reed 
Thursday, March 31, 2022
2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern
Leader – Harriet Wilkin

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P.O. Box 487
Syracuse, New York 13209

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