New York Conference Happenings

Inspired to Serve God Inspired to Serve God New York Conference United Church of Christ ‌ ‌ Visit our Website 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 Click here for more information HAPPENINGS April 27th, 2022 In this week issue: My Thoughts New York Conference Updates Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe THERE WILL NOT OFFICE HOURS AVAILABLE FOR WEDNESDAY APRIL 27TH, 2022 UCC NY Women’s Virtual Retreat UCCNY Board of Directors News Spring Meetings of New York Conference Association COMING SOON Retiree Boundary Awareness Training COMING SOON Culturally Responsive Ministry Training NEW NYSOM Short Course: “Know Your Neighbor” PRC’s Webinars for April/June 2022 A Special COVID-19 Happenings will be sent this Friday. My Thoughts It is different this time. For me, I know that one chapter of life is coming to a close, and another is only a couple pages away when I sense that time moves a bit more slowly– not in an impatient way, but rather more like lingering moments. I am keenly aware that many of the moments when I say good-bye, it is very likely to be the last time I will see that person or that place. As in the other chapters of my life, as this chapter ends, it seems right and good. What is so profoundly different is that I have no idea whatsoever what is coming in the next chapter. That has never, ever been the case before. When asked, “So what are your plans?”, my answer: “My plan is to take one moment at a time, to wait, to listen and to breathe.” After a lifetime of doing, and judging myself by what I do, this time I will just “be” for a season. I don’t know how long that season will be… And I am working (quite diligently) on not judging my self value by “doing”… And not judging myself on how successful I am at “being”. I am in this moment… And that is a whole new world for this “do-er”… And I have absolute certainty that God is here, and I am listening… And I am not putting words into God’s mouth… And I am okay with silence. Okay, so I will do a few things. I am excited about a new hobby with which I am about to embark: grafting apple trees. I have seven apple trees (seven trees that produce about the same amount of fruit as one certain Applezilla in Syracuse). But it’s not just about grafting. I am aware that along the sides of many old fields in Maine there are very old untended apple trees that no one cultivates anymore. They are varieties that many of us have never seen and probably never will. In some cases when these trees die (and they will) that will be the end of that variety. I know there’s a few good sermons or “My Thoughts” in this, but I’m not doing those now. You see, there I go doing it again. Talking about “doing” something. I want, I need, I believe God wants, I believe God needs David to “be” for a time. As the weeks are winding down, please be with me. And I will be with you too. David Rev. David R Gaewski Conference Minister NEW YORK CONFERENCE UCC UPDATES Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe THERE WILL NOT OFFICE HOURS AVAILABLE FOR WEDNESDAY APRIL 27TH, 2022 Your conference staff is available to you on Wednesdays for Virtual Office Hours from 11am – 12 noon at 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. The UCC NY Women’s Virtual Retreat The UCC NY Women is happy to announce our Women’s Virtual Retreat be held via zoom on Saturday, May 7 at 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM. The link will open at 10:00 AM for us to visit one another and catch up. COVID-19 prevented us from being together for almost 3 years. For the safety of all, including the Women’s Board, we planned the next best thing to our 3-day retreat at Watson Homestead, and that is, “meet virtually in an abbreviated version of our in person retreat.” Please click below for the flyer and pass it on to the women of your congregations. Click here for the flyer The men are welcome to join us. The Rev. Jan Mahle will lead us in an inspirationally funny Bible study that only Rev. Jan can do. In the afternoon, after a half-hour break, the Rev. Joanne Ferguson will lead us in a transformational process to mend our brokenness. Don’t forget to send your contribution from your PENNIES FOR PEOPLE JAR and the ORGANIZATION YOU NOMINATE TO RECEIVE A MONETARY AWARD. Attached is the form you could mail or send to Linda Bull electronically. Please, send your contribution and nominated organization to: Linda Bull, 41 Windig Brook Drive, Walden, NY 12586-2233 We can’t wait to see you online. New York Conference UCC Board of Directors News Conference Board Welcomes Three New Members At their April 2 meeting, the UCCNY Board of Directors welcomed Ms. Deborah Dee Brayton, Rev. Hafidha Saadiqah, and Rev. Kelly Sprinkle. Recent resignations made space at the table for these committed representatives from the Metropolitan, Hudson-Mohawk, and Oneida Associations. The Governance Team interviewed several excellent candidates put forth by the various associations and was charged with balancing not only geography but experiences, needed skill sets, and other variables when selecting the new members. A sincere ‘thank you’ to all who boldly put their hats in the ring. Congratulations and welcome to Ms. Brayton, Rev. Saadiqah, and Rev. Sprinkle! Transitional Conference Minister Search Update In other business, the Board received an update on the search for our Transitional Conference Minister. After a national search, the Transitional Search Committee held interviews and made a unanimous decision. The selected candidate has accepted the offer and is currently negotiating contract details. Once the negotiating process is complete, the candidate will be introduced to the Board for affirmation and then presented to all of you! During the ensuing eighteen to twenty-four months, the Conference Board will gather input from every association and all staff. Your voice will be heard. Who are we now as the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ? Where do we see ourselves in five, ten, twenty years? What are our hopes and dreams for the UCC in our churches, associations, state, country, and world? New Personnel Policies in the Works The Conference Board approved 1) cosmetic changes to language and outdated practices, 2) an addition to the “problem resolution” section of the Personnel Manual, and 3) a new policy regarding the privacy of personal information of Conference employees. The Board had a lengthy and thoughtful discussion surrounding a proposed “Wellness Leave of Absence” policy and will revisit the proposal at their September meeting. If you would like more information regarding our new members, the TCM Search, or Personnel Manual updates, feel free to contact your Association Liaison or any Board Officer. Spring Meetings of New York Conference Associations Genesee Valley Date: Saturday, April 30 Time: 9 a.m – 12 p.m. (no lunch) Place: First Congregational Church of Canandaigua, UCC 58 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424 Please join us in worship and celebration! Oneida Date: April 30 Time: 9 am to noon Place: Faith United, Oswego (12 Mark Fitzgibbons Drive, Oswego, NY 13126) Preregistration: Registration fee: $10.0  Hudson Mohawk Date: April 30 Time: 9:30am-12:00noon Place: Via Zoom Metropolitan Date: April 30th Time: 9:00am-12:00noon Place: Broadway UCC & via Zoom Susquehanna Date: April 30th Time: 9:00-1200 noon Place: Via Zoom Suffolk Date: April 30th Time: 9:00-1200 noon Place: Via Zoom Western Date: Sunday, May 1 Time: 1:00 pm Place: Zion UCC, 15 Koenig Circle, Tonawanda 14150 Black River-St. Lawrence Date: May 1st Time: beginning at 2:45 p.m. (note change) Place: Via Zoom: to register, contact Mary Jo Fairbanks at Reformed Date: May 19th Time:6:30 pm. Place: Interested persons may attend in person at West End Church, 245 W. 77th Street in Manhattan, or via Zoom. Essex Date: Sunday, May 22 Time: 2:00 pm Place: Via Zoom.  COMING SOON REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN RETIREE BOUNDARY AWARENESS TRAINING 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. Should you have questions about BAT requirements, please contact your association Committee on Ministry. Click on the link for the calendar then click on each training for more information and to register COMING SOON CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE MINISTRY TRAINING 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. **(Metro Assoc clergy: Module 1 will fulfill your Anti-Racism training requirement)** Click on the link for the calendar then click on each training for more information and to register NYSOM SHORT COURSE: “KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR: INTERFAITH CONVERSATIONS” Registration is now open our spring short course, which will take place on three Saturday Mornings: May 14, June 4, & June 18, from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, via zoom. Each week a presenter from a different faith or religious tradition will talk about their tradition, beliefs, practices and offer ways to learn and then engage in more in-depth conversations. The traditions we’re focusing on this spring include Islam, Bahá’í, and Tibetan Buddhism. Our presenters will be Aala Al-Hashima, Sayed Ahman Fardin Ghazanfari, Karím Beers, and Deana Bodnar, and the sessions will be hosted by Rev. Dr. Barb E. Blom, Founding Director of the Interfaith Center for Action and Healing. If there is on-going interest, we’ll offer a second short course next year that focuses on other traditions. The cost is $25 for participants from the NY Conference and $35 for participants from other denominations and UCC conferences. If a scholarship would help you participate, reach out to Marjorie Purnine at All are welcome. For more information, click here . FREE WEBINARS Energize Your Church Through Listening Thursday, April 28 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Leader – Joy Skjegstad, Heidi Unruh Relationships Are Key in the Post Pandemic Church Thursday, May 5, 2022 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Leaders – Joy Skjegstad, Heidi Unruh Managing the Grief of Others While Dealing With Our Own Tuesday, May 10, 2022 2:00 – 3:00 PM Leader – Forrest Parkinson, LMSW, LP A Faith of Their Own: A Theological Field Guide for Youth Ministry Thursday, May 12 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Leader: Nathan Wheeler New Directions for Holy Questions: Meet the Authors! Tuesday, May 17, 2000 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Leaders – Claire Brown, Anita Peebles Fun and Meaningful Ideas to Reinvigorate Your Community Outreach Thursday, May 19, 2022 7:00 – 8:00 PM Eastern Leaders – Joy Skjegstad, Heidi Unruh What’s Next in Youth Ministry Tuesday, May 24, 2022 2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT Leader – Heather Kenison UCC Search and Call Q and A Tuesday, May 24, 2022 7:00 – 8:00 PM EDT Leaders – Elizabeth Garrigan-Byerly, Isaac Lawson, Jeff Nelson Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change Tuesday, Jun 7, 2022 2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT Leader – Tom Sine What’s Next In Christian Education Workshop Thursday, June 9 2 – 3:30 PM Leaders: Elizabeth Christie, Debbie Kolacki, Karen Smith Best Practices for Church Accounting Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT Leader – Elaine Sommerville How Churches Can Help Alleviate Mental Health Stigmas and Support Those in Need Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST Leader – Molly W. Blancke, MPA Support the New York Conference Amazon Smile Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the New York Conference of United Church of Christ whenever you shop on AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Click to sign up: Amazon Smile Donate Directly Contribute to the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ today with an online contribution. Join us in ministry: Donate Directly Please note that the New York Conference does not publish news related to fundraisers. New York Conference | United Church of Christ P.O. Box 487 Syracuse, New York 13209 315-446-3073 | | 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! 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