New York Conference Happenings

Today, Tomorrow, Together Today, Tomorrow, Together 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 May 4th, 2022 In this week issue: My Thoughts New York Conference Updates Announcement Transitional Conference Minister RSVP now for Rev. David Gaewski’s Good Good-bye Pictures Request Important Annual Meeting Updated Information NYSOM Short Course: “Know Your Neighbor: Interfaith Conversations” Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe UCC NY Women’s Virtual Retreat Spring Meetings of New York Conference Association Retiree Boundary Awareness Training COMING SOON Culturally Responsive Ministry Training PRC’s Webinars for May/June 2022 A Special COVID-19 Happenings will be sent this Friday. My Thoughts In honor of Reverend David R Gaewski’s Ministry, we are sharing some of his favorite literary pieces. The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Reverend Gaewski began his ordained ministry in 1988 serving the Weybridge Congregational and the Cornwall Congregational Churches just outside of Middlebury, Vermont (near Ripton, VT where this poem was first penned.) UCCNY Ministry Team NEW YORK CONFERENCE UCC UPDATES NEW YORK CONFERENCE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST May 3, 2022 Dear New York Conference Members and Friends, With great joy the Board of Directors of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ announces the selection of the Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams as our Transitional Conference Minister! After a national search, much deliberation, discernment, consideration of many excellent candidates, two outstanding interviews, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Transitional Conference Minister (TCM) Search Committee voted unanimously to present Rev. Williams at a special meeting of the Board of Directors (BOD) for consideration and affirmation as our Transitional Conference Minister (TCM). At that meeting, the BOD affirmed the work of the TCM Search Committee with another unanimous vote of support. We then shared with Rev. Williams some of our hopes and dreams for the New York Conference; she did the same. We are on our way! Read more… RSVP now for Rev. David Gaewski’s Good Good-bye On Saturday June 11, 2022, at the Annual Meeting at Silver Bay YMCA Family and Conference Retreat Center, the New York Conference will celebrate Rev. David Gaewski’s ten years of servant leadership with us and over twenty-five years of service in God’s vineyards around the world. Congratulations to David and Sueli as they enter the next chapter of their Book of Life! David’s last day of work for the New York Conference will be June 30. Sueli’s last day is scheduled to be May 31. The New York Conference is now collecting fond memories and monetary gifts of gratitude and thanksgiving for David and Sueli’s years of ministry with us. The New York Conference Board of Directors is creating a Book of Memories to be presented to David and Sueli. Please share your memories, photos, poems, serious, fun, whatever! They will be assembled in an 8 ½ X 11 binder so that contributions can be added at Silver Bay! Monetary gifts of love and appreciation may be in the form of checks or online. Checks should be made out to UCCNY and sent to UCCNY, PO Box 487, Syracuse, NY 13209, Attn: David’s Gift. Gifts may be given online at Select “Other” from the drop-down Fund menu and designate it for David’s Gift. Monetary gifts need to be received by June 1 to be included. WE NEED TO RECEIVE YOUR MEMORIES by Monday, June 6, if you will NOT be attending the Celebration at Silver Bay. Pease send them to If you are attending Silver Bay, please take your 8 ½ X 11 contribution with you. Handwritten notes, artwork, fancy, plain, typed, photos, all are welcome and will be included. So very UCC! Pictures Request The Worship Team for the United Church of Christ Conference Annual Meeting invites each congregation to share a few pictures with us from the past ten years during Rev. David Gaewski’s time with us. It does not need to have Rev. Gaewski in the picture however those are welcome also. If you are still meeting online a zoom picture works perfectly. Please send to Rev. Mary Larson at no later than May 27th. Please put NY Conference and your Congregation Name and Association in the subject line. Thank you for your consideration. Blessings Rev. Mary Larson Annual Meeting Important Updates Covid Protection Protocols Because we are a beloved community that cares deeply for one another, including the most vulnerable in our midst, we will practice an “abundance of love and caution” by observing strict Covid protocols when we gather at Silver Bay. Here is what to expect. When you arrive, the first “check in” will be at a Covid Vaccination Verification Table. At that table you will need to present a copy of your Covid Vaccination Card. If (like me) you are worried about forgetting your card, you can text a copy of your Vaccination Card right now to: 585-329-3018. We will verify receipt, and then you are ALL SET! You can also email a copy of your card to: If you do not receive verification of receipt within 24 hours, please call 585-329-3018. Our “abundance of love and caution” protocol will be strict. If you are not vaccinated, you MUST present a negative PCR or Rapid Test result that is no more than 72 hours old. We will not accept negative home test results. All children will also be strictly required to either show proof of vaccination or negative PCR or Rapid Tests. Small children who are too young for vaccination, must show negative PCR or Rapid Test results. Without proof of vaccination or proof of negative test, you will not be allowed to check in at Silver Bay or be admitted to the Annual Meeting. All persons attending the Annual Meeting will be required to mask indoors (except during meals). We understand that for some who have respiratory challenges, from time to time, there may be a need to lower your mask over your nose. We ask that in our Plenary sessions, you sit at least six feet from the next persons. The room has a capacity of 600 seats, and we expect less than 250 attendees. Also, the room has a high ceiling, and we will leave doors open (DRESS WARM PLEASE!). Transportation from Albany Unfortunately, we understand that the train to Ticonderoga is not running. The closest train station and airport will be in Albany, 1 ½ hours from Silver Bay. At this time, we cannot promise assistance, but… we are trying. If you would benefit from a ride from Albany to Silver Bay around 11am on Friday morning (only one time slot), and return to Albany after 2pm on Sunday, please email Dona Roll: Dietary Restrictions If you have dietary restrictions please fill out this form. Please send all completed forms to Sunday Box Lunches If you would like to “hit the road” right after closing worship and pick up a box lunch for your ride, please fill out this form. Please send all completed forms to 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 . Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe 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. Spring Meetings of New York Conference Associations 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. 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 June 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 June. 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)** FREE WEBINARS 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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