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, 2022 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 18th, 2022 In this week issue: My Thoughts New York Conference Updates ACCESS UCC outage RSVP now for Rev. David Gaewski’s Good Good-bye Pictures Request Important Annual Meeting Updated Information Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe UCCNY Minister’s Article Featured on National Website 2022 Craigville Theological Colloquy: July 11-15 Spring Meetings of New York Conference Association Retiree Boundary Awareness Training COMING SOON Culturally Responsive Ministry Training Commission on the Global Church PRC’s Webinars for May/June 2022 A Special COVID-19 Happenings will be sent this Friday. My Thoughts: Honestly, I’m exhausted. Mentally and Spiritually. Systemic Racism, Wars, “Replacement” Theories. I just can’t. Every second is a struggle to breathe clean and healing air and not inhale the toxic poisons that penetrate our world and society. This is exactly how I was feeling last night. We are currently in the middle of another set of sessions for the Queen Esther Bible Study and as the Spirit ALWAYS does, the flow was scripted by the Divine and we were all just along for the ride. None of the participants in the class, facilitators included, knew that the very next class after the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY would be addressing the topic of genocide back when registration first occurred a couple of months ago. I would venture to say that even prior to logging on, we as participants, came in search of something but had no idea what it was exactly that we sought. I’m a co-facilitator and all I knew was that 7:00pm on Tuesday night was going to somehow be exactly where I needed to be and would give me just what I needed. Even if it was just a piece, I would receive my daily bread. I logged on with Pastor Kate, prepared to engage in a previously agreed upon outline. Thank God that both of us care more about the flow of Spirit than we do about bullet points! Had we stuck to the “script”, surely, I would’ve missed my blessing. Somehow, God made it clearer to all of us in the class that the book of Esther, the story of hate and desperation to control masses of people, was still the story with which America grapples. The liberation that occurs in the last chapter of the story has not yet come to these United States. It is still the reality that many of us face: every moment of the day…and every painful heartbeat after painful heartbeat. In lieu of a formal prayer, I asked each person to share one hope + expectation that they have in this moment. The equation is crucial because there is a stark difference in hope and hope with expectation. An example would be that I HOPE a benefactor would come along and pay off my student loan debt so that I could finally face life without a mortgage payment being due to SallieMae every month. Do I hope for that? Yes. Am I putting even the sliver of an eggshell in that basket? Nope. Now, I also have a hope that I will continue to pursue higher degrees and continue to be able to go back to school without the prior loan debt being an issue. Except in that scenario, I don’t just hope – I believe. I wait for. I can’t sit still because of the level of anticipation that circles my expectation. I can almost smell the indescribable scent of an old book being opened and needing the pages pulled apart. I can almost hear the cracking of the spine of the new books that will be assigned because there’s so much knowledge on the pages. Hope vs Hope + Expectation. On last night, my hope with expectation was not as vibrant. I still believe and have faith that the day will come – I just couldn’t experience it in such vivid detail as I could going back to school. I shared with the class that I live in hope and expectation of a day where I continue to love waking up and seeing this holy brown hue of mine covering me from head to toe like the regal robe it is – and not simultaneously be afraid that the moment I leave my home someone else will seek to destroy my robe and watch the colors bleed and run into a sea of forgetfulness. This hasn’t always been the case, but in recent years, I have begun to love seeing my reflection. Not because I’m vain and I think I’m so gorgeous to look at that it makes my day. Rather, I love seeing something intricate, delicate, and unique. Our bodies are both simple and complex. They are both fearfully and wonderfully made. What an entanglement! So, yes, I’m pleased as punch to see the holy brown hue in whole form staring back at me. AND, the day is not yet here where all of our bodies are seen as sacred. In fact, it seems as if every day there is someone who desires with all their heart to prove just how worthless I, and others with more concentrated levels of melanin, are to them. Feeling this weight, I just came out and told the class: “Honestly, I’m exhausted.” I explained that my heart hurts so bad that I can physically feel the discomfort in my chest. My patience is wearing thin, and I find myself not being as censored as I was once upon a time. I didn’t expect anyone else to chime in or to co-sign on my current state of being. AND, they didn’t. Instead, they spoke their own truths. Some truths involved having hope but not quite being there with the expectation and currently living in a state of despair. Wouldn’t you know it? In the midst of that authenticity and transparency, we found no solutions – but uncovered something more powerful – solidarity. The hope and expectation of being in the right place at the right time paid off tenfold! I logged on tired and weary. YET, my salvation in those moments where I poured out the words leaking from my internal diary was not found in answers – but rather – in the sharing of the unknown. In fact, it could be said that we found hope bundled with expectation in the form of solidarity of unknowing what comes next. Did we “fix” anything? No. Did we “find” anything? You better believe it. We found each other. We found sources of our collective pain and united in the uncertainty of the future. So, I suppose what my thoughts this week boil down to are the following: I’m exhausted…and other people are too. I’m in pain…and other people are too. I am desperately seeking perpetual salvation that swaddles me in peace in the eye of the storm…and doggon… wouldn’t you know it? Other people are too. I now want to ask each of you: What are your personal points of existence where hope intersects with expectation and causes you to travel a different path than the route of despair? What are the things making you weary but that also cause you to not sit still because the anticipation of fruition won’t let you stop holding on? I’m a moderate risk-taker and I more often than not am willing to go “all in” with the cards I’m dealt. With that being said, I’m betting the whole 40 acres and the mule that someone else very close to you (physically and/or virtually) has been placed in the same space and time because at the core – they are feeling it too. It may manifest in different ways but eventually heart sees heart, faith sees faith, and hope locks in step with expectation. FOR ALL THE HOPES PRESENT, FOR ALL THE HOPES TO COME, AND FOR ALL THE HOPES THAT ARE ROOTED IN EXPECTATION: LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER. And while we wait, please continue to show us each other through a lens that only You provide while also moving us toward a level of love that only You could create. It is with hope and expectation that we trust that You will continue to guide us where we need to be when we need to be there – only requiring us to show up authentically, transparently, in all our beautiful hues, just as You designed. Amen. To reach Rev. Shernell Edney Stilley, you may email her at: email@example.com NEW YORK CONFERENCE UCC UPDATES ACCESS UCC DATBASE OUTAGE The Access UCC website will be offline starting at the close of business Friday, May 20th – Sunday, May 22nd and is projected to be open again for use Monday, May 23rd. Our servers are being moved to a new location and this will affect your subscription briefly over the weekend. We recommend that you retrieve any data that you will need for that weekend prior to Friday, May 20 as AccessUCC will be inaccessible during this time frame and the CARDD office’s data base will be offline. Our apologies in advance for any inconvenience. 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 uccny.org/donate. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 Don’t forget: You MUST have a Vaccination card (Excelsior pass) OR A negative PCR Covid Test with 72 hours of annual meeting 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com. Dietary Restrictions If you have dietary restrictions please fill out this form. Please send all completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. Keeping in Touch and Staying Safe Your conference staff is available to you on Wednesdays for Virtual Office Hours from 11am – 12 noon at zoom.us/j/422208515 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. 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 UCCNY Minister’s Article Featured on National Website “As people in the United States process the news of a leaked Supreme Court opinion that, if finalized as written, would dismantle the constitutional rights of women protected by Roe v. Wade, a UCC pastor adds his voice to the debate. The Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter shares his personal story about why the rights U.S. women have held for over 50 years should be protected, not rescinded.” Read the entire article here: www.ucc.org/ucc-pastor-we-chose-adoption-and-the-freedom-to-choose-abortion/ 2022 Craigville Theological Colloquy: July 11-15, Cape Cod, Massachusetts There are a few spaces still available at the beautiful Craigville Retreat Center on Cape Cod for the ecumenical Craigville Theological Colloquy, which will run from July 11-15, 2022. The theme is “Sacred Spaces, Sacred Times: Into the Future” and the speakers include the Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, keynoter and author of Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces; Mr. Darius Coombs, education leader for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; the Rev. Dr. Harry Serio, who will speak on Celtic Spirituality; and the Rev. Andy Lang, who will discuss spirituality in Puritan New England. The week includes lodging and meals, access to Craigville Beach, two field trips on Cape Cod, worship, Bible reflections, meditation, and fellowship. To register and for more information, click here: www.craigvillecolloquy.com/?page_id=25. 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. uccny.info/BAT2022 (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)** Commission on the Global Church The People of Venezuela Unite Amid Heavy Rains and Landslides by Angel Luis Rivera-Agosto | pub. on May 4, 2022 Heavy rains across Venezuela have caused massive flooding, especially in the western states of Zulia, Mérida, Táchira, and Trujillo through last week. According to the Caribbean nation’s National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (INAMEH), there were 180 mm of precipitation over 48 hours in the worst-hit areas, three times the monthly average for April. Significant rainfall is expected in the coming days as well. Mudslides have destroyed houses and cut off roads, while damaged infrastructure has caused electricity, water supply, and telecommunication outages. Additionally, the overflowing of dikes and other protective barriers has caused agricultural areas to be flooded. Campesinos from the fertile Sur del Lago area showed pictures of lost crops underwater, particularly plantains. At least 70,000 sown hectares of land were reportedly lost. Read more.. FREE WEBINARS 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 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.uccny.org 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 email@example.com and send the details – preferably with links and pictures! 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