UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST My Thoughts Very soon I will have an experience I’ve never had before. I will be taking a sabbatical! I’ve been serving Keene Valley Congregational Church, a wonderful small church here in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, for over five years. And although many think of this area as a place to visit for rest and vacation, it is challenging work leading my church community, especially during the ongoing pandemic. During my upcoming sabbatical, I feel so blessed to be able to take an extended leave to focus on my spiritual health and nourishment, reconnect with friends and family, and get a big dose of Vitamin F: FUN! Even as I prepare to take leave, I am aware of what a unique opportunity to be gifted sabbatical time is. Being a pastor is my second career. Before I was ordained, I worked at a Wall Street bank, where there were no sabbaticals, no extended periods of rest and nourishment. After working at the bank for five years they only ever asked me to work longer and harder. And this is the experience of many in our churches. Although clergy may be offered sabbatical time, many of our members and friends are not given this kind of leave in their jobs and careers. But God was, and is, looking out for all of us, not just clergy, not just some of her children, and not just some of the time after a certain amount of service. Every week God extends to all of us an invitation to put down our to-do lists, and our chores, and our responsibilities for a day. And on this holy day our spirits and bodies get to rest and exhale. And on this sacred day we have the mental and spiritual space to remember each other, and God’s presence and blessing in our lives. The funny, or not-so-funny, thing is that I know of almost no one in any of our churches who actually observes the sabbath, beyond attending a Sunday worship service. I’m not saying no one does, but I can’t think of anyone. When I tell people that I will be taking a sabbatical everyone is happy for me, and some even a little envious. But when I ask someone if they observe the sabbath, a day of divinely encouraged rest, they often tell me they are too busy, or it feels like some kind of obligation from the remote past, or they just look at me oddly. Doesn’t it seem a strange irony that when so many of us feel exhausted and overcommitted in our lives that we chafe at the idea of a weekly opportunity to center and ground ourselves, a recurring time to feel God’s palpable presence in our lives? Earlier this year, during the season of Lent, I committed to observing the weekly sabbath. In my practice I didn’t try to take on the observance of others, or of other traditions. I made the sabbath my own. I made a list of the kinds of things I wouldn’t do: clean, pay bills, run errands, attend meetings at the church; and I made a list of the kinds of things I would do: make slow cooked meals, read, pray, call friends and family on the phone and actually speak to them! Every week I had to be intentional about creating my schedule so that sabbath would be a day of rest, and a time of connecting back to God. I can’t say I always had a sabbath completely free of obligations, but when I did, it was such an amazing gift to myself. And I found it was a gift to my community too. I could reengage with more stillness and presence after being held in God’s peace for just one day. And that’s the thing. We are in a moment in history where there is an ever greater need to be able to show up and work the great work of love, not just with those we love and are similar to ourselves, but also with those we may feel really push all of our buttons, and not in a good way. If we are going to be able to love, not just in words, and not just when its easy, but when it’s hard and exhausting and maybe even futile, we need to be still in our own hearts and minds. One way we can get there is through the practice of sabbath, either the practice of extended rest, or the practice of ongoing and recurring weekly stillness, or maybe even both. So, do you practice the sabbath? If not, what may be the block? Why might it have fallen all the way to the bottom of your list of ways to take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually? If you do want to engage in sabbath work, what will be on your yes list, and on your no list? And where will God show up? Because God will show up. Of that I am certain. – Rev. John Sampson Rev. John Sampson Board Member, New York Conference, United Church of Christ Pastor, Keene Valley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ 1791 NYS Route 73, Keene Valley, NY 12943 | Office: 518-576-4711 REMEMBRANCE During the Annual Meeting, we took time to pause, reflect, and remember all of those who we hold dear to us that have transitioned in the last year or more. It is important for us all to allow for space to mourn, and to know that we are not alone in our moments of sorrow. If you feel you need a helping hand in grieving/mental health wellness, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org In Memoriam Sueli Gaewsky Sueli Alves (da Costa) Gaewsky Sueli was born on January 22, 1961, in the town of Bom Sucesso in the Brazilian state of Paraná. She was the youngest child ofPedro Alves da Costa and SebastianaSimões Pato da Costa. Full Text The Space Between: The Emerging Church in a Post-Pandemic World Registration is now open for a major United Church of Christ summit “to imagine a church alive and vital in the world.” It will be held Sept. 19-21, online and in-person in St. Louis. Our ACM Rev. Shernell Edney Stilley has been a contributor to this event, and will be on site! Read More… Registration and More Info UCC NEWS General Synod 34 Next Synod, will be in person; hybrid aspects being explored. Delegates and visitors will meet June 30 through July 4 at the Indianapolis Convention Center A basic website for the meeting is now in place. People will eventually be able to register for Synod and find agenda and other details there. One key document is already there: the Standing Rules, which guide Synod business and name important deadlines. There’s also a place there to sign up for Synod updates. Click here for General Synod site and details. or visit www.generalsynod.org United Church of Christ National Ministries General Council This year we have received a number of questions about third party use of property—both leasing and one-time or short-term use by individuals and groups. Check out the General Council Blog for articles addressing these concerns and more. – Leasing Church Property to a Tenant: What Churches Need to Know. (Leasing inquiries) – Allowing Third Parties to Use Church Property: What Churches Need to Know. (Facilities use) Additional articles on using photos of others in church media, and how to be political but not partisan. — Heather E. Kimmel (she/her) General Counsel United Church of Christ, National Ministries UCC.org United Church of Christ National Ministries Office of Human Resources The Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer has announced his retirement effective the end of October 2022. The National Ministries has opened the search for the successor with a close date of July 22, 2022. Team Leader and Minister of Gender & Sexuality Justice/Executive Director, United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network (aka UCAN) Click here to apply or visit www.appone.com/MainInfoReq.asp?R_ID=4719656 Rev. David Gaewski’s Retirement Gift The NY Conference Board is still collecting monetary gifts of love and appreciation in the form of checks or online contributions towards Rev. Gaewski’s retirement gift. 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. Final contributions must be received by 8/1/2022. NEWS Six UCC groups ‘Go MAD’ together at first COREM Convocation in 16 years by Connie Larkman | published on Jul 11, 2022 “Go MAD – Go make a difference.” That theme — based on the strength of God at your back from Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand — brought the six groups of the United Church of Christ’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries together last month for their first convocation many years. Read Full Article here: Celebrate 50 years of Open and Affirming Ministries! Join us Aug. 5-7 for our first National ONA Gathering since 2019! Our virtual event will celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the ONA Coalition and Bill Johnson’s ordination as the first openly gay man authorized to serve an historic Christian church as a minister of word and sacrament. Leaders include the Rev. Rhina Ramos (worship leader), Bishop Yvette Flunder (closing address and charge), the Rev. Bill Johnson and the Rev. Anne Holmes, and the Rev. Andy Lang (State of the ONA Movement). Details Here Practical Resource Center Everyone Has a Calling – Ours Is Helping You! More Info FREE SOUND SYSTEM See listing here. Contact David Toot for more info email@example.com NY UCC Conference Connection 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and send the details – preferably with links and pictures! Please note that the New York Conference may not publish all submissions received. REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR BOUNDARY AWARENESS TRAINING AND RETIREE BAT www.uccny.info/BAT2022 Click on the link for the calendar, then click on each training for more information and to register. If you have questions regarding scheduling for an online BAT session please contact Lisa Delgado at email@example.com. Culturally Responsive Ministry Training [CRMT] Module 1 – Culture & Race CRMT Calendar & Registration ATTN: ALL AUTHORIZED MINISTERS Dates listed for Each 6-hour CRMT session. Conducted online via Zoom. Questions? Please contact your association Committee on Ministry. Should you have registration questions, contact Lisa Delgado at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scholarships available! Contact Rev. Marjorie Purnine, at email@example.com before registering. ANNUAL MEETING 2022 Held June 10-12, 2022 at Silver Bay on Lake George “Family Reunion: Release, Rest, Rejoice!” WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! Please take our brief feedback survey to help us prepare quality Annual Meeting events for you! Stay anonymous if you’d like- Open to all (if you attended this year or not!) MOST APPRECIATED! FEEDBACK SURVEY ~REWIND~ Click below to see full listing of videos and connect to business meeting details from the Annual Meeting. You may also visit www.uccny.org/annualmeeting Full announcement for Annual Meeting 2023 in Buffalo, New York to come. If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Ryan Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org REWIND! If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Ryan Henderson at email@example.com CAPITAL CAMPAIGN VIDEO Today…Tomorrow…Together Capital Campaign Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams Transitional Conference Minister Preaching on “A Prescription for Praise” A Harp Benediction from Martha Gallagher The Blessing Woman and UCC NY Member www.theblessingwoman.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. CALL US We are small, but mighty! Your New York Conference staff continues to work hard to provide you the resources and information you need. Please note our LIVE coverage phone hours Monday-Friday 10am-Noon 315-446-3073 All other times, you can reach us via our 24-hour voice operated service. Please leave a message, and we will get back to you! 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 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 THANK YOU! NEW YORK CONFERENCE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST Officers & Board Members Continue to stay safe during gatherings this summer! Monitor your health daily Wash your hands often Test if you feel unwell or after attending big gatherings Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with hands If you feel unwell, stay home and seek medical care Stay current on vaccination and boosters If you must be around others and not feeling well, wear a mask FREE TESTS AVAILABLE www.covid.gov/tests VACCINES and BOOSTER Finder www.vaccines.gov/search Get Medication for COVID-19 covid-19-test-to-treat-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com Find FREE MASKS (N95 respirators) at a participating location near you. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/free-masks.html Or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST 315-446-3073 | www.uccny.org PLEASE NOTE: CLICKING UNSUBSCRIBE BELOW WILL REMOVE YOU FROM ALL NY CONFERENCE COMMUNICATION! 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- Sueli Gaewsky In Memorium
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