News & Publications
Group finds Nepal filled with the Spirit
Ten United Methodists traveled 7,340 miles across the world to a place that is, in many respects, unfamiliar, yet, they said abounds with the spirit of faithful Christians.
The group from Asbury UMC in Watertown was in Kathmandu, Nepal, from April 16-27, 2014. Making the trip were Max Bovee, Bill Hickox, Jean Gianfagna, Martha Jablonski, Lynn Morgan, Pam Quimby, Mary Radley, Marianne Scott, Barbara Simmons and the Rev. David Simmons,...
Clergy invited to 'Tending the Fire' training retreats
UPDATE: The deadline to register for Tending the Fire has been extended. The dates of the retreat-based training have also changed to Sept. 23-25, 2014, Nov. 11-13, 2014 and Feb. 10-12, 2015.
For clergy who are asking "How can I be the leader my church needs?" there is an answer.
Tending the Fire is a retreat-based training process focused on helping clergy meet the challenges they face as leaders by helping them to understand the...
Feeling the call? You won't succeed 'in hiding from God'
According to Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb, the Upper New York Conference has a very unique distinction within the denomination: “We are the only Annual Conference that has within our ranks two United Methodist seminary presidents.”
Bishop Webb shared that fact during introductions for the Rev. Dr. Wendy Deichmann, president at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Wolfe, president at Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
Both took the stage to offer...
UMC 'exceptionally active' in rebirth of National Council of Churches
Ron Bretsch, one of three United Methodist representatives on the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC) Interfaith Relations Commission, offered the following report about the newly re-organized group and its first nationwide meeting in nearly three years.
The United Methodist Church was one of the founding denominations of the NCC in 1950. Over the past three years, the NCC has undertaken a period of study that has resulted in “renaissance, rebirth (and)...
Leadership report: 'God is up to something'
Being God’s Church at any time “is challenging,” said the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding. The Conference Director of Connectional Ministries was speaking as a quasi-moderator during the Conference Leadership Report.
The Leadership Report is a three-prong report that includes the Bishop’s Address, the Report of the Conference Lay Leader, and the Superintendents’ Report; although it does not contain action items, it is not included on the Consent Calendar.
Adopted: Resolutions question validity of ¶101, ambiguity of ¶806.9
Although the Committee on Petitions and Resolutions received nine submissions, only a pair of resolutions from the Rev. Steven Clunn made it to the floor of the session for debate and passage.
Among the others, two were directed to standing committees and one was returned to the submitter for revision, but that author “decided there was not enough time to do that,” according to Hudda Aswad, chair of the committee.
R2014.1 Constitutionality and Powers of ¶101
Organizational motion stirs debate on rule approved during AC 13
Just prior to the closing motion by Conference Secretary the Rev. Jeff Hodge, Bishop Mark J. Webb commended those gathered for a successful 2014 Annual Conference session, saying that the members made it completely through the agenda for a second year in a row.
An inauspicious start may have left some doubting that outcome.
Following the bishop’s recommendation that all present embrace the Holy Conferencing Principals found in the Pre-Conference Booklet, the Rev....
Churches urged to celebrate AU grad supported by our scholarship
It's June, and that means churches across Upper New York will be celebrating their graduating students. The graduates in our churches have been supported in so many ways by their congregations, and these services celebrate that and the students' achievements.
The Africa University Endowed Scholarship Task Force is inviting churches this year to add another graduate to their lists: Mukalay Loris Banza. Banza is the recipient of an UNY AU...
UNY youth, young adults prepare for Global Convocation 2014
When the third Global Young People’s Convocation (GYPC) and Legislative Assembly begins, six people from Upper New York will be among the youth and young adults from 34 nations.
Ashley Riddell VanSickle
CONAM continues journey toward repentance and healing at AC 14
Members of the Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) members took the stage Thursday and Friday in order to continue to prepare the Upper New York Conference on its journey toward the Act of Repentance and Healing of Relationships with Indigenous Persons, which will take place at the 2015 Annual Conference.
Blenda Smith, CONAM member, and Kae Wilbert, chair of CONAM, presented...
Speaker monitoring at AC 14
One role of the Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) is to monitor and report the diversity in all interactions on the floor of the Annual Conference session. This year, the Commission on Religion & Race (CORR) participated jointly in monitoring the diversity of speakers during the session.
Blenda Smith, CORR...
2014 Service of Ordination, Commissioning: 'We are called to the edge'
The Upper New York Conference welcomed 12 new clergy, who were ordained or commissioned at a service on Saturday, May 31, 2014.
Preaching was Bishop Mark J. Webb, who began with a memory from his youth: His excitement at the prospect of heading to the pool each summer. His favorite part, he said, was standing on the water's edge in that moment of anticipation before jumping into the pool.
"You've been there, right?" he asked....
Rules don't thwart environmental resolutions from passage
Although a full 24 hours hadn’t elapsed as the rules require when the Annual Conference deliberated on two resolutions that were submitted from the floor by lay member Stephanie Henry, members agreed with her proposals and approved them.
Henry had distributed the text of the resolutions on Friday, but to even consider Henry’s recommendations during Saturday’s plenary Christine Doran, Chair of the Agenda Committee, had to make a motion to suspend Conference rules; that motion...
Bible study leader: Feed the starving with faith
In his Bible study on May 30, Bishop Michael Lowry continued his focus on the Book of Acts with Chapter 17, Paul speaking to those at Mars Hill.
Bishop Mike Lowry, left, with his baseball bat, a gift from Bishop Mark J. Webb, right, and the Cabinet. Photo by Christian Vischi.
He said that the job of the Church is to "offer Christ to people frozen in a place clutching chocolate and...
AC 14 supports resolutions by Africa 360
The Rev. Craig French, pastor at the University UMC in Syracuse, presented the resolutions of the Africa 360 Task Force, the purpose of which Rev. French described as the chance to "weave together two great causes:" the Africa University Scholarship Endowment Fund and Imagine No Malaria.
Resolution 1 reads:
"That the Upper New York Annual Conference reaffirms its commitment to raise $1 million for permanent...
CCYM: Bishop calls youth 'an amazing sight'
Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) 2013 Co-Chairs Nora Walkley and Vicki Standhart led a short presentation on CCYM at AC 14.
They spoke about the year's theme, Called to Catch Fire, and what that meant to them.
Standhart compared the fire to "the light of Christ," and urged everyone "not to hide the fire or be afraid" and to live out God's call on their lives – whatever that may be.
"Life is an...
Doran honored with Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence
Chris Doran, Executive Assistant to Bishop Mark J. Webb, was awarded the Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence by the United Methodist Men. The award was presented Friday by Conference UMM President Mark Jones.
“My mother would be pleased,” Doran said.
"Thank you, Chris, for your years of commitment and service to The United Methodist Church here in Upper New York," said Jones. "Chris was our choice for the...
Coordinator urges participation in Peace with Justice Sunday
Heather Smith, Conference Peace with Justice Coordinator, reported the following to Annual Conference:
In investigating the details of the Peace with Justice Sunday Offering funds and participation in the Special Sunday collection by churches of the Conference, Smith found that the Conference has not reached 19 percent participation over the last three years. In other words, fewer than 170 congregations gave at all.
Each year, when all the...
2014-2015 Clergy Appointments
Clergy in The United Methodist Church are individuals who serve as elders, deacons, commissioned ministers, and local pastors under appointment of a bishop (full and part-time), who hold membership in an annual conference, and who are commissioned, ordained or licensed.
Click here for the full list of the 2014-2015 Clergy appointments
Updated May 31, 2014...
AC 14 elects trustees
Upper New York Conference Board of Trustees President Deborah Byers presented the trustees' report during the morning plenary on May 30. Byers focused on three topics: church insurance, Conference financial assets and the proposed new Conference Center, which would house the Conference and Episcopal offices.
Byers said first that she appreciated that many are deeply affected by paying for or needing to collect on churches' insurance. The trustees are aware of frustration...