News & Publications
Your ministry shares at work: the Conference Benefits Office
From helping newly retired pastors move to their new homes to assisting churches that are trying to negotiate state and federal employment laws, the work of the Upper New York Benefits Office is wide ranging and complex.
The office's work is critically important to both active and retired clergy – and this vital ministry is one of the many supported by ministry share dollars.
"The ministry shares help support the staff needed to appropriately administer eligibility, enrollment and...
NEJ delegates reflect on 2014 Global Young People's Convocation
The 2014 Global Young People's Convocation & Legislative Assembly in the Philippines was attended by more than 300 young people and observers. Among other business, the young people urged leaders of the denomination to “seek solutions that promote our global unity” and not be divided by issues such as homosexuality, adopting a unity statement the night before ending its quadrennial gathering on July 20, 2014. Click here to read the statement.
Reflections and insights from...
OneExchange health coverage workshops for retirees scheduled for September
Retired clergy, their spouses, and surviving spouses age 65 and older are invited to attend one of the workshops being held in September 2014 to discuss OneExchange, a service that helps retirees find the correct Medicare plan for their needs.
A mailing with introductory materials will be sent by the Conference office in mid-August to all eligible persons.
Retirees younger than 65, those on Medicare due to disability, and over age 65 clergy actively serving a local church will...
Upper New York Volunteers-in-Mission welcomes new coordinators
Upper New York's Volunteers-in-Mission (VIM) has two new co-coordinators: Roger and Donna Cullen. The couple, who are members of Clifton Springs UMC, take over for Dr. Sylvia Reimer, who had served as VIM coordinator since 2012.
Donna and Roger Cullen, Upper New York's new VIM co-coordinators.
“I’m grateful the Cullens are willing and able to step into this coordinating role," said the...
Spiritual exercises old and new
The Rev. Donald Robert Hoff, retired, shares this reflection as "four pilgrims from the Upper New York Conference" prepare to walk the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain and Portugal.
From left: Rev. Don Hoff, Donna Hoff, Jeanne Judson and Rev. Gary Judson. Photo courtesy of Rev. Hoff.
How many United Methodists from the Upper New York Conference have made a spiritual pilgrimage and...
Four-legged friends invited to Adirondog Retreat
They say dogs are man's (and just as often woman's) best friend; and for many folks, their dogs are their family. But the Rev. Garrie Stevens says dogs can also be a way to see God's faithfulness.
That's what the first Adirondog Retreat at the Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center in Greig is all about.
The three-day retreat, Sept. 5-7, 2014, invites dogs and their people to spend time enjoying the outdoors with other dogs and dog lovers, and...
Take HealthQuotient in August or September to reduce 2015 deductible
The HealthQuotient (HQ) online health risk assessment is Step 2 of your HealthFlex “Three Steps for Better Wellness.” Taking the HQ between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30, 2014 will save you money on your 2015 medical plan deductible — $250 off the individual deductible or $500 off the family deductible.
This tool also helps you develop a wellness plan for yourself that's based on your specific healthcare needs.
Both participants and enrolled spouses must complete the HQ to receive...
RON MOT grant helps forge 'Caring Connections'
Susan Hardy, Reaching Our Neighbors Ministry Oversight Team (RON MOT) convener, has toured some of the ministries that received grants in RON MOT's 2013 round of funding. In this story, she recounts her visit to Caring Connections in Oneonta.
Applications are being accepted for RON MOT 2014 funding until Aug. 15; click here to learn more/apply.
Read Hardy's story about Schenectady Inner City Ministry's Summer Lunch Wagon here.
I visited Caring Connections in Oneonta on July 7, 2014...
Resource Center makes VBS materials accessible
Vacation Bible School – most often simply VBS – is popular with churches (not to mention the kids).
The Conference's Media Resource Center has a wealth of materials for VBS, including the puppets for the various curricula. Photo by Beth DiCocco
A 2012 study by the Barna Group showed that more than two out of three churches in America – 68 percent – offered VBS that...
Special session of Annual Conference announced for Sept. 6 and 7, 2014
Special Session (September 6 & 7) indefinitely postponed
Upper New York Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb has announced the postponement of the special session of the Upper New York Annual Conference at all three locations. The special session was originally scheduled for Sept. 6 and 7 at Rush UMC, Liverpool UMC and Saratoga Springs UMC.
Negotiations between the Conference Board of Trustees and the seller of the proposed building at 7481 Henry Clay Blvd. in Liverpool reached an...
Blueprint for Wellness Screening deadline July 31, 2014
This is a final reminder for those interested in receiving $100 in HealthCash* from Virgin Pulse HealthMiles that you have until July 31, 2014 to get a Blueprint for Wellness Screening at your local Quest Diagnostics lab.
To schedule an appointment, you can:
Register by phone: (866) 908-9440; employer group is “HealthFlex” or “United Methodist Church”
Register online: www.gbophb.org. Log into HealthFlex/WebMD and select “Quest Blueprint for...
Rose UMC featured in Reba McEntire video
The members of Rose UMC are getting their 15 minutes of fame thanks to Country singer Reba McEntire.
Members of Rose UMC appear in the video for Reba McEntire's song Pray for Peace.
Members of the congregation appear in the video for McEntire's new song Pray for Peace, which was released July 21, 2014.
Rose UMC Pastor Karen Heit said people have been "blowing up my phone" since seeing the video,...
Lana Hijazi: Gazan ambassador for peace
In the wake of renewed violence in Gaza, Linda Bergh, co-chair of the Conference Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel, has written this piece about her friend Gazan filmmaker Lana Hijazi, who plans to return to the West Bank at the end of July.
I first met Lana Hijazi, a young Palestinian woman from Gaza, at a program featuring a discussion of the artistic protest graffiti on the Palestinian side of a wall erected by Israel (in many places on Palestinian land) between Israel...
Karenni youth visit Andrews Memorial
A group of approximately 50 Karenni youth and young adults from the greater Winston-Salem area of North Carolina spent time at Andrew’s Memorial United Methodist Church in North Syracuse in support of Pastor Sonexay “Sean” Chanthasone’s new faith community: New Hope & Good News Ministry.
A choir of Karenni youth and young adults from the greater Winston-Salem area of North Carolina sing during a visit...
Ontario Street UMC grows with new Mizo members
Pictured above is some of the Mizo congregation that was welcomed as new members of the Ontario Street UMC in Buffalo. Photos by Christian Vischi
At a typical membership service, the congregation welcomes a few new members into its ranks. But during the June 22, 2014 service at the Ontario Street United Methodist Church in Buffalo, an entire new faith...
Feeding the spirit: Summer Lunch Wagon ministry a success
Susan Hardy, Reaching Our Neighbors Ministry Oversight Team (RON MOT) convener, has toured some of the ministries that received grants in RON MOT's 2013 round of funding. In this story, she recounts her visit to Schenectady Inner City Ministry's Summer Lunch Wagon. Watch the E Advocate for more in this series.
Applications are being accepted for RON MOT 2014 funding; click here to learn more/apply.
SICM Summer Lunch Wagon
Until I toured some of the Schenectady Inner City Ministry's...
NEJ UMW to hold 2016 meeting in Syracuse
The United Methodist Women of the Northeastern Jurisdiction will hold their quadrennial meeting June 16-18, 2016 at the OnCenter in Syracuse.
Pictured from left, front: NEJ UMW President Phyllis Doane, Demetrio Beach, Upper New York Director of Program and Outreach for Camp & Retreat Ministries, and Nominations Committee member Tammy Verity; back: Secretary Colleen Cates, Nominations Committee member Denise...
Retreats of interest at Rolling Ridge
Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in Andover, Mass., is hosting a couple of fall/winter events that may be of interest to Upper New York clergy and laity.
Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in Andover, Mass.
Oct. 9-12, 2014
New England three-day Academy for Spiritual Formation titled A Quiet Pentecost: Personal and Congregational Transformation
Discover how faith communities are reaching out...
Registration open for Bishop's Retreat 2014
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb is inviting clergy and their families to the third annual Bishop's Retreat Oct. 22-24, 2014 at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid. Registration is now open.
"This retreat is a time to encourage each other and learn together," said Bishop Mark J. Webb. "As pastors seeking to maintain healthy ministries, it's vitally important that we take some time to care for own spiritual lives...
2014 Living Well workshops begin July 15
The Upper New York Conference's Second Half of Life Ministries and New Faith Communities teams are co-sponsoring a series of Living Well workshops across the Conference. There is also an online version of the workshop that can be taken anytime.
Living Well is a new approach to help churches deepen the discipleship of the spiritually independent, the spiritually passive and the lonely by:
reaching out to your community and your existing members
integrating theology with concepts...