(Here are more pictures from Silver Bay.)
Inspired by keynote minister Rev. Richard Piazza from The Center for Progressive Renewal (and newly called to be senior pastor at the Virginia Highland Church in Atlanta), over 300 UCC folks from 90+ New York State Conf. UCC churches again enjoyed the magical setting of the YMCA Silver Bay Conference Center at Lake George NY. They were there over the weekend of June 2-5 for its 48th annual meeting, whose theme was “Stewards of the Covenant.”
Most of the speakers focused on the passage from Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” with a heavy emphasis on the humility part and how hard it is to meet that standard. (One female delegate chuckled at what a challenge some male speakers had with the “humble” part.)
Worship, both formal and innovative, glorious music, a children’s impromptu theater, a youth-led communion, and workshops on a host of topics offered useful information on many topics of interest to church leaders. Being sure one’s church is secure, its important documents safely stowed, and contingency plans are in place for unforeseen events or emergencies, was one lesson learned. Church friends sharing ideas about all kinds of subjects is one of the strengths of the annual meeting, as is the opportunity to meet with and learn from fellow church folks from the most ethnically diverse UCC conference in the nation.
Newly elected moderator of the conference is Rev. Corey Keyes from the West Bloomfield (NY) UCC. He succeeds Margaret Mainusch of Garden City Community Church, UCC. A search committee was named to seek a new conference minister for New York, to succeed The Rev. Geoffrey Black who was elected two years ago to be president of the national United Church of Christ. It is hoped this important leadership position can be filled by next summer. Meanwhile, Rev. Dr. Rita Root from Chicago is serving as interim NY
The conference also recognized and celebrated with much gratitude the decade-plus service of Rev. Rick Cowles, as a New York associate conference minister. He has been called to be the senior pastor of the UCC church of the Apostles in Lancaster PA, beginning August 1.
As the conference pursues church renewal and revitalization, a new conference ministry team plan was announced that includes the interim conference minister Rita Root, associate conference minister for leadership/development Marian Shearer, and ACM for congregational development Freeman Palmer.
Four regional conference ministry associates have been named: Marna Pritchard in the West, David Cleaver-Bartholomew and Ralph Anderson in Upstate, Jan Powell in Southeast. Pritchard and Powell start July 1; the other two started April 1 when Rick Cowles went on sabbatical. This plan had already been approved by NY Conference executive council as a pilot/experiment, so it was not voted on at annual meeting, just introduced. As of August 1 Palmer and Shearer begin their new work. Manager of finance and administration is David Losito. Director of online learning and communication is Michael Grinnals.
After some discussion, a budget of $1,138,184 for the 2012 year was adopted, reflecting this staffing configuration, with a $72,000 deficit.
Another guest speaker was former New Yorker and Riverside Church pastor Rev. Patricia DeJong, now 17 years the senior minister of First Congregational Church UCC, Berkeley Calif. Speaking on leadership development, she urged moving into uncertainty with confidence; living with creative tensions for the short term, with patience for the long term.
Delegates from NY and across the nation will assemble in for the 28th biannual UCC National Synod July 1-5, 2011 in Tampa. Next year the NY Conference UCC annual meeting will move to the Riverwalk, Binghamton NY, one week later in June 8 to 10, 2012.
Reported by John Werner
Return to top of page