From: Finger Lakes District []
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 9:33 AM
Subject: August 22, 2017 e-Newsletter
Finger Lakes District E-Newsletter   August 22, 2017

Rev. McDowell
Welcome to the Finger Lakes District e-Newsletter! Please share this with church members and staff, teams and organizations. We hope that you will find this an invaluable resource as we work to promote the missions, ministries and events of the Finger Lakes District. If you have something you would like to see included in a future issue of this e-newsletter, send to
May you have a blessed week!
Your friends at the Finger Lakes District Office,
       Rev. Jeffrey McDowell, District Superintendent
            Pam Deckard, Administrative Assistant
NEW**Office Hours:  Pam will be working from home Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and in the Seneca Falls Office Tuesdays and Fridays 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.   You can call the office at any time, the phone number is monitored (315-781-0188).  Or email at any time.  Thank you.
Finger Lakes District Office has Moved!

Effective June 26th, our new address is: 12 North Park Street, Suite 11,  Seneca Falls, NY 13148.  
Phone # 315-781-0188 


You can contact Jeff McDowell on his cell phone, or email the office at the usual email address: or Jeff at:

Come visit when you are in the area!
Dear Churches of the Finger Lakes: 
Today's Sermon on the Amount:  "Attitude in a Can"
"When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep with be your downfall."  - Mr. Anonymous-
"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  -Jesus-
God blesses us with abundant resources.  We joyfully give a portion back to God through God's church.  This happens from the people to the local church, and also from each local church to the annual conference.  That part provides the leadership, infrastructure, resourcing, and mission giving to support who we are together.  We agree together each year where the money will be spent, just like in the local church.
Giving is all about our attitude: It is a Can - Do Attitude, and an Attitude of Gratitude.  I have served three churches in my 26 years of Pastoral ministry and every year, each of them paid 100% direct bills and 100% shared ministries.  At one point, we paid $36,000 in shared ministries alone.  Why?  How?  Because we believed in our connection enough to support it at great cost and sacrifice.  Did we have financial struggles? Of course!  Did we have lean years of giving?  Yes!  Could we have used that money to hire more staff or support more programs?  Sure!  Did we have unexpected repairs and costs?  Often!  But it was always easier when we kept an attitude of gratitude and can - do. 
Once again this year, some of our churches have paid all their bills in full each month, while a few have delayed paying Direct Bills (your church insurances, and your Pastor's benefits) to the conference, as well as Shared Ministries.  When a church delays paying 100% of its' Direct Bills, the conference leadership pays it, by "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."  When your church delays paying Shared Ministries until the fall season, you are simply hiding the real numbers of what it costs to be United Methodist in full connection, literally sharing the ministry which we all agreed to at the Annual Conference session.  Your church still receives all the benefits and services of our district, conference, jurisdiction, and general conference, without paying for them.  In fact, the other churches which have paid their full share are charged more to cover your lack of payment.
Ministry Shares collections through 7-31-17 are $234,914 ahead of collection levels at the same time year ago. This shows great progress.  Yet we are still $400,000 under what our budget needed, year to date.  Direct Bill collections in 2017 are $ 185,527 behind collections in 2016.
I have a very simple solution to this problem:  1. Find out your church's payment level of both direct bills and shared ministries.  2. Ask your Church Council to set a policy which directs the treasurer to pay the full amount each month, just like they do with salaries and light bills.  3. Ask your Church Council to make clear monthly reports to the congregation when any bills are in arrearage.  4. If your church simply cannot afford all their bills, including those from annual conference, invite the Superintendent to come speak about stewardship education, and "right - sizing" the staffing level, including the appointment level of your Pastor.
But none of this will make a difference with a bad attitude.  Adopt a Can - Do attitude; this is a spiritual work. And apply your Attitude of Gratitude beyond the local church, to your support of the larger connection.  What a difference we will make, together!  

The next edition of this eNewsletter comes out on Sept. 5, 2017.  To submit an item for the newsletter, please have it to the district office by August 30.   Thank you.
Dear Finger Lakes Clergy and Lay Supply:     Reserve the Date! 
When?  Wednesday September 6
9:00 - 12:00    Safe Sanctuary Training (Required for all active clergy who have not taken it since 2015).
12:00 - 1:00    Fellowship over Lunch (provided)
1:00 - 2:00      Our Clergy Covenant: ethics, boundaries, basic responsibilities, forms, accountability, opportunities.
2:00 - 4:00       Workshop by DS Jeff: "How not to kill your church: basic church dynamics you can fix."
6:30 - 7:00      Gathering with refreshments
7:00 - 8:30      Our Clergy Covenant: ethics, boundaries, basic responsibilities, forms, accountability, opportunities.
What?   a district - wide clergy day for our United Methodist clergy.   If you cannot attend the daytime session, you can come in the evening.
Where? At our new district office,  12 North Park St., Suite 11, Seneca Falls, NY 13148
How?  RSVP to or call us (315-781-0188) and leave a message, by August 20.
 Rev. Jeffrey McDowell
Please Mark Your Calendars:

Bishop Webb on the Finger Lakes District Day

All pastors and those serving in the pastoral role must reserve Noon to 3:00 pm, Tuesday, September 26, 2017, for Bishop's Day on the Finger Lakes District. 
Clergy working day secular jobs can plan to attend the evening session.

There will be a Laity Session 6:30-8:30 pm in the evening for everyone.

Location:  Both sessions to be held at: Seneca Falls UMC, 2 Chapel St
Seneca Falls, NY 13148  (this is a change in location for daytime session)

Click Here for the 2017 Charge Conference schedule and see where and when your church is scheduled.
Coming in October!


Finger Lakes District Laity Banquet
Sunday, October 8, 2017
3:30 - 6:30 pm   at Club 86, Geneva

More information will be coming.
Be thinking about the mission your church would like to honor.
DOES YOUR CHURCH USE A PAYROLL SERVICE? If so, you need to read this announcement. We encourage all churches to check immediately with their payroll company to ensure that deductions for Paid Family Leave insurance ARE NOT MADE at this time. 
Click here to read the full information.
John Wesley Speaks:
"Do you show your love by your works. While you have time as you have opportunity, do you in fact "do good to all men," neighbours or strangers, friends or enemies, good or bad? Do you do them all the good you can; endeavouring to supply all their wants; assisting them both in body and soul, to the uttermost of your power --If thou art thus minded, may every Christian say, yea, if thou art but sincerely desirous of it, and following on till thou attain, then 'thy heart is right, as my heart is with thy heart?' "   (From sermon:  "A Catholic Spirit")

Register for Bishop's Retreat

Upper New York's annual Bishop's Retreat is right around the corner. To be held at the Double Tree Hotel in Binghamton from October 24-26, the UNY Episcopal Office is pleased to announce that this year's keynote speaker for the Bishop's Retreat is Bishop Young Jin Cho. He was senior pastor of Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington (KUMCGW) in McLean, Va., for 22 years before being appointed superintendent of the Arlington District in 2005. During his tenure at KUMCGW, church worship attendance grew from about 100 to more than 1,000.
Bishop Young Jin Cho was elected to the episcopacy at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2012. He is the first Korean-American elected to the episcopacy in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. While it is uncommon for a newly-elected Bishop to be returned to his or her home Conference, (in fact, it had never before been done in the Southeastern Jurisdiction) Bishop Cho was assigned to come home to Virginia to lead the Virginia Conference for four years.
Click here to learn more about Bishop Cho, to see the tentative schedule for this year's Bishop's Retreat, and to preregister!
Pre-retirement seminar scheduled for Sept. 25
There will be a Pre-retirement seminar held on Monday Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Upper New York United Methodist Center (7481 Henry Clay Blvd., Liverpool). This seminar will highlight and explain the benefits available through The United Methodist Church to retiring clergy. It is intended to assist persons in their later years of ministry understand the current pension plan, health insurance options, Social Security, and moving assistance available.
ONLINE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, as we will provide clergy-specific retirement projections, and also need to plan for lunch. The deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
Click here to register and for more information.
2017 UNY Conference Journal Directory now available for purchase and download
The 2017 Upper New York Conference Journal Directory is now available. This directory contains up-to-date contact information of all UNY churches, clergy, members to Annual Conference, and surviving spouses for the 2017 Upper New York Annual Conference Session. There are two ways to receive the Journal Directory:
  • Click here to purchase a hard copy from online publisher OR
  • A free downloadable PDF version is available on our Issuu page
If you order directly from, you can have it delivered to the address of your choice (Note: You will need a major credit card to place an order). A hard copy of the Journal Directory costs $5.54 plus tax and shipping.

Vol. 2 of the Journal will be available later this fall. Vol. 1 of the Journal (published last spring), the Journal Directory, and Vol. 2 of the Journal will make up the entirety of the 2017 Journal.

Shoe Boxes for Red Bird Mission

The Endwell United Methodist Church mission team is again coordinating the collection and delivery of shoeboxes for Red Bird Mission, located in Beverly, Kentucky.  The Red Bird Missionary Conference is one of three missionary United Methodist conferences in the United States.  It is the most comprehensive mission effort of the United Methodist Church, providing outreach and services that minister to the whole person (spiritual, physical, social and economic).
Last year our team drove two-26 foot trucks to the Red Bird Mission.  Because of your generosity, one truck was filled with over 3,000 shoeboxes and the other with clothes, books, school and cleaning supplies. We have begun to collect shoeboxes with the goal of having everything ready by November 22, 2017.  We plan on transporting all items the first week of December.
This year we are asking churches that want to participate in this project to help us by dropping off all filled shoeboxes to the following two locations:  the Upper New York Conference Center at 7481 Henry Clay Blvd. in Liverpool or to the Endwell United Methodist Church located at 3301 Watson Blvd. in Endwell.  Drop off dates will be November 1st-17th.  If needed, arrangements can be made to have a pickup of items by contacting Dave Alexander at 607-743-8955 or by email to
There are two different styles of shoe boxes: adult and children.  All items should be put in clear plastic shoebox sized storage containers with lids.  Please do not wrap the boxes.  Please include $1 for each shoebox in a separate envelope to help with shipping costs.
Items needed for the adult shoe boxes (please mark for a man or woman) include a comb/brush, shampoo, hand lotion, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, chap stick, full size bath soap, wash cloth, disposable razors, shaving cream, nail care supplies, mittens, scarf, hat, socks, and work gloves.
Items for the children's shoe boxes (please mark for a boy or girl) include two or three toy items, two or three school items, bar soap, children's toothbrush, children's toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, wash cloth, comb/brush, chap stick, mittens, hat, socks, and small flashlight.
Most of these items can be purchased at a local Dollar Store
Christian bookmarks, wrist bands, and other spiritual items are also appreciated.
There is also a great need for sheets and blankets for children beds
If any Church would like a power point presentation we can send you one or make a presentation to your group.
Dave Alexander, lay person
Endwell United Methodist Church
Join in District Prayer Events for our church, our denomination, our nation.

DS Jeff McDowell and Lay Leader Shafeegh Habeeb will lead guided prayer meetings on (6) Sunday afternoons at the following locations across our district.  Most events will begin at 2:30 p.m.   We will adjourn in 1 hour, while leaving time open afterward for people to continue in prayer in the sanctuary, or fellowship over light refreshments with one another in the fellowship hall.  You do not need to sign up individually for these events!  But please promote them through your newsletters, bulletins, email lists, and social media sites.
March 19          Homer First UMC       
April 2              Auburn UMC
April 30            Mecklenburg UMC
May 21             Rose UMC
June 25            Seneca Castle UMC
September 17   Milo Center UMC

These prayer events are a response to the Council of Bishops initiative called Praying Our Way Forward. We are called to a posture of prayer, praying for God's leadership to guide us effectively in fulfilling the mission of the church. We invite you - clergy and laity, conferences and congregations - across the denomination to pray for God's guidance.  In prayer, we can be one in Christ.

The Upper Room has developed, a website where spiritual leaders and intercessors can share prayers, information and resources. 
The August Issue II copy of the Bridge is now available for download. It is available in both color and black & white formats. Click here to select the version you prefer and make copies as necessary. This issue includes Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb's response to the hate crimes that took place in Charlottesville, VA, last weekend. In this issue, you will also read about a successful ramp ministry at Cortland First UMC; they raise funds for this ministry primarily through a 5K run that they host every July. This issue also includes the dates and locations of the District Days that begin next month.
As a bi-monthly publication, the Bridge can be used this Sunday or next, whichever is most useful to the local church. The Bridge is a communications tool designed for local churches to stay connected to each other and to the ministries taking place around the Upper New York Conference and The United Methodist Church. The newest volume will be listed at the top of the webpage, with older volumes below. The Bridge is designed to be handed out in worship, as a church bulletin insert, or as a standalone item. If you have questions or are unable to make copies, please contact

Dear leaders of the Finger Lakes District:
At Annual Conference in June we voted to have each church receive Spiritual Gifts training this year (2017-2018). Here is a list of resources that may help you as you plan for this training. Click this link:   RESOURCES
Thank you for all you are doing to help each church reach out to transform the world for Christ.
God bless you.
Rev Raymond Shaw
Retired Elder
UMM at Casowasco, Sept. 15-16

Registration is open! UMM at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center
UNYUMC UMM will host the annual Fall Men's Retreat at Casowasco starting at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15, through 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16th. Reservations are available at:   Or click here to download registration information.The Main Speaker will be Pastor Mark Lubbock, General Commission UMM employee based in Louisiana. All men and teen boys are welcome.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Does your church have a Medical Emergency Response plan in place in the event that a member of your congregation has a heart attack while attending a service or event at your church?
It can often take up to 15 minutes for EMT's to respond to our location in an emergency.  In the case of a heart attack an individual cannot wait for 10-15 minutes to receive medical attention.
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can greatly increase the rate at which an individual survives a heart attack.  As AEDs are expensive, The Conference is interested in learning how many churches might potentially be interested in purchasing one-if many are, we may be able to obtain a group rate.
Please click here and take a couple of minutes to fill out this electronic survey so that we may be able to gauge interest.
Click here to read letter from the Rev. Larry Wilford and the Rev. Bill Mudge to learn more about AEDs and the need for a Medical Emergency Response plan.
Vital Congregations Opportunities this fall
There is still time to register for the fall opportunities from Vital Congregations. In reaching toward our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, all of us will need to continue to grow in our capacity as leaders. Click here to read about many opportunities to do so, including: Leadership Academy, Illuminate Preaching Academy, Tending the Fire, Growing with God, and Tending the Soul, all of which begin this fall.  Or check out more information in the articles below.

New program offered by Vital Congregations

The Vital Congregations ministry is offering a new program starting this fall entitled Growing with GodThe intent of the program is to equip participants to attend to their spiritual lives, attend to God's presence and movement in their lives, and offer tools with which they can better discern God's invitation for their lives and ministry.
I am attaching a copy of the registration form which also provides information about the content of the program.  Please consider including this information in your District newsletters and other communications with your local churches.
thanks,  Nancy Dibelius, Vital Congregations
Leadership Academy to begin in September
In addition to the Illuminate Preaching Academy, Vital Congregations offers another effective training known as Leadership Academy. Built around 16 competencies of transformational leaders, the Academy uses a combination of four, three day retreats, a capstone trip, and ongoing coaching to help leaders continue their development.

Sessions for 2017-18 will be:
  • September 12-14: Spiritual Life retreat with Dr. Letterman (Casowasco) 
  • November 14-16: Rev. Jasmine Smothers (Methodist Center - Room B)
  • January 23-25: Dr. Kevin Watson (Methodist Center - Room B)
  • April: Capstone Trip
  • June 12-14: Dr. F. Douglas Powe Jr. (Methodist Center - Room B)
Click here to register.
Illuminate Preaching Academy

All who have attended Illuminate Preaching Academy in the past have wonderful things to say about it. For example, the Rev. Mike Weeden said,"Like every Vital Congregations training I have experienced, I found the training events insightful, relevant, and fruitful. We all get different things from them. It is the kind of training that is both theoretical and hands on. The program not only brings in national leaders whenever it can, but it shares insights from peers in our Conference. The more relaxed environment gives a chance to allow the seeds of awareness and growth to just begin to take root. For me, I think I got as much or more from sharing with colleagues and friends as I did from the teaching"

The 2017 sessions will be held Sept. 26-28 and Nov. 7-9; the remaining sessions will be held Jan. 9-11, April 10-12, and May 15-17 in 2018.
 Click here to register and click here to read more testimonials about this great
learning experience.
2017-2019 Tending The Soul Program schedule begins this October
Tending the Soul is a two-year training program in spiritual direction and congregational formation for both clergy and laity.  Please see attached FLYER for dates.
The program includes classroom teaching, small-group settings, experiential worshipful work, and home-based reading and reflection. All six training retreats are held at Casowasco Camp and Retreat Center in Moravia, NY.
This year's featured speaker is the Rev. Wendy  J. Miller, acclaimed author, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and adjunct professor of spiritual formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. 
For more information and to learn how to apply, contact Nancy Dibelius at or 518-369-9147.
The Master's Touch Chorale is an amazing Choir! This is them in the White House in Washington D.C.! This is a free concert that will have a free-will offering. Everyone is invited J!
Where: Homer Avenue United Methodist Church
(30 Homer Avenue Cortland, NY)
When: Sunday September 10th - 6:00 pm
(Parking across from the church - on Maple Avenue, in the Maple Avenue Parking Lot)
Youth Ministry Director Needed
MARCELLUS UMC is seeking a Youth Ministry Director. Please see the job description and application information here. 
Pianist/Organist Needed
Position needed immediately for pianist/ organist for Varick UMC, Romulus NY. Contract or weekly fill available. Requirements are for Sunday worship. Service time 9:30 am. Please contact Pastor Barb @ 315-255-2958
or Carol @ 6078695627 or email at
Music Director desired at Geneva First United Methodist Church. Play organ for 8:15 and 10:30 a.m. services beginning September 17, 2017. Practice with and direct choir. Select music in consultation with Pastor and arrange for special music.  Summer: combined service at 9:30 a.m.
September 10: 8:15 a.m. service and 10:30 a.m. outdoor service (keyboard).
Send statement of interest to:
Dear friends,
I'm not sure if you saw the announcement at the end of July, but - the Candidacy Office at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) has partnered with Wespath and EY (formerly Ernst & Young) to offer financial planning services to certified candidates for licensed and ordained ministry. As background check coordinator, for me - this is huge.  Financial planning services have been provided for licensed individuals (local, ordained, etc.) for years.  Often, what I have experienced is that a candidate's credit history has been the roadblock for them receiving the license.  This new program will offer financial counseling for those who have been certified by dCOMs, before they seek licensing.  The services will be offered at no cost to candidates upon certification by their district committees on ordained ministry.
The financial curriculum through EY includes assistance with cash flow; personal savings and debt management; retirement savings strategies; investment allocation decisions; understanding tax issues; and estate and insurance planning.  The curriculum is valued at $2,500 to $3,000 per participant.
The EY Financial Planning Services will help candidates evaluate their financial situations and create strategies for improvement.  The EY financial planners received special training in the areas of concern for future clergy, including Wespath-administered plans and programs.
Candidates certified and marked certified in UMCARES after January 1, 2017 have received a letter of invitation to sign up for these services.  Active candidates certified before 2017 (who are not yet local pastors, provisional members, or ordained) may receive an invitation by emailing  Please provide a physical mailing address in your email, as invitations must be mailed due to legal reasons.  Please note that candidates must be marked as certified in UMCARES before they may receive an invitation to sign up for these financial services.
For me there had been a Catch 22 - licensed and ordained individuals could receive financial counseling once they are licensed and ordained to help them become licensed and ordained; but there was nothing available (for free and within the church) to help individuals get credentialed in the first place.  I'm very pleased with this decision and hope you find this tool to be helpful!
Grace and peace,
Rev. Leon I. VanWie
Background Check Coordinator
Upper New York Conference
Board of Ordained Ministry
An Opportunity:  Below is a link to an event that I have been a part of planning the past few years call Route 122. It is a gathering designed for those focused on increasing the vitality of existing congregations as Conference staff, District Superintendents, and pastors of local churches. This coming November, Bishop Webb, Sherri Rood, and I will be presenting at the gathering. If there is a group that is interested in going we might be able to work out a group rate for airfare. I hope you will consider join us. By the way it is in Las Vegas at the end of November.
Here is the link for information and registration:
Let me know if you have any questions.
Rev. Dr. Aaron M. Bouwens
Director of Vital Congregations
Upper New York Annual Conference
7481 Henry Clay Blvd.
Liverpool, NY 13088
(o) 315-898-2014
(c) 607-591-5780

How Do I connect?

Denominational Website: The United Methodist Church
District Website: Finger Lakes District 
If you would like to subscribe to this e-newsletter, please send your email address to:
Finger Lakes District
of the Upper New York Conference

Rev. Jeffrey McDowell, District Superintendent
Pam Deckard, Administrative Assistant

12 North Park St., Suite 11
Seneca Falls, NY 13148  (new address)
Upper New York Conference, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd, Liverpool, NY 13088
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