From: Finger Lakes District []
Sent: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 1:19 PM
Subject: February 6, 2018 e-Newsletter
Finger Lakes District E-Newsletter   February 6, 2018

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
Office Hours:  Pam will be working from home Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and in the Seneca Falls Office Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.   You can call the office at any time (315-781-0188).  Or email.  Thank you.

       We are in the appointment season. This means our Bishop and his cabinet of 13 superintendents has been meeting since early December to discern the will of God in supplying all our churches with high quality pastoral leadership. What does it mean for your church? 
     First of all, every appointment by the Bishop is officially good for one year. That means when I was at Bath from 1997-2014, I was reappointed there by various bishops seventeen times. The wise pastors point that fact out to their churches every spring when the appointment-making season is coming to a close. The cabinet knows that, in general, longer stays tend to allow greater stability and growth. 

     Second, the appointment system is bathed in prayer and spiritual discernment, not for your church alone, but for our 867 churches and clergy who serve them. These prayers are carried out by church members, SPR committees, district and conference committee members, the Bishop and the superintendents. 

     Third, no appointment is made lightly. Information is gleaned from DS / superintendent consultation, SPRC advisory forms, clergy advisory forms, church profiles, pastor profiles, statistical tables, shared ministry payments, connectional ministry involvement, spiritual gifts, cabinet experiences with churches and pastors, and several other sources. There is a supply and demand reality to this discernment work.

     Finally, clergy are servants of the larger church, not only those they are assigned to. Together we serve the greater church and thus are open to itinerancy in varying forms, as God's call on our lives.

     If you ever get upset with the appointment system, just remember: God is at work for the greater whole and not just our comfort or preferences. As superintendent I don't do this work for fun or personal gain or because I like making people upset.  I do it as my calling to help the church make disciples for the world's transformation through Jesus Christ!  Please see the excerpt below from And know you are in my prayers.
-Rev. Dr. Jeffrey McDowell-

The next edition of this eNewsletter comes out on February 20, 2018.  To submit an item for the newsletter, please have it to the district office by February 15.   Thank you.
Excerpt from Interpreter Magazine:

"Unlike a congregational system, in which individual congregations determine who their pastors will be, we rely on our bishops, working with their cabinets, to determine the placement of our clergy," explains the Rev. Myron Wingfield, interim associate general secretary, Division of Ordained Ministry, at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. United Methodist elders vow at their ordination to participate in the itineracy - to move from place to place as appointed by the bishop of the annual conference of which they are members. Bishop Robert Schnase of the Missouri Area is clear: Bishops make appointments, and the mission of the church comes first. "The call to United Methodist ministry is different than a call to congregational ministry," says Schnase. "It's not 'where do you want to go?' but, rather, we adapt ourselves to the mission field, to where we are sent."

Important Clergy Day Feb. 15!
All Clergy on the district: please RSVP for Clergy Day on the District Thursday Feb. 15 at Lansing UMC, 9:30 - 1:00 with lunch. There will be worship and training.  Please RSVP by Feb. 8th: Send notice to district office with $10 payable to the UNY conference, memo: Finger Lakes Clergy day.
All Clergy Mentors: please RSVP for mentor training by our Board of Ministry and district committee the afternoon of Thursday Feb. 15 from 12:00-3:30 p.m. with lunch.
DUE 2/12***DUE 2/12****DUE 2/12***

Finger Lakes Status: (as of today)
                          61% - NOT STARTED

Please let us know what you need to get started!   Thanks, Jeff McDowell
DS calendar:

5-7                   Cabinet meeting, Conference center
8                      District Office
9                      Off
10                    Lay Servant team, District Office
12                    District Office
13                    Pastor Leadership Development class, District Office
14                    District Office
15                    Clergy Day Lansing UMC a.m. / Mentor Training afternoon
16                    Off
18                    Bishop preaching at Cortland Homer Avenue
19-25               Vacation
Jeff McDowell is available to preach at your church or simply attend worship with you, the following dates.  Please reserve dates through Pam Deckard, office administrator. 
March 18
April 8
May 6 :     Preach at Rushville UMC: 150th Anniversary
May 20
June 3, 10 

1.  A charge to keep I have,

     A God to glorify,

     A never-dying soul to save, 

     And fit it for the sky.


2.  To serve the present age,
     My calling to fulfill:
     Oh, may it all my pow'rs engage
     To do my Master's will!

3.  Arm me with jealous care,

     As in Thy sight to live;
     And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
     A strict account to give!


4.  Help me to watch and pray,

     And on Thyself rely,

     Assured, if I my trust betray,

     I shall forever die.


                                    Charles Wesley , 1762

Safe Sanctuaries Offering

Lansing United Methodist Church will offer Safe Sanctuaries Training in our Fellowship Hall on Saturday, February 10, from 9am-12Noon.  The training will be led by Diane Withiam and Deb LaVigne.  Please contact the district office to register. or 315-781-0188
 Tax Reform - What You Need To Know Webinar "

The new tax law has implications for employers, non-profits, churches, and individuals. On Wednesday, January 24th, GCFA will sponsor a one-hour webinar on Tax Reform. This webinar will be presented by Blake Harrison, CPA, who is the Senior Manager of Tax Services, at LBMC, GCFA's internal audit firm.  In his presentation, Blake will break down the details of the new law and help you to understand its impact.

If you have a specific question about how your work with the church could be affected, email it to  Your question will be submitted to the webinar leader and every attempt will be made to answer your questions during the presentation.  

WHAT:  Tax Reform - What You Need to Know 
OUTLINE: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now in place.  It is wide-ranging tax reform that will impact ALL taxpayers including individuals, and churches.  In this presentation, we will break down the details of the new law in order to understand its impact.  We will also address questions individual taxpayers and non-profits should be asking.
WHEN:  Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 11:30 am CST
WHERE:  Participate online using WebEx
HOW:  To register, click here. (Limited to the first 500 registrants.)  

We look forward to hosting this webinar on a topic of concern for the people of The United Methodist Church.  

*Please note if you are unable to attend, the recording will be posted on the GCFA website after the Webinar.
Students: Apply now for 2018 UNY Conference scholarships

United Methodist high school seniors and college students are invited to apply for two scholarships offered by the Upper New York Conference: Conference Merit Awards and Lottie Brown Grants. Application forms and guidelines are available now. Click here for more information and to apply. 
The deadline for applications for each of these scholarships are:
Conference Merit Awards: March 5, 2018
Lottie Brown Grants: April 10, 2018
Pastor's Professional Expenses while in ministry consist of travel costs for visits and meetings, education fees, journals, books, clergy robes and anything helpful to fulfilling our role.  The annual conference sets the minimum amount and the local church pays it as "accountable reimbursements," or A.R.P.  This means costs are paid only as receipts and mileage are provided to the church treasurer; this is an Internal Revenue law! If you have questions about this church expenditure please contact DS Jeff McDowell or Administrator Pam Deckard.
UMM Retreat

We are very excited to be hosting this dynamic retreat at Skylake in Windsor, NY on September 7th & 8th, 2018.
This retreat is open to everyone, of all denominations as well as to women, children, families etc. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone. Thank you so much and may the Lord bless you as you continue to do the Lord's work.   FLYER
In Christ,
Sanjay Solomon-
(937) 626-5247
Bishop Webb Preaching

Bishop Mark Webb is preaching at the Cortland:Homer Avenue UMC
Sunday February 18th - 11:00 am service
(With a dish-to-pass to follow) All are welcome.  

We ask that you RSVP so that we know how much food to have after service.   Thank you,
Please e-mail Paul Winkelman:   Or call HAUMC at: 607-756-7222. 
Bishop Webb announces clergy appointments

Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb has announced new appointments and retirements.  CLICK HERE for the latest appointments.
ESI's (Employee Assistance Group) TotalCare EAP can help
with virtually every area of life.  See flyer (click here) for more information. Or go to: or call: 800-252-4555
Lay Servant Online courses:
Online Course Offerings:
Ezra system opened

It's time for you to enter your 2017 statistics in the Ezra system. 
You can log in at Stats are due by Feb. 15, 2018.
 Click here to review Ezra basics.

Church and Pastor Profiles
Church and pastor profiles need to be updated on a yearly basis.  Some have still not been submitted.  The District Office can submit the profiles for those churches and pastors that do not have computer/internet access.  Find the downloadable and fillable forms below:
They can be submitted to the District Office via mail. CLICK HERE to fill in and submit online.

Compliance posters and paid family leave information et al
Everything can be found on the UNYUMC website.  Below are the links you can provide to churches to help them find and print anything they need.
The new minimum wage posters need to be posted. The Paid Family Leave Notification also needs to be posted in all employment locations (in a common area like a break room).
Folks will also want to make sure their DBL and WC certificates are up to date. If they are close to the expiration dates, they should request new ones now so they are not behind the 8 ball when they have an event they need it for and it is expired. The link with contact information is - the last blue link in the list - questions can be directed to:
Paid Family Leave:
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Susan Latessa
Director Human Resources / Benefits
Track data, gain insight, and help your church with VitalSigns

The VitalSigns dashboard is a tool that allows churches to track church growth indicators, such as weekly worship attendance, professions of faith, small group participation, missional participation, and financial giving. It is a deeper level of insight, support, and accountability that tracks and trends vital information in an easy-to-understand dashboard.

The General Council on Finance and Administration pays for this software through General Church apportionments - which the Upper New York Conference paid in full in 2016. The UNY Conference began using VitalSigns about 18 months ago, and so far, 38 UNY churches have signed up.
Click here to learn how VitalSigns can help your church.
The latest 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. 
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
An Opportunity to Serve 
Imagine No Racism District Volunteer Advocate

Racism is a disease that infects the hearts, minds, souls and bodies of individuals. churches and communities. Our Social Principles state, "Racism is the combination of the power to dominate by one race over other races and a value system that assumes that the dominate race is innately superior to others." Racism is contrary to the purpose and will of God. As children of God who are to "do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)," we are called to action.
In Upper New York Annual Conference we are going to Imagine No Racism together! Read more about the Team here, and if you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Advocate, let us know and complete an application! Click here for the application.

The Imagine No Racism Launch Day is Saturday, April 21 from 12:30 pm - 4:00 PM.  These events will be held across the districts on the same day in the "hub" church locale.  Finger Lakes "hub" church is: Cortland First UMC.  .  The participation of all persons under appointment or assigned is mandatory. Retired clergy not under appointment are invited and encouraged to attend.  You are also asked to bring one or more of your laity who are passionate about racial justice.
Announcement: Annual Conference petitions, resolutions, and reports due Feb. 15, 2018
The Committee on Petitions and Resolutions is charged with overseeing the submission, review, and presentation of petitions and resolutions to the Annual Conference.
All resolutions and petitions for the 2018 Annual Conference session must be submitted to the Committee no later than Feb. 15, 2018. Submissions should be emailed to the Director of Connectional Ministries Office at
Click here for writing and submission guidelines as well as a petition and resolution template. 

Varick UMC is once again offering 3 campership scholarships this year.   Policy is the camper pays the $75 deposit and the church will pay the rest. 
Campers are to enroll online for one week of camp, pay the $75 deposit up front, and Varick Church will pay the rest. If there is a hardship case, they will pay the $75 as well. It is a ministry they love to do. Send children to camp.
Please contact Barb DeAngelis at or
Don Andrus, 607-869-5627 for any questions.
Announcement: Center for Health Newsletter from the UNY Conference Benefits Office
The Benefits Office of the Upper New York Conference is happy to provide a new resource promoting personal wellness. This newsletter is produced quarterly by the Center for Health, which is a division of Wespath, dedicated to health and wellness products and resources addressing the five dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial. Click here to read the first newsletter.
Announcement: Upper New York Conference 2019 Narrative Budget booklet available 
The first draft of the UNY Conference 2019 Narrative Budget booklet has been released. Click here to download a .pdf version of the booklet from our website. Click here to view the budget booklet on Issuu. As changes are needed, these digital copies of the budget booklets will be updated.
When all updates are completed in the coming months, printed copies of the budget booklet will be available in the District Offices and at the UNY Conference Center. The final budget booklet will also be added to the 2018 Conference Journal, Vol. I.
We are often asked: how often do people need training in Safe Sanctuaries?

Short versionAll adults (paid staff or volunteers) who have regular contact with children, youth, and vulnerable adults will be SS trained by the UNY SS trained leaders.  Workers who have had this standard/basic training need an annual orientation or update.  Usually done by reviewing the church's SS policy and procedures.  
Every two years!
If you have any question, you can check the Minimum Standards as well.

CLICK HERE for detailed information.
UNY Conference Pays 100 Percent of General Church Apportionments
Thank you to the generous churches across the Upper New York Conference who paid their 2017 Ministry Shares. This year, the Conference Ministry Share collections were just over $100,000 more than last year's. Your generosity has enabled the UNY Conference to pay 100 percent of our General Church apportionments for the second year in a row. Because of you, great things will continue happening across the world-wide United Methodist Connection. Watch Conference Communications channels for more information about 2018 Ministry Shares, the ministries supported by your Ministry Share giving, and some of the churches who have made these amazing ministries possible.
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)
Office:  315-781-0188     efax: +1-315-282-2367 
Upper New York Conference, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd, Liverpool, NY 13088
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