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Date: March 26, 2019 at 12:55:12 PM EDT
Subject: March 26, 2019 e-Newsletter

Finger Lakes District E-Newsletter  March 26, 2019

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 a useful 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

Please contact the office via email (above) or phone (315-781-0188) and your messages will be responded to.   
The next edition of this eNewsletter comes out on April 9, 2019.  To submit an item for the newsletter, please have it to the district office by April 1.   Thank you.
Registration Open for Annual Conference!

Registration is now open for the UNY Annual Conference session, held June 5-8 at the Syracuse OnCenter.
Click here to register and for all information that you would need 
 Bow Tie and Hat Day at AC!  We like to have fun at Annual Conference and you can be a part of it by wearing a bow tie or hat (or both!) on Friday, June 7. Go crazy! Be creative! Any type of headwear works - hat, head band, fascinator - you've got time to find the perfect accessory. 
Safe Sanctuaries Training Opportunity

Saturday, May 11, 2019
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Geneva First UMC
340 Main St
Geneva, NY 14456

Trainers:  Diane Withiam and Lisa Barrett

Please contact: Rev. Emily Huyge
or the church office at:  315-789-6550
When you get a call from the District Office . . 
The phone at the District Office now goes through the Conference Office system. So, when Pam or Jeff calls from the office in Seneca Falls, your caller ID will display 315-898-2000 (conference office main number). We will leave a message for you, but please call the "regular" 315-781-0188 number to call back. (You don't want to have to go through the switchboard in Liverpool.)
Thanks for your understanding. I also understand if you don't answer when I call . . .  Technology. (sigh)
UNY Post Special Session Gathering video available

The video of the Upper New York Post Special Session Recap and Reflections gathering that took place on March 17 is now available. This gathering included worship, prayer, Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb's discussion of the decisions made at the Special Session of General Conference, Bishop Webb's reflection on how we might seek unity in the United Methodist Church, and Bishop Webb's answers to questions asked by members of the UNY Conference.

Click here to watch or download the video.


Go to our site: 

What better way to spend your summer than at camp? Our summer camps offer lots of action and plenty of fun, sun-soaked days. Meet lifelong friends, eat great meals, and have the time of your life in a spectacular setting! What makes our camp weeks so special? We offer a wide variety of programs and activities for children and youth to experience while they are at camp.

Outward! Youth Gathering Is Coming

Attention all youth leaders and youth groups! Registration is now open for the annual spring gathering of youth from across the conference is April 5-7 at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool. We are hoping for the largest attendance from the Finger Lakes District this year. *

CLICK HERE for Registration on the conference website.

The registration fee per person is $70 plus room rates for the hotel and food costs as each group will need to provide for their own meals. *The district does have some funding for scholarships to help pay for members of your group to attend. Please let me know if your group will be attending and if you would like some scholarship help.
Pastor Jeff Childs, district youth coordinator 315-729-4464 or

District Superintendent's preaching schedule:

         March 31 at Homer Ave and Virgil
               April 28 at Harmony and Forest Home Chapel
               May 5 at Geneva (both services)
         May 19 at E. Homer/Truxton and Freeville
   June 2 at Varna
   June 23 at Newark First
Clergy Tax Exemptions information

Clergy who own their homes may be eligible for a tax exemption.  For more information, and the Exemption Application Forms, please 
UNY Local Pastor's Licensing School

This year's UNY Local Pastor's licensing school will be held May 5-11, 2019. This is an earlier date than in year's past. It will be held at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center.

The LPLS experience provides an opportunity to learn with other students about the basics of ministry, to interact with and share ministry practice with the faculty and students, and to be creative in beginning pastoral ministry. Students in the LPLS should have completed the requirements for certified candidate. Also, it is recommended that you complete a Safe Sanctuary Training and the Boundary Awareness Training (online) prior to attending the LPLS. Please bring those certificates (or copies) of successful completion with you.

Click here to register and to learn more information about this local pastor licensing school.
UMCOR Sunday, March 31st 

In addition to quickly responding to U.S. and international disasters, UMCOR also addresses diseases of poverty, ministers to refugees and immigrants, provides clean water, and actively works to reduce hunger and poverty.
Do you need something to jump start your UMCOR Sunday celebration?  Click here for downloadable resources and videos to help educate your congregation on the importance of supporting this church-wide Special Sunday with offering.
Taskforce to investigate GC2019 voting

General Conference organizers have appointed a taskforce to investigate possible improper voting at the recently completed special session of The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking body. The multinational Commission on the General Conference held an emergency meeting by teleconference Mar. 16, after a preliminary review found that "a very limited number" of ineligible people potentially obtained credentials to vote. The commission has not yet reported a precise number. Click here to read more.

There is still space for YOU at one of our spring gatherings - explore the opportunities available at our Camp & Retreat Centers. Head to for more information or to sign up/register, contact the site directly, or contact the CRM Central Office at 315-898-2026 with any questions.

April 11-14, 2019: Quilt by Faith: Spring (Women)
May 12, 2019: Mother's Day Brunch (Families & Adults)

Sky Lake:
April 5-7, 2019: Church Family Getaway (Families & Adults)
Right Start Workshops Dates are Set for Moving Clergy

WHO ATTENDS: this is mandatory for all full-time clergy who are moving to a new appointment, retirement or extension ministry. Less than full time clergy who are moving to a new appointment or retirement are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Northern Flow & Crossroads:
May 16, 2019 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sandy Creek UMC, 2031 Harwood Dr, Sandy Creek, NY

Albany & Adirondack:
May 20, 2019 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Saratoga Springs UMC, 175 Fifth Ave, Saratoga Springs

Oneonta & Mohawk:
May 21, 2019 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
New Hartford First UMC, 105 Genesee St. New Hartford, NY

Genesee Valley & Finger Lakes:
May 21, 2019 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Farmington UMC, 5925 County Road 41, Farmington

Mountain View & Binghamton
May 22, 2019 9:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Waverly UMC, 158 Chemung St., Waverly, NY

Niagara Frontier & Cornerstone
May 23, 2019 9:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
First UMC, Springville, 474 E. Main Street, Springville, NY

Please register for one of these six dates on line. Click here to register.

Please feel free to choose the location and day that best fit your schedule. Lunch will be provided. If you have special dietary or other needs, please share this information when you register. Questions may be directed to your current district superintendent. 
Please Note:

If there are changes in the names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses  for you, and/or any of your committee chairs, please contact the district office with the changes. Thank you  
Announcement: Bishop Webb answers questions related to Special Session of General Conference 2019:

Since the Traditional Plan passed at the Special Session of General Conference last month in St. Louis, many members of the Upper New York Conference have questions related to these results. Upper New York (UNY) Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb and other leaders have begun answering questions that members of the UNY Conference have on their minds.

Click here to view the questions that have been answered thus far. Bishop Webb and other leaders will continue to answer as many questions as possible in the coming weeks. If you have questions related to the Special Session of General Conference, they can be sent to
2019 Employer Updates 

There are two changes that will affect Upper New York churches and employees in the new year.

Effective Dec. 31, New York State's hourly minimum wage rate is increasing to $11.10. All employers in the Upper New York Conference must pay non-exempt employees minimum wage regardless of how many people they employ. Click here to read more about the wage increase.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, New York State (NYS) Paid Family Leave is increasing to 55% benefit and 10 weeks for eligible employees. Click here to learn more about the updates and changes.

If you have any questions, contact Tracy Rickett, Upper New York Conference's Human Resources Generalist, at (315) 898-2017 or

How to use VitalSigns

We introduced you to VitalSigns, a platform that can help your church to track key indicators and uncover important insights. Click here to watch a video that shows you just how easy this program is to use. 
For more information about the VitalSigns tool, free to all United Methodist churches, contact Aaron Bouwens, Upper New York Conference Director of Vital Congregations at

Applications for delegate to General & Jurisdictional Conference are being sought
The Conference Committee on Sessions is now accepting applications from those who wish to be considered as candidates for the role of delegate to the 2020 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference. The committee has expressed its hope that the pool of applicants will reflect the diversity of the Conference and The United Methodist Church. Men and women of all ages and ethnic, racial, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
To help members determine if they are called and able to serve in this vital role, the Committee on Sessions has created a "job description" for delegates. Click here to read the delegate guidelines and to learn more

Golden Bucket Award

The UNYUMC Mission Central HUB is announcing the Golden Bucket Award to the District that donates the most UMCOR Cleaning Kits!   Please tag your buckets with a removable tag (ex. string and piece of paper) include your church name and District
This award started on October 1st, 2018 and runs till May 25th, 2019. 
The Golden Bucket will be awarded at the 2019 Annual Conference.
It is important to follow the UMCOR Cleaning Kit last updated May 
2018. Any questions please contact Mike Block. Click here for an updated UMCOR cleaning kit supply list.  
Resolutions & Petitions for 2019 Annual Conference session
NOW due no later than March 29th, 2019

The Committee on Petitions and Resolutions is charged with overseeing the submission, review, and presentation of petitions and resolutions to the Annual Conference.
NEW DEADLINE:To allow for more space and time for reflection following the Special Session of General Conference, the deadline for submitting petitions and resolutions for the Upper New York Annual Conference Session has been extended to March 29. Submissions should be emailed to the Petitions and Resolutions Committee at

Click here for writing and submission guidelines as well as a petition and resolution template and sample document. 
All reports and materials to be published in the Journal Vol. I are due on February 15, 2019. These items should be submitted to the Connectional Ministries' office at

Counseling available for all of our appointed Clergy, part time and full time, and some paid church staff...

Dear Pastors of the Finger Lakes: You have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you are appointed by our bishop to serve.  During this tumultuous time in the life of our world and church, I ask you to utilize this helpful tool to deal with stress related to being in leadership. This service is completely confidential and is very helpful.  
In Christ, DS Jeff McDowell.
The benefit for all part-time clergy is through a company called "EIS" and provides 2-3 visits per year fully paid with a counselor.  Call 800-252-4555 and tell them who you are and what conference you are with.
The benefit for all full-time clergy is through a company called Optum Health and provides 8 visits per year fully paid with a counselor.  Call 800-788-5614 and tell them who you are and what conference you are with.
Download the March Issue II of the Bridge

The March 2019 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 summarizes the March 17 Post Special Session of General Conference Recap and Reflections Gathering that took place via livestream through the entire Upper New York Conference.

Included in this issue are links to related resources, such as:

* Video reflections shared at the event
* A summary of the decisions made at the Special Session of General Conference (including a PowerPoint format)
* Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb's remarks/script from the gathering
* Bishop Webb's answers to questions UNY members asked
* The entire live-streamed video

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

May 3 from 9:00 - 2:00.  
Subject: Sexism in the church? Spot it, stop it.  
Seneca Falls, NY
Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Melanie Duguid-May
Dr. May is the John Price Crozer Professor of Theology, Colgate Rochester  Crozer Divinity School

Visit the Women's Rights Museum in Seneca Falls, join in worship at the district office auditorium, and lunch with conversation at the Seneca Falls UMC.  
It is our hope you will leave the day informed and inspired to help all God's people live, "love one another as I have loved you" Jn.13.34 and begin a path to eradicate the sin of sexism levied at women in the church. Bring your questions and prayers to this sensitive topic in our faith communities and be prepared to pray for the wounded among us who have been the target of sexism's sting.
Dr. May is an expert on gender studies in religious life, an ordained American Baptist minister, and well published author.  Among her many pubilcations is her book, "Bonds of Unity: Women, Theology and the Worldwide Church" 
More details to come but please plan to take this day and learn more about what sexism is in our faith community and what we can do to survive it while helping other see the harm it leaves in its wake so to transform our behaviors in the name of Christ

United Methodist Women
United Methodist Women Mission Resources is no longer publishing, except electronically, the United Methodist Reading Program "newsprint paper" Pamphlet, starting with this 2019 year.  The following is a "Table of Contents" to bring you to the most useful parts as an English-speaking user:
 pp             1-22                    Reading Program books, with descriptions
[pp         23-27]                   [Spanish/Korean]
 pp          28-30                     Information on Reading Plans
[pp         31-36]                   [Spanish/Korean]
 pp          37-38                     Shipping Information (English at top)/ Order Form
[pp         39-40]                   [Spanish/Korean]
 pp          41-42                     Resources for visually impaired/               
    There will be copies of the English speaking pages at our FLD UMW Spring meetings, March 16 at Rose UMC, April 13 at Penn Yan UMC and Annual Banquet, May 7, Club 86, Geneva.  Please take one to share with your UMW local unit.
     I'm getting closer to being able to provide a selection of Reading Program Books, tax free, for purchase at these meetings.  I will keep you informed when that is a firm option.
    Reminder that your individual Report of Completion Requirements sheet for 2018 Books read, can be mailed to Angie Gage at 3637 St Rt 245, Stanley, NY 14561 or emailed to:  The reports can also be turned in at the March 16 and April 13 FLD UMW meetings.  Deadline for 2018 Reading Reports is April 15, 2019.
    Please let me know if you have any questions.
Marcia Waterman, Communications, Finger Lakes District UMW                     

Bishop Webb announces clergy appointments 

Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb has announced eight new appointments pending approval of clergy session. View the full list of changes here.
New- Equitable Compensation Application for July-Dec. 2019 

The Commission on Equitable Compensation has issued guidelines and application forms for salary grants to local churches for the period July 1 to Dec. 31, 2019. Salary grants are available only to churches with a pastor under full-time appointment. To apply for salary assistance from the Equitable Compensation Fund, applicants should review the policies and procedures in the application document for guidance, and then complete the application according to the directions provided by the March 29, 2019 deadline.  Click here for more details and to apply for or renew a grant.
Clergy Housing Allowance Upheld - March 2019
In November of 2013, Judge Barbara Crabb of the District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that the tax exempt status of a clergy housing allowance was an unconstitutional preference for religion. An appellate decision overturned Judge Crabb's first ruling.

The plaintiffs changed their strategy and refiled the challenge. In the autumn of 2018 the same judge found for the plaintiffs a second time, with a narrower ruling this time. This time the ruling only affected pastors who receive a cash housing allowance. Those who live in church-provided parsonages were not affected. This second decision was appealed, leaving uncertainty about the future of the clergy housing allowance exemption.

Last Friday the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion. Its conclusion: the clergy housing allowance is a constitutionally permissible tax benefit. In a 3-0 decision, the panel found that section 107(2) was constitutional under both the traditional three-factor test set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), as well as the "historical significance" test of Town of Greece v. Galloway, 572 U.S. 565 (2014).

It is possible that the plaintiffs (those opposing the constitutionality of the clergy housing allowance) will appeal this most recent decision. It could end up being decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. We will keep you posted.

This content is designed to provide a brief introduction to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

The United Methodist Church designates a number of Sundays throughout the year as opportunities for recognizing and supporting particular ministries. These are referred to as Special Sundays and most include an offering used to fund the work of these programs. 

Churchwide Special Sundays with offerings enable United Methodists like you to offer refuge in times of disaster, promote peace and justice, provide scholarships and student loans, reach out to the community, teach skills to encourage self-sufficiency and share the love of Jesus Christ with God's people everywhere.

These special Sundays include: Human Relations Day, UMCOR, Native American Ministries, Peace with Justice, World Communion, and United Methodist Student Day.

There are other Special Sundays approved for Annual Conference offerings.  These include: Christian Education, Golden Cross, Rural Life, and Disability Awareness. 

Please make sure you are promoting and taking these offerings so the power of our church in so many places will thrive.    Thank you, D.S. Jeff McDowell

Plan ahead for Native American Ministries Sunday, May 5, even as you prepare for UMCOM Sunday this week. Your toolkit is enclosed.

Native American Ministries Sunday celebrates and supports the 157 Native American United Methodist churches that are part of the denomination. On May 5, our special offering helps directly support Native American congregations to authentically minister with their communities and provides scholarships for Native American seminary students.

Did you know that more than 20,000 Native American people are part of The United Methodist Church? Through gifts shared on this Special Sunday, United Methodist Native American seminary students and congregations are empowered to develop new ministries that honor creative expression of their culture. They are equipped to form new ministry partnerships and coalitions, encouraging community reconciliation and restoration.

We have prepared worship resources and information to share with your congregation about the importance of Native American Ministries Sunday and to ask them to give generously on May 5.

For ideas about engaging your church in celebrating Native American Ministries Sunday, print and share this poster.

For worship, social media and other resources to prepare for Native American Ministries Sunday, download your toolkit here.

If you don't already have offering envelopes for Native American Ministries Sunday, please order them today.

Through our connection, we live out our commitment to repentance, healing forgiveness and love. Thank you for reminding your congregation to give generously on May 5.
Sojourner Truth
Methodist women making history

March is Women's History Month, and The United Methodist Church is blessed with many individuals who have been role models in the faith.

Click here to see how many names you recognize on this timeline referencing some of the amazing women who helped shape the Church starting in 1770.


Varick UMC is offering 5 campership
scholarships this year. 
Once you have been accepted, the camper will enroll online for one week of camp, pay the required deposit up
front, and the Varick Church will pay the rest. If there is a hardship case, they
will pay the deposit 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.

United Methodist Night at the Ballpark
Syracuse Mets vs. Indianapolis Indians
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
6:30 PM (Game)
4:30 pm (Tailgate begins)

Register for our 2019 NEJ Mission Academy today! 

We meet at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, MA from April 1-4.  Follow this link to register.
CLICK HERE for Academy Agenda.
Nominations are open for the 2019 Harry Denman Evangelism Awards. The awards honor United Methodists in each Conference whose exceptional evangelism brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Each year, Annual Conferences join the Foundation for Evangelism in recognizing one youth, one clergy member, and one lay person in their Conference. The 2018 recipients in the Upper New York Conference were lay member Kevin T. Dunn (posthumously) and Pastor Mike Kelly. The deadline for submitting your nominations to the Conference is April 19. Please contact Judy Campany at with your nominations.
The Upper New York Conference College Ministry Team invites high school and college undergraduate students to apply for the Lottie Brown Grant. The application deadline is April 10.  Click herefor more information and to apply.

2019 UMFF Rev. Dr. Keith Muhleman Ministry Grants
Information for Applicants:   CLICK HERE

Bones East Concert

March 31, 2019      1:15 p.m.
Christ UMC of Locke and Moravia
     36 Church St
      Moravia, NY 13118
Open to all      CLICK HERE for flyer
Job Opening: Maintenance Supervisor at Casowasco

Click here for the job posting for a Maintenance Supervisor at the Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center. Interested candidates should apply online through the link on our website. Search for "Job Opportunities" on the UNY website.

New - COS Satellite School Information:

Wesley Theological Seminary is proud to announce the opening of the Upper New York Satellite School for the Course of Study Program in the 2019 fall term.  This school will be held in the state of the art classrooms at the Upper New York conference center in Liverpool, NY. We will begin by offering three sessions: fall, winter and spring with three course for each session.  This is in response to the data we received from the former Buffalo school and follows the pattern of courses taken by students.  Wesley will watch the enrollment and depending on demand we will add courses as needed.

A course schedule for the first two years (on the second page of the schedule) and registration information is available on the Wesley website  here. Click the drop down menu for the "Upper New York Satellite School".  A pdf fillable registration form is available under "registration forms".  This registration form can be either completed on-line and emailed to your DS or printed and completed by hand and mailed to your district office.  Once the DS has signed the form, the district office will mail the registration form to the COS registrar at:
COS registrar: Betsy O'Flynn
1050 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
The COS registrar will forward the completed form on to Wesley Seminary.  
The deadline for registration for the first term is September 30, 2019
Please note the following changes for registration:
Please check the website for registration deadlines. Forms received after the deadline will be returned to the student. Please allow yourself  time to get the required signatures needed.  Course information available at on the Course of Study page and/or on Blackboard.
Student ID's:
All Course of study student have two student ID's. One for Wesley Theological Seminary (student ID) and one for the GBHEM (PID). Students must provide the PID from the GBHEM on their registration forms. This is a new policy from the GBHEM. You may obtain your PID by contacting Pamela Frost at . If you do not know your Wesley ID, we can look that up in our system.
Costs: Registration fee and tuition will be billed directly to the student through the WTS business office. Students need to keep up with your balance. We cannot register you if you have a balance of more than one course on your account. Students are responsible for contacting their conference to obtain any conference monies to assist with the cost of the program.
We are still working on details for this new program - please stay tuned for more information in the weeks ahead.  Any questions, please feel free to contact the COS registrar, Betsy O'Flynn at or 585-340-9558.
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  
Office:  315-781-0188     efax: +1-315-282-2367 
Upper New York Conference, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd, Liverpool, NY 13088
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