From: Finger Lakes District []
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 11:28 AM
Subject: October 24, 2017 e-Newsletter
Finger Lakes District E-Newsletter   October 24, 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.

My dear Methodists of the Finger Lakes:
            There seems to be a creeping congregationalism in our ranks. What I mean is that in some places the attitude I meet is one of disdain for the conference, for oversight of ministry, for the book of discipline, and for the call to pay apportionments. I meet with anger toward me from people who have never met me or heard me speak, or read anything I have written. To some perhaps, I represent the government and cannot be trusted. I contend such places have fallen into the spirit of the day in America: people don't want to be told what to do. People are self-sufficient. People want to make all their own decisions without outside influences. This is not how the body of Christ operates. Romans 12 calls all to count others as more important than self, and to work together, not separately. You cannot live Romans 12 and have a bad attitude toward others.
             I often point out that if autonomy is what people want they should not have voted to be Methodist in the first place. This statement shocks and angers some people. In explaining myself, I state that every church sends their pastor and lay leader every year to annual conference session to vote on such things, and that at some point in their history they chose to become Methodist. Not only that, but the charter of their church is Methodist, they have pastors provided by the Methodists, and I am sitting in their church, free of charge, to help them in their ministry. When they joined the church they joined the Methodists. The conference recruits, trains, ordains, evaluates and deploys clergy; no one else does that. The conference starts new faith communities (churches). The conference provides health care for our retired pastors. The conference has curriculum which churches borrow for education instead of buying it. The conference has six camps used extensively. The conference is connected to Christians all over the world, bringing hope to the needy and downtrodden through Jesus Christ.
            Congregationalists can hire or fire their pastor. Methodists respect their appointed pastors and work with the conference toward greater effectiveness. Congregationalists decide for themselves what they believe; Methodists embrace the Wesleyan Arminian heritage of belief. Congregationalists decide where all their money goes within their one church and out into the world; Methodists band together across the world to decide mission on a much larger scale. Congregationalists have to create their own networks; Methodists have the network in place in everything we do, giving us access to the needy when disaster strikes around the world.
               I am not putting down Congregationalists. I am just stating that is not who we are or how we live together in our churches. Please take the time to learn who we are as Methodists. If you have anger at the conference, turn to Christ who can heal you of that. Learning who we are and leaning into who we can become is what God is offering us at this time.
Go to;; for more information.
Jeff McDowell                                         

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      eFax: +1-315-282-2367


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!
The next edition of this eNewsletter comes out on Nov. 7, 2017.  To submit an item for the newsletter, please have it to the district office by November 1.   Thank you.
Celebrate your pastor

Sunday, Oct. 8 is Pastor Appreciation Day. The whole month of October is a celebrate your pastor time.   If you are looking for simple, yet unique ways to express appreciation to your pastor, we have a great resource for you! 

Click here to read "(More than) 10 ways to appreciate your pastor."

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

Our first Cluster Charge Conference was held at Auburn UMC on Oct. 1st.  We raised $321 for UMCOR (worship offering).  We had 35 people in worship, and 6 churches had their cc's.

Preparing for Charge Conferences

It is Charge Conference season in Upper New York and for many churches this means the time has come to fill out Charge Conference forms. Filling out Charge Conference forms can be a little intimidating, but the first step is simply locating them on the Conference website. That step is even easier than you might think!
Simply go to and on the front page of the website there is a link on the right hand side titled Church/Charge Conference and Annual forms. This will give you access to all the forms you need.
Only the District Offices can change the password if you are unable to access the password protected portion, so contact them for support or questions if needed.
* Early Response Team (ERT) Training        * ERT Recertification

Saturday, October 28, 2017 - Upper New York Conference office, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd. Liverpool, NY, 8 AM - 5 PM (or 1-5 PM to recertify).
UMCOR's Early Response Team (ERT) training equips individuals to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster. When disaster strikes, Early Response Teams (ERTs) fill a specific need to clean out flood-damaged homes, remove debris, place tarps on homes, and otherwise help to prevent further damage. The work provides a caring Christian presence in times of disaster. The ERT badge is issued by UMCOR to applicants over the age of 18 after successful completion of an ERT course and background check. Badges are valid for 3 years.
* The Early Response Team course is facilitated by Brian Greenwald. This course is 8 hours.
* The ERT Recertification is for current or expired ERT badge holders. Donna & Roger Cullen facilitate this 4-hour course.
Trained by UMCOR, all three trainers are experienced ERT responders. Questions should be directed to the Cullens at or Brian at
* ERT training cost of $25.00 includes the ERT manual, background check, supplies, lunch and badge.
* Recertification cost is $21.50 includes materials, supplies, background check, and badge.
Payment is by check written to "Clifton Springs UMC" with "ERT" written on the memo line. Please bring check to the training.
Training is potentially cancelled if less than 12 registrants by October 20.

Did you know?  About pastor deployment

"Itinerancy" refers specifically to the commitment by pastors to go and serve wherever their bishops send them. "Appointment" is the action taken by bishops. These are different, yet related.
Before they are ordained or licensed, clergy in The United Methodist Church agree to serve where their bishop appoints them. Appointments are for one year at a time. For elders and local pastors, particularly, the goal is to match the gifts and graces of the particular pastor with the ministry needs of a particular congregation. In this "serial leadership" of consecutive pastors - no two are alike - over time, the combination of skills blends to form a broad base of developed ministries.
-Adapted from "Chuck Knows Church," Discipleship Ministries, and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website. 

Flood Buckets * DropOff Center

Cortland 1st has graciously agreed to be a drop off point for Flood Buckets.  Their address is:  734 Route 222
Cortland, NY 13045.  Please call the district office (315-781-0188)for access information.

If you drop off buckets, please contact the district office by phone or and let us know how many you have delivered.  We will then have our district coordinators arrange to pick up the buckets and bring them to Mission Central at the Conference Center in Liverpool.  Of course, churches are always welcome to take the buckets directly to Mission Central.  You will need to call first to find out when that facility is open to receive the buckets.  The conference office # is:  315-898-2000.
Bluff Point UMC is an official drop off for
Samaritan Purse - Operation Christmas Drop Off
Operation Christmas Child brings good news and great joy through the power of a simple gift. What goes into a shoebox is fun, but what comes out is eternal. As children receive gift-filled shoeboxes they hear the Gospel. You can have a- role in reaching millions of children with God's love by supporting this project of Samaritan's Purse.
Here is the Drop Off information
Monday, November 13   4:00-7:00 pm
Tuesday, November 14  9:00am-12:00pm
Wednesday, November 15 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Thursday, November 16 4:00pm- 7:00pm
Friday, November 17 9:00am - 12:00pm
Saturday, November 18 12:00- 3:00pm
Sunday, November 19 12:00-3:00-pm-
Monday, November 20 9:00am-12:00pm-
Any questions can be directed to  or 
United Methodist Stance on War and Peace
We believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy. We oppose unilateral first/preemptive strike actions and strategies on the part of any government.

As Disciples of Christ, we are called to love our enemies, seek justice, and serve as reconciliers of conflict. We insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them. We advocate the extension and strengthening of international treaties and institutions that provide a framework within the rule of law for responding to aggression, terrorism, and genocide. 

We believe that human values must outweigh military claims as governments determine their priorities; that the militarization of society must be challenged and stopped; that the manufacture, sale, and deployment of armaments must be reduced and controlled; and that the production, possession, or use of nuclear weapons be condemned. Consequently, we endorse general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control
 -UMC Social Principles-
Keeping your church safe: Have you considered a Water Sensor Technology program?
The UNY Annual Conference has endorsed an innovative new risk management tool from Church Mutual Insurance Company - Water Sensor Technology. Every year, thousands of Churches experience damage and disruption to their ministries as a result of frozen pipes and water damage. Church Mutual is offering a free and easy solution to help prevent these unfortunate experiences before they can occur. The sensor technology is connected to a 24/7 monitoring system designed to alert customers via text, email, or phone if temperatures are lower than normal or water is detected in an area it should not be. This helps provide peace of mind that member churches are protected even during the times that they are vacant.
 Click here to watch a video about this 24/7 monitoring system. 
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
Aloquin-Flint UMC
has agreed to be a drop off for the Red Bird Shoe boxes again this year. Please contact David  Mott 585-526-6713.  Please drop off by Fri Nov. 10th, so they can be picked up before the 17th by Dave Alexander. Church address is 2760 Rt 5 & 20, Stanley, NY 14561
Thank you

November 10-12    Retreat at Casowasco - featuring a course to improve and hone the participants' public speaking skills, specifically as those skills relate to the act of preaching prepared sermons/messages. This course, led by Revs. Colleen and Nick Preuninger, is for anyone looking to deliver a sermon, read Scripture or lead liturgy, and satisfies both advanced Lay Servant certification and Lay Speaker requirements. Contact Jennie Young-Walczyk for a brochure. or CLICK HERE for the brochure.

There will be a Safe Sanctuaries Training and Training of Trainers opportunity at the Elm Park UMC, Oneonta, on Saturday, November 11.  The announcement is attached. 
Training:   9:00 a.m. - noon 
Please arrive between 8:40 and 8:55 so we can begin on time.
Training of Trainers:  1:00-4:00 p.m.
Dear UMC Pastor,
The Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) continues to do work on behalf of the Upper New York Conference's commitment toward building bridges with Indigenous Peoples as promised in the Act of Repentance that was initiated in the 2015 Annual Conference.
You can fulfill an important role in this promise by designating a Local Church Representative to CONAM from your congregation(s) at your upcoming charge conference. If you already have a Local Church Representative, thank you for your current and past commitment to sharing the work of CONAM within your ministry.  
The most important role of your Local Church Representative is to promote recognition of Native American Ministries Sunday (NAMS) each year. Although there is a designated Sunday after Easter as NAMS, it can be recognized anytime throughout the year. This service is a time of celebrating Native gifts within the fabric of our society and nation.
In addition, current events and activities happening in Indian Country are sent regularly through email. The role of your Local Church Representative is to share this information with your congregation(s).  
Please make sure the details about your Local Church Representative are current on the charge conference form: name, email, church, district. 
Blessings for your ministry,
Kae Wilbert

Chair, CONAM

Methodism Basics:
The United Methodist structure and organization began as a means of accomplishing the mission of spreading scriptural holiness. Methodism's founder, John Wesley, recognized the need for an organized system of communication and accountability and developed what he called the "connexion," a network of classes, societies, and annual conferences.
Today, our denomination continues to be organized in a "connectional" system, which "enables us to carry out our mission in unity and strength" (Book of Discipline, ¶ 701). Every local church is linked to an interconnected network of organizations that join together in mission and ministry, allowing us to accomplish far more than any one local church or person could alone.
Registration opens for the fall 2017 Lay Servant Training Retreat at Asbury Camp & Retreat Center 

The Genesee Valley District Lay Ministries Committee is offering a Lay Servant Training Retreat Nov. 3-5 at Asbury Camp & Retreat Center; this is a great opportunity for lay servants across the UNY Conference. In addition to the Basic Lay Servant's Course, there will be three advanced courses offered (Evangelism, UMC Heritage, and Discovering Spiritual Gifts). 
Click here for registration form.
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

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
FYI - Shared Ministry Payments:

As we near year-end for 2017, we would like to express the cut-off date for churches remitting 2017 Ministry Share payments to the conference office by 4:30pm on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.   It would be greatly appreciated if you could communicate with your churches within your district to plan to have all 2017 remittances paid by that date.  Remittances received after that date will be credited to 2017 Prior Year Ministry Shares. 
We have the capability to accept ACH (electronic funds transfers e.g.)  payments as well which will allow payments to be withdrawn on or before the deadline.  Thank you, UNYUM Conference Office
Director of Missional Engagement Opening

At the Upper New York Annual Conference. Oversees planning, management, and evaluation of mission and operations of the UNY Conference UMC Missional Engagement Ministry.
Requirements Include: HS Diploma (Bachelor degree preferred); 3 years related work/life experience in nonprofit, business, mission outreach, working with volunteers, disaster response, material donation management; Current NYS Driver's License; Excellent administrative, financial management, written/oral communication skills; Fluency with Windows Office suite; accounting software; social media resources. Must be able to work weekend/evening hours as needed and travel throughout conference area. The full description and application is available at
It's Time for Lay Servants Annual Reports to be Completed

*This report is required each year for 
a lay servant to continue

Click here to access the report. 
Fill it out (its a type-in form), print it, sign it, and get it signed by your pastor and give the report to your pastor to hand in with Charge Conference reports and materials. 

Note: Lay servants must complete the Basic Lay Servant Course and an Advanced Lay Servant Course, with an additional Advanced course every three years. If you have taken only the Basic course, you don't need to fill out a report until you have completed an Advanced course.
In a world that seems driven by division and enmity, a world that seems busy, chaotic, distracted, do you seek to live your life in a closer relationship with God?  Have you wondered lately...
"How do I listen deeply for God's invitation for my life, my ministry?"
"How do I companion others as they seek to hear God's invitation for their 
"How do I find sacred spaces where I can hear God, where I can invite                        others to hear God?"

Tending the Soul is designed to offer tools and space for discerning God's invitation for your life, to offer tools and practices for weaving an awareness of God's presence into all the ministries of a congregation.  It teaches you to listen deeply, to be the non-anxious presence who can gently and prayerfully hold sacred space for others.  It invites you into a ministry of healing and wholeness.

Paid Family Leave
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, New York State's new Paid Family Leave will go into effect. The purpose of this insurance coverage is to provide paid time off for an employee to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to foster parent-child bonding for an employee's newborn or newly placed adoptive or foster child, and for an employee experiencing any qualifying exigency related to a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent on active military duty.
The Upper New York Conference benefits office has been studying the regulations in consultation with Guardian Insurance, the carrier for our umbrella disability policy. Guardian will also be carrying our paid family leave policy. Churches should not purchase their own coverage, nor withhold contributions from employee paychecks. Claim forms and contact information will be added to the Church Employers web page in the future. 
Click here for additional guidance in how we will administer this benefit. 
CCLI License Guidelines for the Conference
(Church Copyright Licensing for Christian Music)
Updated October 10, 2017
You are invited to Join Us as  Seneca Castle UMC
Celebrates  175 years of Ministry

Bishop Mark Webb will join us for a worship celebration 
at 10:00 am
on Sunday November 19th ,  Dinner  to Follow.

Open house from noon to 3:00 pm on Saturday, November 25.  Self-Tour and Refreshments.
Equitable Compensation Application for January-June 2018 available
The Commission on Equitable Compensation has issued guidelines and application forms for salary grants to local churches for the period January 1 to June 30, 2018.

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 November 8, 2017 deadline.

Click here to review the policies and procedures or to complete the application.

District Laity Banquet
The banquet this year was a resounding success. 125 people enjoyed conversation, program, food and celebration at Club 86 in Geneva last Sunday. 
The missions and volunteers of our churches were highlighted as well as an interesting and informative program given by Roger and Donna Cullen called: "The Kingdom of God Among the Ruins".  
To see the pictures, please click on this LINK. Thank you to all who participated and worked to make this event so successful. We look forward to next year!.
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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