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2012 Upper New York Annual Conference

Upper New York Annual Conference
May 31-June 2, 2012, Syracuse, N.Y.

The Upper New York Annual Conference held its third session from May 31 to June 2, 2012, in Syracuse, N.Y., with the theme "Planting God's Future in Hearts and Neighbors: Called to Till."

Special guests in attendance included Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School president Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, who, as the featured speaker, gave the memorial service sermon and preached in the ordination and commissioning services. Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, dean of Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University, led the Bible study. Also in attendance was the Rev. Albert Mosley, president/dean of Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Ga.

Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Marcus Matthews led the opening worship, urging the clergy and laity to keep tilling the soil no matter where or what shape it's in.
He also said the 2-year-old Conference "can now trust and believe that God has sown the seeds of this new Annual Conference on fertile ground.

let us say yes to being a Conference that is cultivated on fertile ground. Let us say yes to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being God's love with our neighbors in all places," the bishop said. "And let us say yes to producing the rich soil in which disciples will be made..."

Ordained and commissioned

A total of 23 people were recognized, ordained and commissioned: two had orders recognized, one was ordained as a deacon, 13 were ordained as full elders, and six were commissioned as provisional elders. Those commissioned as provisional elders were Emily Barner Huyge, John Paul Loeser, Nicholas John Perry, Geraldine Edith Rapino, Mary Grace Rublee and Carolyn S. Stow. Ordained to the Order of Deacon was the Rev. Insook Do. Those ordained as full elders were: the Rev. Robert Alvan Dean Jr., the Rev. Barbara Lynn DeAngelis, the Rev. William Howard Delia, the Rev. Diane E. DiLuzio, the Rev. Allyson Margaret Ellis, the Rev. Kimberly Susan Hines, the Rev. Maidstone Mulenga, the Rev. Carmen Lynette Perry, the Rev. Nancy J. Stanley, the Rev. Dena Ann Stevens, the Rev. Jennifer Castle Streeter, the Rev. John Rodger Tyson and the Rev. Christopher Robert Wylie. Received as elders in full connection were the Rev. Roosevelt Baums and the Rev. DongKi Kim. Bishop Matthews also ordained Gad Mpoyoof the North Katanga Annual Conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a courtesy ordination.

Memorial service

Three bishops, three bishops' spouses, 26 clergy and 26 clergy spouses were remembered and celebrated during this year's memorial service.

In his sermon, Rev. McMickle read from the Gospel of John 14:15-19: "... But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live."

But with that comes responsibility, he said. If there is hunger, pain or loss, the members of the Session should go into the world and provide.

"I have no travel brochures from glory...I get no postcards from the other side that say 'Wish you were here,'" said Rev. McMickle.

"All I got is a faith that when the earthly house in which we live shall be dissolved we will have another building. &ellipsis; I have no blueprints, no plans; all I got is a promise from somebody who said, 'because I live, you also will live.'"

Annual Conference business

  • The Conference approved Plentiful Harvest, a comprehensive approach for new and renewing congregations that seeks to concentrate our financial and human resources to revitalize 300 existing congregations and plant 100 new faith communities over the next quadrennium (2013-2016). Plentiful Harvest is the fruit of the conversations and shared vision of multiple Conference teams (Conference Leadership Team, Conference Board of Trustees, New Faith Communities Team and the UNY Extended Cabinet), Conference staff and General Church resource persons.

  • In order to fund Plentiful Harvest, the Conference approved a proposal to use net proceeds from the sale of real estate resulting from churches "discontinued by the Annual Conference without direction concerning the disposition of property" and church buildings considered abandoned to provide financial resources project.

  • The Annual Conference Session also adopted a 2013 budget of $10.7 million, holding the bottom line with the 2012 and 2011 budgets.

  • The Communications Committee announced that the yearlong HANDS4NY effort to feed 1 million people in one year was successful, and surpassed its goal, feeding a total of 1,818,953 people by the end of May.

  • The members also celebrated the campaign to create a $1 million scholarship endowment fund for Africa University, which is a three-year project.

  • Winners of the second annual Youth Video Contest, which was designed to provide local churches with an avenue for connecting with youth, were announced and saluted.

  • Members accepted the discontinuance of two churches: Sidney Center UMC (Oneonta District) and Albany Street UMC in Schenectady (Albany District).

  • Kevin Kosh Jr., who was a 2011 Black College Fund Lina H. McCord summer intern while at Rust College, congratulated the Upper New York Annual Conference on giving 100 percent to the Black College Fund, and offered encouragement to continue to give at that level. "Last year the Upper New York Annual Conference paid 100 percent of apportionments. Give yourself a round of applause; it is my prayer that you will continue to make the Black College Fund a priority," said Kosh, who is now a student at Gammon Theological Seminary.

  • Conference Finance and Administration Chair Ted Vickery announced that the Conference also gave 100 percent to both the World Service and Africa University funds.

  • Conference Chancellor Scott Del Conte and Treasurer Sherri Mackey were re-elected for the next quadrennium.

  • Annual Conference membership stands at just over 182,400.

* Maidstone Mulenga, Upper New York Annual Conference director of communications.