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2017 Upper New York Annual Conference


The Upper New York Conference gathered for its eighth session of annual conference June 1-3 at the Oncenter in Syracuse, New York.

In an unprecedented move, the Rev. Nate Lang of the Cornerstone District made a motion to move the budget report to the consent calendar. His amendment was supported by an overwhelming majority of annual conference attendees. The feeling expressed was that the conference’s narrative budget and spring listening sessions provided more than enough information and opportunities for discussion.

While there was no budget presentation or discussion, Rick King of the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration did present an award to Bishop Mark J. Webb for the work the conference has done to support the missions across the connection by paying their apportionments at 100 percent. Webb reminded the crowd how amazing it is that they paid 100 percent of their general-church apportionments for the first-time in Upper New York history. He said this staggering fact gives us a reason to dance and asked the band to play a song to dance to. They played “Build Your Kingdom Here.”

The Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean — an ordained United Methodist pastor in the Greater New Jersey Conference and professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, served as the study leader at the 2017 Upper New York Annual Conference session. Her first study session focused on missional entrepreneurship and how churches can become entrepreneurial. Her second study session was titled “Doing a New Thing: The Church of No Excuses.” The study focused on the new spiritual communities and how churches can be open to change.

There were 19 resolutions discussed with the following results:

  • New Delegates for 2019 General Conference, not supported
  • Avoid Purchase of Hewlett Packard Products, supported
  • Protecting the Right to Peacefully Address Injustice through Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, supported
  • Consider Investing in Wespath’s Equity Social Values Plus Fund (ESVPF), supported
  • Permission for a special offering to Support Prison Chaplains Certification through the New York State Council of Churches, supported
  • In Support of Special Sunday Offering, supported
  • Spiritual Gifts Training, amended and supported
  • Support New York State’s 2017 Criminal Justice Reform Act, supported
  • Support to Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction to Age 18, supported
  • New Headquarters Operations Budget, withdrawn
  • Speaking Out for Compassion: Transforming the Context of Hate in the United States, supported
  • Resolution on Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies, supported
  • Health Care for All in the United States, supported
  • Health Care, supported
  • Human Sexuality, withdrawn
  • Support for New York Health Act – A.5062/S.3525, supported
  • Resolution Endorsing Equitable, Just, and Environmentally and Fiscally Responsible Carbon Pricing, in Conjunction with the Removal of Fossil Fuel Subsidies, supported
  • A Rejection of Schism (Formerly, A Rebuke and Repudiation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association), not supported
  • A new resolution presented by Doug Mackey of Tully United Methodist Church on Maintaining Unity and Not Supporting Division Efforts, was also supported

There were 43 retirements celebrated this year at the Upper New York Annual Conference. There were also 11 individuals commissioned, three individuals ordained as deacons, and eight individuals ordained as elders.

Five offerings were taken with the following results:

  • Mission Central, $9,429.43
  • Helping Hands Fund, $4,323.64
  • Clergy Care Fund $4840.94
  • Mission of Peace, $6,794.81
  • New Faith Communities, $4,888.48

Worship attendance stands at 41,172, or down 5 percent.

Church school attendance stands at 9,394, down 8 percent.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2016 were 1,573, down from 2015 by 19 percent.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2016 were 18,227, down from 2015 by 2 percent.

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2016 were 15,217, up from 2015 by 5 percent.

— Stephen J. Hustedt, director of communications