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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Leadership Report mobilizes UNY 2.0

    May 30, 2015 / By Kathleen Rubino / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    What do phones and the Upper New York Conference have in common?

    “Phones have evolved to a point where early users would barely recognize them. At their core they are still much the same, but their capacity has increased exponentially,” a voiceover said in a video played during the Conference Leadership Report. “In the Upper New York Conference, our story is the same. Upper New York United Methodists from many years ago could never have dreamed of how far we’ve come, and we can hardly conceive of what United Methodism will look like many years from now.”

    The Conference Leadership Team introduced Upper New York 2.0, an initiative that’s “all about increasing leadership capacity,” on Friday. The presentation wove a theme of the relationship between phones/technology and the Conference to illustrate UNY 2.0.

    “We believe God calls us into life-changing ministry and provides what we need to accomplish this work,” said the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries. “Like apps on a phone, we each have unique gifts designed to contribute something to the disciple-making work of the Church.”

    Rev. Gottschalk-Fielding said everyone has the basic components of leadership capacity, and that capacity can be upgraded. The primary task of the Conference is helping God increase the leadership capacity of clergy and lay leaders in order to grow a ministry.

    “You are part of this new thing,” he said. “You are Upper New York 2.0.”

    Bethany Printup-Davis, a lay member of the Conference Leadership Team, said the team is focusing its efforts on activities most likely to produce the greatest benefit to local churches as they seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

    “That’s what is driving Upper New York 2.0,” she said. “That’s why we believe helping increase the capacity of leaders to lead is the primary task of our Conference.”

    The Rev. Aaron Bouwens, Conference Director of Vital Congregations, introduced the 16 core competencies of UNY 2.0 that help guide developing leaders. The competencies are divided into two groups: technical and adaptive. Technical competencies focus on improving a leader’s problem-solving skillset, while adaptive competencies focus on transforming a leader’s understanding and influence on ministry environments and organizational culture, using learning approaches infused with new ideas coupled and deepened with peer interaction.

    Cornerstone District Superintendent the Rev. Sherri Rood shared five strategic “apps” that help increase capacity, including vision-casting; strategic thinking and planning; preaching, teaching, and supervision; spiritual formation; and leadership development.

    The Rev. Dave Masland, Conference Director of New Faith Communities, compared mentorship to familiarity with apps.

    “When we become comfortable with the apps we have, we can then offer help to those who are uninitiated,” he said. “Likewise, Upper New York 2.0 places high value on the act of mentorship. There’s nothing like having a seasoned user at your side as you learn new things.”

    The report also discussed: a “Mentoring for Effectiveness” process; Upper New York Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb and the appointive cabinet’s continuation to find the right-size pastoral leadership to meet congregation needs; and identifying, developing, and supporting current and future new faith community planters.

    “Greater leadership capacity is within our grasp,” said Rev. Gottschalk-Fielding. “We only have to activate it.”

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2015


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."