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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Gathering of NEJ Conference Lay Leaders in Buffalo

    October 12, 2016 / By UNY Communications

    The Northeastern Jurisdiction Association of Conference Lay Leaders gathered at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Buffalo on October 7, 2016.

    Hosted for the first time by UNYAC, the group of Conference and District Lay Leaders received gift bags assembled by Niagara Frontier DL Jessica White and friends, as guests were welcomed and directed to the meeting space.

    Drew Griffin, Associate UNYAC Lay Leader, offered a blessing prior to the buffet dinner served to participants from Western PA, Susquehanna, Baltimore-Washington, Greater NJ, NY, and UNY Conferences.

    Rev. Wayne Butler, DS for the Niagara Frontier District, welcomed everyone to worship and offered greetings on behalf of Bishop Webb and Upper New York. NEJ ACLL President Sharon Gregory of Western PA also added words of welcome to all assembled.

    Susan Hardy, UNYAC Lay Leader centered worship with a vital message from Jeremiah 29: 1, 4-7. "Build, grow, and pray for those around you" were words of command for exiles in Babylon. Susan related those commands to current challenges to United Methodists everywhere. Powerful music and heartfelt prayers were provided by Dan Austin and a female vocalist from Clarence Center UMC.

    Rev. Butler presided over communion, assisted by NEJ ACLL President Sharon Gregory.

    The group reconvened on Saturday at 9 a.m. for devotions led by Dr. Scott Johnson, former Conference Lay Leader for the UNYAC.

    From 9:30 a.m. until noon, John Konieczny, CLL from Susquehanna Conference, led a presentation based on leadership development. He was assisted by Renata Smith, former CLL for the NY Conference, as well as by Dr. Scott Johnson.

    After lunch, everyone continued to discuss leadership practices, ask questions, and share leadership calls. Delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences also shared their views of concerns and decisions affecting all conferences.

    At 6 p.m., participants and a few spouses boarded a bus to Seneca Street UMC, where a meal was prepared and served by Pastor Dee and members of the church. Pastor Brian Roach and Cheryl Bird also led tours of the site and described multiple ministries. An impromptu offering of $417 was given to Seneca Street by the NEJ ACLL guests.

    Many said that this tour was life-changing, and details would be shared with home conferences and churches.

    This event concluded with a Sunday worship service at 10 a.m. NEJ ACLL President Sharon Gregory offered a reflection, "This is the Day...", based on a reading from Lamentations 3: 22-23. Again, Rev. Wayne Butler presided over communion, assisted by UNYAC CLL Susan Hardy.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 867 local churches and 65 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."