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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    The mission of the New York State Council of Churches

    November 22, 2017 / By The Rev. Peter Cook

    Infused with a spirit of ecumenism and hospitality, the New York State Council of Churches lives into God’s call to do justice and to love our neighbors. We point to the Kingdom of God on earth where the marginalized are freed from poverty, where prisoners can be restored to live happier and healthier lives, and where we help people of all ages grow in their Christian discipleship.

    The Council Certifies and Supports Chaplains in State Prisons.

    I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25: 37)

    Should any of your fellow parishioners and community members have the misfortune of being incarcerated, it is really essential that they receive pastoral care from well-trained chaplains inside the system.  Your contributions help support our staff and volunteers which manage the certification process while providing support services and visits to chaplains and prisoners. Supporting the Council helps ensure that prisoners and staff alike receive the much-needed ministry of hope.

    The Council offers opportunities for faith formation for people of All Ages.

    And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people. And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:17 to 18)

    We help people grow in their Christian discipleship by creating opportunities for people of different theological and political    persuasions to learn from one another in order to discover their commonalities and discern how best to offer the Gospel in a hurting world. We sponsor an annual conference, Bridging the Urban Rural Divide. The Council sponsors a well-attended United Nations Conference every February for high school youth to help them grow in faith through public witness and cultural dialog. Youth from your congregation are most welcome.

    The Council advocates for the poor and disenfranchised in the public square.

    “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  (Micah 6:8.)

    We embrace the historical commitment of the United Methodist Church to embrace social holiness. Towards that end, we help people of faith advocate for the voiceless in the halls of power. We build coalitions across the state among faith-based and secular groups to advocate for laws and policies which will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Examples of our collaborative work include successful advocacy for affordable housing funding and the raise the age law where New York no longer prosecutes and incarcerates most 16 and 17year-olds as adults. We seek to improve access to health care and improve the financial welfare of our citizens. We also focus on immigration reform and environmental policy.

    For more information:

    The Council is grateful to congregations who help sustain our work. For more information, visit  and/or contact: The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, at or 508-380-8289.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 86 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."