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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Transformation in Christ 180 UNY UMM Retreat, inspiring for men, women, and children

    September 11, 2018 / By Mark Jones / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Greetings from the United Methodist Men (UMM) of the Upper New York (UNY) Conference.

    “Transformation in Christ Turn 180“ was our theme for this year’s UMM Annual Conference-wide retreat  held at the beautiful Sky Lake Camp and Retreat Center, in Windsor NY (about 15 miles from where I grew up in Conklin, NY). The idea this year was to include families; men, women and children. This idea came from a talk that we heard from Bishop Holsten of the South Carolina (SC) Conference while attending a nation-wide men’s gathering in Indianapolis in July of 2017. He shared that the men of his Conference complained that the attendance for UMM Annual gatherings in their Conference kept declining, so he suggested to the UMM leadership to begin to invite the entire family. They did and had great success and the next year’s gathering increased in attendance significantly.

    We decided if it worked for them than it should and could work here in the UNY Conference. We invited the powerful and dynamic speaker Bishop James Swanson of the Mississippi Conference to be our Leader for this year’s ground-breaking event. During his talk, Bishop Swanson challenged us all “to focus on the Being in Christ” and not so much the “Doing in Christ.” He stated that, “folk want to be a part of a Church that we’re are joyously witnessing to the transforming power of God in our lives.”

    Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb was also in attendance and he and Bishop Swanson served communion Friday night. The praise band was awesome in mixing traditional and contemporary and beautiful keyboard and solos throughout the event. The music for this event was led by Tom Hall.

    We had breakout sessions after breakfast on Saturday morning led by Pastor Cathy Stengal and Pastor Jeff McDowell. Pastor Mark Kimpland was a blessing as he was given the final part of Transition Turn 180 Saturday after lunch. Pastor Mark shared with us that it’s easy to do church, to put on your church face, and act as certain way. However, it is difficult is to glorify God in our everyday lives (in the places we go and the people we see each day…at work, the grocery store, a football game, the mall, etc.). Pastor Mark’s talk was an inspiring and wonderful way to close out this year’s retreat.

    Approximately 80 people attended between coming and going Friday and Saturday. We are planning on another UMM event next year September 14-15 at Sky Lake Camp and Retreat Center again and all are welcome: men, women, and children.    

    The UMM wanted to create an event where we could begin to connect with all people throughout this UNY Conference. We realize that times have certainly changed in our churches and societies and we too must change if we are to build the God-centered relationships necessary to spiritually impact the men, women, and children of this Conference, through our mission and ministry efforts. The UMM leadership sincerely thank all those involved in the planning and for the hard work that went into this memorable Transforming UMM event.

    “The transition in Christ Turn 180 “was a very inspirational 22 hours. Bishop Swanson reinforced that our relationship with Jesus is of utmost importance in our lives. He also helped us to better understand how to follow the path God has set for us in relating to our fellow brothers and sisters and loving them.


    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."