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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.


    Bishop’s Retreat

    Keynote Speakers
    Workshop Descriptions
    Wednesday Night Fun
    Free Time Activities

    Join Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez for his first ever Bishop's Retreat to be held Jan. 16-18, 2024 at the Radisson Hotel in Corning, NY. The theme for this year's event is "Thrive" based on the Scripture by John 10:10 (AMP), "I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]." 


    • Single room (no roommate) $400.00
    • Clergy & Spouse or Clergy/Clergy couple room $600.00
    • Double Room (2 people per room each person much register separately) $300.00 per person
    • Commuter (meals & program fees) $180.00
    • Commuter & Spouse (meals & program fees) rate is $360.00

    The deadline to register for the Bishop’s Retreat was Tuesday, November 28st.

    Schedule (Click here to download a printed copy and click here for the music playlist on YouTube.)

    Tuesday, Jan. 16

    Lunch on your own

    12:00 p.m. -                             Registration                                        

    12:00 p.m. - 9 p.m.                  Prayer Room                                                                            

    12:45 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.             Gathering Music

    1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.               Opening Worship * Bishop Burgos (Check-in begins at 3 p.m.)

    3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.               Break

    3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.               Keynote Speaker – Rev. Dr. Ron Bell, The Upper Room

    4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.               Free Time/Time to check-in, unpack, and unwind                

    6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.               Prayer/Dinner Buffet (Included)

    7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.               Facilitated conversation with the Orders/Fellowship/Spouses*  (breakout rooms) on covenant groups

                                                                Order of Elders                                                                       

                                                                Order of Deacons                                                                   

                                                                Fellowship of Local Pastors & Associate Members               

                                                                Spouses Gathering                                                                 

    8:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.               Transitional Break

    8:15 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.               Conversation with Bishop Burgos – Panel conversation with Ron Bell & Bishop on clergy wellness and then open up for Q&A

    Wednesday, Jan. 17

    7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.               Morning Stretches with Wespath representative in breakout room

    8 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.                    Prayer room open all-day                                          

    8 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.                    Breakfast (Included) | Finger Lakes Ballroom

    9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.               Worship* | Finger Lakes Ballroom

    9:30 – 11:00 a.m.                     Keynote Speaker* Ron Bell | Finger Lakes Ballroom

    11:00 – 11:15 a.m.                   Transitional Break

    11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.           Morning Workshops* | Breakout rooms

    1. Workshop 1 –  Deepening the Well | Strengthening our Devotional Life, led by the Rev. Nancy Dibelius
    2. Workshop 2 – Making the Most of Time, led by the Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens
    3. Workshop 3 – Saving Grace Workshop led by Wespath
    4. Workshop 4 – Physical Wellness – Chair Yoga led by Mary Francese

    12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.             Lunch Buffet (Included) | Finger Lakes Ballroom

    2:00 p.m.– 3:15 p.m.                Afternoon Workshops* | Breakout rooms

    Same as above (optional for folks that want to experience more than one learning experience.

    3:15 – 7:00 p.m.                      Sabbath Time | Dinner on your own

    7:00 – 8:00 p.m.                      Evening Fun Event (click here for more information)

    Thursday, Jan. 18                                                                             

    7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.              Morning Stretches with Wespath representative

    8 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.                   Breakfast (included) | Finger Lakes Ballroom

    9 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.                   Centering Time* (praise song & prayer)
    9:15 - 10:15 a.m.                    Keynote Speaker* | General Secretary of Wespath

    10:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m.             Closing Worship with Communion*

    11:30 a.m.                               Adjourn

    * indicates when childcare is available if pre-registered (walk-ins not accepted)  

    Keynote Speakers

    One of this year's keynote speakers is the Rev. Dr. Ron Bell, Director of Healing & Resilience at The Upper Room. Rev. Dr. Bell will speak on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. 

    Rev. Dr. Ron Bell is both a pastor and author. He is the senior pastor of Camphor Memorial UMC and a regular guest columnist for the Saint Paul Monitor. He has written articles for The Upper Room and has published articles in the Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support quarterly journal. He has written three books: Bigger Than Hip Hop: 7 Questions for Reaching Young Adults in Ministry, Is There Space for Me Embracing Greif through Art, and his latest book, The Four Promises: Journeying through Past and Present Trauma.

    He has also created an ongoing webinar series on Trauma and Empathy that he has led with several universities, including St. Paul College, Bethel University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Fuller Theological Seminary, and several others, as well as with numerous nonprofits and county agencies.

    Ron is married to Dr. Eboni M. Bell, and they have two sons. Ron has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Morgan State University, a master’s degree in Theology from Regent University School of Divinity, a doctorate degree in Ministry from Lancaster Theological Seminary, and has done his certification work for trauma response at Rutgers University School of Social Work. Ron is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

    Dr. Ron has also worked for Ramsey County Human Resources Department staff, Bethel University, St. Paul College, Minnesota's Clinical Pastoral Education program, and Stillwater Prison.

    He is also a commissioner for the St. Paul mayor's Community-First Public Safety Commission and Board Member for Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support.

    The other keynote speaker is Andrew Q. Hendren, General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Wespath. Andy Hendren will be speaking on Thursday morning. 

    Andy is the general secretary and chief executive officer of Wespath Benefits and Investments, which administers benefit plans for over 100,000 participants serving at United Methodist-affiliated organizations and is the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world. Wespath also is a global leader in sustainable investment stewardship, managing benefit plan assets as well as endowment and foundation assets of numerous Methodist-affiliated organizations. Reporting directly to Wespath’s board of directors, Andy leads Wespath’s enterprise efforts and fiduciary functions.

    Andy applies a deep understanding of church values, regulatory frameworks and societal trends to strategic planning, organizational decision-making, and the evolution of benefits and investments products and services for faith-based organizations. He has long-standing relationships with stakeholders throughout The United Methodist Church, across a diversity of faiths, and among multiple government and secular business arenas. His expertise includes United Methodist polity, ecumenical cooperation, government relations and employee benefits law (particularly church benefit plans).

    Andy joined Wespath in 2004 and has served in multiple positions. Prior to assuming the general secretary/CEO role in 2022, he was Wespath’s general counsel/chief legal and governance officer, as well as corporate secretary. Previous Wespath roles included associate general counsel and assistant general counsel.

    Andy serves on the Steering Committee of the Church Alliance (a coalition of nearly 40 church benefit programs) and on the board of directors of the Church Benefits Association (a multi-denominational coalition whose members manage over $100 billion in benefit plan assets). He served in leadership roles in the Church Alliance from 2014 through 2020. Through his work with the Church Alliance, Andy periodically engages in policy-setting dialogues with Congressional members and legislative/committee staff, as well as staff at many regulatory agencies.

    Earlier employers include Sidley Austin LLP and a clerkship for the Honorable Chief Justice William Ray Price (Supreme Court of Missouri). Andy has a juris doctor from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, a master’s degree in Economics from Iowa State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Truman State University. 

    Workshop Descriptions

    The following workshops will be offered at the 2024 Bishop's Retreat.

    Deepening the Well/Strengthening our Devotional Life - led by Rev. Nancy Dibelius

    This workshop will invite you to explore a spiritual practice; something you ‘practice’ to open yourself to God’s presence, a place where you can listen for God and God’s invitation for your ministry, for all of your life.  We will take some time to ‘unpack’ the experience; did it help you move into God space, were you able to listen “in a sound of sheer silence” for the presence of God.  How can this practice and other ancient practices of the church help you listen more deeply in all of your life?

    Making the Most of Time - led by Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens

    Too often we reach the end of a day and wonder what we got done. Activities filled the day, good ministry was engaged, yet there are items left needing attention. So it is left undone, or longer hours are invested. Over time this can leave us feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts. Our time together will provide some practical tips on how to reclaim time for what matters most in our lives. Beyond time management, we will deepen the conversation between the calendar and what matters most in our lives.

    Saving Grace Workshop led by Wespath

    It is with a heart full of hope and hands joined in serving those who serve, that Wespath is offering the Saving Grace workshop intentionally tailored for clergy who would like to learn more about the journey toward financial well-being. Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-being is a tool and a resource that invites us to explore the sanctity of financial stewardship. Through this engaging workshop, we shall delve deep into the biblical essence of earning, saving, giving, spending, and mitigating debt. It's not merely about numbers and budgets; it's about aligning our earthly resources with our heavenly calling. It's about ensuring that our finances are not a stumbling block, but a steppingstone towards fulfilling God's purpose. In this workshop we hope participants will gain deeper insights into financial literacy, practical financial management skills, community building and support, and spiritual growth and reflection.

    Physical Wellness - Chair Yoga- led by: Mary Francese

    This workshop will provide tools for a meaningful and rejuvenating pause during the workday. You won’t need a mat, or a big space; you will only need your chair. Beginning with the breath and using the breath, we will systematically move through the body, opening and stretching joints and muscles, leaving you refreshed and renewed, right at your desk.

    Wednesday Night Fun

    Are you ready to sit back, relax, and be amazed? Well… forget that. Yes, there will be moments to sit back and be amazed, but to really THRIVE, you’ll want to join in on the action! Magician David Black will present a program on Wednesday evening that is engaging, amusing, and just plain fun.

    As an added bonus, you’re invited to join David for a brief magic lesson after his performance so that you can learn a trick or two to share with family and friends.

    David Black has been entertaining audiences throughout Upstate New York for over forty years as an actor, speaker, and magician in addition to serving several United Methodist churches as a Christian Educator and Youth Leader.

    Free Time Activities

    In your downtime, consider taking part in any of these activities in your free time. 

    Wednesday afternoon Hike opportunity with Bob Schooley

    Since much of this retreat concerns self-care issues, one life-giving practice is hiking and breath prayers. Twenty-one minutes from the hotel in Corning, there's a place called McCarthy Hill State Forest that has numerous trails.

    Wednesday right after lunch, we'll run a workshop/Sabbath time winter hike! We'll need to carpool as soon as possible since daylight is short in January!

    The hike is considered moderate, i.e., some elevation. Depending on the group, we'll hike between one and four miles. We promise not to leave you behind - something about "the last shall be first!"

    The forecast (as of 12/4/23) is 37 degrees, clouds, with light snow. So please wear your winter gear: coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc. Recommended: bringing a daypack to carry water and a snack. Also, a staff or hiking sticks is very helpful. Click here for a helpful link prior to the hike. 

    Skating Rink

    There is open skate on Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m at the Corning Civic Center, which is easy walk of historic Market Street and less than a block from the Radisson Hotel. The cost for seniors (60 and older) is $4, 18-59 yrs. of age $5, and skate rental is $3

    Hands on Glass

    Appointments are scheduled year round on Tuesdays through Saturdays. To make appointment, call (607) 962-3044. Each appointment is a private session. The main activities they offer are:

    • Blow-your-own-ornament ($25) or pumpkin ($30). This activity is suitable for all ages (as young as two years old).
    • Make-your-own-paperweight activity ($40). A one-on-one lesson suitable for teens and adults. This is a very hands-on activity for the participant.

    Lots of color choices are available for all items!

    Note: All items must stay overnight to cool and are ready for pick up by noon the following day. Or if you are unable to pick up your items, shipping is available for an additional fee.

    The Rockwell Museum – closes at 5:00 p.m.

    There are many different options for self-guiding. The museum offers an audio tour and several handouts as well as informative labels and panels throughout the museum.

    There is an exhibition opening at 4 p.m. This is an exhibition of high school student work. The students from the Corning-Painted Post School District that take elective art classes will visit soon, then work on artwork based on inspiration from our collection pieces. There will be digital art, drawing/painting, sculpture, and mixed media presented. The students will be in attendance and would be pleased to discuss their work with any visitors at that time.

    Corning Museum of Glass

    Located at 1 Museum Way in Corning, the Corning Museum of Glass is not-for-profit museum dedicated to exploring a single material: glass. Annually welcoming just under half a million visitors from around the world, the Museum's campus is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass, the world’s foremost library on glass, and one of the top glassworking schools in the world.

    Corning Museum of Glass and The Rockwell Museum

    They offer combo tickets for both museums, which is a savings if you’re visiting both places.Visitors can go between the two museums as many times as they'd like for two days.

    Exercise with Wespath

    A Wespath trainer will be offering an exercise option during the free time/sabbath time. More information will be available onsite at the retreat.

    Wespath Resources

    Wespath educators will be onsite and available to have a consultation with anyone who would like to make use of this resource.

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."