events / Finance
The Upper New York (UNY) Conference produces a Narrative Budget Booklet and video every year. The purpose is to help UNY Conference members understand what their Ministry Share dollars support.
The first draft of the UNY Conference 2021 Narrative Budget booklet is available. Click here to download a .pdf version of the booklet. Click here to view on Issuu. As changes are needed, these digital copies of the budget booklet will be updated. Click here to view the proposed 2021 Ministry Share Budget.
Editor’s Note: All ministry areas had the opportunity to submit reports to explain their ministry and objectives they hope to achieve using their allocated 2021 budget. More ministry areas may choose to add their reports to this list.
These descriptions are based on responses to three questions:
1. The mission of the Upper New York Conference is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The primary task of the conference supporting this mission is increasing the capacity of Christ-following leaders. What role does your team play in carrying out this primary task?
2. What examples (i.e., fruits of ministry) from your work as a team in 2019 demonstrate past effectiveness? Share as many as three, including number of leaders served.
3. What is the plan of ministry for your team in 2021? Specifically, what activities will your team carry out in 2021 and how do you hope, with God’s help, these activities will increase the leadership capacity of Christ-following leaders?
122: New Faith Communities
124: Congregational Revitalization
131: Young Peoples Ministries
134: Safe Sanctuaries
152: Board of Laity
153: Lay Servant Ministries
160: Conference Commission on Religion and Race
166: Annual Conference Sessions
205: Committee on Episcopacy
420: Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A)
1. Ninety percent of my work, and the work of my teams, is to Discover new planters, develop them through training events, group coaching, PLD groups, and then support them as they seek to create new places that reach new people with the good news of Jesus. Increasing the capacity of planters is pretty much all we do!
2. Our team provides intentional training of planters thru Launchpad, in early February each year. Last year we had 36 participants, representing 15 new projects. 2. I held three separate “coaching groups” online last year… monthly meetings on ZOOM with planters who are at various stages of planting. These groups totaled 21 persons. These are all past participants in Launchpad, so this is follow-up training for them. 3. We held an NFC PLD group… nine monthly gatherings of a dozen persons. We used the same books and discussions that other PLD groups followed, but we focused on their work as planters of NFCs.
3. The NFC movement in Upper NY is expanding by the day… we now have 118 active NFCs. Each week new people share their dream to plant with me. The leaders and teams of each NFC need training in order to have a chance of creating something sustainable long term. In 2020 we will provide: 1. Launchpad 2020, January 31-February 1st; 2. Innovation Incubator… a form of PLD group I am leading with Aaron Bouwens, made up of planters and existing church pastors. We are challenging this group to Innovate new ways of discovering and equipping leaders from OUTSIDE their congregations; 3. Multiple on-line learning and coaching opportunities… many of these will be 3-5 weeks in length. 4. I am currently gathering a team of experienced planters to build a system that multiplies my leadership… three regional NFC teams. The vision is for there to be Launchpad, Coaching and PLD groups, and other learning opportunities in each Region.
1. Over the past three years this has been our primary focus. We are increasing the capacity of Christ-following leaders through various programming such as; Leadership Academy, Leadership Incubators, Mosaic Multiethnic Leadership Cohort, Tending the Soul. Additionally, there has be ongoing work of coaching pastors and congregations, and the development of a Spiritual Directors network as a resource to pastors, congregations and districts. One other area we have been investing in the increase of Christ-Following leaders is through the Pastoral Leadership Development curriculum produced annually as a resource.
2. We served over 300 pastors through Pastoral Leadership Development groups, this is helping pastors become more equipped to lead, and to equip their congregations. Currently there are over 60 clergy persons (as well as a few lay persons), including 15 plus Hispanic/Latino, engaged in Leadership Incubators. They are learning how to shift the cultures of their congregations and ministries to be a generative team ministry that grows disciples that make disciples. Through the Vital Congregations office there is a network of Spiritual Directors who provide resource and direction for all our districts, the Conference, as well as small group and one-on-one. It is challenging to estimate the number of leaders served, however through all the avenues it is well over 300 leaders, clergy and lay, served.
3. We hope to continue to offer 1-2 Leadership Incubators, Leadership Academy, and Preaching Academy. Additionally, we anticipate continued offering of Tending the Soul, Spiritual Direction, coaching, as well as consultation and training opportunities. Ongoing work to resource the needs of District Superintendents and District Leadership Teams will remain a constant part of our work.
1. We seek to increase the capacity of young people who are earnestly following Christ. We believe that the Young Adults Ministries Team (YAMT) is essential to the Conference’s task as we operate seek to continue minister with people who are at a critical stage of life. Many have been nurtured throughout their childhood in Sunday school, CCYM, and camping ministries, and we seek to foster their spiritual growth and ministry capacities during this transitional phase out of adolescence and into young adulthood.
2. Communi-Tea: We’ve launched a bi-weekly “soul chat” over zoom. UNY Young Adults (who are spread across the country) are able to connect with one another and engage deeply in spiritual questions through different practices (such as lectio divina, group reflection, prayer, circle process, and several others). (Five young leaders are engaged/served).
Annual Conference Worship: The Young Adults sought to lead the conference through the resurrection story in its relationship to the current state of the UMC. No matter your theological position, the UMC experienced a breaking of our unity in February 2019 and inflicted much pain on its own body—especially the LGBTQ+ folks who are faithfully serving the Church. We offered UNY the space to grieve and hear the pain inflicted by our Church that our UNY young people experience. AND we sought to share our hope for the resurrection, a time of “moving beyond” barriers and comfort zones, a time of revitalization and intergenerational renewal. We have hope for the Church in UNY, and we understand that there cannot be a resurrection Sunday without Good Friday and Holy Saturday. (20 young leaders were involved in the planning and execution of the service, and countless others were served).
3.Our team has been on the forefront in conversations with the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, UNY Director of Connectional Ministries, to collaborate/coordinate the various ministries of UNY which serve young people. It is our hope that by 2021, we will have assisted in the creation of a Division on Ministries with Young People which seeks to fill the “gaps” in our spiritual formation system between childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. We will have opened our fundraising account to support young people in missions around the world. Our General Church is fantastic with grants for youth, and we now we seek to offer financial support for young adults engaged in mission. We are also in the process of planning both a domestic and an international mission opportunity for young people from the conference. We will also be continuing to pursue online community building and collaborating with CCYM for our Young People’s service.
1. One of the primary responsibilities of the Safe Sanctuaries team is to provide training that will provide the workers in churches with information and tools that will assist in reducing the risk of abuse to the most vulnerable among us. Upper New York’s training approaches Safe Sanctuaries from Biblical and ministry points of view.Training is bathed in Biblical traditions of justice and mercy, hospitality and generosity as well as Jesus’s call, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is too such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” (Luke 18:16)
Those who complete the training develop their capacity as Christ-following leaders when they return to their church/ministry and share what they have learned.Increasing the capacity of Christ-following leaders also occurs with those who become trainers/facilitators. These individuals complete the Safe Sanctuaries Training plus a three-hour Training of Trainers course. The objective of the course is to provide participants with the tools, knowledge, and resources to lead UNY’s Safe Sanctuaries training at the local, district, and conference level. TOT includes basic principles and assumptions of adult learning, learning styles of adults, skills and tips for facilitating a course, self-rating of personal facilitating skills, and how to plan/organize a training session. These skills and abilities should transfer to other leadership positions in the church.
2. First – TRAINING - UNY’s Safe Sanctuaries Training has been attended by local church leaders who work with children, youth and vulnerable adults across every district in Upper New York.The 2019 roster of certified trainers included 117 leaders. The annual reporting by trainers is currently underway. With reports from half of the trainers, approximately 800 workers have completed training.
The goal of four Training of Trainers opportunities in 2019 was reached. Thirty-eight trainers/leaders have been added to the roster. TOT locations were: Bemus Point UMC (Cornerstone District), South Glens Falls UMC (Adirondack District), West Schuyler UMC (Mohawk District) and Kenmore UMC (Niagara Frontier District).
Second – No record is kept for the number of in-person, telephone and/or email conversations from church leaders that have been responded to by UNY Staff and/or SS team members. Additional resources have been added to Safe Sanctuaries section of the UNY website.
Third – A display at Annual Conference 2019 attracted conference attendees. Resources were displayed, handouts/takeaways available, conversations had, and questions addressed. Also featured were activities from the “Safe Sanctuaries and Ministries with Older Adults” workshop kit that is available from the Media Resource Center. We never thought about keeping track of number served!
3. The responsibilities of the team were established by resolution adopted at the 2011 Annual Conference. The responsibilities are addressing issue of policymaking, training, and accountability. More specifically – establishing minimum standards and procedures, providing training programs, and assisting local churches and Conference ministry programs in reducing the risk of abuse to children, youth and vulnerable adults.
Because activities are based on these responsibilities, the plan of ministry does not change much from year to year. 2021 plan of ministry includes:basic, face-to-face SS training opportunities available to meet the need in every district, four Training of Training opportunities, timely and helpful responses/conversations to questions and concerns, display at AC2021, four team meeting with at least being face-to-face.
Reducing the risk of abuse in churches and ministries is essential for creating Christ-following leaders. There will be no vital congregations or new faith communities without leaders diligent in reducing the risk of abuse.
1. We are a Conference-wide gathering of laity in leadership roles. All our monthly meetings are designed with the L3 model of Loving, Learning, and Leading. We gather in prayer and share a devotion/ask about individual spiritual well-being. We emphasize Loving- deepening our relationships with Christ and one another-by offering prayer concerns and praises, then sharing a time of devotion/asking about spiritual well-being.Reports from those present, as well as those who have sent electronic information, encourage Learning, as we discuss potential collaboration through District Lay Servant Classes/Leadership Events/Trainings, effective speakers for events, fruitful practices, etc. As a team of Leaders, we support sharing responsibilities for AC Laity Session and encourage leaders of specific groups (LSM, YA, UMM, UMW, Youth, DLT reps, etc.) to address our gathered laity.
2. Fruits of ministry are affirmed as leadership is supported. As an example, I was asked to lead the legislative committee for the National AACLL after our April 2019 gathering. At Annual Conference 2019, Drew Griffin, Associate UNY CLL and Binghamton District Lay Leader, was elected as a Lay Representative to General Conference in 2020, along with several lay leaders who participate in our work. Ellen Mall-John, Albany DLL, co-led her DLT in creating leadership classes for laity that reached 75 persons, an increase of 20 participants from last year’s pilot program. Team leaders of those classes increased from 3 to 12-15, as well. Blenda Smith, facilitating Imagine No Racism, hosted 85 participants in that revised curriculum, with about half volunteering to facilitate new groups.
3. As leaders at all levels continually change roles, it is our plan to provide a framework for growth through the L3 model, as well as adapting fruitful practices from specific districts and conference teams. We will be encouraging all leaders to continue learning technical and adaptive skills, while connecting with one another in regional groups.
1. The primary role of the Conference Lay Servant Ministries team is equipping and empowering the District Lay Servant teams as they provide the training and leadership necessary to offer certification opportunities for Lay Servants, Lay Speakers and Lay Ministers in their local churches. Effective lay servant ministries help churches become more vital and fruitful because it equips and empowers the laity for ministry in partnership with the clergy. We “train the trainers” for this vital leadership role. “Lay servant ministries both within the local church and beyond is one of the best systems for disciple making that United Methodists have because it is all about nurture, outreach, and witness through its tenets of leading, caring, and communicating”. (Lay Servant Ministries Guide for Conference & District Committees 2017-2020, copyright © 2017 by Discipleship Resources).
2. Every District offered advanced lay servant courses which equips lay servants and helps them in their discernment process to answer God’s call upon their lives. Courses offered in 2019 include but are not limited to: Planning & Leading Worship, Spiritual Gifts, Lay Servants as Transformational Leaders, Polity, Basic, Leading Public Prayer, Preaching, UM Heritage, Storytelling, Transformational Leaders, Conflict Resolution, Spiritual Gifts, Accountable Discipleship and more. We had approximately 750 lay servants attend one or more of these trainings. They are being utilized in their local churches as pulpit fill, Sunday school teachers, SPRC members, finance chairs, VIM volunteers and coordinators, media directors, small group leaders, choir members, youth leaders, mission team coordinators, trustees, and the list goes on. In 2019, Upper New York had approximately 900 Certified Lay Servants, 40 Certified Lay Speakers, and 90 Certified Lay Ministers.
3. The Lay Servant Ministries team will continue to equip the directors of the districts in the Upper New York Conference to plan and lead advanced lay servant courses, to recruit and encourage new lay servants, lay speakers, and lay ministers, to educate the various leadership teams within the Districts regarding the importance of lay servant ministries and to facilitate the record keeping for the districts so that the conference has an accurate and up to date list of Certified Lay Speakers and Certified Lay Ministers.The Conference lay servant team is also the certifying body for both Lay Speakers and Lay Ministers, the latter being a part of the district committee on ministries recommendation process as per the 2016 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
1. We are the leaders of Imagine No Racism (INR). We are teaching clergy and laity about white privilege and the injustices of racism. We do this because Christ-following leaders must have hearts that model Jesus and live out their baptism vows to “resist evil and injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
2. We presented four workshops at AC 2019, including: "They’re Up Next: Leading youth to Imagine No Racism,” “Strategies for Responding to Racism and Racist Incidents,” “Why is it So Hard to Talk About Race,” and “Preaching & Teaching to Confront Racism.”
We worked with the General Commission on Religion & Race (GCORR) to revise the INR curriculum using feedback from participants in 2018.
We have led seven INR Facilitator Trainings around the conference (Batavia, Olean, Endwell, Saratoga Springs, Plattsburgh, Canton and Liverpool) in the fall of 2019. Eighty three people attended the day long trainings. Of those, 44 have committed to leading INR Small Group sessions.
3. We will continue to create INR small groups to study the INR curriculum. Those clergy AND laity will be bringing their learnings back to local churches to lead congregations. Finally, sensitized congregations will be in ministries that reflect awareness of white privilege and anti-racist behaviors in their neighborhoods.
1. The Sessions Committee’s purpose is to ensure that the business of the Annual Conference is conducted in a manner that takes into account the needs of those attending and glorifies God. The Committee consists of Conference Staff personnel and volunteers working to ensure that our time together is used efficiently and allows time for worship, the business of the Annual Conference, learning, and fellowship. Through participation in all of these areas, the participants in our Annual Conference Session increase their abilities and God-given talents for leading our UNY Conference including its local churches.
2. The Sessions Committee meets throughout the year to attend to such issues as: securing the venue, arranging for meals, coordinating the technology aspects, and managing the hotel and shuttle bus arrangements. We consider it an honor to confirm our Bible Study Leader’s participation, design our worship experiences, and provide the agenda which orders our time together. Subcommittees and teams attend to matters necessary to our Annual Conference Session such as: handicapped accessibility, dietary needs, childcare, securing musicians, and coordinating our volunteers. Through our sub-committees and as a whole, we attend to the work of addressing the legalities involved and the general logistics for the entire Annual Conference Session. The worship team of the Sessions Committee coordinates all of the worship experiences during our three days of being in Holy Conferencing with each other, in consultation with other UNY boards and committees. Our team also works to communicate the information regarding our Annual Conference Session, such as registration, the call for petitions and resolutions, special events and the publishing of the Journal Vol. 1 in a timely and accurate fashion to all members of the Upper New York Annual Conference and other appropriate agencies and media outlets. Paraphrasing John Wesley, in all of these things we strive to “go on to perfection;” as we review the previous year’s evaluations and seek to find new solutions to areas which need strengthening in order to create the best situation for our members to worship, learn and lead our Annual Conference.
3. It is our hope that through this work outlined above accomplished prior to our Annual Conference Session that we will successfully complete our work at the 2021 Session with a call to new ways to continue to lead our local churches and our Annual Conference; all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God.
1. Our primary role is to support the Bishop and his family. We act as a sounding board for him, we make sure he feels loved and supported, and we do some evaluation of him. A happy and healthy bishop will help the UNY Conference make more Christ-following leaders.
2. We have strongly supported the bishop. The fruit of him being healthy is that he has led our conference in a direction where over 100 New Faith Communities have begun, where we are more fiscally sound, and where we are developing more leaders.
3. We will continue to do exactly what we do. Meet with the Bishop, listen to his needs, provide support and feedback, inspect his house to make sure it is in good shape, and be there for his family in times of need. We will also prepare a profile of the UNY Conference for the possible Bishop change in 2020.
1. CF&A, together with the finance staff, continue to work toward better and more effective reporting, enabling teams and groups to do the work needed to carry out the primary task. We have continued to work on our policies and procedures that allow leaders to do their work in a more informed way. By working diligently on revising the 2018 and 2019 spending plans, the Conference was able to pay its General Church apportionments at 100% for the third year in a row. The work of ministry shares facilitates the identifying, training and enabling of leaders in our conference, both lay and clergy.
We have created handbooks that are available on the Conference website, to assist local churches, clergy and treasurers and providing resources on financial standards, clergy tax, payroll, church audits, and Ministry Shares.
We believe that the budget that was created for 2019 and 2020 best represents and supports the work that we, as disciples, as Christians, and as United Methodists in the Upper New York Conference, are called to do, here in our local communities and around the world. The largest part of this CF&A budget includes an amount that will provide for the necessary annual audit of the Conference’s books and records. Our narrative budget contains information that tells the stories that show how it supports the ministries of the local churches of the Upper New York Conference, by offering tools for ministry.
2. We have worked on an annual spending plan and followed it closely, to be sure that the Conference can meet its financial obligations, funding the Conference’s work in increasing the capacity of Christ-following leaders, creating policies and procedures, including continuing to work on the net asset project.
We created multiple handbooks that are available on the Conference website, to provide resources to treasurers, clergy and churches to better understanding financial standards and policies, church audits, ministry shares, payroll, clergy tax and other needs.
3. Our plan for 2021 includes continuing to supply a narrative budget booklet, providing additional information in the budget to enhance people’s work and understanding. We will continue to provide resources in the CFA Section of the Conference website. We are starting work on a framework for financial analyses of local churches, and stewardship training.
1. The Communications Team is responsible for leading the way in telling the story of what it means to be United Methodist in Upper New York. This means we find creative ways to both inform and inspire leaders. We also raise up new leaders in the process.
2. Regular communications like the Advocate, the Bridge, the Weekly Digest, the Conference Website, UNY Notes, and others inform and inspire countless leaders daily.
Special communications like the Narrative Budget Booklet, campaigns (i.e. for the Mission Central HUB, New Places for New People, etc.), blog series, and so many more meet needs identified throughout the year.
The last year or two there has been a great focus on social media that has yielded massive gains in followers, visibility, and engagement.
3 We will continue to maintain and create excellent communication tools for leaders to use. The largest project on the horizon is that we expect that we will be working on revamping the Conference Website by 2021. Work will likely begin in late 2020.
The first draft of the UNY Conference 2020 Narrative Budget booklet is available. Click here to download a .pdf version of the booklet. Click here to view on Issuu. As changes are needed, these digital copies of the budget booklets will be updated. Click here to order a printed hard copy from Lulu.com.
The final budget booklet will also be added to the 2019 Conference Journal, Vol. I.
2019 Narrative Budget
The second draft of the UNY Conference 2019 Narrative Budget booklet is available. Click here to download a .pdf version of the booklet. Click here to view on Issuu. As changes are needed, these digital copies of the budget booklets will be updated.
Printed copies of the budget booklet will be available in some District Offices and at the UNY Conference Center. Contact your local District Office for copies. The final budget booklet will also be added to the 2018 Conference Journal, Vol. I.