Bishop Webb issues new call for special session
Bishop Mark J. Webb has announced that a special session of the annual conference will be convened as outlined in The Book of Discipline, paragraph 603.5. The purpose and call of the special session is to discuss and vote on a recommendation from the Conference Board of Trustees to purchase the property located at 7481 Henry Clay Blvd. in Liverpool as a new Conference Center.
The special session will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in the Ballroom at the OnCenter (800 S. State St., Syracuse). As stated in paragraph 603.5, “a special session of the annual conference shall have only such powers as are stated in the call.”
If the recommendation is approved, the new building would become the long-term home for the Episcopal and Conference offices, which have been in temporary offices since the Conference came together in 2010.
Originally scheduled for Sept. 6 and 7, the special session was postponed when negotiations between Upper New York Conference Trustees and the seller of the property seemed to reach an impasse. Those challenges have been resolved, and the trustees will be able to bring an exact cost for the property and details of the transaction to the special session.
“It was a hard decision to postpone the special session, but the additional time has allowed for the Trustees to gather specific information for members to consider,” Bishop Webb said. “Voting members of the Annual Conference will now have detailed information about what the long-term costs and benefits to the Conference will be.”
The special session will be held in a single location: the Ballroom at the OnCenter, a forum that will be familiar to the members of the Annual Conference.
“We have decided to move to a single location model to simplify our legislative process. We want to do all we can to support a time of healthy discussion and decision making, and do not want concerns about process or potential parliamentary challenges to the process to distract us,” Bishop Webb explained. “This will also allow us to be together to celebrate wherever the Spirit leads us.”
Due to the changes in date and location, voting members of the Annual Conference will need to register for the Oct. 18 session – even if they previously registered for one of the September sessions. Registration is open now.
“We understand that fall schedules are very full and Saturdays are important to family and within the life of a congregation, but I encourage you to do all you can to attend this special session,” said Bishop Webb. “It is with great appreciation that I ask our voting members of the Annual Conference to gather once again in October and listen to the Spirit.”
Questions about the special session can be sent to email@example.com so they can be answered and added to an FAQ that will be posted to and updated on the Conference website (www.unyumc.org). The FAQ will be updated up until the day before the special session.
“It has been a long journey to get here, but I believe the Spirit is leading us,” Bishop Webb said. “I praise God that we have come this far, and I am excited to see where God will lead us next.”
About the building search
The recommendation results from more than two years of study and research. The Liverpool property was identified by a task force responsible for determining a long-term plan for a Conference Center, and was selected over many other potential properties in the Syracuse area.
“Our new Conference has successfully liquidated most of the building assets of the predecessor conferences and is now in a strong position to situate itself in a new, permanent, accessible location designed to serve its mission in UNY and beyond,” said the Rev. Dr. Wendy Deichmann, Conference Trustee and chair of the task force.
“As we are still beginning new life as a Conference of The United Methodist Church, it is essential that we position ourselves to maximize effective ministry and mission opportunities," said Dr. Deichmann. "The Upper New York Conference Center must be a place that belongs to – and is accessible to – all our congregations and members, and provides appropriate resources for our bishop, Cabinet, staff, and volunteers to perform their respective missions. Its focus upon ministry and mission must be clear and facilitated by its setting and built environment.”