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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Closed churches and trustees report supported at AC2020

    October 5, 2020 / By Tara Barnes

    The Rev. Richard Barling offered the 2020 report of the Upper New York Conference Board of Trustees at the Conference’s Oct. 3 virtual annual meeting. The report can be found on pages 102 and 103 of the 2020 Journal.

    Via video, Rev. Barling shared the work of the trustees managing the Conference’s properties, investments and insurance, and he thanked committee members, supporting staff and building and location teams for their work.

    Properties overseen include the Conference office, District offices, parsonages, churches and the five Camp & Retreat ministry sites. Barling shared his excitement especially about the Camp & Retreat capital improvements and having camp reopen next summer, “and each camp being filled with the spirit of children and teens not only having fun but being spiritually fed and growing in their faith.”

    Board treasurer Kathy King-Griswold shared the unaudited 2018 and 2019 trustees net assets. Total net assets for 2019 were $11,584,453, a difference of more than $51,000 from 2018.

    “The decline is a result of funding for insurance as well as lower balances on interfunds,” Kin-Griswold said.

    Total revenues were $786,514 and expenditures were $838,161. She shared that the trustees oversaw more than 50 properties in 2019, such as churches, vacant lots, cemeteries, and parsonages. Managing and selling properties remote locations, rural areas with lower populations below average facility conditions and properties that include cemeteries. She also said trustees will not revisit a loan program until all balances are paid down.

    Trustee Jack Keating shared the status of Conference property and insurance. The conference is currently responsible for 28 closed churches and 7 legacy locations. In 2019, the expenditures for closed churches exceeded the revenue, so revenue could not be given to the New Beginnings Fund or Camp & Retreat Ministries. Keating also reported that the trustees voted to move the conference insurance to Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company in 2021.

    District Superintendent Nola Anderson shared the church closures since the 2019 annual conference. See Journal pages 13 to 23 for the names of these churches.

    Child Victims Act

    Conference chancellor Peter Abdella reported that a number of local churches are receiving letters and subpoenas related to the New York State Child Victims Act, for which the deadline for filing claims has been extended until August 14, 2021. Local churches have also been named as defendants.

    Peter instructed churches to contact the episcopal office if they are contacted about the Child Victims Act.

    In addition to local churches, the Upper New York Conference has been named as a defendant in eight cases, “being brought in to these cases,” Peter said, “based on events that occurred during the time of our predecessor conferences.” Peter also expects more claims, and he shared that many of the cases involve church relationships with Boys Scouts of America. The Conference has hired a law firm to help.

    Watch the full report here.   

    Conference actions

    The Conference voted to affirm the closed churches. The conference also accepted the trustees’ report. 

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2020


    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 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."