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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean to serve as AC17 study leader

    March 8, 2017 / By Kathleen Christiansen

    Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean will serve as the study leader at the 2017 Upper New York Annual Conference session, which takes place June 1-3 in Syracuse.

    “I’m delighted to be at Annual Conference,” she said. “There are lots of people that I love that are serving in the Upper New York Conference. I’m really happy to do it.”

    Dr. Dean is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and professor of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where she works closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry. She graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.; and received her doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary. Before working at Princeton Theological Seminary, she served as pastor in suburban Washington, D.C. and as a campus minister at the University of Maryland-College Park. She is currently appointed as the coordinating pastor of the Kingston United Methodist Church in Kingston, N.J.

    Dean will host two study sessions during this year’s Annual Conference session, which will focus on innovation in ministry with young people, with biblical overtones.

    “I think it will be mostly about missional innovation and young adults in The Church and what that means for congregations and what that means for the future of youth ministry.”

    Session one is titled “Love Made Me an Inventor: Why an Entrepreneurial Church Matters to Young People,” and session two is called “Doing a New Thing: The Church Has No Excuses.” The two sessions focus on doing new things and touching on Bible passages that speak to this, such as 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Revelations 21:5.

    “The Bible begins and ends with the story of God innovating and the role that The Church has played in innovation,” Dean said. “I’m hoping that we’ll poke the box a little bit to see where this might be leading the Upper New York Conference when it comes to doing new things, particularly where young people are concerned.”

    She said many churches today are afraid of trial and error, that taking a risk seems “terminal.”

    “It’s the opposite impulse we need to follow: We need to risk more, not less,” Dean said. “There’s no magic bullet … it’s a matter of testing and trying and experimenting until we discover where our hopes and God’s mission come together, and that takes an awful lot of trial and error.”

    Dean encourages those attending AC2017 to bring ideas with them to discuss.

    “Let’s play with it while we’re there and make The Church a place where new ideas are brought to life, rather than a place where ideas go to die.”

    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."