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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Getting Ready for Annual Conference: Worship

    April 23, 2018 / By Rev. Rachel Morse

    Boldly Living our Call to Acknowledge Christ, Follow Christ, and Offer Christ. 

    Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb is using Mark 8:27-38 for his opening sermon, Wade in the Water. He will invite us to remember our baptismal call to acknowledge, follow, and offer Christ to the world. 

    Opening Worship: Acknowledge Christ

    During this service, we will have the opportunity to “enter the narrative,” a Ignatian spiritual practice led by the Rev. Nancy Dibelius, our Associate Director of Spiritual Life for Vital Congregations. Nancy will help us ask ourselves the question that Jesus asks his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?”

    Bishop Webb’s sermon will continue this theme as he reflects on what it means to boldly lived out our call. We will then be invited to acknowledge Christ and reaffirm our Baptismal call. ‘Fonts’ will be placed in our worship space and the congregation will be invited to take a rock out of one of the fonts as a sign of their reaffirmation of that call. 

    This service is blended, with a combination of traditional hymns and upbeat contemporary music. 

    Memorial Service: Follow Christ

    During this service, we will remember the lives of those who have passed away since the last Annual Conference. Families of clergy and clergy spouses will receive a gift and we will celebrate Communion. The Rev. Corey Turnpenny will share a message titled “Jesus Calls us Out.” 

    This service is our traditional service, with a procession, vestments, and traditional hymns and songs. 

    Service of Blessing and Anointing

    This service is packed with wonderful celebrations of ministry. We will thank and recognize clergy retirees and their spouses. Those who will be ordained will be asked the Historical Questions, and we will set appointments for the new year. 

    Throughout Annual Conference we will have stations for writing your ‘call’ on your baptismal call rock. The members will be asked to bring their baptismal call rock to the service of Blessing and Anointing.

    Each person present is invited to receive anointing for their ‘baptismal call.’ After receiving anointing, members are asked to place their rock at the foot of the cross as a sign of commitment to boldly live out their call.

    After the service, rocks will be taken to the Upper New York Annual Conference Center and placed under a tree to remind visitors of the many people who come together, boldly living out their call, to make the mission of the Church a reality. 

    Worship and Accessibility

    All of our Communion bread is gluten-free. We will invite those who need to be served in their seats to be served first. The screens are used to project lyrics to all songs, but we also have large-print booklets available. 

    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."