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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Study Commission on possible passage of Protocol begins

    October 20, 2021 / By Pastor Jack Keating

    Editor's Note: The Commission extended the survey deadline to Dec. 15, 2001. That offers two additional weeks for submission from the original deadline of Dec. 1.

    You may remember that at our 2021 Upper New York (UNY) Annual Conference, the body passed UNYAC2021.7, which called for a study of our Conference’s readiness for the possible passage of the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. This resolution created a Study Commission that was given commission-specific instructions on how to, both conduct the study and report the study’s findings.

    The current team  includes Bob Flask, the Conference Treasurer; the Rev. Mike Weeden, the Dean of Cabinet; Peter Abdella, the Conference Chancellor; the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, the Director of Connectional Ministries; the Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens, the Director of Vital Congregations; Pastor Jennie Piatt, as a representative from the Committee on Finance and Administration; the Rev. Bob Kolvik-Campbell as representative of the Board of Ordained Ministry; Karyn McCloskey as a representative of the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits; Rachel Giso, as a representative of the Jurisdictional Delegation, and myself, as a representative from the Annual Conference Board of Trustees.

    We are also expecting three additional members to join our team once they are identified by the Conference Committee on Nominations.

    Within the next few days, every local church and every appointed clergy leader of the Annual Conference will receive a short survey via email from their District Office. This is the start of the study called upon the commission to conduct. Let me share a little about each of these two surveys:

    Congregation Survey

    This survey requests the Lay Leader, in conjunction with the pastor to answer a few simple questions about conversations that have been held in your church and asks for the opinions of the Lay Leader and pastor about whether the congregation will remain in the post-separation United Methodist Church. While we are looking for information that is as accurate as possible, we understand that the answer for some might be “unsure at this time”. 

    Additionally, because the commission is charged with completing an analysis of the financial impacts of possible actions by local congregations, the study commission needs to ascertain each congregation’s name and District for this part of the study. Survey responses will not be published to assure confidentiality.  

    Appointed Clergy Survey

    This survey will be completed in anonymity and seeks to ascertain whether appointed clergy leaders would remain in the post-separation United Methodist Church and how many more years of active ministry each clergy leader has remaining prior to retirement. 

    To ensure anonymity, responses to this email survey will not request any names nor will it capture email addresses, or even IP addresses…. but will only identify the clergy member as “Respondent #1” or “Respondent # 46” or “Respondent # 367”, etc.  The study commission understands that anonymity and confidentiality are key to receiving accurate results of this survey and is fully committed to providing this protection to all clergy under appointment.      

    To meet the timeframes specified in the resolution, the study commission needs your responses by Dec. 15, 2021. This deadline has been extended from the original date of Dec. 1.

    A broad, high-level summary will be available to the Annual Conference by February 1, 2022 as required by the resolution. The Study Commission thanks you for your support which will allow us to develop accurate information as required by the approved AC resolution.      

    Address any questions you may have with your District office, from whom you will receive the survey.

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2021


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 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."