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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    The Rev. Abigail Browka appointed as Director of New Faith Communities

    May 17, 2023 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    “New Faith Communities are the best way to reach new people in new places,” said Upper New York (UNY) Director of Missional Excellence, the Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens.

    The Rev. Dave Masland created a vibrant New Faith Communities (NFC) ministry area in Upper New York (UNY) beginning soon after the formation of the UNY Conference. He partially retired in December of 2020 and has been working “more than ever before” with the UNY NFC team in a coaching capacity since.

    Beginning July 1, 2023, Rev. Masland will officially retire, and a long-time member of the NFC team, creator and curator of Everyday Sanctuary app and podcast, and also pastor at Trinity UMC: Whitesboro, the Rev. Abigail Browka will begin her appointment as the UNY Director of New Faith Communities.

    Rev. Masland has enjoyed the past couple of years being able to sit in worship with his wife, Leslie, at their new church home, St. Paul’s UMC in Elizabethtown, PA. Rev, Masland said, “It had been a long time since we have been able to do that when I was working full-time and meeting with church planters on weekends.” Rev. Masland and Leslie also started a small group that they enjoy leading at St. Paul’s UMC.

    Rev. Masland is excited to take a sabbath this summer to enjoy fishing and spending time with his grandchildren.

    Rev. Browka will continue pastoring at Trinity UMC part-time and is thrilled to become the new UNY NFC Director. In 2022, she completed a ministry audit, a purposeful pause, and pressed “play” on restarting refreshed ministry at Trinity UMC. She had equipped laity at Trinity to be able to lead services and become active leaders in the church and community.

    Rev. Browka was mentored by Rev. Masland and took the Launchpad training course for people interested in planting New Faith Communities. This past year, she taught her first Launchpad course.

    “I loved teaching Launchpad; helping people explore and visualize ways to create new places for new people was a great experience. I have helped many churches, groups, and individuals create strategies to intentionally plant their New Faith Communities. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to create New Faith Communities in Upper New York with innovation and intention, which is so important for the future of the Church,” said Rev. Browka.

    She also has her own podcast and app that serves as an NFC, Everyday Sanctuary. You can check that out by clicking here.

    “Rev. Browka will be a great Director of New Faith Communities. She’s actively leading her own New Faith Community. She’s a top-notch leader who brings a heart to listen, learn, and build on the amazing foundation that Dave has created for New Faith Communities in Upper New York,” Rev. Dr. Bouwens remarked.

    Rev. Masland said, “I can sleep well at night knowing that Abigail is taking over. She is extremely creative, an excellent leader, and she understands the fact that trusting God is important in this ministry.”

    Rev. Bouwens is enthusiastic about the team working for him in missional excellence with Kristina Clark as Director of Missional Engagement; the Rev,. Nancy Dibelius as Director of Spiritual Vitality; the Rev. Dr. Pam Harris as the Interim Executive Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries; and now Rev. Browka as Director of NFC.

    Rev. Dr. Bouwens said, “This team will do an amazing job at shaping out the missional excellence goals for the Conference. I am excited to see how we’re able to invest in at-risk communities equitably. It’s important for us to continue investing in New Faith Communities in a way that reaches people that our existing churches aren’t yet reaching.”

    TAGGED / Communications / New Faith Communities

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."