Upper New York hosts first Awards Dinner at AC2019
June 5, 2019 / By Kathleen Christiansen
About 100 UNY Conference staff, award recipients, and honored guests gathered Wednesday evening for the inaugural Upper New York Conference 2019 Awards Dinner during AC session. The event put a spotlight on those who “don’t seek the limelight” but serve “quietly, unassumingly, and selflessly.”
“In particular, I am eager and privileged to welcome our honorees and their guests this evening,” said Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, who joked that he got to wear a new hat at the event: emcee. “We need to highlight and celebrate what these faithful servants have accomplished.”
Upper New York Area Bishop Mark J. Webb offered his congratulations to the recipients before leading grace.
“I’m hoping tonight is the first of many awards dinners to happen in the Annual Conference going forward,” Bishop Webb said. “I’m delighted that we can have this opportunity at a slower pace, in a more celebratory way to acknowledge what God has accomplished through you.”
The awards and winners are as follows:
- The One Matters Discipleship Award – which recognizes churches that have moved from zero baptisms and confessions of faith into positive numbers – was awarded to the Warnerville UMC. The church received a plaque and $1,000 toward future discipleship endeavors.
- The Crossroads District won the first-ever Golden Bucket Award – which celebrates the district that donated the most United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) cleaning kits to the Upper New York Mission Central Hub from October 2018-May 2019. The district received a certificate as well as a golden bucket filled with cleaning supplies.
- The Ercil Cady Grants recognize individual United Methodists, local UM churches, or UNY district and conference ministry teams. The “Cultural Preservation through Indigenous Food” grant of $5,000 grant was given to Friends of Ganondagan. The Inter-Generational Martial Arts Program” grant of $5,000 was awarded to the Brown Memorial UMC. The “Youth 2019” grant of $1,275 was given to the Emmaus UMC.
- Shirley Readden received the Conference Commission on Religion and Race’s first-ever Special Recognition for Significant Contribution to Racial Justice – which honors someone who has worked tirelessly for racial justice at local church, community, district, Conference, and General Church levels. Readden, who will be honored June 6 with a video and could not make it to the event, will receive a certificate.
- The Committee on Native American Ministries’ Four Directions Award – presented to a worthy recipient chosen to show outstanding devotion and advocacy for Native American people – was bestowed upon Darlene Papineau, who received a framed certificate.
- Each year, the annual Harry Denman Evangelism Award honors a UNY clergy and laity member who has demonstrated exceptional ministry of evangelism, bringing people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. The 2019 winners were the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady II for clergy and Director of Missional Engagement Mike Block for laity. Both recipients received a certificate and pin.
“We have been richly blessed tonight as we witnessed these incredible servants and their ministries,” said Rev. Gottschalk-Fielding. “The most significant way that we can thank these folks is to pick up their work and carry it forward.”