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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    resources / Vital Congregations

    Leadership Academy

    Guest Faculty

    Built around 16 competencies of transformational leaders, the Leadership Academy uses a combination of four, three day retreats, a capstone trip, and ongoing coaching to help leaders continue their development.

    Sessions for 2018-19 will be:


    A note about finances. Upper New York provides many ways to help make growth and development opportunities affordable. First, the programs of Vital Congregations are subsidized through the New Beginnings Fund. Second, each person under pastoral appointment has reimbursement funds available for education. Third, the Board of Ordained ministry has grants available for continuing education by following this link:

    Deadline to register is Sept. 6, 2018.

    $200 non-refundable deposit is required to register, which will leave a balance of $750.00. You may pay for this in one lump sum, or with installments. The first installment will be due November 15, 2018 for $375.00. The second installment is due February 15, 2019 of $375.00.

    7.2 CEU credits can be earned by attending.

    Register Now!

    Guest Faculty

    MaryKate Morse

    MaryKate Morse, Professor of Leadership and Spiritual Formation, is at Portland Seminary of George Fox University. She has served in various administrative roles including University Director of Strategic Planning. She is a church planter, spiritual director, leadership mentor and coach, speaker, blogger, and author of Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space, and Influence and A Guidebook to Prayer.

    Dr. Watson

    Dr. Watson is an ordained elder in the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. Before beginning his academic
    career, he served in the local church and a United Methodist campus ministry. He currently serves on the University
    Senate of The United Methodist Church. His most recent book is Scripture and the Life of God: Why the Bible Matters
    Today More than Ever
    (Seedbed, 2017). Dr. Watson blogs at, and he is one of the hosts of “Plain
    Truth: A Holy-Spirited Podcast.”

    Kay Kotan

    Kay Kotan, PCC, is the director of Congregational Development for the Susquehanna Annual Conference of The United
    Methodist Church. She has a passionate approach to teaching, consulting, and coaching. As one called to serve from a
    laity role, she offers a unique perspective for church and leadership development that is informed by her diverse background
    serving in corporate America, owning her own businesses, lay leadership in the local church, traveling the nation
    as an author and speaker, and now serving as a conference director. Kay is married to Bob Kotan, and they have an
    adult son, Cameron.

    Dr. Heather Lear

    Dr. Heather Lear is the director of evangelism for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Her responsibilities
    include equipping United Methodist congregational leaders in all aspects of evangelism by providing resources, creating
    and maintaining networks of leaders, and serving as a speaker and leader. Lear came to Discipleship Ministries after
    serving as senior pastor at Fletcher’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Durham, North Carolina.

    With more than 168,000 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."