Announcements

Changes on the Cornerstone District

Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ!

I’m excited to share some news with you related to the Cornerstone District. Beginning July 1, the District office located in Jamestown: Christ First UMC will be moving!

I will be establishing an office in the “old” office space at the District parsonage (15 Morris Lane). Meetings with individuals and events will take place offsite, so fair warning that I will be looking for hospitality from churches throughout the District.

Patti Gridley, who has served as District Assistant for the Mountain View District since September 2010, will care for Cornerstone District operations from her office in Bath, NY. I’m grateful for Patti’s willingness to take on this additional responsibility. If you don’t know her already, Patti has a servant’s heart and I know you will give her a warm welcome and will enjoy getting to know her in the weeks and months ahead.

Operationally, the office phone numbers and email will remain the same. The new mailing address for the Cornerstone District office will be PO Box 687, Bath, NY 14810. I will continue to be available by cell/text (716-860-7860) and email (suzanneblock@unyumc.org).

I believe we’ve learned through the past 15+ months that we are open and able to do things in a new way. Change is never easy, but I’m confident that together, as sisters and brothers in Christ, we can continue to stay connected and be in relationship with each other as we always have.

As always, let us be in prayer together as we begin this new thing. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Grace, peace and love,

Suzanne

P.S. We will be in a period of transition through Monday, July 12. If you have an immediate need or need to speak to someone between now and July 12, please call, text or email me:

suzanneblock@unyumc.org

716-860-7860

Thank you for your patience!




May Devotional from Rev. Suzanne Block

Luke 9:23: Then Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (NRSV)

Good morning world! Good Morning Conference! Good Morning Districts! Good Morning Community! Good Morning Church! Good Morning faithful followers of Jesus Christ! Good morning neighbors! Good Morning everyone!

I have been a part of many conversations lately around the topics of discipleship, Intentional Discipleship Plans, vital congregations, accountability, and lifelong learning. What does all of this mean for us as followers of Jesus?

Over the next several months I hope the above noted topics will have more clarity and with the clarity a new sense of purpose for you, me, and the connection we are a part of. Remember our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for transformation of the world. You will be hearing the words: Discover-Develop-Deploy!

Let’s begin with the purpose of the Annual Conference. This may be new for some and a reminder for others:

We begin with growing Christ-Following Leaders. This leads us to Build Healthy Congregations. Leading to Making Disciples who Make Disciples. Who then Transform the world? Then this process begins again. This process is a circular process and in the center of this process is Spiritual Vitality and Revival. ¹

This poses the question, “How do we do this well?” There is a world right outside of our doors that needs the love and grace of God found in Jesus Christ. So, let’s start at the very beginning of learning what it means for you and me to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

First, we confess faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord

In our membership vows, we are asked the question, “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations and races?” (United Methodist Hymnal, pg. 34)

Within the Apostle’s Creed we say:

“I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.”

Do you believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus?

Do you believe John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do you believe Jesus died for your sins?

This is what is means to have Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Now, do you promise to serve Jesus as your Lord? To serve Jesus as Lord means that Jesus is first in your life. If you want to see who or what is first is your life, look at your checkbook and your calendar. Where are you spending your money and your time?

Disciples humble themselves in the sight of the Lord. We are not in control. If we are truly striving to be faithful disciples serving Jesus as Lord, we do not jump on the bandwagon of what the current culture says we need (for example, the latest in technology) or what we should be doing (being glued to our electronic devices, or having our children’s schedules or our schedules packed trying to keep up with the Joneses).

Serving Jesus as Lord leads us to live out our faith: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NRSV) In the United Methodist Tradition this is called works of mercy and works of piety.

Serving Jesus as Lord means we are living out our faith with Kingdom eyes. Are you seeing the opportunities God is giving you each day, to make an impact with God’s love found in Jesus Christ?

We do not know the impact we have on people with our actions and with our words. We plant the seeds and God makes them grow. Serving Jesus as Lord means we are out in our communities, outside of our buildings and building relationships. This is not easy work, but this is where the good stuff is.

John 15:12-17: My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Together, we can do this by living this out in our daily lives! Let us rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us to join the movement of God! Sharing the love of God found in Jesus Christ as we promise to live as faithful and stronger disciples confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

Rejoicing in our Risen Lord,

Suzanne

 

 

 

 

¹From the Upper New York Annual Conference




Extension of Direct Bill Arrearage Policy through 12/31/2021

In 2020, the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits (CBOPHB) had approved delayed enforcement of the direct bill arrearage policy through December 31, 2020. Understanding the continued struggle faced by many congregations, the Board has approved to extend that delay through Dec. 31, 2021. If your church is still able to pay their direct bills, they should. If a church is experiencing financial hardship as a result of reduced giving during this time, the church is asked to notify their District Superintendent as well as the Benefits office (Susan Latessa) to discuss their situation. The Upper New York Conference will work with churches on a case-by-case basis.




Church & Clergy Listings in Directory Updates

Follow this link to find the updated Church & Clergy Listings in our District Directory.




UPDATE - COVID-19 Guidelines for Local Churches

As we know, guidelines for church reopening are being updated frequently. Here is a link to the most up-to-date guidelines (New York State and Upper New York Conference):

unyumc.org/about/church-covid-19-guidelines 

For frequent updates related to COVID-19, including whether or not a specific address is in a microcluster, go to https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.
 

NYS County Health Department links

Churches are required to have developed a Safety Plan and have it available/on file at the church and to submit a form that affirms that guidelines are being followed prior to reopening.

Upper New York also is requiring that churches affirm their compliance with safety requirements by submitting this form. Any changes (worship from in-person to online, etc.) require that the form be resubmitted.

As always, please contact any of the following if you have concerns/questions:

suzanneblock@unyumc.org, 716-860-7860

 

cornerstonedistrict@unyumc.org, 716-665-2423

 

susanletessa@unyumc.org, UNY Director of Benefits & Human Resources, 315-898-2002

 




Visiting the District Office

The District office observes guidelines recommended by the Upper New York Conference and New York State. You must make an appointment to visit the office (Monday or Thursday). The day of your appointment, we ask that you complete the Health Questionnaire and bring it with you. Please park in the church's handicapped parking on Lakeview Avenue. Call the office (716-665-2423) when you arrive to gain entrance to the building. Please wear a mask and observe social distancing; hand sanitizer will be available when you enter the office. If you have any questions, please call or email the office, 716-665-2423 or cornerstonedistrict@unyumc.org




New Mailing Address for District Office

Please note our new mailing address: PO Box 842, Jamestown, NY, 14702. The physical address for the Cornerstone District Office is the same, on the second level of Christ First UMC, 663 Lakeview Ave., Jamestown, NY