Welcome to the New York State Council of Churches.

We are a council, a collaboration, and a conscience shared by Christian denominations of many types.  We welcome your involvement.

We covenant to care for one another, safeguard the presence of a vital Christian faith community in each place, provide hospitality to all, proclaim the Gospel boldly in each place, and declare God’s just will among the powers and principalities. 

Our mission goals focus on social justice, institutional pastoral care, and ecumenical cooperation in education, worship, and action. 

2016 Legislative Priorities -
* addressing poverty in NYS, especially raising the state's minimum wage;
* racisim, including Black Lives Matter and refugee justice; * the environment;
* prison reform in New York State


A few photographs from our First Annual Awards Luncheon and Fundraiser on May 12, 2016.

The New York State Council of Churches thanks all who attended and supported our first annual luncheon and fundraiser on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at First Lutheran Church in Albany.

We highlighted and celebrated the ministries of the Council where we:

·         Advocate for the disenfranchised and the environment in the halls of power

·         Certify and support chaplains in prisons and other state institutions

·         Encourage people of all ages to grow in faith through education and worship

·         Break down the walls that divide us by working together ecumenically

Our luncheon speaker was The Reverend Canon Petero A. N. Sabune, Director of New York Theological Seminary Masters Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. He also serves as a chaplain with the New York State Department of Corrections reentry program. Ordained as an Episcopal priest, Reverend Sabune has served as a chaplain in the Department of Corrections for many years including most recently as chaplain at Sing Sing. He is well known for the care and compassion he offers to colleagues and prisoners alike and for his thoughtful speaking and writing about justice and reconciliation. 

The Executive Committee presented four awards to individuals who we believe have distinguished themselves in offering leadership in the Council’s areas of ministry:  


Karen Magee, President, New York State United Teachers


The Reverend J. Edward Lewis

The Reverend Edwin Muller

 Christian Education

The Reverend Brooke Newell, Pastor, Potsdam United Methodist Church


Bishop William Franklin, Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

Bishop Richard J. Malone, Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

Thank you for your support of the New York State Council of Churches. We look forward to being with you for our Second Annual Awards Luncheon and Fundraiser next year on May 18, 2017.

Peter Cook
Executive Director

To read the current issue of our newsletter, please visit the pdf link at the bottom of this page.
Lots of information, links to websites and resources, upcoming events and so much more!

Dear Partners in Ministry,

I bring you greetings as I celebrate with you the presence of a loving Christ in our midst and also his promise of a more just and peaceful world to come. I ask your financial support of the New York State Council of Churches.  I am so excited about the mission of the Council where we work with churches of all denominations to:

Cultivate in our faith communities a passion for justice and mission. Towards this end, the Council helps the local church influence legislation which can improve the lives of so many New Yorkers. For instance, in 2015 we have worked with secular and religious partners to encourage the Governor and legislature to enact a living wage of $15. Such a wage will go a long way to help lift millions of working New Yorkers out of poverty. 


Certify and support chaplains in our state prison and mental health systems. On our behalf, Chaplains work with their colleagues to rehabilitate people so that they can successfully re-enter society. Chaplains are unique in that they offer a persistent picture of resurrection hope for so many who have lost hope.


Re-invigorate the ecumenical movement. The Council looks for every opportunity to help the local church to reach across denominational lines to do its work and testify to our unity in Christ. One example includes our invitation to high school students to participate in our Annual Leadership Forum at the United Nations. 

Our ability to help the church do its collective work is dependent on having a strong staff who can organize and lead the efforts of the Council. 

We ask you for your generous support of our work as we hope to significantly increase the number and size of gifts in 2016 to put us on a strong financial footing. This year, we have made it possible for you to pay on-line, please click on the donate button above. Many also arrange with their bank to make monthly payments to the Council. This is my preferred way to make my own financial commitment. 

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of our request. We are grateful for all you do to offer love and hope to others in a hurting world. Together we can do what we cannot do alone.

In faith,

The Reverend Peter Cook                                                                                                                                                                  Executive Director

New Executive Director Announcement

The New York State Council of Churches is pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Peter Manning Cook as Executive Director, effective January 1, 2016.  Peter is ordained in the United Church of Christ and since 2012 has served as Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Burlington, Vermont.  Prior to his current position he served churches in Framingham, Massachusetts and Waukegan, Illinois.  He holds both the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Liturgical Theology from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, and the Bachelor of Arts in History from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Peter has been involved in several ecumenical and interfaith organizations over the course of his ministry.  He has provided leadership in community organizations which have had an impact on homelessness, affordable housing, and housing for seniors and people with disabilities.  He is well-regarded as a speaker, preacher and teacher, and brings a deep commitment to the Church's work of social justice.  He has written that he is "passionate about furthering the Council's mission to do justice in the public square, support chaplains in state institutions, and foster ecumenical cooperation among rural, suburban, and urban congregations across the state from a wide variety of denominations."

The Venerable William C. Parnell, Archdeacon for Mission of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and President of the Executive Committee of the NYS Council of Churches said, "We are delighted to welcome Peter Cook as our next Executive Director for the New York State Council of Churches.  He brings a wealth of experience and a depth of commitment to the life of the Church and to its work of justice and reconciliation in the world.  We look forward to working with him as we continue to address our advocacy priorities in the areas of bringing about economic and criminal justice, creating a culture of peace, and being good stewards of the environment.  Peter will lead us as well in our work of credentialing and supporting Protestant institutional chaplains in New York State, and in building partnerships with local ecumenical and interfaith councils throughout the state."

The Executive Committee of the New York State Council of Churches, meeting by conference call on September 30, voted unanimously to invite Peter to join us as the next Executive Director succeeding the Reverend Paula Gravelle, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who served for the past two years and is moving to Tennessee.  The New York State Council of Churches is a collaborative effort of a variety of Christian traditions and welcomes the involvement of congregations and individuals throughout the state. Our covenant is to care for one another, safeguard the presence of a vital Christian faith community in each place, provide hospitality to all, proclaim the Gospel boldly in each place, and declare God's just will among the powers and principalities.  Our mission goals focus on social justice, institutional pastoral care, and ecumenical cooperation in education, worship, and action.  For more information about the NYS Council of Churches, visit our website at www.nyscoc.org.


New Video Series for Congregational Study and Discernment on Gun Violence in the US

The New York State Council of Churches is pleased to offer a new series of 4 videos to facilitate congregational discussion and discernment on the issue of gun violence. In each of the 4 videos, Our Director of Social Witness, the Rev. Brooke Newell, leads reflections on various aspects of gun violence through the lenses of Scripture, Christian Tradition, statistics surrounding gun ownership and gun violence, and an Albany area "person in the pew" who tells her story.

The 4-video series and other resources are free for congregational and personal use.

Peter Cook,
Feb 22, 2016, 9:54 AM
Peter Cook,
Apr 1, 2016, 10:03 AM