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.
November 19, 2015
States and governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens. At the same time, protecting and upholding human dignity and freedom for those fleeing terror, persecution, and economic deprivation is the common responsibility of both our nation and our communities of faith.
God specifically calls for us to care for migrants, refugees and the vulnerable. As we look ahead to the season of Christmas, we remember that Jesus and his family fled Bethlehem to Egypt, and lived there as refugees until it was safe for them to return to their home. Thus, fearful responses to Syrian refugees are not reflective of Christian life and witness. Instead, Christ calls us to a love for humankind and compassion for all.
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo shared that New York will be open to Syrian refugees. We applaud his prophetic words. We agree with the Governor that the moral cost of keeping Syrian refugees out of the country would be too high. "We have to protect Americans and not lose our soul as America in the process," the Governor said.
We urge you to contact Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, along with your Congressperson, to let them know that as a person of faith, you believe our nation must do all in its power to assist Syrian refugees. The phone number for the Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
In the words of the Social Creed of the National Council of Churches, "we offer a vision of a society that seeks compassion over suspicion ... and finds security in joined hands rather than massed arms. Inspired by Isaiah's vision of a "peaceable kingdom," we honor the dignity of every person ... and pray and work for the day when none "labor in vain or bear children for calamity" (Isaiah 65:23). We do so as disciples of the One who came "that all may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10), and stand in solidarity with Christians and with all who strive for justice around the globe."
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Peter Cook The Rev. Brooke Newell
Executive Director Elect Director of Social Witness
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.
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.