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
Once again this year, we will gather at the State Capitol in Albany for "Moral Mondays." This is
an opportunity for us to present the voice and concern of the faith community regarding the
state government's work this session. We seek to influence the legislature to better serve the
people, reject corruption, and fight poverty and inequality.
Come share your prayerful thoughts regarding the critical moral issues facing our state: securing paid
family leave for all workers, criminal justice reform, eliminating hunger and homelessness, raising taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers, strengthening our public schools, and raising the state's
minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Please be in touch if we can provide you with more information about our Moral Monday
gatherings. Together, we seek to make the faith voice heard in the halls of power.
Brooke Newell, Director of Social Witness
(firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315/274-0224)
"Open your mouth for the voiceless, for the rights of those who are left desolate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, maintain the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8-9
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.
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.