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. 

Register Now for Faith for a Fair NY's 2015 Retreat!

We are extremely excited for this year's Faith for a Fair NY retreat, which is now just a month away! This year we'll be exploring how the shift to a low-wage, high-inequality economy is impacting communities across the state, and how we as people of faith can respond.

If you haven't registered yet, now is the time! Early rates expire on September 15.

We'll be learning from some incredible leaders, including: 

Rudy López, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, and a national leader in faith-based organizing and advocacy for workers' rights and economic justice. Prior to coming to IWJ in 2015, Rudy worked with the Center for Community Change, helping groups all around the country to register, educate and turn out hundreds of thousands of voters in low-income communities and communities of color.

Roz Pelles, longtime civil rights and labor activist and a key leader of the North Carolina Moral Mondays movement, serving as interim executive director of the North Carolina NAACP from 2013-2014. Previously she was the director of Civil, Women's and Human Rights for the AFL-CIO from 2005-2013.

Bishop Howard Hubbard, co-chair of the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS and Bishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. For decades, Bishop Hubbard has been a leading moral voice for economic justice in New York State and throughout the country.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Director of the Kairos Center for Rights, Religions and Social Justice and a Founder and the Coordinator of the Poverty Initiative. She has spent the past two decades organizing among the poor in the United States, working with and advising grassroots organizations.

... and more!

The retreat runs from 5 pm October 11 through 1 pm October 13 at the Dominican Retreat Center in Niskayuna, just west of Albany. Join us to learn from local and national leaders, connect with other people of faith, and get engaged in statewide struggles for economic justice.

New York State Council of Churches

Statement In Support of Marriage Equality

In 2011, marriage equality became law in New York State.  Some pastors in New York have paid a price for officiating at same gender marriages over and against the official stances of their denominations.

It is time for the New York State Council of Churches to speak with a common voice in support of Marriage Equality in our state.

The Christian Church is mandated to stand for justice in our common civic life. Religious leaders before us have spoken to end slavery, and to ensure equal rights to all persons regardless of gender, nationality, religion, and race.  We now declare that our faith calls us to affirm civil marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Our religious traditions and sacred texts teach us that wherever love is present, God is also present. One of God's gifts is our capacity to love one another. The ability of two people to enter into relationships and form families of love and care is an expression of this gift.  It is holy and good.  We therefore support the right of same-sex couples to enter into such relationships on an equal basis with heterosexual couples.  This is a right that all people have as members of the human family.  The state should not deny individuals their fundamental civil right to marry whom they love.

We support civil marriage equality as an issue of religious freedom, for a denial of civil recognition dishonors the religious convictions of those communities and clergy who do officiate at, and bless, same-sex marriages. The state should not favor the convictions of one religious group over another to deny individuals their fundamental right to marry and have those marriages recognized by civil law.  By the same token, we uphold the right to freedom of conscience in this matter: the state may not require religious groups to officiate at, or bless, same-sex marriages.

For further study, the NY State Council of Churches recommends:

   Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers (2006, revised in 2009)

   The Bibles Yesto Same Sex Marriage by Mark Achtemeier (2014)

   What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak (2000)

   Witness without Parallel: Eight Biblical Texts that Make Us Presbyterian by Earl Johnson (2003)


Most of our member denominations have longstanding statements on marriage equality. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Human-Sexuality

The General Synod of the United Church of Christ http://www.ucc.org/lgbt_issues_marriageequality_index#Marriage_Equality_and_the_UCC

The United Methodist Church http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-social-community  Equal Rights Regardless of Sexual Orientation

Quakers http://www.nyym.org/?q=sexual_orientation

American Baptist Churches USA  http://www.abc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/homosexuality.pdf

The Reformed Church in America   http://wrfnet.org/articles/2013/06/reformed-church-america-approves-position-homosexual-relationships#.VRsjcUZj-i4

The Presbyterian Church USA http://www.religionnews.com/2014/06/19/presbyterians-vote-allow-gay-marriage/

The Episcopal Church http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/03/18/where-christian-churches-stand-on-gay-marriage

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.