2018 New Appointments

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton intends to make the following appointments at the 2018 session of the New York Annual Conference, to be effective July 1, 2018.

For more information about each pastor and their new appointment, please click the pastor’s name; those without a link will have more information posted shortly. Dates indicated are the date the appointment was announced.


June 5, 2018

Mary Brevigleiri to West Granby United Methodist Church, CT District

Ann N. Morgan to Cairo & Sandy Plains United Methodist Churches, CH District

Hyunduk Choi to Windham-Hensonville & Ashland Community United Methodist Churches, CH District

Kevin Mulqueen to Ellenville United Methodist Church & Westbrookville Community Chapel, CH District

Scharlise Dorsey to Walden & Bullville United Methodist Churches, CH District

Seung Jin Hong supplying Grahamsville & Sundown United Methodist Churches, CH District

Valerie Paul-Greenaway supplying Federated Church of Kerhonkson & Kripplebush United Methodist Church,  CH District

Jacqueline Carter to United Methodist Church of Monticello & Hurleyville United Methodist Church, CH District

Sejin Cha to St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Napanoch & Ulster Heights United Methodist Church, CH District

Luke Jaeyoung Park to Chinese United Methodist Church, Manhattan, MET District

John Young to Chinese United Methodist Church, Manhattan, MET District

John Wood to United Methodist Church of the Tarrytowns, MET District

Enock Yatri to Grace United Methodist Church, Putnam Valley, NY, NY/CT District


May 31, 2018

Jae Hyun Kim to Long Island Korean United Methodist Church, LIE District


May 22, 2018

Andrea Smith to Church of the Good Shepherd, West Hempstead, LIE District

Rebekah Forni to Middlefield Federated Church, CT District


May 14, 2018

Gia L. Hall to Carpenter Memorial United Methodist Church, Glen Cove, LIE District

Melanie Ollett to West Hills United Methodist Church, Huntington Station, LIE District

Jin Woo Kim to Metropolitan Koryo United Methodist Church, MET District

Ian Straker to Ardsley United Methodist Church, MET District

Maxine Johnson Harris to St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Hartsdale, MET District

John Esposito to Gaylordsville United Methodist Church, CT District

Angel A. Abakah to Ghana Wesley & Andrews United Methodist Churches, Brooklyn, LIW District


May 10, 2018

Adeline Hazzard to Winsted United Methodist Church, CT District

Egan Bovell to United Methodist Church of East Berlin, CT District

Lydia Han to The Village Church of Bayville,  LIE District

Akio Iyoda to Merrick United Methodist Church, LIE District

Jennifer Berry to New Paltz United Methodist Church, CH District

Johnny Ceasar to Aldersgate and Pleasantville United Methodist Churches, MET District


May 1, 2018

HyoungKyu Park to First United Methodist Church, Flushing, LIW District

Oon Don Choi to The Parish of the Five Churches (includes Bangall, Elizaville, Milan: Rowe, Millerton and Pine Plains UMCs), NYCT District

Christine Lindeberg to Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, NY with The Parish of the Five Churches (includes Bangall, Elizaville, Milan: Rowe, Millerton and Pine Plains UMCs), NYCT District

Dyanne Corey to Bellmore United Methodist Church, LIE District

Lillian M. Hertel to St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Staten Island,  MET District

Joseph Upole to Summerfield & Woodrow United Methodist Churches, Staten Island, MET District

Annette Rodriguez to South Bronx Hispanic New Church Start, MET District

Ruben Rivera-Martinez to Flanders United Methodist Church, LIE District

Dorlimar Lebrón Malavé to First Spanish United Methodist Church / Primera Iglesia Hispana Metodista Unida, Manhattan, MET District


April 24, 2018

Mary Langley to First United Methodist Church, Coxsackie, CH District

Peggy Ann Sauerhoff to Phoenicia & Reservoir United Methodist Churches, CH District

Vicki I Flippin to First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, CT District

Jacob Hanbin Eun to First United Methodist Church of Wallingford, CT District

Claire Wu to First Church Baldwin, United Methodist, LIE District

Jane H. Kim to Community United Methodist Church, Massapequa, LIE District

Arnaldo Sanchez-Orta to Iglesia Evangelica de Co-op City, MET District 

Samuel A. Arhin to Ghana United Methodist Church, Bronx, MET District

Linda M. Willey to Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church, NYCT District

Micah Coleman Campbell to Fishkill United Methodist Church & Wiccopee Community United Methodist Church, NYCT District

J. Michael Cobb to Rowayton United Methodist Church, NYCT District


April 9, 2018

Elon Sylvester to Westbury United Methodist Church, LIE District

Bette Johnson Sohm to St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Northport, LIE District 

Suhee Kim to Bellport United Methodist Church, LIE District

Mark T. Allen to Monroe, CT United Methodist Church, CT District

Parker Prout (updated) to Southeastern Dutchess Cooperative Parish (includes Dover Plains, Pawling,  Poughquag, Verbank and Wingdale: South Dover), NYCT District

Joanne Utley to United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco, NYCT District

Michael H. Barry, Jr. to Zion's Hill United Methodist Church, Wilton, CT & Stevens Memorial United Methodist Church, NYCT District


March 27, 2018

Dong Hyun Choi to First United Methodist Church, Greenwich, NYCT District


March 23, 2018

Martha A. Epstein to Clinton United Methodist Church, CT District

Gregory K. Higgins to Mountain View United Methodist Church, CH District


March 12, 2018 

Benjamin D.Y. Yoo to United Methodist Church of Floral Park, NY, LIW District


March 5, 2018

Matthew A. Querns to Yorktown United Methodist Church, Yorktown Heights, NY, NYCT District

Sheila M. Beckford to Wethersfield United Methodist Church, CT District

Kristina D. Hansen to Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Milford, CT District


February 20, 2018

Robert Hewitt to First United Methodist Church, Stamford, CT, NYCT District

Gene Ott to Simsbury United Methodist Church, CT District

Heather Sinclair to United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, CT District


Rev. Sheila M. Beckford appointed to Wethersfield United Methodist Church

About Sheila Beckford

Rev. Sheila M. Beckford

Rev. Sheila M. Beckford was born to immigrant parents from Honduras, Central America. Her home church is Newman Memorial United Methodist Church in Brooklyn. She began her ministry at John Wesley United Methodist Church as a Youth Minister.

Rev. Beckford earned an Associate’s degree in Accounting from Borough of Manhattan Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Religious Studies from The College of New Rochelle, NYTS Campus, and holds a Master of Divinity from Drew Theological School. Upon graduating from Drew Theological School, she served in two churches in New Jersey as the Pastor's Assistant, where she developed the Sunday school. She is one of the founders of New Day Church where she served on the Strategic Planning Team. After commissioning in 2011, she was appointed to Woodycrest United Methodist Church. In 2014, Pastor Sheila was ordained as an Elder in the New York Annual Conference and was appointed to Westbury United Methodist Church where she served for four years.

Rev. Beckford serves as the Dance Ministry Coordinator for the New York Annual Conference and on various committees, including Black Methodists for Church Renewal, and Conference Commission on Religion and Race. She is also a Certified Mentor.

She is energetic, creative and passionate and one of her many passions is for justice. Due to her unwavering beliefs in social justice, she became involved in the newly formed interfaith advocacy group, The Community Legal Advocates of New York.

Prior to answering her call, Rev. Beckford worked in the accounting field, as an educator and a Property Manager for many years.

About Wethersfield United Methodist Church

Wethersfield UMC

Wethersfield United Methodist Church is located south of Hartford and near the Old Wethersfield Historic District, WUMC was founded in 1790 when Rev. Jess Lee and Rev. Daniel Smith preached at the site of the North Brick School House. The first church was built in 1824 on Main Street, and as the WUMC experienced significant growth in the 20th century, a larger church was established on Prospect Street, Wethersfield, in 1958. Today WUMC continues its heritage of sharing the Word of God in Morning Glory contemporary worship and traditional worship services, Sunday Church School, Bible studies and in the many ministry opportunities they offer. WUMC have progressive, Christ centered youth groups, active in outreach and engaged in worship. Their music ministry is lively with Praise Band, Chancel Choir and Bell Choir. WUMC actively serve within their local community and have a strong ministry partnership in Haiti. Their women’s, men’s and seniors ministries are passionate and outreach oriented. Their active and joyful Preschool provides a loving environment for young children to begin their educational and faith journey. WUMC also host 150 Prospect Coffee House offering open microphone music & talent performances which is open to the Wethersfield community. Learn more about WUMC at www.wethersfieldchurch.org !

In the words of the church’s leadership, “Wethersfield United Methodist Church is a vibrant, growing church filled with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.  Our congregation is made up of people of all ages, we embrace diversity and we welcome all who come to worship and seek to know God.  We offer loving Christian community, where together we grow in faith, embrace social justice and serve others within a community centered on Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Egan M. Bovell appointed to East Berlin United Methodist Church

About Egan M. Bovell

Born in Barbados, West Indies but it was at the Holetown Methodist Church where he got his foundation in Methodism. Egan served in every capacity of the churches life, including Youth Leader, Class Leader, Society Steward, church school teacher, Certify local Preacher, Circuit Steward and Synod Delegate.

Egan migrated to the USA in the late 1980s to join his wife and transferred his membership to the First United Methodist church of Hartford and served under the late Rev. Kermit Morrison, as Lay Speaker and Chair of SPPRC. In 1995 Egan transferred to Hartford North where he continued to be involve in every aspect of the churches life. For the last seventeen years, Egan served under the tutelage of Rev. Dr. Hugh Hamilton as Minister with responsibility for Worship, Community Engagement, Prayer Ministry, Evangelism, Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study along with being Lay Leader and Conference representative. 

He is a Graduate of the New Banking Institute and worked in the Banking Industry for the last thirty years and is currently a Retail Banking Center Manager of a Santander Bank. He is married to his high school sweetheart Felicia Bovell for thirty-four years and together they are the proud parents of three Adult children Kristin, Kerri, Christopher and one grandson Mason. Egan is passionate about worship, he is a prayer warrior and is unwavering in his belief that strong committed lay persons are the bedrock of ministry in our church and community.

His favorite passage of Scripture is Isaiah 43:18-19. “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

About East Berlin United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church of East Berlin is the church of the ordinary people with extra ordinary faith. The beginning of EBUMC goes back to 1864 when a group of people were gathered as the East Berlin Methodist Episcopal Church. The first church building was completed in 1876 and the current building in 1896. Ever since its beginning, several generations of families were baptized, married and grew in faith of Christ here at EBUMC.

The church actively serves their neighbors in and beyond the local area with charities and events including Children’s Vacation Bible School, Healing Prayer Service, Berlin Fair Booth, Christmas Bazaar, Community Dinner, and Wednesday Prayer Circle. In the words of its leadership: “EBUMC is the worship community where we serve God the creator, the disciple community, where we follow Christ the Son, and the prayer community where we pray in the Holy Spirit. Our Sunday Worship Service is at 10:00AM followed by fellowship and a church school program called Children’s Table. All are welcome!”

Pastor Dong Hyun Choi appointed to First United Methodist Church, Greenwich

About Dong Hyun Choi

Pastor Dong Hyun Choi is a bright, energetic, loving pastor who shares Good News with church people and the world. The keys for him are cultivating an intimate relationship with the Triune God and working with Christians to build relationships with those who do not know God’s presence and love. The son of a pastor in Janghang, South Korea, he heard a call to become a pastor during a revival when he was eight years old. That call led him to Seoul Theological University, chaplaincy in the South Korean military, Drew Theological Seminary, and several mission trips. He met his future wife, Jiseon Kim, on a mission trip to China. They were married in 2010 and have shared in these ministry settings: Global Church in Seoul, Sohmyung Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York Plainview UMC on Long Island, Memorial UMC of Shandaken in the Catskills (where Jason Jisop Choi was born), and Windham-Hensonville and Ashland UMCs in the Catskills (where James Aesop Choi was born). Rev. Choi became a Provisional Member of NYAC in 2016. As sole pastor in his last two appointments, he brought excitement and growth, which now will benefit the people of First UMC of Greenwich, beginning July 1, 2018.

About First United Methodist Church, Greenwich

Greenwich First UMC is located in the center of the downtown area on what might have originally been the town green. Greenwich, located in Fairfield County, neighbors Stamford, CT and borders the Long Island Sound. Originally a farming and fishing community, Greenwich is situated within commuting distance of New York City where today many residents are employed. Methodists arrived in Greenwich very early and a Methodist congregation was formed in 1805. The present church, a single story Gothic structure, was built in 1872. The former parsonage and brick building which hold classroom space and offices are located next door. Today the church sponsors a prayer box ministry, collecting prayers from several locations in the community and offering prayers as requested at weekly services. The church website also provides a Virtual Prayer Box where visitors can leave prayer requests electronically. The small but faithful congregation hosts an annual live Nativity on the church lawn during the Holiday Celebration in Greenwich which attracts hundreds of visitors. Weekly worship services, special services, fellowship opportunities, bi-monthly Sunday School and other occasional events are also offered. Greenwich First joins in some ministries and worship events with Diamond Hill UMC which is located in Cos Cob (a neighborhood in Greenwich) and also Round Hill, UMC, another Greenwich Methodist congregation.

Rev. Oon Don Choi appointed to the Parish of the Five Churches & Pleasant Valley

About Oon Don Choi

Oon Don ChoiRev. Oon Don Choi is an elder in the New York Annual Conference who was ordained in 2002. Prior to his ordination, Rev. Choi served at Stamford Korean and as Associate Pastor at First UMC Flushing Korean. Rev. Choi started his ministry with the Oklahoma AC and served several congregations and also worked as a hospital chaplain. Born in Seoul, Korea, Rev. Choi attended the Gangnam Church and entered Presbyterian Theological Seminary while still in Seoul He continued his education at Oral Roberts University (MDiv), Southern Methodist University (MDiv), Drew University (DMin) and New York Theological Seminary (DMin). He also completed the full-time Chaplain Training Course (CPE) while in Tulsa. 

Having served at Bethel UMC in the Bronx, Ossining UMC and most recently, Summerfield and Woodrow on Staten Island, Rev. Choi is excited by the possibilities for new ministry the cooperative parish provides and looks forward to the collaborative relationship with the parish clergy leadership team. He will be living in Pine Plains while serving the churches of the parish and surrounding communities. 

About the Parish of the Five Churches & Pleasant Valley

Located in the northeastern corner of the NY/CT District, the Parish of the Five Churches includes; Bangall, Elizaville, Milan: Rowe, Millerton and Pine Plains. With this new appointment of Pastor Lindeberg and Rev. Choi, Pleasant Valley has been added to the Cooperative Parish. The churches of this area have a provided a long history of Methodist presence to the community. 

Not far from Rhinebeck, it is likely that Freeborn Garretson visited the early settlements and it is possible that Francis Asbury also traveled through the area on his lengthy circuit. The present buildings which the date to the early, mid and late 19th century. The area was heavily farmed in that time and churches were located within walking distance or a short carriage ride from the homes of the members. Through the mid-20th century the churches were a strong, stable and vital presence in the community but today they struggle to address challenges of low attendance, costly bills and aging buildings. 

As the community changes to a place of escape for weekenders from NY City and vacationers, churches struggle with an identity crisis. The Five Churches and Pleasant Valley are actively looking for ways to engage with the community by: hosting community dinners for fellowship, offering support to Boy Scout Troops, AA, Food Banks, Farmer’s Markets, knitting and sewing groups, and preschool programs. Engaging with the community will continue to be the focus of these churches and they are looking forward to new ministry opportunities in this time of transition to new pastoral leadership. 

Rev. Martha Epstein appointed to United Methodist Church of Clinton CT

About Martha Epstein

Rev. Martha Epstein is a “P.K.” (Preacher’s kid) and has been active in church all her life. Before she heard the call from God to go into ordained ministry, she worked as a teacher; the influence of that experience remains with her and children still hold a very dear place in her heart.  The Reverend Martha Epstein has pursued a path to academic excellence.  She has progressively earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Cornell University, Masters in Elementary Education from Pace University and later, a Masters in Divinity from Drew University.

Rev. Martha Epstein has a teen age daughter and a wonderful Saint Bernard/Boxer.  In her words as she described her dog: “who knows what mix.”  Martha currently serves the UMC of Monroe, CT and previously served at Vail’s Gate UMC and Gardnertown UMC in Newburgh, NY.  

Committed to the UMC’s connection, Rev. Martha serves as the Recording Secretary of the NYAC’s Finance and Administration committee.  At the district level, she is a member of the Connecticut District Board of church, Building and Location committee.  In her words, “I look forward to becoming active in my new community.  I am eager to begin working with the laity to continue the great work they are doing in Clinton, serving God’s people and being a beacon of hope and love in these troubled times.” 

About Clinton United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church of Clinton CT is a small but vital congregation that has been active on the Connecticut shore since 1830.  Their mission is stated as follows: "We celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit; Making and being disciples of Christ by sharing God's love through word and deed." These words inspire and describe them.

Their congregation is cross- generational with many young children. Sunday school for children and adults meets each Sunday at 9:00 prior to the 10:00 worship service. Their worship includes a friendly and celebratory opening and the service is enhanced by wonderful music.

Clinton UMC has a rich mission outreach that includes hosting a weekly Soup Kitchen, assisting with construction projects to help both the church, as well as the local and wider community. A recent project provided bathroom, shower, and sleeping facilities to help in emergencies and to host mission groups. The annual Pumpkin Patch benefits their missions program as well as the Navajo tribe that grows them.  Lenten and Advent Bible studies, small groups and activities organized by their family fun coordinators help them to expand and deepen their connections with each other.

Rev. Vicki I Flippin appointed to First and Summerfield United Methodist Church

About Vicki Flippin

Rev. Vicki FlippinRev. Vicki Flippin was born and baptized into the Taiwan Methodist Church. The child of a Women's Division long-term missionary and a Chinese war veteran, Vicki's family moved to the United States when she was a toddler, and she was raised in the United Methodist Church in Missouri. Vicki graduated college from the University of Chicago with a degree in South Asian Languages and Civilizations. Through experiences that ranged from studying in India to reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X while working in the South Side of Chicago, Vicki discerned a call to work for social change through professional ministry. 

She attended Yale Divinity School, where she found a home at First and Summerfield UMC, which nurtured her with mentors and ministry experiences as a student. Following graduation, Vicki has served in full-time pastoral ministry for ten years as Senior Pastor of Diamond Hill UMC; Associate Pastor of Social Justice, Intergenerational, and Exploring Faith Ministries at Church of the Village; and Associate Pastor of New Communities at St. Paul & St. Andrew UMC. 

Vicki feels most connected to her calling when she is bringing new people into Christian communities that affirm LGBTQ lives and families and that center people of color. She serves as Co-President of the Board of Directors of the Methodist Federation for Social Action and has served previously in leadership for Methodists in New Directions and the NYAC Commission on Religion and Race. She shares life with her classical guitarist husband, Thomas, and their young daughter who is learning to tell knock knock jokes.

About First and Summerfield United Methodist Church

As a congregation of the Body of Christ in downtown New Haven, First and Summerfield United Methodist Church historically have been and remain committed to being a caring and diverse church, which is reflected in their worship, prayer and action. In 2017 they implemented the Sanctuary movement at their church. To date, they have nurtured three individuals who have sought refuge within the church.

In the words of the leadership at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, “we welcome persons of every race, culture, class, age, ability and disability, and sexual orientation, into our congregation. We encourage and celebrate the expression of the many gifts individuals bring to this community. We pray for the grace to be a people reconciled in God’s love. Our congregation aspires to be a nurturing community, supporting one another in our journeys of faith. We work in the hope of sharing in God’s power for good among the powerless of this world. 

With other Christian communities and religious faiths, we reach out to all God’s children in dialogue, mission and ministry. We ask for God’s love, forgiveness and power as we struggle to do God’s will.”

Rev. Kristina Hansen appointed to Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church

About Kristina Hansen

Rev. Kristina HansenThe Rev. Kristina Hansen is a second career pastor, leaving corporate life to heed a call to ministry in 2000.  She attended Union Theological Seminary, graduating in 2003.  She was commissioned in 2004 and ordained in 2007. Kristina's student pastorate, as Children's Minister at St. Paul & St. Andrew on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, began the Sunday after 9/11, where she quickly learned the complexities of children's spiritual formation and care during times of trauma.  In 2003, Kristina was appointed to a three-point charge in the Catskill-Hudson region where the churches of Grand Gorge, Gilboa and Conesville graciously received and groomed a newly minted seminarian.  In 2006, she was appointed to Woodbury, Connecticut, where she shepherded the church through a time of crisis.  In 2010, she was appointed to St. Paul's UMC in Northport, NY on Long Island where she has served for the past eight years.  During this time she guided the congregation through the process to become a Reconciling Church, open and affirming of LGBTQI persons, established new ministries for adults and children, and led stewardship initiatives that have provided greater financial stability and more abundant ministry.  Beyond the local church, Kristina serves on the NYAC Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Directors for United Methodist Frontier Foundation, on the District Committee on Ministry, and as a Cluster Leader, a Clergy Transitional Leader and a Clergy Mentor.  She is active in interfaith ministries.

About Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church

Mary Taylor Memorial UMCOriginally known as the First Methodist Church of Milford - 1836, Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church had its current building dedicated in 1893.  Myrtle Beach Community Church merged with MTMUMC in 1969.  The church is currently nesting Ghana Emmanuel Church since 2016. MTMUM celebrates that it is the only church located on the green in Milford, CT. 

In the words of the church’s leadership: “We are a community growing in God's grace and love.  We are committed to following Christ's teaching and example by heeding his call to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, preach the good news, teach our children and youth, and visit the sick, homebound and imprisoned.  We recognize and celebrate the diversity of God's creation and God's gifts.  As disciples of our Lord, we publically acknowledge, welcome, and support people of all races, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities, ages, nationalities, ethnicities, abilities, and socio-economic situations.  Our welcome knows no boundaries.  Called by the Holy Spirit to share a ministry that reflects God's love and justice, we embrace and honor all who participate in the ministries and leadership of our church.” 

MTMUM offers a Sunday Worship Service with child care, a Healing & Wholeness Service, a variety of seasonal and special worship offerings, Sunday School, Youth Ministry, Music Ministry, Bible studies, and much more. The first weekend in June is their 47th annual Fair on the Green with over 100 arts and craft vendors, awesome food, and Trash & Treasures.

Mary Taylor Memorial Church has a strong commitment to local, national, and international missions through United Methodist and ecumenical agencies, including their annual “Mission Fair.”

Rev. Robert Hewitt appointed to First United Methodist Church, Stamford CT

About Robert Hewitt

Rev. Robb HewittThe Rev. Robert Hewitt is an energetic servant of Christ who has managed a complicated project at the Mountain View United Methodist Church. Robb was appointed to Pine Bush UMC in 1995, and eight years later our churches in Bloomingburg, Bullville, and Walker Valley were added to his charge. He helped them discern that three of them—Bloomingburg, Pine Bush, and Walker Valley—would merge in 2006 to form the Mountain View UMC. Since then, he has helped them consolidate their ministries and add to their numbers, while preparing to sell unneeded buildings. Robb is the son of Rev. Arthur and Beatrice Hewitt and grew up in parsonages in upstate New York. Robb received his M.Div from Yale Divinity, was ordained a full elder in 1993; his first two appointments were in Connecticut. He is a devoted father of Bella and Ben, a valued leader in the Catskill Hudson District (chairing the Board of Church Location and Building), and a man of prayer. He will next be appointed to serve in Stamford, Connecticut, at First United Methodist Church

About First United Methodist Church, Stamford, CT

First UMC, StamfordLocated in Fairfield County, CT, Stamford is situated on the Long Island Sound and bordered by Westchester County, NY.  The Methodist presence in Stamford dates back to the late 1700’s when circuit rider, Jesse Lee, ventured into New England to share the Gospel and Methodism to the colonial settlers of that time.  Methodists have had a number of meeting places and churches in the Stamford area over the years.  The present church is located on Cross Road and is known for its beautiful sanctuary and stained glass windows.   The church is also recognized as a welcoming presence for all who enter, and hosts numerous outside groups, events and activities, as well as an excellent weekday nursery school. In 2016, First Stamford merged with the Springdale United Methodist Church, and the new congregation is visioning ways to develop new ministries with new people, who are moving to the area for work in the community, or to commute to jobs in NYC.   The congregation and Associate Pastor, Kairya Greer, are preparing to welcome their new Senior Pastor, Rev. Robert Hewitt, who brings gifts and graces of evangelism and church growth as he takes up his pastoral assignment with them this year.  The congregation’s statement regarding “who” they are states:  “We are a Christian community gathered to worship the God who created us, to grow in faith, to seek social justice and to serve others in compassionate ministry.  We offer a place of diversity, hospitality, harmony, and hope for anyone who seek to know God and to grow in His grace.”  May God’s blessings continue to strengthen and support this church during this exciting time of new beginnings and opportunity!

Pastor Christine Lindeberg appointed to the Parish of the Five Churches & Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church

About Christine Lindeberg

Pastor Christine LindebergPastor Christine Lindeberg has served the Pleasant Valley (NY) UMC since her appointment 2015. Pastor Lindeberg completed her MDiv at Drew in May of 2017 and is presently in the candidacy process for ordination. Her passions for ministry include engaging with and welcoming all people, creative programming, compassionate leading, personal faith commitment, and “playing well with others.” Before entering ministry Pastor. Lindeberg worked as a Residential Manager in a facility that provided care for high-medical-need adults. She also is a member of the Carpenter’s Union and was employed as Home Inspector and the Owner/Manager of a self-owned Building Management Firm. In addition to her MDiv, Pastor Lindeberg holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Music. Other interests include: Habitat for Humanity, Community Chorus, and work with the mentally disabled. Rev. Lindeberg is looking forward to continuing her relationship with the Pleasant Valley congregation while building missional opportunities and developing new ministries with the churches in the parish. She is positive about the possibilities that working with a ministry colleague will provide in the ministry they share. 

About the Parish of the Five Churches & Pleasant Valley

Located in the northeastern corner of the NY/CT District, the Parish of the Five Churches includes; Bangall, Elizaville, Milan: Rowe, Millerton and Pine Plains. With this new appointment of Pastor Lindeberg and Rev. Choi, Pleasant Valley has been added to the Cooperative Parish. The churches of this area have a provided a long history of Methodist presence to the community. 

Not far from Rhinebeck, it is likely that Freeborn Garretson visited the early settlements and it is possible that Francis Asbury also traveled through the area on his lengthy circuit. The present buildings which the date to the early, mid and late 19th century. The area was heavily farmed in that time and churches were located within walking distance or a short carriage ride from the homes of the members. Through the mid-20th century the churches were a strong, stable and vital presence in the community but today they struggle to address challenges of low attendance, costly bills and aging buildings. 

As the community changes to a place of escape for weekenders from NY City and vacationers, churches struggle with an identity crisis. The Five Churches and Pleasant Valley are actively looking for ways to engage with the community by: hosting community dinners for fellowship, offering support to Boy Scout Troops, AA, Food Banks, Farmer’s Markets, knitting and sewing groups, and preschool programs. Engaging with the community will continue to be the focus of these churches and they are looking forward to new ministry opportunities in this time of transition to new pastoral leadership. 

Rev. Gene I. Ott appointed to Simsbury United Methodist Church

About Gene I. Ott

Rev. Gene I. OttThe Rev. Gene I. Ott is an elder in the NYAC who was ordained in 2013 and commissioned in 2011.  He attended college at the University of South Carolina, graduating with a BS in History through the State University of New York.  Gene received his M. Div, Magna Cum Laude, from Drew Theological School where he received the Town and Country Award, graduating in 2008. He served the churches of the NYAC at Island Park NY, Stevens Memorial in South Salem, NY with Round Hill in Connecticut, before his appointment to the Yorktown UMC in 2013.  In Yorktown, Gene developed a new music ministry using multiple styles of music, incorporated media and use of technology in the worship setting, and advanced lay training and Christian Education for persons of all ages.  Under his leadership the congregation enlarged their Sunday School, expanded their Black History Month study and celebrations, Latin American Sunday events and incorporated a “Music on the Lawn” summer series to attract interest in the church from the outside community.  Gene is recognized by his congregations for his worship leadership and preaching ability.  While at Yorktown, Gene co-founded with Rev. Jessica Anschutz, a ministry to engage with the un/non churched in Cold Spring, NY called “43:19 – Streams in the Desert” and a second ministry called “Coffee, Kids and Chaos”.  Gene has participated in or led youth mission trips to Ghana, Costa Rica, Red Bird Mission, UM Action Reach-Out with Youth, Connecticut, and  co-led a youth trip to Puerto Rico. He has also experienced the Taize community and traveled to Cambodia on an independent mission trip.  He is a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Annual Conference and also serves on the Executive Committee.  He actively mentors candidates for ministry within his district and serves or has served on a number of committees during his years of service. Gene and his wife, Erin, have two children, Isaac and Amelia.  

About Simsbury United Methodist Church

Simsbury UMCSimsbury United Methodist Church was founded in 1818.  The original SUMC congregation was made up of typical Americans who were dedicated to providing a better life for their children. The history of the church is closely tied to the growth of Methodism in post-revolutionary America and is a microcosm of the building of the American dream – improving one’s life spiritually, economically, and socially. Throughout its almost 200 year history, SUMC has prospered through the steadfastness and devotion of the men and women who have selflessly dedicated their time, talents, and resources to build a place of worship and a community of believers united in Christian fellowship. The church’s impressive record of growth accelerated in the 1990’s. Little Lambs and Ivy Child Care Center was conceived and built, opening in 2000. The barn and office facilities on Plank Hill Road were funded and refurbished for community service. As a viable congregation, adult classes and Bible study groups have increased in number and attendance; the Women’s, Men’s and Youth Fellowship groups have grown, and outreach programs both locally and abroad have expanded, including ongoing support to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The church defines itself through these words: “The Simsbury United Methodist Church embraces the philosophy of Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. We are a warm and welcoming congregation where everyone feels part of a church family. We offer vibrant music and outreach programs, and are excited about the future faith journey of our fellowship.”

Pastor Matthew Querns appointed to Yorktown United Methodist Church, Yorktown Heights, NY

About Matthew Querns

Pastor Matthew QuernsOriginally coming from Drew Seminary and the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, Matthew Querns was appointed to Walden and Bullville in 2012 as a Licensed Local Pastor. He was commissioned as a Provisional Member two years later. At Walden and Bullville, he has expanded ministries with youth and young families and Bible studies. He led the churches in discerning and providing community outreach for children and youth. He leads worship with enthusiasm and humor; his preaching is Biblical and relevant to contemporary life. He has a heart for social justice, and he lives simply. Very outgoing, he has welcomed diverse populations into faith in Jesus Christ. Walden has sold its main building and has not yet begun construction on a new one, but Matt has kept the congregation together and added new ministries. Matt has volunteered to serve on the Conference Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. He has been serving as the Registrar for the Catskill Hudson District Committee on Ordained Ministry. He will next be appointed to serve in Yorktown Heights, New York-Connecticut District.

About Yorktown United Methodist Church

Yorktown UMCYorktown is located in northern Westchester County, near Peekskill and Mt Kisco. It was settled in the 1600’s and was of great importance during the Revolutionary War. Methodism arrived in the area around 1766 as circuit riders, among them Francis Asbury, made their way from settlement to settlement. Small class meetings were formed and many congregations emerged as a result during the early 1800’s. The Yorktown Methodist Church was established in 1876 and the first building was completed in 1924. The present church was built in the 1970’s and has a welcoming sanctuary, meeting hall, offices and classrooms on a large parcel of land. The church is located on Crompond Road, which has lots of traffic and provides great visibility for the church in the community. The congregation is very diverse in age, culture, gender and race. Yorktown is involved in mission both locally and in other places, participating in Midnight Run, ASPC and has sponsored several youth on Annual Conference VIM Mission trips.   There is a Sunday School program for all ages and several adult study groups.  The congregation is interested in engaging with the community outside the church walls in order to provide welcome to those seeking a deeper spiritual relationship with God through Christ.  Recently they have sponsored concerts and community-welcoming events on the church lawn “Under the Tent,” have enhanced their worship space with improved technology including projection and sound equipment, provide varied worship music opportunities and offer Sunday worship, monthly healing services and weekly prayer services. The Yorktown United Methodist Church strives to continue to build on their past legacy by engaging and making disciples for Christ now and in the future!

Pastor Annette Rodriguez appointed to plant a South Bronx Congregation

About Annette Rodriguez 

Annette was born and raised in the Soundview & Parkchester sections of the Bronx. After completing undergraduate studies at NYU she worked in Hospital Administration, eventually adding an MBA from Hofstra University into the list of her academic achievements. It was during her time at Hofstra that Annette decided to heed the call of the Lord and was accepted to Duke Divinity School where she received her Master of Divinity in 2017. Annette carries with her an advanced knowledge of theology and pastoral care but also the practical ability to manage systems of people in a way that benefits society through innovative, comprehensive, and systemic processes. Additionally, she has over 15 years of Christian Education experience and has most recently spent a season working as a Chaplain at the Veteran Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.

Pastor Arnaldo Sanchez-Orta appointed to Iglesia Evangelica de Co-op City

About Arnaldo Sanchez-Orta

Pastor Arnaldo Sanchez-Orta is from the Puerto Rico Conference of the Methodist Church. He is presently studying for his STM at Drew Theological School. A graduate of Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, San Juan (M.Div.) Sanchez received two outstanding awards, the best Bible studies student, and Best Methodist Student an honor bestowed by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus.

Sanchez is bilingual, he has served as a professor of Systemic Theology, and Old Testament in the Teologica Interdenominational Carolina, Puerto Rico, and has pastored three churches in Puerto Rico. Sanchez is passionate about sharing his Methodist heritage in culturally diverse communities. He is eager to serve Co-op City and build lasting relationships with the members and neighboring community. He is married to Minelis and the have a beautiful toddler, Emma.

About Iglesia Evangelica de Co-op City

Iglesia Evangelica Unida Metodista is a dual-language congregation. Both Spanish- and English-speaking worship experiences have committed leaders, many of whom have been a part of the worshiping community since its inception. Co-op City is the newest construct in the New York Annual Conference, the members entered the building thirteen years ago under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Milca Plaud who served them for thirty-one years. Co-op City UMC sits prominently at the intersection of the Hutchinson Parkway and Interstate 95. This Cooperative City is the largest cooperative housing development in the world. It is home to almost 60,000 New Yorkers and has existed since 1974. Although two languages are spoken in worship they represent at least seven different nationalities. This vital congregation began in a community center in Co-op City and was nurtured into a faithful congregation that has sought to use music as a way of connecting with the youth in the neighborhood. The church has deep roots throughout the community. 

Rev. Heather A.M. Sinclair appointed to United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston

About Heather A.M. Sinclair

Rev. Heather SinclairRev. Sinclair was born and raised in a United Methodist family in Westford MA.  She attended Colgate University in Hamilton, NY where she graduated with a B.A. degree in Religion.  Heather participated in the University Church while at Colgate and it was there where she met her husband, Skip, and heard her call to ministry. While attending Yale Divinity School, Heather worked as the Youth Director of Memorial UMC in Avon, CT. She completed her M.Div in 2003 and was ordained a full elder in 2007. Heather served the Nichols UMC in Trumbull CT from 2003-2006 when she was appointed to the First UMC of Shelton CT. While at Shelton, Heather also provided ministerial support and pastoral care to those at the Methodist Homes Campus.  In 2013 Heather became the pastor to the First Greenwich church where she works to involve laity. She has led and coordinated programs for children and youth such as: Vacation Bible School, UM Army, and summer mission camps.  While in Greenwich, Heather has worked with the congregation to develop outreach to the community including a vital prayer ministry and a community – wide Live Nativity during the Advent Season.  Rev. Sinclair’s worship design skills and preaching are acknowledged in her congregation.  Her work with interfaith clergy associations has been a part of her ministry in every setting.  She is the President of the Greenwich Fellowship of Clergy and of the United Way Community Planning Council.  Heather is a member of the NYAC Board of Ordained Ministry, and co-chair of the Annual Conference Worship Committee.  She is a trained Transitional Leader, and Clergy Mentor.  Heather and her husband, Skip have two daughters, Grace and Sophia.  

About United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston

UMC of Westport and WestonThe United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston is a 40 year old congregation sitting on what they affectionately define as a “Rabbit hill.”  This spiritual campus provides spiritual warmth and caring for a membership of 430 individuals. Over 180 individuals gather every Sunday, for worship, in a warm open sanctuary. With a mantra of “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” the church engages the community through diverse ministries such as an AA program, Person to Person ministry, Operation Christmas Child, Gillespie Center Meals, child care facilities, and an interfaith council.

This church best describes itself through these words: "We aim to create an open and welcoming fellowship that communicates God's love for all people, and we go into the world to spread that love in words and deeds.  We are held together not by uniformity of thought, but by our desire to know, to live, and to share the love of Jesus." See more of the church on http://www.westportumc.org/our_church.html.

Rev. Joseph L. Upole appointed to Summerfield and Woodrow United Methodist Churches

About Joseph L. Upole

Rev. Upole is an elder in the New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Joe was born in West Virginia where his father was an elder in the West Virginia Annual Conference and grew up in West Virginia and Ohio. Joe has 35 years of pastoral experience that began in 1983 with a student pastorate while earning his Bachelor of Arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College, majoring in Religion and minoring in Christian Education, graduating in 1986 summa cum laude. He graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary magna cum laude in 1991 while serving a student appointment in western Maryland. Ordained an elder in the West Virginia Annual Conference in 1991, Joe served 15 years in the West Virginia Annual Conference and transferred to the New York Annual Conference in 2005. In the New York Annual Conference Joe has previously served the Downsville Charge, Christ UMC in Brooklyn, and St. Paul’s UMC on Staten Island.

Joe is committed to mutual ministry, empowering the laity and everyday evangelism. Congregations he has served consistently point to his gifts for teaching and preaching. He has taught in both Lay Leadership Training and Lay Servant School on Staten Island and has preached special Passion Week services in Baroda and Ahmdebad in the Gujarat State of India. A strong advocate of full inclusion, he is a member of the Conference Board of Church and Society. 

Joe has been blessed to share his life with his wife, Joan, a Mental Health Professional, for 36 years. 

About Summerfield United Methodist Church

Summerfield UMC is located in Mariners Harbor section of Staten Island. The community is experiencing signs of revitalization.

This small congregation is searching to find their place in a changing community. They would like to strengthen their relationship with their neighbors and create a space for the teens. They are thankful for Christ Strong Tower who presently shares space with them. Summerfield is excited about new possibilities for ministry.

About Woodrow United Methodist Church

Woodrow UMC was established in 1842. A wood frame, Greek-style structure stands beside the church’s cemetery.

Woodrow has the distinction of being a United States National Historical place and in 1967 it was registered as a New York City Landmark in. Woodrow is likely the only NYC sanctuary that does not have running water. In an effort to meet the needs of the members they built a modern facility adjacent to the parking lot. Weekly worship is held in the adjacent hall except on the first Sunday of the month when they use the sanctuary. The preservation commission regulates New York City's architectural, historical, and cultural buildings. Which means that there are limitations on how to renovate and maintain the chapel.

Woodrow proudly hosts several community groups including the neighborhood Boy Scout Troop. This small congregation is eager to find its way to become more inviting and relevant to the surrounding community. Woodrow is also known for its active cemetery, which still has a few plots available. 

Pastor Claire Hojung Wu appointed to First Church Baldwin United Methodist

About Claire Hojung Wu 

Rev. Wu was born in Seoul, South-Korea and immigrated to the United State of America (U.S.A). Claire earned her B.A in Accounting and Information System at Queens College, City University of New York, and a Master of Divinity at Drew Theological School. Her call to the ordained ministry came while she was helping to plant small group ministries. She devoted herself to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ and was involved with spiritual disciplines, discipleship, evangelism, small group fellowship and church planting ministries in the church. God provided her with the special gift of building and designing websites and has been assisting churches to be more relevant to today's culture utilizing IT skills. She is currently serving at Pleasantville United Methodist Church as an Assistant Pastor and at Aldersgate United Methodist Church as a Children’s Pastor. She is also a Chaplain resident at North Shore University Hospital, providing pastoral care to people who are in distress, and in need of a compassionate touch. Her ministry always encourages to have a life transforming encounter with God. Claire is married to Philip, and they have two children, Bryan and Kristy. Claire is a woman of faith and lives with the assurance of Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?... Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

About First Church Baldwin United Methodist 

A simple stone marker currently designates the site where in 1810 Christian Snedeker conducted the first religious classes in an old one-room building on his father's farm, located near what is now St. Luke's Place and Grand Avenue. The building, which later became known as Bethel Chapel, was Baldwin's first church. Two hundred and eight years later, the congregation of First Church Baldwin, United Methodist may meet in a different building, but the same Holy Spirit still calls us to worship in the name of Jesus Christ. With the blessings of almighty God and the faith of our predecessors, the cornerstone for the present building was laid in 1871 and the sanctuary was dedicated in 1872 on land donated by Francis Baldwin, for whom the town was likely named. First Church has been inexorably linked with the spiritual health and well-being of our community for more than two centuries. This continues today and is reflected in a truly diverse congregation unified by the salvation promised by God through Jesus Christ. 

Rev. Dr. Benjamin D.Y. Yoo appointed to United Methodist Church of Floral Park

About Benjamin D.Y. Yoo

Rev. Dr. Benjamin D.Y. YooAfter joining the New York Annual Conference in 1990, Dr. Ben had ten fruitful years of ministry in New York, during which time he planted several churches and became a widely admired preacher and worship leader, who was awarded the ‘Next Generation’ preacher’s award. He was also a familiar figure as a chaplain, at various times, to the St. Vincent Hospital, the Manhattan School of Music, Sing Sing Prison, and, at a later date to the East Norwich Fire Department and the USDRC Second Corps. 

While serving in the Mississippi Annual Conference, Dr. Ben ministered as Pastor to two rural Delta congregations and became Executive Director of the Choctaw Indian Mission and St. Andrew’s Inner City Mission.  Under his leadership the St. Andrew’s Inner City Mission won recognition as the ‘Best Mission Institution’ of the Mississippi Annual Conference, and he was selected as a Who’s Who’s Best Executive, 2004. 

From 2006, Dr. Ben served as Director of Connectional Ministries for Delhi diocese of the Church of North India (CNI), the largest Protestant denomination in India.  In this role he supported the diocese pastors, principals of the diocese schools and the leadership of a national level college, and he also built constructive relationships between the diocese and the leadership of other national churches. During this time he also served as the Senior Pastor of St. Martin church, one of the largest congregations in New Delhi. He also founded E. Stanley Jones College, of which he remains Director, to provide full-time training for young people for gospel ministry in north India, and began a care ministry for orphaned and at-risk children, a ministry that continues to this day.

Dr. Ben currently has an expanding international ministry across South and South-East Asia.  He leads pastoral empowerment and laity skill development conferences in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mynamar, Japan, and Fiji, in addition to an extensive preaching ministry in churches in these countries. He studied his doctorate from Mississippi State University, and subsequently his Ph.D. in Theology at the University of Wales in the United Kingdom

Dr. Ben is a dynamic preacher and an evangelist and an ordained elder of the New York Annual conference. He and his wife Grace have three children: Sharon, James, and Grace.   

About United Methodist Church of Floral Park

The United Methodist Church of Floral Park was the first church in Floral Park, Nassau County. It has been a part of the community since 1890, and still today the church is proactive and very fruitful to make disciples and to serve the community and families through proclaiming the grace of Christ and sharing the love of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The church identifies their mission with the Great Commission of Jesus Christ: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20).

 Floral Park is a church with open doors. Seven days a week the church offers diverse programs and activities in the community such as Nursery School; Thrift Shop; DramaKids; Mother’s Club; Boy Scouts; and Girl Scouts, etc. Floral Park is deeply committed to serving the community. The church is eager and serious about renewing its purpose to make disciples by the Word and the Spirit. They are yearning and praying for winning souls to fulfill the Great Commission.