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.


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.”

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. 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!

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.”

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

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

About Rev. Dr. 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.