Welcome to the NYAC Conference Center
In May 2000, the New York Annual Conference Site Committee Task Force announced that after searching for more than two years, and visiting or evaluating over a dozen locations and buildings in the lower Westchester area, a suitable site has been found to house the Conference Center.
The site of the NYAC Conference Center, the announcement authored by Robert Dutton noted,"is less than two miles from our rental space at Memorial UMC and is the current location of the Westchester Conservatory of Music at 20 Soundview Avenue in White Plains. They have outgrown the site, and are moving to the former White Plains DMV building which they are renovating to meet their needs. The property at Soundview Avenue is a two-story building built into a sloping hill on approximately 1.6 acres of wooded property adjacent to residential properties, schools, and churches. The location is accessible by car, train (about one mile from the White Plains train station), and bus. The site has 46 parking spaces,· an auditorium, a kitchen, and enough space for conference rooms, offices, and visitors offices."
Finalizing the Purchase of Property for the NYAC Conference Center
On January 11, 2001, The New York Annual Conference purchased the property at 20 Soundview A venue, White Plains, from the Westchester Conservatory of Music, NYAC reported in the February 2001 issue of The Vision.
The closing finalized two year's worth of discussion and negotiation between, Conference Trustees and property's previous owner, the Westchester Conservatory of Music. The renovation and refurbishing of the building began quickly.
Consecrating our New Building
The central event of the consecration of the NYAC Conference Center was the ceremonial ribbon cutting that officially marked the opening of the new building on January 12, 2002. Among those present at the event and included the accompanying image of the ribbon snipping new (left to right) Ernest Swiggett, NYAC Teasurer and Business Manager; Bishop Ernest S. Lyght, NYAC Resident Bishop; Robert Dutton, President of the Conference Board of Trustees; and Michael Denny, Project Manager for the building renovation.
An article from The Vision proudly noted "the layout of the offices is as functional as possible. The first floor contains the Episcopal office suite with space for the bishop's administrative assistant, the episcopal public relations office, the bishop's meeting room (Cabinet room), as well as [the bishop's] office.... Also on the first floor, a comfortable waiting area is provided near the front entrance to the building, The large Learning Center is on the main floor and offers space for large meetings as well as workshops... [and] a small kitchen adjoins the Center so refreshments can be provided for meetings or light meals for larger group gatherings."
In July 2002, the United Methodist cross and flame was added to the exterior of 20 Soundview facing the entryway to announce the arrival of the official United Methodist Church headquarters in New York. The official cross and flame logo was designed by United Methodist Communications at the time of the merger of the Methodist and United Brethren churches. The flames represent the chew fire of the Holy Spirit, symbolize the two faith streams that came together to become the United Methodist Church.
The NYAC Conference Center Today
While several small changes have been made since In response to the current needs and desire to engage more fully with new technologies (in 2022, a new recording studio and communications suite was added on the Terrace Level for video production and podcasting) the NYAC Conference Center remains as a a vibrant member of the community and home to our resident bishop and the NYAC staff members tasked conducting the business of the church.
Currently in the works are plans to create a true hybrid meeting space within the Learning Center to allow for in-person and off-site meetings. Work on this new addition is slated to begin in early 2023.
During the pandemic in 2020, like nearly all organizations, the NYAC Conference Center closed its doors to visitors out of an abundance of caution, while staff continued to work and remain accessible remotely.
Thankfully, the building officially reopened to visitors in September 2022, with an invitation to our local churches, committees, and other constituents to return to 20 Soundview Avenue and see the space as theirs for meetings, events, work, and any activity pertaining to the business of the church.
There's even office space available for use for clergy and laity in need of a quiet place to make phone calls or resting space when in the area (call 914-615-2229 to speak to the Connectional Ministries Program Coordinator/Conference Concierge with any questions and/or to reserve meeting space).