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Annual Meeting will consider budget, name and ONA business

The Annual Meeting 2001 in Seattle will consider two items and a resolution.

Marcia McLaughlin
Marcia McLaughlin

The items are the Conference budget and changing the name of the Conference’s Christian Life, Service and Action Committee to Justice and Witness Ministries Committee.

Rich Gamble, chair of the CLSA committee and pastor of Keystone UCC, said the name change comes from the “evolution of the committee” from a broad mandate to a focus on promotion of social justice.
“ We are organizing to provide training around issues of justice and organizing participants into a broader community of people committed to doing the work of justice,” he said. “That includes providing resources to those interested in learning more about justice and evangelizing about the central role of social justice in our identity as members of the United Church of Christ.”

One way the committee does it is through offering workshops at annual meetings, plus assisting congregations in doing their own social justice training events. For information, call 206-632-6021.

The resolution proposed by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the UCC Coalition for LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) Concerns calls for the Pacific Northwest Conference to adopt a policy of being Open and Affirming.

Marcia McLaughlin of Richmond Beach UCC in Shoreline said that the PNC has been living as if it were open and affirming.  She believes it’s now time to switch from living into that policy to affirming that the Conference is welcoming.

We hope it will encourage churches that have not yet discussed it to discuss it,” she said.  “For churches that have taken the stand, it’s time to see how they are living into it.

“As I said at Annual Meeting last year, churches need to look at whom they are neglecting or have closed their hearts to,” she continued.  “For me, it’s a wider issue, because I work at the Church of Mary Magdalene in Seattle with homeless women, and my heart is with them.”

In some congregations, older people may want younger members, but not be open to changes that would draw young people, McLaughlin commented.  Some congregations may need to look at openness to people living with mental illness, alcoholism or addictions.

She has seen openness come with votes for congregations to be open and affirming.

“We are not saying congregations that have not acted on it, must do it, but are just encouraging them,” she said.

About half the PNC churches—with 75 percent of the conference members—are open and affirming.  Sixteen of the 39 national UCC conferences have adopted such a resolution, she said.

“Jesus teaches us to love one another, and Paul teaches us to speak the truth in love,” said McLaughlin calling for thoughtful, prayerful dialogue on this issue.

For information, call 206-228-4354 or email


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © April 2011





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