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Transitions announced

Jenn Hagedorn was ordained and installed on Feb. 28 in a zoom worshiop service at Spirit of Peace UCC in Issaquah.

Jess Peacock, a professor, pastor and author, was ordained and installed in an online service held on Feb. 20 at Chewelah UCC.

Lloyd Van Vactor,  who died Dec. 25, 2020, graduated from Yankton College in South Dakota and earned a bachelor of divinity from Yale in 1953, a master of sacred theology and a master’s from Columbia Teachers College. Ordained in 1953, he served in eastern Montana and then served with the UCC of the Philippines, leading Dansalan College in the Muslim city of Marawi, where he was kidnapped in 1979. On release, he continued to serve until 1981, when he moved to New York City to serve in executive positions with what is now the Common Board for Global Ministries until 1992.  He was a member of Northshore UCC in Woodinville where he was a chaplain and volunteer.

Delbert Elliott, who died on Feb. 2, was pastor emeritus at St. Paul’s UCC in Seattle where he served for 27 years.  A graduate of Northwest Christian College in 1959 and Lexington Theological Seminary in 1964, he also attended Whitworth College.  In 1959 he was ordained by the Disciples of Christ and served Jefferson Street Disciples of Christ in Spokane, First Congregational Church in Aberdeen, St. Andrews in Kent and as a chaplain for Echo Glenn Juvenile Facility. While at St. Paul’s UCC from 1971 to 1998, the church welcomed 12-step groups and he helped start Operation Night Watch.

Merrilyn (Merrily) Applewhite died on Feb. 10. She was a resident at Horizon House. Merrily, who taught math and was an accountant, was married to Rev. Harry Applewhite in 1975. They moved to Washington in 1977.  He served at Bellevue First Congregational Church.

Merlyn Bell, 82, died Jan. 22. She received a degree in sociology from the University of Kansas in 1961 and a master’s degree from the University of Washington in 1963. She was a sociologist and analyst in the field of criminal justice, who worked for Battelle, the United Church of Christ, and King County. She dedicated her life to social justice and mental health.  Her work addressed challenges such as jail overcrowding, inappropriate incarceration, and mental health services. After retirement, she continued to advocate for the mentally ill and homeless in Seattle.


General Synod announced

National UCC General Minister and President has announced that the Virtual  33rd General Synod of the UCC will be held July 11 to 18.  Registration opens May 1.  The theme is “Rooted in Love.”

Preachers are the Rev. Michelle Higgins, pastor of St. John’s UCC in St. Louis, at 5 p.m. PDT Wednesday, Aug. 14.  Other preachers are the Rev. Benjamin Chavis Jr., a civil rights activist, preaching at 2 p.m., PDT, Sunday, July 11,  and the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, associate general minister for Wider Church Ministries at 3 p.m. PDT, Sunday, July 18.

Delegates will consider a just peace for Palestine and Israel, bail bond reform, safety for women, trans and nonbinary people in settings of ministry, whether nature’s rights are on par with human rights, and an end to Roberts’ Rules of Order as the way Synod meetings are governed.  There are 11 resolutions and several bylaws changes.

There will also be time focused on the denomination’s five missional priorities: inclusive excellence, innovative exploration, technological readiness, curriculum, training and development for a just world for all, and strategic organizational alignment.

Keynote speakers are Valarie Kaur, filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, Sikh activist and leader of the Revolutionary Love Project at 5 p.m., PDT, Monday, July 12, and the Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, who leads Sojourners, a social justice movement in Washington, D.C., at 5 p.m., PDT, Friday, July 16.

For information, see


Lenten devotional story series continues in 2021

During Lent, PNC members connected in the spiritual practice of storytelling for a devotional series along the theme “Rooted in Love.”

This year, participation expanded beyond the Pacific Northwest Conference to include the Central Pacific and Montana Northern Wyoming UCC conferences.

“While we explore again the power of story, the prophetic act of connection, we also demonstrate collaboration and partnership amongst three conferences, and with the national setting of the United Church of Christ,” said Courtney Stange-Tregear, PNC minister of church vitality who coordinated the sharing.

The theme “Rooted in Love” is also the theme for the UCC Virtual General Synod 2021.

For information, email


Pacific NW Conference United Church of Christ News © April-May 2021


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