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Moderator looks forward to in person Annual Meeting

By Tara Leininger - Moderator

The plans for Annual Meeting 2023 are shaping up quite well. We have a great committee planning around many details.

We will be meeting together—physically—for the first time in too-many years. This will be a joyful occasion—to see each other, to hear each other’s voices, to feel the energy and the spirit moving amongst us. Many of us see each other only once a year at the Annual Meeting, so this is a joyful time of fellowship and reconnection.

This year there may be trepidation as well:  the ghost of Annual Meeting 2022.   What started out and was planned as an in-person meeting became a virtual one. That was not a real problem, just a disappointment. The meeting itself, while starting full of energy and possibility, fell into disarray and pain.  There is no denying this, and we need to begin AM23 with acknowledgment that there are some open wounds still to be healed, and we must heal them! 

We cannot let the scars keep us from rejoicing in what has been done this past year and in what there is yet to do. 


The Board of Directors and various committees have continued to work towards healing and unification during a time of transition and uncertainty.

Let us give praise to these individuals! Let us praise the PNC-UCC staff—Arlene, Andy, Mark and all the camp personnel. They have held firm while at times they were overwhelmed.  God truly blessed us with these wise and strong people. 

God has also blessed us with the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Courtney Stange-Tregear, who shifted from being minister of church vitality to become our acting conference minister, after Mike Denton left as conference minister to accept a call. 

In all of this, Courtney has done the impossible. She has kept us afloat when the storms around us were raging.  She dug in and did what was needed without anyone pointing her in any direction. This was possible because of Courtney’s wide experience and knowledge of both the UCC and the PNC. I doubt we would be standing today without her. 

So we will come to Bellingham this April with healing to be done, decisions to be made, budgets and a slate of individuals to approve, and time to have fellowship with one another.  No bridges were burned down, merely singed.  Be ready to ask forgiveness and give forgiveness.  Be ready to do some work, and be ready to rejoice in who we are and where we are going. 

Annual Meeting theme will be ‘Loving Deeply’

The Pacific Northwest Conference Annual Meeting will be Friday to and Saturday, April 28 and 29 at an in person meeting at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.  There will be a closing worship the morning of Sunday, April 30.

The keynote speaker will be Traci Blackmon, associate general minister, vice president and justice and local church ministries of the national UCC, speaking and preaching on the theme, “Loving Deeply” is based on 1 Peter 4:8-10. 

Although it is not a hybrid meeting, portions of it may be on live-stream. The business portions of the meeting will be in person. They include discussion and approval of the budget and a resolution to change pronoun usage in the by-laws, to use “they” in three instances that “he/she” are used.

There will also be elections of the leaders serving on the PNC committees and the Board of Directors.

Details on the agenda, accommodations and registration are online. Resolutions were submitted by congregations, committees or a petition of 10 members from at least two churches. 

“Resolutions are one way we speak to one another in covenant,” said Indigo Brown, board member and co-chair of annual meeting.

The planning team includes Wendy Blight, Ron Patterson, Amy Johnson, Janet Ott, Arlene Hobson, Andy Warren and Courtney Stange-Tregear.

Friday afternoon workshops will be a facilitated open forum and will include a “get to know your budget” session to help people understand “what everything means,” Indigo said. 

“We are also hoping that by doing both the budget hearing and the vote on the slate in a ‘committee of the whole,’ everyone will be on the same page, said Ron.  

Indigo added that there will also be clarity about how voting delegates and who is speaking are identified for votes and discussion. She pointed out that was difficult to do on Zoom and led to some of the confusion that arose at Annual Meeting 2022.

Registration information and the agenda are now online at, click on annual meeting under events. Registration is through For display tables, email

For information, visit


Copyright © Pacific NW Conference United Church of Christ News March 2023


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