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Transitions announced

Bobbi Virta, who served as pastor at Ferndale UCC and was doing specialized ministry, died on Feb. 12.  There was a celebration of her life on Feb. 18 at First Congregational UCC in Bellingham, where she was ordained in 2004 after earning a master of divinity from Seattle University and a post-master’s certificate in transforming spirituality/spiritual direction.

Patricia Eisenhauer, a teacher of home-bound students in Montana and gifted students in Seattle, died Feb. 21. She was active in the PNC. Married 72 years to Phil, who served churches in Bellevue, Cheney, Great Falls and Seattle (Magnolia), where she taught gifted classrooms in Fauntleroy and a bilingual classroom on Queen Anne.

Bob Feeny was installed as settled pastor on Jan. 14 at Westminster Congregational UCC in Spokane.

Tara Young-Brown was ordained Jan. 21 by the Community for Interfaith Celebration at the United Churches of Olympia. She is called to the work of hospice chaplaincy in covenant and supported by the Community for Interfaith Celebration.

Emily Tanis Likkel was installed as pastor of Alki UCC on Jan. 29, after 18 years of serving in ministry in several denominations since her ordination in 2005 at Eagle Harbor UCC in Bainbridge Island.

Patty Ebner concluded her ministry at First Congregational Church in Bellevue.

Steve Van Kuiken completed his ministry at Community Congregational Church in Pullman in January.

Joan Sulser transferred to the Southwest Association of the Wisconsin Conference UCC as of Jan. 12.

Rachel Haxtema was approved for member in discernment status.

Cristina Airaghi has resigned as pastor at Tolt Congregational UCC.

Gary Southerton, pastor at Broadview Community UCC in Seattle will be on sabbatical from April 11 to July 11.

Caroline Urban, manager of the N-Sid-Sen kitchen from 1973 to the mid-1980s, died in February.


General Synod theme set

The biennial General Synod will be held June 30 to July 4 at the Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind., with voting delegates will be in person and virtual elements. The theme is “Making All Things New,” based on Isaiah 43:18 to 19.

For information, visit


Church Council of Greater Seattle has Assembly

The Annual Assembly of the Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) is March 28. on Zoom.

Michael Ramos, who has been executive director for nearly 15 years and has served a total of 19 years with the CCGS, is resigning as of May 1, when he and his wife Donna move to be closer to family on the East Coast.

The Annual Assembly is the CCGS’s time to celebrate, deepen connections, and explore its mission and vision in organizing. Business includes approving its budget, board and officers.

With the theme “Bridge to Flourishing,” it celebrates its work with congregations in the Faith Land Initiative, fostering discernment toward stewardship of land and its work walking alongside immigrant communities through its Accompaniment Program.

The CCGs will share about its process for creating new bylaws, reflecting a new model for shared leadership, decision-making and structuring its work. It builds collective power through faith-rooted community organizing for transformational change toward liberation and justice.

It envisions a future when justice is realized, where all people experience liberation, profound peace, expansive equity, and joy-filled human flourishing, said Tara Miller, CCGS operations manager.

For information, call 206-204-3855 or email


Blog urges sharing stories

 A blog on Stewarding Your Church’s Story offers biblical and theological reflection on the work of caring for preserving the history and memory of a congregation with resources on record-keeping and archiving, said David Schoen of the PNC-UCC Church Development Committee.

“The blog includes a shout out for New Pilgrims UCC in Anacortes’ stewarding of their church story and records,” he said.

With it being the season for congregations to update their church information in the UCC Yearbook, he suggested that updating church records is helpful process both for congregations to keep current as well as for the denomination demographics.

“Only about 60 percent of congregations update their information each year,” said David, who is also minister for church legacy and closure with the UCC Church Building and Loan Fund.

Each year, the UCC Center for Analytics, Research and Development, and Data (CARDD) produces the “Statistical Profile of the United Church of Christ” with reflection and discussion questions for church leaders.

For information, call 216-736-3839 email or visit or


Priory Spirituality Center offers program

The Priory Spirituality Center in Lacey offers a two-year formation program for clergy or laity interested in being a spiritual director. The program, “Listening with the Spirit 2023-2025,” will be on Zoom.

For information, call 360-438-2595, email or see


Communities of Practice program continues

In conjunction with the Montana Northern Wyoming and Central Pacific conferences, the PNC Communities of Practice groups began in September 2022 and run thru May 2023 online. Active, retired, specialized ministers and members in discernment are participating.

For information, email or


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


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