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Scott Ward issues invitation to Annual Meeting

As vice moderator of the conference and part of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, Scott Ward of Magnolia UCC in Seattle said he has visited a number of PNC churches, because the board is meeting in different churches. 

“We talk finances, personnel, programs and processes. We talk churches, camps and committees.  We talk about the role of the conference,” said Scott.

“One thing that continues to push its way into these meetings is the truth that we, as church, are in a trying, uncertain and challenging time,” he said. 

Many congregations are having conversations on how to grow, balance the budget or maintain their staff and/or facility.  Some congregations are having conversations around how to survive. 

Scott said they continually hear churches asking, “What are we to do?”

While at times it’s discouraging to him, he’s upbeat on the theme for Annual Meeting 2015 is “Spring Forth.”

Inspired by Isaiah 49: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

“Doesn’t that sound hopeful? Doesn’t it sound promising?” Scott asked.

“Now more than ever we need to come together.  We need to gather our congregations.  We need to share and inspire, explore and celebrate with each other,” he said.  “What are we doing that is making a difference?  What are we doing that is drawing us deeper?  What are they doing that has found greater meaning?”

Aware how easy it is for each congregation to become caught up in feeling alone without support, he believes Annual Meeting’s theme is timely.

“Annual Meeting is a time to enlarge the church family,” Scott said.  “Together our resources, ideas and conversation are abundant and we can begin to answer the question, “What are we to do?”  Together we can
‘Spring Forth.’ 

“God is working through all of us, calling us to do a new thing,” he said, inviting people to come to Annual Meeting “to fill and be filled.”

One new approach will be two sessions of mini-workshops, with presenters sharing on their topics in three, 20-minute sessions, giving people to share ideas and resources, report on a ministry or project, and collaborate. 

Tara Leininger of Metaline Falls, who is on the worship committee, said there will be the opening worship on Friday night with Conference Minister Mike Denton preaching, an energetic morning worship on Saturday, a vesper service as part of the Saturday evening social time, and outside, weather permitting, and the Sunday worship will feature the volunteer choir under the direction of Donivan Johnson from Metaline Falls, the celebration of Communion and keynote speaker Quinn Caldwell preaching. 

Quinn is pastor and teacher of Plymouth Congregational UCC in Syracuse, N. Y., and author of All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas.  He is a member of the UCC Stillspeaking Writers’ Group and author for the Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals.

Conference moderator Andrea CastroLang said that resolutions to help shape priorities are due by the March 21 Board of Directors meeting.

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Copyright February-March 2015 © Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News


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