Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Mike Denton’s report expresses commitment to continue

In his report to the Annual Meeting, Conference Minister Mike Denton admitted that when he first came to the Conference five years ago, he had no idea about eagles, salmon, elk and moose.  He had no idea about the mountains, rivers and wheat fields he would see traveling to visit the congregations and attend meetings.


Holding his son, Leo, Conference Minister Mike Denton offers a closing prayer.

“Now, this is home,” he said.  “The five years have been full of transitions.  I have helped 43 of the PNC’s 89 churches through transitions.  We sold a building, voted to be an open and affirming conference, started the Environmental Justice Center at Pilgrim Firs, and set up the budget so numbers make more sense.”

Mike has seen increases in youth and young adult participation, Our Church’s Wider Mission giving, and churches joining the PNC or starting  up.

“Even with national OCWM up, there will be national staff cuts.  Walls between local congregations, regional churches and the national setting are breaking open into talk of how to use resources for something new,” he said.

Mike feels he has just started in his ministry with the PNC.

What some see as problems, he calls challenges.  He called for being open to growth, to a new Pentecost movement, to new gifts, to the movement of the Spirit.  The UCC is poised to be enveloped by movement.

Marriage equality is part of that movement.

“We must not lose the moment for growth to institution re-entrenchment,” Mike said.  “We have reached our capacity as five staff.  Conference committees of volunteers are busy, giving generously of their time.  We are talking of adding new staff.  Last year, Outdoor Ministries, Youth and Young Adult, and Justice Witness Ministries committees came to the Conference Council asking for staff.”

Mike met with leaders to look at the budget to see what is possible.

“It’s a loaves and fishes moment,” he said.  “We need to live into the innovative work we are called to do.”

Mike reported that camps are in good shape, among the best in the UCC in terms of financial stability and attendance.  Of 38 conferences, only 15 have camps.

“Camps are a platform to expand our message.  We will start a capital funds campaign for the camps,” he said.

Mike begins a three-month sabbatical July 15 and will use the time to explore “how humans make decisions.”

As he ends five years, he made a commitment to continue to help the PNC have life.

“The Pacific Northwest has become my home, with the mountains, rain forests, wheat fields and ocean,” he said.  “When I fly back here, I know I’m home when I smell fir trees and salt air.  I feel called to this place, and I believe we are just getting started.”

For information, email

Copyright @ June-July 2103 Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News.


Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share