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PNC takes time to revise budget to reflect anti-racism priority

In considering the budget, PNC Moderator Hillary Coleman said budgets are moral documents and uplifted the need to look at conference resources through an equity lens.

The Rev. Kazi Jones, a member at Walla Walla First Congregational Church, was one of the speakers seeing the prophetic spirit of the discussion on the amendment to the budget.

PNC Conference Minister Mike Denton said, “Part of the reparations conversation on racism has impact on how we do the budget. Budgets reflect values.  We are not there, but we are getting closer.”

Here are other comments that helped in the flow of thinking to formulate the amendment for that line item.

One attendee found the line item to promote equity and inclusion at $2,000 offensive, as if “the skin God put me in” was a “competing priority.” Another expressed urgency that ‘We have been waiting 400 years.”

Hillary and Mike agreed that the budget is a proposal and can be changed.

An attendee from Seattle said: “The Spirit is moving. It is an invitation for all of us here. It’s not just about sticking a budget line as a placeholder in response to many lives lost and the work around anti-racism and colonialism in the conference. We shouldn’t change the budget because it is a moment of shame related to black, brown and indigenous people. We should have known it would be a conversation. It’s a called out moment, a Spirit of God moment."

An African-American attendee asked: “Is this moment gifted to us to make a change?”
He offered an amendment to reflect greater investment in diversity, equity and inclusion, “in the spirit of recognizing the prophetic words spoken today.”

The budget be tabled to allow for more discussion.

Another attendee said: “no one is suggesting a dollar amount be placed on 400 years of oppression, but $2,000 does not lend to the idea that inclusion is a priority.”

Then another commented if anti-racism work is not done now, the PNC is not doing God’s work.

There was a call for “a prophetic budget.” The figure of $50,000 was suggested as an amount that would help the PNC make a start.

Another attendee suggested the goal of dismantling racism is not just a piece of the budget but to be integrated in all the work of the conference at every level.

There were suggestions on ways to make anti-racism a priority: PNC leaders and churches witness to defund police, listen to area black, brown and indigenous people, look at bylaws, policies and curricula.

Expressing gratitude for the prophetic voices, an attendee challenged: “Do you believe because you have seen? Blessed are those who believe although they have not seen. We need to believe in the possibility of being an anti-racist church although we have not yet seen one in the context of U.S. white supremacy.”

After some discussion on details, Hillary suggested: “We don’t want to get it right and move on, but we want to make sure we take input from leadership, voices and clergy of color across the conference,” she said.

The amendment passed and the amended budget passed overwhelmingly.


Pacific NW Conference UC News copyright © July 2021


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