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After being pastor, covenant minister chooses focus on spirituality

Becky Withington was ordained in 2012 and served as pastor of Everett Congregational UCC Church from 2012 to 2015, as sabbatical pastor for Diane Darling at Alki UCC for four months in 2014, and as pastor of New Pilgrims UCC in Anacortes from 2017 to 2022.

Becky Withington focuses on leading spiritual retreats.

Now as a covenant minister at Magnolia UCC, she focuses on connecting people to spiritual lives to deepen their contemplation and mystical experiences.

“The nice thing in covenant ministry is that we are called to serve by doing what we most like to do,” Becky said. “I chose my title to be minister of transformational Christianity.”

She leads church retreats, contemplative practices and silent meditation, especially outside in nature, such as at N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs, PNC camp and retreat centers.

Becky grew up Lutheran in Minneapolis, where she earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota in women’s studies and married in 1987. Her husband’s work took them to Milwaukee, Wis., where she earned a master’s degree in 1898 at the University of Wisconsin in library science.

They decided to move to Seattle with his company in 1989 and started attending Plymouth UCC, where she was on staff as coordinator of the program for children and youth. Becky also worked as a librarian for Sound Transit from 1991 to 1996, when her son, Griffin, was born.

“During those years, feeling called to ministry, I decided to go to seminary at the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, earning a master’s of divinity in five years,” said Becky.

There she met Marci Scott-Weiss in her UCC polity class and attending St. Paul’s UCC where Becky was an intern.

“My call was to parish ministry because I like ritual and I also like contemplative practices related to the mysteries of faith and experiential practices,” she said.

That interest led her to join two PNC women in March 2022 on a one-week pilgrimage to the Iona community in Scotland. After Iona, she and her husband traveled to sacred places in Ireland.

Knowing the New Pilgrim’s ministry was coming to an end and grateful that the congregation gave her time for that experience, she prepared an online book of photos and meditations.

In February, as she was contemplating retiring, she and her husband began attending Magnolia UCC, near their home.

Then Marci told her about the covenant ministry.

At its annual meeting, MCUCC voted to call her as a covenant minister with a mix of volunteer and paid roles.

“I love the collaborative work with the MCUCC community, which has more worshiping on Zoom than the 30 to 40 who attend worship. It is a vital congregation,” said Becky, who is the newest covenant minister.

For information, call 206-290-9884.


Pacific NW United Church of Christ Conference News © October 2023


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