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

For new Faith Action Network: Partnership for the Common Good
Lutheran Public Policy Office, Washington Association of Churches merge

Out of a long history of working in statewide partnership on a common public policy agenda, the Washington of Churches (WAC) and Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington (LPPO) are merging to form the Faith Action Network: A Partnership for the Common Good (FAN).

Alice Woldt
Alice Woldt speaks at legislative conference.

The WAC Board and the LPPO Statewide Advisory Council met on June 11 and voted to give birth to the new organization to bring together their staff and constituencies for their shared mission to be “a statewide partnership of faith communities striving for a just and sustainable world through community building, education and courageous public action.”

The decision came after several years of discussion and prayerful discernment, said the Rev. Carol Jensen, former chair of the LPPO council, and the Rev. Sharon Moe, former chair of the WAC Board.

It is good stewardship of limited resources to bring two organizations with such similar purposes together,” they said. “Both organizations have been working ecumenically.”

Both are new members of the FAN governing board, which includes three representatives of each organizations and three more recommended by the FAN Advisory Council.

The advisory council includes the former boards of the two organizations, but will also broaden the base to include a diverse range of faith groups. More organizational details will emerge in discussions and decisions by the board in the coming months.

While LPPO constituents may be concerned about the loss of Lutheran identity that has helped LPPO reach into Lutheran congregations, Moe and Jensen said FAN will continue to be the ELCA’s public policy office and the ELCA is supportive of this development.

For some WAC constituents, there may be concern about how judicatories and ecumenical organizations find their place at the table, but bishops and judicatory leaders have been supportive of the merger, and ecumenical organizations such as the Church Council of Greater Seattle and Associated Ministries of Pierce County were part of the decision-making process.

FAN will approach its educational and organizing work in congregations drawing on the scriptural, theological and historical roots for advocacy within that congregation’s faith tradition,” said Moe and Jensen. “Faithful advocates in communities from Spokane to Port Angeles have been teaching us that education and action for the common good is more effective ecumenically and in in interfaith partnership than as individual faith communities.”

David Hacker and Paul Benz
David Hacker and Paul Benz at a planning meeting.

For the first six months, staff of both organizations will be retained, with Paul Benz and Alice Woldt working as co-directors. Woldt will continue until the end of 2011. The board will work on a future staffing plan and will combine the administrative functions of the two organizations. Because the LPPO exists under the Lutheran Community Services Northwest, the new organization will use the current corporate status of the WAC.

PNC Conference Mike Denton said, “The plan makes sense. It formalizes a relationship that has existed for years; eliminates redundancy, and gives a new opportunity to create an organization that’s truly statewide in scope.”

Woldt said that FAN will continue to promote education and community-building projects and activities to build relationships among faith communities and other community groups on shared concerns, such as the Veterans Support Network and the new Mental Health Network.

Advocacy work will include training and organizing faith communities to participate in public policy advocacy and social-justice witness based on values of constituent communities.

Another aspect of the program will focus on cultural transformation, using the power of constituents’ shared theological resources and community relationships to frame public discourse, promote progressive values and inspire action for justice. It will include training, resources and organizing to support cultural engagement.

During the summer, the WAC plans to move its office from University Temple United Methodist Church to the LPPO office at Denny Park Lutheran Church at 766 John St. in Seattle.

For information, call 206-625-9790 or 206-464-4133.

Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © Summer 2011





Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share