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Board moderator Tara Leininger took unusual route to ministry

Tara Leininger is PNC moderator.

Tara Leininger has served the Metaline Falls Congregational UCC since 1998, first as a lay-interim, then as their called lay-minister.  After taking theological classes at Gonzaga, Whitworth and Eastern Washington University, she began an un-traditional, but intensely guided path to her ordination in 2006.

Since then she earned a masters in theology at Whitworth. 

Tara has served on the Board of Directors and is now the moderator. 

One of her joys is helping plan annual meetings. 

Tara has been a director and volunteer for the Cutter Theatre, a community arts center. Since 2008, she has been mayor of Metaline Falls, a town of 240. She also serves on the  Small Town Committee of the Association of Washington Cities. 

She enjoys reading murder mysteries and Jane Austen, and taking care of her husband, Donivan Johnson, a retired music teacher, and their new cat.  She is the grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of three.

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Board vice moderator Indigo Brown active in community outreach

Indigo Brown is PNC vice moderator.

Indigo Brown, who serves as vice moderator on the PNC Board of directors, graduated in ethnic studies from the University of Washington and now works with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State in the Elementary and Early Learning Department.

She is instrumental in many community outreach efforts for the Greater Seattle area.

She finds creative ways to express herself through art, cooking, and travel.

Indigo is a member of Plymouth United Church of Christ in Seattle.

In addition to regular board work and as vice moderator, Indigo attends Stewardship Committee meetings, helps plan the PNC Annual Meeting and helps convene the PNC Board working group in conversation with Black, Brown, Indigenous and Asian clergy in the  Conference. 

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Past Board moderator Hiliary De La Cruz works for Kirkland Parks

Hillary De La Cruz is PNC past moderator.

Hillary De La Cruz (she/her) was born and raised at University Congregational UCC where she still attends and now facilitates Our Whole Lives (OWL).

She is immediate past moderator on the PNC Board of Directors, which she joined as the young adult representative in 2015. She was vice moderator from 2018 to 2020, and moderator from 2020 to 2022.

Hillary supports the board, and moderator Tara Leininger and vice moderator Indigo Brown in their work. Hillary believes the relationships in the Conference are vital and necessary to work together for justice.

After graduating with a master of public administration from the University of Washington in 2022, she started working for the City of Kirkland’s Parks and Community Services Department as a management analyst doing policy analysis and budget work. Her desire to work in local government is driven by a passion for creating a more just community by listening to diverse needs and ideas of community members, supporting anti-racist policies and budgets that meet community needs, and building bridges between people and policy makers, so everyone can thrive defined on their own terms.

Hillary and her husband Livio were married in August 2022 and live with their dog Ollie in Lake Forest Park.

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Wendy Blight continues to serve on the PNC Board of Directors

Wendy Blight continues on Board of Directors.

An early memory of Wendy Blight was being baptized at University Congregational UCC in Seattle on Easter at the age of 5. She has been a UCC’er ever since.

In fact, she describes herself as a church geek, who inspired by what the church could be in the coming years. At heart, she’s a futurist and a strategic planner who tries to come down to earth when necessary.

Wendy is a member at Liberation UCC; she’s currently the co-chair of the Conference Personnel Committee, and a past moderator of the PNC.

Wendy was the business administrator for more than 10 years at Plymouth Church, Seattle with oversight for operations and finance.

Her career in management and administration spans nonprofit and for-profit organizations in settings including Westin Hotels, the U.S. Navy (contractor), Horizon House retirement community, and University Congregational UCC.

She’s intrigued and convicted in her desire to figure out how white institutions center the voices of those who have had a seat at the table.

“I believe God is opening the doors and windows of our faith to let in the breeze of fresh ideas,” she said. “Through new voices and energy, especially from people who have not been heard until now and in concert with the more seasoned among us, I know God will help us design a path toward a more just, abundant world.”

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Copyright © Pacific NW Conference United Church of Christ News March 2023


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