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Pastor recruits people to join in march in D.C.

Roberta Rominger, pastor at the Congregational Church of Mercer Island, and her mother Janet Sears of United Churches of Olympia are recruiting others to join them in responding to a call from the UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer to participate in a rally and events April 3 to 5 in Washington, D.C.

Janet Sears and Roberta Rominger join April rally and events.
Photos courtesy of Roberta Rominger

The rally is in remembrance of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, and a rally for people of faith to “ACT Now!” and to unite to end racism.

The event, planned by the National Council of Churches, is designed to “Awaken” people to the truth that racism is evil and hurts everyone, to
“Confront” racism through truth telling and action to right the wrong, and to “Transform” the hearts, minds and behaviors of people and institutions.

“Act Now!” will begin with an interfaith service at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral.  Beginning at 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, there will be an interfaith service of Prayer and Preparation at the Lincoln Memorial before the rally, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., that day.

Thursday, April 5, is Lobby Day, an opportunity to visit political representatives.

Roberta learned  about it from the Northern California Nevada Conference and agreed to be the contact person for a team going from the Pacific Northwest Conference.

When King was assassinated in 1968, Roberta was in seventh grade.  After Robert Kennedy was shot later in the year during his campaign for the Presidency, she was concerned that major national leaders were being assassinated.

“During the Civil Rights Movement I came to more consciousness about community and wider concerns,” she said.

Now, 50 years later, she said a major focus for her is to bring the learning home.

Roberta said her mother regretted not participating in civil rights actions in the 1960s, because she had a house full of small children. Now she is free and wants to stand up and be counted.

“My motivation was different then,” Roberta said.  “I would have said in 1968 that we needed to end racism for the sake of those ‘other’ people who were suffering from discrimination.

“Now she feels awake to the reality that racism blights all of our lives,” she said.  “When any human being is treated as second class, we all lose.  ‘Second class’ does not begin to describe what is happening.”

Roberta said that “ongoing injustices are so monumental that they make our claims to be an enlightened, civilized country a lie.”

Going to the rally in Washington, D.C., is a major jump for her.

“I feel it’s time,” she said.  “We have become aware of how our churches and communities benefit from white privilege.  We are more aware of how bad things are and we need to climb off the fence.

“The national church is calling us to go,” Roberta said.

“I’m going for myself, for my own sense of integrity,” Roberta said.  “It will feel good to march in that body and declare that the status quo is simply—totally—unacceptable.”

ACT Now: Unite to End Racism in the areas of church life and practices, criminal, economic and social justice, civil and human rights, environmental justice, immigration, media, and education.

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCC) call is to heal the soul of the nation as the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.

The NCC said there will be events across the country commemorating the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., focusing the nation’s attention on ending racism and launching a multi-year, multi-faceted  effort to finish King’s work.

The rally is a call to action to eradicate entrenched racism that grips the nation and paralyzes the ability of people to see every human being as equal.

This launch event will be followed by an extensive program to address racism in church life and practices, criminal, economic and social justice, civil and human rights, environmental justice, immigration, media and education.

“In partnership with others, we confront this systemic evil in which even church people and structures are complicit and complacent,” said organizers.  “We challenge our communities and ourselves to join in truth-telling conversations leading to actions that right the wrongs, and thereby, with God’s grace, bring healing and wholeness to all people, and unity to the nation.

Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the NCC brings together 38 member communions and more than 35 million Christians in a common expression of God’s love and promise of unity.

Since the Federal Council of Churches formed in 1908, the ecumenical movement in the U.S. has brought churches together to act prophetically for social and racial justice.

Roberta said that “the real work is what happens at home.”

She told of an African-American mother deciding in January to move from Mercer Island because of abuse her children have suffered in school

“How could this be?  My tiny contribution, as a member of the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s nominating committee, is to bring more diversity to the council’s leadership,” she said.

Roberta added that an African-American friend asked on his Facebook page, “Why do all my white friends disappear when I start talking about race?”
“He’s right.  I’m guilty.  I really want to change.  Making this trip is me saying to myself that I really mean it,” she said.

For information on joining a PNC delegation, call 206-232-7800 or 360-932-4562 or email

For information on the D.C. rally call 202-544-6929 or visit


Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ News © February-March 2018


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