May 8, 2018
I spent April 28-29 in Yakima with about 200 people from across our conference as we learned together, conducted conference business and connected with one another. The theme was Breaking Forth!, which Conference Minister Mike Denton referred to in this excerpt from his verbal Annual Meeting Report:
“My Siblings in Christ, we have to get used to the Truth that - collectively - we in the Pacific Northwest Conference have to deal with something we haven’t had to deal with for a while. Today, we have to accept that in spite of all the facts that may suggest it’s impossible, the Truth is that something - something contrary to all that should be happening – is happening. Our vision is becoming clear. We are coming alive. We have momentum. Something new is breaking forth.
Some of you have felt it, too, and have told me about it. In more and more places, the period of mourning over our not being the church we once were is coming to an end and celebrations of the church we’re becoming are just starting. Something new is breaking forth. In more and more places, there’s the recognition of that Truth “that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.” Something new is breaking forth. In more and more places there’s that growing recognition of the Truth that all God requires of us is do justice, do acts of loving-kindness, and walk humbly with God and that’s sufficient. Something new is breaking forth. In more and more places, there is the recognition of the Truth that perfection is a false god and that the God of Truth sees what we perceive as our flaws as raw materials for the building of God’s kin-dom. Something new is breaking forth.”
Bishop Dwayne Royster, community organizer and pastor of Living Water UCC in Philadelphia, was our keynote speaker and provided inspiration and food for thought. He encouraged us to do the hard work of deepening relationships with one another and with those in the outside community so we can effectively claim the power that is ours and use it to change the world.
The energy of the weekend was palpable. Many people said that it was the best Annual Meeting they ever attended. I left Yakima grateful and inspired to be part of the UCC. Something new is indeed breaking forth! -Jennifer Castle