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2010 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference

Pacific Northwest Annual Conference
June 17-20, 2010 Tacoma, Wash.

The Pacific Northwest Conference gathered for its 137th session from June 17-20, 2010 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

At the opening worship, Bishop Grant J. Hagiya reiterated the values of the conference theme "Everybody Fed."

He shared stories of churches that have become "feeding centers" by providing physical, emotional, social and spiritual nourishment. Churches such as these share a common experience of community presence and vitality of mission. The Bishop challenged the conference to continue developing relationships that engage their communities and help us "rethink church."

Three learning sessions were led by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, author and senior pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. These learning sessions set the tone of renewed excitement and hope for the connection. Board of Congregational Development chair the Rev. Sandy Brown shared the state of the District Planning and Strategy Process. After an update from the three faith communities planted last year, the Rev. David Gillespie, director of new faith development, announced the launching of three new faith communities this year, keeping on track with the goal of 20 new faith communities by 2014.

In her District Superintendents address, the Rev. Sharon Moe shared the life and work of the cabinet. She used passages from the books of Esther and John as backdrops of the church being in the midst of a crisis, yet answering the call to be the source of hope and inspiration "for a situation such as this." In an effort to align financial processes, Dr. Lura Powell, CF&A chair, reported on the procedural, practical and philosophical changes that are being implemented by the council. Although CF&A reported a budget reduction of 0.11 percent, the Rev. Craig Parrish, conference treasurer was happy to share that compared to last year's May 31 level, this years report indicates a 1 percent improvement in apportionment giving.

During her address, Conference Lay Leader Amory Peck highlighted diversity in our midst. "It's a time of sweeping change. We're in the midst of a change that's bigger than we can imagine...and we must believe that the best is yet to come."

The Connectional Table, through Associate Director of Connectional Ministries Kristina Gonzalez, shared an updated version of the "TRAININGS" booklet. This well-received resource lays out the numerous leadership development opportunities for 2010 and beyond. In her young persons address, Jenny Smith shared her experiences growing up as a "pastors kid" eventually leading her to answer the call to ministry. She used the metaphor of planting seeds as a process of engaging in youth ministry.

For its legislative work, the body approved a special session, in order to decide on a proposed capital funds campaign. It passed 33 petitions from its six legislative committees. Worship was experienced in a dedicated space. Projected visuals and videos were well integrated in the life worship of the conference. During youth service, seven young people shared their faith stories. The Rev. Nancy Adachi-Osawa preached on "passages" as 12 clergy members were retired. On two occasions, Dr. Rebecca Parker preached, and shared deep theological reflections on our call to be Disciples of Jesus Christ. Bishop William Chris Boerger of the ELCA was the ecumenical connection during ordination. The conference commissioned seven probationary members and ordained five elders into its order. Recipients of offerings: AIDS Ministries; Hope for the Children of Africa; Congo Centennial; tools for UMCOR Trailer and a scholarship fund.

Membership stands at 52,093 down 1,065

Average worship attendance 21,122 up 465

Church school attendance stands at 5,172 down 548

-The Rev. David Valera