Feedback from the Pacific Northwest Conference
UGov dialog and discernment session
From a scheduled workshop on April 17, 2010 at the Conference Annual Meeting in Wenatchee, WA. The workshop was facilitated by Bing Tso (UGov team member), with approximately 15 people in attendance, ranging from folks with extensive experience with the governance issues, to those coming at it for the first time. After a brief introduction from the facilitator, we had an informal discussion and Q&A session as one large group. The session lasted for about 1.5 hours. Towards the end of that time, the pre-appointed note-taker transcribed participants' comments, as shown below.
What do you believe God is calling the UCC to be now and into the future?
• Welcome table with diverse cultures and perceptions.
• Growing church in faith and membership.
• Prophetic voice and issues of justice and new life in the future.
• Supporting full involvement in schools, justice.
• Follow Jesus's "last shall be first and first last" directive.
• Increasing outreach locally—volunteering, reaching out.
• Agile—not beholden to our structure—flexibility, not straitjacketed into our formats to respond to the Spirit (don't want structure to be like a corset).
• Address the huge changes coming to the Earth—what about folk with nothing? Care for all creation. We can't continue as we are, so we need leadership from the church.
• Need flexible model to blend wider ministries with justice and move into multiple areas simultaneously.
• Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God—listen to one another.
• God is still speaking—continue that message of the wider UCC.
• Better/more national communication on a national level, so that UCC identity is better expressed.
Feedback to the UGov group
• All school districts in Washington state each have one board with five members (represented equally in Olympia, the state capitol). Likewise, each conference could be represented equally at the national level.
• Projections for representation by HUGs equal to the conference representation
• Does unified governance in the national setting affect governance in the conference setting?
• Have the conferences determine their representation at the national setting.
• Ask conferences to lift the national setting in prayer through this process.
• Examine other denominations and their structures, and glean good ideas from other settings.
• Provide clarity about the driving forces behind the unification (money, efficiency, agility, etc.). What are the motivations and necessities?
• What about the pension boards? The insurance board? What changes will there be at those places?
• The unified board needs to be accountable to synod and responsive to the needs and requests of the wider church.
• Is there another structure/format that is an option? Look at other governance possibilities.
• Giving more power to three of the covenanted ministrieds (LCM, JWM, and WCM) provides important checks and balances for UCC governance. Please carefully consider the option presented by Julia Estrella, PAAM representative [to UGov].