Written by Anthony Moujaes
In early spring, the Rev. Walter John Boris will mark 38 years of ministry since his ordination, describing his call as both ‘challenging and fulfilling." It will be his final spring as conference minister of the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ, as Boris is planning to step down on March 31, 2017, to spend more time with his family, after nearly nine years as the conference minister in the Oregon area.
"I anticipated making this announcement a year from now, with my retirement effective in spring of 2018, but life calls," he said. "We're anticipating our second grandchild in late April."
Boris and his wife Cindy plan to sell their home in Washougal and relocate to Minnesota, closer to their daughter Leah and her spouse to help them with their children. "We've loved our 22 years in the Pacific Northwest, but are excited to be moving back to the Great Lakes beauty of the Upper Midwest," he said.
The Rev. Sara Rosenau, moderator for the Central Pacific Conference, said the board formally accepted his resignation and will begin exploring its next steps, with a team from the board in place to determine how it will proceed in January.
"In our transition planning, the board is excited to continue the momentum built at annual meeting," Roseau said. "The board plans to engage in further listening around the conference so that we can find innovative ways to deepen our shared ministry… In these changing times, our collective UCC churches are so important. We have a message of hope and inclusion that our community needs now more than ever."
In his time as conference minister, Boris has helped streamline the Central Pacific's financial management, guided 30 of 45 churches in calls of new senior or solo pastors, built a strong summer camp, embraced technology and online communications, and consolidated two meetings into a single annual meeting to strengthen conference relationships.
"I've been honored to be with people at some of their most vulnerable times of life," Boris said. "The church has given me opportunities to share my passions and my skills. I love what I do. But I've long realized that ministry is hard on a family, and often the minister has little time for friends and creative pursuits. I'm not retiring because I've lost my sense of call, but because the Spirit now calls me to be with my wife and family."
"The ministry of the Central Pacific Conference is not the work of the Conference Minister, but a ministry we share together," Boris said. "I have full confidence that you will continue to move forward, striving for peace and justice, and following Jesus on the way."