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A Short Reflection on the SCNC 2017 Annual Gathering

ConnectionsSisters and Brothers.
For those of you, who attended Annual Gathering, thank you for your support! For those of you who didn’t, you missed an extraordinary event. Worship was out of this world! The Rev. Dave Sigmund and his team were awesome. The musicians and singers led us into “outside-the-box,” uplifting music as Dave invited us to open our hearts and ears to a different expression of worship.

The Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, our General Minister and President provided challenging speeches and shared his dream for a more relevant United Church of Christ. Among the news he brought was the announcement of the UCCs full-communion conversations with the United Church of Britain and the United Church of Australia. We already have full communion with the United Church of Canada.

Our Moderator, the Rev, Matthew Redrich and our Vice-Moderator, the Rev. Chrissy Siva led the business section. Our delegates approved the following:

• Changes to the Conference Bylaws (these changes were mostly administrative)
• The annual Conference Budget
• Two Resolutions of Witness

“A Call to Sanctuary, Sacred Resistance, and Extravagant Welcome” (You can find the text here: http://bit.ly/2qUkaSn)
“The Earth is the Lord’s – Not Ours to Wreck: Imperatives for a New Moral Era” (This resolution will be presented at General Synod this month. You can find the text here: http://bit.ly/2qYG7uF).

A discussion ensued about our budget. A point was raised about the need to delineate a more specific path towards a balanced budget. Our deficit continues to diminish and we celebrated the path that we spent a little over half of what we projected for 2016. At the same time we need to start delineating a more clear path as we move toward 2020. At our first Board meeting, right after Annual Gathering, I challenged our Board members to make this a priority for 2018.

We had various National and organizational guests that commented about the energy, enthusiasm, and vitality that exist in our Conference. In addition, they commented about our diversity in gender, age, ability, and race. There is much to be proud of and there is a lot of work that needs to be done. I would like to invite you to join in the excitement and support your Conference with your prayers, talents, and finances.

Finally, I would like to thank the large number of volunteers and our staff for making this Annual Gathering, what many have already called, “the best Annual Gathering, ever!” I look forward to next year. I hope to see you there.

+ Peace,

Felix

Rev. Dr. Felix C. Villanueva, PCC
Conference Minister

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