One of the great things about belonging to a denomination like the United Church of Christ is that you get a sense of being a part of something much larger than yourself, larger than your community. It’s an experience of belonging to the body of Christ and an awareness that we each — as individuals and as a church — have a role to play in manifesting the kingdom of God in our place and time.
We are part of something bigger
St. John’s is one of 309 UCC churches in the Northern California-Nevada Conference (http://www.ncncucc.org/) of the United Church of Christ. The Conference includes churches in California from near the Oregon border to Pescadero, and from our coastal cities to northwestern Nevada. At Annual Gathering, people from churches all over the Conference gather together to worship together, to debate and to vote on issues of the day and issues that effect how we govern ourselves, and, perhaps more importantly, to just be together and to learn from each other. As Conference Moderator Rev. Daniel Ross-Jones reminded us, this year’s Annual Gathering was one “that emphasizes our covenant connection to each other.”
Conference Theme: Life Giving Water
The theme for this year’s Annual Gathering was “Life Giving Water.” Inspired by Isaiah 58:6-12, the three keynotes touched on different aspects of water as a national and international issue. Sue McClurg, Program Director for the Water Education Foundation, discussed water in the context of the shaping and development of California. Buce Morris, born into Fresno Community Church and now a resident of Stockholm, Sweden, discussed water as an international issue. George McGram, an international lawyer and Founder/Executive Director of DIGDEEP, spoke about water as a basic human right.
In additional to water-based activities, the Conference offered around thirty learning opportunities with workshops like Conflict Transformation, Coming Out as a Spiritual Practice, Economic Justice, Church Growth: Nuts and Bolts, Music as Evangelism, and many, many more.
St. John’s was well-represented
From St. John’s, Rev. Sandy Hulse, Geoffrey Gaskins, Roy Mosley, and Merida Wilson attended Annual Gathering. Geoffrey was a co-presenter in the workshop on Committee on Ministry, Section B. And Merida officiated at a reconfirming of our baptism ceremony in the final worship service on Sunday morning.
Consider representing St. John’s at Annual Gathering next year. You will be strengthened and nurtured by the experience. Mark your calendar for April 30-May 3, 2015. As members of the United Church of Christ we are all a part of something greater than ourselves and we all of a part to play in what the UCC becomes in northern California and Nevada.