On the Way
July 10, 2009
CENTRAL PACIFIC CONFERENCE * UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Extravagant Grace * Generous Hearts * Renewed World
General Synod 27 – Sacred Conversations on Race
Worship was shifted to Sunday afternoon during General Synod in Grand Rapids, MI. In the morning,
delegates and visitors gathered in groups for Sacred Conversations on Race. I chose to attend the
session on Race in the UCC. The Synod program book offered this introduction:
The UCC is a denomination whose predecessors fought for the release of the Amistad
captives and started schools for freed slaves; many of our members were active in the civil
rights movement and the General Synod adopted a pronouncement to be and become a
multiracial and multicultural church. Yet, there was a walkout of Hispanic UCC members
at the General Synod in 1987, most of our churches are still mono-race, and as a
denomination we are often caught up in misunderstandings around race. How are the
issues and concerns about race played out in our common denominational life? Are they
healthy, and if not, what can we do differently? What learning can we share with our local
churches about dealing with the complex issues of race?
The presenter/conversation starter for the topic was Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk, the first African American
woman ordained in our denomination. She is the former Executive Director of the Office for Church
in Society and the Community Renewal Society in Chicago. She is currently the President of the
Board of Trustees of the Franklinton Center at Bricks in North Carolina.
Yvonne shared her personal journey in the United Church of Christ. Then she offered six Affirmations
for our consideration:
1) We are still on the way (that has a familiar sound!) “Our location is not are destination.” We
are still in formation.
2) None of us enter the conversation from a neutral place. We need to hear another’s story; hear
our pain, our fears, our hope. You have to know who I am if you are going to understand my
“yes” and my “no.”
3) Race in the UCC is not just about personal attitudes and relationships. It’s about how we
structure our life together. We need shared power and shared accountability. We need to ask
ourselves, “What is the hope and possibility of this church?”
4) We care deeply about who we are as a people. We strive to speak the truth in love.
5) Race in the UCC is a continuing journey of reconciliation and transformation.
6) Race in the UCC requires all of us to be open to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
I appreciated Yvonne Delk’s acknowledgment that it will take time and commitment to work on our
relationships. I think our church is making progress, but we have miles to go to live into our
proclamation that the United Church of Christ is a multi-cultural, multi-racial church. We recognize a
variety of differences in our own Central Pacific Conference – race, ethnicity, culture (urban – rural),
age, education, sexual orientation, economics, worship styles, and theology. There is much we can
learn from each other, if we control our anxieties and strive for understanding. Yvonne’s Affirmations
are a valuable guide for us as we seek to be the body of Christ and follow Jesus On the Way.
General Synod 27 Highlights, 2009 ~ by Jan Wargo, Local Church Ministries Board
& member of Cedar Hills UCC, Portland, OR.
This was my first G.S. and what an event!!! I would encourage every UCC person to attend at least
one in their lifetime. Highlights were the worship experiences; with the theme “Immerse Yourself”.
The huge convention center was filled with huge projections of the sunrise, stained glass, photos of
Grand Rapids, water & other nature scenes. Worship included the gospel choir & liturgical dancers
from Trinity UCC, Chicago, Cathedral of Hope choir & orchestra of Dallas, a mega-church of 4,000
members. It also included the unique Dancing Wheels, a group of dancers & wheelchair bound
dancers who performed some beautiful dances. In front of the stage was a pool of water & a bubbling
We were told by the Grand Rapids mayor, who is a UCC ordained minister, our G.S. was the largest
gathering ever held in Grand Rapids. While voting delegates were less than 1,000; almost 4,000
gathered at some point during the 5 days of worship & business.
Keynotes were given by Otis Moss, III, Trinity UCC Senior Minister, John Thomas, President &
General Minister, and Rev. Patricia de Jong, Senior Pastor, Berkley, CA. Their sermons are available
A variety of Resolutions were passed. Again, a full listing can be found on the UCC website. Key
1. Changes in the ministry issues; specifically allowing other paths to ministry; so that some who
may not have all the educational credentials, may still be ordained with full standing in the UCC.
Fitness for ministry will still be determined by committees on ministry and recommended to their
2. Movement toward a Single Governance Structure at the national level. This was the most
controversial issue, and some who felt their voices were not heard, protested on the G.S. floor by
singing and loudly protesting. But the Collegium of Officers for ALL the national boards were in
agreement on the need to downsize the national Boards for effectiveness as well as cost-savings.
The Resolution on single governance passed overwhelmingly, in spite of protests & anger by some
representatives of historically under-represented groups.
3. Affirm & support HR 676, a Single Payer national health care system.
Additionally, Geoffrey Black, New York Conference Minister, with past experience as a pastor,
university chaplain & former minister for the Office of Church Life & Leadership (predecessor of
Local Church Ministries), was voted as the incoming General Minister & President. He is the first
full-term elected African American G.M. He brings a strong ecumenical commitment, faithfulness to
justice concerns, and I think will bring reconciliation & healing to the somewhat fractured UCC.
Also, the Worship & Education Team, after 3 years of work, has produced a new Sing! Prayer &
Praise collection of 200 praise songs. It is now available & can be ordered online. What seems
unique to me about these songs, is that most praise songbooks have been published by those more
theologically conservative than our denomination. This will be a refreshing songbook for those who
prefer to worship with less-traditional rhythms & harmonizations.
Personally, it was great to see friends, shop at the incredible array of exhibits, listen to great preaching
& enjoy the worship experiences; as well as engage in some in-depth conversations regarding race in
smaller workshop settings. I appreciated participating with almost 200 other congregations in the
candle cloth project and hope we will continue a dialogue with our exchange partner church, that is
almost 300 years “young” in Newtown, CT. I enjoyed a conversation with one of our missionaries in
Angola, who decided at age 60 to become a missionary! The love, laughter, wisdom, diversity &
tensions all make up this wonderful mix of our UCC!
In closing, some of the prayers of the Monday evening worship service.
O Wind of God
Which blows across the waters of our souls,
Stir us in our very depths.
Breathe upon us your presence.
That our chaos might find form in you
That our purpose might find direction in you—and peace.
May we be born in your Spirit.
O God of Creation, of Idea and Thought
Inspire and illuminate our creativity.
Let us be loosed from the bounds
Of our limited understanding
To soar in your sky
To worship you in spirit and truth.
Let us ride with you on the wings of the dawn!
Free us from those things which bind imagination
To rise up on wings as eagles
With the wisdom and joy of your vision!
** OFFICIAL NOTICE OF FALL GATHERINGS **
The 2009 Fall Gathering of the Idaho Association will be held at First Congregational UCC in
Mountain Home, ID, on Friday and Saturday, September 25th and 26th.
The 2009 Westside Fall Gathering of the CPC will be held at the Forest Grove Congregational UCC in
Forest Grove, OR, on October 2nd and 3rd.
Delegates to the two gatherings will vote on the 2010 budget of the Central Pacific Conference.
Face-to-Face CPC Board & Ministry Team Meetings
Justice & Witness Ministry Team Meeting - August 22nd, 8:30am-12:00pm Interchurch Center,
Conference Board of Directors – Saturday, August 29th, 8:30am-3:30pm, Interchurch Center, Pamplin
Room, 0245 SW Bancroft, Portland
Congregation Seeks Director of Christian Nurture in Hood River, OR
Riverside Community Church (UCC) seeks a part-time Director of Christian Nurture to coordinate
education and spiritual nurture activities for children and youth. Experience as educator in church
setting required. Salary DOE. Resumes & letter of interest to: email@example.com or P.O. Box 656, Hood
River, OR 97031. More info. at: riversideucc.com
Please Hold these Friends and Colleagues in Prayer
Kim Cran is the pastor of 1st Congregational, Boise, ID. Kim’s oldest brother, Ted Mislin, was killed
in a tragic accident on the east coast on June 17th.
Charles Hill is our maintenance manager at Camp Adams, Molalla, OR. His wife, Susan, is recovering
from surgery and is receiving continuing medical treatment.
Greg Flint is the pastor of 1st Congregational UCC, Eugene, OR. Greg’s wife, Susan, is recovering
after surgery in mid-June.
Dennis Johnson served as pastor of St. John’s, Tillamook, OR during the last year. He and his family
are now living in Eugene. His wife, Amy, is recovering after surgery early in July.
Valerie Garrick is the interim pastor at Lake Oswego UCC, OR. Valerie’s mother was surrounded by
her family when she died on Sunday, June 28th, after a long illness.
Truman Parker is the pastor of First Congregational UCC, Mountain Home, ID. His father was
hospitalized on June 30th. Many of you know that Truman’s father is Everett Parker, a well respected
minister and leader in the UCC who worked tirelessly for media justice as director of the UCC’s Office
of Communications. Everett is now in his mid 90’s, and frail. The family has been worried about his
health. Truman reported, “He can't be too badly off, he told his pastor this morning, ‘Wouldn't it make
a great news story if the last founding member of the denomination died in the middle of Synod?’ He's
a PR man to the last.”
Please hold all of these loved ones, their families, and congregations, in your prayers.
Save Dates for the Idaho Association Fall Gathering
The Fall Gathering of the Idaho Association will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 25th
and 26th. First Congregational UCC in Mountain Home will host the gathering. I’m again planning to
be in Idaho for an extended time to visit all of our CPC churches in the state. I’ll join the congregation
of Plymouth Congregational UCC in New Plymouth for worship on Sunday, September 20th. I’ll stay
over in Mountain Home after the Association Meeting to join First Congregational UCC in worship.
I’ll be in contact with the other seven churches to plan time for a visit with each congregation. I look
forward to being with you in September! walter john
Westside Fall Gathering at Forest Grove – “First Fruits – Sharing the Blessings of
Best Practices in our Churches” Workshop suggestions wanted ASAP!!
The 2009 Westside Fall Gathering of the CPC will be held at the Forest Grove Congregational UCC on
October 2nd and 3rd. If you have ideas for workshops that fit the “Best Practices” theme of the
gathering, please send your recommendations to Dick White at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you
make a suggestion for a workshop, please make sure it is related to the event theme and include contact
information – presenters, description of content, equipment needed. Your best practices might be
drawn from categories like: worship; administration; music ministry; outreach evangelism;
stewardship; special ministries; mission partnerships; community building; and “other.” Please sent
your ideas to Dick as soon as possible. Time will be tight, so a suggestion is no guarantee of a
booking! Dick is also the contact if you want to request table/display space.
Central Pacific Conference Youth Events ~ Bunny Oliver
Friends-- The fall youth Event is confirmed for November 6-8 at Corvallis First Congregational UCC--
Friday evening through Sunday worship. The focus: Youth in Mission. Planning continues for this
event so watch for further information in September. For now, please reserve these dates:
Fall Youth Event-Corvallis--Nov 6-7-8(for H.S. and those who graduated last yr.)
Mid Hi-Mid Winter--Camp Adams-Jan 29-30-31--focus: Relationships-for mid hi youth
Spring Fling-Camp Adams-March 12-13-14-focus: Spiritual Growth and Nurture for H.S. youth
Please plan to join us for these exciting Conference-wide youth events! AND Don't forget--the
Western Regional Youth Event is in Billings, Montana next summer! Watch for information to come
in the coming school year about how you can participate.
Pastor Bunny Oliver, Beavercreek UCC
Traveling to sunny, central Oregon this summer? ~ Pris Hardin
The congregation of All Peoples UCC invites you to share in our Sunday worship. Here is a chance to
visit a genuine house church where services are small, friendly and informal. Come as you are; all are
All Peoples UCC worships at 10 a.m. on the first and third Sundays of each month. The following list
will simplify your planning.
July 19--Crooked River Ranch, Terrebonne--Sue and Dean Flory leading
August 2--Redmond, Miles and Marva Hutchins leading
August 16--Terrebonne--Annual Picnic, The Rev. Richard Osburn leading
September 6--Redmond--Sharing Sunday, Sue FLory and Judy Morgan leading
September 20--Bend--The Rev. Isa Brown leading
For precise directions on where to find the worship service on the day you visit, please call the church
cell phone (541-388-2230). If you need a ride to services, we will try to arrange one for you.
Phoenix Affirmations MADD Camp for Exodus Week at Camp Adams
Bunny Oliver (pastor at Beavercreek UCC, OR) and I will be co-directing the Exodus Week (Sr High)
at Camp Adams, July 26th-August 1st. We’ve got an exciting week planned – we’ll spend our time
reflecting on the Phoenix Affirmations – one of the popular statements of the theology known as
“Progressive Christianity.” You can read the Affirmations at:
http://www.crosswalkamerica.org/?tabid=56 We’ll respond to the Affirmations with our creative
selves, through music, art, dance, and drama (MADD). It’s not too late to sign up for the camp. Go
online at www.campadams.org and register now. A printed version of the registration is also available
on line along with a copy of the 2009 Camping Brochure. ~ walter john
Join the CPC Mission Trip to Back Bay Mission, Biloxi, MS – September 12th-19th
There are a few spots left if you’d like to participate in the Central Pacific Conference’s delegation to
Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, MS. www.thebackbaymission.org Last year, 15 of us helped insulation,
dry-wall, and paint new construction for people who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. We had a
great time! If you’re interested, contact Dennis Alger at email@example.com.
Ainsworth UCC (Portland) searching for a Piano Accompanist
Ainsworth United Church of Christ is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, open and affirming, just peace
congregation in northeast Portland. Worship is a multi-cultural experience and expression of our
Responsibilities and Expectations
1. Provide piano accompaniment and solos for the AUCC Adult Choir and other music rehearsals
and worship services for 50 weeks per year.
2. Specific presence is required at rehearsals and services for Blue Christmas Service, Christmas
Eve, Christmas Day, MLK Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday, Easter and Ainsworth in
the City Sunday.
3. Provide piano music and accompaniment for weddings and funerals by arrangement and for
4. Provide accompaniment for extra choir events for additional compensation.
Ability to play music by sight and by ear.
Ability to work with a broad diversity of music;
Regular Time Commitment Weekly rehearsals of the adult choir and worship; attendance at staff
meetings no more than bi-monthly.
Salary range: $5,000 - $6,000. Posted: June 1, 2009. Position open until filled.
Please send resume, cover letter and a CD or tape if available to: Ainsworth United Church of Christ;
Attn. Rev. Lynne Smouse López, 2941 NE Ainsworth St., Portland, OR, 97211 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. For application, call 503-284-8767.
Join Christ the Healer (Milwaukie, OR) for Supper and Spiritual Connection
My wife, Cindy, and I joined the folks at Christ the Healer for a meal, conversation, and worship on a
Sunday afternoon in March. I recommend you give it a try! I know from years of service as a church
pastor that it’s sometimes hard to find time for personal spiritual refreshment. Christ the Healer offers
a perfect opportunity. After a morning with your church, you can relax in the warmth and welcome of
a congregation where you are not the one worrying about details! ~ walter john
Sunday Supper Welcomes You! On Sunday's the church kitchen is a terrain of culinary diversity.
When Ekalasia Samoa UCC puts away the coffee pots and rice cookers, a small crew of Sunday
Supper chefs from Christ the Healer UCC take out the cutting boards and plug in the VitaMix blender
to put the finishing touches on a 3 course raw vegan gourmet dinner served each week in the dining
hall at 5:30. "Raw gourmet" is a way to make a diet of super healthy nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits
delicious and palate pleasing. Rev. Gabrielle Chavez of CtH UCC has published a book called "The
Raw Food Gourmet" and supervises the volunteer chefs. Sunday Supper is an outreach to the
burgeoning alternative culture in the Portland area and the menu is posted each week on the online
meetup site www.meetup.com/livingrawpdx. Not just a dinner, each week there is a suggested table
talk subject to encourage personal sharing. The topic is derived from a weekly story from the Gospel of
Mark, which is discussed in a fireside circle after supper. Not everyone stays for that and the closing
prayer and communion, but those who do stay discover that Christians can be open to new ideas and
respectful of all traditions. CtH UCC thanks our sister church Kairos-Milwaukie for providing this
beautiful space to embody the healing ministry of Jesus through eating together.
Christ the Healer UCC’s Raw and Living Spirit Retreat * August 27-30, 2009
Now in its 4th year, CtH UCC invites you to experience 3 nights and 4 days at our lovely Camp
Adams in Molalla, immersing yourself the the best of the raw food movement. Featuring a different
chef for each of the 9 meals, food demos, inspirational talks and a marketplace of vendors and healers
catering to your health lifestyle needs and curiosities, the Raw and Living Spirit Retreat is designed to
help you launch a healthy new lifestyle or support your continuing efforts. For more information on
speakers and workshops and to register online, go to www.rawandlivingspirit.org.
Summer Forum Combines Worship & Education at Hubbard United Church
When summer arrives, members at Hubbard United Church, OR know that it’s time for a change.
Education and conversation takes center stage in their worship service. Prayers – joys & sorrows – and
favorite hymns from the congregation are also part of the mix. For years, pastor Bill Greene has
offered the congregation a forum experience which begins with information about the topic of the day,
then moves to honest and frank conversation. This year’s theme, “Things We Don’t Talk About…” is
the result of topics requested by the members. The Forums are promoted with a couple of catch
phrases: Not much like you’ve ever expected church to be! and The United Church of Christ is a quirky
community for all people. Here you can reflect, rejoice and rant about, well, anything!
Here are the topics for “Things We Don’t Talk About . . .”
* June 28: We did what? We supported mutineers? Yes, our Congregational ancestors took the case
about black prisoners to the U.S. Supreme Court. And won!
* July 5: All about Bill. Our pastor “tells all …” Everything you’ve wanted to know but have been
afraid to ask.
* July 19: Cells, Organs, and Genetic Engineering. Is this “playing God?” The Religious Right
opposes it all. Liberal Christianity says: nothing. The Rev. Eugene Ross leads in a discussion of
medical and scientific ethics.
* July 26: The Book of Revelation – Truth, Secret Code, and Fantasy
* August 2: No One Likes Abortion. The Rev. Dr. Patricia Ross leads us in a discussion of the United
Church of Christ’s advocacy for Choice, and Personal Conscience in one of a woman’s most difficult
* August 9: Sodom and Gomorrah. The most infamous story in the Bible is said to condemn 10% of
our population to hell. Wrong story!
* August 16: When you or someone you love… dies. Pastor Greene and The Rev. Dr. Norman Bengel
look at death from the standpoint of a pastor.
* August 23: Clergy getting into trouble. Pastor Greene looks at “professional boundaries,” ethics,
misuse of power, sex, money, influence, friendships, isolation, and the need for self-care. We will
review the United Church of Christ’s Clergy Code of Conduct and the UCC Code for Congregations.
* August 30: Marriage for all? Why? Sorting out the difference between marriage as a legal contract,
and a separate religious blessing by a community of faith. Some clergy are saying “No” to any more
weddings where some can, and others can’t.
* September 6: He, him, King, Lord, Man. Language constantly changes. Is there a “holy language”
that is “God speak” for always? How about “picture language?” images and metaphors: changeless?
What speaks to our day? And what ever got into the editors of our hymnal? … but, don’t do it to
What’s Exciting in Adult Education? – 1st Congregational, Vancouver wants to know
The Christian Education Committee at First Congregational Church in Vancouver, WA is exploring
possibilities for their adult education program. If you have a format, resource, or curriculum that is
working for you, please share that information with Kristina Martin at email@example.com.
Rest in God’s Love – We Celebrate the Lives of Missionaries with CPC Connections
It is with deep sadness that Global Ministries announces the death of two Missionaries
Courtney Swander died on June 9, 2009, at the age of 84. Courtney was born in Portland , Oregon ,
and received a BS degree in journalism from the University of Oregon , a B.Th. degree from
Northwest Christian College , Eugene , Oregon , a BD degree in Christian Education and Church
History from Phillips University , Enid , Oklahoma , a Master of Religious Education and Master of
Sacred Theology degrees from Yale University Divinity School , New Haven , Connecticut .
Courtney, along with his wife, Lois (Grimes), served as missionaries in Mexico in the field of social
service from 1958-1991. They worked in Aguascalientes , Mexico , at the Morelos Social Center ,
where both were involved in a multitude of programs ranging from English classes for children and
adults, work with ministerial students and with lay leaders, community development, and other social
service programs. They also initiated a highly successful program for the aged. “Since our major
concern is the spiritual welfare of the people,” Reverend Swander wrote, “a Center such as this not
only serves to meet human need, but also demonstrates the love of Jesus Christ to those who are not
being reached by organized religious institutions. In this sense, it is a strategic spot, the only center of
its kind for several hundred miles.”
Courtney is survived by his wife of 53 years, Lois. A memorial service is being planned for later this
month at the Chapel of Eden Home, New Braunfels , Texas . Cards of sympathy may be sent to Lois
at: 2 Eden Drive , Apt. M, New Braunfels , TX 78130 . As per Lois’ request, any memorial
contribution may be made to the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries, P O Box 1986 ,
Indianapolis , IN., 46206-1986.
Muriel W. Henderson
Muriel W. Henderson was born on June 20, 1920 in Tacoma , Washington , and died on June 9, 2009
in Chapel Hill , North Carolina . Her family and friends knew her as Ki. She lived a full and active
life with a wonderful will to experience as much as possible. She spent 22 years between 1947 and
1969 as a missionary in Angola with her husband, Reverend Lawrence W. (Larry) Henderson , leaving
there when the colonial war for independence made it hard to continue the work. She and Larry
moved to New Jersey where he worked for the United Church Board for World Ministries (UCBWM)
in New York and she worked in social services. She loved working with African students at the
Africa-America Institute. Ki and Larry finished their careers in Florida , first in Leisure City and then
at Sun City Center . From 1985 to 1991 they lived in Portugal where they had first gone in 1947 to
learn Portuguese for their work in Angola . Ki helped Larry research in Portuguese archives for his
book on the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola (IECA). While there they reconnected with
many old friends from Angola . In 1991 they moved to Durham , NC , and became active in the life of
Pilgrim United Church of Christ. Ki was a life-long letter writer and corresponded with friends and
colleagues all over the world. She was thrilled to learn that the Bingham Center for Women’s History
and Culture at Duke University will acquire her papers. Larry, her husband of 60 years, died in 2003.
Ki is survived by her children Kathleen Ashley and Jack Reuter, Nancy and Doug Henderson-James,
David Henderson and Susan Greenberg, and Mark and Mary Henderson, by five grandsons,
Christopher Ashley, Nathan and Noel Henderson-James, and Julian and Noah Henderson, by her niece
Janice Jangard, many nieces and nephews on Larry’s side, and numerous missionary nieces and
nephews. Her sister Marcia Shannon died in 1977.
A memorial service will be held at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham , NC , on August 18,
2009. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family in care of Nancy and Doug Henderson-James,
912 Shepherd St , Durham, NC 27701 . The family wishes to acknowledge the support of the Pilgrim
UCC congregation, Duke Hospice, and the staff at Brookdale Wynwood. Memorials may be made to
the Angola Memorial Scholarship Fund (www.angolamsf.org/) or to the Dille/Dunbar Fund in support
of schools for young Angolan women through Global Ministries
We’ve experienced the hospitality – you can too!
In the January 22, 2009 issue of On the Way, I shared information about the new hospitality/fund
raising program of Riverside Community UCC in Hood River, OR. My wife, Cindy, and I were the
first to take advantage of the opportunity. We celebrated my March 14th birthday in Hood River. I
can’t promise you the exact experience we had, but I know that you’ll find good food and comfortable
lodging in a beautiful place, all while having a great time visiting with fellow UCC folk.
Our hosts joined us for a birthday supper at the Solstice Wood Fire Café across the bridge in White
Salmon, WA. The conversation was delightful and the food was outstanding. That night, Cindy and I
had a whole level to ourselves, with private bath. We slept surrounded by a theological library housed
in vintage wood packing crates and accompanied by folk décor from world travels. Interesting, warm,
and welcoming! For breakfast we had our choice of delicious options, while we talked and watched
the Columbia River roll its way to the sea.
Headed to the
Columbia River Gorge?
Riverside Community Church
United Church of Christ
in Hood River, Oregon
is offering church homes for
Beginning in January 2009
$75 Per Night Double Occupancy
$55 Per Night Single Occupancy
*Funds raised in this way are used to support the church and its mission
For Reservations Please Contact The Church Office: 541-386-1412 or firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John’s UCC, Payette, ID is Quilted into the Community! ~ Jay Sanderson
On June 13, the Comforting Quilters, which is the women’s quilting group had their annual quilt show
at the church. As you know the quilting group is a fellowship of many women, not just members of St.
Johns, but friends and members of other churches who meet every Tuesday at 1:00 to make quilts. The
majority of the quilts are made for and donated to Rose Advocates. From their website, this is the
description of their mission.
ROSE Advocates is a confidential network offering resources to abused children and adults since
1988. We strive to help each person begin a safe life for themselves and their families. We strive to
provide an environment that nurtures empowerment, self-esteem and self-worth. ROSE Advocates is
committed to providing a multicultural and diverse program that responds to the spiritual, emotional
and physical needs of all abused people in our communities.
Twice during the year, the Comforting Quilters make quilts. Last Christmas they had made 40 quilts.
Since Christmas, their goal was to exceed that amount. Funds for the group are obtained primarily
through donations at the quilt show and sales of raffle tickets twice each year. At Christmas, 2008,
Paula Weitemier, a member of First Congregational UCC-Boise, was the winner of the raffle and was
presented the quilt by me at the Christmas Eve service in Boise. The second raffle occurs after the
I was very amazed at the number of quilts that were presented when I arrived. I expected what I
normally saw hanging on the walls each Sunday after services. Instead, though, I found both the
basement and the sanctuary filled with quilts. Each pew in the sanctuary had 3-4 quilts on display,
coat racks were covered with quilts, the organ draped with the large quilt that you had taken a picture
of in the back pew by the stained glass window. But not only were the quilts displayed, but each one
had a story pinned to them. Some of them were given in times of sickness, times of need, times of
celebration, and times of giving and receiving. Some dated back to the 1920’s and were still in mint
Along with the display of quilts was another display of handmade aprons. There was a humorous story
of one apron and its creation. The story told of the apron carried many things: apples from the tree,
produce from the fields, eggs from the chicken, hot apple pies from the oven, casseroles and dinners,
rocks, and even, at times, children.
In my time talking with the ladies, I found a presence of God. Here was a group of women who took a
cause of justice and made it their ministry. They didn’t know to whom the quilts would go or what age
group (children or adults) would get them. But, because of the gift, those quilts, made of different
fabrics and colors would someday have a story of their own to go with them. Indeed, they do provide
part of the response to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of abused people in the community,
as part of the mission statement of Rose Advocates. A neighbor who does not attend the church was so
impressed that he came over with microphone and video camera and documented the group,
interviewing each of the members of the Quilters who were there. He is going to make DVD’s of the
show and give them to the church, keep some for his collections, and distribute them through the tri-
town area to other churches and groups who might be interested in joining in the group. I hope I get
one or have someone make a copy. I plan to visit with him on Sunday morning before the service.
Sure, St. Johns is growing in members at a slow rate, but nevertheless is growing. Part is due to the
fact that these women have relentlessly devoted their skills and formed them into a ministry that
works. I am reading about contemplative ministry from Mark Yaconelli and find that these women
indeed have a presence of God without anyone telling them what to do.
As the minister of this church, I was proud to be there Saturday. On the next Sunday morning, they
reported that they had made $585 from donations, raffle ticket sales, and sales of some of the quilts.
This money will be used to paint the parsonage, which is being used as a rental, another project in the
As I said last September in McCall, where is St. Johns going? I believe that both my formation as an
authorized minister within the UCC and the congregations’ belief in what they are doing as a mission
anointed of God, that the ministries of the church and the body of the believers coming will grow.
Since we last met, we’ve added two more prior members. On Pentecost Sunday, we had no new
members to introduce, so we made a re-“membering” service. I sent out letters to the previous
members (still alive) that had stopped coming for one reason or another and invited them back – no
questions, just welcomes. Two people came back and said that they will stay, as now they feel
welcome. We had already gotten one of the very historical namesakes back, who had contributed to
the Quilt Show the 1920’s era quilts. In Christ’s service, peace to you, Jay D. Sanderson, pastor
Personal Note . . .
Here’s the remainder of my summer Sunday schedule:
July 12th – preach at Parkrose Community UCC, Portland, OR
July 19th – preach at Community Cong, Enterprise, OR
July 26th – co-directing Sr. High Exodus Camp with Bunny Oliver at Camp Adams, OR
August 2nd – attend worship with Cindy at our home church, 1st Cong. Portland, OR
August 7th thru 17th – family vacation in Minnesota & Upper Michigan
August 23rd – preach at Congregational UCC, Forest Grove, OR
August 30th – open
Whenever possible, I like to visit churches when their pastor is present and participating in worship.
This gives me an opportunity to affirm and thank both the members of the church and the pastor.
I pray that the rest of your summer will be filled with meaningful and refreshing experiences!
Yours in Christ, walter john
The Rev. Dr. Walter John Boris – Conference Minister
Central Pacific Conference * United Church of Christ
0245 SW Bancroft Street, Suite E
Portland, OR 97239-4258
email@example.com (O) 503-228-3178 (M) 206-235-3801 (H) 360-314-2497