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Board of Directors works to increase communication

Tara Leininger - moderator

The Pacific Northwest Conference is led by delegates elected by local churches at our Annual Meetings. Between Annual meetings, leadership is delegated to an elected Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is made up of volunteers, both lay and ordained, who have been called to serve the wider church and the conference through their leadership on the Board.

Over these last months and years the Conference has experienced myriad challenges, magnified by transitions. At the last Annual Meeting, held on Zoom April 30, 2022, delegates and friends of the conference lifted up significant concerns about the budget and leadership of the Conference. Wanting to truly hear and consider these concerns, the then Moderator Hillary Coleman did not call for a vote to pass the budget or affirm election of Board Members.

At the Annual Meeting, Board leaders proposed that there could be another gathering of the conference, in Fall of 2022, to revisit and complete these items of business. We are writing now to acknowledge that a Fall gathering did not happen. Due to a variety of transitions and challenges, we were, regrettably, not able to accomplish what we intended.

We understand that communication has been limited and covenant was broken. We are in the process of scheduling meetings for listening and learning across the conference and we hope you will all participate. More information will be coming soon.

In the meantime, the Board of Directors has had to approve the budget on a quarterly basis in order for the Conference to function.

The board also needed to approve the new officers, including: Tara Leininger, pastor at Metaline Falls Congregational Church, as PNC moderator and Indigo Brown, member at Plymouth Church, as the vice moderator.

While Tara and Indigo are our board leaders, we are all the Conference. There is much work before us. May God guide us on our journey.

Already serving on the Board were Hillary De La Cruz, immediate past moderator; Diana Kutas, treasurer; Jillian Hutton, scribe; Danette Koloi, Central West representative (rep); Esther Sanders, Heartland rep; Janet Ott, Northwest rep, and Ron Patterson, Southwest rep.

With diversity in mind, the board continues to work in engaging BIPOC and LGBTQIA conference members and people of a spectrum of ages.

The Board also keeps in mind the diversity of the conference when it comes to urban, rural and remote congregations.

Tara said the board is continually open to voices that may not have been heard or heard well enough, and it welcomes contact to board members and conference staff.

For information, call the PNC office at 206-725-8383 or Tara at 509-589-1044 or email

Annual Meeting 2023 will be in Bellingham April 28 to 30

PNC Board Moderator Tara Leininger announces that the 2023 Annual Meeting is being planned for April 28 to 30 on site at the First Congregational Church in Bellingham. 

Sharon Benton, pastor at the church, confirms that FCC Council agreed to be the site.  There are still details to work through on the site use, but the Annual Meeting 2023 (AM23) Committee, chaired by Tara and PNC. As executive administrator Arlene Hobson is support staff to the work of the first onsite annual meeting since before the pandemic. 

The intent at this time is to also make the AM23 available online for those who prefer not to gather in person. 

There will be a much of work to accomplish at this meeting, including changes in staff in the past year, the budget for 2023-2024, and continued work on anti-racism, church development, and other challenges the conference faces.

Tara is also looking for people to join the AM23 planning committee. 

She seeks volunteers who would like to help in the details of the event, including worship services and especially in tech so that the meeting is a smooth process for everyone. 

For information, email 

For information, call 509-589-1044 or email


 Winter Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ News © December 2022


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