Southwest UCC Annual Meeting 2018

Dear CCOV Family,
Happy May! Three of us just attended the UCC Southwest Conference Annual Meeting at Rincon Congregational UCC in Tucson as your delegates this year. I want to give you a brief recap of what we learned, and I hope you will talk to us in person if you have more questions.

Faith-Rooted Organizing:
All day Thursday, April 19, 2018, I attended a workshop entitled Faith-Rooted Organizing, led by Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra, a national leader in the areas of poverty and immigration. She is a Lutheran pastor with more than 35 years of experience in community ministry and co-author of the book, “Faith-Rooted Organization: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World.” I want to read her book, and I highly recommend that you do too, because what she has to share is of utmost importance to the kin-dom of God. Rev. Dr. Salvatierra provided an excellent theological framework for God’s people to organize to defend the poor and marginalized and advocate for social justice, based on Luke 9:14: “…organize them into little communities.” With the premise that all of us want abundant life for ourselves and others, no matter where we are on the political spectrum, she shared that we need to have a vision for a just world, and that we can work toward this when we organize our gifts and mobilize for action. I hope to incorporate much of her thought into a sermon later this May.

ALICE Training:
We attended ALICE Training together on Friday, April 20, 1918. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Counter, Evacuate, and it is offered by the ALICE Institute to protect institutions from active shooters. While the odds of something happening at CCOV are statistically very low, shootings in churches as well as schools and workplaces are on the rise. The tragic events last fall at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas remind us that horror can unfold anywhere. Our council and congregation need to have conversations about how we would handle an active shooter during worship. There are indeed ways to increase survival. I’ve been giving a good deal of thought to this regarding our sanctuary’s set up. Please be reminded that there is a door behind the organ should there ever be need of evacuation. Additionally, distraction is a good technique—folks can throw hymnals, etc. to distract a shooter so that someone could take him or her down. We have much more to talk about, and a blurb like this is not really appropriate or adequate.

The UCC Constitution:
We also attended the breakout session on proposed changes to the UCC Constitution. Our conference’s executive board voted not to ratify these changes, and delegates to conference agreed, voting overwhelmingly not to ratify them. This means we will continue to be in discussion about any changes. In short, this session dealt with clarity and inclusion language in the ministerial authorization section, full communion with UC-Canada, and governance changes. I do not have the space to discuss them all here, but you can read further at If you do read this, keep in mind that covenant and autonomy have always been in tension in the UCC and that we have resisted the hierarchal polities that govern many other denominations.

Please note that there will be no formal worship in the sanctuary starting June 3. We will resume regular sanctuary worship Sunday, September 16. Between June 3 and September 16 we will meet in Hayden Hall for potluck breakfasts accompanied by informal programs and worship. As always, I look forward to all of our times together!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Sandi