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Have You Heard? Happy Anniversary to the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ

Rev. Davena L. Jones

This month we, the Northern California Nevada Conference UCC, celebrate our 61st Anniversary.

We are the United Church of Christ in Northern California and Northern Nevada. We are 110 local churches (13,500 members) and 357 ministers, from Eureka to Tulare, from Monterey to Reno, and everywhere in between. Some of our churches were founded during the early years of the California gold rush. We all started with a desire to be people of worship, education, fellowship, and ministry to our communities. Our mission is to unite ourselves as a covenant community and support and nurture each other as we seek to make God’s gracious love known and authentic in our lives and the world.

We are diverse in our sizes, geographical locations, the faith/religious backgrounds of our members, theologies, and the kinds of communities in which we are located. Among us are congregations who affirm an ethnic identity: African American, Chinese American, Filipina/o-American, Japanese American, and Samoan. Japanese, Samoan, English, Tagalog, Spanish, Cantonese, and American Sign Language are regularly spoken/used in worship in our congregations.

Some of our Conference milestones

-The Ordination of Bill Johnson, the first openly gay man to be ordained in the UCC (or any mainline church).

-the affiliation with TFAM, the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries with the Bishop Yvette Flunder, City of Refuge UCC. When they joined NCNCUCC, TFAM came forth as well.

-Decades of commitment to NCNCUCC Outdoor Ministries, Camp Cazadero, Camp Tamarack, Western Regional and National Youth events.

-Strong connections and relationships with the Disciples of Christ.

-New Church and Ministry Starts

-Dual Standing of our Samoan Ministers

-Voting for the Conference to become an Anti-racism Conference.

-First Conference to declare ourselves a Just Peace Conference.

-NCNC has been at the forefront of Environmental Justice.

-The NCNC Conference was one of the original conferences to put forth the call to local and state legislators to endorse the equality of marriage.

-This year, we called our first African American Woman Bridge Conference Minister.

We are in a season of renewal, reconnecting, recommitment, rejoicing, and restoring the Church and Conference of Jesus Christ. We have done great things together, with so much more to come. God is calling us to Unite, Nurture and Support one another in love, patience, kindness, and support. As we celebrate 61 years of service to God and one another, may we continue to do so in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Lastly, thank each of you for your “yes!” This Conference was a blessing because you said “yes” to sharing your gifts, talents, time, skills, and financial resources. With that, we have been called and selected to serve the Body of Christ and this Conference together as Conference staff, council, financial business committee, annual gathering planning team, committee on ministries, coaches, communities of practice facilitator, Boundary, and Racial Justice trainers, Chaplains, Authorized Ministers, Members-In-Discernment, those approved for Ordination pending call, Camp Teams, and all other volunteers, thank you for your years of service. May it be so, in Jesus’ Name, Amen, and Àse. Below, you will see our Conference Covenant~ may we use these words in our yes and interaction with one another.

Our Conference Covenant

We are people of God, congregations diverse in ethnicity, culture, and lifestyle. We are the Northern California Nevada Conference, United Church of Christ.

We covenant with God and each other:

· to worship God through Word and Sacrament,

· to proclaim to all the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ through deed and word,

· to be open to the movement of the Spirit in our midst.

We covenant with God and each other:

· to speak of our dreams and visions,

· to share our resources,

· to draw strength from one another in the work of ministry.

We covenant with God and each other:

· to affirm our journey together, in our diversity, for justice, peace, and healing, throughout all of God’s creation,

· to grow with one another, building our future out of memories and present hopes.

We covenant with God and each other:

· to love and support one another,

· to listen to and learn from one another,

· to forgive and trust one another,

· to pray for and with one another,

· to answer God’s call to be the body of Christ.

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