On Thursday, March 28 a meeting took place at the Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) office between WCAS Planning Committee members, supporters and the UCC administration. This meeting followed a meeting the previous Thursday in which WCAS planning committee chairperson Janet Neumann, and treasurer Eiji Minami met with UCC President Minner Labrador and Vice President Rodney Mills along with Human Resource Director Stephanie Bailey to set the agenda for the March 28 meeting with the larger group. Nearly four hours were spent in that initial meeting and it was described as being a very positive and productive meeting in which it was felt that the Conference officials really listened.
The March 28 meeting began at 10:00am, broke for lunch at 1:00 and resumed again after lunch and ended at nearly 3:00pm. It was attended by five Conference Officials, Minner Labrador-President, Rodney Mills-Vice-President for Administration, Andrew McCrary-Director of Trust Services & Estate Planning, Archie Harris-Associate Education Superintendent and Stephanie Bailey-Director of Human Resources, along with two UCC Executive Committee members, Patti Schultz and Kent Knight, who were present as invitees of the UCC.
WCAS P.C. members present were; Janet Neumann, Eiji Minami, Randy Bierwagen, Will Fults, Ed and Linda Brehm and George Schrems. Four UCC pastors were present: Jim Anderson, Larry Kirkpatrick, Mike Lambert and Alvaro Sausa.
Also present were ten additional WCAS invitees, Bob and Rhonda Backman, Elder Jim Brackett, Dr. Ron Fleck, Elder Dan Kapp, Belinda Lowry, Beverly Thompson-Nelson, Ruth Schrems, Carl Sullivan and Steve Wohlberg.
The objective of this meeting as stated on the agenda was to “come together in prayer and jointly seek Divine harmony with all members of the Upper Columbia Conference.”
The meeting began with a welcome by Elder Minner Labrador followed by a devotional and prayer by Elder Rodney Mills. Mills spoke on the subject of unity in the context of the prayer of Christ as recorded in John 17.
Following prayer, Janet Neumann then made a presentation using PowerPoint, outlining the history, purpose and goals of WCAS. After Janet’s presentation, Elder Labrador gave the President’s report on the mission, structure and goals of the UCC.
At the conclusion of these two reports, the group broke up into five or six smaller discussion groups. Within these groups, three questions were discussed under three different headings.
Under the first heading, “Pressing Together” the question under discussion was, “What positive steps can we make to “press together” in harmony?”
For the second heading, “Moving Forward”, the question was asked, “How specifically can we glorify God moving forward?”
The third heading, “Finishing the Work”, was followed with the question, “What shared vision do we have for finishing God’s work in the UCC?”
As each question was discussed, suggestions were written on a large paper and at the end of each discussion a representative from each small group presented to the whole group a summary of the suggestions that were made in response to these questions.
Following the discussion time, Elder Labrador assured us that they would take these suggestions, compile them and really listen to what we had to say. Also, during the discussion time, we were assured by Elder Labrador that the Conference will abide by the policies of the World Church. This is their duty and is what they are hired to do by the constituents of this Conference.
It is to be noted that most UCC administrators are new in our Conference and are committed to the mission of giving the message of the Three Angels to those in our sphere of influence. We want to support our Conference and leadership in this endeavor. We may not see all things eye to eye, but one thing we took away from this meeting is that we all have the common goal of finishing the work and preparing for the mansions above.
The participants in this meeting felt that there was much healing that took place and a good spirit was felt. We believe that positive changes will soon be seen in regard to the December 4 restrictions that were put in place against WCAS. Please continue to pray for WCAS and for the leadership of the Upper Columbia Conference as well as the leadership of our local churches all the way up through the General Conference.