Sept. 24, 2023 had double meaning for inland Northwest Adventists.
This date served as a culmination of the Vertical: 24–10 Prayer Experience and the gathering time for the 79th constituency session for Upper Columbia Conference.
In total, 504 of 713 eligible local church delegates and delegates-at-large came together at Upper Columbia Academy.
“You’ve come anticipating a meeting,” said David Jamieson, UCC president, as he welcomed the delegates. “However, I love ministry more than meetings. In a gathering of this size, there are many people who have come who may feel alone in the crowd or maybe there’s someone who is hurting and needs to be ministered to.”
Jamieson continued, “My purpose in being here today is through the blessing of our Heavenly Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, to minister to you and to point you to Jesus Christ, the only hope of this world.”
Jamieson invited delegates to join him in focusing on worship, prayer, mission, ministry and service through the conference-wide emphasis to Serve One More.
The Serve One More devotional culminated in a tangible time of prayer in which Jamieson invited delegates to blanket UCC territory in prayer.
Delegates slipped out of their seats and tied prayer knots onto the fringes of 160 sunflower-patterned fleece blankets. These blankets were then gifted to each church and school to share with someone in their church, school or community who needs God’s healing touch.
In his devotional Jamieson unpacked the story found in Mark 5 of the woman suffering with an issue of blood.
“The gospel stories don’t just talk about what Jesus did as He went from village to village serving one more, but rather what Jesus does,” continued Jamieson. “These stories build faith in the goodness, graciousness and greatness of our God. Jesus changes absolutely everything in a person’s life when they get to know who He really is.”
He added, “It doesn’t matter when you come to Jesus, where you come to Jesus or how you come to Jesus. The only thing that matters is that we do choose, hopefully sooner than later, to come to Jesus Christ.”
In the past four years, UCC allocated $1.7 million to evangelism activities including 235 reaping events, 1,000 sowing events and more than 1,500 baptisms.
Additionally, more than 55 churches are engaging their local communities through 111 Adventist Community Services and SonBridge outreaches and projects. This practical, hands-on approach to ministry led into the vision to Serve One More.
“We are beginning a new chapter in the life of UCC,” said Jamieson. “A chapter that envisions God calling us to even greater moments and greater ministry to expand His kingdom in the inland Northwest.”
First, UCC has a vision to truly become a resource center to its field in ways that can’t fully be imagined yet. The conference wants to assist, support and resource its members, families, churches, schools and all the conference entities to build a legacy for God by following His vision to sacrificially Serve One More.
Second, as a resource center, UCC commits to Serve One More by modeling its core values and core actions to every person that its members interact with.
Third, UCC desires to make a greater impact for the kingdom of God by serving the felt needs of individuals and families in the inland Northwest through innovative community service initiatives.
The conference is currently fundraising between $2–3 million to equip, empower and resource local church pastors, lay leaders, congregations and schools in their efforts to Serve One More. This fundraising campaign is leading to a conference-wide offering on Oct. 27, 2023.
“As we practice ‘Christ’s Method Alone’ accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer and the power of the love of God, our work will not and cannot be without fruit,” Jamieson noted.
Elected to serve for 2023–2027 term are the following officers: David Jamieson, president; Rodney Mills, vice president for administration; Allee Currier, vice president for finance; and Brian Harris, vice president for education.
Delegates also appointed ministry directors including: Patty Marsh, Adventist Community Services & Disaster Response, women’s ministries and children’s ministries; Jeff Wines, Camp MiVoden, club ministries, young adults and youth; Dustin Jones, communications; Walter Pintos-Schmidt, Hispanic ministries; Stephanie Bailey, human resources; Art Lenz, information and technology services; Eric Brown, ministerial and evangelism; and Andrew McCrary, trust services. Additionally, delegates voted for Sandi Bowman from Arizona Conference to serve as Adventist Book Center manager.
Additionally, four new churches were welcomed into the sisterhood of churches, including two Spanish churches and a Slavic church. It was also the first session to include documents that were translated into Spanish, an acknowledgment of the growth of Spanish-speaking members in the conference.
The Constitution and Bylaws Committee, led by Lowell Cooper, a veteran church governance administrator and member of Pasco Riverview Church, processed with the constituency several amendments. These amendments ranged from formatting changes to aligning future sessions with the North Pacific Union constituency sessions.
The session ended with delegates voting in a new executive committee, board of education and finance review team.
Jamieson closed the meeting by calling all those present to fulfill the promise of Isa. 52:7 and to go back to their churches and schools as representatives of Christ who understand “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
“This is our time!” Jamieson said as he challenged the delegates. “It is our time to be persistent in prayer, to receive the promise of Christ’s Righteousness, to daily experience the power of the Word of God, to proclaim the Three Angels' Messages in verity and love, and to personally participate in Christ’s mission to Serve One More, to Sirve Uno Mas!”