By Jim Sequeira, Lead Pastor, Cascade View Covenant Church
My wife Glenna really likes our Midwinter Conference even though she’s never been. How do I know? She told me, “Whenever you come back from Midwinter you’re a nicer person.” I’m still trying to figure out the deeper meaning of my wife’s words. For those of us who were able to attend this year, I hope you’ve been enjoying your new iPad they gave out. Those who were unable to attend, I heard your etch-a-sketch is in the mail. Okay, so we didn’t get iPads, but iGot blessed…again. Midwinter has been an oasis of pastoral and spiritual renewal for me in the best of times, darkest of times, the hardest of times and some of the funnest times.
As part of my community service requirements I was invited by the Board of Ordered Ministry to interview some of our Covenant ‘ohana members for ordination and I was blessed and encouraged by the vision, passion and quality of the pastoral leadership; especially the giftedness of our young pastoral leaders. Shout out to those who will be ordained/ordination transfer at the ECC Annual Meeting: Derek Hwang, Katey Hage, Debbie Montzingo, Bob Zurinsky and John Bangs!
I was blessed by the richness of our ECC ‘ohana’s diversity birthed by our Swedish immigrant ancestors. Chillin’ with my Hispanic, Asian-American, African-American, Indigenous and Caucasian-American brothers and sisters sharing stories, eating together and hearing from inspiring ethnic voices while attending the Racial Righteousness, Multi-Ethnic, Asian Covenant Pastors Association (“mahalo” to Gail Song Bantum for establishing a good foundation for CAPA) and Serve Globally gatherings. I was blessed the ECC furthered the conversation and story of the marginalization of Indigenous Peoples a second year and the opportunity to co-lead the workshop and discussions with Lenore Three Stars (Oglala Lakota) and Curtis Ivanoff (Native Alaskan). FYI-the ECC is planning to present a paper for the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery at the Annual Meeting in June.
I was blessed again with the open, difficult and honest conversations with pastors and conference staff friends from various conferences and regions. All speaking into my life bringing encouragement, joy and laughter. I was blessed by the conversations with those in our own PacNWC; especially those in our regional multi-ethnic cohort who encouraged, corrected, schooled and taught me much. I’m grateful to be their “Uncle Jim.” And there are those who weren’t in attendance whom I missed as well.
There are just too many blessings and people to list here. So, I guess when someone is this blessed there is no other option than to be “a nicer person.” I really do need to find out what Glenna meant.