The annual North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Regional Convocation hosted hundreds May 17–20, 2018, at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington. With a theme of "Moving Forward in the Spirit," this gathering for regional members around the Northwest featured a powerful combination of preaching, teaching, music and dialogue.
Roger A. Bernard Jr., Central States Conference president, was the featured Sabbath morning speaker. Other speakers included Donnett M. Blake, New Dimension Church pastor within the Northeastern Conference, and Virgil Childs, Pacific Union Conference regional affairs director, in addition to Tacyana Nixon, Jeremy Anderson, Garth Dottin, Alonzo Wagner III and Colin Dunbar.
The Sabbath afternoon town hall meeting included, among several agenda items, a Washington Conference strategic planning report from Eugene Lewis, a dialogue on Walla Walla University's efforts toward diversity with John McVay, president, and Pedrito Maynard-Reid, assistant to the president for diversity, and discussion on NPUC-wide efforts toward a regional advisory group and a special regional development fund.
In addition, a panel discussion took up the topic of "Black Lives Matter: What to Say When Stopped by the Police." Panelists included Vince Elmore, retired captain of the Portland Police Bureau in Oregon; Les Liggins, retired captain of the Seattle Police Department in Washington; Ama Okoro, criminal defense attorney, city of Seattle, Washington; and Andrew Carrington, partner, Carrington Law Offices, PC. The panel discussion centered on circumstances where black individuals experienced negative encounters with the police simply because of their race. A spirited question-and-answer period followed the panelists' presentations.
Special tribute was given in the event program to Alphonso and Judith McCarthy. McCarthy led the NPUC regional department for 18 years before his retirement in 2016.
Byron Dulan, NPUC vice president for regional affairs, and his administrative assistant, Pattric Parris, coordinated the event with significant input from the convocation planning committee.
Plans are being formed now for the 2019 convocation, to be held in Gladstone, Ore., at the Holden Convention Center on the Oregon Conference campgrounds.