Join us for Weaving Our Strengths

Our Annual Conference

A day-long conference of fellowship, inspiration, and skill-building
to strengthen local churches’ efforts for the common good

This year’s theme: For Such a Time as This

Saturday, September 30, 2017 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
University Congregational Church 4515 16th Ave. NE, Seattle 98105

Rates: Early Bird (through 9/1): $40  |  Regular: $55  |  Student: $25
Groups: Up to 5 people: $175  |  Up to 10 people: $275

Coffee, tea, and snacks provided. Food vendor invited for lunch.
Scholarships & free parking available
For more information: (206) 204-3855 or email Ann

About the Weaving Our Strengths Conference

The Church Council of Greater Seattle’s fall conference, Weaving Our Strengths, is in its fourth year, this year with the theme “For Such a Time as This.” It is a day-long conference of fellowship, inspiration, and skill-building to strengthen local churches efforts for the common good. It’s a great chance to connect across denominations, share best practices, foster spiritually-grounded action, and bring insights and opportunities back to your home congregation.

The day includes worship, 2 sessions of workshops, a resource fair, a celebration of the Rev. Gertrude Apel Pioneering Spirit Awardees, and an opportunity to weave together what we’ve learned. Last year, in its third year, over 200 attendees from 22 denominations/faith traditions55+ congregations, and 22 cities in King, South Snohomish, and Pierce Counties gathered for a transformative day of learning, sharing, and fellowship.

Here’s what attendees had to say about last year’s conference:

  • Very insight-full; spirit of mutual encouragement
  • Great – sharing ideas, getting ideas, networking
  • Exceeded expectations! This was my first conference and I look forward to the next
  • CCGS did a truly fine job of reflecting current, encompassing concerns. Do that again!
  • I love how everything was so local. It made it feel like we could do everything that we heard about was actually possible. It felt tangible.
  • Homey gathering of grassroots folks wanting to work with others towards greater peace and justice
  • I especially appreciated the afternoon guided discussion tables so that after we have attended the outstanding workshops, we have a more intimate setting to reflect on and share where the Spirit guides us to imagine some creative solutions to issues of which we are aware!
  • I experienced lots of energy – invigorated my local congregation involvement as well as ecumenical efforts.

We hope you can join us this year on September 30, 2017!

Conference Schedule
8 a.m. Registration
8:30  – 9 a.m. Gather & Worship
9:10 – 10:40 a.m. Workshop Session 1
10:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Workshop Session 2
12:20 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch & Resource Fair
(food vendor invited; bring your lunch; or eat out in U-District)
1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Apel Awards
2:15 – 3:45 p.m. Conversations to Weave Our Strengths Together
3:45 – 4 p.m. Closing Worship

There will be two 90-minute sessions of workshops, each of which offer a choice of seven workshops.

The workshop time periods are 9:10 – 10:40 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m..

Workshop titles & summaries coming soon.



Up soon: Names & Bios of Presenters

Accepting Nominations: The Rev. Gertrude Apel Pioneering Spirit Award

Who inspires you in our community? Who is a creative and courageous leader? What individual or congregation/organization has made a significant impact in the areas of racial justice and reconciliation, affordable housing and confronting homelessness, immigrant justice and accompaniment, and/or promoting economic justice?

The Church Council is accepting nominations for the 2017 Rev. Gertrude Apel Pioneering Spirit Award. We encourage you to nominate an individual and/or a congregation/organization. The awardees will be honored at the Weaving Our Strengths Conference on Saturday, September 30, at University Congregational Church, Seattle. Below is a list of former recipients. Please email the completed nomination form to or mail to PO Box 18467, Seattle WA 98118, by Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

The Church Council created the Rev. Gertrude Apel Pioneering Spirit award to honor and remember her and to recognize an individual and a congregation/organization who embodies Rev. Apel’s spirit and lives out their faith in the social justice/community service area. In 1930, during a period of major economic depression, the Rev. Gertrude Apel was the first General Secretary of what would become the Church Council of Greater Seattle. In a time when women did not “lead” organizations, Rev. Apel was a tireless ecumenical leader and an amazing organizer. She had a talent for fostering cooperation and always getting things done.

Previous Recipients

Marty Hartman, Executive Director, Mary’s Place — Accompanying vulnerable women and children, transforming the continuum of care for people experiencing homelessness
First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Seattle, led by Senior Pastor Carey G. Anderson — Model of building bridges as a community of faith toward a just and equitable future for all

Killian Noe, Co-Founder, The Recovery Café — Creating space for healing & wholeness
St. Matthew / San Mateo Episcopal Church in Auburn — Bilingual, bicultural model of immigrant accompaniment

The Rev. Jan Bolerjack, Pastor, Riverton Park United Methodist Church — Risk-taker for economic justice
University Lutheran Church — Embodies service and justice as part of a faith-filled vision

The Rev. David Mesenbring — Life of justice across the continents in South Africa and through Oikocredit
Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches (REACH) — Model of ecumenical fellowship and service

Sr. Julie Codd, CSJP — Working from the heart with Native American communities
The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, led by the Rev. Terri Stewart — Pioneering embrace of young people who experience detention

The Rev. Rich Lang, Pastor of University Temple United Methodist Church — Prophetic voice for social justice
Skyway United Methodist Church, led by the Rev. Steve Baber — Organizing for equity and justice for all

Fr. Tony Haycock, Pastor of St. Mary’s Church — Honoring the dignity of the Spanish-speaking community, seafarers, and all God’s people
Seattle Mennonite Church — Taking the church into the neighborhood and expanding the notion of neighbor

The Rev. Jon and Juni Nelson — Transforming forces for social change who bent the arc of justice

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Weaving Our Strengths Conference is the perfect place to showcase your dedication to the region. Through sponsorship,  you can align your organization with the region’s Christian community for the common good. Our work bridges faith communities with partners from all sectors —  business, non-profit, labor, and neighborhood organizations. Your financial sponsorship not only boosts the work of faith-based civic activism. It also tells local Christians that you are invested in their vitality.

Sponsor Benefits for 2017

Important conference sponsorship dates      

  • For inclusion on conference brochure:  Friday, July 7
  • For inclusion in all other available benefits:  Monday, September 11

Email Ellen Finkelstein, Conference Manager, for more information.

Conference Logistics

Limited free parking available in church parking lots. We encourage carpooling and public transportation.
Find driving directions and the map of parking lots available. There will be volunteers at the parking lots to help with additional parking options.
Or you can plan a bus trip using King County’s Trip Planner. There are 16 bus lines that stop within a few blocks of University Congregational. ​Tips on using Public Transit in the Seattle area are provided on our Transit Tips page. 

An inexpensive lunch will be available for purchase onsite or at nearby restaurants, or you can chose to bring your own. Lunch will run 12:20 – 1:15 pm.

We will provide coffee, tea, and snacks beginning at 8 am. Coffee and tea will be available throughout the day. And there will be afternoon snacks.

There is an accessible Entrance off 16th Ave. NE. There is an elevator that will be used from this entrance.