Back in the early 2000’s, our church, Grace in San Jose, CA, had been having difficulty finding a new pastor. Our Region would not forward any referrals from ABC-USA and the pastors they suggested we knew would not be suitable for our church. The President of ABSW was instrumental in our finally resolving that problem and we called Michael Ray Matthews.
We knew that some of our sister churches had been “disfellowshipped” but were surprised and disappointed when our pastor was asked to be on the General Board of ABC-USA and our Region would not give their approval. So when my husband and I were asked to “check out” the Evergreen Association, we were happy to do that. That was in 2003, the first Annual Meeting. Everyone was so friendly and made us feel welcome, which was a change from past experience. However, we were told that Evergreen was just learning how to be a Region and were not yet ready to take in “strays”.
During this time, some in our church had their misgivings. Weren’t we supposed to include everyone on an equal basis? What was this business of “caucuses” anyway? Folks from Evergreen came to us and explained the reasons for organizing this way. Slowly the church began to understand the issues of sharing power. We ultimately decided that we wanted to become a part of Evergreen, if they would have us.
Our patience paid off, and we were able to join the Association in 2006. That changed our whole relationship with our Region and with ABC-USA, and it has been a most rewarding experience ever since.