Hazel Dell church wins award for marriage equality advocacy



Hazel Dell — The First Congregational United Church of Christ has always been ahead of its time: Its members voted to be “open and affirming” of gay people 20 years ago. Now, times have caught up, and prior to passage of Washington State’s marriage equality ballot measure last November, up to 60 church members at a time marched for seven days from Vancouver to Olympia behind a rainbow banner. For all that, the church was awarded the Faith Action Network’s 2012 Advocating Congregation Award. The Rev. Brooks Berndt accepted the award in December at a dinner in Seattle.