March 16, 2017
Dear Reader,
This week’s UM Connector is missing a story. Working with other leaders in the Greater Northwest Area, I had planned to include a story of a young person in our conference dealing with the worry and fear, of being a participant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It would have appeared in this message and on our website.
However, after considering concerns the young person has for the safety of family and community, we are not telling the story, at least not yet.
This highlights the challenge we have as Christ followers and justice seekers to respond compassionately and in love without doing harm. The church is complicit in much of the harm that has been done in the past to people of color and other communities subject to discrimination. We need to be sure that our efforts to reverse that harm do not instead add to it.

Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


Erbele named Alaskan of the week

Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska recently recognized Oregon-Idaho Conference Missionary Rev. Evelyn Erbele as the Alaskan of the week. Watch a video of his presentation. Erbele, and her husband Rev. Terry Erbele will be visiting churches in Oregon and Idaho May 7-21. The theme for their itineration will be “One Church – 27 Doors.” To arrange a visit from the Erbeles, (or other missionaries) contact itineration coordinator, Roz Collins at

United Methodist Women celebrate 150

March 23 is the third annual Day of Giving to the United Methodist Women’s Legacy Fund. Help support United Methodist Women for the next 150 years! Learn more on the UMW website.


A message to the United Methodist Church

Kent Ingram, a pastor from Colorado, and Emily Allen, a lay delegate from California, write this message to The United Methodist Church. In it they seek to tell the real story about what happened at last year's Western Jurisdictional Conference where Karen Oliveto was elected bishop. Their letter starts, “It’s time for The United Methodist Church to learn the real story behind the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto from the perspective of Western Jurisdiction delegates that elected her in July 2016.” Read their letter on the Western Jurisdiction Website.

Lenten messages from Western Jurisdiction Bishops

Bishop Hoshibata

This year the bishops of the Western Jurisdiction are sharing a message for each week of lent. This week, Bishop Robert Hoshibata shares a message exploring the special thirst described in the gospel of John 4:13-15. Read his thoughts on quenching thirst and looking beyond ourselves.

Appointment Announcements

It is Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky's intention to make the following appointments, effective July 1, 2017:

  • The Rev. Timothy Overton-Harris as Cascadia District Superintendent. Overton-Harris was ordained as an Elder in 1987 and has served churches in Oregon City, Estacada, Marquam, Salem (Morningside), and Portland (Christ). He is currently in his 13th year at Vermont Hills United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon. He also serves on the Board of Ordained Ministry, Columbia District Resource Team and was part of the Local Host Committee leadership team for General Conference 2016.

    Rev. Steven Sprecher is currently serving as interim Superintendent. Rev. Peg Lofsvold served as Cascadia District Superintendent for four and a half years before requesting medical leave at the beginning of the year.

    The Rev. Phillip Antilla to Bellevue First United Methodist Church in Seattle, Washington. Antilla most recently served the Ashland United Methodist Church in Ashland, Oregon, from July 2015 through February 2017. He is ordained in the Church of the Nazarene and trained at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas.

A summary of appointment announcements can be found on the conference website at

Clear Appointment Openings

A list of churches that are open for appointment can be found on the Greater NW Area website. As appointments are announced and the appointment process unfolds, new clear openings will be added to the list. See the latest.


Tornado damages church, pipe organ

MUSCATINE, Iowa (UMNS) — A tornado took the roof off the century-old sanctuary of Wesley United Methodist Church and collapsed the pipe organ. The storm also damaged the church’s Family Life Center, but no one was hurt. Read more on the Iowa Conference website.

Rückert elected United Methodist bishop

HAMBURG, Germany (UMNS) — The Rev. Harald Rückert was elected bishop by the Germany Central Conference on the fourth ballot. Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.

New web page spotlights Native ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church recognizes the contributions and gifts of Native peoples to the church and their communities around the globe. In support of Native Americans and indigenous peoples and their traditions, United Methodist Communications has launched a new “Native Peoples and the UMC” landing page on The site features stories by and about Native people, along with resources, information about upcoming events and links to ministries. Visit the new page.

Scholars raise doubts about church's future

ATLANTA (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry brought together 28 seminary professors to discuss the denomination’s current impasse on homosexuality. A number of the scholars expressed doubts the denomination can stay together in its current form; others believe unity remains a possibility. Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.


CLM announces next course offering

The Greater Northwest Area Certified Lay Minister (CLM) Cycle B: Sacramental Theology and Worship will help students gain a deeper theological understanding and meaning of worship - it's form, liturgy, and hymnology. An overview of the theology of baptism and communion in the United Methodist tradition will also be covered. The course is taught by Rev. Peg Lofsvold and Rev. Juli Reinholz.
The course will be offered at two different times and locations:

  • Boise Idaho, April 29th , 2017 – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Register Online
  • Vancouver Washington, May 6th, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Register Online

The $60 registration fee must be paid in advance.
The Certified Lay Minister (CLM) program is a two-year training cycle that includes a Ministry Overview and four intermediate courses. Its course offerings are available for all lay persons within the United Methodist Church. Those wishing to receive certification must follow a specific process for recognition.
For more details, contact Program Assistant Sabrina Venture ( or 888-818-4288) at the Pacific Northwest Conference office, or Rev. David Nieda, Dean of the CLM program at

Life is messy… Got Faith?

Messy Church is a non-traditional way of being church that fosters intergenerational relationships through creativity, celebration, and hospitality. The Messy Church movement began in the United Kingdom and has spread throughout the world. It’s been described as a fresh expression of church that offers families an opportunity to come together to be, to make, to eat, and to celebrate God. If you’d like to learn more, come to a training at Tigard United Methodist Church on Saturday, May 6. Learn more and get the registration form on the church website at



This week in the
Annual Conference

There are no conference committee meetings or events this week

Sunday, March 26

UMCOR Sunday
Greater NW Area Inspiring Generosity Conference Journal

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503-226-7931 ~ 800-593-7539 ~ 503-226-4158 (fax)