September 12, 2017
Vol.6 Issue 9.2
This week our District Superintendent, Tim Overton-Harris, invites us to prepare for holy conferencing as we gather in colloquy groups and for the annual congregational meetings (charge conferences) this fall. And the General Commission on Religion and Race marks the one-month anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA with a toolkit to help us engage in ministry that addresses racism.
For information on how to respond to all the needs before us in the world, see the Resource Section, and be sure to check out the Upcoming Events column to the right for links to other important happenings, including the All-District Colloquy on September 20th, Health-Flex 2018 information workshops, Called to Love workshops, and the Safe Sanctuary training on October 1st.
If you need information to prepare for your congregation's Fall Charge Conferences click here, or contact me in the district office.
Thank you for your leadership in the local church -- that is where Jesus is touching lives -- through you!
Cascadia District Administrative Assistant
Holy Conferencing: Thoughts from our DS
John Wesley talked a lot about the “Means of Grace.” We all know something of these ways to maintain and deepen spiritual connections with God, self, creation, and others. One of them is “Christian Conferencing.” As we get ready for the Fall and Charge Conferences and colloquies I thought it a good idea to try and get a handle on what this spiritual practice is and how we might use it in our times together.
I found this in my Google search on Holy Conferencing and wanted to share it. It was good enough for our Bishops so it should provide us with what we need. It is from “Holy Conferencing A Presentation to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church Kevin M. Watson November 3, 2014” :
Watson says,"First, a bit of bad news: This phrase is almost always associated with John Wesley, but he didn’t actually say it. Holy conferencing most likely comes from Wesley’s use of 'Christian conference,' a phrase he used once in the 1763 doctrinal minutes typically referred to as the “Large Minutes.”
"The reference occurs in a passage where attention is being given to whether leaders in Methodism are consistent in their own use of the means of grace and in encouraging others to use them as well. For Wesley, means of grace are practices that God has chosen as ways in which God reliably and consistently makes God’s self available to us.
"In the “Large Minutes,” Wesley lists Christian conference as one of only five instituted means of grace. Instituted means of grace are the special category for the outward signs, words, or actions ordained of God for all times and places by which God conveys grace to people created in the image of God. They are grounded in commandments from Jesus in Scripture. In other words, these are practices that are not limited by the particularities of cultural context, historical era, etc. Placing Christian conference in this category is significant, then, because it is putting the practice in the same category as prayer, searching the Scriptures, the Lord’s Supper, and fasting – the other instituted means of grace. And it is claiming that Christ has instructed us in Scripture to seek him in this way.
"So, here’s what is said in the one reference to Christian conference:
Are we convinced how important and how difficult it is to order our conversation right? Is it always in grace? Seasoned with salt? Meet to minister grace to the hearers? Do we not converse too long at a time? Is not an hour at a time commonly enough? Would it not be well to plan our conversation beforehand? To pray before and after it?
"That’s it. Wesley didn’t provide a more thorough explanation or description of Christian conference because he would have assumed Methodists knew what he meant by the phrase. There is broad agreement among Wesleyan scholars who have studied Wesley’s own use of the phrase that by “Christian conference” Wesley was referring to the practice of cultivating growth in holiness in community through conversation about our experience of God. The primary places where early Methodists practiced 'holy conferencing,' then, was in the class meeting and the band meeting."
So, let’s gather for colloquy and charge conferences with this mindset, this understanding, this intent. Let’s come expecting to have conversation about our experience of God. Let’s gather as those coming together to practice an “instituted” Means of Grace. Let’s make these times together holy moments.
I look forward to seeing the clergy and those appointed on Wednesday, September 20th for our kick-off All District Colloquy and to being with each of you at your annual charge conference.
Rev. Tim Overton-Harris
DS Cascadia District
Toolkit for Ministry Addressing Racism
Today marks one month since the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA that sparked counter protests, violence, and the senseless loss of life of three people. Since that time there have been other rallies and counter-protests in cities across the country like Boston and San Francisco. The current realities of white supremacy, nationalism, violent extremism, and hate in America have been laid bare before the nation and the world.
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR)is the agency of The United Methodist Church with the explicit responsibility to challenge and equip the church at all levels to be in ministry with all people and to respond to those forces that would have us exclude, discriminate against, devalue, and disempower any of God's children, but especially those vulnerable because of their race, culture, or language.
GCORR has put together a "toolkit" of a few of the resources they offer that you may find beneficial for yourself, a small group, or congregation on the themes of white supremacy, hate, and violence post-Charlottesville. The toolkit is very helpfully arranged in four sections:
- Introductory - for preachers and churches just entering into the work of racial justice & equity
- What's Next? - for pastors and/or churches who have some understanding of individual and systemic racism but it has been more discussion than action
- Veteran - for those who have been doing the work in several arenas for years and now wonder, "What else can we say or do?"
- Long-term Activism - for those who are burnt out from years of work and are "sick and tired of being sick and tired."
You can find the toolkit at www.gcorr.org/toolkit-for-ministry-post-charlottesville The resources highlighted in the toolkit are just a sampling of what you can find on the GCORR website.
This work is not just about resisting racism and oppression. Together, we are actively building God's hope for humanity, where love, justice, and authentic community are lived realities and not just aspirational ideals. GCORR has excellent resources to help you and your congregation resist and build. Let our connection help! www.gcorr.org
This week in the
Early bird deadline to register for Exploration 2017 (Portland)
Health-Flex 2018 Informational Workshop - Oregon City
Health-Flex 2018 Informational Workshop - Boise
Social Justice Retreat at Suttle Lake
Called to Love: Making Our UMCs Safe Places for Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Persons - Corvallis
All District Colloquy
Called to Love - Madras
Transformations Prayer Retreat
Fall Charge Conferences Begin
Health-Flex 2018 Informational Workshop - Hillsboro
Health-Flex 2018 Informational Workshop - Eugene
Communion at District Office
World Communion Sunday
Safe Sanctuary Training, Beaverton
Pastor Quinton Kimbrow
Lay Leader Nancy Adams
Falls City UMC
Pastor Linda Grund-Clampit
Lay Leader Kendra Van Gelder
See the full prayer calendar
Let UMCOR Help!
Where to give? What to do? Is it more important to help those affected by Harvey or Irma or Jose or the earthquake victims in Mexico and Central America, or the flood victims in Asia?
Peace, be still. Our United Methodist Committee On Relief offers us a way to share our compassion comprehensively and effectively.
UMCOR is a 4-star rated charity. It uses all the best practices and gets help to where it is needed. When we give to an Advance Special through UMCOR, 100% of our funds go to that project because administrative expenses are funded separately.
1) You can give through your church or online:
Disaster Response US, Advance Special #901670
International Disaster Response, Advance #982450
Material Resources Advance #901440 (to buy materials for relief supplies)
I'm planning to make a monthly gift to each of these categories for awhile. That way I'll be doing something that I can feel good about. --- Linda
2) You can work with your congregation and/or come to Kit Kamp to make relief kits that then go to the UMCOR Depot in Salt Lake to be distributed as needed. Cleaning and Hygiene Kits are desperately needed now. You can find instructions on making kits here: www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies
If your congregation can assemble kits prior to September 30th, the Conference is working on transportation to Salt Lake City. Watch for more information or contact the district office.
Kit Kamp is a gathering at Camp Magruder, October 26-29th, where you get to enjoy fellowship and the coast, all while creating supplies to help others in emergency situations. Find out more by clicking here.
DS Tim Overton-Harris
District Lay Leader
District Administrative Assistant
Check out the Cascadia District webpage: