April 11, 2018

Dear Reader,

In the next 10 months there is going to be a lot of talk about the future of our denomination. Some of our readers may think we’ve talked too much and don’t want to hear anymore, while others may just be tuning in to the conversation about changes coming and wonder what is happening.
This week’s UM Connector highlights some of those areas of conversation. Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball shares about the mindset she see’s heading toward the 2019 special General Conference. The Council of Bishops is requesting guidance from the Judicial Council about procedures for the three-day meeting to consider a way forward on the church's views regarding human sexuality and inclusion in the church.
But even as we look forward to that meeting, the Connectional Table reminds us that regardless of the outcomes of the 2019 meeting, the people called United Methodists will still have a mission to carry out. One of making disciples and sharing the saving love of Jesus Christ.
In our own episcopal area, Table Talk conversations will kick off this weekend in every annual conference. These are just the first of 26 events across the area. More than 350 people have already signed up to attend, but there is more space for you to join and engage with others. Learn more on the Greater NW Area website.
And when we gather for Annual Conference session we will hear from Bishop Elaine Stanovsky and Rev. Donna Prichard about the Commission on a Way Forward and how the Council of Bishops is offering a path for the church. Prichard is a member of the commission and pastor of Portland’s First United Methodist Church. We will also learn about the conflict resolution strategies offered in the book, “Anatomy of Peace.”
So this will be the pattern for the next few months, Listen, share, pray, and be in action to bring about the kin-dom of Christ.
Greg Nelson, Communications Director


Now hiring: Camps looking for summer staff

Imagine working next to pristine lakes, waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore, horses neighing in the field nearby and being surrounded by mountain trails and pine trees for a whole summer.

It’s possible to experience all that, and more, working for Oregon-Idaho Camping and Retreat Ministries at one of the six camp and retreat centers in Oregon and Idaho this summer.

With camping season a little over a month away, camp directors across the Oregon-Idaho Conference are still looking to fill positions – everything from kitchen helpers to program staff – to make sure they are ready to serve the multi-generational groups that call their sites home away from home for a week or two at a time each summer.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Lay retreat offers inspiration and connection

In almost every conversation and survey with churches in the Columbia District and across the Oregon-Idaho Conference over the last two years it has become clear to district leaders that there needs to be more opportunities for spiritual growth of lay leaders in churches.

After two years of dreaming and visioning, the “Light up the World” retreat is happening April 27-29 at the Canby Grove Christian Center. Laity from across the Conference – not just the Columbia District – are encouraged to attend.

“It just seemed like this was the right time,” said Lydia Henry, lay leader for the Columbia District. “People kept saying they wanted to get together to worship together and connect.”

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

 Laity sessions during AC open for registration

Lay Members and guests attending Annual Conference will have the opportunity to attend one of six workshops being offered on Thursday, June 14, during the annual conference session.

Laity will gather in the grand ballroom for a short session to hear from Conference Lay Leader Jan Nelson and the Board of Laity; then will disperse into different rooms throughout the Riverside Hotel where they can learn about a myriad of topics important to local churches and take home ideas for adaptation to their local ministry setting.

A workshop will be offered on emergency and disaster readiness. Another workshop will be on the church’s role in addressing community mental health concerns. Attendees can learn how to start and manage a community garden. They can learn about ways to find and work with community partners. Laity can also attend a workshop on what it means to make disciples or they can attend a workshop on effective use of social media in the church.

Members and Guests are asked to pre-register online so to allow for the best hospitality and assign rooms for the workshops.

Find more details about the laity workshops and presenters in the Annual Conference section of the website.

Getting to know the UM Foundation

It’s been several years since I’ve written to all of you via this newsletter! After your exuberant sprint across the finish line with Imagine No Malaria, I worked as a communications director and development director for several other organizations, but I missed you, so now I’m back. Read on to learn what’s next…
Imagine your church applies for a modest loan to repair some equipment that you use to distribute food in your community. Instead of a loan, you get a check in the mail, with no strings attached.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.


Spirit Alive: It’s time to recover our mission

In his bi-monthly blog post, Rev. Lowell Greathouse, coordinator of mission and ministry for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, discuss his thoughts on life, post-Easter.

“Like many others, I watched the amazing Easter production of Jesus Christ Superstar, starring John Legend, Brandon Victor Dixon, Sara Bareilles, and Alice Cooper. What a remarkable experience! But like the cast that sings, "What's the Buzz, Tell Me What's Happening?"... I too want to know what happens now after all the chaos of Jesus' last week, which included the crucifixion and the resurrection.

What's next? What am I supposed to do with this story... and the all buzz its created? And... how do these events change how I live my life from now on?”

Read more of Lowell’s lasts blog on the Conference website.

Inspiring Generosity: Who tells your story? “Hamilton” helps

After attending a performance of “Hamilton” in Portland recently, Cesie Delve-Scheuermann compares Eliza Hamilton’s words in the Broadway musical to church stewardship – yep, really.

“She helped build the Washington Monument, she was an outspoken abolitionist, and she established the first private orphanage in New York City. She gets the last and best words of the night: ‘Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?’
Your church or organization should take note. Who tells your story?"

Read more of Cesie’s latest blog post on the Conference website.

Appointment Announcements

It is Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky's intention to make the following appointment, effective July 1, 2018:

Rev. James Hardenbrook to First United Methodist Church in Payette, Idaho. Hardenbrook is ordained in the Church of the Brethren and will serve the Payetee community quarter-time while continuing to serve the United Methodist Church in Fruitland, Idaho half-time.

In Addition, District Superintendent Erin Martin has announced the intention to assign Jayde Rasband to the South East Portland Parish effective July 1, 2018 as a half-time associate pastor.

Rashband is graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta Georgia. She is a certified candidate for ministry in the Alabama-West Florida Conference.

South East Portland Parish is a cooperative of Trinity United Methodist Church and the Sellwood Faith Community. Rashband will join Rev. Eilidh Lowery in the ministry.

A summary of appointment announcements can be found on the conference website at A list of churches that are open for appointment can be found on the Greater NW Area website.


Part-time communications associate – Pacific NW Conference


United Methodists support students, protesting teachers

Among the thousands of protesting teachers on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds are United Methodists handing out necessities — water, sandwiches, toilet paper — as well as words of support and prayer.
“Our kids need to be educated, teachers need raises and supplies,” said the Rev. Scott Spencer, pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church. “We want to be involved, we want to do more than just pray. We believe in prayer, but want to combine that with acts of justice.”
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Bishops seek Judicial Council ruling

WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Council of Bishops is asking the denomination’s top court for a declaratory decision on what petitions can be submitted to the special called General Conference in February 2019. The bishops also asked the Judicial Council to convene a special meeting to address that request and any others that might arise from the upcoming Council of Bishops meeting. “The intent is to resolve the question of whether additional petitions, beyond the report of the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops…” can be submitted, said Bishop Bruce R. Ough.

Read the press release.

Planning for post-General Conference church

No matter what happens at the special General Conference next year, United Methodists will wake the next day and still have work to do.

That was a frequent refrain at the April 4-7 meeting of the Connectional Table, a leadership body of 64 lay and clergy members who act as a sort of denomination-wide church council coordinating ministry.
The Connectional Table devoted most of its discussions to how it can help the church fulfill its calling during this time of uncertainty and beyond the 2019 policymaking assembly, which will deal with the denomination’s decades-long divisions over homosexuality. 
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Zimbabwe women embrace orphans

The Fairfield Children’s Home at The United Methodist Church’s Mutare Mission in Zimbabwe got a shot in the arm after receiving a donation of goods worth more than $5,000 from United Methodist Women in the Harare East District.
The center is home to more than 70 orphans of different backgrounds and age groups.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Rev. Tafadzwa Musona, acting district superintendent for the Harare East District, said children deserve society’s care and attention.
“As women gathered here today, our wish is to see all children from our communities receiving equal treatment from the society, not defined by their backgrounds, neither their parents’ position,” she said.
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Tiny church vital center for German community

Editor’s note: This is the final story in an occasional series of stories, “German Methodism: A strong Christian voice,” about the 51,000-member United Methodist Church in Germany.

A weekly gathering for “kaffe und kuchen” hosted by a tiny 12-member United Methodist church has transformed one village and its relationship with the church while raising money for a life-changing education program in Ghana.
Lorsbacher Gemeinde (Lorsbach United Methodist Church) of the Frankfurt Church of the Caller Circuit began the Café Gegenüeber last year, with a trial opening during the summer months.
“We wanted to do it for the people here,” said Helga Saalbach, a member of the church. “A long, long time it was our dream to have a café. The main purpose was to raise money, next to give the love of Jesus.”
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Bishop urges new mindset for way forward

To find a way forward through its impasse around homosexuality, The United Methodist Church will need a new approach to its top policymaking body — General Conference.

That’s what Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball told members of the Connectional Table, a 64-member leadership body that brings together laity and clergy to coordinate the denomination’s ministries, mission and resources. The group met April 4-7 at the offices of Wespath, the denomination’s pension and benefits agency.
“Think about what the experience has been for getting ready for coming to General Conference,” said Steiner Ball, who leads the West Virginia Conference. “When I ask that question of people across the globe, they begin to talk about preparing for General Conference like they are preparing for war.”
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Love Thy Neighbor workshop in Seattle April 26

It’s a critical time for the United Methodist Church in today’s challenging world, but leaders in the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area believe churches can take on this challenge with the right tools in place.

The Greater Northwest Office of Innovation – a team of leaders supporting the Pacific Northwest, Oregon-Idaho and Alaska Conferences – has put together a one-day Asset Based Community Development training on April 26 at First United Methodist Church in Seattle called “Love Thy Neighbor.” Clergy or anyone in churches interested in community development are encouraged to attend.

“Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) will help us to understand the community from a positive perspective,” said Leroy Barber, director of congregational development for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. “We will learn what our neighbors have to offer and how we join them in the walk toward common good and open the doors of creativity.”

The all-day event will feature trainers and guest speakers Majora Carter, Alexia Salvatierra and John McKnight and will focus on addressing questions such as: How do we become good partners in the public square? What gifts and resources are available? How do we learn from those around us and what is our role as a community of faith?

Register and learn more about the training at the Love Thy Neighbor website.

Racial justice grant deadline extended

The deadline for the Charter for Racial Justice Award and the Zimmerman Trust Grant has been extended to April 30.  Additional information and application forms can be found on the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Women website.

Messy ‘middle’ retreat for clergy in May

United Methodist pastors from the Greater Northwest Area are invited to a “Messy” Middle Retreat May 14-17 at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center.
This retreat is designed for clergy who have been in ministry five years or longer and are expecting to have another 10 years of ministry ahead of them.

The guest speaker will be Mary Lane Potter, author of the novel “A Woman of Salt, Stranger and Sojourners: Stories from the Lowcountry” and the memoir “Seeking God and Losing the Way.”

There will be worship, prayer and working collaboratively to imagine clergy’s role in leading the church for the next 10 to 20 years.

Register or get more information from the Conference website or contact: Meredith Dodd at, Clay Andrew at or Jeremy Hajdu-Paulen at


Why I am in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 2018

By Bishop Karen Oliveto

      … As I listened, the scales of innocence that I wore as a child fell off. I realized that my experience of the world was not everyone else’s experience. I didn’t know what “racism” meant when I was nine, but at 10, this word entered my vocabulary through the murder of Rev. Dr. King. …



This week in the
Annual Conference

Saturday, April 14

Legislative Assembly

Sunday, April 15

Portland Table Talk

Wednesday, April 18

Conference sessions planning

Friday, April 20

Lay Servant ministries basic course

Saturday, April 21

Medford Table Talk.
Greater NW Area Inspiring Generosity Conference Journal

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Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Conference Office: 1505 SW 18th Avenue Portland, OR 97201
503-226-7931 ~ 800-593-7539 ~ 503-226-4158 (fax)