Dear Reader,

Annual Conference is nearly upon us. Bishop Stanovsky shared these words in her invitation to Annual Conference. The theme for Annual Conference for the next four years will be “Do This and You Will Live!” taken from Luke 10: 26-28. Jesus’ instructions are a rich lesson, “… You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” In this short exchange with a legal expert, Jesus explains the why of our faith, and the mission of the church. The reason Jesus came, the reason we follow and love is so that we can live a truly abundant life.

Annual Conference is a time to gather and to do our "business". I hope it's also a time to gather to connect with old friends, meet new ones and to share a common space with like-minded people to explore our abundant lives together.

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Monday-Wednesday | 7:00a-3:30p ~ Thursday | 7:00a-1:30p
Sandy Lofy
Administrative Assistant

Rev. Erin Martin
District Superintendent

District Superintendent ~ Erin Martin

“Do this and you will live…”

Dear Kindred in Christ:
This year’s theme for our first ever (and possibly last) Joint Annual Conference session between the Pacific Northwest and the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conferences comes from Luke’s Gospel chapter 10. A lawyer stands up to test Jesus and asks a remarkable question. “Teacher,“ the lawyer says, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I have always loved this question because, in my heart, I am an inherently practical person. Tell me what I need to do in order to do well in life, and I will do it. For me, it’s that simple. Who wouldn’t want a concrete “to-do” list when it comes to something as significant as life forever with God?

Jesus, at first, seems to agree. Like any good teacher, Jesus asks the student to summarize what the student himself has discovered in his Torah study, and the lawyer answers well. “Love God with all of your being, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Simple, right? And yet, no sooner has the lawyer answered, then it seems as though he already begins to realize that it’s not that simple at all.  How do I love God with all of my being? What does it look like to love God with strength? Do I really love myself as much as I should? And, the infamous question, “Who is my neighbor?” In a single moment, the lawyer goes from being certain of God’s intentions for our lives to being sure of nothing. Oh, how I can relate.

To make matters more complicated, Jesus tells a story that turns all of our preconceived ideas on their heads. A man is beaten and left for dead on the Jericho road. Good religious people don’t stop and offer care. A foreigner, someone “not us,” not only stops to tend the wounded man but continues to offer such generous care that we can hardly take it in. This courage, this hospitality, this sacrificial love, is the way that leads to life.

For those of us who live in Portland, we are still stunned and grieving the recent tragic events on the MAX line in which two young women, a Muslim and a young woman of color, were being harassed by a white man ranting about how they were “not us.” Three men intervened to protect the women and two of the men were killed while one survived.  “Do this and you will live,” keeps echoing in my heart as these men made no distinction between the lives of these women and their own. They lost their lives for Jesus’ sake and so, by Jesus’ own promise, they have found them.

Their witness leads me to a place of incredible gratitude. This Annual Conference we get to do something totally different than we have ever done before. We get to move outside of ourselves and experience the United Methodist connection with strangers, with people “not us.” We get to experience worship with clergy and laity we don’t know. We get to serve alongside new and different people. We get to love our neighbors from Washington and Northern Idaho as ourselves as we come together in full devotion to God. As a result, I believe wonderful things will happen. The Holy Spirit will move in our midst, and we will experience abundant life. Looking forward to this “holy conferencing” together, and I hope to see you there!

Grace and peace,

District Lay Leader ~ Lydia Henry

Without a Blueprint continued
“Gathering the ideas”

 One of my hobbies involves miniatures. Miniature houses, trains, figures, and knickknacks draw me to them.  When I was about 6 years old, my family was invited over to the home of my father’s boss. In his basement was an imaginary world ideally suited for children. The north side of the room was filled with mountains, streams, and villages nestled beside what seemed to me to be miles and miles of train track. Running on the track were two trains. Everything was lit up and the trains were whistling and blowing steam. It was wondrous.
But the real “magic” was on the south side of the room.
There was a sight that took my breath away – it was a fully furnished, lighted dollhouse with walls that swung away so you could see into the rooms. It had a tiny chandelier hanging in the dining room; and each room was fully furnished with tables, chairs, and other furniture – anything a child could imagine. And it all belonged to one little girl. I determined that someday I would have a dollhouse like that too. That started my lifelong fascination with miniatures of all sorts, and the fulfillment of that long-ago dream – to build and own a dollhouse (or two or three).
The first thing I learned when I got serious about creating my dollhouse was that I needed a plan and a vision of what the house would look like when I was finished. I dreamed and plotted and discussed options for hours with my husband. It was his skill in woodwork and my vision that brought each house to life. And the wonderful thing is that what makes my dollhouses fascinating for me is that I can retell stories by changing furniture, adding outside features, and allowing my grandchildren to help with details and, in that way, interact with a story of our creating.
Without a plan and the desire to create something new, all I would have to this day is unpainted wood lying in a box waiting for the first step of the plan to be taken.
I look at the Laity Interest Survey results that have come into the district office like conversations in designing a plan for the laity development in the Columbia District.  People who took the survey have shared their passion, their dreams and their concerns around our church, their congregations, and leadership training. So many of their responses were inspiring that I had to take space this month and share a few with you.
I’ve included a few responses to two important questions:

Where is your passion for serving others through your faith?

  • “I think my passion is witnessing and teaching and encouraging others in their faith journey.”
  • “I love my church family and nurture and support them in their faith journey as well as grow new leaders in the faith from within.”
  • “In my local community”
What do you see as the purpose of the church?
  • “To help all people to know Christ.”
  • “Helping build strong communities within church walls and outside to the surrounding areas. Building outreach and discipleship opportunities. Connecting one on one with people, hearing their thoughts and touching their souls. Providing a safe and open place for education, worship, outreach and fellowship.”
  • “We are God’s Hands. Share our faith, knowledge and material things in whatever way we can.”

The leadership team is still going through the surveys to categorize and define areas identified by those who have taken the survey. We know that this feedback is only a start – which means there is still time for YOU to take the survey, either on line or in PDF format. We want hear your thoughts. We want the details of the blueprint to reflect many voices. Will you help?


Annual Conference Session, June 14-17

  • Would you like to volunteer for Annual Conference? Contact Sandy Lofy in the district office.
  • Catch up on the Annual Conference Updates
  • See the schedule


The Columbia District Laity Development Team has galvanized and is organizing around our new district strategic plan.  One of the first steps is determining what resources we can provide to best enable you, the body of Christ, to do what you do best (create disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world).  How can we help you on your journey of discipleship? What resources can we provide to help you help yourselves and your communities? The Laity Development Team has created a survey with the hope in answering these questions. If you have troubles with the survey, have questions about the district strategic plan, please contact the Columbia District office.

Take Survey


“Ten Things Christians Can Do to Help Contribute to Peace and Justice for Israelis and Palestinians”

Portland First United Methodist Church
12 PM
Sunday, July 23

Rev. Alex Awad will be visiting Portland First to share his insights about peace and justice with Israelis and Palestinians. Rev. Awad, a retired GBGM missionary who served as Dean of Bethlehem Bible College for more than 30 years, became a refugee when his family was evicted from the Jerusalem home that had been theirs for generations in the 1948 “Nakba.”  He lost his Palestinian citizenship in 1967, when the Israeli government denied Palestinians who were not “home” at the time of the 6 Day War the right to return to their native country.  With his wife, Brenda, he was able to return as a GBGM missionary, and has since retired to the Eugene area.  His story – of loss, pain and renewal – is not by any means unique in the narrative of that bit of land called “holy” by the three Abrahamic faiths.  An internationally known speaker and writer, Rev. Awad is the author of two books and numerous articles on the conflict and on Christians in the Holy Land, theology of the Land, Christian Zionism and interfaith dialogue. The program is open to all who are interested - a light lunch will be served.


Help Us Fill the Truck!

Annual Conference is fast approaching and it is time to begin gathering supplies for relief supply kits with a special emphasis on health kits. Bring your items to the 2017 Annual Conference session June 14-17 at the Red Lion Inn at Jantzen Beach in Portland. There will be a pickup truck waiting to be filled to the brim! You can find instructions on what is included in each kit here. Please do not bring any money. All money going for supplies should be sent through your local church treasurer to the conference and marked UMCOR ADVANCE # 901440.

Put the kits and the items in large, sturdy plastic bags because boxes take up more room in transportation. If you are bringing flood buckets (aka cleanup kits) to AC, please let Becky Platt know (contact information below). We need these too, but they take a lot of space and we need to try to right-size the transportation. Our driver has several options on vehicle and trailer combos to support this work.

There will be a pickup truck in the parking lot at the Red Lion where you can leave your kits on Wednesday, June 14th from 1 PM to 7 PM. On Thursday and Friday, bring kits and loose items to the UMCOR table in the lobby.

For more information, contact Donna Waltman, OR-ID Conference liaison to UMCOR West Depot at  503-622-3226, or Becky Platt, UMVIM Conference coordinator, 503-680-5015,

Rev. Wayne Lavender, Ph.D. to visit in 2018

Rev. Lavender is seeking speaking engagements for 2018. He would like to come out to the area and find 3 - 4 locations in which to speak on a Sunday and then during the week. The Foundation is  always looking to plant seeds and see what God will do with them. To learn more about Foundation 4 Orphans visit their website.

Rev. Lavender is the Executive Director of the Foundation. The Foundation supports four care options for orphans: Educational, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual. You can contact Rev. Lavender at the Foundation.

The Foundation 4 Orphans is a blended movement of both church and secular people that advocates globally on the behalf of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).  The Foundation 4 Orphans (F4O) serves the educational, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of orphans and vulnerable children. F4O seeks to work with persons of all backgrounds to care for the needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in order to build a world of peace with justice. We believe that working across national, religious, political, racial and ethnic lines is the key to building relationships that can create conditions of peace in these troubled times.

Rev. Wayne Lavender, Ph.D.
Senior Pastor, Faith UMC
Executive Director, The Foundation 4 Orphans
81 Clintonville Road
North Haven, CT 06473


Oregon-Idaho Reconciling United Methodists


It’s the Oregon-Idaho Reconciling United Methodists 2017 UN-Picnic/Summer Gathering - and you are invited! Come join in the fun.

  • catered lunch will be served at noon (not a potluck picnic).
  • held at beautiful Suttle Lake Camp, located outside of Sisters, Oregon.
  • Click here for a map and directions.
  • The cost is $16 per person for a full day’s use of the Camp including the catered lunch. If you wish to stay overnight,  contact Jane Petke at the Suttle Lake Camp office (541-595-2818)
  • Registration Form



Hacking Christianity

Rev. Jeremy Smith is Minister of Discipleship at First United Methodist Church of Portland. Hacking Christianity is a community that engages in conversations about faith using the lenses of progressive theology, technology, and geek culture. This blog has been featured in two books, NPR, The Progressive Christian, Sojourners, The Christian Century, Ministry Matters,, UM-Insight and the United Methodist Reporter.

Sellwood Faith Community

The Sellwood Faith Community began as a dream for Revs. Eilidh and Jeff Lowery in 2003. Living in Tacoma, WA at the time the Lowerys thought about the kind of faith community they wished could be and spent 10 years training, researching, learning, and growing to launch the Sellwood Faith Community in the summer of 2013.

Spirit Alive

Rev. Lowell Greathouse is the Mission and Ministry Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church. He looks for places to find where the spirit is alive and help them grow in vitality and fruitfulness.


Youth Mission Trip Funds Available!

For a limited time, the OR-ID Conference, via its UMVIM program, is offering funding assistance for youth mission teams. This offer is good for teams traveling between May 15 and September 15, 2017.

Teams must meet the following requirements:

  • Be made up of at least 80% youth
  • Travel away from home between May 15, and September 15, 2017, for at least 2 nights
  • Be registered, prior to departure, with the conference UMVIM coordinator (registration form)
  • Show proof of insurance from one of these United Methodist jurisdictions: Southeastern Jurisdiction or North Central Jurisdiction

The conference will pay $10/night/youth up to a total of $50/youth and $500/team. These funds are in addition to any other funds allotted via the standard UMVIM policy for mission teams (background checks and partial reimbursement for insurance) see the full policy guide here. For additional details, contact your conference UMVIM coordinator, Becky Platt at or


The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection invites you to Leadership Institute 2017, which takes place at the Leawood, KS campus, September 27 - 29, 2017. 

Join clergy, church staff and volunteers from across the nation for one of the largest mainline training events in the country.  If you are ready to be challenged, motivated for a renewed commitment to ministry, and seeking Christ-centered inspiration, you will find all this and more at Leadership Institute 2017. Start making your plans and getting your group together for a conference which has the power to transform the way your church does ministry.



Columbia/Cascadia District Youth Coordinator Pilot Position

Lead Preschool Teacher, Part-time - Portland

Columbia District Office of Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
1505 SW 18th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97201 ~ (503) 249-1851 ~