November 30, 2017

Dear Reader,

Welcome back! I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with blessings.
We now turn to Advent and the time of anticipation for Christmas.
It’s a story that starts with a family being strangers in a strange land, so it’s appropriate that Dec. 3 is a day dedicated to global migration in today’s world. Learn more and get resources at the link below to start a conversation in your church.

If you’re look for a little “Winter Wonderland” this week, why not consider atrip to Bend for Early Response Training? This training prepares you to say “yes” when the next call for volunteers goes out after a flood, fire, hurricane, or other disaster strikes.

And if you still need help getting in the Christmas spirit, check out the Christmas edition of "Great Hymns of Faith" at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center.

Happy Advent!

Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


Build awareness on global migration this Sunday

Congregations around the world will come together to build awareness of the global migration crisis this Sunday, Dec. 3. It’s not too late to incorporate a time of prayer and special offering into your worship service; resources are available in multiple languages to help you tell the story of the crisis, such as an offering talk, bulletin inserts, images and videos. This opportunity will open the eyes, minds and hearts of congregants as they learn about the 65 million displaced people across the globe. Learn more about available resources at

Early Response Team training in Bend Dec. 9

Bend First United Methodist Church will be hosting an Early Response Teams (ERT) training on Dec. 9 to get more individuals in the Oregon-Idaho Conference ready to help if disaster strikes.
The ERTs serve in the days immediately following disasters; bringing hope and help to survivors in various ways; such as flood cleanup, roof tarping, debris removal and more. ERTs are being developed through a partnership between United Methodist Committee on Relief and the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission program. This special training is required to deploy as part of a team.
The Dec. 9, ERT training is open to individuals and groups in the Oregon-Idaho Conference and southern portions of the Pacific Northwest Conference.
Register online now to be part of the class. It costs $25, but meals are included. The training will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. First UMC Bend is located at 680 NW Bond Street; Bend, Ore., 97703.


insideout series explores ‘best practices’

This new episode of insideout explores the essential role of deep listening in fostering true innovation, and what that means for a church often fixated on "best practices." According to Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Gibson, “it’s a mistake to think that a best practice is a silver bullet answer for a declining church that lacks innovation and creativity.”
If you missed the first insideout video you can watch it online. The insideout video series is part of the Vital Ministries series produced by the Greater Northwest Area of the United Methodist Church’s faith and community development program.

Collins Retreat Center holding
Christmas hymns celebration

The public is invited to an all-day, festive “Christmas: Great Hymns of Faith” celebration at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center December 7 at 10:30 a.m.
Participants will be singing the songs of the season and learning about the stories behind the songs. Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett will guide participants through the music and history. The event will include a meal prepared by Vanessa Allen.
It’s $18.50 to register. Those interested in participating are encouraged to register online as soon as possible or call the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center at 503-637-6411.

Bethlehem House of Bread once again makes news

After winning an award from The Oregon Food Bank for its expanding ministries, Bethlehem House of Bread, an outreach ministry of Tigard United Methodist Church, was featured in a lengthy profile piece before Thanksgiving from Portland’s KATU News. Watch the full story online, read about the award, and watch a video about the Tigard UMC Pathways to Ministry program.


  • Church Communications Administrator - Salem, OR
  • Church Bookkeeper - Salem, OR

Check these and other opportunities on the conference website at


Liberian leper colony a lifetime commitment to care

Liberian man with leperasy

A UMNS Photo by Mike Dubose

Gauta, Liberia (UMNS) — When John Flomo was 15 years old, he contracted leprosy and was sent to the Ganta Leprosy and TB Rehab Center for treatment. That was in 1966. He never left.

“Long time. Many buildings have been built since I came,” he said. “They take care of me, feed me, give me a place to sleep.”
With nimble hands missing most of their fingers, Flomo weaves baskets and carves wood to sell to have a little extra money. He uses it to buy additional food — his favorite is pepper soup, a spicy, gumbo-like stew.

“I tell them ‘thank you’ plenty. My father, my mother, all of them died. So they take care of me. I tell God, ‘Thank you for them.’” … Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.

Wrapped in love:
Ministry gives hope for families fighting cancer

South Carolina Cancer ministry photo

SPARTANBURG, S.C.— Horrible stuff happens to the most beautiful people. Tom Russell has seen it too many times.

“We don’t know why,” he says, recounting the stories: the 16-year-old who came seeking hope and a cure—and died just a month later. The 10-year-old in remission five years from leukemia who was bouncing in a bounce house one day, then rushed to the hospital the next, cancer back with a vengeance. The families who go from riches to rags in a heartbeat when they get the diagnosis, barely scraping by on one income while the other takes a child for chemotherapy and other treatment.
Those are the stories that make Russell cry, make him turn to God and to his fellow Christians with all his hopes and fears and dreams tied up in one word: Help. Just help.

Help is exactly what Russell and his team try to do: help in the form of hope, love and immediate practical support to families as they seek treatment for childhood cancer.

Their organization is called The Children’s Security Blanket, a nonprofit organization that came “out of a Methodist church and a Methodist heart,” Russell said. They provide transportation, lodging, meals for families and other needs so families can focus on what really matters: being there for their beloved child as he or she battles the most frightening illness imaginable.

Continue reading this story from The South Carolina United Methodist Advocate.

A Light of Peace - for the Korean Peninsula and a world free from nuclear weapons

GENEVA — In a global campaign, the World Council of Churches invites people across the globe to extend “A Light of Peace” for the Korean Peninsula and for a world free from nuclear weapons.
On the first Sunday in Advent - Dec. 3 - the WCC invites the global Christian fellowship to express solidarity for the Korean people and to support efforts to ease tensions and sustain hope.
On the second Sunday in Advent - Dec. 10 - one of WCC’s partners, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons - will receive the Nobel Peace Prize at an award ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

By lighting candles during special prayers and worship services two Sundays in a row, people in many nations from many faith traditions can unify and amplify voices of peace.
Throughout the campaign, the WCC will release special prayers, social media photos, and news and video releases.
Resources are available through the World Council of Churches web site.


Interpreter magazine has online Advent resources for churches
New resources that support local church Advent outreach efforts are now available. All resources carry the theme, "Unwrap the True Meaning of Christmas," and complement The United Methodist Church's national Advent advertising campaign, which will feature children sharing what Christmas means to them.
Resources include:

  • Postcards, customized with information about the local church and mailed within a radius of the church's address;
  • Door hangers with customizable space;
  • Invitation cards for church members to use to invite friends and family members to attend a worship service or church event;
  • A selfie stand to encourage fun photo opportunities for social media posts; and
  • An outdoor banner.



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