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January 9, 2018
 
#me too          

 

#MeToo – This is the one thing I think is the most relevant and impactful to come out of 2017. For maybe the first time in our nation’s history and in the history of human culture the issue of power and sex has come to the fore.

For me personally, as a middle-class white male, it has forced me to realize how I have treated women in the past and how I have taken for granted my privilege and my perceived right to behave in certain ways. I have had to evaluate how I speak, sit, stand, listen, react, assume, engage, etc. not only with women but with all people. I find I have a lot to regret in how I have functioned in the past and know that those tapes will replay again and again, necessitating deeper reflection and confession and intentional work on doing things differently.

I know my confession – my repentance -- needs to be more than words and outer changes. It has to be at the very core of my being and for this to happen I need to listen, learn, practice, and confess again and again, and try harder every time I fall short of being the best person I can be. God desires for me, for us all, to treat everyone with dignity, respect, and compassion. I must remind myself that the privilege – the power and authority – I have isn’t mine by right; it is granted to me by a culture and society that is less than what God dreams it could be.
 
In my estimation the church and communities of faith are the best places for people to begin to form new understandings and to gain clarity about what the new way of living together will be and should be. I am not at all sure why the General Church has not spoken out more about this whole topic, but we must start talking and acting now. This moment in history is too critical to our social and cultural evolution to miss or take on in a less than fully engaged way.
 
So to help us all begin to formulate a new way of living, here are18 Ways Churches Can Change Their Culture in 2018 from a Christian Century article, "A Pastor's #MeToo Story,"  written by Ruth Everhart on December 4, 2017. 
 

  1. Maintain and update safe church child protection policies.
  2. Require all leaders to take boundary training, even non-ordained leaders.
  3. Post domestic violence and sexual violence hotline numbers in church restrooms.
  4. Teach the warning signs of domestic abuse and abuse of children in the church newsletter or bulletin.
  5. Intentionally use the words sexual violence in the liturgy—for example, in a prayer of confession.
  6. Use the hashtag #MeToo on the church’s outdoor sign.
  7. Take a special offering for a local domestic violence shelter.
  8. Hang posters in April for Sexual Assault Aware­ness Month and in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  9. Plan education classes on these issues during April and October.
  10. Educate the congregation about the grooming behaviors of predators.
  11. Invite a victims’ advocate to lead an adult education class or series.
  12. Focus education about sexual violence on justice, rather than healing.
  13. Have various groups sponsor a #MeToo night.
  14. Preach a sermon or series on biblical texts of terror, such as Tamar’s story.
  15. Put women in high-level positions in leadership.
  16. Speak about sex from the pulpit in a frank and forthright manner without using code words or making inappropriate jokes.
  17. Have the leaders create a no-tolerance statement and post it beside the church’s mission statement: If any abuse occurs within the fellowship of this church, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law no matter who the offender might be.
  18. Pull the skeletons out of the church closet and prosecute the offenders.

 
Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: Love each other.” (John 13:34 CEB) And again, throughout our Bible and almost universally in faith traditions past, present, and over the entire globe we are told: “Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.” (Luke 6:31 CEB) As people of faith and as Christians we cannot pretend this doesn’t apply or isn’t relevant. We MUST begin to speak and act differently so that the world can see how life relationships can be transformed into what God desires them to be.
 
I hope as the year goes on I will be able to share with you events, resources, and ideas for how to make this change happen in your church and in your life. Pray that we will learn how to treat one another with the respect and dignity everyone deserves.
 
Peace,

 Tim Overton-Harris informal signature


Also of Note: Nehalem Bay engages with its community about racism, Year End Reports, and Inspiring Generosity Conference

No Joke DVD cover image
  • Nehalem Bay UMC has partnered with a local grass-roots group to address racism in their small coastal community.  Read about their efforts in this article on the UMOI website.  This year will be the 2nd annual Power of Love event over the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Nehalem Bay UMC will screen the "No Joke" movie (the focus of the Bishop's Symposium last fall on inter-religious dialogue and respect) on Saturday Jan. 13th followed by a meal and World Cafe-style conversation.  The church will also host a lunch after a morning of community work with Habitat for Humanity on Monday, Jan. 15th.  All events are free, open to the public, and family friendly. See the flyer here.  
 
  • Year End Reports are due January 31, 2018:  These are the annual online statistical forms, as well as various other church reports.  You should have received information already. If you have questions, contact me in the district office.
     
  • Inspiring Generosity Conference, Saturday, February 10, 2018 in Tigard: Cesie Delve Scheuermann, author of the Inspiring Generosity blog, has been wanting to bring us a high quality workshop for some time.  She is very excited to have Charles "Chick" Lane, author of Ask,Thank, Tell and Grace Duddy Pomroy, co-author with Lane of Embracing Stewardshipcoming on February 10th.  Registration includes the workshop, lunch, and a copy of Embracing Stewardship. What a deal!  Find out more at www.umoi.org/stewardship.

In Christ,

Linda's informal signature


 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

This week in the
Cascadia District

Jan. 13

InterCultural Training Workshop - Woodburn 

Looking Ahead

Jan. 22

Riff-Raff Colloquy

Jan. 25

Communion at District Office

Jan. 31

Year End Reports Due

Feb. 10

Inspiring Generosity Conference - Tigard

 


Prayer Calendar

Jan. 7 - 13

Oregon City FUMC
Pastor Mike Benischek
Lay Leader Rynn Mazur

Jan. 14-20

Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs
made up of Englewood, Salem First UMC, Morningside, Trinity, Keizer:Clear Lake, and Las Naciones churches
ODC Board Chair: Mark Bateman
This week please pray for the cooperative ministry of these six churches and the ODC board.  In the weeks ahead we'll pray for the pastors and the individual congregations.

Jan. 21-27

Open Door Churches' pastors:
Rev. Sandra Kimbrow
Rev. Alyssa Baker
Rev. Dan Pitney
Rev. Wendy Woodworth
Rev. Jorge Rodriguez Flores

See the full prayer calendar

Position Open

LBGTQ Advocacy Coordinator

The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference has an opening for an LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator.  This is a 20-hour per week, one-year, grant funded position.

The Annual Conference has taken a stand in AC Standing Resolution 27 that we are a welcoming annual conference to people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.  In addition, the Council of Bishops has requested that annual conferences engage in conversations related to understandings of human sexuality and the work of The Commission on a Way Forward.  This position is meant to support this work in our local churches and annual conference and to prepare us for the upcoming Special General Conference Session in 2019.

Duties will include working with the Conference-level LGBTQ Advocacy Team to encourage a culture of full inclusion within the life of our church, coordinating training opportunities throughout the AC, working with local churches and with national partners, and developing resource materials.

See the full job description and qualifications here.

Please send resume and cover letter electronically to Lowell Greathouse, Conference Ministry and Mission Coordinator at Lowell@umoi.org by January 15th.


Contact us

DS Tim Overton-Harris
tim@umoi.org

District Lay Leader
Paula Sadler

jpcsadler@aol.com

District Administrative Assistant
Linda Grund-Clampit

linda@umoi.org
503-581-3969

Check out the Cascadia District webpage:
www.umoi.org/cascadia

Find us on Facebook

Cascadia District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
680 State Street, Suite 200, Salem, Oregon, 97301 ~ (503) 581-3969 ~ Cascadia@umoi.org