Feb. 13, 2018

Photo by Shelby L. Bell.
Used with permission under CC BY 2.0 license

Person leaping into a swimming pool

 Leap! (Help Available)

Having served in local churches for over 33 years I have discovered a few common realities. It doesn’t matter the location, size, vitality, or circumstance of a congregation, these few realities always seem to be present. One of these is related to the moment a new concept, program, ministry, or idea surfaces and gains momentum. Inevitably someone will say, “But we don’t have the people or the money to do it.” Churches, almost any church, seems to operate out of a position of scarcity – we don’t have enough.
I think this is an issue of faith and an issue of protectionism.

This is a faith issue because we seem unable to trust that if the idea, ministry, program, etc. is God’s desire for our church the people and resources will be found. We restrict the Holy Spirit from setting hearts, minds and spirits aflame with passion and inspiration because we doubt we can do this new thing even if God is challenging us to do it. I know many of you are saying, “But how do we know if it is God?” There is no hard and fast way to know, but if someone has a passion, if the new thing is about caring for others, advocating for others, serving others, creating space for others, and if more than one person feels it to be a direction that would be worthy of effort and resources then often that means it is of God. The only way you can know for sure is to do it.
This resistance is an issue of protectionism because many times when we discuss something new we fear losing support for what is already happening. More times than not we want to protect what we have been doing because it is an honored tradition, it is how we have always done things, or we don’t want to have something that once was a passion fall by the wayside. Often the new thing will call into question something that is already happening or will challenge the assumptions that undergird what has been the driving force for what is going on. Ben Franklin said, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” We value what we already have and we think this new thing might not pan out, so we hold tight to what we know.
We have become risk adverse in the church. We don’t want to try something, invest resources in doing something, and then have it fail. Somehow, we think that if failure happens we have wasted those resources, that we have misunderstood God’s call, that we have lost credibility with others.

However, we all know that innovation means taking risks. We all know that we learn best from our mistakes. Thomas Edison tried 1000 different filaments for his light bulb before finding the one that worked. We all also know that what has always worked in the past is no longer working, assumptions that proved true at one time are no longer true.
We are at a moment of historic change in our churches, nation and world. Paradigms are shifting. And the ONLY way to come out the other side is to try new things. To think differently. To set aside your assumptions and take a risk.

So back to the common reality I started with and the statement that has rung out throughout the years and churches, “We don’t have the people or the money to do it.” There is a group within the Cascadia District that could help with at least part of this, the money part: the Cascadia District Church Extension Society.
Most of us think of the Extension Society as a place to go for help funding some kind of capital repair or replacement need, especially one that needs funds right away. It makes low or no cost loans or grants available to churches for things like furnaces, dishwashers, roof repairs, etc. But the Cascadia District Church Extension Society also make grants available to local churches for new ministries that reach new people, innovative programs and projects that are beyond the local church’s budget or that need additional funding to make them happen. You can find out more at or by contacting Lee Hunefeld, president of the Cascadia District Church Extension Society (
Stop being scared. Stop being frozen by being risk adverse. Stop believing that you must operate out of a mode of scarcity. Instead embrace the possible, dream the dream, listen to the Spirit and take a chance, a risk, reach out for some help and make a leap and see what might be.


 Tim Overton-Harris informal signature

Upcoming events in the District Superintendent's Schedule:

Feb. 20-22    Greater Northwest Cabinet Meeting at Collins Retreat Center
Feb. 23         Ministry Leadership Team at Collins Retreat Center
Feb. 25         Worship and Charge conference at Jefferson UMC
Feb. 26         Riff Raff Colloquy at Stayton FUMC
Feb. 27         Cascadia District Board of Church Location and Building
Feb. 28         Conference Nominations Committee
March 2-3     Table Talks Training Event
March 5         High Desert Colloquy
March 6         Far North and North Valley Colloquies
March 7         Bishop's Symposium - No Joke, Boise
March 8-9      Northwest Leadership Institute - Boise
March 10-11  Greater Northwest Cabinet Meeting in Boise

Please let Tim know about significant events happening in your local congregation.  He may or may not be able to attend, but he would like to know about them!  You can e-mail him at 


Also of Note: Bishop's Symposium - local events?, UMCOR Sunday, and Certified Lay Ministry classes 

No Joke DVD cover image
  • Bishop's Symposium - Bishop Elaine Stanovsky invites clergy and laity to attend a Bishop’s Symposium event on March 7 in Boise, at Cathedral of the Rockies. This half-day will be the second option of her multi-option symposium that kicked off with the November program, “No Joke Live.” The March session will again include the No Joke Live team as well as noted author, activist, and theologian Brian McLaren.  The cost for the Symposium alone is $30, if you will also attend the Northwest Leadership Institute the cost is $99.  You can register here: .  If you will be doing the 3rd option: hosting a "No Joke" movie  and discussion at your local church or in your community, please let us know about it!
  • UMCOR Sunday is March 11 - Get ready to promote the annual offering which supports the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief so that every dollar given to specific projects can go to that project all through the year.  Our UMCOR Depot liaisons, Glenn and Donna Waltman, also remind us that kits are always needed.  The emphasis right now is on Health Kits, School Bags and Cleaning Buckets. Collection sites for kits close to churches in our district are: Trinity UMC in Salem, Lake Oswego UMC, and LaGrand UMC.  Steve Matthews will be picking up kits in late April to transport to the Depot in Salt Lake City.  You can help more by contributing to Steve's travel expenses by sending money to the Conference Treasurer for "Conference Global Missions (1-44-320-5499)"  If you and others would like to take a trip to the Depot yourselves and help out there, Brian Diggs says there are openings in July and August.  Contact him at or 801-973-7250.
  • Certified Lay Minister classes are for any lay person who wants to learn how to serve their local church and community better.  They are also for those who want to become a Certified Lay Minister, lay persons who are strategically deployed by the DS in local churches to support the ministry of all.  This Spring the introductory course will be offered, along with 2 of the 4 single-day courses which make up the total program.  Learn more about the whole program here.  The introductory course will be March 16-17 at Collins Retreat CenterLeadership in the Wesleyan Way: Evangelism and Mission Field Engagement is offered in Vancouver, WA on April 14 and again in Boise, ID on April 21Leadership in the Wesleyan Way: Spiritual Formation and Disciple Making is offered in Boise, ID on May 19 and again in Vancouver, WA on May 26.  Click on each event to register.

In Christ,

Linda's informal signature




This week in the
Cascadia District

Feb. 17

Designing and Leading Worship: A Class for Lay Persons, session 1

Looking Ahead

Feb. 22

Communion at District Office

Feb. 26

Riff Raff Colloquy

Feb. 27

District Board of Church Location and Building meeting

March 7

Bishop's Symposium

March 8-9

Northwest Leadership Institute

March 10

Designing and Leading Worship: A class for Lay Persons, Session 2

Prayer Calendar

Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs
made up of Englewood, Salem First UMC, Morningside, Trinity, Keizer:Clear Lake, and Las Naciones churches

Feb. 11-17

Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs
Keizer-Clear Lake UMC
Lay Leader Debbie Cox

Feb. 18-24
Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs
Las Naciones
Hispanic Ministry New Start

Feb. 24 – Mar 3
Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs
Morningside UMC
Lay Leaders: 
Duane Medicine Crow
Karna Johnson
Caroline Smith

See the full prayer calendar


Messy Church Training: Another Kind of Support for Trying Something New

Several churches in our Annual Conference have reached out to new people by offering Messy Church, an alternate worship experience primarily for people who may not have a regular church or who feel uncomfortable in a traditional church setting. 

Roseburg First United Methodist Church is hosting a Messy Church Training session on April 7th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The course is taught by Roberta Egli, Team Leader for Messy Church USA.  Roberta led a team to start a Messy Church in Eugene in the fall of 2013. At the training you will hear the stories of what has gone great and what learnings have come from failing tremendously. Roberta is an ordained elder in the Oregon-Idaho conference and serves in extension ministry to Messy Church USA.

The cost is $100.00 per church. This cost covers a team of 5 or 6 individuals from your church and includes a hot lunch. To register, contact the Roseburg FUMC church office 541-672-1629

Learn more about Messy Church with this flyer.

Contact us

DS Tim Overton-Harris

District Lay Leader
Paula Sadler

District Administrative Assistant
Linda Grund-Clampit

Check out the Cascadia District webpage:

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