July 5, 2018

Dear Reader,

How was your Fourth of July this year – celebrating the land of the free and all things America?

Are you struggling, like me, to see what binds us together as a country instead of the vast ravine that seems to divide us from our neighbors these days?

Yet, while I can’t seem to get everyone I know on the same page, sometimes I look at the work the United Methodist Church is doing and feel my heart “strangely warmed.”

Just read this issue of the Connector and you’ll see we are united in our call to keep families together. We are working in third-world countries to help with economic justice. We support missionaries working in hostile areas to share God’s loving message. Right here at home we’re calling for a revival of our faith to be more inclusive and diverse and we’re making investments in the health and well-being of our communities via our churches.

America certainly isn’t perfect. Neither is the United Methodist Church. But if we keep at it – really listen to one another and tell our stories of love and grace – maybe we can all move on toward that Wesleyan notion of perfection.

Kristen Caldwell, communications associate
Greg Nelson is out of the office, but will be back in the driver’s seat next week


New Abundant Health coordinator to aid Conference efforts

When the Oregon-Idaho Conference decided to become involved in the Abundant Health initiative of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Marshall Wattman-Turner was eager to get involved.

On July 1, he began his job as the Conference’s Abundant Health Coordinator and will be working part-time to focus on improved spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health throughout the Conference.

“It represents a confluence of my call to ministry and my experiences over the last 40 years,” Wattman-Turner said of this position. “The last several years I’ve been exploring the call to serve at the intersection of faith and health care.”

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Greater NW Ordinary Revival brings diverse voices to church

When Rev. Jon Umbdenstock walked into Sunnyside United Methodist Church in Portland last weekend, he saw a lot of people he didn’t recognize and a lot of people who he didn’t look like.

He knew he was in the right place for a revival – an Ordinary Revival put on by the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area in collaboration with the Parish Collective.

“I enjoyed connecting with people from different walks of life and different ethnic backgrounds,” said Umbdenstock, leader of the aCrossCulture new faith community in Portland’s Woodlawn neighborhood.

Ordinary Revival is a new ministry of the Greater Northwest Area innovation team and the event in Portland the last weekend of June is just the first of many events rooted in worship, storytelling and discussions that will take place across the area this summer.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.


Planning ahead: Palestinian Film Festival comes to Portland in October

More details will be coming from the Oregon-Idaho Conference Holy Land Task Force in the weeks to come, but folks are encouraged to mark their calendars for the following event:

“Human Rights in the Holy Land, the Rest of the Story: A Palestinian Film Festival.”

The Festival runs October 5-7 at 5th Avenue Cinema in Portland. There are currently four films on the docket over the course of the three-day festival, with suggested donations of $5 to $10 per film.

Employment opportunities

Administrative assistant – Pocatello, ID FUMC
Children and youth ministry coordinator – McMinnville, OR

For more information visit


A statement from the Western Jurisdiction Immigration Task Force

“The Western Jurisdiction Immigration Taskforce uncompromisingly rejects the forced separation of children from their families. United Methodists are called to mourn, and to act, when we encounter a child being taken away from their family. We reject any effort to label a human being “illegal.”  Every person is of infinite and sacred worth and bears the image of a God who would have us treat with kindness and love. We oppose our government’s “zero tolerance policy” towards immigrants and migrants. It has resulted in the internment of families who in many cases have come to our border seeking safety from violence and deprivation. The criminalization of the asylum process is unconscionable, and we affirm the rights of people who fear domestic violence and gang violence to seek asylum in the United States.”

Read more of this statement, and find resources for local churches, on the Conference website.

Leaders call for release of two missionaries after one expelled

For United Methodist missionary Adam Shaw, being expelled from the Philippines will mean leaving an area that has felt like home.

“I think the cruelest part is that I can’t come back, and that is the most painful part for me,” Shaw said, during a July 2 press conference at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church.

Shaw, a United Methodist Global Ministries missionary, has been expelled by the Philippine government and will return to Ohio next week. Two other United Methodist missionaries—Tawanda Chandiwana, who is in a detention center, and Miracle Osman, who has had her passport confiscated—are still being detained. All three were labeled subversives by the government while taking part in an international ecumenical fact-finding investigation of alleged human rights violations, including the deaths of nine indigenous people.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Amid Zimbabwe’s economic struggles, ‘God is doing wonders’

 In times of hardship, the church is needed more than ever to transform individuals as well as communities with the gospel of hope and to advocate for social justice.

Perhaps that is why — despite social, economic and political challenges — The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe continues to strive for financial sustainability, raising funds within membership.

People share whatever they can. Rather than giving up in despair, “they work together within the difficulties of their economy,” said the Rev. Alan Gurupira, administrative assistant to Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa, Zimbabwe Episcopal Area.

Because of economic sanctions, Zimbabwe cannot trade freely. People struggle to make ends meet. Yet, people give to the church, and God turns tiny offerings into gigantic mountains.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis 'detains' Jesus, Mary, Joseph to protest Trump's immigration policy

from the Indianapolis Star

          ... “The Rev. Stephen Carlsen, dean and rector of Christ Church, said the caged Holy Family is a protest to President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy that is holding families in detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
‘I know what the Bible said,’ Carlsen said. "We're supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves.’ ” ...



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