Aug. 2, 2018

Dear Reader,

It seems like life slows down in the summer just a little bit.

We spend time with family and friends. We take a vacation. We try to stay out of the heat.

Sometimes it seems like our church life slows down in the summer, too, with less Sunday school, week-night meetings and more.

But that’s not always the case. Just read below about what’s going on at Hillsboro First UMC to fill a community need for affordable child care. Meet Natalia Olivares, the Oregon-Idaho Conference’s new immigration ministry intern to hear about the important work she’s beginning and learn more today and in the coming week about a ceremony at Wallowa Lake Camp this week to honor the return of land owned by the church to the Nez Perce Tribe.

While it’s important for us to take a Sabbath – to find rest and renewal – it’s also reassuring to know through God’s grace and mercy, the blood of the church is continually pumping.

Kristen Caldwell, Communications Associate


Wallowa Lake ceremony honors rightful return of land to Nez Perce

In a moving ceremony filled with song, word and action, under the shadow of Chief Joseph Mountain, The United Methodist Church took a small step toward righting an historic wrong on Wednesday.

As 115 people gathered from the Nez Perce Tribe, United Methodist Church, camp supporters, and community, The Oregon-Idaho Conference returned a 1.5 acre parcel of land to the Nez Perce nation.

In 1923 predecessors of the Oregon-Idaho Conference purchased 100 acres of land for what is now known as Wallowa Lake Camp. Parcels of the property have been sold off over the years and the camp now stands at about 60 acres in size. Left behind in the land sales was 1.5 acres of Wallowa River property, surrounded by vacation homes, and bordering the Wallowa Lake State Park. This land was part of the historic territory of the Nez Perce people, taken from them in treaty violation.

Read more of this story on the Conference website and look for more details in next week’s Connector.

Hillsboro First UMC brings "Common Good" to kids this summer

At Hillsboro First United Methodist Church they decided to do something “good” for a change with vacation bible school and youth in their community this summer.

Instead of a week-long, Bible-lead, craft and song fest, church members decided it was time to fill a void in their community and opted to create a four-week “Camp Common Good” this summer. The camp is providing much-needed no cost childcare and learning opportunities to kids in their community – along with a little singing, crafting, and some Bible learning, too.

“We had not had successful VBS for a long time,” said Rev. Clay Andrew. “We thought, ‘how are we going to connect with the community?’”

New intern to assist Conference in immigration ministry, hospitality

When Natalia Olivares and her family moved from Mexico to the United States when she was 5 years old, it was the United Methodist Church who showed them the greatest hospitality.

Raised in Phoenix as her parents ministered to parishioners in the area as United Methodist pastors, the now 21-year-old music education student at Portland State University is excited to be giving back to the church by helping other immigrant and migrant families.

She will serve as an intern for the Oregon-Idaho Conference’s immigration ministry for the next year – working to build the Conference’s capacity in this area.

“I’ve always understood the church, literally, as my family,” Olivares said. “It’s all about the commitment we have to one another.”


Inspiring Generosity: Should You Know Who Gives What?  The One Change in the 2016 BOD You Probably Haven’t Heard About

Cesie Delve-Scheuermann looks at a change to the Book of Discipline in 2016 that gives local pastors knowledge of who is giving to the church. While that might make some nervous, she said there is sound reasoning behind it.

“I’ve heard from too many clergy about a finance person who is the sole owner of all information. It’s a control issue. And that can be a dangerous and frankly irresponsible path to follow. If you don’t believe it, read about one church’s struggle. This new BOD rule can help solve this issue.”

Read more of Cesie’s latest blog on the Conference website.

Greater NW Pride: Telling more of my story, telling more of our story

LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator Brett Webb-Mitchell continues his story of how he became an openly gay Presbyterian pastor and the people that came before him that made it possible.

“Indeed, the founding pastor of the church was a former Presbyterian who was denied ordination because she was an out lesbian woman who loved another woman. This community found each other and were committed to living church together. Their previous experiences reminded me that to live in 'fear' of love is a terrible fate.”

Read more of Brett’s blog and subscribe on the Conference website.


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LGBTQ advocates conflicted on Way Forward

When it comes to the One Church Plan, advocates for LGBTQ equality in The United Methodist Church don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye.

Those differences were on display during the July 26-29 “For Everyone Born” convocation, which drew some 325 LGBTQ United Methodists and their allies to St. Louis.
The Love Your Neighbor Coalition, which sponsored the gathering, includes unofficial advocacy groups as well as official United Methodist racial and ethnic caucuses. Most of the participants came from across the United States, with a few from the Philippines and African nations.
The convocation was a time of worship, Bible study and strategizing for the 2019 special General Conference, which aims to move the denomination past longtime divisions over homosexuality.
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Plans prayerfully pondered by United Methodists

On Feb. 27, 2019, will United Methodists wake up united, divided or in limbo?
The special called 2019 General Conference, set for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, will focus on moving the denomination past its decades-long struggle with issues around homosexuality. Proposed plans offer a way to stay together and ways to split.

The One Church Plan, Traditional Plan and Connectional Conference Plan and probably several other pieces of legislation related to homosexuality will be debated and voted on by 864 delegates from around the globe.
In the meantime, United Methodists are pondering and praying about the three plans.

A 231-page document submitted to Judicial Council was made public July 17 when the denomination’s top court published the docket for its October meeting. The proposed legislation was the work of the 32-member Commission on a Way Forward, approved at the end of General Conference 2016.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

African clergywomen making great strides

In countries where congregations once frowned on female pastors, clergywomen in Africa are asserting their position in a profession previously dominated by men.
That includes the election of a female bishop and talk of electing another woman to the episcopacy in Africa in 2020.
“Before 2004, women were not allowed to join the pastoral ministry in our conference.  They were not accepted by congregations,” said the Rev. Puleng Maboee of Mozambique Episcopal Area.
Today, Bishop Joaquina F. Nhanala, the first female bishop in Africa, leads that episcopal area.
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Alabama Bishop met race challenge

No state tops Alabama for civil rights history.

The Montgomery bus boycott, three separate attacks on Freedom Riders, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Selma’s “Bloody Sunday” — all this and more occurred in the Heart of Dixie state, a crucible of protest and resistance.
Meanwhile, Alabama Methodists faced their own integration struggle, one that paralleled and occasionally intersected with the epic events swirling around.

William E. Nicholas, professor emeritus at United Methodist-affiliated Birmingham-Southern College, provides an in-depth account in his new book “Go and Be Reconciled: Alabama Methodists Confront Racial Injustice: 1954-1974,” published by NewSouth Books.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

United Methodist Bishops call for prayers of peace in Zimbabwe

"The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is joining our colleague, Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, the resident bishop of Zimbabwe, in a call for prayers for peace in that country.   We join with international observers in their commendation of the great majority of people of Zimbabwe in their maturity amidst this historic election.  We appeal also for calmness in the midst of great anxiety, and we condemn all forms of violence as the country awaits the full results of the election.  We grieve the deaths of those who have participated in this democratic process.  We extend our sympathy, acknowledge their pain and stand with all peace-loving Zimbabweans.

 The United Methodist Church rejoices in the faithfulness of the people of Zimbabwe, where the UMC has two annual conferences, hundreds of churches, mission centers, hospitals, clinics and schools. We especially hold in our prayers the students, staff and leadership of Africa University, one of our crown jewels of Methodist education in Africa.  As brothers and sisters in Christ who share in the Cross and the Flame, we call upon the name of Jesus Christ, who is our peace (Ephesians 2), and we search for the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5) in these events.  

We call upon all United Methodists and other people of faith throughout the world to join in prayers that peace will prevail in Zimbabwe."


Healthy Boundaries training scheduled this fall

Clergy members of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and others serving churches in a pastoral role are required by Conference Rule to attend a Healthy Boundaries training once each quadrennium. The Board of Ordained Ministry has announced trainings scheduled this fall, which will meet the requirement for the 2017-2020 quadrennium. More details and registration will be coming soon.

Dates and locations:

Portland area, Sept. 15, 10-3 p.m. at Portland First UMC
Boise area, Oct. 20, 1 to 5 p.m. at Whitney UMC
Eugene area, Dec. 8, 10 to 3 p.m. at Wesley UMC



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