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Aug. 9, 2018

Dear siblings,

As I’ve shared before, sometimes the UM Connector creates its own theme. This week the emerging theme is the kingdom, or as some say, the kin-dom of God.

To say we are kin is to remind us we are connected – we are family – we are one in the body of Christ. That is most reflected in how we treat and welcome one another.

Here are some ways the body of Christ is raised in this week’s news: A United Methodist News Service story tells how annual conferences across the denomination supported immigration rights at their annual sessions. An Oregon-Idaho clergy member literally put herself on the line to support unjustly held asylum seekers. Youth experienced a global community. Native people were reconnected to their homeland. And an UMVIM trip turned into revelation of connectedness and spiritual growth.

These stories remind us that political borders are human constructs, not part of God’s plan. In November the Collins Lecture will explore more about human migration on our increasingly global society.

And this week we have a chance to help protect our kin. An Oregon ballot measure will attempt to remove Oregon’s “Sanctuary” law. The Oregon-Idaho Immigration Taskforce is placing a statement in opposition in the Voters Guide. They need 500 signatures to support the placement. Learn below how you (Oregon voters) can help by circulating a signature sheet in  church this weekend.

Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


CONFERENCE NEWS

Call to Action: Signatures needed ASAP to help publish Oregon voter’s pamphlet statement

Photo by Paul Jeffrey
  The Immigration Task force of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church has been working to include a statement in opposition to Measure 105 in the Oregon Voters Pamphlet for November’s General Election. Measure 105 (Previously known as IP22), seeks to repeal Oregon’s 30 year old “sanctuary” law (ORS 181A.820). This statement will join similar ones from faith communities who support the existing legislation which defends against racial profiling of immigrants.

This is a call to action for churches and individuals to help in gathering 500 valid signatures this Sunday August 12th, in order to publish the voters’ pamphlet statement. The statement is based on the Conference’s standing resolutions including Embracing the Immigrant, Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform , Oregon-Idaho Supports Sanctuary For Immigrants And Refugees, and Welcoming the Migrant in Our Midst.

Corvallis UMC pastor arrested in peaceful protest outside ICE in Portland

Corvallis First United Methodist Church pastor Barbara Nixon was one of three clergy from different faiths arrested outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office building in Portland during a peaceful protest on Tuesday.

Nixon was detained by officers with Homeland Security and charged with two crimes, disobeying a federal officer and disrupting the peace on federal property. She was cited and released Tuesday afternoon.

The arrests came as a result of clergy and other people of faith continuing to protest the federal government’s continued detention of 123 asylum seekers at the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon.

“How we treat the stranger – the immigrants among us - says so much about who we are and what we value. What is happening in our state, at Sheridan and elsewhere is, for me, the sad microcosm of what is happening throughout our nation – where fears of all kinds have interfered with the best, most loving possibilities of who we are,” Nixon said. “Like each of you from the many faith traditions here, there is no greater call on my life than to love: love not being how I feel, but rather how I choose to behave.”

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Wallowa Lake ceremony honors 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 in Oregon to the Nez Perce nation.

“I never thought I would see a day come when we would have a hand of friendship from the larger community to the Nimíipuu,” said Mary Jane Miles, a member of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee.

Read more of this story and check out a photo gallery from the event on the Conference website.

Global Youth Convocation a ‘life-changing experience’ for local delegates

More than 10,000 miles from their homes, Global Youth Convocation participants from the Oregon-Idaho Conference said they found family and new purpose in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said 18-year-old Caelyn Wooldridge. “They feel like family.”

Wooldridge and recent Portland State University graduate Kylie Nelson represented the Oregon-Idaho Conference at the quadrennial United Methodist global youth gathering, travelling with several other delegates from the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Nelson said. “Once you’re there, it’s such a life-changing experience.”

Read more of this story on the Conference website.


AROUND THE CONFERENCE

Conference Journal 2018 now available for download

The 2018 Journal of the Annual Conference is now online. You can download a PDF file of the full journal or just selected chapters. You will find it at www.umoi.org/journal. This year’s journal is one volume and contains the clergy and laity directories (previously these were only available in print). To control access to these directories, the  journal is password protected. The password was shared with the Annual Conference Session in June, and can be obtained by contacting your district office.

Cascadia
Columbia
Crater Lake
Sage

The Annual Conference approved a new way of publishing the journal at their meeting in June. Primary publishing for the journal is now online. Those wishing to have a printed copy of the journal will be able to order it from a print-on-demand service. The print version is still being finalized, so watch for an announcement when it is available for ordering.  Questions about the journal can be directed to Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett, Conference Secretary at laura@umoi.org.

Inspiring Generosity: Should You Know Who Gives What? Part 2: You Respond

After last week’s blog about whether pastors should be in the know on who is giving what to their church financials, Cesie Delve-Scheuermann received thoughtful responses from a couple of pastors, which she shares here:

“Thanks for the article on pastors knowing about people's giving. While I often read that there's a fear pastors will treat the big givers better than others, has anyone mentioned that we may be giving them less pastoral care than some who give less? With a few exceptions, my experience is that those who give generously financially also give their time and effort and are committed to the church and Christ. The majority of these people ask for very little from the pastor and congregation. It's easy for our conversations to focus on whatever they are currently involved in doing at the church...and not how they are doing personally.”

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

Spirit Alive: Lessons from Kenya-- When the Spirit Crosses the Threshold of Our World

After returning from an UMVIM trip to Kenya, Rev. Lowell Greathouse, coordinator of mission and ministry for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, reflects on the poverty, happiness and hope he experienced on his journey.

“ … After spending three short weeks Kenya, I am convinced that we have a lot to learn about spiritual well-being, community life, connectionalism, and yes, even "happiness" from our Kenyan brothers and sisters …”

Read more of Lowell’s blog on the Conference website.

Greater NW Pride: A Presbyterian Version of the One Church Plan

After recently returning from a Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC)/Reconciling Methodist Network Convocation in St. Louis, Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell reflects on how the One Church Plan was rolled out in the Presbyterian Church and what impact it had on LGBTQ clergy like himself.

"This all happened in May 2011. Since then, with each and every passing General Assembly, slowly but surely, more advances have been made in terms of the PCUSA acknowledging those of us who are LGBGTQ , including same sex marriage in our sanctuaries if the Session and Minister approve (which is the same for all weddings). And in the most recent General Assembly of 2018, held in St. Louis, MO, there were more advances in the body of the PCUSA, with more motions and amendments to the Book of Order acknowledging the presence and ministry of all who are called to serve as Ministers of the Word and Sacrament, straight and LGBTQ alike."

Read more of Brett's latest blog and subscribe to his weekly emails on the Conference website.

Employment

Superintendent of Congregational & Community Vitality, Mountain Sky Area – Greenwood Village, CO

Find this and other job opportunities at www.umoi.org/classifieds


AROUND THE GLOBE

Charlottesville clergy hope for peaceful weekend

Members of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, including United Methodist ministers, will be a major force in the efforts to maintain peace as the city marks the first anniversary of a “Unite the Right” rally that turned deadly.

"The CCC has been very invigorated by the current events," observed the Rev. Gary Heaton, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville. "By virtue of being interfaith, it is very tolerant."

It is uncertain whether a potential for violence, such as occurred during last year’s rallies, will recur. On Aug. 12, 2017, the rally held by white supremacists to oppose the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park became violent.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when James Alex Fields Jr. intentionally drove into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. A group of white supremacists also severely beat Deandre Harris, an African-American counter-protester, with metal poles.

The 92 members of the clergy collective, representing 20 faith traditions, hope this year will be more peaceful. United Methodists are the second most-represented faith tradition with eight clergy members.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Complaints against Sessions dismissed

The formal complaints against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed by fellow United Methodists under church law have been dismissed by a district superintendent.

Alabama-West Florida Conference Bishop David Graves said in a statement that he and his cabinet agreed with the decision by the Rev. Debora Bishop, superintendent of the Mobile, Alabama, District. The district includes Sessions’ home church in Mobile.

In June, more than 600 United Methodists sought to bring charges against Sessions for a get-tough approach to immigration that included separating children from parents apprehended for crossing into the U.S. illegally.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Angola young adults aid struggling orphanage

A Saturday in mid-July was especially exciting for children at the Little Seed Center in Cacuaco, who received gifts from the Young Adults Organization of Bethel United Methodist Church. Between songs and laughter, the children expressed gratitude for the rice, sugar, pasta, oil and maize flour, as well as teaching resources.

According to Berta Joaquim Albertoque, deputy director of the center, many of the children reside at the orphanage because their parents cannot provide for them. “Our greatest desire,” Albertoque said, “is to reintegrate these children into their families.”
 
The Little Seed Center was founded in 2004 to house and care for orphans and needy children in and around the community of Cacuaco. United Methodist Pastor Junior João Cassule leads the initiative. After completing studies in Zimbabwe, Cassule decided to fulfill his dream of aiding the most disadvantaged. The orphanage currently houses 100 children ages 4 to 18.
 

Conferences unite on welcoming immigrants

While United Methodists differ on how the denomination should regard homosexuality, they speak with much broader agreement on immigration.

Both division and consensus were apparent in recent months as annual conferences, the denomination’s regional bodies, met to worship and conduct church business.
 
As happened last year, a number of conference voters approved resolutions on the treatment of immigrants as well as the denomination’s longtime debate around the status of LGBTQ individuals. Such resolutions are aspirational, but they give a sense of how church members apply their faith to current challenges.
 
On the question of how the United States should treat newcomers, annual conferences proclaimed a common message: Keep families together.

RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon invites you to the 2018 Collins Summit on Human Migration

Registration is now open for EMO’s 2018 Collins Summit exploring the causes, challenges and opportunities of human migration in an increasingly global society. Join a diverse group of refugees, immigrants, advocates and scholars to develop an informed and compassionate approach to human migration both within and across borders.

The event will include an afternoon seminar with a plenary and workshop sessions followed by an evening lecture by The Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, President of the Pacific School of Religion, and Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General. Afternoon workshop topics include the causes of migration, what the journey entails, challenges faced upon arrival, and the intersectionality of community concerns such as racism, profiling and criminal justice. The evening Collins Lecture will address theological and legal aspects of human migration.

The summit will take place on Thursday, November 1, 2018. Seminar from 1 to 5:15 p.m.; Lecture from 7 to 9:15 p.m. The afternoon seminar will begin at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6700 NE 29th Ave., Portland, adjacent to Concordia campus. The evening lecture will be held in the Concordia University Gym, 6430 NE 27th Ave., Portland.

The Collins Summit (which includes afternoon seminar, dinner and evening lecture) is $60 ($30 for students with ID). Register for the event online now. It costs $25 to attend the Collins Lecture only ($15 for students).

Register on the event website now.
 

  

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