September 2018 Newsletter

This month's issue includes:
How I Spent My Summer Vacation, a note from Erin Martin
When People Ask Me, a note from Lydia Henry
Columbia District Action Assembly Charge Conferences
Annual Fall Charge Conference Paperwork
Healthy Boundaries Workshops
Finance/Stewardship Workshops
O-I RUMS Offer "the scoop" on Special General Conference 2019
An Update From UMCOR West Depot
Portland Area Job Openings

Another Walkway, a note from Sara Ross
Upcoming Events and Dates to Know

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

A letter from our District Superintendent, Rev. Erin Martin

“Like a tree planted by the water, we shall not be moved.”

Dear Kindred in Christ:
As many of you already know, I ended my summer vacation by being arrested alongside 21 other clergy from across different denominations and faith traditions. Thank you to the many of you who reached out to me with love and support. The arrest was a highly coordinated action in partnership with IMIrJ (Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice) ending a month-long series of actions in August to “Let Our People Go.” Patterned after the 10 plagues in Exodus to persuade Pharoah to release the Israelites from their captivity, IMIrJ planned 10 actions that each included putting pressure on the regional ICE Director, Elizabeth Godfrey, to release the 123 asylum-seekers who were being detained at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan. The actions were incredibly effective, and to date, nearly all of the detainees have been released.

I did not enter into the decision to be arrested lightly. My family had just returned from 3 weeks of hiking and camping. This year, my husband, Charlie, and I decided to travel up the Olympic Peninsula and take our two boys, Elijah and Rowan, backpacking in the Hoh Rainforest. For 5 days we walked through the ancient forest surrounded by towering cedar trees while a rushing river grey with glacial silt flowed alongside us. The verdant forest did its work on me.

We live and grow upon the faithful witnesses of centuries of believers who have lived and died before us.

I drank deeply of the gift of Sabbath rest, time set apart. At one point in the hike, we came upon a giant fallen tree covered with moss and ferns. Upon the fallen tree, grew four other massive trees that centuries ago had taken root upon the fertile base of the decaying tree beneath them. It seemed to me that this image was a perfect metaphor for our lives of faith. Namely, we live and grow upon the faithful witnesses of centuries of believers who have lived and died before us. We live and grow in an interconnected way that is a holy communion with all

other life, all creation. When one of the ICE officers asked me why I was participating in the protest. I told him, “Out of conviction, I have to.” Several of those detained were seeking asylum from religious persecution, just like my Jewish and Congregational ancestors had done so many years before. My life is built upon their witness. As Christians, one of our core convictions is that every human being is created in the image of God. As a result, I am compelled to care and advocate for the well-being of those whom others have called “illegal” or even “criminal.”

Recently, my son, Elijah, returned home from his day at school in his newly started eighth grade year. He shared with me a Mayan poem that his Language Arts teacher has the students say in English and Spanish every day before class begins. The poem in English is this: “You are my other me. If I do harm to you, I do harm to myself. If I love and respect you, I love and respect myself.” That, of course, is an articulation of Jesus’ greatest commandment to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Not a bad way to spend a summer vacation.

Peace to you,

Erin Martin
Columbia District Superintendent

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When People Ask Me

A letter from our District Lay Leader, Lydia Henry

This year when people ask me, “what did you do this summer”, I will tell them how much I enjoyed creating baskets and setting out potted plants that exploded into masses of vibrant colors around our yard. I will also share the joy I experienced with family as we spent two days moving my oldest granddaughter back into the dorm for her senior year at the University of Puget Sound.

I will also try to explain the sense of Spirit that permeated the Laity Conversations on July 14th and 28th. I cannot begin to find words to express how it felt to share two Saturday mornings with laity from churches across the district as we met together to practice and experience the power of relational one to one conversations. At the end of our time, we were all encouraged to go back to our communities of faith and our neighborhoods and practice what we learned.

That was summer - and now as fall approaches we can step out with renewed energy. And it is my pleasure to invite all of you to...

...join me on Saturday, September 22nd!

We, as a District, will take building community and relationships to the next level at the Columbia District Laity Summit.

September 22, 2018
10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Lake Oswego UMC

1855 South Shore Blvd.

Register now at

This will be a time for sharing stories, spiritual reflection, and building friendships across our district community as well as hearing from lay persons who have actively engaged in one to one conversations in their communities.Lunch will be provided!


I am also pleased to announce that we will have Bonnie Beadles-Bohling*, Statewide Coordinator of the Transformational Leadership Initiative, as a facilitator in the afternoon session. She will wrap her session within the framework of the three great listenings: listening to God; listening to ourselves; and listening to the world around us. This will be an interactive time of learning and practicing.
I look forward to seeing you on the 22nd!

Lydia Henry
Columbia District Lay Leader

*Bonnie Beadles-Bohling has been involved in faith-based community organizing since 2010.  She currently works for the Oregon Synod of the ELCA as an organizer in SE Portland and as statewide Coordinator of the Transformational Leadership Initiative. Bonnie has a degree in Social Work and has spent over twenty years in non-profit management supporting adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  In May of 2019 she will complete a master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and is in candidacy to become a deacon in the Oregon Synod. She and her wife are raising two kids in Portland, Oregon.
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Columbia District Action Assembly Charge Conferences

Don't worry, Columbia Gorge & Basin churches, more
info on your assembly dates is coming soon!

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Annual Fall Charge Conference Paperwork

It comes along every year -- the time to complete annual charge conference paperwork! In late August, each church and pastor received information by email outlining this year's process. Details are also available on the Columbia District home page at Click on Charge Conference Forms!

Questions? Contact the Columbia District office at or (503)802-9227.

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Healthy Boundaries Workshops

Clergy members of our 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.  Local church staff and SPRC chairs or designate are invited to attend as well.  There is no fee for retired clergy.  All others are $15 per person.

Registration is now open.  Click on a city below for more information and to register:

Portland Area         September 15, 2018     10-3       at Lake Oswego UMC
Boise Area               October 20, 2018           1-5         at Whitney UMC
Eugene Area            December 8, 2018        10-3        at Wesley UMC

Can't make one of these workshops?  For other options to meet this requirement, see the "Healthy Boundary Workshop Information" section of the "Sexual Ethics Policy-Compliance Information" page on the Conference website:

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Finance/Stewardship Workshops

Finance/Stewardship Workshops for clergy and local church finance leaders are being offered in conjunction with the Healthy Boundaries Workshops. Led by Rev. Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer, and Cesie Delve Scheuermann, Conference Stewardship Consultant, the Finance/Stewardship workshops will begin immediately following each Healthy Boundaries Workshop. 

Click on a city below for more information and to register:

Portland Area          September 15, 2018     3-5         at Lake Oswego UMC
Boise Area                October 20, 2018           5-7         at Whitney UMC
Eugene Area             December 8, 2018         3-5         at Wesley UMC

O-I RUMS Offer "the scoop" on Special General Conference 2019


Click here for a post-able event flyer!

Questions? Contact Bonnie Parr Philipson at 503-547-3822.

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An Update from UMCOR West Depot

Our own Donna Waltman recently visited Rev. Brian Diggs, director of UMCOR's West Depot. Rev. Diggs expresses his appreciation for all the teams who have come to work at the depot! You can contact him at  to sign up for a time to visit from a few days to a week. Housing is available!

Praying over a completed quilt.
Pictured, from right: Cheryl Juntunen, Joyce Orem, Sherrie Maloney, and Leanna Bruns.

An update from Donna Waltman:

Needed right now are quantities of flannel fabric. The sewing machines are humming while turning out sleeping bags for homeless people in the Salt Lake City area.The bags are light weight and filled with quilting bats. And that's another item needed: Twin size quilting bats
The bags are very ingenious with strap ties so they can be folded up and carried. Also, if you have any old sewing machines, the Depot could use them. They just need to sew backwards and forwards, nothing fancy.

All items that go into the Emergency Relief kits will be picked up in mid-October by Steve when he makes his swing through Oregon and Idaho. You can check the conference website at  for details on pick up sites.

Try this idea: Have your church collect one item a month for any of the 3 kits  - school, hygiene and cleaning bucket!

Thanks for sharing your time, talents and resources.
Donna Waltman
Transportation coordinator for UMCOR West Depot kit supplies

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Portland Area Job Openings

Did you know that Local Church, District, and Conference job openings are
often posted in the Classifieds section of the Conference website?

Check out these two, currently posted for the Columbia District

Music Director - Milwaukie, OR

Custodian - Oak Grove, OR

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Another Walkway

A note from Sara Ross, Columbia District Administrative Assistant

Ten or so days ago, after a regular workday, I got a ride from the Conference office to the PDX airport and flew to Phoenix Sky Harbor. Sometime around 11 PM, about to board a red-eye flight to D.C. to visit family, I found myself – bleary-eyed and disheveled – in a seemingly endless, plenty-wide, and nearly uninhabited corridor at Sky Harbor, stretching my legs before a long, overnight flight. On either side of me were giant dark mirrored windows, along which ran moving walkways, one going in each direction. As I walked the corridor whose end I couldn’t see, I heard a rounding chorus of, “The walkway is ending. Please, watch your step.” Pause.  “The walkway is ending. Please, watch your step.” “The walkway is…” The words played themselves loud, then soft, circling away and back again as I moved forward. I, ever the metaphor-builder, felt my own smile bloom.
During the handful of days previous, I’d been offered a job with a Portland-based start-up called Oak Meditation, weighed the possibilities, accepted the position, given notice of my impending resignation to my (wonderful, dynamic) boss, then carefully told coworkers and friends about my new plan.
One walkway was ending, and I was about to trip-step my way to new one.

Over the last few years, I’ve tended to have what I call a scripture-of-the-moment – a line that seems to define or speak into the general goings-on in my life, less like a mantra than a guidepost that reminds me (sometimes through that surprise smile, more often through the words of a friend or something I’m reading) that I am not moving in a vacuum, not going it alone. Right now, as my friends at Vermont Hills UMC have probably noticed, it’s this, Isaiah 30:21: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (See it there? Another walkway.)

I felt that verse resonating as I made this job-change decision. I have loved working for the Columbia District and getting to know so many of you. I’m sad to leave and also excited to see what is coming next.

As I take off, I offer my most sincere gratitude for the kind and soft landing you’ve helped to make for me in this new city. Finding a church home at Vermont Hills UMC; an inspiring view, through so many of you, of where the UMC is going; and coworkers who will remain friends, have all been such wonderful, amazing gifts.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

“My cup,” as that famous Psalm says, “runneth over.”

In peace,

P.S. If you'd like to reach me personally, you can do so via my website at


Upcoming Events and Dates to Know...

September 15 - Healthy Boundaries Workshop, Portland*

September 20 - Columbia District Clergy Colloquy

September 22 - Columbia District Laity Summit

October 3 - Conference Center Closes at 11:30am

October 5 & 6 - Practical Whole-iness Disciple-Making Workshop

October 13 - Greater Northwest Area Housing Summit

October 16-18 - Gathering of the Orders of Elders & Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors

October 20 - Healthy Boundaries Workshop, Boise*

October 21 - Portland-North, Action Assembly Charge Conference

November 4 - Portland-West Action Assembly Charge Conference

November 10 - Workshop: Electronic Giving in the Church

November 11 - Portland-South Action Assembly Charge Conference

December 8 - Healthy Boundaries Workshop, Eugene*

*Each Healthy Boundaries Workshop is immediately followed by a special Finance/Stewardship Workshop presented by Conference Treasurer Dan Wilson-Fey and Conference Stewardship Consultant Cesie Delve Scheuermann. Registration will be tracked using the registration form for the corresponding Healthy Boundaries Workshop.

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Columbia District Office of Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
1505 SW 18th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97201 ~ (503) 249-1851 ~