December is here. And so we wait... Advent is beautifully counter-cultural in that way. Wishing you peace, joy, and time for intentional, thoughtful anticipation this Advent season.

- Terri Bartish, Sage District Administrative Assistant (

In this month's newsletter:

Celebrating Sage
A Word from Your Lay Leader
CrossOver is Now!
We Voted, But That's Not the End of the Story!
UMCOR Update and Invitation from Donna Waltman
Links and Resources

Celebrating Sage

Karen at worshipThough we’re entering into Advent, I am still giving thanks! 

I have been blessed to be present with the vast majority of churches in the district for charge conferences. I am grateful for elders who assisted me (Scott Allen, Fred Hoadley, Ralph Lawrence, Lisa Payton, Jane Shaffer, Steve Tollefson) and for churches who hosted other congregations for charge conferences (Baker City, Boise 1st UMC – Amity Campus, Crossroads [Kimberly], Emmett, Gooding, La Grande, Meridian, Payette [twice!], St. Paul’s [Idaho Falls]).  I am keenly aware of, and thankful for, all of the work that laity, staff and pastors in our local churches put into charge conferences.  Because I am so passionate about worship, it was a gift to me to share a short time of worship at all of the charge conference gatherings.  And I am really grateful that charge conferences are very nearly complete now!  As I said when we gathered, it’s work that must be done, but it’s important to move on from business in order to continue making disciples and transforming the world! 

It was a brand new blessing for me to be a part of the multi-faith Thanksgiving service at Boise First UMC on November 19. This experience reminded me to be thankful for laity and for youth! The above photo of faith leaders includes lay members from local Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and other groups (including United Methodist clergy Debbie Coutts and Duane Anders from Boise First in the front row, and me in the back). One of the representatives from the Muslim community is a teenager, who did a fantastic job with his portion of the liturgy and expertly delivered remarks later in the service! 
I am grateful for diversity of all kinds, and I especially appreciate opportunities for diverse groups to gather and celebrate or lament together. We have so much in common that it seems like it should be more natural for us to come together across the various divisions of religion, class, race, ethnicity, and more. But because we are so different—each with different gifts and challenges—it is crucial that we do so. 
Interfaith gatherings like this do not only happen in Boise though. Faith leaders in the Magic Rev. Amanda Gayle Reed, Gooding UMCValley also gathered for “A Celebration of Thanksgiving and Gratitude” in Twin Falls—a first of its kind! I am thankful for this service, which was perhaps the start of a new tradition, and for United Methodists being well represented by Revs. Mike Hollomon (to the left) and Amanda Gayle Reed (to the right). If others of you participated in similar services in your community, please tell us about it! You can comment on the Sage District Facebook page.  Share links to news coverage and photos, too!
So, here we are, entering a crossover year when we’re invited to seek deeper and broader relationships with God and our neighbors. It’s the start of the new year on the Christian calendar as Advent begins and we prepare to welcome a middle Eastern baby born out of wedlock to parents who will be refugees while the child is still an infant. It’s the height of the materialistic frenzy in our society. And that timing is exactly why I am being very intentional about staying grateful for our churches, our laity, our clergy, our resources across the denomination, our worldwide presence, and our God who I believe is always seeking to bring us closer together. 

May your season be merry and bright with the light of Christ.

Karen Hernandez, Sage District Superintendent (
Where Is the District Superintendent?
Dec. 6                          Conference Center
Dec. 11 – 13                Cabinet @ PNW Conference Office (Des Moines, WA)
Dec. 25 – Jan. 4          Family time

Carla Anderson

A Word from Your Lay Leader

It was certainly evident this morning that winter is here. I opened the curtains to see a thick cloud of fog hovering over the Emmett valley below our home. Although winter isn’t my favorite season because it’s cold, I do enjoy the time sitting in my chair in front of the fireplace with a good book. On December 2 the season of Advent begins. We start our year-long quest for spiritual formation by coming together as one in Christ through the reading of We Make The Road By Walking by Brian McLaren. (see article below) It’s a good season for change. 

While change is the unknown and may even be uncomfortable for many of us, it can be a great opportunity to be more open to listening to God. There are several opportunities for each of us to share this reading with others. Some may gather at a coffee shop, a friend’s home, or a Sunday School class to discuss the week’s chapter and scriptures. There are discussions on-line through blogs and e-mails. You may even call a friend or two during the week for their thoughts. Please feel free to contact me either by e-mail ( or phone (208-365-8097) if you would like to discuss. 

May God bless each one of you through this season of Advent and change.

Carla Anderson
Sage District Lay Leader

A postscript from the editor:  Perhaps you recall reading last month about Carla's brother Ray, who is diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Here is a link to a great story about him. We relay this with Carla's permission. - Terri

CrossOver is Now!

December 2 begins the Bishop's CrossOver study of We Make the Road by Walking, by Brian McLaren. Take a look at the above invitation from Bishop Elaine, and then you can check out this link on the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area website (

It's best as a shared experience, and to that end Karen Hernandez has created a Facebook page so we can participate together. You can find that link below (you'll need to be signed up for Facebook). Join the discussion!

We Voted, But That's Not the End of the Story!

Excitement builds for the United Methodist Women Legislative Event, February 24-25, 2019 in Boise, sponsored by the Oregon-Idaho Conference of United Methodist Women.

Idaho voters approved the expansion of Medicaid in Idaho by a wide margin. Sage District UMW has adopted Maternal and Child Health as the focus of our social justice efforts, so our question is: How do we proceed to help ensure the expanded Medicaid program is properly funded and implemented?

Local advocates will be speaking at the Sunday seminars, beginning with District 18 Representative Ilana Rubel at 3:30.  Rep Rubel will explain what is happening in the Idaho legislature to fund the Medicaid expansion. She will also address the status of the bill to repeal the religious exemption for parents who withhold life-saving medical care for their children.

With all the attention to healthcare this year, we don't want to forget education. Rod Gramer of Idaho Business Education will review pending legislation to fund and promote education in Idaho.

Monday the 25th attendees will have the opportunity to have a guided tour of the capitol, sit in on committee meetings, and have lunch with legislators who welcome a lively exchange of ideas.

Register and join us! Invite a friend or two, and they don't have to be a member of UMW to attend - everyone is welcome! Download the rest of the information and the REGISTRATION FORM HERE.  For more information, see the conference website page for UMW.

UMCOR Update and Invitation from Donna Waltman

Eleven churches in Oregon and Idaho sent teams to the UMCOR West this past year. There are several openings for weekly work groups in 2019. All group sizes and ages are welcome! Contact Rev. Brian Diggs at 801-973-7250 or email to book your next mission trip.

Brian is in charge of the logistics but it would be good for you to take a mission trip under the umbrella of UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission). Louise Kienzle is the coordinator in our conference. You can reach her at or 541-701-0511 and she will tell you all the advantages of the UMVIM connection. This sounds like another layer of administration but it's added protection in these uncertain times.It's easy to access and will give leaders peace of mind to know that they have the backing of a bona fide organization.

Check out the website for complete information on West Depot. Go to for the list of kits and kit supplies.

Keep UMCOR and it's worldwide mission in your prayers this Advent season.
Donna Waltman
UMCOR West Depot Transportation coordinator

Links and Resources

  • Are you new to your role as Church Treasurer? Here's a great resource for you. And, here's another! Both of these are sub-pages of the conference website's finance and administration page,
  • Also on the conference website, you can find out more about the upcoming General Conference Special Session, slated for February 23-26 in St. Louis.
  • Our Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Session will be hosted by the Crater Lake District in Eugene, Oregon this year. It's on the calendar for June 12-15, 2019.  Watch for more news after the New Year!
  • Phone Scam Warning: There seems to be much creativity put into phone scams!  A recent one came to the district office requesting financial support for legal services relating to human trafficking.The caller referred to the United Methodist Church and our denomination's interest in working against human trafficking. In other words, the caller had developed a story designed to play on our sympathies. Please be very wary of phone scams like this and others. If you or your church receive a similar call or any suspicious call seeking help, you are urged to refer callers to local authorities for assistance. 
  • And, in closing, here's Advent in a nutshell (courtesy of Busted Halo). 


Sage District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
1505 SW 18th Ave, Portland OR 97201(503) 802-9225 ~