November 29, 2018

Dear Reader,

As Advent begins next week you're invited to join the CrossOver year study! Read the details below.

This week's UM Connector is a short version, but we'll be back with more news next week.

Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


CrossOver to Life! • Week Zero • Beginning November 25, 2018

The following Week Zero post from Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky brings us to the precipice of our year-long Greater Northwest Area exploration of the bible and faith. Together, we'll work our way together through Brian McLaren's book, "We Make the Road by Walking,'" with each week complemented by short reflections and creative pieces like the following.

Even if you aren't able to participate in the study regularly, I'd encourage you to subscribe to receive these CrossOver posts. While we'll share them regularly in the News Digest, and on social media, subscribers will get a focused emailing, with other resources from time to time as well. As we move into a CrossOver year that will test and potentially reshape the United Methodist connection, we hope this space will provide room for needed conversation and information.

Order your book here.

Subscribe to the CrossOver blog here.

by Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky

The Church is of God and will be preserved to the end of time.
Reception of Members, The Methodist Hymnal, 1935

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing…
Isaiah 43: 18-19

Well, which is it? Is God enduring, unchanging, immovable, like a mountain? Or is God an innovator, creating new, unimaginable things, twisting and turning and even changing course like a river?

Does God call us to hold fast, dig in, preserve what we have inherited from the past? Or does God call us to engage the changes that surprise us, peer into an uncertain future, and then move beyond what we thought we knew, stretching, evolving, adapting?

Is God bound by these conflicting opinions? Or, might both be true in their own way?

What if God holds some eternal, immutable values that are true in every time and place, AND what if God expects us to recognize that these values may look very differently as they come to life in the changing circumstances we encounter in the real lives of people? What if, throughout our lives, God continues to call us to explore what is not familiar – what is strange or foreign, and to bring the eternal values of God’s love and justice, to situations that are new and challenging? Read the rest of the blog post.

Information about the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference

There is a new page on the Greater Northwest Area website which collects information from a number of sources about the Special Session of the General Conference which will be held in St. Louis this February. We hope it is a helpful launchpad for those who want to refresh their understanding, get a better grasp upon some of the moving pieces, or dig deeper into the materials delegates will consider.
Check it out! We'll continue to add content and perfect this page as the conference draws ever closer. Learn more about GC2019

UMC Young People's Ministries releases #PrayForward resources for GC2019

UMC Young People
We, the staff of Young People's Ministries, in partnership with your Annual Conference Leaders, wanted to reach out to the young people of The United Methodist Church, so you could have the necessary information to understand General Conference 2019 and the plans that are being presented for the future of our church. We hope that you will be encouraged to share your thoughts about the different plans with your Conference’s Delegation as a way for your voices to be heard about this very important decision. Resources | About Young People's Ministries


Book traces history of church sexuality debates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Disagreements in The United Methodist Church about human sexuality extend as far back as the birth-control movement of the 1920s, writes Ashley Boggan Dreff in “Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality.” The book, published by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, covers the attitudes of U.S. Methodists about sexuality since World War II.

Read more on the Higher Education website.

How are bishops chosen?

In the United Methodist tradition, bishops are ordained elders who are elected and consecrated to the office of bishop. Bishops are “set apart for a ministry of servant leadership, general oversight and supervision.” Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has more on the election process.

Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.


Wesleyan Traditions: Watch Night & Covenant Renewal

Methodist founder John Wesley brought the practice of a Watchnight service to the early Methodist Church from the Moravians whose faith and practice often inspired him. While Wesley encouraged the practice on a monthly basis, the service evolved into one more often used to mark the crossing over into a new year and a renewal of our covenant with God.
Sage District Superintendent Rev. Karen Hernandez shares with us several Watchnight worship resources (and some practical ideas) which can be used by local churches and/or CrossOver study groups to mark this occasion. We are sharing them now in hopes that people will have time to consider their usage as the new year arrives.


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