January 3, 2019

Dear Reader,
Welcome to a new year of the UM Connector.
Once again this year we will endeavor to help provide news, inspiration, and resources about the church to help you be informed both personally and in your ministry.
Speaking of resources … Do you know a student, or future student, at a United Methodist-related college or university? If so, it's time to remind them to apply for 2019-20 scholarships. Read more below about opportunities from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
And plan now to recognize Human Relations Day. not just with a special offering on January 20, but as a part of worship. Get resources online.

Happy New Year!
Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


CrossOver to a new year

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In the Dec. 30 edition of the CrossOver blog Bishop Elaine Stanovsky pens a message of the power of Jesus to open our eyes to God's transforming love and justice – and she looks ahead to the special General Conference Session in February. In addition to reflecting on some of the possible outcomes of the conference, she invites everyone to search their hearts, study, and be in prayer for the conference and ministries that will continue beyond February. 
Read her blog post on the Greater NW area website.

Happy New Year

Happy old year!

In his January 1, 2019, Spirit Alive blog post, Rev. Lowell Greathouse suggests before we look ahead to the new year, we should take a moment to look back at the markers of your past year saying, "So as a new day ... and new year ... begins, don't just impulsively jump ahead. Take a moment to reflect on the year that has just concluded. How did you grow during that time?"

Read his thoughts on the Conference Website.


Western Jurisdiction Update

The Western Jurisdiction Communicators are pooling their talents and resources together to curate a contextual digest of the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019 in the form of a limited edition newsletter for the Western Jurisdiction. Because of your interest in Conference and District news, you are included in the subscriber email list.

This exclusive emailed update is planned to have seven editions. On January 6 you'll see the first publication which will include an Epiphany video message from the Western Jurisdiction Bishops (Elaine JW Stanovsky, Minerva G. Carcaño, Grant J. Hagiya, Robert T. Hoshibata, and Karen P. Oliveto). Then beginning on February 22, 2019, you'll receive a daily newsletter until February 27, 2019.
When you receive the first edition, add the sending email address to your contacts to ensure you don't miss any of the upcoming news. If you don't want to receive the special edition newsletter, you can unsubscribe through the link provided in the footer of the Western Jurisdiction update. You'll find updates about General Conference from this newsletter and other news outlets by visiting


United Methodists fight human trafficking

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — According to a United Nations report, human trafficking has become the world's fastest-growing global crime. The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is responding by raising awareness and becoming a secure haven for survivors.
Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.

Bishops offer pastoral letter to LGBTQ community

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Referring to them as, "our Global LGBTQ Kin in Christ" the Bishops of The United Methodist Church have issued a pastoral letter to the LGBTQ community. In the letter, penned by a writing team from each jurisdiction and central conference, they say, "As leaders of the church, we are brokenhearted by conversations that dishonor, objectify and dehumanize. We confess, as Bishops of The United Methodist Church and as we attempt to honor our convictions, that our actions and words have not always been life-giving or honoring of the LGBTQ community."
The letter recognizes that the February Special Session of General Conference, "… creates a time and space of harm for you and members of your family." They end the letter with their prayer that the Holy Spirit will draw the church together.

Read the letter on

Church agencies open Manila office

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodist agencies will have an increased presence in the Philippines with the opening of a ministry center in the nation's capital. Philippines bishops and guests joined staff with the Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Communications in dedicating the Agency Mission Center on Dec. 18.

Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.

Two UM bishops die Dec. 22

Bishop Benjamin Chamness died Saturday, December 22, 2018 in Huntsville, Texas, with his wife, Joye, and family by his side.
On the same day, Bishop William B. Oden passed away on Saturday, December 22, 2018 in Highlands Ranch, CO., also with his family surrounding him.


Idaho conference looks at refugee issues

There will be an Idaho Refugee Conference in Boise on February 4th and 5th, 2019. There are more than20 workshops planned, panel discussions and a keynote speaker. The conference is targeted toward everyone working with immigrants and refugees or wanting to start a program in your church and/or community.

The Peace with Justice Program of the Oregon-Idaho Conference is supporting this conference by offering partial scholarships for up to ten people to reimburse the registration fee. Those people interested in attending will need to apply by January 25th and submit a conference reimbursement form with proof of registration to Lowell Greathouse in the Oregon-Idaho conference office. Please apply as soon as possible if you would like to have a reimbursement. For more details email the Peace with Justice Coordinator, Claudia Roberts at

Get more details and register online on the website.


Legislative forum offers insight

The Oregon Coalition for Christian Voices will conduct its annual legislative forum on Saturday, January 19th from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Westminster Presbyterian Church (1624 NE Hancock St., Portland, 97212.) Legislative leaders and advocacy representatives will be the panelists discussing plans for the next legislative session which will begin the following week. Topics covered will include environmental justice, revenue, housing, criminal justice including the death penalty and gun control, and health care. The day is co-sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty. 
Learn more on the Oregon Coalition for Christian Voices website or contact Patty Campbell-Schmitt at 503-293-2482 or 503-432-6677.

Scholarship application window opens

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2019-2020 school year.
A variety of scholarships are available for United Methodist students who need help with tuition expenses at United Methodist-related colleges, universities, and seminaries. Some of the scholarships even benefit students planning to serve in ministry, persons planning to become a military chaplain, and numerous others that are specific to a certain state, conference, region, school, or area of study. UMHEF even has a scholarship that benefits a student who is deaf, blind, or hard of hearing.
Applications and all additional required materials must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2019.

Search the list of available scholarships to find one that fits you.


3 words for the church in 2019: ‘we were wrong’

By Mark Wingfield

... Sadly, we have been trained to worship the received interpretation of Scripture rather than the overarching narrative of Scripture embodied in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as we have been trained to worship the Bible as the word of God more than Jesus as the divine Word of God. Is our faith so fragile that to admit we have been wrong in one area necessarily pulls a string that undoes all the rest of our faith? Is our faith really a house of cards? ...


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