January 8, 2019

Are You Redundant?

Pizza Hut sign: we have pizza


And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God's diverse gifts. Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God's word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 4: 10-11 (CEB)
The season of giving is done. The Magi have come and gone. So, we can once again settle into our routines and “normal” lives. Even the liturgical calendar calls this ordinary time. But that’s not what we are about: ordinary, routine, normal. We are the people of The Way. We are always crossing over to something different, something more. Our faith is one of constant movement and activity. Even when we are in our devotional closets we are actively involved in loving and growing.
A friend once took a study leave to the United Kingdom. While she was there, she learned about how the church dealt with congregations that lacked vitality. The Church of England had a Redundant Churches Division*. This Division had a question they asked each congregation, “Are you redundant?” You see in a place where there are churches every 5 miles and at every crossroads there are a lot of churches and as any institution would, they wanted to spend their resources on things that were making a difference.
What they meant by this question is, “Do you have a unique thing, ministry, program, opportunity you offer that is different from what the next church down the roads offers?” In an effort to control costs and spend funds wisely they wanted to know which congregations had something to offer that others did not. Where there was uniqueness or where traditional ministries were going well they were willing to fund, but where nothing special was happening, nothing of quality was being offered, nothing different from the church down the road was going on, they declared that congregation redundant and gave them three years to figure out how they could stop being redundant.
So, I ask you, are you redundant? Does what your church offer just repeat what the church across the square or down the road offers? How are you unique? What sets you apart from all the other churches? I know our area; most towns have more churches then they need and most all of them are offering the same basic ministries and opportunities. What is special about your church? I hate to tell you but if your answer is “We are friendly,” or, “We have the nicest people,” or anything along those lines then you are kidding yourselves. Every church is friendly and has nice people. As a colleague has said, “There isn’t a closed church that wasn’t friendly.” But, if your friendliness goes further, deeper into the area of radical acceptance, hospitality, and inclusion then you might just have something special.
The day where every church offered kids’ Sunday School, a youth program, women’s groups, a choir, Sunday morning worship, a Bible Study and VBS every summer are gone. A few congregations might be able to still be all things for all people, but most do not have the ability to accomplish this. And most people are not interested in a church that does.
The Cascadia District Church Extension Society and I offered Micro-Grants to the congregations of the Cascadia District. I have read your proposals for how you envision employing those grants in mission and ministry to new people. The diversity of these proposals reflects well on your seeking ways to not be redundant. Your future, the future of the church depends upon our not being redundant. There are too many people who need to know that they are loved, that someone cares, that justice matters, that peace isn’t just a word on a Christmas card. People want to know that someone sees the hurt and need and is responding. People don’t need a redundant congregation, they need disciples of Jesus Christ who are working to transform lives and world. So, are you redundant?


Tim's signature      Tim Overton-Harris photo

Tim Overton-Harris
Cascadia District Superintendent

*In 2008, the Church changed the terminology and “redundancy” is now know as “closure for regular public worship.”  Many of the historic buildings are retained and used for other purposes


Upcoming events in the District Superintendent's Schedule:

Jan. 10                 Cascadia District Retirees' Lunch with DS
Jan 15-17             Cabinet Meeting
Jan 18                  Ministry Leadership Team meeting
Jan 23                  Conference Personnel Committee Meeting
Jan 24                  Communion in District Office
Jan 27                  Celebration of Englewood UMC's Ministry
Jan 30                  Cabinet Meeting

Tim is also beginning consultation meetings with churches regarding pastoral appointments effective July 1, 2019

Please let Tim know about significant events happening in your local congregation.  He may or may not be able to attend, but he would like to know about them!  Tim is also occasionally available to preach at your church!  You can e-mail him at

You Are Invited to Celebrate the Ministry of Englewood UMC

 The members of Englewood UMC voted to discontinue as a congregation effective December 31, 2018 after 117 years as a chartered church. This action will be affirmed by the Annual Conference at the AC Session in June.

A celebration of the ministry of Englewood UMC will be held on Sunday, January 27th from 2- 5 p.m.  All interested persons are invited to attend.

Please RSVP to or (503) 364-4555 so that they can be prepared for your presence.  

The congregation is leaving a legacy through gifts to continue ministry and fund new ministries, as well as the church building and parsonage which will house new ministries in the future. Read more about the history of the church here. 

 Some Year End - New Year Deadlines

Thursday, January 10    The Last Day to Pay 2018 Apportionments.  Payments
                                       received after Jan. 10 will be credited to 2019 Apportion-

Thursday, January 31    Year End Statistics entered online and signed, and
                                       other 2018 year end reports due to the district office.
                                       See for a 
                                       full list and links to the required forms

As always, if you have questions don't hesitate to contact Linda in the district office, or (503) 581-3969.

General Conference Special Session News

The Council of Bishops has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based on the recommendations of the Council of Bishops. The 32-member Commission was authorized by General Conference 2016 and appointed by the Council of Bishops to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.

The Greater NW Episcopal Area website has a great one page source for all the information you need to get the background, what church leaders are saying about the options which will be considered, and links to press releases and news articles as the session draws nearer and is underway.

You can find it all at




This week in the
Cascadia District

January 10

Cascadia District Retiree Lunch with DS

Wine Country Colloquy

Deadline to turn in 2018 apportionments

January 12

O-I Reconciling UMs meeting at Oregon City UMC

Looking Ahead

January 15

Pudding River Colloquy

January 21

High Desert Colloquy

MLK Day - District Office Closed

January 23

Suburban Ring Colloquy

North Coast Colloquy

January 24

Communion at District Office 

January 27

Celebration of Englewood UMC Ministry (see article in this newsletter)

January 28

Heart of the Valley Colloquy

February 23-26

General Conference Special Session, St. Louis, MO

Prayer Calendar

Jan. 6 - 12

Oregon FUMC
Mike Benischek, pastor
Ted Thonstad, lay leader

Jan. 13 - 19

Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs
Mark Bateman, Board Chair
(please pray for this cooperative effort and the board which oversees it all)

Jan. 20 - 26

Open Door Churches: Salem-Keizer UMs - Pastors
Sandra Kimbrow
Dan Pitney
Alyssa Baker
Jorge Rodriguez Flores
Wendy Woodworth

See the full prayer calendar


College Scholarships Available - Apply Now!

Scholarships for higher education - undergraduate, graduate, and seminary - are available for members of The United Methodist Church through a variety of channels.  

For scholarships offered through the General Church and through the Annual Conference, applications are available now through May 1, 2019.

Check out all the options at


Salem First United Methodist Church has a job opening for a Director of Congregational Life. This is a part time position – approx. 15-20 hours a week. Goals are developing and maintaining a system to welcome and guide new or existing people into meaningful volunteer opportunities that enhance their faith development and establish relationships within the congregation. Work under the direct supervision and direction of the pastor. 

See the full job description here.

Contact Katherine Carpenter, Salem FUMC at for 503-564-6709 to apply or for more information.



Contact us

DS Tim Overton-Harris

District Lay Leader
Paula Sadler

District Administrative Assistant
Linda Grund-Clampit

Check out the Cascadia District webpage:

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Cascadia District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
680 State Street, Suite 200, Salem, Oregon, 97301 ~ (503) 581-3969 ~