January 10, 2019

Dear Reader,
As we get back into the flow of a new year, we hope that you'll always find what you need in the UM Connector. the year ahead will include many stories of ministry, resources, and opportunity for your local church.

You can also expect many stories about the upcoming General Session of our United Methodist Church. If you haven't chosen to tune in to those stories, now may be the time. But don't let it stop you from focusing on how your ministry connects to your local community.

If you have story suggestions for us in the year ahead, please send them to us at

Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


CrossOver week 6: Coming of age as a couple

Woodworth Marriage Certificate photo

Rev. Wendy Woodworth reflects on how Jesus came of age, how she came of age in the church, and her journey of coming out as an openly gay pastor in The United Methodist Church.

“Jesus came of age all of these times and more. Each time he delved deeper into the realization of God’s deep love for him and his call to live out that love, he had a coming of age moment. I have had various moments in my own life.”

Read more of Wendy’s reflection on the Greater Northwest website.

New communications associate joins Camp & Retreat Ministries staff

Tanner Morton

Tanner Morton grew up spending his summers at Sawtooth Camp in Idaho, so when the opportunity recently presented itself to join the Oregon-Idaho Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries staff as the communications associate, he was thrilled.

The 25-year-old Pocatello, ID native has spent the last three summers working as a resource staff member at Camp Magruder on the Oregon Coast while his wife finished working on her degree at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

“It’s surreal working with people I’ve looked up to all my life,” Morton said.

Read more about Tanner on the Conference website.


Inspiring Generosity: Resolutions to inspire, part I

Cesie Delve-Scheuermann dives into a new year of church stewardship by offering up the first of a two-part resolution.

“Stay intellectually curious. I know that this may come as a shock coming from the person who just adores watching bad TV (How about those en suite HGTV bathrooms? Double vanities anyone? And one word: “Botched.”). Here’s a tip: you can watch bad TV and keep learning too.”

Read more of Cesie’s latest blog on the Conference website.

Greater NW Pride: A Kiss


LGBTQ advocacy coordinator Brett Webb-Mitchell reacts to the controversy recently over a viral photo two gay men kissing and reflects on what his hopes and aspirations are for the United Methodist Church in the new year.

“I recognize that many of my sisters and brothers who are LGBTQ and ordained leaders in the United Methodist Church, let alone some members of a local UMC congregation here and abroad, are not universally allowed to show signs of personal displays of affection like kissing or holding hands of the one they love. My hope is that this barrier will be breached in the coming month, and that soon, even in a UMC church, people who are in love can show displays of affection, whether the couple is straight or LGBTQ . After all, all we are showing is love.”   

Read more of Brett’s latest blog on the Conference website.

Celebration of Englewood UMC coming up Jan. 27

Englewood UMC

The congregation of Englewood United Methodist Church in Salem will hold its last service before closing its doors as a traditional worship center on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

The Englewood congregation began in 1901. There will be a celebration of the life and ministry of the church, followed by a reception. The church is located at 1110 17th St. NE in Salem. People are asked to RSVP to or by calling 503-364-4555.

More details about the history and ministry of Englewood UMC will come at a later date in the UM Connector.


LGBTQ churchgoers wary of bishops' letter

people in prayer photo

As United Methodists debate how the denomination regards homosexuality, many LGBTQ church members have felt they are not so much at the table as the main course to be served.

After hearing their concerns, the denomination’s Council of Bishops took the unprecedented step of addressing a pastoral letter to the global LGBTQ community that laments the harm done.

However, a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer United Methodists say the letter falls short. Yet other LGBTQ members find it offers needed recognition.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Unity struggle is major story of 2018

The struggle to hold The United Methodist Church together despite longstanding division over homosexuality was the denomination’s top news story of 2018.

Church communicators and United Methodist News staffers vote annually for the top five United Methodist news stories. Twenty-three ballots were cast this year.

The unity efforts by the Commission on a Way Forward and others have dominated discussions as The United Methodist Church moves toward a special called session of General Conference, set for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis.
Read more of the top five news stories from United Methodist News Service.

Utah church welcomes homeless, loves diversity

people in prayer image

Down the street from First United Methodist Church of Salt Lake City is the majestic Wasatch Range. Tall glass and steel office towers surround the little church just blocks away from the massive headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints.

It is a small church with a big heart.
“I love how this church is an underdog, small but does a lot of powerful things,” said Scott Patton, a longtime member of the church. “There are no barriers to grace.”

On Sunday mornings, grace smells like coffee brewing and eggs cooking as the church opens its cozy basement kitchen and fellowship hall to homeless men and women looking for a warm breakfast and genuine welcome.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Church helps fight ageism in Zimbabwe

Elderly patients are often excluded from receiving the same health care as young people in Zimbabwe, said the Rev. Farirayi Nyabote, Bulawayo-Midlands District superintendent.

The stereotypes, she said, are that poor health is an inherent part of aging, treatments aren’t as effective and seniors have already “lived their time.”

She said the church is hoping to change that thinking through several health initiatives across the country.

“As a church, let us not discriminate on our senior citizens regarding health investments as they are still an important asset of the society.”

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Pacific Islanders focus on divide over sexuality

More than 100 Pacific Islanders gathered recently at Claremont School of Theology for a serious conversation about the human sexuality issues that divide The United Methodist Church.

They were clergy and lay members invited by the denomination’s Pacific Islander Ministry Plan, which supports and provides resources on leadership and ministry for nine Fijian churches, 19 Samoan churches and fellowships and 64 Tongan ministries and congregations.

At the beginning of the Dec. 10-11 gathering, Bishop Grant Hagiya, California-Pacific Conference, said the objectives of the gathering were to share openly and honestly “our own position on human sexuality,” engage in honest dialogue “without trying to convert others to our position” and to build trust by engaging in deep and open dialogue now and into the future.
“To worry about what will happen in February is not really important,” Hagiya said, referring to the special General Conference on Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis. “We cannot control it. … However, the church must continue to do what the church has been doing. And we must prepare the church for the next generation and the generation after that generation.”

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training scholarships available

The Council of Bishops is offering up to six partial scholarships for young adults and seminary students participating in the 2019 UMEIT:USA. The United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training in the USA will be held April 1-4, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.  It is held in conjunction with the annual National Workshop on Christian Unity. Go to for more information about the event. The UMEIT: USA portion will include basic training on The Ecumenical Movement and contemporary ecumenical ministry. It is an excellent training and time of networking for all United Methodists who are interested in expressing the gift of Christian unity in the United States. To obtain a scholarship application contact Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst at or visit the Council of Bishops' Facebook page. The deadline to submit completed applications is February 15, 2019.

Youth, adults invited to area-wide prayer-a-thon in February

Youth are invited to a Feb. 22-23rd for an area-wide prayer-a-thon at West Portland United Methodist Church starting at 7:30 p.m.. The date coincides with General Conference 2019. This is a 12 hour, no sleep lock-in with the primary goal of covering a plethora of prayers for the whole time. You and adults will be divided into four teams and take 15 minute shifts in the sanctuary in intercessory prayer.

Participants are soliciting prayers in their local churches, through social media and other areas of life. Prayers are to be written down or printed out. Individuals, teams of two or the whole group reads through a basket during their turn.
Faith breaks will occur every two to three cycles when everyone comes into the sanctuary for a 15 minutes session, where everyone checks in with one another, prays and sings.

Youth attending need to accompanied by at least one or two adults to meet safe sanctuary guidelines. Young adults are invited to join in the capacity of chaperones/helpers, but must 21 or over with a background check to drive. Everyone stays on site during the time, except for the infamous Slurpee run midway through. Please bring enough money to cover the Slurpee run. Snacks to share are also encouraged.

RSVP to Christy Dirren at


Sign up for choir camp at Magruder

This year's Choir Camp, "Sing the Sacred Rhythm," will feature music selected by Director Luanne Hardy, accompanied by Sara Pope & Sarah Shay. Come prepared to share the love of singing and be ready for the excitement of all the friendships that will bloom from this experience.
The camp runs Feb. 15-18 and costs $268.

Over the course of two full days, music leaders will guide singers to make beautiful music together. The camp includes an assortment of workshops on Saturday and Sunday, plenty of time to enjoy the beach and various activities including the highly anticipated Saturday Variety Show, a camp favorite that provides great opportunities to share your talents. Family members are invited to the concert Sunday evening at 7 p.m. There will also be a surprise activity Monday morning. This will mark the 34th year of Choir Camp at Magruder.

For more information, contact Sally Robertson at or register on the Camping & Retreat Ministries website.


Earl W. Riddle      
January 29, 1920 – December 15, 2018

Retired pastor Earl W. Riddle died on December 15, 2018, in Portland, Oregon.  Earl was 98; his wife, “Kitty,” preceded him in death in 2011. Rev. Riddle is survived by his children, Marty Moretty, Jan (and John) Switzer, and Dave (and Kirsti) Riddle.  He is also survived by 6 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Earl was affiliated with First United Methodist Church in Portland. 

Reverend Riddle served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, as campus minister at the Wesley Foundation in Corvallis, OR; and as pastor to Forest Grove, Twin Falls, and Caldwell United Methodist Churches in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. He also served as the Oregon Conference Program Director, Oregon-Idaho Conference Council Director, and as the OR-ID Conference Council on Ministries Director. He retired in 1985. 

A memorial service for Riddle will be held Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Portland First United Methodist Church at 1838 SW Jefferson St., Portland, Oregon 97201. (503) 228-3195

Friends may contact Jan Switzer at 8447 SW 68th Pl., Portland, OR 97223 for condolences or more information.

Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop
Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer


A church paralyzed by fear needs training wheels

by Christy Thomas

… I started to wonder the church could use a set of training wheels. Perhaps they would help us navigate with less fear the twisty paths in front of us as we sort out what it means to be a people of God in this rapidly changing world. I do think some sense of stability under us might help as we acknowledge the usual and very normal human fear response to our complex challenges …

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