Though I don't know if it's scientifically true, the saying "it's always darkest before the dawn" is one I reflect on as we approach this particular Lenten season in the church, Sage District. So, knowing the dawn is a beautiful thing, March is here, and we move forward to greet all that the coming months bring. 

Yours in the long walk ahead,

Terri Bartish, Sage District Administrative Assistant, (503)-802-9225

In this month's newsletter:
Celebrating Sage
A Word from your Lay Leader
Register Here for NLI:  March 13-15 at Boise First
Legislative process for 2019 AC released
March 31st is UMCOR Sunday
2019-2020 Gertrude Boyd Crane Scholarships Available
Karen's Sermon in Response to GC 2019
Links and Resources

Celebrating Sage

I appreciate diversity.  I find cultural diversity fascinating, inspiring, and challenging.  I am grateful for the challenge of theological diversity that makes me think more deeply.  I struggle with some differences (like people who don’t share my love of chocolate, which I cannot yet understand), but I think there is much to be gained from staying in conversation and relationship when there are differences. 
The differences among us as United Methodists were on display for the world last week at General Conference.  The Traditional(ist) Plan passed with a 53%/47% vote.  Votes this close yield no “winners,” but rather highlight deep divisions. 
There are plenty of places where you can find official General Conference information and commentary across the theological spectrum.  Here are a few sources that I would commend to you:
Greater Northwest Area info related to GC
Western Jurisdiction of the UMC         
United Methodist News                        
One of my first responses to General Conference was a sense of needing to gather with other United Methodists to break bread.  I had lunch with a few clergy in Boise (see photo above, gathered with Ralph Lawrence, Dana Hicks, Jenny Willison Hirst and friend Alvin), then I was blessed to gather with laity from at least eleven Treasure Valley area UMCs, a dozen of our clergy, and two ecumenical colleagues who came together for worshiop on Thursday, Feb. 28 at Hillview UMC in Boise.  I am tremendously grateful for Rev. Brenda Sene who called upon the talents of the Hillview UMC worship team and included laity from other local churches in worship leadership.  The service they put together, starting and ending with “Over the Rainbow,” was a beautiful experience!  Gathering at the table to repent and celebrate, to remember Christ’s brokenness and receive grace together, is what we do, and it was very good to do just that with so many of you last week.  The sermon I offered at that service can be found at the end of this newsletter.
It is vital to me that we continue gather, to dialogue, and to break bread.  Please remember that you are invited to join me for these very things at our upcoming round of Table Talks.  I’ll be present to lead all five of these events across the district.  (Sage District's Table Talks are listed in the registration form) Registration is crucial, and free, so please be sure to register here
I celebrate all of the many kinds of diversity we have across the district!  I look forward to celebrating Holy Communion with you again soon. 
Peace and blessings,

Rev Karen Hernandez
Sage District Superintendent
(208) 697-4510

Where Is the DS this month?

March 5 – 7     Cabinet @ Pacific Northwest Conference Center (Des Moines, WA)
March 13-15   Northwest Leadership Institute @ Boise 1st UMC & Kuna UMC
March 18         Meetings @ Oregon-Idaho Conference Center (Portland)

March 30         Table Talks 3.0 @ Meridian UMC

Carla Anderson

A Word from your Lay Leader

The countdown to Spring has begun!  We look forward to the daffodils and tulips as they spring forth in all their splendor up from the cold wet ground where they’ve been hiding all winter.  Wednesday, March 6 is Ash Wednesday which begins the season of Lent. 

As Christians Lent gives us an opportunity to examine our lives and take our spiritual temperature, so to speak.  Lent provides space for self-renewal.  Most importantly, Lent is a time in which Christians are invited to deepen our friendship with God.  Friendship with God, in the person of Christ, changes everything about us.  It affects the way we see ourselves, others, and the world around us.  It gives us the grace to become the people God wants us to be.

We prepare ourselves through prayer, fasting and repentance.  There are many ways (Lenten studies, reading books specific to Lent, journaling) to set aside time for reflection.  Make the time to truly reflect on what this season means to you.

Phil 3:10:11  I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participating in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead.


Carla Anderson (
Sage District Lay Leader

Register Here for NLI:  March 13-15 at Boise First

Be sure to register for this annual event at Boise First UMC, Cathedral of the Rockies. 

Planning to participate in the small/rural church track of workshops at Kuna UMC on Thursday, March 14?  Register for NLI, then email Hillary Hahn ( to specify your intention to attend in Kuna.  (Sorry, no partial registrations.)

Legislative process for 2019 AC released

Submission forms for legislation to be presented to the 2019 Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Session are now available. Any church, conference group, or church member may submit legislation for actions, standing resolutions, or petitions to the 2020 General Conference. Preferred date for submission is March 19, with a final deadline of March 29. All petitions will be reviewed by the Legislative Assembly when it meets on April 27 and then referred to the Annual Conference Session on June 12-13.
Information about the submission process, and the forms for submission are available on the conference website. Go to and click on the legislation link on the right side. For questions about the legislative process, contact legislative co-coordinators, Rev. Ruth Marsh ( and/or Rev. Adam Briddell (

All other news regarding the 2019 Oregon Idaho Annual Conference session, including hotel registration which is now open, can be found on the link above (

March 31st is UMCOR Sunday

UMCOR Sunday poster
Give generously
Your generous giving to UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) is what allows UMCOR to act as the arms and legs of Christ’s church, moving toward the most vulnerable in their darkest days. Convinced that all people have God-given worth and dignity—without regard to race, religion or gender—together we are assisting those impacted by crisis or chronic need.
There are a variety of ways to give:
  • Give Online
  • Give through your church. Make checks out to your church. On the memo line put "UMCOR Sunday" or ADVANCE # 901440 if you want your contribution to go directly to UMCOR West Depot.

Buy an item for one of the kits (health, school or cleaning - learn about kits here) and contribute that to your congregations efforts to build kits which are collected at the UMCOR West Depot, ready to send out all around the world as needed.

We have a faithful servant, Steve Matthews, who will pick up kit materials from collection points throughout the area. Sage District collection points: Caldwell UMCLa Grande UMC, Meridian UMC (Church of the Warm Heart), Boise First UMC (Cathedral of the Rockies), Jerome UMC, Pocatello UMC. If possible, bring your items of completed kits to one of the Collection Point churches nearest you. Steve will be doing the circuit of collection point churches the first week in April. Put your items in an appropriate size plastic bag.They are easier than boxes to pack in a vehicle.

If it is not possible to get your items to a collection point, contact Brian Diggs at the UMCOR West Dept ( and he will make arrangements to have your items picked up.

God bless each and every one of you for your generosity in helping people in need.

Maika Tukuafu, Depot Materials Manager 

Rev. Brian Diggs, director UMCOR West Depot:
(Come see us! Brian would like to come and see you!)


2019-2020 Gertrude Boyd Crane Scholarships Available

The Gertrude Boyd Crane Scholarship is intended for women in Oregon- Idaho Conference who are pursuing post-graduate studies toward a vocation in the church.  The application form and additional information is available on the United Methodist Women page of the Oregon Idaho Conference website:  Applications are due by May 1, 2019.

Gertrude Boyd Crane was an ordained elder in our Conference, a theologian and professor at Pacific University, known by her students as a teacher, counselor, and one who helped out financially at critical times in her students’ lives.

In her will, she created a scholarship fund for women in Oregon-Idaho Conference who are taking post-graduate studies toward a profession in the church.  Since 1978 UMW have awarded almost 100 scholarships to outstanding women, many of whom are serving the church here in Oregon-Idaho Conference today.

Please share this information with anyone you know who may qualify. 

Karen's Sermon in Response to GC 2019

Worship Service in Response to Special General Conference
Hillview UMC, (Boise, ID)
Sermon by Rev. Karen Hernandez, Sage District Superintendent

Luke 24:13-35 (CEB)

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be pleasing unto you, O Lord,
our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

There are a couple of convictions I need to share with you right away:

First, I am keenly aware of my privilege. Among the layers of that privilege: I’m a white, English-speaking, cis-gender person in a heterosexual marriage who received an education and has always had ready access to health care. I don’t know where I’d be had I not been given
these substantial advantages, and I am eager to use my privilege in ways that allow others to be seen and heard. Awareness and eagerness do not mean that I always get it right, but rather
that I desire to be held accountable.

Second, I believe in the Living Word of God. I benefit from the Judeo-Christian scriptures that
have been taught to me in United Methodist worship, Sunday School, campus ministry,
camping ministries, and educational institutions for as long as I can remember. But I find the
Word to be holy when it becomes flesh in my life, when it meets tradition, reason, and
experience. I believe the Word is incarnate every time I find it not on a page or a screen but in
the people I encounter here and now.

Some of the first words that came to life for me during General Conference this week were
those attributed long ago to Cleopas and the other disciple while they walked towards Emmaus. As I watched the livestream and my heart sank further and further, I heard these bereft
disciples’ voices echo across the millennia, “We had hoped…”

Oh, had we ever. Lord knows I had hoped that things would turn out differently. I had hoped
that the Spirit would show up in ways that would keep me comfortable in my deluded belief
that a global church that was not of one mind was the same as an all-inclusive church. I had
hoped that Jesus was on board with my preferred plan and that he would lead the nearly 900
delegates to perfect it. I had hoped that our denomination would miraculously show the world
how to remain united and loving in spite of significant differences. I had hoped…
As Cleopas and the other disciple justified their hopelessness, the stranger who fell into step
with them feigned ignorance of recent events, but then he began teaching them about the
much bigger picture. He demystified the words of the prophets and explained how the
suffering on the cross was necessary.

Let me interject here to be absolutely clear about one specific imperfection of this present-day
Emmaus metaphor: I do not believe that the suffering of LGBTQIA persons was ever necessary; rather it is shameful. Harm is never acceptable.

As the two disciples and their 1 stranger continued on for miles, those who felt desperate for
Jesus’ presence were so deep in their grief that they couldn’t see or hear him. It wasn’t until
they welcomed him to the table that things began to change. When Cleopas and the other
disciple found themselves breaking bread the way they had only days earlier at the Passover
feast with Jesus, finally their eyes were opened. Like good Methodists, their hearts were
strangely warmed! And, in an instant, their mourning turned to running! Their grief became a
sprint to evangelism! They ran straight back to the place where they’d hidden in fear, and
started there, with those who had cowered with them. It’s not a bad way to start: telling the
story in a familiar place, comparing notes with other disciples who’ve had their own
transformative experiences, sharing excitement about the possibilities that come after grief,
and considering together how next to spread the Good News.

I’m feeling desperate to move beyond grief that threatens to paralyze and instead get on with
joy that is motivated to “fix” things right away. Because I think getting into too much of a hurry
has the potential to cause a different kind of harm, I’m finding that I need to remind myself of a
few things: First, Jesus forgave those who hammered the nails. (I would not presume to tell
anyone who they need to forgive. From my place of privilege, I need to keep this in mind.).
Second, Jesus promised paradise to one crucified beside him. Third, of the disciples with
varying levels of commitment during Jesus’ lifetime, the vast majority of them missed what
Jesus said from the cross because they’d already walked away, explaining their truncated
discipleship saying, “We had hoped…”

Both grief and urgency are real for me and for many of you. But, friends, it hasn’t even been
three days yet. This is only the second day after some would say the nails were pounded into
our denomination’s cross.

Since Jesus has not yet opened my eyes or gotten through to this dull disciple about how I
should be understanding things differently, then the best place for me to be is at the table
where I know that the bread of life, the cup of love, and unspeakable grace are freely offered to
all. The place where I am mostly likely to encounter the Risen Christ and the living Word made
flesh at the table with you.


Links and Resources


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