March 7, 2019

Dear Reader,

I’ve been going to General Conference since 2000 (and 1976). Each year those looking to see the churches stance on inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer children of God improved – saw it shrunk and cut down.

The 2019 special session was supposed to fix that. But it didn’t – the same thing happened as before.

But the result was different. Instead of going home frustrated and saying, “next time,” a tornado has been unleashed. Across the US individuals and churches are saying, “we’re still inclusive here.” While at the same time, conservative factions of the church are pleased with the outcome and commit to work to “restore the good order and missional effectiveness of the UM Church.”

I usually avoid messages from “outside” groups in the UM Connector. But today we have excerpts and links from two sources, The Reconciling Ministry Network, and the Wesleyan Covenant Association. While not the only external groups involved, these are the most prominent. They are included because, while most, but not all, United Methodists in this Conference are disappointed with the outcome of the Special Called General Conference, others might be pleased.

We need to hear what they are saying.

Our Western Jurisdiction leadership has committed to this being a place where a spectrum of views will be welcomed. So, we need to work to hear those views and voices.

Grace and peace,
Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


Greater NW churches respond to GC2019 with messages of frustration, apology and love

As soon as Rev. Barbara Nixon saw the votes tallied at General Conference that would ensure that The United Methodist Church would re-affirm and double-down on the unequal treatment of LGBTQ people within the church, she was on the phone ordering a banner for Corvallis First UMC.

The sign, which was posted in the church’s front yard later that evening, reads: “We denounce the immoral decision of the global United Methodist Church. We stand with LGBTQ persons unconditionally.”

Corvallis has been a reconciling congregation for 26 years and Nixon said it wasn’t a challenging decision or big question to order the sign.

“We’re just extremely clear on this topic and always have been,” she said. “We’ve had people come in off the street and say, ‘thank you for the sign.’”

All over the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area, churches and church leaders started changing the reader boards outside of their buildings, held prayer vigils, and talked to local media – apologizing for their denomination’s continued harm of LGBTQ disciples. They also used the opportunity to amplify their message that God loves all people, and that they are standing firm and not going anywhere.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Table Talks 3.0: Finding a Way Forward Together

United Methodists in the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences are encouraged to participate in Table Talk conversations planned in various settings across the Greater Northwest Area. These opportunities will provide attendees a way to engage the church’s current discussion of human sexuality and the decisions made at the 2019 General Conference Session in St. Louis, within a structure of worship and respect for one another.

To develop that sense of respect, participants are asked to commit to a covenant for respectful dialog. In short, the covenant asks them to:

  • Stay Curious,
  • Be Kind, and to
  • Listen with the same amount of passion with which I want to be heard.

Both worship and a covenant for respectful dialogue are essential when we ask for God to be present in our conversations and recognize that we can sometimes get in the way of that. All across the area are asked to seriously consider participating in one of these opportunities.

Visit the Greater NW Area website for more information on and location of Table Talks 3.0.

Observations from St. Louis

Conference lay leader Jan Nelson, lay delegate to General Conference, offers some thoughts on her service as a lay delegate to the special-called General Conference.

“The decision-making process of the general conference sessions does not work for everyone. Our siblings in Africa has been telling us this for a long time, and we should have been listening. It was designed for an American church with American rules. It does not lend itself to meaningful conversations or to hearing the stories that lead to hearts being changed. It is a process that by its nature creates winners and losers, and that’s not what the church should be. But it is very hard to change …"

Read more of Nelson’s blog post on the Conference website.

GC2020 Delegation Nominating Deadline Extended

Due to the timing of the 2019 Special Called General Conference, the deadline for submitting clergy or laity nominations for the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences has been extended until March 15. Those who wish to self-nominate simply need to send an email to the conference secretary before March 15.

Clergy and laity are also invited to nominate up to five others; those who receive at least 10 nominations (along with those who self-nominate) will receive an invitation to submit information for the nominations slate, which will be published on the conference website with the 2019 pre-conference reports.


“Hearing the Cries for Justice” in Eugene to focus on criminal justice reform

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, is holding a regional summit March 22-23 at First United Methodist Church Eugene, to equip people of faith and goodwill to support their neighbors impacted by the legal system.

This one-and-a-half day event will bring together experts in the field—including those with lived experience, alongside faith leaders and professionals—to share opportunities for people of faith to help change hearts, minds and society itself. Workshops will be led by staff from Sponsors Inc. of Eugene and Partnership for Safety & Justice of Portland. Over a series of summits held in different corners of the state—starting in Eugene—the Hearing Cries for Justice program will connect people locally to build up the movement for justice. The cost to attend is $25 (includes lunch); no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Register securely online.

The event starts Friday evening with a screening of the documentary film “Thirteenth” at First UMC Eugene, followed by discussion. On Saturday, the focus will be equipping faith communities for the work of serving people impacted by the justice system.

The program runs Friday, March 22 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. First UMC Eugene is located at 1376 Olive St.

Deadline to submit AC legislation March 29

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,

MFSA spring event looks at law and justice

Rev. Neal Christie, from the General Board of Church and Society, and Portland Attorney Elden Rosenthal will be the speakers for the Oregon-Idaho Methodist Federation for Social Action’s spring event.
Rule of Law as a Tool of Christian Justice: the intersection of civil law and social principles will be their topic for the gather on Friday evening, March 22.
Rosenthal is a retired Portland attorney who was part of the team from the Southern Poverty Law Center that secured a $12.5 million judgment against the White Aryan Resistance in 1988 in Portland. He continues to be active in justice issues and is a strong proponent of the Rule of Law as a method for supporting ideals of our political morality. Christie is the Assistant General Secretary for Education & Leadership Formation at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Appointment Announcement

It is Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky's intention to make the following appointments:

  • Rev. Richard A. Füss to Langley United Methodist Church in Langley, Washington, effective July 1, 2019. Füss is currently serving Newman United Methodist Church in Grants Pass, Oregon. Rev. Mary Boyd, who currently serves Langley, will be retiring July 1.
  • Rev. Benjamin Devoid to First United Methodist Church in Medford, Oregon, effective July 1, 2019. Devoid is an elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference where he currently serves as Senior Pastor at Memorial United Methodist Church in Thomasville, North Carolina. It was previously announced that Rev. Linda Tucker will be appointed to First United Methodist Church in Corvallis, Oregon.
  • Rev. Arturo M. Fernandez as interim pastor of Las Naciones United Methodist Fellowship through June 30, 2019. Fernandez is a Retired Elder in the Oregon-Idaho Conference and served as the Western District Superintendent.

A summary of appointment announcements can be found on the conference website at A list of clear openings for appointment can be found on the Greater NW area website.

Spirit Alive: It's time to get real

Rev. Lowell Greathouse, coordinator of mission and ministry for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, reflects on what he observed as an observer during the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. More importantly, he reflects on what he learned.

"... Everything that occurred in St. Louis mattered...and everything we do next matters as well. But once the stone has been rolled away, it is time to join the celebration of new life that awaits ..."

Read more of Lowell's latest blog on the Conference website.

Inspiring Generosity: Social Media Makes Sense, Donut?

In her latest blog, Cesie Delve Scheuermann examines how the puns of a Blue Star donut sign on the use of social media can be applied -- carefully -- to church use as well.

"This Blue Star sign can serve not only to explain social media, but it can inspire you to think creatively about expressing who you are. Donut it make sense to use the Blue Star example? Really, donut be so serious. We all need a little levity – and maybe a donut or two – in our lives. Go forth and donut disappoint."

Read more of her latest blog on the Conference website.

Greater NW Pride: What St. Harvey Milk Has to Say to Queer UMC Folk

Brett Webb-Mitchell reflects on what he thinks his hero of the LGBTQ movement would say right now to United Methodists who need to be heard.

"At a 1978 rally, commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, (Milk) urged LGBTQ people to come out: 'I ask my gay brothers and sisters to make a commitment to fight. For themselves, for their freedom, for their country…We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets…We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions.  We are coming out to tell the truth about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I am going to talk about it. You must come out.  Come out to your parents, your relatives…'

And come out to your churches."

Read more of Brett's blog on the Conference website where you can also sign up to subscribe to his blog emails as well.


Bishops challenge constitutionality of disaffiliation petition

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church (COB) has asked the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality and the meaning, application, and effect of Petition 90066, which was approved by the Special Session of the General Conference on February 26.

In the request filed today (March 6, 2019) and signed by COB Secretary Bishop Mande Muyombo, the COB noted that bishops voted to make the request during their meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 27, 2019, a day after the close of the Special Session.

Petition 90066 was adopted in the Legislative Committee of the General Conference on February 25, adding a new Section and new paragraph 2553 and to the Book of Discipline on “Disaffiliation of Local Churches Over Issues Related to Human Sexuality.” The petition was amended during the plenary session of the General Conference on February 26 by substitution of a minority report.

Read more of this story from the Council of Bishops website.

Reconciling Ministries Network: Stand your Holy Ground

As we return from St. Louis after a week of unexpected beauty, terrible pain, and deep injustice, questions are pouring in: what just happened? What does it mean? What do we do next? What happens to Reconciling Ministries Network?

In the midst of our exhaustion and sadness is also a sense of gratitude for each other – for our Reconciling United Methodist community and the larger ecumenical and secular world that has buoyed us. We also recognize our support from Reconciling United Methodists around the connection. Above all, there is determination to move forward – together, with a fierce witness and our hearts set on the wholeness of justice.

TO OUR LGBTQ FAMILY: Remember always that the General Conference is not the Church. You are beautiful expressions of the diversity of God’s creation. You are children of God loved and called to service in a world that needs you.

We love you. We pray with you. And we remain committed to our mission of the full inclusion of God’s LGBTQ children in the life of the Church.

TO OUR ALLIES: Now is the time to come out and show your support. And now is the time to join in the work before us. We know that some of you were shocked, not necessarily by the outcome of the General Conference as much as by the extent of the Church’s brokenness. Now, we need your engagement more than ever to strengthen support across the connection for LGBTQ people and other marginalized people in our churches and to fight for the justice that is still and always characteristic of God’s kin-dom.

Read more of RMN’s statement on their website.

Statement of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council on Next Steps

The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) is thankful The United Methodist Church has reaffirmed its sexual ethics, teachings on marriage and its ordination standards for clergy at the historic special General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. By reaffirming its teachings the denomination remains aligned with the church universal in all times and all places. The UM Church is unique among Protestant churches because it is a truly globally connected church.

Within a matter of years, more United Methodists will live outside the U.S. Its fastest growing faith communities are now found in Africa, the Philippines, and parts of Eurasia, where there is clear commitment to the historic teachings and practices of the church universal.

We recognize that persons of divergent positions have been harmed by the acrimonious and bitter debate exhibited at the recent special General Conference. As Christians, we are called to exhibit grace and to speak the truth in love. We are committed to conversations and actions that affirm the sacred worth and love of all people regardless of their perspective in our church’s decades-old debate.

To that end, we remain open to good faith conversations about the future of the church. We recognize irreconcilable differences exist, not just about human sexuality, but also around our understanding of the authority and interpretation of Scripture, and the nature of the church. While we remain deeply committed to its historic teachings on these matters, we are open to true Christian conferencing in an attempt to resolve our impasse in fair and equitable ways.

Read more of the WCA statement on their website.

Beginning to look ahead after GC2019

The full ramifications of what happened at the 2019 General Conference are still unknown. However, a few things are coming clearer into view.
Since the denomination’s top lawmaking body adjourned Feb. 26, the following developments have occurred:

• One group that had previously raised the possibility of leaving The United Methodist Church announced that it has no immediate plans to do so;

• The General Conference Committee on Ethics announced it found no evidence to substantiate a delegate’s allegation of bribery; 

• The denomination’s top court publicized deadlines for briefs ahead of its April meeting that will determine which of the newly approved legislation is in line with the denomination’s constitution;

• Bishops and other church leaders began the work of explaining what General Conference did and what lies ahead for the multinational denomination where church members still have divergent interpretations of Scripture and differing views of ministry with LGBTQ people.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Young adults reflect on Traditional Plan adoption

Some young United Methodists warn that the Traditional Plan — adopted Feb. 26 during the denomination’s special General Conference — is the choice of older congregants who are not the future of the church.

Others, like Monique Assi, a church member in Côte d'Ivoire, praised the plan as being biblically correct.

“This plan is in perfect harmony with the word of God,” said Assi, 32, a lifelong United Methodist who is communication director for her local church in West Africa. “For me, it is proof that The United Methodist Church remains attached to the values and principles advocated by the Bible.”

The plan retains a ban on gay marriage and forbids “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained in The United Methodist Church. It also adds more accountability and penalties for those who defy the bans. The One Church Plan, which would have allowed such decisions to be made locally, was defeated.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Nominations sought for UMW racial justice awards

The Charter for Racial Justice Committee of the Oregon-Idaho Conference United Methodist Women is seeking nominees for the annual Racial Justice Award and applications for the Isobel F. Zimmerman Grant Program.

The Charter for Racial Justice Award is given annually to persons/groups of the United Methodist Church within the boundaries of the Oregon-Idaho Conference who advocate for racial justice in their communities and who recognize that racial justice is a biblical, leadership, community, and public policy issue."

The Zimmerman Grant Program distributes grant monies to programs directed toward leadership development of Native Americans or African Americans (with preference for funding awarded to programs within the Oregon-Idaho Conference), or in support of a Foreign Mission Project supported by United Methodist Women. 

The nomination/application deadline for both the award and grant program is April 15, 2019. 

Visit for more information and application guidelines.


Mary Ellen Hare                                                           

July 14, 1927 – February 21, 2019

Retired Pastor Mary Ellen Hare, died on February 21, 2019. Mary is survived by her husband, retired pastor, Reverend William Hare, and their children; Melinda Hare, James Hare and Kevin Hare. She had 4 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Pastor Hare served at Wendell, Dillard-Winston/Camas Valley/Tenmile, and most recently at Talent in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.  She retired in 1994.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, March 11 at 3:00 pm at Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Road, Eagle Point, OR 97524.

For more information and to offer condolences, friends may contact Melinda Hare, 343 East Hersey St., Ashland OR 97520, email: or call (541) 482-9714. 
Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop
Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer



Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Conference Office: 1505 SW 18th Avenue Portland, OR 97201
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