Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dear Reader,

The special called session of General Conference ended two weeks ago. It has forever changed The United Methodist Church.

The pace is changing -- there was lament, response and surprise and there certainly was also some rejoicing. But that is not what has grabbed the spotlight of church and local news.

This week’s UM Connector continues to capture some of the response and some of the questions about what will happen next.

We must now enter a time of slowing down, learning and waiting. We will wait for the Judicial Council session in April and we will even wait for the 2020 General Conference session. But in the meantime much is going to happen.

This week, leaders of the Western Jurisdiction are meeting to look at next steps, and local churches across the connection are reconsidering what it means to be in ministry with a diverse community that includes LGBTQIA siblings.

And ministry goes on, of course. One of our greatest ministries is that of the United Methodist Committee On Relief, so make sure your church is ready for UMCOR Sunday on March 31. It is just one example of how we continue to be in connection with one another amid uncertainty as a denomination.

Grace and peace,
Greg Nelson, Director of Communications


Agencies affiliated with UMC begin responding to GC2019 fallout

Before and after the votes were tallied at the Special General Conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis, agencies and organizations affiliated with the church were quick to share their opinion and desire to distance themselves from the damage they think the Traditional Plan will inflict on the future of United Methodism, while others are still pondering.

“My heart grieves for my Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA ) siblings who experienced the harm of continued rejection, insensitive and bigoted rhetoric, and emotional and spiritual disregard. I acknowledge your dedication to the church in spite of the oppression you face and respect any feelings of anger or betrayal that may lead some of you to walk away,” writes General Committee on Religion and Race General Secretary Erin Hawkins. “I also grieve for those traditionalists whose willingness to be in authentic dialogue and relationship was overshadowed by forces that corrupted the work of the General Conference.”

The Association of United Methodist Seminaries all signed on in support of the One Church Plan because the implication it has on developing future disciples willing to serve the church. The group cited public opinion polls in the U.S. which demonstrate younger people in the U.S., including those who consider themselves deeply devoted Christians, do not want to organize their spiritual and church lives around the exclusion of LGBTQ persons.

“If the Traditional Plan passes, we may very soon lose an entire generation of leadership here in the United States,” wrote the presidents and administrators of the 13 United Methodist seminaries in the U.S.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

IV team expands to keep church transformation going

Written in dry erase marker on the window of Leroy Barber’s office of innovation and vitality at the Oregon-Idaho Conference Center is the phrase: “Innovation happens at the intersection of difference.”

It’s a heady charge – getting United Methodists in the Oregon-Idaho Conference and beyond to consider a church that doesn’t just revolve around traditional worship spaces. This is why, after one year in his position with the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area, Barber has added a team of individuals to help spread the gospel of diversity, beloved community and more in hopes that some day soon United Methodists reach that intersection.

Jess Bielman, Sara Barger and Karen Ward have joined the team to serve in various capacities to make the vision of innovation and vitality a reality in Oregon and Idaho.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.


Greater NW Pride: Beyond the Rainbow Flag

In his latest blog post, LGBTQ advocacy coordinator Brett Webb-Mitchell discusses what we, as United Methodists, can do post-General Conference to keep the inclusion going long after the political rhetoric dies down.

“… The goal, overall? It is to assist congregations finding their way towards being fully integrated, in which all are not only welcomed, affirmed, and included, but integrated in every aspect of a community of faith’s life, regardless of one’s gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, age, ability or disability, from the hearing community and the deaf community. In other words, that the church strives to be the body of Christ in the world today (1 Cor. 12) …”
Read more of Brett's latest blog post on the Conference website.

Inspiring Generosity: 4 Ways to Surprise and Delight

Cesie Delve-Scheuermann outlines ways in which you can encourage church staff, parishioners and donors with surprise acts of generosity -- kinda like that time Jesus turned water into wine.

" ... The sheer joy in Jesus’ action was cause for great celebration. He could have turned his back and said, “Water’s better than nothing.” But he knew that wine was essential and made an already happy day an even better one. He surprised and delighted ..."

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


Music leader/director – McMinnville, OR

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Judicial Council to review GC2109 actions

 Headline-making decisions by the legislative body of The United Methodist Church will be reviewed next month by the denomination’s top court. 

The United Methodist Judicial Council has posted its two-item docket for the April 23-26 meeting in Evanston, Illinois, with a reminder of deadlines for request for oral hearings and brief submissions. 

As the special General Conference drew to a close on Feb. 26, delegates approved a request that the top court review the Traditional Plan as amended. That plan would strengthen enforcement to prevent “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as clergy and would impose mandatory penalties on clergy who officiate at same-sex weddings.

During a Feb. 27 closed meeting following General Conference, the Council of Bishops decided to ask the Judicial Council to make a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of Petition 90066, also adopted by GC2019. The petition outlines procedures for local churches to disaffiliate from the denomination and retain property.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Pastors became counselors after deadly tornado

Ash Wednesday gatherings at United Methodist churches in east Alabama became services of remembrance for 23 people killed in a massive tornado. 

For sure, the United Methodist pastors of Lee County, Alabama, will long remember how they became a team of crisis counselors just after the EF4 twister tore through the area on Sunday afternoon, March 3.

When she learned from a TV news broadcast that the county had been badly hit, the Rev. Robin Wilson texted the chaplain at East Alabama Medical Center, offering to help.

“She texted back just two words: ‘Please come,’ ” said Wilson, pastor of First United Methodist in Opelika, Alabama.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Cameroon UMW confront gender-based violence

Addressing gender-based violence in a patriarchal society, 55 Cameroonian women gathered recently to learn more about the issue and discover ways they can combat it.

The United Methodist Women Association Cameroon coordinated the event in partnership with two nonprofits, the Cameroon Association for the Protection and Education of the Child and the Obala Municipal Council.

Participants represented civic organizations and Christian denominations. They included indigenous, minority, HIV-infected and economically disadvantaged women, as well as victims of gender-based violence and runaway child brides seeking shelter and protection.

The workshop focused on equipping and empowering women with knowledge and awareness about legal and human rights to reduce their vulnerability to violence and discrimination. Participants learned about abuse-prevention guidelines to include in community-development action plans.

“I was in an abusive relationship for 10 years, hoping and praying my boyfriend would marry me,” recalled participant Asta Walolo Elveria. “I was coping with insult and frequent reminders of how worthless I am. I was always beaten and had no means to take care of my daughter.”

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Korean clergy offer diverse perspectives on GC2019

While many Korean clergy members welcomed the adoption of the Traditional Plan at the 2019 General Conference, others in The United Methodist Church’s Korean community expressed their disappointment and concerns with the plan.

“I cannot tell you I am happy with what happened at General Conference,” said Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, one of three Korean episcopal leaders.
“I cannot tell you that I think we did a good job. I cannot tell you that I think we engaged in abject humility and obedience to God’s Holy Spirit. … It shows again why we still need a Savior, why we all stand in the need of prayer and God’s perfecting love and grace.”

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Get your church ready for UMCOR Sunday March 31

When disaster strikes around the globe—Haiti’s 2010 earthquake or Typhoon Haiyan in 2013—so many watching the drama unfold on our living room televisions feel entirely helpless. How could any one person make a difference in the wake of such widespread devastation?

As responders around the globe scramble to help survivors, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, is prepared to act. Giving on March 31 allows this life-saving work to continue.

Resources for local churches: Including videos, bulletin inserts and more, are available through


Is the UMC brand broken?

By Patrick Scriven

        “ … Like the rash of E.coli cases linked to Chipotle last year, the recent General Conference has caused many to wonder if this is the same denomination they have dedicated their prayers, gifts, and presence to …”


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