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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Dear Reader,

I have a confession to make: Change makes me nervous.

I like the predictability of certain things: Knowing I’m going to work each morning, stopping for a cup of coffee along the way, and the comfort of church always starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays. I’d really like it if my son would get on a predictable sleep schedule once again.

But much to my chagrin, the world doesn’t revolve around me – or any one of us, really! We’re constantly evolving, stretching and responding to the new opportunities for growth (that’s a polite way of saying change) God puts in front of us.

Just look at this week’s UM Connector to see what I mean. Stories of second chances, new groups taking a stand against the UMC’s Traditionalist Plan, communities stepping in to provide housing for the homeless, embracing cyclone survivors and discussions quietly underway about the future of our denomination.

Change is everywhere. Even though he’s throwing me for a loop with his sleep schedule right now, I look at my child and know he’s growing into a sweet and inquisitive little man. And that’s something I can embrace.

Growing in God’s grace with you,
Kristen Caldwell, communications associate


CONFERENCE NEWS

Rupert food pantry provides meals, second chances

For nearly two years, Edwina “Wendy” Kent came to the Open Hearts Food Pantry at Rupert United Methodist Church to keep her own pantry stocked and her stomach full.

Having called this small town in Idaho’s Magic Valley home for nearly 14 years, Kent found herself needing more support in September, when she found herself in a little bit of trouble with the law. Little did she know the Rupert Food Pantry would be her saving grace.

“I liked the people at the church, and I like to see the families who come in,” said Kent.

Ordered to serve 100 hours of community service for a non-violent crime, Kent said she chose to serve her hours in the food pantry. The 58-year-old describes herself as sort of a “homebody” but her trips to the food pantry were her means getting out for social interaction.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

OR-ID Board of Ordained Ministry: Our Resistance to Discriminatory Restrictions from General Conference

We the, Oregon-Idaho Board of Ordained Ministry, believe that in light of the decisions of the 2019 General Conference this is a crucial time to declare how we operate in our work with those called by God into ordained ministry.

Because we have been a Reconciling Conference since 1996, because we have seen the gifts and graces for ministry in LGBTQ persons and have seen these same gifts too often denied, and because we hope to help lead change in our denomination’s policy regarding LGBTQ persons in ordained ministry, we welcome all candidates as children of God as they discern God’s call and claim upon them for ordained ministry.

We commit to inquire of our candidates for commissioning or ordination based on their gifts for Christ’s ministry as delineated in ¶335 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. We will continue to base their examination on their understanding of our Triune God and God’s call rather than on sexual or gender identity of candidates for ministry.

We hold ourselves, our clergy and candidate to the highest standards of faithful and holy living, and for fitness, readiness, and effectiveness in ministry.  We commit to participate fully in the ministerial covenant with our colleagues of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Faithfully,
OR-ID Board of Ordained Ministry, April of 2019

This statement can also be accessed on the Conference website.

5 Reasons to Talk about Planned Giving

Editor’s note: Northwest United Methodist Foundation is starting a series about planned giving. This is the first in the series.

A planned gift is any gift above and beyond a person’s usual pledge that requires careful thought and planning ahead of time. Most planned gifts come in the form of bequests (gifts made through a person’s will after death) or beneficiary designations. If you’re hesitant to talk about this type of giving at your church, you’re not alone… but you might be missing out on some ministry-changing generosity! Here are five reasons to start talking about planned giving at your church.

Read more about 5 reasons for planned giving on the Northwest UM Foundation website.

Legislative Assembly to gather April 27

The Legislative Assembly of the 2019 Annual Conference session will gather April 27 to review items submitted to the Annual Conference Session.

Legislative Assembly is a sub-committee of Annual Conference Members tasked with consider legislative items in advance of Annual Conference and make recommendations to the Annual Conference regarding amendment and passage of the items.
 
For 2019 eleven legislative items will be reviewed by the assembly; three action requests, one petition to General Conference, and seven standing resolutions. These can all be seen on the conference website at www.umoi.org/legislation.
 
The assembly meeting is open to all. Petition spokespersons will be able to address the assembly and answer questions. Then assembly members will debate, offer amendments, and vote on the items. The vote of the assembly becomes a recommendation to the Annual Conference Session and some items with over ninety percent approval may be placed on a consent calendar.
 
Legislative Assembly will be held at Lake Oswego United Methodist Church,  1855 Southshore Blvd., Lake Oswego, OR on Saturday, April 27, beginning at 10 a.m. Learn more on the conference website. Guest are encouraged to register online in advance to allow them to order lunch and ensure sufficient materials are available.

Additional hotel added for AC in Eugene

Since Annual Conference is also graduation weekend in Eugene, the Hotel Eugene has almost sold out. The Conference has reserved a secondary block of rooms at Home2 Suites. Home2 Suites  is a half-mile away and reservations are being offered at the discounted rate of $139/night plus tax. The rate includes wifi, breakfast, and parking. Reserve online here. If the link indicates it is sold out, make your reservation at their regular rate and Conference staff will work with the management to move your registration into the discount block.

Visit www.umoi.org/ac to find all the details and links to make your reservations.

Don’t forget registration is also open for Annual Conference at the same site as well.


AROUND THE CONFERENCE

In the News: All in a Winter’s Work

Story originally published in the Medford Mail Tribune on April 1, 2019

A homeless shelter in downtown Medford celebrated its last night in operation Sunday, remaining relatively trouble-free for Medford police this winter while reducing vagrancy and vandalism issues in the surrounding area.

“Even the numbers of complaints in the downtown are looking better,” said Medford police Deputy Chief Scott Clauson.

After a rocky first year in operation in 2017, the shelter improved markedly in 2018, and the City Council allowed the Kelly Shelter to open for four months this winter season instead of the three months previously.

Sunday was the final day of operation for the shelter, located in the basement of First United Methodist Church, , 607 W. Main St., but homeless advocates are working on a year-round shelter operation at possibly another downtown location.

Read more of this story from the Mail Tribune on their website.

Appointment announcements

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky intends to appoint the Rev. John Go as Pastor of Mercer Island United Methodist Church in Mercer Island, Washington, beginning July 1, 2019. Rev. Go is currently serving Tabor Heights United Methodist Church, Portland, Oregon.

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

Inspiring Generosity: Make. It. Easy. To. Read.

Why does having clear and concise language in a sermon, a spell-checked bulletin, and easy-to-read newsletter matter -- especially when it comes to church stewardship?

Cesie Delve Scheuermann talks about why language matters and offers tips on how to simplify things in this week's Inspiring Generosity:

"We talk a lot about making our places of worship (and all our organizations) warm, welcoming, and inclusive. Making your written documents easy to read and understand is yet another way to help roll out the red carpet to all of God’s children."

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


AROUND THE GLOBE

Denomination’s future under discussion – quietly

Discussions about the future of The United Methodist Church are quietly occurring among leaders, after a recent special session of General Conference that underscored deep divisions over homosexuality.

A group of centrists and progressives — including some U.S. bishops — are meeting to consider options for the “broad center,” said the Rev. Adam Hamilton. He’s founding pastor of the Leawood, Kansas-based United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, the denomination’s largest U.S. congregation in weekly attendance.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Keith Boyette, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association that successfully pushed for strengthening restrictions against same-sex unions and ordination of openly gay clergy, said he’s been part of difficult dialogue with leaders on the other side.

Boyette said the talks are about dealing with the denomination’s conflict, including avoiding at General Conference 2020 in Minneapolis the kind of rancor that characterized the Feb. 23-26 meeting held in St. Louis.  

“That’s certainly the goal of this dialogue. Whether that would be achievable, it’s too early to know,” Boyette said.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Feedback sought on global Discipline effort

The fallout of the special General Conference has slowed the yearslong effort to specify which United Methodist policies can be adapted in Africa, Europe and Asia.
For nearly eight years, church leaders have been combing through the Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church’s main policy book, to determine what parts are essentials to the denomination's worldwide identity and what parts are nonessentials that can be adapted.

They initially planned to bring their recommendations for a vote at the 2020 General Conference, the next gathering of the denomination’s top lawmaking body.

However, at a March 21-26 meeting in Manila, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters decided instead to ask General Conference delegates to give feedback on the work they have done so far on what church leaders call the General Book of Discipline.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Church embraces cyclone survivors in Zimbabwe

The United Methodist Church has rallied to provide relief to those affected by Cyclone Idai, which ravaged Chimanimani and Chipinge more than two weeks ago.

While Cyclone Idai (which means “love” in the local Shona language) devastated parts of Manicaland, it brought to fore The United Methodist Church’s affection for the distressed communities.

The storm made landfall in Beira, Mozambique, late on March 14 before moving inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi. According to the ReliefWeb, a service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the death toll in Zimbabwe is at 415, with at least 200 still missing. In Mozambique, current figures put the death toll at 518, with 56 dead in Malawi.

At least 16,000 homes have been destroyed by the storm in Zimbabwe, according to ReliefWeb. Church members from different districts in the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area have donated food, clothing and kitchen utensils to people who lost their homes and are staying at shelters set up by the government.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Sierra Leone Conference helps kick-start new school

About 100 students from The United Methodist Church Primary School in Sayllu, Sierra Leone now have the materials they need to start school in September.

The children received backpacks, uniforms, shoes, books and other supplies last month from the Sierra Leone Conference’s Community Empowerment for Livelihoods and Development.

The primary school — in the home village of Sierra Leone Area Bishop John K. Yambasu — was scheduled to open in September after an April dedication last year, but a lack of educational materials and teachers willing to work in the remote community delayed the opening, said Leonard Ben Gbloh, the conference’s education secretary.

“Teachers have now been recruited and the supply of the learning materials has further galvanized plans for the school to open this September,” Gbloh said.

Community Empowerment for Livelihoods and Development also provided initial funding to buy teaching materials for the school, he said. The denomination’s community-empowerment program supports remote communities with resources that enhance education, health and the provision of social services.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES

Special Pre-Inhabit Conference training offered to help UMC leaders to make better community connections

For the second year, the Greater Northwest (GNW) Innovation & Vitality Team is partnering with the Parish Collective in presenting the Inhabit Conference, April 26-27, in Seattle. The conference is intentionally designed to “engage, encourage, and empower innovative, missional practitioners as they go about practicing the way of Jesus in place.”

“Inhabit is focused on community engagement” says Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, GNW Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church. Joining Barber as a presenter at Inhabit this year is the Rev. Shalom Agtarap.

The GNW Innovation & Vitality Team is offering a special pre-conference session on Thursday, April 25, the day before the two-day main conference. Clergy or lay people interested in planting new churches and bringing new vitality to existing ministry are encouraged to attend. 

Learn more and register on the Greater NW Area website.

IN REMEMBRANCE

Nancy E. White                                                          

June 16, 1943 – March 22, 2019
                               
Nancy E. White, wife of retired pastor, Rev. Boone L. White, died on March 22, 2019. Nancy is survived by her husband, Boone; children, Kristyn Rock, Amy Emmett, Tracy Allen, Wendy White and Ross White; and four grandchildren. 
 
Rev. White and Nancy served at Salem: Morningside, La Grande: First, Oregon City, Idaho Falls: Trinity, and most recently at Lake Oswego UMC in the Oregon-Idaho Conference. They also served at Anchorage: First UMC in the Alaska Missionary Conference. Rev. White retired in 1992.

There will be two memorial services: one will be held on Sunday, April 14th at 2:00 pm at Lake Oswego United Methodist Church, 1855 Southshore Blvd., Lake Oswego, OR 97034; and the other one on Friday, April 26th at 2:00 pm in the chapel at Wesley Homes at Lea Hill, 32049 109th Place SE, Auburn, WA 98092.
 
Memorial gifts in Nancy’s memory may be given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

For more information and to offer condolences, friends may contact Boone White at 32049 109th Place SE, Auburn, WA 98092 or at (253) 876-6307.
 
Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop
Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer

 



 

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