The Table Talks are still going on -- see below for some more opportunities if you haven't attended yet -- but the five Table Talks scheduled in the Cascadia District and led by Cascadia DS Tim Overton-Harris wrapped up this past Sunday.
Persons gathered in Forest Grove, Canby, Madras, Salem, and Nehalem Bay. A total of 250 people from many different congregations across our district came together to listen, learn, and share their perspective. Wow! We so appreciate the churches who hosted, their members who provided hospitality and all those who took the time out of their lives to share together in this way. The purposes of the Table Talks 3.0 are Connection, Conversation, Communication (to and from leadership) and Coalition Building. All of that happened at the five Table Talk events held in the Cascadia District!
Each evening opened with a time of information sharing by DS Tim and Conference Lay Leader Jan Nelson, who attended the Special General Conference in February as a voting member. A Fact Sheet on what was and was not decided at the GC Session was distributed. You can access that here. And then the floor was opened for questions. That was a lively time at each event!
After that came a time of sharing around the tables about how participants felt the General Conference Session impacted their local congregations. Persons had an opportunity to complete a card which started with the question, "What do you want to say to your church?" Those cards were collected and will be recorded and shared with our Bishop, Elaine Stanovsky. She will be considering them as she prepares for our Annual Conference Session together in June.
People also had a chance to leave their name and contact information if they want to be part of the work moving forward into whatever the future holds for the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church. Whether or not you attended a Table Talk, if you are willing to be involved in future work, feel free to contact the district office to let us know.
The sessions closed with a service of communion using a liturgy prepared for Western Jurisdiction groups in response to the Special GC Session (You can read that liturgy here.) and an act of healing around the tables by anointing one another in the name of Christ.
One message that was clear from these conversations is that nothing is settled yet. But the Western Jurisdiction of The UMC, of which we are a part, is determined to be "a home for all God's people." To keep up with the latest developments, you can check out the materials at http://westernjurisdictionumc.org/ahomeforall/. These include pages with
Remaining Table Talk opportunities:
- Tuesday, April 23 at Oak Harbor First UMC at 6:30 p.m.
- Saturday, May 4 at Crossroads UMC, Kimberly, ID at 2 p.m.
- Sunday, May 5 at Jason Lee UMC, Blackfoot, ID at 3 p.m.
- Saturday May 11 at LaGrande UMC at 2 p.m.
Please register if you plan to attend so that there can be a place set for you at the table! Register here.