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Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019

Dear Reader,

What does it mean to you to be “in mission?” Does the term “missionary” conjure up negative images of white colonialism like it sometimes does for me?

I remember traveling to Angola in 2012 with two United Methodist pastors from the Yellowstone Conference (now Mountain Sky) and hesitating to call myself a missionary because I felt guilty about my privilege being on display. For the three weeks we were there, though, the work we were doing was about empowering local pastors to be engaged with their church and communities in the unique ways only they can be. I returned home and realized I was being called to be more engaged in service work - mission work as we call it in the church - in my local community and world.

A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team just returned from another trip to Kenya in support of the Maua Hospital, where lives are being improved, if not saved, because United Methodists are partnering with, not ministering to, the local medical community.

And in Madras, Oregon, the United Methodist Church recently handed out more than 1,000 pairs of free Bombas socks at a community event -- no proselytizing included.

As Oregon-Idaho Global Missions Chair Jim Frisbie said during our conversation this week about the upcoming celebrations of 200 years of United Methodist global missions, “you can’t separate missions from social justice and you can’t separate social justice from missions.”

In the coming weeks you’ll read about all the different avenues of mission (service) work you can be engaged in right here in the Oregon-Idaho Conference and around the world and you can register for one of the global missions celebrations as well.

Obrigada (thank you in Portuguese),
Kristen Caldwell, interim director of communications


CONFERENCE NEWS

Celebrations to highlight 200 years of mission, future church work

The United Methodist Church has been “on a mission” for more than 200 years and plans are underway in the Oregon-Idaho Conference to celebrate and reflect on where the church has been; and where it’s headed this fall.

In October, people in the Oregon-Idaho Conference will have the opportunity to participate in any one of the three special celebrations and workshops in the area to honor the 200th anniversary of the Global Missions program of The United Methodist Church, the 150th anniversary of United Methodist Women and the 235th anniversary of John Wesley’s evangelistic movement deemed “Methodism” being chartered in the United States.

“It’s a very auspicious year,” said Jim Frisbie, chair of the Oregon-Idaho Global Missions Team. “I didn’t feel we could let it pass without having some sort of Conference recognition. Right now, we need something to celebrate.”

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

We invest in #transitionready companies

At the most basic level, money is a tool for expressing the value of things. We also believe it’s a tool for expressing the values of our faith. That’s why we partner with Wespath to invest money for churches and agencies. Wespath engages the global financial market from a Wesleyan perspective.

Wespath’s most recent sustainable investment report states: “We view the world’s broad acceptance of climate change as the megatrend driving one of the most important shifts in the financial markets—the transition to the low-carbon economy… Overall, the world has adopted clean energy far faster than experts expected, and countries have moved aggressively in the past few years to reach their targets. This includes the U.S., where despite recent actions at the federal level, many states, cities, companies and citizens are taking action on their own to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Read more of this story from Northwest United Methodist Foundation’s website.

Conference journal now available online

The 2019 Conference Journal is available for viewing or downloading on the Conference’s website now.

Download either the full Journal or individual sections at www.umoi.org/journal. All of the chapters—with the exception of the clergy/laity directories—are accessible by anyone. Annual Conference members with a password (it’s the same as last year; also available from your district office) may access the full Journal or the clergy/laity directories chapter.

To download a chapter, right-click on the link and choose "save as..." or "save target...". You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program if you are using Windows. Most computers have it already installed. If you need to install it, click here to go to the Adobe website.

A printed booklet will be available to order from Lulu.com later this month. The printed version costs approximately $20, including shipping. The district offices are happy to offer technical assistance to those who may be struggling with the challenge of ordering the Journal online.

Retrieve lost items from Annual Conference

 Are you missing this lovely red stole with a tag in it that says "made by mom"?
 
What about this nice grey sweater?
 
If you attended Annual Conference and are missing these items and a couple of different computer cords, please contact us at the Conference Center to identify and retrieve your items.
 
Contact Sally Blanchard at sally@umoi.org or call 503-802-9206.

AROUND THE GREATER NW AREA

Ephrata UMC offers Memory Café for the community

from the PNW

When a need arose in the small central Washington town of Ephrata to provide more support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers, the local United Methodist Church stepped up.

Once a month for the last year-and-a-half, Ephrata United Methodist Church has hosted a Memory Café for those who suffer from memory loss illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers.

“It’s intended to be an outreach beyond our four walls into the community,” said Pastor Don Dunn. “It works really well.”

Read more of this story on the Pacific Northwest Conference website.

Inspiring Generosity: When checks and cash are no longer relevant

In this week’s blog, stewardship consultant Cesie Delve Scheuermann explores the idea that not everyone carries cash and checks for Sunday offerings, but the importance of ritual, too.

“The ritual of passing the plate is something that is a great tradition that’s embraced because those people have something physical to put in the plate.
 
But what about churches that are trying to attract a younger population or people who feel comfortable with technology? What options do you have for them?” 


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

“12 Doors and More” — Valley Interfaith Action 

from the Alaska Conference

Valley Interfaith Action (VIA) has 12 “doors” in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. We are Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal and Catholic congregations who utilize a community organizing model to address the quality-of-life issues which affect residents in the Mat-Su. We were originally Valley Christian Conference, a collection of churches who birthed new nonprofit agencies to fill service gaps. Out of Valley Christian Conference sprung Valley Residential Services which provides low-income housing and Day Break which provides mental health services, among many other nonprofits over twenty years. In 2015, Valley Christian Conference relaunched under a new vision and mission of faith-based community organizing to develop and empower leaders to advocate on their own behalf. Since launching as VIA, the organization has developed six local organizing ministry teams from Palmer to Willow and held public meetings yielding notable improvements to the lives of Mat-Su residents. 
 
VIA is currently working with Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together (AFACT) to establish an organization on the Kenai Peninsula which would broaden our connection of congregations who are engaged in this transformational outreach work. VIA leaders are excited for this expansion.
 
Currently Christ First UMC in Wasilla is working with VIA’s organizer, Gretchen Clayton, to establish VIA’s seventh local organizing ministry team. Gretchen has worked alongside Rev. Daniel Wilcox to do dozens of one-to-one visits with families, hear their concerns and hopes for the community, and engage the faith-based community organizing model based on their desire to build stronger relationships between one another and the between the church and their neighbors.

Read more of this story on the Alaska Conference website.

Greater NW Pride: Camp Queer Pride 2019

Who is excited to go to camp next week and wants others to join? Oregon-Idaho Conference LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator Brett Webb-Mitchell. That's who.

He’ll be attending the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC’s first-ever “Camp Queer Pride 2019” for young people August 16-18 in the San Bernardino Mountains of California and said there’s still room for more to join.

“This first-of-its-kind camp and retreat time in the UMC is a chance for us then to build on the success of this camp and offer it to middle-school and high school young people who are self-identifying as LGBTQ+ in the coming years, along with a camp and retreat for LGBTQ+ young adults.”

Find more details when you read his blog on the Conference website.

AROUND THE GLOBE

Evangelism crusade enriches spiritual lives in Zimbabwe

Almost 200 miles from the Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, lies Masvingo Town, which is among the 13 districts of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area. 

In Masvingo District, a mission area of United Methodism’s Zimbabwe West Annual Conference, the church is winning souls to Christ through three crusades in a resettlement area and two growth points where the population is concentrated.

For years, the absence of The United Methodist Church in the region was by design of the colonial power that designated areas of evangelism to missionary societies. Those restrictions were removed when Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980. Nearly four decades later, The United Methodist Church is still working to penetrate this remote, impoverished area with the Gospel.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

MARCHA laments violent deaths in Texas and Ohio

MARCHA, Methodist Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans, laments the loss of precious lives to hate and violence over the past 24 hours in El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio. We pray for peace and comfort for the families and communities mourning these senseless murders.

We are alarmed by how the evils of white supremacy, racism and xenophobia continue to rapidly spread through all levels of our nation and society, and the lack of leadership of those in positions of power and influence to address them effectively.

Rooted in our core values and commitment to the gospel, we call all United Methodist and other people of faith and good will to pray for all impacted by these horrific acts of violence and demand our elected leaders to address these issues with urgency.

Read more of this statement on the MARCHA website.

Seminary professors are ideological adversaries, unlikely friends

You wouldn’t expect Susanne Scholz and the Rev. William J. “Billy” Abraham to be good friends. You might even wonder whether the two Perkins faculty members could manage a civil conversation.

Scholz is a professor of Old Testament, a feminist who’s currently teaching a course in Queer Bible Hermeneutics. Abraham, who is Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, defends his theologically conservative understanding of the Christian faith. On many issues, the two Perkins faculty members couldn’t be further apart. Yet their friendship, which began in 2013, has endured.  

Here are excerpts from a lively and wide-ranging 90-minute conversation with Scholz and Abraham on what makes the friendship work.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Trotter, education champion, dies at 93

The Rev. F. Thomas Trotter is being remembered as a champion of higher education for the underprivileged who laid the foundation for Africa University, the first United Methodist university in Africa. He died on July 26 at the age of 93.

“Dr. Trotter was a visionary and had the head and heart that moved the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry staff to consider the appeal from the African bishops to build a university for all of Africa,” said James H. Salley, top executive of the Africa University Development Office.

United Methodist Bishop Emílio J. M. de Carvalho, who served as the first chancellor of Africa University, said, “Dr. Trotter will always be remembered for his firm stand with regard to higher education for the underprivileged, and Africa will always be grateful to his vision that became a reality. May God receive him in his glory, as a faithful servant of his kingdom.”

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Sewing center nurtures girls, women in Congo

A United Methodist sewing center is reaching out to 20 schoolgirls, as well as adult women, who are learning a new skill and, ultimately, contributing to the future of their country’s economic development.

The center welcomes schoolgirls who cannot afford machines at home, as well as single mothers and school dropouts. At the end of their three-month internship, the schoolgirls are graded on their performance.

“We make women’s blouses, clerical shirts, stoles and pastoral robes for elders and deacons,” said supervisor Angel Nkulu.

Mukalay Senga said the girls  learn from one another and build relationships, socialize and share experiences while honing their sewing skills.

“My presence in the United Methodist center is to improve tailoring and make my own fashion,” Senga said.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES

Understanding the transgender workshop coming

Auburn First United Methodist Church of Auburn, Wash., in association with other local area churches, is putting on a mini-workshop: "Understanding the Transgender – A Medical & Spiritual Journey" on Sept. 14. The two-hour workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. costs just $10 and also includes lunch. Proceeds from the workshop will go to the Nexus Youth & Families organization.

This presentation has been designed to help Christians understand:

  • Basics of LGBTQIA+
  • Sexual Orientation vs. Gender Identity
  • Medical Research on the origins of Transgender identities
  • Spiritual implications of being Transgender in a gender binary world

There are many myths and misconceptions (e.g. that transsexuals "change sex" as a result of some a "lifestyle choice") which impede a proper understanding of these unique individuals and the momentous problems they face. If you personally, your church and/or it's Reconciling Ministry desires to learn more about helping these unique individuals within your community – reaching out to them to meet their particular social and spiritual needs – then this workshop should offer a good understanding of what is involved. Come to the workshop, engage in the discussion time and get your questions answered. Contact office@auburnfirstumc.org to register.


COMMENTARY

7 simple mind shifts that unlock outreach potential

By Kevin Harney
 
        “ … Our thinking shapes our actions. Sometimes a simple adjustment in our thinking can have far-reaching repercussions. If we shift the way we look at the world and the church, everything can change. And some shifts to new ways of thinking are far simpler to make than we realize …”


 

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