August 13, 2019
40 Days of Prayer Book cover

Confronting Our History

On August 20, 2019 there will be a day of commemoration. It will not be a celebration, but it will be a reminder for us all. On this day the United States will commemorate the 400th year since African slaves first arrived in the territory which became our nation.
Chattel slavery is that system in which people are treated as the chattel (personal property) of the owner and bought and sold as commodities. Because Africans first arrived on American shores as slaves, and the system ensured that they and their children remained slaves, a culture of white privilege and racism became rooted deeply in our nation before we even were a nation. Read my full column on the website for a quick summary of how chattel slavery came to North America.
I am taking this commemoration as an opportunity to kick off a major focus of my columns and work with you this year: an exploration of the issue of racism and white privilege. I believe this is one of the most pressing and critical theological, moral and ethical issues facing the church and our society today.

Hate Crime Graphic

I am motivated by several current realities:

  • This graphic shows the rise in hate crimes in 30 major US cities from 2010 through 2018
  • The number of mass shootings that are perpetuated by white males is sounding an alarm.
  • And there is the complaint of some people of white European descent that they are now victims of racism.

Over the coming year I will delve into scripture, church history, and present reality and will seek to both educate and awaken awareness in us all concerning these issues. I will challenge those of us who are white to be aware of our own racism and privilege and to use that privilege to combat racism and open opportunities for others. Racism is a serious problem and anyone who is white has benefited from being white.  If we are to begin to move beyond these issues it is up to us to do the hard but necessary work so that we can move away from simple tolerance to fully embrace diversity.
I am not naive enough to believe that what I will do can end racism. I know that these issues are deep and complex and that whatever I am doing will only be a beginning, a scratching of the surface. I also know that some will not want to make this journey with me, with us. For that I am sorry because it is so vital that we do this.  It is one way to work to transform lives and the world, one way we live the faith Jesus calls us to live, one way we embody our place as the beloved of God.
One resource I would recommend at this time is the Angela Project's 40 Days of Prayer for the Liberation of American Descendants of Slavery available from Simmons College of Kentucky and on Amazon . The compiler, Cheri Mills, uses this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail through her work:

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. 

This is the time for good people, for you and me, to speak up and do our part to make the world a better place for all God’s people.


Tim Overton-Harris
Cascadia District Superintendent

And come join me at our Cascadia District Fall Event, focused on inclusion!  - Tim O-H

Cascadia District Fall Event
- Saturday, September 28

  • When:  Saturday, September 28th from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Where:  MICAH Building, downtown Salem, OR
  • Who should attend? 
    • All local church clergy plus at least one lay person from the congregation; more lay folks are welcome!
    • Clergy in extension ministry and retired clergy are also welcome!
    • People from outside Cascadia District are welcome!
  • What will happen?
    • Focus on Inclusion, Innovation, and Multiplication
    • We'll worship, learn all together and expand our understanding and skills in four workshops which each participant will attend.  
      • Cultural Self-Awareness
      • The Culture Shaping Church
      • A Culture of Intentional Multiplication
      • Hidden in Plain Sight
    • And Cascadia District Extension Society Annual Meeting over catered lunch
  • Leaders?  Members of the Greater Northwest Area Innovation Vitality Team
    • Rev. Dr. William Gibson, Director of Innovation for a New Church
    • Kristina Gonzalez, Director of Innovation for an Inclusive Church
    • Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church
    • Read their bios by clicking on this link.

You can register as a group from your church. Registration is $6 for a single person from a church or $10 covers a group of 2 or more from one church.  Please register by September 16th so that we can be ready for you with food and materials.

Click here for more information and to register

We never intend to exclude, but somehow we end up in churches with groups of folks who look an awful lot like us.  How can we expand our insight and skills so that we are better at inclusion? How can we communicate to folks who are different than we are that we value them, will make space for them, and help them thrive?

Options for the Future of The UMC

Cascadia District Superintendent Tim Overton-Harris will be meeting with local congregations in geographic clusters on Sundays in October and November to discuss the options for the future of The United Methodist Church following the decisions made by the 2019 Special General Conference.

These events are informational and intended to provide a safe space to learn about the various options, ask questions, and to share opinions and preferences with the D.S.  The discussions will take place using guidelines to allow all to share and to avoid judgement or debate or attempts to persuade. 

DS Tim hopes that attendance from each congregation will include at least the

  • pastor,
  • SPRC chair or representative,
  • Trustees chair or representative,
  • Lay Leader and/or
  • Church Board chair 

Other leaders and interested members are welcome as well.

Click here to see the locations and church clusters for each Sunday.

Please make note of the date for your cluster meeting and plan to attend.  Pre-registration will help us prepare for your participation!  There is no cost.


Celebration of MicroGrants

At our Cascadia District Lunch at the close of the 2019 Annual Conference Session, we celebrated all the creative and life-enhancing ways local churches in the district made use of the MicroGrants which were distributed to local church and other Cascadia District ministry sites at the 2018 Annual Conference Cascadia District lunch.

As one pastor watched the slides go by with photos and brief descriptions of the various projects, he said, "I like these.  I like some of these more than what we are doing!"

We are better together -- sharing ideas and inspirations!

McCabe Chapel

McCabe Chapel UMC

To continue the celebration and to help inspire you with more ways your congregation might be able to reach out to new people in new ways, we'll be highlighting some of the microgrant projects over the next couple of months in the district newsletter, on our FB page, and on our district website.  

Woodburn Family Learning Center
  • McMinnville Cooperative Ministries is using their funds to develop their website and make it more engaging and relationship-building. Learn more by clicking here.

Tualatin UMC is using their funds to support their involvement with Family Promise of Tualatin Valley.  Learn more by clicking here.

McCabe Chapel is developing a new sign that tells both the history of their classic chapel in the countryside and lets people know that it still houses a vital Christian congregation.Learn more by clicking here.

Woodburn UMC used their grant money to help a local childcare center with security.  Learn more by clicking here.

See all the information about the microgrants and the projects highlighted so far at




This week in the
Cascadia District

August 14

Cascadia District Board of Church Location and Building 

Looking Ahead

August 22

Cascadia District Commitee on Superintedency

Sept. 2

Conference and District Offices closed

Sept. 28

Cascadia District Event for Clergy and Lay Leadership

Oct 1 -3

Cascadia District Colloquies

Oct. 6

High Desert Cluster Gathering: Options for Future of UMC - Madras

Oct. 12

Mission Celebration - Tigard

Oct. 13

Molalla & Pudding Rivers Cluster Gathering: Options for Future of UMC - Woodburn

Oct. 20

Heart of the Valley Cluster Gathering - Options for Future of UMC - Salem

Oct. 27

Wine Country Cluster Gathering - Options for Future of UMC - McMinnville


Prayer Calendar

Aug 11-17

Canby UMC
Pastor Karen Shimer

Aug 18-24

Carus UMC
Pastor Rand Sargent
Lay Leader Holly Rudie

Aug 25 - 31

Clarkes UMC
Pastor Tom Truby
Lay Leader Rob Williams

See the full prayer calendar

DS Schedule

Please let District Superintendent Tim know about significant events happening in your local congregation.  He may or may not be able to attend, but he would like to know about them!  Tim is also occasionally available to preach at your church!  You can e-mail him at

Upcoming events in the District Superintendent's Schedule:

Aug 14 District Board of Church Location and Building
Aug 18  Preaching at Astoria
Aug 22  District Committee on Superintendency
Aug 25 Table Talk in Bend
Sept 4  District Superintendents and AAs meeting

In addition to what is listed here, Tim is meeting with clergy one-to-one in August.


Contact us

DS Tim Overton-Harris

District Lay Leader
Paula Sadler

District Administrative Assistant
Linda Grund-Clampit

Check out the Cascadia District webpage:

Find us on Facebook

Cascadia District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
680 State Street, Suite 200, Salem, Oregon, 97301 ~ (503) 581-3969 ~