Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019

Dear Reader,

After a busy Labor Day weekend filled with all kinds of play, snacks and naps (mostly by my son) this week’s UM Connector snuck up on me with a short work week!

Thankfully, we’re not short on news!

As we move into the busy season of our lives with school, church and extracurricular activities all ratcheting up, take a moment if you can to breathe in deep and remember that in all of this busy-ness, God is at work in us and around us.

That’s some pretty great news.

With grace and gratitude,
Kristen Caldwell, interim communications director


Alaska Sunday special offering this week – or soon

On or near the 2nd Sunday of September, churches around the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area will have a Special Sunday Offering to Support the Ministries of the Alaska Conference.

The Alaska Conference is comprised of 28+ churches and ministries spread across more than 600,000 square miles of the Last Frontier. There are urban, rural, and remote ministry locations, each offering great opportunities for spreading the Good News.

If your church can’t get it done this week, a special offering at a time of your choosing is also a welcome opportunity.

Find more information about how to participate on the Conference website.

Six questions to ask about your church’s investments

Ah, September: back to school. Home canning season. Pumpkin spice lattes. And for most endowment committee members or trustees, it’s also time to resume regular meetings, take inventory of your church’s investments, and make a report to your charge conference. Here are six questions to guide your conversation as you do this important stewardship work.

Take inventory. Have new funds been received, existing investments matured, or additional assets been transferred to or from our committee/board since we last met? If so, make sure these are documented and included in, or excluded from, your discussions.

Read more of this story on the Northwest United Methodist Foundation website.

Drawing on shared Methodist roots, Claremont theology students begin classes at Willamette University

By Rachel Alexander – Salem Reporter August 29, 2019 at 2:46pm

When Frank Rogers began teaching at the Claremont School of Theology 31 years ago, he was living and teaching in corrugated metal huts in the southern California desert.

The story has become something of a legend among the school’s staff, used to illustrate Claremont’s pioneering spirit and openness to doing things in new ways.

Rogers is now teaching in Salem as part of an affiliation between Claremont, a stand-alone theological school founded in southern California in 1885, and Willamette University.

The two schools started exploring a merger in late 2016 and this spring agreed to move forward with a partnership that will ultimately see Claremont relocate entirely to Salem, becoming Willamette’s third graduate school.

Read more of this story from the Salem Reporter website.

Idaho Statesman: Boise church throwing a BBQ party to build a fence for refugee garden. You’re invited

By Katy Moeller. Published Sept. 4, 2019

A Boise church now has more than enough money to build a fence around a garden, cultivated by refugee families, that was hit by thieves twice in less than a week.

With about $4,500 in donations, Hillview United Methodist Church has scheduled a barbecue party to begin building the fence, paint the garden shed and sign, and celebrate all the support they’ve received.

“This is building community,” Pastor Brenda Sene told the Statesman Tuesday. “That’s the best thing to come out of this.”

Read more of this story on the Idaho Statesman website.


Japanese American United Methodists offer support of immigrants, reminder of history

Sasha Terry, PNW

In a press release, the National Japanese American Caucus of The United Methodist Church expressed their appreciation and support for the call to action in July by the United Methodist Immigration Task Force in response to the controversy over immigrants in the United States. The NJAUMC Caucus is pledging their opposition to governmental policies by supporting sacred resistance to raids and deportations.

According to the NJAUMC’s mission statement, the caucus aims to support and uplift the leaders of historic Japanese American United Methodist churches and Japanese language ministries. They aspire to be agents of God’s transforming love carrying faith rooted in stories of migration, experiences of racism, and examples of courage in the faith of injustice.

NJAUMC’s decision to support immigrants came earlier in June when the Trump Administration announced that Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, would be used as a detention center for about 1,400 undocumented migrant children. On July 29, the plan was abandoned after protests from Native Americans, Japanese Americans, and other groups.

During World War II, the government forcibly relocated and incarcerated nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans at various camps including Fort Sill. In 1988, the United States Congress issued an apology to Japanese Americans for the wartime mass incarceration by issuing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

Rev. Michael Yoshii of Buena Vista UMC  believes that there is a wicked parallel between Japanese American wartime incarcerations and mass migrant deportations today.

Read more of this story on the PNW website.

Inspiring Generosity: Raise $65K? Me of little faith?

Even sometimes when you're a stewardship consultant and you're trying to encourage others to be bold about raising money, you can get a little shy.

That was Cesie Delve Scheuermann's experience recently with a capital campaign for the Pentacle Theatre where she questioned the fundraising goal of $65,000, which was achieved.

"Four things I learned: 1. Never underestimate donors and their generosity.
2. Challenge gifts work. 3. You can ask for a second donation. 4. Don’t let yourself get in the way of a worthy goal."

Read more of her latest blog on the Conference website.

VOICES Project: Baseball is dying

What does the dwindling interest in baseball have to do with innovation and an engaged church?

As a lifelong Phillies fan, Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, director for an engaged church in the Greater NW Area Innovation Vitality Team, explains in one of his latest blogs:

“Baseball and faith communities need a posture that is much more open and nimble to change with the times.  While ‘powers that be’ have a lot of investment in inertia, it is ultimately the downfall of a sport, movements of justice, or denominational Christianity.”

Read more of Barber’s blog on the Voices Project website.

Donate to Alaska Conference Disaster Preparedness
and Response Fund

As the fires burn throughout Alaska, and recovery from the Nov. 30 earthquake continues, please remember the Alaska Conference Advance Number 310 for Disaster Preparedness and Response established this year at Annual Conference. If your congregation would like to help earthquake or fire recovery and response, monies collected with this number will help support our training, deployment, and undergirding work for our Early Response Teams, the Shower Trailer, and other direct assistance offered throughout the state. If you have any questions about what work is happening, please contact Alaska Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Daniel Wilcox at either 907.414.7078, or

Greater NW Pride: Amateur sports and the church

Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell reflects on the ways in which amateur sports leagues have embraced the LGBTQ community and how that parallels ways in which the church can, too.

" On Sunday mornings, there are a lot of LGBTQ+ people who are participating in sports. I’ll reserve another blog spot for professional sports, and the rabid homophobia. But in amateur sports, there has been a surge among some sports, including those athletes who participate in the Gay Games, which will next be hosted in Hong Kong in 2022."

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

Employment opportunities

Director of Ministries – Gresham, OR
Director of Communications – California-Nevada Conference UMC
Project manager/organizer – Western Jurisdiction UMC

See these and other job opportunities at


Texas group crosses border to meet asylum seekers

As work wound down and leisure time began for most Americans at the start of the Labor Day weekend, more than 100 Texas clergy and laity, many of them United Methodists, walked across the bridge from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico.

There, for two sweltering hours on Friday afternoon, Aug. 30, they visited with Central Americans and others seeking asylum in the U.S., but being kept in Mexico as their applications are considered.

The Texas clergy and laity returned with stories of hunger, thirst and generally abject conditions, including fear of drug cartels that menace Matamoras and other Mexican border cities.

“They’re just as trapped there as they would be at a detention facility,” said the Rev. Owen Ross, director of church development for the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, and an organizer of the trip. “Only difference is, at a detention facility they’d get food and perhaps a bath sometimes, and they would be in the shade. And, most importantly, they wouldn’t have to worry about the cartels.”

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Young United Methodists connect in Kenya

Young United Methodists from across Africa gathered recently to look for ways to shine in leadership roles in the church and their communities.

The Rev. Forbes Matonga, general secretary of the Africa Central Conference, said the gathering comes at a time when young people are resolute in defending their faith and taking an active role in defining the future of the church and their beloved continent.

“Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow; they are as well leaders of today. And if we are to be successful as the church, then we must start utilizing youth ideas and skills as a positive input for sustainable development,” he said during the conference.
He said it is vital to give youth the space to have their say and take part in church decisions. 

“A youthless leadership is a short-term leadership. We must strive to assure young people always have a seat at the table.” 

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Cholera concerns grow in East Congo

While the World Health Organization has declared Congo’s Ebola outbreak a public health emergency, a cholera epidemic also is raising concerns in the North and South Kivu provinces.

Emery Lohandjola, nurse manager of Majengo Health Center — a United Methodist hospital in Goma — said he fears the worst for his area. More than 37 cases of cholera were observed in July and the number has continued to increase in August, he said. From Aug. 1-20, there have been at least 45 cases of cholera reported at the health center.

“My health area is very much exposed by this cholera outbreak because there is a lack of drinking water,” Lohandjola said. 

Cholera is an infectious disease usually spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and can be deadly if left untreated.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Pre-retirement seminar scheduled in October

Presenters from Wespath, the Social Security Administration, Ernst and Young, and the Oregon-Idaho Conference benefits staff will be available during a pre-retirement seminar for clergy and laity participants in the retirement plans offered by Wespath. Spouses are also welcome to attend and learn how retirement can work for them. There is no fee for the seminar, but advance registration is required so that Wespath can prepare individualized projection information for those attending.

The seminar will be held in Portland on Tuesday, October 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (exact location TBD).  Lunch will be provided for those attending.

Register online to reserve your seat.

If you have questions, contact Meg Kau at or Rev. Dan Wilson-Fey at


God in the end

Rev. Daniel Miranda

   “ … I have to take a leap of faith and trust that God, in the end, will make things good for you and me. I have to have confidence that God, in the end, will make things good for our greater United Methodist family no matter what transpires. Do not mistake my faith and hope for strength or fearlessness — it is not! …”


This week in the
Annual Conference

Monday, Sept. 9

Greater NW Radical Compassion Network

Tuesday, Sept. 10 - Thursday, Sept. 12

Greater NW Cabinet Meeting.

Tuesday, Sept. 17

Columbia District Autumn Colloquy.
Greater NW Area Inspiring Generosity Conference Journal

Find us on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

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