Karen at Elgin UMC
I have heard myself say several times recently that it’s charge conference season. The trees outside my office window say its fall…even when I see them through snow flurries on a day that feels especially wintry! Retailers are pushing Christmas already. But when I consider what’s happening in our churches, it’s harder still to know what season it is. There are beginnings, endings, and ongoing faithful ministries all around.
The last Sunday in October was the final Sunday worship service for Elgin UMC (Elgin, OR). There is much to celebrate in their 130 year ministry history—far more than could be named in a single service!—but there is also deep sadness that comes at their faithful completion of ministry. (Pictured at right, Karen and Rev. Lisa Payton serve communion at Elgin. Check our Facebook page for more photos of this day.)
Meanwhile, Twin Falls UMC is in a season of beginning a wide variety of new ministries, inspired by deepening relationships with their community! Their pastor is a key part of that, but the laity are taking leadership and initiative, too! Many others across the district are engaged in the busyness and joy of annual bazaars, dinners, Thanksgiving services, stewardship campaigns, Halloween celebrations, All Saints remembrances, and more—the activities and rituals that help us to tell time, that mark the passage of another year, that show us how much has changed and what has remained constant since we engaged in this thing last time.
It seems to me that the same is true in our denomination. Many of the changes voted upon at the special session of General Conference 2019 will take effect in the new year. Our initial crossover year (that has many of us reading We Make the Road by Walking) is nearing its end. At the bishop’s invitation, I have begun working with the Greater Northwest Area’s Guiding Coalition where we’re considering the present moment and where God is leading us in the future. (Other Coalition members from Sage District include Rev. Duane Anders of Cathedral of the Rockies/Boise 1st UMC and Carter Lybeck of Trinity UMC in Idaho Falls.) This Guiding Coalition will join with many others from across the Western Jurisdiction in Los Angeles, November 14-16 for the Fresh Methodism Summit where we’ll ask “What will the future of The United Methodist Church look like in the coming years? Who is shaping that vision, and what are the most important values?” Meanwhile, charge conferences go on, worship continues, and God never ceases calling us to love our neighbors.
The best I can do in making sense of all of these endings, beginnings, and continuations happening at once is to recognize that we are on kairos time. God is at work! Jesus is among us! The Holy Spirit is on the move! May each of us—individually and collectively—continually discern how we are led by the fullness of God’s presence in every season.
Peace of Christ,
Rev. Karen Hernandez
Sage District Superintendent
Where is the DS?
Nov. 2 Charge conferences (Idaho Falls, ID)
Nov. 3 Preaching & charge conference at Paul UMC & Rupert UMC
Nov. 9 Charge conferences (Baker City, OR)
Nov. 10 Worship & charge conferences (Joseph, OR)
Nov. 11-13 Greater Northwest Area cabinet (Des Moines, WA)
Nov. 14-16 WJ Fresh United Methodist Summit (Los Angeles, CA)
Nov. 17 Charge conferences (Boise, ID)
Nov. 23 Charge conferences (Jerome, ID)
Nov. 24 Preaching at Fruitland & Payette UMCs
Nov. 25 Interfaith Thanksgiving Service (Boise, ID)
If you would like the DS present with your congregation, please contact Karen at email@example.com with date, time, location, and purpose. You are always welcome to ask is she’s available!
Sawtooth in September!
All appointed and assigned pastors serving in the Sage District are expected to fully participate in “Meet Up in the Mountains,” Sept. 2 – 4, 2020 (before Labor Day weekend) at Sawtooth Camp. We’ll begin Wednesday afternoon and finish late morning on Friday. Accommodations will be made to empower those with CPAP machines, health-related concerns, etc. to be present. With dates publicized a year in advance, scheduling problems can be avoided. Pastors, please plan accordingly. Registration will be made available closer to the event.
Scholarship assistance will be available with priority given to those who are unpaid by their churches. Retirees are absolutely welcome! Sage pastors who are serving beyond the bounds of the district are equally welcome to come home to Sawtooth for this event!
"Zoom" With Karen in December
Watch your December newsletter for a link to a "Zoom" conference call with District Superintendent Karen Hernandez and others.
In June, Karen committed to quarterly Zoom (online video conferencing) gatherings with pastors and laity. The first of these occurred on Sept. 23. The second opportunity will be on Monday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. MST for pastors and 6 p.m. MST for laity.
There is no agenda for these gatherings; rather this is a time for connection, questions and answers, and fellowship for anyone who logs on or calls in to the meetings. Links and phone numbers will be in the December newsletter and on the Sage District Facebook page. (Note that Karen will be attending the Western Jurisdiction’s Fresh United Methodism Summit in mid-November, as mentioned above. This could provide topics of conversation for the December Zoom gatherings.)
Fall in Idaho
Autumn Sage District Reminders
Fall is a busy time in the life of the church! In the midst of all else you have going on, here are a few District-related reminders for church leaders to be aware of as the season progresses:
- Requirements for Clergy - Due Nov. 1: Clergy and others serving churches are required each year to take an online test about the Sexual Ethics Policy and to turn in an Annual Disclosure Form. The deadline this year is Friday, November 1. If you haven't done these two tasks yet, you can find the link to the test and form on the conference website: www.umoi.org/ethics
- Annual Fall Charge Conferences: These are well underway in the Sage District, but if you have a role in filling out any of the required forms please check the Sage District page on the conference website: www.umoi.org/sagedistrictfallchargeconferences. Compensation forms are being done online this year, and can be found on the conference website as well. Contact Terri in the district office (firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-802-9225) if you have any questions.
- It's time to consult about July 2020 Appointments: Though it feels too soon to be considering summer appointment season, the Greater NW Cabinet will begin considering the July 2020-June 2021 appointments at their meeting in December. SPRC chairs and pastors at churches where the pastor has been serving there four years or longer will receive consultation forms in the mail next week. Watch for those! Please return them to the Sage District Office (1505 S.W. 18th Avenue, Portland, OR 97201) by December 1. If you have questions, contact the District Office: email@example.com, 503-802-9225.
Links and Reminders
- The Oregon-Idaho Conference's Office of Innovation is looking for a part-time Administrative Assistant. Check out the job description here!
- This article from the Northwest United Methodist Foundation shows how funds are being used for good purpose.