Welcome to this new year, Sage District. In hopes that we can seek and respond with wisdom, trust and compassion as we move through 2020 together. - Terri Bartish, Sage District Administrative Assistant (

In this month's issue:

Celebrating Sage
Zoom Conference Call with Karen Today!
Bishop Elaine Sends Response to UMC Proposal
In Memoriam: Davey Lefler
Links and Resources

Rev. Karen preaching at Chubbuck UMC

Celebrating Sage

“Love as strong as I can, as long as I can.” 

That was Pastor Davey’s Lefler’s motto for the last two years or so, which was inspired by Hebrews 6:11, “keep right on loving others as long as life lasts” (New Living Translation). But it was also much more than a motto; this is how Davey lived his life. Love is what guided Davey’s ministry with his four churches: Aberdeen, American Falls, Chubbuck, and Shelley Community UMCs (yes, all at the same time).

It’s a fine way to enter a New Year, committed to loving as strong as I can, as long as I can. 

And it’s quite a challenge, given our polarized country and denomination, to commit to love guiding every action as long as life lasts. Though a challenge, surely this is what all people of faith are called to do: to love, always and everywhere, “as long as life lasts.” 

In these last days of Christmas, through Epiphany, and all year long, may God’s unconditional love be incarnate in each of us. 
Peace of Christ,

Rev. Karen Hernandez, Sage District Superintendent, (208) 697-4510

Where is the DS?
Jan. 6                     Zoom conversations with Sage pastors and laity (see below)
Jan. 7 – 8               Western Jurisdiction Hispanic/Latinx Ministries Council (Sacramento)
Jan. 9 – 11             Greater Northwest Area Cabinet (Seattle area)
Jan. 12 – 13           UMC LEAD 2020 (Seattle)
Jan. 27 – 28           Sage District Committee on Ordained Ministry (Treasure Valley)
If you would like the DS present with your congregation, please contact Karen at with date, time, location, and purpose.  You are always welcome to ask is she’s available! 

Zoom Conference Call with Karen Today!

Rescheduled Zoom Conversations: Monday, January 6
Karen continues to offer quarterly Zoom conversations for the district.  December’s Zoom calls were necessarily cancelled and rescheduled for today, Monday, January 6.  There is no agenda for this time; rather participants are urged to bring questions or topics for conversation. 

Note that it’s perfectly acceptable to come and go from the conversation.  There are no etiquette expectations of arriving on time.  At each scheduled time, Karen will log on for an hour.  If conversation is still going strong, then it may be extended a bit.  Think of it as the online version of Karen hanging around in a coffee shop, waiting to see who stops by to visit. 

The first link below is for the pastors at 4 p.m., followed by a link for laity at 6 p.m.

Topic: Talk with Karen and Sage Pastors
Time: Jan 6, 2020 04:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 944 018 923

One tap mobile
+16699006833,,944018923# US (San Jose)
+16468769923,,944018923# US (New York)

Dial by your location
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 944 018 923
Find your local number:


And, at 6 p.m. Sage District Laity can talk with Karen using the link below:

Topic: Sage Laity talk with Karen
Time: Jan 6, 2020 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 296 360 606

One tap mobile
+16699006833,,296360606# US (San Jose)
+16468769923,,296360606# US (New York)

Dial by your location
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 296 360 606
Find your local number:

Bishop Elaine Sends Response to UMC Proposal

Many of you may have seen articles in the media relating to the future of the United Methodist Church. Bishop Elaine, and many others, have written responses to help illuminate the proposal and next steps. Below is her letter, and then links to other articles with helpful information.

United Methodists of the Greater Northwest,

What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out…
We saw the glory with our own eyes…
Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
John 1, The Message

This morning United Methodists around the world received a word of hope that the strife that has racked our Church might find a peaceful end.

A group of sixteen United Methodist leaders from around the world, who hold a wide range of theological and social convictions, have negotiated protocols for a graceful separation within The United Methodist Church. If adopted by the General Conference in May, the proposal would:

  • Maintain The United Methodist Church intact.
  • Allow local churches and annual conferences that choose not to remain affiliated with The United Methodist Church to leave, while maintaining their property, assets, and liabilities. 
  • Commit $39 million to racial and ethnic inclusion and anti-racism work.
  • Convene the first session of the post-separation United Methodist Church, perhaps before leaving Minneapolis in May, to create four regional conferences.
  • Allow for the first session of the newly established North American Regional Conference to act on proposals to remove prohibitive language regarding LGBTQ clergy and weddings. In the meantime, signers to the Protocol have agreed to abeyance on complaints against clergy for related offenses.  

While this is not the resolution I hope for, I believe it may be the best next step for the people called United Methodists who have been unable to find a way forward that maintains the unity of the Church. It does not move the Church toward Christ’s vision that we “may all be one…so that the world may believe” (John 17:21), but it is a faithful effort “to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), even as we find it necessary to walk separate paths for a season.

I trust this proposal is designed to unbind us from our “irreconcilable differences” and free us to focus on the future. It does not guarantee a particular outcome, but it appears to offer United Methodists in the United States the opportunity to choose a future that is fully inclusive of LGBTQ persons.

Please read the attached proposal, asking prayerfully whether it offers Life and Light as we seek to create a new movement of Wesleyan faithfulness in the Northwest and around the world.

May the Life of Christ live in us, and the Light of Christ lead us into the future,

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky

Read Press Release

Read Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation

Read FAQ about the United Methodist Mediation Team

United Methodist Communications Article

Pacific NW Annual Conference's Patrick Scrivens Article

Pastor Davey Lefler

In Memoriam: Davey Lefler

Pastor Davey L. Lefler died on December 18 after a long battle with cancer.  His wife, Roberta, was by his side to the very end.  His congregations continue in ministry. 

The people of Aberdeen, American Falls, Chubbuck, and Shelley Community UMCs cared very well for Davey, Roberta, and one another during Davey’s brief decline and now in this challenging time of grief. 

You will find Davey’s obituary here .  Expressions of sympathy and encouragement may be sent to Roberta Lefler (1518 12th Street, Idaho Falls, ID 83404-5571). 

Memorial gifts may be made to Idaho Food Bank 

Please continue to hold Davey’s family and congregations in prayer.


Links and Resources

Sage District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
1505 SW 18th Ave, Portland OR 97201(503) 802-9225 ~