Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020

Dear Reader,


About this time 8 years ago I met Rev. Ananais Gomes when I was on a mission trip to visit United Methodist Churches and pastors in the East Angola Conference that were being financially supported by the Yellowstone Conference (now Mountain Sky).

Rev. Gomes was pastor of Cangandala UMC and his story always struck me as a remarkable one for how we live out our faith.

Rev. Gomes served in the military during Angola’s terrifying 27-year civil war and was also a pastor when the war ended in 2002. At the time I met him he was serving Cangandala, a village just outside the bigger city of Malanje, where we were staying.

I learned Rev. Gomes and his parishioners started their church by meeting under a tree. When that tree was cut down, they moved to another tree. Finally, church members pooled their resources to make the mud blocks that would become the walls of their congregation and Rev. Gomes donated his supplemental salary we were providing to put a roof over the church. They sat on rickety, low-to-the-ground wooden “stools” on the dirt floor of the church building.

The story of Cangandala and Rev. Gomes keeps popping into my head as we talk about the future of our denomination and use words like “protocol” and “separation and “divorce.”

There are so many questions we just can’t find answers to right now. But the one question I think we can ask ourselves is this: Can ministry be as simple as finding a nice, shade-covered spot to meet?

With grace & gratitude,

Kristen Caldwell
Interim Communications Director


Leadership changes in Oregon-Idaho Conference, Greater NW Area Cabinet

Changes are in store for the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area with a few changes in leadership positions in the Oregon-Idaho Conference, announced by Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky on Monday.

Rev. Wendy Woodworth has been appointed to serve as the Cascadia District Superintendent, effective July 1. She currently serves the Open Door Churches of Salem-Keizer, primarily at Morningside UMC. She has previously served Portland’s Fremont UMC, Pendleton UMC and Portland Trinity UMC.


She is replacing Rev. Tim Overton-Harris who will become the Columbia District Superintendent.Overton-Harris has served as Cascadia District Superintendent since July 2017.  Prior to that served as pastor of Vermont Hills UMC. He started his ministry in the Oregon-Idaho Conference in Oregon City as an associate pastor. He moved on to serve churches in Estacada/Marquam, Salem: Morningside, La Grande and Christ UMC in Portland.  


Overton-Harris is replacing Rev. Erin Martin, who is being appointed back to local church ministry at Fremont UMC in Portland.

Martin served as the Columbia District Superintendent for five years. Prior to that she served at Wesley UMC in Eugene for nine years. She came to the Oregon-Idaho Conference from the North Carolina Annual Conference. She replaces Linda Quanstrom, who will return to retirement.

Read more about the appointments on the Greater NW Area website.

New director hired at Camp Latgawa

Camp and Retreat Ministries of the Oregon-Idaho Conference announces the hiring of Kate Vaden director at Camp Latgawa in southern Oregon.

Vaden is a lifelong United Methodist camper, and Camp Latgawa has always held a special place in her heart, according to Camp and Retreat Ministries Director Todd Bartlett.

 Vaden started as a camper at Latgawa when she was 9 years old. Eventually, she became a Counselor in Training and then a full-fledged counselor. She enjoyed working as a part of the Summer Support Staff team for three summers, and she’s looking forward to diving into camping as a full-time, year-round job.

“In addition to camping Kate has a background in psychology, education and administrative work. In her free time Kate enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, reading, board games, connecting with people, and spending time with her family,” Bartlett said.


Alaska Conference

Future Visions task force provides an update on Alaska's Mission District proposal

Thank you to all who have participated in the Mission District Information Sessions! Over 50 people of the Alaska Conference from all over the state, plus the Bishop and Treasure in Washington, have Zoomed in or met in person at the Conference office to learn more about what it would mean to become a Mission District. Each information session followed the same format, led by the Alaska Conference Leadership Team’s Future Visions Task Force.

If you have not yet attended an information session, the final one will be on February 11, 2020, at 6 pm via Zoom . You will hear the full presentations of the Future Visions Task Force and have an opportunity to ask questions and explore the implications of this change.

Learn more about this and the special-called session of the Alaska Conference later this month on their website.

Inspiring Generosity: It’s almost Valentine’s Day – love your people

There’s a lot of history around Valnetine’s Day and there’s a lot of Hallmark sappiness to the holiday as well.

But Cesie Delve Scheuermann argues it’s a pretty good excuse to celebrate those in your church who give to your ministry with their whole hearts. In this week’s blog she offers some creative tips on how to show the love.

“The state of our world can leave us feeling overwhelmed or just kind of 'blah.' Taking the time to celebrate people interjects some well-needed joy and frivolity into life. It’s a way to surprise and delight.”

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

Greater NW Pride: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and the church

After viewing a performance of the Broadway play “Dear Evan Hansen” Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell reflects on how he could have written his own “Dear Brett Mitchell” series about growing up in a state of fear, loneliness and self-hatred as a closeted gay man
He ponders what the church is doing to help young LGBTQ+ youth feel included, not ostracized.

“As I’ve written before, there were no fabulous young gay men’s narratives that I could read, watch on TV, see in the movies, or sing with cassette tapes or albums (yes, I’m that old). And the Church, universal, was not a place of sanctuary, a ‘safe zone’ of sorts”

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


Plans for late-arriving General Conference legislation

Organizers of General Conference got an update on two challenges that could particularly affect The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking assembly later this year.

They discussed both the process for late-arriving legislation and problems that could prevent delegates from receiving needed visas.
“I just thought it’s better for us to be proactive and not reactive,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission on the General Conference. She initiated the Jan. 30 online meeting.
Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

German church proposes way to preserve connection

A roundtable appointed to find a way forward for The United Methodist Church in Germany has proposed deleting all Book of Discipline passages about the ordination of homosexual clergy and the blessing of same-sex partnerships. 

The group, appointed last year after the German church’s executive committee said stipulations in the Traditional Plan approved by General Conference 2019 were unacceptable, has also suggested the formation of an association that maintains the Book of Discipline bans on ordaining openly gay clergy or blessing same-sex marriages. The group’s report said such an association would offer a home for those with traditional, conservative positions. 

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Sierra Leone church celebrates end of land dispute

The Sierra Leone Ministry of Lands has closed the door on a land dispute between The United Methodist Church and the Masantigie community, but not before issuing a stern warning about keeping the peace.

The Sierra Leone Conference and village community had been at odds over a United Methodist property in rural eastern Freetown until August of last year, when the conference agreed to give 60 acres of its 443-acre Pa Loko land to the neighboring community.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Filipino United Methodists defend Lumad Sanctuary

United Methodists were among those who opposed a resolution to close down Haran Mission Center in Davao City, a sanctuary to around 500 displaced Lumads in Mindanao.

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib moved for the immediate closure of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines center due to “violations of indigenous people's rights” committed inside the facility, according to the resolution issued by the Davao Regional Peace and Order Council Jan. 15.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Early bird pricing still available for NLI in Boise

Early bird pricing for the Northwest Leadership Institute at First United Methodist Church in Boise (Cathedral of the Rockies) March 18-20 has been extended. Participants have until Feb. 15, 2020 to register and save $10.

Participants will hear from guest speakers and will have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops throughout the two-day seminar.

Visit the Cathedral of the Rockies website to learn more.


Marian Poindexter                                    

April 5, 1929 – January 25, 2020                        
Marian Poindexter, surviving spouse of pastor David Poindexter, died on January 25, 2020. She is survived by her son, James D. Poindexter.
Reverend Poindexter served at Portland: Parkrose Heights in the Oregon-Idaho Conference, The National Council of Churches, Board of Church and Society, and as President, Population Communications International. He retired in 1998.
A memorial service has been tentatively scheduled on Saturday, February 29th to be held at First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson Street, Portland, OR 97201. (503) 228-3195
Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church women’s group, 1838 SW Jefferson Street, Portland, OR 97201, (503) 228-3195.
Friends may contact James Poindexter at 1521 State Avenue, Holly Hill, FL 32117 to offer condolences.
Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop
Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer


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