Thursday Feb. 13, 2020

Dear Reader,

You Rock! Love bug! Tweet Me!

I do love a good package of candy hearts around Valentine’s Day. I once tried to write a little love message to a crush using only candy hearts. I wanted the recipient to be able to eat the candy hearts, though. Instead of taping them to the construction paper, I used cake frosting. When I got to school, naturally, all the candy hearts had slid off the paper. I had no other “Plan B.”

All I could do was walk up to the poor fella, hand him a “you rock” candy heart, and walk away; deflated that my grand gesture had fallen apart and my message of teenage palpitation was lost.

I feel like the same thing happens today in our church – a lot.

We get so caught up in the planning and delivery of the message that we sometimes lose sight of what we’re trying to communicate: be it love, justice, mercy, grace and so on.

Maybe a simple message like “You Rock” is all that is needed to get the point across (my crush and I ended up becoming good friends, which was still a pretty good place to land).

In this week’s Connector, you’ll read about love, social justice, and hopefully a whole lot of grace.

You Rock!

Kristen Caldwell
interim director of communications


Portsmouth Union Church earns $2.35 million grant for north Portland affordable housing project

What started more than five years ago as a ministry to the local neighborhood is finally taking root on the grounds of Portsmouth Union Church in north Portland.

The church, a combined United Methodist and Disciples of Christ Church, is the recipient of a $2.35 million grant from Oregon Housing and Community Services to build an affordable housing apartment complex on its grounds.

“I can’t even begin to describe how excited we are,” said Rev. Julia Nielsen.

Read more of this story on the Conference website.

Conference assisting with eastern Oregon flood relief

Larry Johnson headed out the door on Wednesday of the Oregon-Idaho Conference Center in order to get to Pendleton, Oregon, by the late afternoon to assist with flood relief.

“This would be the first time I know of, that we’ve responded in Oregon,” said Johnson, who is the Conference’s Emergency Response Teams coordinator.

He plans to be in Pendleton for a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) gathering on Thursday (today) to aid those who had to evacuate their homes due to flooding or suffered significant damage to their properties. He’ll be joined by the Oregon-Idaho Conference United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) coordinator Louise Kienzle, who happens to live in the area.

Read more of this story on the Conference website and learn how to help by visiting

Greater NW Cabinet continues to #ResistHarm with MLK reflection

The Greater Northwest Area Cabinet continued its commitment to #ResistHarm on Tuesday, February 11 during their regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting in Salem, OR.

In honor of Black History Month (and Valentine’s Day) members of the Cabinet dressed in red and read excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon entitled, “A Knock at Midnight” published in King’s book, “Strength to Love.”

Read more of this story on the Greater NW website.


“Speaking Truth” features area clergywomen

A book including devotions written by 91 Methodist clergywomen, including four from across the Greater Northwest, was released last week by Abingdon Press. The book provides inspirational writings by women for women facing societal challenges specific to today. Revs. Alexa Eisenbarth (Orting UMC ), Karen Hernandez (Sage District DS), Elizabeth Ingram Schindler (Faith UMC), and Debbie Camphouse Sperry (Moscow First UMC) were contributors from our area.

Visit the Cokesbury website to learn more.

Alaska Conference

Alaska Conference special session 10 days away

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovosky has called a special session of the Alaska Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, a missionary conference,  according to the provisions of paragraph 603.5 of The Book of Discipline 2016 (BOD). This special session is being called in consultation with, and the consent of the Conference Superintendent, Rev. Carlo Rapanut, and the Leadership Team of the Conference.

The purpose of this special session of the Alaska Conference shall be limited to receiving and acting upon two recommendations from the Leadership Team of the Alaska Conference regarding the future of the Alaska Conference: 1. To petition the 2020 General Conference to discontinue the missionary conference status of the Alaska United Methodist Conference. 2. To petition the 2020 Western Jurisdictional Conference to fulfill its responsibility to adjust conference boundaries within the Western Jurisdiction in order to provide affiliation and oversight for the ministries of the Alaska Conference.

The special session will be held Saturday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. at the Alaska Conference office in Anchorage.

PNW Conference

Help for homeless families available in Marysville

from the Marysville Globe | Feb. 13, 2020

About 508 students in the Marysville School District were homeless at the end of last year.

About 80 percent have some sort of support system. But Deanna Bashour works for the MSD to help the other 20 percent find services.

Marysville United Methodist Church Sunday designated its Miracle House to help homeless families, working with Interfaith Family Shelter in Everett.

“We need more of this,” Interfaith program manager Sabrie Taylor said.

Read more of this story on the Marysville Globe website.

Inspiring Generosity: How to teach kids about giving?

With more online giving at church, sometimes that means there’s less interaction when the offering plate comes around on Sundays and kids are usually in Sunday school or kids’ church as it is.

How then, do you teach children about generosity in the church? Cesie Delve Scheuermann offers a few simple tips in this week’s blog:

“And don’t forget to share family stories. When you’re at the dinner table, ask kids where they saw acts of kindness or generosity during the day. Think about someone in your family who was touched by or exhibited generosity either recently or generations ago and share its impact.”

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

Hacking Christianity: For the Protocol, which comes first: the UMC chicken or the WCA egg?

At the bare minimum, three things need to happen at the 2020 General Conference:

The Wesleyan Covenant Association needs the Protocol to be passed to allow them to exit United Methodism and create their own expression with $25 million dollars of support.

The UMC needs to let go of part of the colonialistic errors of the 20th century and embrace a church with more equal footing twenty years into the 21st century by passing a robust Regionalization plan (either the Connectional Table plan or the Christmas Covenant plan)

The UMC needs to remove the anti-LGBTQ language in the Book of Discipline (at the bare minimum) as the moratorium in the Protocol is insufficient and continues the harm of 2019.

Read more of Seattle First UMC Rev. Jeremy Smith’s post on the Hacking Christianity website.


Conferences to vote on forwarding protocol legislation to GC2020

At least two United Methodist annual conferences — Michigan and Sierra Leone — plan to vote next month on whether to forward to the 2020 General Conference legislation for the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.

Though the protocol itself made international news with its announcement in early January, the legislation to enact it has just been released. 

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

UMW project helps rural girls stay in school

United Methodist women in Liberia are aiming to keep rural girls in school during their menstrual cycles with the launch of a new program to make reusable sanitary pads locally.

“These young girls are disadvantaged by their male counterparts when they have to leave school because of this natural phenomenon,” said United Methodist pastor Rose Farhat, director of women’s ministries.

She pointed out that the girls often miss their tests, and getting teachers to administer makeups is a struggle that sometimes leads to teachers taking advantage of the young girls — making them pay money or manipulating them into unwanted sexual activities.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Conference urged to reopen misconduct case

More than 800 people have signed letters urging the West Ohio Conference to reopen the complaint against a clergyman accused of sexual misconduct and abuse.

At issue is the resolution the conference reached in late December with the Rev. Donald Heckman, a United Methodist prominent in interfaith work who faced formal accusations of harassment, misconduct and abuse from four women. The West Ohio Conference has oversight of Heckman’s ministry as an ordained elder.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

New effort starts for same-sex weddings

The Rev. Eric McKinney already has faced suspension for performing a same-sex wedding. If he does so again, he knows he likely would lose his United Methodist clergy credentials.

The retired Texas pastor said that’s a risk he is willing to take.

“There are a lot more important things than credentials,” he said.
McKinney is among more than 500 United Methodist clergy who have agreed to officiate at the Christian weddings of LGBTQ couples, despite the denomination’s ban on such unions and stronger enforcement measures that took effect in January.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Church helps train marginalized women, youth

The United Methodist Church in East Congo has collaborated with the Congolese government to open a vocational training center for women and youth in Fizi District.

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda said he sought out the partnership to help the faithful in his episcopal area provide a better life for themselves — many of whom are women who cannot read or write or are victims of sexual violence.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


Marian Poindexter: Corrected memorial service date

Marian Poindexter's memorial service has been scheduled for Sunday, February 23th  at 1:00 p.m. to be held at First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson Street, Portland, OR 97201. (503) 228-3195
Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop
Dan Wilson-Fey, Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer


Are we ready to embrace the future?

By Patrick Scriven

“ … Other days, I get a feeling of déjà vu — that overwhelming sense that we’ve all been here before. I wonder if the beat-up truck we’ll drive to Minneapolis will make the return trip home if we can’t agree on a new vehicle, or vehicles, to purchase. I worry that we’ll actually buy a new car that is only marginally better, forced into the decision by exhaustion and a lack of good options …”

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