Friday, June 26, 2020

Dear Reader,

I’m wiped. As we begin this pandemic summer, I feel like I haven’t had a real break since Christmas. Mostly because I haven’t. 

I don’t mention this for the pity, but because I suspect that my experience is something of a norm, or rather enough of a norm to be a problem.

Over these past months, so many of you have shown amazing resilience and adaptability. You’ve learned skills and ways of serving and connecting that you never thought you could (or wanted to have to) do. You’ve done this all without much of a break.

Starting this week, this GNW Newsletter will go biweekly, so there will be no newsletter next week. Connectional news often slows during the summer and this change will allow us to pause and think creatively about what needs to happen in the coming months.

You’ll also notice below that the last regularly scheduled Wednesday Webinar will take place next week. This pause will also allow other leaders to recollect, rest, and listen to the Spirit that whispers (and sometimes shouts in the streets) when we need to make a change.

The kind of adaptability so many of you have shown was driven by necessity. While some of what has been done is amazing, often, we still haven’t had the luxury to step away and ask what is really needed at this moment. 

While I don’t have any insight to offer on when we’ll return to in-person worship in our local churches, I know that God has good work to do with you and through you. I hope you are reading this already with some plans for how you will step back or away to receive the necessary gift of Sabbath.

I’m eager to see what the Spirit can do with us all when we are rested, and truly prepared to listen. Blessings to you.


Patrick Scriven
PNW Director of Communications


Last Wednesday Webinar for summer scheduled

Join us for a message from Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky as we are launching into summer ministry activities, transitions, and an uncertainty of how the pandemic will continue to shape our lives. Please note that this will be the last regular Wednesday Webinar of the summer. In the coming months we will be reassessing how we best resource and connect with church leaders. Watch for some surveys and opportunities to share your ideas.


The webinar starts on July 1, at 8 a.m. Alaska Time, 9 a.m. Central Time, 10 a.m. Mountain Time.

Register Now for July 1 webinar →


Alaska Conference

Running on the longest day: shedding light on the Sin of Racism

Rev. Carlo Rapanut, Superintendent of the Alaska Conference, is a runner, to say the least. He considers running to be a spiritual practice for him. So on the longest day of the year, June 20, Rapanut set out to run two miles every hour for 24 hours.

His original intent was for his solstice run to be a prayerful time to focused on healing from COVID-19. But after George Floyd's death, Rapanut said he knew he needed to run to shed a light on racism and white privilege.

In his blog before his run, he offers repentance, frustration and hope.

"To my Black siblings, I confess that I have a lot to learn and my own complicity in your oppression. I am so sorry. Please accept this run as my apology, my act of solidarity with you and your struggle and my personal act of protest against systemic racism. This isn't about me. This isn't about ultra running. This is about you, because your lives matter. Yes, Black Lives Matter."

Read more of Carlo's thoughts on his blog

Oregon-Idaho Conference

Greater NW Pride: Pride Month moments: Black Transgender Lives Matter and Tony McDade

While the country erupted with the death of George Floyd on May 25, Tony McDade, a black transgender-masculine person, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Fla.

The investigation is ongoing, but during the month of Pride, Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell wants to make sure the names of black transgender people who have died in the last year are honored.

"Feel free to quietly or loudly name these names, too. Light a candle. And may they all rest in peace and rise in glory.
Nina Pop. Monika Diamond. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells. Riah Milton. Tony McDade. Layleen Polanco. 
And in solidarity with non-Black trans kin who have been killed this year alone: Dustin Parker. Neulisa Luciano Ruiz. Yampi Mendez Arocho. Lexi. Johnna Metzger. Serena. Angelique Vazquez Ramos. Layla Pelaez Sanchez. Penelope Diaz Ramirez, Helle Jae O’Regan. 

Say their names."

Read more on the UMOI website.

Pacific Northwest Conference

Kennydale, Renton First UMCs merge after years of collaboration

The congregations of Kennydale United Methodist Church and Renton First United Methodist Church have worshiped just three miles apart since the early 20th century. After heartfelt discussion, planning, and shared fellowship, these two churches voted to become one on May 31, 2020.

While the virtual vote took just 15 minutes, the newly established Renton United Methodist Church has a long and rich history.

Read more of this story on the Greater NW News website.

As we use masks to stay safe, we should unmask our real spiritual selves

(c) Lucasfilm

Rev. Paul Graves

I don’t know anyone eager to wear the pandemic-induced mask. Maybe not enough people do, but a good many of us put up with those masks to protect others and ourselves.

Yet in the midst of this very understandable need to mask ourselves, I’m here to affirm that 2020 is a time to UNMASK ourselves. Embrace the blessings and burdens that unmasking reveals!

Authentic, courageous spiritual journeys always involve unmasking our false selves. Doing so helps us experience a vulnerable life-strength found only in the very act of unmasking.

Read more of this commentary on the GNW News site.


'Service of Lament' challenges church on racism

An unflinching, hour-long “Service of Lament, Repentance, Communion and Commitment” went online June 24, putting The United Methodist Church on record as committed to a renewed push against racism.

“The Council of Bishops and every church agency within our denomination are working together as never before because this call from God and outcry from our troubled world are so urgent,” says East Ohio Conference Bishop Tracy Malone during the video service. “We are acting and moving.”

Pulled together in under two weeks despite the COVID-19 pandemic — with footage contributed from 25 different locations — the video features prayer, Scripture and anguished testimony from United Methodists of color.

Read more of this story and watch the service on the UM News site.

DACA decision brings joy, but battle isn't over

When the Rev. Orlando Gallardo Parra stood before his congregation at Drexel United Methodist Church, Missouri, on June 21 to preach the word of God, he was breathing a little easier and his smile was a little brighter after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Gallardo Parra is one of about 650,000 young people who is a DACA recipient — a program started by President Obama in 2012 to protect immigrant children brought or sent as young children to the U.S. by a relative. The Supreme Court ruled on June 18 that the program, which has been under fire since its creation, could continue.

“DACA has made it possible for me to be ordained in The United Methodist Church, to get a job as a pastor, to get a driver’s license, to get a Social Security number, to build credit and to buy a house,” Gallardo Parra told United Methodist News.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Churches use UMCOR Sheltering in Love grants to supply food to immigrant communities across the United States

Tongan and Samoan older adults in Seattle, Hispanic and Latino families in Maryland, Syrian refugees in northern Nashville and undocumented workers in New York City – these are just some of the immigrant communities that have turned to United Methodist churches across the U.S. for food, water, and necessary supplies to sustain their families during COVID-19 shut-downs.

With donations to the UMCOR COVID-19 response crossing the $1.5 million mark this week, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has released 145 Sheltering in Love and other solidarity grants for a total of $1,548,334 to church and social service partners who are stretching their resources to meet increased needs around the world.

United Methodist church buildings may be closed for congregational gathering and worship, but the churches are open for ministry, and some are busier than ever.

Read more about the "Sheltering in Love" grants from UMCOR.


Listen to GCORR Real Talk: COVID-19 and people with disabilities

The United Methodist Church's General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) Real Talk is a series of conversations with community and faith leaders to discuss and uncover the disparities of race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status that are deeply embedded in our social fabric.

We believe that in the midst of our efforts to “flatten the curve” during COVID-19, we must also endeavor to “close the gaps” that are widening between whites and people of color, the rich and the poor, and other communities experiencing the effects of an imbalance in access to resources, opportunity, and agency.

Recently, Real Talk featured guest speakers discussing how COVID-19 has had a big impact on people with disabilities.


The Greater Northwest Episcopal Area provides leadership for the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest Conferences of The United Methodist Church. |
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