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June 25, 2020

Goodbye and Hello

Way back in February, Bishop Stanovsky announced her intention to appoint Rev. Tim Overton-Harris, current Cascadia District Superintendent, as Superintendent of the Columbia District effective July 1, 2020.  At the same time she announced her intention to appoint Rev. Wendy Woodworth as the Cascadia District Superintendent effective July 1, 2020. 

And now that time has almost come!

On Sunday, June 14 we held a Cascadia District Zoom meeting in which we celebrated this past year, and we said our thank yous and goodbyes to DS Tim.  We wish him all the best as he transitions into working with the churches and people of the Columbia District.  His final message to the District as Superintendent is immediately below.

And this week we turn to welcoming the new Cascadia District Superintendent, Rev. Wendy Woodworth.  She comes to the Superintendency after 26 years of pastoral ministry in the local church, all in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. She has chosen to introduce herself to you through a video, which follows Tim's message.

And this newsletter includes as well the schedule for Cascadia District opportunities (virtual!) to be in fellowship and learning with our new DS over the summer.


A Final Challenge from DS Tim Overton-Harris

Siblings in Christ,
 
This letter serves as both a goodbye and a hello. To those in the Cascadia District it is my final communication with you as your DS. For those in the Columbia District it is my first communication with you. It will serve as both a final word and first word.
 
Let me begin then with scripture:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Luke 4: 18019 (CEB)
 
At this moment in history there is only one thing to focus on, racism and privilege. The Covid-19 pandemic pales in comparison. By any matrix you want to use -- numbers infected, deaths, economic disruption, etc. -- the pandemic of racism and white privilege in the United States is devastating.
 
I am a native Oregonian, I grew up in NE Portland, I attended Willamette University, I have lived many of my adult years in and around the Portland metropolitan area. And I was mostly unaware of the racism that formed and influenced my city and state. Here is a link to a timeline compiled by Elaine Rector entitled  “Looking Back In Order to Move Forward: An Often Untold History Affecting Oregon’s Past, Present and Future". It is a timeline of Oregon and U.S. racial, immigration and education history. It will help you see our area’s history in the light of racism and white privilege. https://aclu-or.org/sites/default/files/CFEE_timeline_092011.pdf
 
It is sobering for a white heterosexual Protestant male to see this timeline. It is the history of how people like me have shaped and influenced the world around me in ways I never knew and provided me with privileges of which I was totally unaware. One aspect of privilege is that the systems that privilege you appear normal to you and are what you know as reality. You do not see the privilege because it is how things work; you take it for granted that it works for you and assume that it works for everyone else.
 
I want to issue a challenge to the churches I am leaving and to those I will be joining: investigate your history, search your buildings, reflect on your policies and procedures. Do this with an eye to seeing what you normally don’t look for, things that are racist or reflect white privilege. Who are those folks honored by that stained-glass window? What did they believe about race and color? How did your church get the land your building sits on? How did those you bought it from or who donated to you get the land? What images adorn your church? What does that omnipresent picture of the light skinned, and fair-haired Jesus say about your idea of Jesus? Of God? Of what is Holy? We can only begin to move through and beyond the pandemic of racism and white privilege when those of us who are the privileged see and understand how we got to where we are and can honestly address the past and its many sins.
 
And a word to those of you who are white and feel you have not benefited from the color of your skin, realize that you have one less thing to overcome than does every person of color.
 
I will end by saying thank you to the people and pastors of the Cascadia District. You have walked with me as we have made a road together. You have stretched and innovated and allowed yourselves to be challenged. You have cared for me, accepted my leadership and not been afraid to speak your hearts and minds to me. I have been blessed to be your DS and will be forever grateful for our time together.
 
People and pastors of the Columbia District, I pray we can walk together on paths yet unknown, finding common ground, being open to what new paths God will reveal. I look forward to getting to know you and working with you as we all seek to be partners of God and Christ in the work of transforming lives and the world.
 
I leave you with this prayer of Bishop Woodie White which he offered at the 1996 General Conference:

May the Lord continue to torment you. May the Lord keep before you the faces of the hungry, the lonely, the rejected and the despised. May the Lord afflict you with pain for the hurt, the wounded, the oppressed, the abused, the victims of violence. May God grace you with agony, a burning thirst for justice and righteousness. May the Lord give you courage and strength and compassion to make ours a better world, to make your community a better community, to make your church a better church.

And may you do your best to make it so, and AFTER you have done your best, may the Lord grant you peace. Amen.


Peace,
 
Signature: Tim 

Tim Overton-Harris
Cascadia District Superintendent through June 30th 
tim@umoi.org

 


Incoming Cascadia DS Wendy Woodworth Introduces Herself

 Wendy Woodworth

 Click on the photo above and meet DS Wendy virtually through her introduction video!


Cascadia District Opportunities to Connect with Wendy and One Another
 

As we continue to be the church and doing ministry in these challenging times, I want to continue the opportunity for virtual gatherings of laity and clergy.  These gatherings will be an opportunity to get to know one another better, address challenges you are facing and celebrate what is going well. I will also share updates from PNW and OR-ID.  Given this is summer, these will not be every week.  I look forward to sharing in this time together!
 

 Tuesdays : July 7 & 21, August 11

Clergy, LLP and Lay Assigned Gatherings: at 9:00 am -- Let’s have Coffee/Tea Together

Laity Gatherings at 7:00 pm

 


It Is Past Time to Talk About Racism and White Privilege

Opportunities for Cascadia District: Phase One

I know that some of our churches, pastors and laity have begun discussing racism and white privilege over the past year or so and others are starting a discussion now or hoping to begin one in the fall.  Thank you for taking the lead in this work. 
 
I engaged in a study of the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo last fall with members from Open Door Churches. I have read various novels by People of Color and intentionally have watched films related to racism.  I still feel like I am only scratching the surface and need to go deeper into this work.
 
I am inviting you to join me and others in the Cascadia District to begin learning and growing together about racism and white privilege.  If you do not have an opportunity to study in your local church, this is for you … if you want to have a discussion with others before you lead one yourself in your ministry setting, this is for you … if you simply want to have an additional opportunity for discussion, this is for you.
 
Opportunities Via Zoom: (Link to come later. but put it on your calendar now and read the books or watch the movie to prepare)
 
July 14 :  9:00am and 7:00pm.  (2 opportunities for same discussion.)
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson and film by Warner Brothers.  Read the book or watch the film.  Come prepared to discuss these questions:
** What impacted you the most about this story?
** Where did you see sin – racism – injustice?
** Where did you see grace – justice – redemption?
** What emotions did you experience?
** What does this film call you to do?
 
 
August 4 : 9:00am and 7:00 pm
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.  Read the book and come prepared to discuss:
** One minute statement of how you have benefitted from white privilege or been impacted as a person of color by the white privilege you have witnessed others receiving.
** What challenged you in this book … what did you learn … what were you not ready to hear?
** What will you take away from this reading?
** What does this book call you to do?
 
Although it is not necessary for participation, email me if you plan to attend and which dates and time (wendy@umoi.org.)   If our group is large, we will use break out rooms for better discussion.  I call this “Phase One” as I foresee additional opportunities for discussion, learning and growing throughout the year and beyond.  This is a journey that will take some time.
 
Grace & Peace,  Wendy
 


How Are We Helping? 
In So Many Ways!

Continue to support your local church financially. 

Our buildings are closed, but the church is open and still doing ministry!  Your tithes and donations are critical to continuing that work

Greater NW Area Fund for Families

The money in this fund will be distributed through local churches to the need they see across our episcopal area (Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Alaska), like the Grocery Gift Card Grants

UMCOR Sheltering in Love Giving Campaign

This fund will assist vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world  It is Advance #3022612. You can give through your local church by putting the advance number in the memo line of your check or give online.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

This week in the
Cascadia District
 
Monday, June 29
 
Let's Connect for Clergy
and Lay Pastors

a final opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Tim via Zoom

Tuesday, June 30

Let's Connect for Laity
a final opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Time via Zoom

Wednesday, July 1

New appointment year in Cascadia District begins

Looking Ahead

Monday, July 6

Conference and District offices closed for the 4th of July Holiday

Tuesday, July 7

Let's Connect for Clergy
and Lay Pastors

an opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Wendy via Zoom - 9 a.m.

Let's Connect for Laity
an opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Wendy via Zoom - 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 14

District Discussion of "Just Mercy" via Zoom - 9 a.m. or 7 p.m.

Cascadia District Church Extension Society Exec Mtg

Tuesday, July 21

Let's Connect for Clergy
and Lay Pastors

an opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Wendy via Zoom - 9 a.m.

Let's Connect for Laity
an opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Wendy via Zoom - 7 p.m.

Tuesday, August 4

District Discussion of White Fragility via Zoom - 9 a.m. or 7 p.m.

Tuesday, August 11

Let's Connect for Clergy
and Lay Pastors

an opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Wendy via Zoom - 9 a.m.

Let's Connect for Laity
an opportunity for conversation and fellowship with DS Wendy via Zoom - 7 p.m.


Prayer Calendar

June 21 - 27

Rev. Bill Hays,
on personal leave

Rev. Peg Lofsvold,
on medical leave

June 28 - July 4

Cascadia District Retirees*

* not including those who were serving this past appointment year and so already included in prayers with their church

Bill Apel, Dave Beckett, Ron Borden, Janet Burkhart, Joyce Cann-Caspell, Penny Christianson, Ron Crandall, Karen Crooch, Dexter Danielson, Janine DeLaunay, Gwen Drake, Jonathan Enz, Janet Farrell, Jody Felton, Arturo Fernandez, Jim and Judith Fiske, Chuck Foster, Jim and Rinya Frisbie, Rhoda Fuentes, Edson Gilmore, Mary Ann Googins, Pam Gurley, Annis Henson, Lee Hunefeld, Greg Johanson, David Kinman, Don Knepp, Jon Langenwalter, Thom Larson, Paul LaRue, Bob Ledden, Peggy Luckman, Lane McGaughy, Larry Monk, Jerry Nelson, Robert Newberg, Sue Owen, Debbie Pitney, John Pitney, Ken Plummer, Michael Powell, Lynn Rabenstein, Ron Ray, Mike Runyon, Becca Shields, Emmett Shortreed, Karen Slotta, Judy Smith, Wes Taylor, Lois Wagner, Charlie Wallace, Don West 

July 5 - 11

Amity First UMC
Pastor Ken Johnson
Lay Leader Melva Rosenbalm

See the full prayer calendar


DS Schedule

Upcoming events in the District Superintendent's Schedule:

July 1-6    DS Wendy transition/
                vacation/holiday time 
                off

July 7      District Connect for 
               clergy and laity

July 8       GNW Area Cabinet

                 Meeting of OR-ID
                 Delegation to                               General/Jurisdictional
                 Conf.

July 13      Meeting of Western
                 Jurisdiction Mission
                 Cabinet

July 14      District Extension 
                  Society Meeting

                  District Discussion of
                  "Just Mercy"

July 20       GNW Area Cabinet

July 21        District connect for 
                   clergy and laity

July 26-30   DS Training

Aug 4          District discussion
                   of White Fragility

Aug 5         GNW Area Cabinet

Aug 11        District connect for
                   clergy and laity

Aug 15 -31  DS vacation


Resources

Cascadia District Church Extension Society Wants to Support Your Ministry Innovations

Have an innovative ministry you’d like to start? How about additional funding for one that’s already in place? The Cascadia District Extension Society may be able to help. Typically, one-year grants are in the $2,000-$20,000 range. Find applications here.
 
If you’re looking for a loan for building, maintenance, and capital improvement projects, you can find an application here.
 
Grant applications are due Monday, July 6.
 
For more information, contact Carol Douthit, CDES President and Grant Application Manager.

Reimagining Life Together Plans

As we transition from one DS to another, the work of approving your local congregation plans for using your buildings again for ministry go on.  Tim will be handing over responsibility for reviewing your plans to Wendy, but they will work together for some time to get these done and back to you.

Through July 6, continue to send your plans and e-mails to Tim at tim@umoi.org

Beginning on July 7, send your plans for review to Wendy at wendy@umoi.org.

Be assured that they will work together to support you in this time of change and transition - for all of us!


?Contact Us

 

DS Tim Overton-Harris
(through June 30)
tim@umoi.org

DS Wendy Woodworth
(beginning July 1)
wendy@umoi.org 

District Lay Leader
Paula Sadler

jpcsadler@aol.com

District Administrative Assistant
Linda Grund-Clampit

linda@umoi.org
503-581-3969

Check out the Cascadia District webpage:
www.umoi.org/cascadia

Find us on Facebook

Cascadia District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
680 State Street, Suite 200, Salem, Oregon, 97301 ~ (503) 581-3969 ~ Cascadia@umoi.org