As we enter July and a pandemically influenced celebration of our nation's history, let's look at it deeply - with open hearts and minds - and move forward honestly: seeking liberty and justice for all.  - Terri Bartish, Sage District Administrative Assistant (

Read on!
In this month's issue:

Celebrating Sage
Where is the DS?
Welcome & Farewell
*UPDATED* COVID-19 Info Sources for Local Churches
Tuesday Pastor Zoom Call
Links and Resources

Rev. Karen outside

Celebrating Sage

Here we are more than 100 days in a global pandemic that none of us was trained to minister through, and you, Sage District pastors and laity, are showing just how remarkable you are! 

Pastors have become YouTube stars. Sound booth volunteers have become video editors. Food bank volunteers have become expert essential workers.  Councils and ad hoc groups have become sanitation experts. All of us can, with minimal effort, maintain social distance as if we had magnets that refused to let us break the 6 foot social distancing-zone around each person.  Persons of all ages have expressed their commitment to their families of faith by learning how to "zoom." Financial giving in many places has kept pace with needs and sometimes exceeded average giving, presumably because you are faithful stewards of resources. Churches have strengthened or begun new community partnerships for the sake of loving neighbors well in this extraordinary time. 
At this point, there are many new and exciting ministries happening, too!  Some of you are (with your approved plans, of course) starting outdoor worship in favor of gathering in new and different ways. Others have courageously discerned that waiting to gather is what your community is called to do, so you’re working very hard to have meaningful connections while still [physically] apart. We knew we could count on God to be present with us through this and ever challenge. I celebrate the ways you are finding God, deepening your relationships with God, and even welcoming more people to your churches online to meet or reconnect with God in this strange season of life. 
One group in particular is making the most of this moment in history.  A colloquy organized by Rev. Jenny Hirst has been meeting online throughout the pandemic to read and discuss Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Dr. Drew G. I. Hart.

In light of the sudden recognition that this work of confronting racism is urgent, rather than scaling back, Jenny has scaled up her efforts to share this text with others. Jenny has even found ways for Dr. Hart to carry on with his planned visit to Boise, in-keeping with all re-opening and safety protocols for UMCs and Ada County. On Saturday, July 11 at 5 p.m. MDT, Dr. Hart will speak to a necessarily small group in Boise. Since this was intended to be a public event, we expect Dr. Hart’s address to be accessible by livestream and an online recording.  Watch the Sage Facebook page (for links! 
Recently I’ve been thinking about some of Henri Nouwen’s words that I’ve held dear for a long time: “I pray that this will be my ministry: to join people on the journey and open their eyes to see you.”  I am grateful for all of the ways you are finding to join people, to remain connected even while apart.  Thank you for continuing on this journey, especially when it is so difficult. 
With you in ministry,

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

Where is the DS?

She’s still working from home and talking to her computer monitor.  Thanks to the wonders of technology, she’s also very much on the job and connecting across the district. The schedule below is really about which group(s) the DS is zooming with on any given day. 
Everyday @ 12 noon local time                     praying The Lord’s Prayer in solidarity with others
Sunday mornings                                            worship across the district
July 7                     Cabinet
July 11                   Dr. Drew Hart event @ Idaho Black History Museum (Boise)
July 14                   Sage Pastors’ Zoom @ 2 p.m. MDT / 1 p.m. PDT
July 20                   Cabinet
July 21-Aug. 5       Vacation*
July 28                   Sage Pastors’ Zoom CANCELLED 
*July 21-25            On-call DS: Wendy Woodworth
*July 26-31            On-call DS: John Tucker

Welcome & Farewell

Though we cannot extend a warm welcome or offer sincere thanks at the traditional district breakfast during Annual Conference this year, we still wish to extend our gratitude and hospitality to those pastors who are moving into the Sage District or moving on from active ministry.  Please reach out to these persons and definitely hold them in prayer.
We welcome…

  • Phil Airhart—retired associate member (previously served Twin Falls UMC) returning to the Magic Valley after serving churches in Oregon during his first attempt at retirement.
  • Ryan Atwood—entering pastoral ministry as a lay person assigned to Aberdeen, American Falls, and Chubbuck UMCs. 
  • Vicky Alvarado—licensed local pastor from Mountain Sky Annual conference now appointed to Paul UMC and Rupert UMC. 
  • Buddy Gharring—beginning his third year at Twin Falls UMC, but now as an appointed licensed local pastor.
  • Janice Haftorson—newly restored elder in full connection after many years away; appointed to Crossroads UMC. 
  • Michele Holloway—newly retired licensed local pastor moving into ministry at Baker & Haines UMCs as of 8/01/20. 

We offer gratitude and blessings for the journey ahead…

  • Patti Money—returned home to family and the Virginia Annual Conference following 4 years of ministry with Jason Lee Memorial UMC. 
  • Lisa Payton—beginning personal leave and residing in Boise after serving Baker & Haines UMCs for 6 years. 
  • Chuck Shahan—focusing on other work and passions after 4 years of service to Middleton UMC.
  • Elaine Steele—re-retiring (and trying to figure out what to do when no one in her household has Sunday morning obligations!) after 2 years serving Crossroads UMC. 

Also, Jenny (Willison) Hirst became a deacon in full connection at the June 10 Oregon-Idaho online clergy session!  Jenny serves at Collister UMC and Taft Elementary School in Boise.  Since ordination involves a laying of hands by the bishop, Jenny will be ordained as a deacon at our next in-person annual conference.  It’s not too soon to celebrate her though! 


*UPDATED* COVID-19 Info Sources for Local Churches

While many of us would like to think the coronavirus pandemic is of little or no concern at least through the summer, we still must take significant precautions as we seek to do no harm in our churches.  Here are the key places to look for updates to how the Greater Northwest Area UMCs are called to exercise caution while continuing in ministry:

  • Reimagining Life Together 
    • This document guides churches to create plans for re-opening their buildings.
    • It is periodically updated; scroll to the last page for a list of changes and their effective dates. 
  • The Bishop’s Pastoral Letters 
  • Greater Northwest Area Webinars
  • Sage District Facebook Page 
    • The Bishop’s pastoral letters, GNW webinar registration, and additional links that may be helpful to you are posted here regularly.  If you’re having a hard time finding what you need, check here.
    • This page is public.  You do not need a Facebook account, and there is no login necessary to access this page. 

Tuesday Pastor Zoom Call

Pastors’ Zoom Calls—2nd & 4th Tuesdays @ 2 p.m. MDT / 1 p.m. PDT
As we continue a very slow re-opening of our churches, new challenges with COVID in very localized areas, and an extended time without in-person gatherings, Sage pastors are invited to gather on Zoom.  Rather than weekly calls, we’ll only gather on most 2nd & 4th Tuesdays through the summer.  Summer dates for these calls are June 30, July 14, August 11 & 25.  The link is the same every time. 
If you need this time for questions, collaboration, or just to feel connected, pastors, please log on!  If you have more Zoom than you can bear and you don’t have burning questions, please find another meaningful way to spend this hour on Tuesday afternoons. 
Retired pastors, those on leave or in extension ministry, etc. are absolutely welcome. 

Sage Pastors Weekly Zoom--full invitation info
Tuesdays @ 2 p.m. MDT / 1 p.m. PDT beginning March 24, 2020
To join online, go to

(With increased use of Zoom nationwide, some numbers may be busy.  If you get a busy signal or can't connect, try another number.) 

To join from a smart phone, click 1 of the 2 lines below and wait until you are connected: 

To join from any phone, dial 1 of the phone numbers below, 
        +1 346 248 7799
        +1 669 900 6833
        +1 312 626 6799
        +1 646 876 9923 
        +1 253 215 8782
        +1 301 715 8592
When prompted, enter our meeting ID, which is 131 868 190

Links and Resources

  • Online Vacation Bible School offered by Boise First UMC, Cathedral of the Rockies is available for registration! Themed "Focus: Take a Closer Look" the VBS happens virtually July 20-23, and is $30 per family. Here is the registration link  Once you've registered, kits of supplies  will be delivered to you!  If you have questions, contact Hillary Hahn (


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