Friday, July 24, 2020

A Letter to United Methodists in Portland and the Oregon-Idaho Conference: Don’t get distracted from the work of anti-racism

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of your sin?  I do.

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves?  I do.

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior,
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your Lord,
in union with the Church which Christ
has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?  I do.

 - “Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith” | United Methodist Baptismal Covenant

A well-intentioned 'wall of moms’ standing between protesters and law enforcement.

A white woman dubbed ‘naked Athena’ shedding her clothes to protest police violence.

A president desperate to change the narrative deploying federal agents in a provocative fashion.

Do not be distracted.

Black Lives Matter.

 Read more of this letter written by Portland faith leaders and endorsed by Conference leaders:

RELATED: Portland NAACP: We have to focus back on the real issue - KOIN News.


WATCH: An evening with Dr. Drew Hart in Boise

Organized by churches in the Sage District of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, Dr. Drew Hart, author of the book “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism” spoke to a physically-distanced crowd on the front lawn of the Idaho Black History Museum on July 11 in Boise.

The presentation was recorded in order for others to be able to use this presentation as a resource as they engage in the work of anti-racism.

Learn more and watch the video on the Greater NW News site.

Puyallup, Summit UMCs merge in “leap of faith”

On May 31, Revs. Cara Scriven and Melinda Giese shared a virtual sermon with their congregations — Puyallup and Summit United Methodist Churches, respectively. The two churches have worshipped together since March, but this Pentecost Sunday marked a more official joint fellowship. After nine months of conversations, followed by a vote delayed by COVID-19, the churches voted to merge.

Puyallup United Methodist Church traces its origins back to 1853 and greeted their neighbors at Summit United Methodist Church in 1903. Both churches have seen remodels and construction over the years, with their current buildings just four miles away in western Washington. 

Read more on the Greater Northwest News website.

An opportunity to ‘reimagine’ pastoral leadership 

By Rev. Alexa Eisenbarth

There is a lot to despair of. I find myself on the verge of great dread regularly. I hope you are floating in hope more often than I, but this verge of great dread has counterintuitively become a source of hope for me.

If nothing changes, in our denomination, country, city, congregation, then the future looks rather bleak. Because we are finally admitting that, change is ignited, change is urgent. Perhaps, in this context, when so much of our ‘regular’ life has gone out the window, we will finally be open to transformations that have needed to occur for a long time.

If something must change, if everything must change, what could the world, our life as pastoral leaders become?

Read more of this story on the Greater Northwest News site.

Our churches & pastors in the news:

Religion News Service: As pandemic wears on, faith leader dig in on life and death decisions. Featuring Rev. Taylor Gould, La Grande (OR) UMC.

KEZI Eugene: Some local churches hold off on re-opening. Featuring Rev. Adam Briddell, Eugene FUMC.

OregonLive (Oregonian): Eilidh Lowery to lead Portland Public Schools board of trustees. Featuring Rev. Eilidh Lowery, Southeast Portland Parish.


Sign up for Lay Servant Ministries course

“Introduction to Lay Ministry: The BASIC Course” is being taught, via Zoom, to anyone in the Greater Northwest Area who feel they are being called be certified lay servants, lay speakers and lay ministers.

The course begins Aug. 4 and runs every Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. through September 1. The course is being taught via Zoom by Pam Robbins and Emilie Kroen in the Oregon-Idaho Conference, but is open to anyone in the Greater NW Area who would like to attend.

The only cost associated with the course is the participants book “Lay Servant Ministries” by Sandy Zeigler Jackson and Brian Jackson, available from Cokesbury and Amazon. The registration deadline is Aug. 1.

You can register by emailing Kroen at or calling her at 503-312-4138. Kroen simply asks for participants to provide their name, address, phone number and local church setting. Once registered, participants will receive a copy of the Zoom link for the meeting.

Stress, Loss & Grief video resource available now

This training has been developed to address the mounting stress, loss and grief that people are experiencing during this dual pandemic time of virus and racism. Laity in positions of leadership and service often see the impact of rising stress in individuals, congregations, mission fields and clergy. This video (which can be shown through a zoom meeting) can provide an understanding of the dynamics of stress, loss and grief, provide ways you can be in support and compassion with others and manage the impact of stress on yourself.

Watch the video here.

Financial resources for pastors changing churches

Rev. Dan Wilson-Fey and Brant Henshaw, treasurers for the Oregon-Idaho Conference and Pacific Northwest Conference, respectively, put together an online financial workshop for pastors moving from one appointment or assignment to another.

For those who may have missed the initial webinar and other resources, it’s available through the Greater NW website.


Lawson: Black Lives Matter a religious movement 

As a young man, the Rev. James Lawson was chosen by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to train young civil rights peacemakers to fight racism with love and respect — to step into the fray and say, “I follow Jesus.”

“That was a powerful mantra that I learned in the Methodist Youth Movement in the ’40s and ’50s,” said Lawson, a United Methodist elder who is now 91.

Lawson’s life work has been to create a nonviolent nation.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Filipino pastor: bring home stranded workers

United Methodists joined a prayer rally to seek repatriation of Filipino overseas workers stranded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, due to COVID-19.

The Rev. Mariesol Villalon, program manager for anti-human trafficking and migrant ministry in the Manila Episcopal Area, was among those praying in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City on July 17. During the lockdown, she has sustained an online ministry with Filipino workers stranded overseas, including a man who is United Methodist.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.

Pandemic creates new opportunities for some 

United Methodists in Zimbabwe and Congo are building new businesses or adapting old ones to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Zimbabwe, 22-year-old Seviria Taedza has found success as an entrepreneur since the country imposed lockdowns in March.

The second youngest in a family of six daughters and a member of Gweru West United Methodist Church, Taedza learned to make detergent at a girls’ empowerment workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Area’s Ministry with Women, Youth and Children.

Read more of this story from United Methodist News Service.


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