September 10, 2020
District News from Wendy
Fire Updates in Cascadia District as of Thursday Morning
I want to keep you informed related to the fires throughout the Cascadia District and also offer a word of prayer.
Please know that you are held in my prayers. We are not alone in the midst of these challenges and crises. God provides us comfort and strength as we journey with each other.
Let us pray: (click on the picture to view the video) https://vimeo.com/456705274
Here is some information:
- Various parishioners throughout the district have evacuated. The evacuation areas include east of Salem, south of Oregon City and some in the wine county. People are sheltering with family, fellow church members in safer areas, in RVs/Campers in church parking lots, or designated Red Cross centers at the State Fairgrounds (Salem), Polk County Fair Grounds, Volcanoes Stadium and Clackamas Community College.
- Rev. Laura Beville (Silverton) and family have evacuated and are staying in Portland until electricity is restored at the parsonage. They are also concerned about the air quality in Silverton.
- Many who have evacuated are facing uncertainty about the status of their property, homes and livestock they have had to leave behind. Some have evacuated due to the unhealthy to hazardous air quality.
- Some churches are able to provide assistance to evacuees.
- Oregon City UMC has been helping with food,
- Woodburn UMC is housing and feeding two families (with Covid safety measures in place and with families isolated) and
- Dallas UMC members and Pastor Rebecca Patterson have helped unload supplies at the Polk Fairgrounds.
- Newberg FUMC is offering their parking lot to second vehicles, RVs, small trailers, etc. for anyone evacuating to Newberg. They are located at 1205 Deborah Rd.
- Pastors are visiting parishioners in evacuation centers and connecting through phone calls.
- I am sure there is other outreach happening. Thank you for your faithful response to those in need.
- We have church members who are housing extended family and friends who have needed to evacuate.
- Right now the one church building that is closest to harm’s way is Clarkes UMC near Mulino. The fire near Bay City is now moving away from town.
What we can do – Pray and Give
- for one another and those who have had to evacuate and live in the uncertainty of the fate of their homes.
- for those who live in the midst of unhealthy and hazardous air quality and must remain indoors.
- for parents and children who have just begun a school year to have it disrupted.
- for those who left livestock behind and are filled with fear and uncertainty.
- for the clergy and pastors of the district and conference who are needing to respond to an additional emergency and time of stress.
- for those who are trying to help and to observe Covid safety measures.
- for the firefighters, the search and rescue teams, and all who provide emergency relief.
- for the Bishop, District Superintendents and Conference leadership who are responding to this crisis.
- by looking for opportunities to help those who have needed to evacuate.
- when information is provided to give through UMCOR and/or the Conference for emergency relief – information will be coming soon in a Conference Newsletter.
- to your local church to enable our congregations to respond in our communities and to be a source of comfort and strength.
District Clergy Event on Sept. 27 Postponed
This was the week to get significant work done on the program for September 27, 2020. I needed to pivot my time to connect throughout the district related to the fires and be part of a crisis meeting related to this. Many of our clergy are needing to spend significant time reaching out to parishioners and trying to deal with the reality of yet another crisis in the midst of our ongoing crises of Covid-19 and systemic racism.
With Annual Conference happening next week with times on both Sept. 16 for OR-ID and Sept. 20 for the Greater NW Gathering and Charge Conferences on the horizon, I have decided to postpone our district clergy gathering of September 27, 2020. I simply do not see that we collectively have the band width for it at this time.
Hopefully when Sept. 27 rolls around, we will not have an immediate crisis at hand, and you can enjoy a few bonus hours on your calendar for Sabbath time. My prayer is that you will not delete that time block but change it to Sabbath and decide how you will care for yourself during the 2 ½ hour block. Sabbath time will look different for each one of us – it may be time alone, time with family, time outside taking a walk, or intentional time connecting with God through a spiritual practice.
Instead of the District Clergy Event, I will offer two times of connection for district clergy, lay pastors and myself in September.
- Tuesday, September 15 @ 9:00am : a time of devotion and checking in, fire updates, any questions prior to Annual Conference and any questions related to colloquies beginning in October.
- Tuesday, September 22 @ 9:00am : a time of devotion and checking in, district updates and questions, questions post Annual Conference and Charge Conference information.
We will send out reminders and Zoom connection information for these two gatherings prior to the meetings.
Beginning in October, I will connect with clergy and churches through Colloquies and Charge Conferences. But as a need arises, do not hesitate to email or call me.
Grace and Peace,
Cascadia District Superintendent