Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020

Dear Reader,

This email comes at the end of a very, very hectic month while my almost 2-year-old is upstairs sleeping off an elevated fever that I’m praying isn’t more than just a little fever.

An elevated fever. A year ago, that sentence wouldn’t have caused my heart to skip a beat the way it does today. A year ago we didn’t know about COVID-19. A year ago, we weren’t watching wildfires decimate small towns. A year ago, we thought so many things differently. We may have even taken some things – like the ability to breathe – for granted.

What has 2020 taught you? To be more patient? To be less patient? To seek answers where you normally would not have? To fight against injustices you naively thought were resolved?

Bishop Elaine reminded us during our Annual Conference gathering that our work is not finished. We must continue to fight COVID-19, dismantle racism and reimagine our life as a church in our world if we are to abide by those three simple Wesleyan rules: Do No Harm, Do Good, Stay in Love with God.

But maybe it’s OK to stop and take a deep breath and appreciate the way God is working in us and through us to bring about a better world.


Kristen Caldwell
Communications Manager


Watch video presentations from AC

If you wanted to catch more details about the presentations and reports given during Annual Conference, all of the pre-recorded videos are being made available via our Vimeo account.

Please take a look there and don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions.

Daily proceedings are available to review

Visit to read the daily proceedings report put together by Conference Secretary Laura Jaquith Bartlett.

Speaking of the Conference Secretary ... The 2020 Conference Journal will be posted on the Conference website by the end of October. More details to come soon.

In case you missed it: Bishop’s episcopal address, part 3: The United or Untied Methodist Church?

"?We live in a different world today than we did even a year ago. These movements are overwhelming. They demand all our attention and resources. We are weary. But no rest for the weary.

As wildfires rage across the West, we find ourselves in another crisis in Oregon and Washington, and to a lesser degree, to this point, in Idaho. And the church digs deeper, finds reserves it did not know it had, invents new ways to mobilize to offer relief to people who are evacuated, homeless, and stricken by sooty, ashen air."

Read more of the third part of the Bishop's Episcopal address on the GNW website. Links to all three parts of the address are also available at

Watch: Breathing Smoke, Seeking Hope worship 

Thanks to a team of volunteers across the Greater Northwest Area, lead by Rev. Rob Walters and Amity Campus of Boise First United Methodist Church, a worship service of praise, prayer and reflection, was hosted live on social media through YouTube on Sunday.

The worship service can still be viewed by visiting the Greater NW Area wildfire relief website, where donations can also be made to Conference disaster response funds.


Oak Grove UMC transforms into wildfire shelter for homeless

It took less than five hours on Thursday (Sept. 10) for Oak Grove United Methodist Church, in a neighborhood south of Portland, to go from closed due to COVID-19 to open in order to house transient people who needed a place to stay due to nearby wildfires.

Pastor Heather Riggs attributes the success of a five-hour turnaround to three things: Strong community partnerships, a District Superintendent willing to make adaptations to the church’s COVID-19 guidelines rapidly and a county health department quick to provide guidelines and resources.

“At 2 p.m. on Thursday we had a local homeless day shelter from Oregon City at our door after they had been evacuated,” Riggs said.

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

Course for clergy serving in fire devastated areas

Rev. Brett Strobel of Ashland UMC is coordinating a 5-session Zoom course to assist clergy who are living in or serving in Oregon, Washington or California where fires have devastated communities and created multiple traumas for parishioners. The course will be led by Rev. Dr. Karen McClintock, clergy consultant and psychologist.
Thursdays October 1st through Thursday October 29th from 11 am-12:30 pm
Suggested participant donation is $40.00, however the course is offered at no charge to clergy and those appointed to congregations as pastoral leaders. Participants are asked to purchase and read the first few chapters of the Dr. McClintock’s book, When Trauma Wounds:  Pathways to Healing and Hope (Fortress Press -2019.  CEU credits are offered. 
To register, indicate your interest by contacting Rev. Dr. McClintock at

Inspiring Generosity: You’re Not Alone: COVID-19 Congregational Study

In this week's blog post, Cesie Delve Scheuermann looks at a recent COVID-19 congregational study offered by the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving. She offers some interesting insight.

"You are the leaders who can impact change – whether it’s around stewardship or in society. Inform yourself with this Study and then make a plan for the future using it as a reference. And while you’re at it, let Justice Ginsburg give you a little pep talk:

'Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.'

 You’re not alone. You can do this. We’re in this together."

Read more on the Conference website.


United Methodist leaders call on ICE to release undocumented immigrant arrested on church property

On September 10, six ICE agents knowingly violated the agency’s Sensitive Locations policy and lied to Binsar Siahaan, an Indonesian asylum-seeker and six-year member of the Glenmont United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland in order to arrest him and begin deportation proceedings. In a clear violation of the agency’s own policy, ICE entered church property to arrest and detain Mr. Binsar Siahaan, who serves as the congregation’s caretaker and lives on the property with his family.

The United Methodist Church believes church grounds are sacred and should always offer safety. ICE crossing church property to arrest someone under false pretenses is not only a violation of human rights and due process, but a breach of ICE’s own policy regarding removing someone from a sensitive location. ICE’s reckless actions pose a huge risk for immigrants throughout the country who are in sensitive locations; attending school, receiving care in hospitals and health facilities, and seeking refuge in faith communities.

Sign the petition here!

Read more of this release from the General Board of Church and Society.

Clergy: Racial justice is church's responsibility

Standing for racial justice and modeling “a heart of peace” are priorities of The United Methodist Church in Wisconsin after violence that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, said the bishop of the Wisconsin Conference.

“I think the church needs to continually tap that heart of peace in the midst of stormy times,” Bishop Hee-Soo Jung told UM News.

In a statement posted after the shooting, which was witnessed by Blake’s three children and left him paralyzed from the waist down, Jung also said “racial justice must be a hallmark of ministry in the Wisconsin Conference.”

Read more of this story from UM News Service.

Grappling with how racism co-exists with the church

Jesus calls his followers to love their neighbor. So why have Christians found ways to refuse their neighbors not just love but basic dignity?

“We know better,” said the Rev. Mai-Anh Le Tran of United Methodist Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. “Why don’t we act or live differently? It strikes me as that we are still befuddled by our human fallibility.”

For an hour, she and two other theologians wrestled with why racism remains prevalent in the U.S., where Christianity is the dominant faith. They spoke as part of The United Methodist Church’s fourth online panel held to discuss eradicating racial injustice.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.


Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Conference Office: 1505 SW 18th Avenue Portland, OR 97201
503-226-7931 ~ 800-593-7539 ~ 503-226-4158 (fax)