Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020

Dear Readers,

A friend from High School recently shared an article with me on Facebook that had nothing to do with Covid-19 or the upcoming election. How rare and refreshing!

The article was about Dean Chesky, a bus driver in Wisconsin who logged one million miles transporting children over a 46-year career with the Flambeau School District. For roughly a decade, I rode on Dean’s bus several hours each day as he picked up and dropped off students who often lived miles apart.

I have many fond — and some less than fond — memories of those frequently bumpy and long bus rides. Dean was a constant throughout them, picking us up early each morning regardless of the weather, rarely missing a day sick or on vacation. 

This story caused me to remember the many saints that I’ve come to know in local churches — those people who are faithful to a fault. Too easily, we neglect to recognize their steady, reliable contributions and how essential they are to any faith community worth belonging to …  READ MORE HERE.

May God bless your ministry with its share of bus drivers,

Patrick Scriven
PNW Director of Communications


GNW Innovation Vitality Team offers three learning experiences to equip leaders for relational community work

Decolonizing our Mission. Engaging our Communities. Exercising Cultural Humility. These are essential practices for United Methodists seeking to create or deepen community partnerships and build or strengthen relationships of justice for a time such as this.

The Greater Northwest Area’s Innovation Vitality Team is partnering with three strong voices this November to deliver three learning experiences over Zoom introducing or refreshing participant’s understanding of these critical practices.

“From these leaders, you will experience deep learning connected with authentic practice,” says Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church. The series is being offered to lay and clergy members of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences. Each session is free of charge but requires preregistration.

Read more and register for these events by visiting the GNW Area News site.

PNW Conference

Clergy Wellness: Do Good in the Clouds

By Rev. Thomas Irby

I was thirteen when the clouds first arrived. A combination of hormones, anxiety, brain chemistry and loneliness began to manifest into something I later knew to call “depression.” Over the last six months, I have experienced the weight of those clouds heavier than ever.

Like many progressive Christians, I am a deeply empathetic person. Every single news story about the oppression of Black and brown people in the streets or in detention centers tightens the vice in my chest. The spreading of blatant misinformation about the pandemic and politics makes me feel anxious. The dark clouds of smoke that settled over our region in September appropriately illustrated my internal narrative of confusion and frustration.

In a world where bad news is readily available, and any post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to raise your blood pressure, it is crucial to set boundaries on what we consume. We simply cannot carry it all. Biologically, our brains were not built to read and reflect upon this much information.

Read more of this blog post on the Greater NW News site.

Justice and equity in the era of Zoom

Rev. Joe Kim and Nica Sy from Bothell United Methodist Church partnered with the General Commission on Religion and Race in producing this short guide for communicating and connecting virtually in ways that embody justice and equity.

Download the resource now.

Oregon-Idaho Conference

Inspiring Generosity: The Church Talks about Death! Part 3 – Starting the Conversation

In our pre-pandemic world, Cesie Delve Scheuermann attended a workshop taught by Rev. Tanya Spaur Pile from Marysville UMC (in the PNW Conference) around death and dying and found it to be suprisingly wonderful.

This week she shares some take-aways from this training “The Art of Dying Well: A Crash Course in End-of-Life Conversations” that makes the discussion of death less terrifying while offering tips on how churches can host similar workshops.

“I’ve said it before, but let me say it again, death is hard. Grief is hard. And yet, as people of faith, we are not walking through that process alone; we have the strong arms of a loving God to lean on. As people full of hope, getting the conversation started about death and dying is something the church should take the lead on.”

Read more of Cesie’s blog on the Oregon-Idaho Conference site.

GNW Pride: Happy National Coming Out Day!

While National Coming Out Day was honored for the LGBTQ+ community on Oct. 11 and dates back to the first anniversary of the LGBTQ+ march on Washington, Oregon-Idaho Conference LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell also noted Oct. 12 was the 22nd anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Wyoming for being gay.

The country has come a long way since Webb-Mitchell first came out 25 years ago, but there is still much work to be done.

Coming out and being who you are as a self-identifying LGBTQIA2S+ person in this society still takes personal and communal courage, love of self and others, and boundless hope, which is always future oriented. We, who are out, hope that in the future being LGBTQIA2S+ is as natural as rain in October in Oregon, with no physical beatings, emotional violence, or any other repercussions in terms of our complex relationship with our family, friends, faith communities, jobs, health care, housing, and retirement, to name but a few of the circles of influence in our lives.” 

Read more of Brett’s blog on the Oregon-Idaho Conference site.


Water is Life: A special UM News Service project


At 4:30 a.m., it is pitch black in the village of Mzira in Malawi.

In the early morning sky, the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper look bright enough to walk on. Dogs howl and scurrying animals rustle through the maize fields.

Most men and children are asleep but the women are stirring.

African women gather under the shadows of trees, buckets swinging, ready to embark on the first of many journeys they will make during the day to fetch water for their families.

As they gather, they chat, laugh and count heads. Making their way through maize fields, creek and riverbeds, over slick rocks and through other rough terrain, the women sing to encourage each other and to scare away anything or anyone that might be lurking in the dark — including “bad men who may be rapists.”

“Water is life, let us go and draw water, water is life, our children should go to school,” the women sing.

Read more of this photo story and series from UM News Service.

Church leader finds vocational certainty
amid COVID-19

About 13 years ago, then 50-year-old Györgyi Vályi was invited to Hope Church in Budapest, Hungary. She had never seen anything like this United Methodist congregation before: The group was mixed, even some homeless people attended the church services — and there was a pronounced social sensibility that still characterizes this congregation today.

At that time two older members were studying theology, and when Vályi saw their enthusiasm, she wanted to expand her knowledge by studying theology, as well. Without any particular aim. Simply out of interest. And most important: without any idea that God might have a plan for her.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.

Forging stronger ties as women of faith

Mozambique Area Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, the first and only female United Methodist bishop in Africa, has learned to weigh when and how to respond to falsehoods prompted by blatant acts of sexism.

“At the beginning, I would try to clear my name by responding to it,” she explained during a virtual gathering to promote and celebrate women’s leadership in the church.

But that took energy and time. Eventually, Nhanala realized that “deeds speak louder than words.”

The bishop’s deeds so far have included appointing eight women among her area’s 20 superintendents.

The pandemic scuttled plans by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women to gather 200 to 250 women in the Chicago area this fall. But the Oct. 8-10 virtual women’s leadership summit attracted that many, with others registering to view a limited-time archive afterward.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.

Application opens for Global Mission Fellows, US-2 track

The Global Mission Fellows program of The United Methodist Church places young adults, ages 20–30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The program offers the opportunity for service in the United States (US-2 track) and around the world (international track).

The application for the 2021-23 cohort of Global Mission Fellows on the US-2 track opened Monday, Oct. 12. The application for the Global Mission Fellows international track will be released at a later time, pending travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

The program allows participants to connect the church in mission while addressing the root causes of oppression and alleviating human suffering in their host communities. Fellows work alongside community organizations in a variety of areas including public health, migration/immigration, education and poverty.

Read more from the General Board of Global Ministries website.

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