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Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021

Dear Reader,

There is so much to say, but no good way to say it after watching horrific events unfold at the U.S. Capitol yesterday.

So, we did what we know how to do as people of faith. We gathered online for a Zoom vigil last night where we were led in prayer, scripture and song by clergy and laity from all four states across the Greater Northwest Area. The vigil was organized by Rev. David Valera, director of connectional ministries for the PNW Conference.

“I heard one of the Congressmen say ‘we are not the Banana Republic.’ To me that was quite interesting, but not really a surprise. I come from a ‘Banana Republic.’ We have seen in my country several episodes like this – perpetuated from the hierarchy,” said Pastor Joel Rodriguez, who is from Honduras. “I saw some Christians also on TV in the Capitol. Besides everything that has been said, we [Christians] are called to be peacemakers. We are sent out in Jesus name to bring peace. To bring calm.”

Throughout the 35-minute gathering, we were reminded that it is the season of Epiphany.

“The thick darkness may feel very real, but that’s not what lasts,” Cascadia District Superintendent, Rev. Wendy Woodworth reminded us. “Work for that justice, that peace, that love.”

Happy New Year! May we all follow the light toward love, peace & justice,

Kristen Caldwell, Oregon-Idaho Conference Communications Manager
Patrick Scriven, PNW Conference Communications Director
Rev. Jim Doepken, Alaska Conference Communications Director


GREATER NW AREA NEWS

Epiphany Message: It’s 2021. Now What?

In this Epiphany message from Rev. Carlo Rapanut, District Superintendent for the Alaska Conference, he reflects on what it means to let go of what was to welcome what is. That we sometimes have to cry out: “Now What?” as we follow the stars and journey toward peace.

“Think about it. This journey was not the only time Now what? was asked in the Christmas story. Mary, you are going to be with child. It will be the son of God. Now what? Joseph, your betrothed is pregnant. Marry her anyway for the child is the son of God. Now what? You need to travel to Bethlehem for the census – yes even if it is a long, treacherous trek –  and Mary is almost due. Now what? Sorry, I can see that your wife is in labor but there is no spare room anywhere. We do have a stable, though. Now what?
Throughout scripture, we find story after story of moments where people encounter extraordinary circumstances. In anger, fear, desperation and hopelessness, they cry out: Now what?

This led me to reflect on 2020 and the multiple times we found ourselves in angry, impatient, hopeless and helpless Now what? situations.”

Read more of this on the Greater NW News site.

 

Make self-care your New Year’s resolution

By Ronda Cordill

As we move from 2020 to 2021 making New Year’s Resolutions is more important than ever to maintain good physical, emotional and spiritual health. How about making ‘taking care of yourself’ your New Year’s Resolution this year? Self-care is about intentionally taking care of ourselves, especially in stressful situations, and it includes paying attention to our whole body as well as our mind and spirit.

Do 1 Thing! Self-care can be very simple. Choose one suggestion from the list below and do it each day for one week. The next week choose another thing and do each day that week. You can continue to do the activity from the first week but focus on the second week’s activity each day. Continue to choose an activity each week for 4 to 6 weeks. After that time, choose your favorite activities and continue to do them as part of your daily routine. These simple activities and should not take much time but you will find it will be time well spent. 

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

Spokesman-Review: Centenarian credits being quick to forgive and happy to help as keys to a long, happy life

Originally published Dec. 30, 2020

The worst part about the pandemic for 100-year-old Ada Honda is not being able to visit her friends who are sick or in hospice.

Honda has spent her whole life taking care of others – from her parents and her in-laws, to disabled children in Spokane Public Schools and her fellow congregants at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Honda is always the first to offer a helping hand.

She was born to Kimiji and Chika Ichikawa on Nov. 13, 1920, in Walla Walla. She grew up living in the Antlers Hotel that her parents owned and operated. Rooms at that time were 50 cents a night, she recalls. The couple also had a restaurant up the block caller Antlers Cafe.

Her father immigrated from Japan in the early 1900s and then her mother came as a mail-order bride in 1911.

Read more of this story from the Spokesman-Review website.

Peninsula Daily News: Pastor welcomes ‘Community Spirit Village’

Originally published Jan. 1, 2021

PORT HADLOCK — While building shelters together, nobody asked anybody about their politics. There weren’t any “Where do you come from?” questions.

And then, said those volunteers, a village took shape.

On Thursday, the last day of 2020, the workers — Peter Bonyun, Randy Welle, Judy Alexander, Todd Armstrong and their compatriots — stood before simple structures with room for one human to come in from the storm of homelessness.

Scott Rosekrans, pastor of the Community United Methodist Church, joined the group of supporters to bless Peter’s Place, the “community spirit village” on the grassy space beside the church.

Read more of this story on the Peninsula Daily News website.

Remember Jesus’ humanity, not just his infancy

By Rev. Paul Graves

Note to readers: This post is one of an ongoing series of letters I’ve written to our grandchildren for over 20 years. It was originally published in The Spokesman-Review a few days after Christmas.

Dear Katie, Claire and Andy, 

It’s been too long since I wrote to you about some aspects of faith and values. Three days after the traditional birthdate of Jesus seems like a good time to reconnect with you this way. It seems like only last week I was writing letters to you as the children you were. Not anymore!

Each of you is a young adult, preparing to contribute who you are to your community and our society. I’m humbly happy to cheer you on!
Part of that preparation is your deciding which beliefs you need to reshape to fit your maturing understanding of life. Let’s consider Christmas in that context.

Read more of this commentary on the Greater NW News site.

PNW Conference Journal now available for print on demand

Print copies of the 2020 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Journal are now available to order online via Lulu.com. Please use the following links to order one or both of the volumes.

Purchase Volume 1  | Purchase Volume 2

Volume 1 including the Conference Directory and Rules is $10 (+ tax & shipping); Volume 2 including Conference Reports and Actions is $7.50. Lulu often has discount codes available; currently TREAT15, entered during checkout, will earn you 15% off your order.

Digital copies of both volumes are available to download at no cost on the PNW Conference website. Conference members can email Patrick Scriven to request the password that is needed for Volume One.

Commentary: Numbers that can do harm

By Patrick Scriven

As we welcome the beginning of a new year, United Methodists commence the annual task of finalizing their statistical reports for the previous one. Typically, these reports provide an opportunity to look back and assess trends, identify successes and challenge points, and make important decisions about the future. Collated, these data points become a part of similar processes within annual conferences and by the general church.

Let me strongly suggest that these 2020 statistical reports demand and deserve a huge, bold asterisk. It is looking more likely that 2021 will require the same. Much of this information is still important, perhaps even essential in helping us to understand the adaptive challenge, but it is also primed to do significant harm without personal and shared interpretative filters.

Read more of this story on the Greater NW Area News site.


WESTERN JURISDICTION NEWS

Where Love Lives: Same-gendered weddings are always an option here

January’s messages for the Western Jurisdiction’s #WhereLoveLivesUMC campaign address a topic that has separated many people from one another, the subject of marriage equality. Use the resources provided to Invite your community to find the non-anxious presence of God deep in their souls as we journey together through the month.

Please use the videos, weekly prayers, and suggested materials in January. You can use the videos in worship or post the videos on your various communication channels or share the videos each Sunday on YouTube and Facebook once they are posted at 8:00 AM (MST).

Visit the Desert Southwest Conference Where Love Lives resource page for more information and download videos.

Here is Jan. 3rd video. Where Love Lives: The Covenant Service


GLOBAL NEWS

United Methodist Women Condemns Attacks on U.S. Capitol in D.C.

published Jan. 6, 2021

United Methodist Women deplored today’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and urged members to offer prayers for the nation and unite across political perspectives to uphold the nation and its institutions of democracy.

The organization also reiterated its commitment to peaceful assemblies and protests, affirmed the peaceful transfer of power under the U.S. electoral system, and strongly opposed any attempt to subvert the results of the election.

“We call loyal citizens to repudiate this unhinged fringe that attacked the Capitol today,” said Harriett J. Olson, CEO and general secretary of United Methodist Women. “This is the time to renew our commitment to our representative democracy and take up the hard work of finding ways to come together after the flames of divisiveness have wreaked havoc on the bonds that unite us.”

Read more of this press release on UMW's website.

COVID-19 is top church story of 2020

A pandemic of biblical proportions was the top story of The United Methodist Church in 2020.

Voters selected the church’s response to the coronavirus as the top story over the role of LGBTQ people in the church, which topped voting in 2018 and 2019 and has brought the denomination to the brink of schism.

The LGBTQ issue fell to third place, behind the church’s response to the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police and the ensuing protests.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.

Migrants look to Biden for immigration reform

Thousands of migrants are pinning their hopes on the incoming Biden administration to help move them forward in their quest for lives of dignity and safety in the United States. They are writing the president-elect to remind him of his promises.

President-elect Joe Biden has said he will set the annual refugee cap at 125,000.  He has pledged to raise it over time.

Cindy Andrade Johnson, a United Methodist deaconess in Brownsville, Texas, has been the “bridge” linking hundreds of migrants to generous United Methodists around the country while they live in deplorable conditions under the Matamoros Bridge in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.

In Memoriam: Remembering notable United Methodists who died in 2020

United Methodists this past year mourned the passing of groundbreaking bishops, founders of Africa University, giants of the U.S. civil rights movement, and a mathematician who charted the way for astronauts.

Here are 34 remembrances, listed in order of date of death or memorial service.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.


COMMENTARY

What Shape of Church will escape the Maelstrom?

by Rev. Jeremy Smith | Hacking Christianity

      " ... We know well that there’s a difference between your church enduring for a season and, as the season drags on, feeling like the foundation that keeps your church standing is slowly being chipped away. It can lead to fear, but it can also lead to faith and creativity ..."


 
 
The Greater Northwest Episcopal Area provides leadership for the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest Conferences of The United Methodist Church.
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