The Nez Perce Council of Elders with Rev. Allen Buck and Rev. Karen Hernandez at the former Wallowa UMC
In 2013, my husband Ed and I took about two weeks to drive through parts of the northwest that I had never seen or that we hadn’t experienced together. Afterwards, when we were showing our vacation photos to friends, Ed said, “Have you ever been to Hell’s Canyon? It’s amazing!” When someone looked to me for my perspective, I said, “Canyon? What canyon? I guess I missed it, but there were fantastic wildflowers!” It’s easy to distinguish the his and hers photos because Ed’s show vast landscapes and lots of sky while my photos are always super-macro shots of flowers. I just seem to be wired to focus on the details, to zoom in very close in order to appreciate the intricacies of wildflowers…and most other things, too.
This past year, my world shrank to about a 3-mile radius from my house with few exceptions.
Then, on April 29, I left the Mountain Time Zone for the first time in nearly 14 months. I went to Wallowa, Oregon for a few hours and was present with several dozen other people on the grounds of the former Wallowa UMC. It was an absolutely beautiful way to slowly and safely emerge from my pandemic reality to the new, cautious-but-vaccinated life. The occasion that drew me out was the opportunity to represent Bishop Elaine and hand the Wallowa UMC property deed to the Chairman of the Nez Perce Council of Elders.
Instead of details, I soaked in the grandeur of the mountains and the abundant sunshine! Rather than being so laser-focused on the present moment (as is my tendency), it was an occasion to celebrate the present, give thanks for the past, and anticipate a promising future. I saw a few colleagues, met new people, and experienced community as the spread-out crowd experienced closeness because of our shared joy and hope. Land that the Nez Perce people lived on 17,000 years ago (10,000 years before Moses, as was pointed out by on of the Nez Perce elders), has now been returned to them. The Wallowa UMC congregation, faithfully led for the last 21 years by lay pastor Kaye Garver, offered a place of love and welcome, a place of worship that deployed disciples for service. The April 29 gathering felt like the perfect next step for that place: a gathering for prayer, gratitude (for the earth and the children of God), and sharing beloved stories. It was a gift to be among those welcomed to this land once again.
Read the conference coverage of this event here, watch the service here, and anticipate sharing this story with the broader annual conference during our session in June.
I am grateful that Wallowa UMC tended this holy ground for 144 years and that the Nez Perce people will continue to do so indefinitely.
Rev. Cherie Dearth of Joseph UMC, DS Karen, and Oregon-Idaho's
Director of Connectional Ministires Laurie Day after the service in Wallowa
Peace of Christ,
Rev. Karen Hernandez
Sage District Superintendent
Where is the DS?
No matter when you’re reading this, she’s probably on a Zoom call right now. (In fact, all events and meetings listed below are Zoom meetings.) Karen is working from home in Meridian, Idaho but is reachable by phone, text, and email.
noon Praying The Lord’s Prayer in solidarity with others
May 1 Western Jurisdiction Stakeholders event
May 5 Sage District Holy Communion @ 7 p.m. MST / 6 p.m. PST
May 11 Sage Ministers’ Zoom call @ 2 p.m. MST / 1 p.m. PST
May 18-20 Greater Northwest Area Cabinet
May 25 Sage Ministers’ Zoom call @ 2 p.m. MST / 1 p.m. PST
Board of Ordained Ministry—Executive Committee
May 26 GNW Area Hispanic Ministries prayer meeting
Annual Conference Session 2021
Find all the information as it is available at www.umoi.org/ac
- May 28 - Deadline for all clergy and lay members to register for the online AC Session. Registration is open now!! Click here to go to the registration form. Visitors do not need to register.
- June 8 - Clergy Session - details yet to come
- June 9 - GNW Area Laity Session. Get more information at
- June 14 - Oregon-Idaho Lay Leader Election. Get more information at https://www.umoi.org/aclaity
- June 20 - GNW Shared AC Opening Session 6:30 – 8 p.m.
- June 21 - Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Session 1-3:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 8 p.m.
- June 23 - GNW Shared AC Closing Session 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Sage Ministers’ Zoom Calls
May 11 & 25
June 15 & 29
All Sage clergy (active and retired) and lay persons who are DS-assigned to pastoral roles are invited to participate in our upcoming Zoom calls on Tuesdays, April 13 and 27 @ 2 p.m. MST / 1 p.m. PST. Unless there are significant changes to our re-opening protocols, these calls are optional and will be directed by participants. We can use this time for fellowship, brainstorming together, or other needs/ideas brought by those in attendance.
To join online, go to https://greaternw.zoom.us/j/131868190
(With increased use of Zoom nationwide, some numbers may be busy. If you get a busy signal or can't connect, try another number.)
To join from a smart phone, click 1 of the 2 lines below and wait until you are connected:
To join from any phone, dial 1 of the phone numbers below,
+1 346 248 7799
+1 669 900 6833
+1 312 626 6799
+1 646 876 9923
+1 253 215 8782
+1 301 715 8592
When prompted, enter our meeting ID, which is 131 868 190
Holy Communion for the Sage District
Wednesday, May 5 @ 7 p.m. MDT / 6 p.m. PDT
(and the first Wednesday of every month)
The ways we are able to celebrate Holy Communion changed in March 2020. While beloved traditions like intinction aren’t available to us now, there are new possibilities. The Covid Response Team expanded those possibilities and offered some suggestions in their recently released document, “Options for Practicing Holy Communion During the Pandemic.”
Since some of us (like John Wesley!) believe that there’s no such thing as too much Holy Communion, and because online communion allows us to connect across the many miles of the district, you are invited to celebrate with DS Karen and other from across Sage on the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. Mountain / 6 p.m. Pacific. To participate, have bread (or an equivalent, such as tortillas) and grape juice (or wine or equivalent) prepared and within reach, then connect to Zoom using the link or phone numbers below.
Sage District celebration of Holy Communion—First Wednesday of every month
To join from any computer with internet access, click the link below:
To join (audio only) from a smartphone, touch either one of the lines below and wait to be connected:
To join from any phone, there are two steps.
First, dial one of the numbers below. (If a number is busy, try a different one.)
+1 301 715 8592
+1 312 626 6799
+1 646 876 9923
Second, when prompted dial the Meeting ID: 985 0813 1802.
One of Bishop Elaine’s strategic priorities is that the Greater Northwest Area become an anti-racist area. Resource suggestions are offered here monthly. As you continue your own journey towards anti-racism, we want to hear about your favorites, too. If you have resources that can teach us something about race, anti-racism, privilege, or cultural competency, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need a particular resource or recognize a specific need in your church or small group, ask us at email@example.com.
New Favorites Resources from Karen:
Repeated resources because you do not want to miss these:
- A Different Asian American Timeline puts Asian American history in context rather than telling it as a separate story. With the rise of Asian American hate crimes, this is timely and helpful.
- “Now, Christians, Let’s Have a Real Conversation” is a newly updated GCORR article with an excellent resource list at the end. Scroll down for book recommendations, video links with discussion guides, handouts, and more.
- “Unorthodox” on Netflix is a mini-series inspired by a true story of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish young woman’s journey. This series is a very different kind of recommendation, but it’s certainly a way to improve one’s cultural competency by looking at the world from a very different point of view that most Methodists have.