In July, I was blessed to celebrate relationships!  I had gotten into such a Zoom rut that I had forgotten just how life-giving it is to gather with colleagues, congregations, and local leaders for fellowship and even for work!  I have now met some Sage pastors for the first time in person, and I’ve been grateful to reconnect (without screens) to others and worship in some places that I hadn’t visited for a long time.  Here are a few glimpses into my recent, happy gatherings. 

  • July 3 – preaching at Pocatello UMC
  • July 17 – preaching at Hillview UMC (Boise)
  • July 21 – Treasure Valley West, Sage ministers’ lunch
  • July 25 – Treasure Valley East, Sage ministers’ lunch (not pictured)
  • July 28 – Eastern Idaho, Sage ministers’ lunch (not pictured)
  • July 31 – worship at St. Paul’s UMC (Idaho Falls) and at Aberdeen UMC (for their final service, which was attended by members of Chubbuck and American Falls UMCs)
  • August 1 – Magic Valley, Sage ministers’ lunch (no photo of lunch, but this was my outdoor office for the day at the Twin Falls park)

There have been many more one-to-one conversations in these and other outdoor locations over the last month, and each one has been a blessing!  Many thanks to Caldwell UMC, Boise First UMC – Amity Campus, Twin Falls UMC, and Trinity UMC for allowing me to work in the shade and make use of your wi-fi! And everyone who was well fed at these gatherings (especially me!) owes a debt of gratitude to Etha Carruthers (Sage District Administrator) and Sharon Bryan (Sage District Lay Leader) for ordering/delivering our lunches!

Northeastern Oregon, you’re not forgotten!  I’ll see you soon to celebrate Wallow Lake Camp’s 100th anniversary and then for lunch and conversation next month. 
Summer is still plenty busy, but the pace and nature of the work is allowing me to savor these connections and rich conversations.  I hope that each of you has many reasons to also celebrate and give thanks for relationships in this season. 


In This Newsletter:

Celebrating Sage
Where is the DS?
A Note from Etha
Wallowa Lake Camp 100 Year Anniversary Celebration
ISU Wesley Foundation welcomes students
Safe Sanctuaries Event on Zoom
Abundant Health Ministries Presents - Nutrition & Healthy Eating on a Budget
Lay Servant Ministries Courses
Healing Through the Heart Retreat
Are You Becoming Anti-Racist?
Disaster Kits Needed
Zoom Lectionary Study Group for Preachers
Sage Ministers Zoom Calls
Help with Response to the Substance Abuse Epidemic
Beware of Email Scams
Sage District Contacts


This month, Karen is most likely in an outdoor meeting in the shade or logged into a zoom meeting someplace with air conditioning. Karen is reachable by phone, text, and email to   
August 1                Magic Valley pastors’ lunch (Twin Falls)
August 5-10           Vacation - In case of emergency needing DS attention immediately, Rev. Wendy  Woodworth (Cascadia DS) is on call and can be reached at 503-290-6653.
August 14              Twin Falls UMC—preach and attend worship
August 16-19         Greater Northwest Area Cabinet Retreat (Portland area)
August 19-21         Wallowa Lake Camp—100th Anniversary Celebration
August 21              Joseph UMC—preach and attend worship
August 23              Sage Ministers’ Zoom @ 2 p.m. Mountain / 1 p.m. Pacific


This month I'm reminding church leaders, pastors, and administrators to update any changes in church leadership with the district office. I have come across several churches that have had changes in one or more people serving as key leaders at the local church and important information is not being shared.

If your church has had a change in leadership or hired staff, please let me know. The district office needs the name, email address, phone, mailing address, and position held - especially for church council chairs, lay leaders, finance chairs, treasurers, SPRC chairs, and administrators.  You can send me an email with the information.

Reminder to church leaders about communication from the district and conference office -  As a designated volunteer in your local congregation, you are automatically subscribed to Sage District, OR-ID Conference and Greater Northwest Area e-mail lists. It’s important that you stay subscribed to these lists as they are the primary method in which you’ll receive communications pertinent to your leadership role. If you unsubscribe from these email lists, it is quite possible that you will not receive important information for ministry at your church. If you do not have an email address, please ask someone on your church council who does have email to share any information they receive from the district or conference office with you.

Enjoy the long, hot days of August. I know I love them.



Etha Carruthers
Sage District Administrator


Everyone is welcome to attend! Contact Peggy Lovegren at 541-432-1271 / with questions and to register.

Wallowa Lake Camp is celebrating 100 years of camping ministry—100 years around the campfire. The camp is in the Wallowa Valley on the ancestral home of Chief Joseph and the Wallowa band of Niimiipuu (Nez Perce) people. We invite you to join us as we celebrate this sacred space on August 19 and 20. We will begin on Friday night with a benefit concert with Heidi Muller and Bob Webb, both veteran performers. Donations will be accepted to help build our new Program Center. On Saturday, we welcome you for a ‘free day of fun at camp’ beginning at 1:00 p.m. PT. 

In the early 1920’s when Eastern Oregon was part of the Idaho conference, a group of Methodist ministers leased the land in the area of the current camp in order to hold the first Wallowa Lake Epworth League Institute. The accommodations were very primitive but the Institute was considered a great success. Within the next two years the Epworth League organizers raised $1,800 and negotiated the purchase of the 110 acres for a permanent camp site.

Over the next few years, land was sold and lots were leased to individuals and churches which financed the installation of a water system and the building of a bridge across the river. A circus tent with benches served for program space. Outdoor cooking and sleeping under the stars were the norm. Many church groups from Western Idaho and Northeast Oregon built small cabins for cooking and dining and other churches built larger cabins to include bunks. By 1932, the first assembly hall was built, complete with a sawdust floor. The corporation of ministers turned over the camp holdings, including the leases to the Epworth Leagues of the Western District of the Idaho Conference and it officially became the Methodist Camp Ground Association. In 1952, the Camp Ground association was transferred to the Idaho Conference.

The camp was managed for many years by local Methodist pastors in succession. Help with improvement projects was recruited from local churches, as well as, help with programming. In 1957, timber from the property was harvested and sold to raise funds for the construction of the Lesley Bailey Lodge which was dedicated in 1959. It boasted a commercial style kitchen and dining/program space. Many other improvement projects (shower houses, bunk houses, water and septic) were undertaken and the camp flourished.

Eventually, the management of the camp was no longer the responsibility of local pastors. The Oregon and Idaho Conferences were joined and the Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries Board oversaw programming and worked with the volunteer Camp Site Team which monitored the property needs and maintenance. Summer managers were hired to oversee the day-to-day camp needs for the summer camping season.

The future of the camp came into question in the early 1990’s as facilities aged and income lagged. A substantial effort to “re-imagine” the future of Wallowa Lake Camp took place. The vision and dedication of professional staff along with the energy and labor of a great number of volunteers and
supporters has transformed this camp over the past 20+ years. Wallowa Lake United Methodist Camp has become a wonderful destination for families and adults who are gathering for a program camp, a family reunion, a Church Retreat or simply looking for a tranquil place apart from the pressures of the outside world. The ministry of Wallowa Lake Camp into the future is to continue to create sacred space for Christian hospitality and learning.


Friday, August 19 at 7:00 pm
Benefit Concert with Heidi Muller and Bob Webb On the patio at Bailey Lodge
Donations for building the new Program Center accepted!

Heidi Muller and Bob Webb cross the musical boundaries between original songs and
traditional tunes, blending each other’s influences from the Pacific Northwest to the Appalachian Mountains. Their songs feature Heidi’s crystalline vocals backed by Appalachian dulcimers, guitars, mandolin, and electric cello. They have recorded four albums together, in addition to Heidi’s five previous solo CDs. Both veteran performers – Heidi, an award-winning songwriter since the ‘80’s, and Bob, an accompanist who played for years in the house band for NPR’s Mountain Stage live radio show – are warm and engaging as they share their stories and love of the music. For more information, please visit

Saturday, August 20 from 1:00 pm - Sundown
A free day of fun at camp!
Tours, history, crafts, singing, camp store, refreshments, silent & live auction, dinner, campfire…


The ISU Wesley Foundation and Pocatello UMC would love the opportunity to intentionally welcome and connect with any college students from your congregation who will be attending ISU this fall. Contact information for students can be emailed or texted to Pastor Mike Conner at / (856) 430-5866. We appreciate you helping us reach these folks at such a formative time in their journey. Of course, students are more than welcome to get in touch directly.

Tuesday, August 16 at 6 p.m. PT/ 7 p.m. MT on Zoom

Safe Sanctuaries is more than a policy, it is a way of life.

Safe Sanctuaries acknowledges that all members of our congregations have experienced trauma in one form or another over the past several years. Children come to VBS knowing how to hide from active shooters. Youth face ridicule and peer pressure from online and in-person bullies. As adults, we bring the news into our lives through media outlets. Our nightly news brings the chaos and concerns of our world into our living rooms. Where do we go when this is too much? How can we as a caring congregation support each other?

John Wesley calls us to "First, do no harm, do all the good you can, stay in love with God” and our baptismal vows remind us of our need to care for all people.  This is why the Safe Sanctuaries team has created an event around trauma.  In our 90 minutes gathering we will discuss what trauma is, how it affects our lives, and how as a spiritual community we can learn self-care.

We are excited to announce our guest presenters for the August 16th zoom gathering:
Robert Marrs, LCSW speaking on "The Cells Remember - the impact of trauma"

  • Mr. Marrs has over 40 years’ experience in the field that includes working as the Clinical Director of a tri-county treatment center for traumatized children and adolescents. His learnings from that experience has allowed him unique insights into the long-term effects of untreated trauma.

Kristi and Mel Phillips speaking on "The Church's response to Trauma"

  • Kristi now serves as the Survivor Care Director, and as someone who has experienced the harm of sexual abuse in a church setting, she understands both the challenges and opportunities faith communities face when it comes to addressing child abuse and other forms of trauma.
  • Mel Phillips is Co-Director of OAASIS and a member of the Methodist Church. Mel is a folk/graffiti artist, writer, and natural-born storyteller whose appetite for creativity and fierce love for humanity shapes and colors the unique perspectives he brings to the work of preventing and addressing interpersonal violence and trauma.

Registration is free and the event will be on Zoom.  Register now by clicking here.

Click here to register for this event




The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference is offering two Lay Servant Ministry courses this fall. If you've thought about being a Certified Lay Servant, you can complete these two courses before charge conferences and become certified. 

Our Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries, Emilie Kroen will teach both courses. To register for either or both courses send her your name, home address, email address, phone number and the name of your local church to Emile at; Cell 503-312-4138. Participants must be fully engaged in all Zoom sessions with audio and video.

Lay Servant Ministries Basic Course
August 15 - 29
Monday & Thursday Nights from 6 to 8 p.m. PT/ 7 to 9 p.m. MT

This is the foundational course for Lay Servant Ministries. This is the gateway course for those who are called to be Certified Lay Servants, Certified Lay Speakers, and Certified Lay Ministers. It can also be part of a person's discipleship plan to acquaint you with their gifts, calling, and responsibilities as followers of Jesus Christ.

You will need to purchase the book, "Lay Servant Ministries" by Sandy Zeigler Jackson and Brian Jackson. It is available at Cokesbury or Amazon for $11. 

The Method of Our Mission – Polity Course - on Zoom
September 8 – 22
Monday & Thursday Nights from 6 to 8 p.m. PT/ 7 to 9 p.m. MT

You will need to purchase the book, "The Method of Our Mission: United Methodist Polity and Organization for $20.99.  It is available at Cokesbury or Amazon. This accessible book uses a Wesleyan theological frame—connection—to help readers understand United Methodism's polity and organization as the interrelationship of our beliefs, mission, and practice. The book is organized into four parts—United Methodist beliefs, mission, practice, and organization. Governance practices and organizational structure are framed within a Wesleyan theology of connection.

September 26 - 30

As the COVID tsunami recedes we are beginning to see its lasting impact.

  • Our worship attendance is down
  • Our volunteer base has shrunk
  • Anxiety is coursing through our culture in destructive ways
  • We wonder if we have the capacity to keep all the plates spinning while at the same time trying to come up with new and creative ministry initiatives.

If you are yearning for renewal and the space for a spiritual reset this retreat is for you.

Join Reverend Beth Estock, pastor at Joseph UMC and Kerry Cadambi, a Reiki Master and intuitive healer, for the Healing through the Heart Retreat at Wallowa Lake Camp September 26-30, 2022.
For more information go to this link.


Racism still exists, so we’re still talking about it!  As long as it’s around, every church and every pastor is expected to be doing something to pursue anti-racism.  Some seem overwhelmed that anti-racism is another box to check off when there are already so many other things to do.  There are absolutely too many things to do!  Anti-racism work isn’t another box to check; rather it’s an approach to everything we do.  It takes some intentional work to get started and ongoing attention, but anti-racism can easily be a part of sermon preparation for every season, devotions and decision making for any/every meeting, a consideration when choosing Sunday school literature, and on and on.  If you need some help connecting these dots or learning how to incorporate anti-racism into other aspects of your ministry, Karen would be happy to discuss this with you and offer direction—Just ask!  Karen can be reached at or by text/call. 
A word about resources: This newsletter piece has been directing readers to the GCORR (General Commission on Religion and Race) website every month for years now.  Rather than leaving you to sort through the many resources they offer, the list below includes two specific resources from that page that have content that’s accessible to all levels of learners, youth to adult.  We’ll highlight other GCORR specifics here in the future. 

Also, for more guidance, check our catalog list of all resources mentioned in this newsletter in the past, complete with suggestions about which are appropriate for the various stages of anti-racism work. 
Here are some new suggestions that you may find helpful as you begin or continue to journey towards becoming anti-racist:

  • What “I Don’t See Color” Really Means ( – This specific link to GCORR is a concise explanation of why the defensive phrase is problematic.  This content could be printed and made available with welcome materials at your church, shared in a church newsletter/email, or used to equip leaders to response to others who claim, “I don’t see color.” 
  • Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to Be Allies ( -  This GCORR class costs $39.99 per person (group rates may be available) and is an excellent resource!  The class is a self-paced combination of videos, worksheets, and online readings.  It is clear, direct, and offers very practical, actionable guidance for how white people can recognize their own racism and respond to racism that they witness. 
  • Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Anti-Racist Spirituality by Regina Shands Stoltzfus and Tobin Miller Shearer – This is not a “how to” book for spiritual disciplines related to anti-racism, but it’s a very helpful text for those seeking to be anti-racist in their approach to spirituality and holistic ministry.  Some extended examples used in the text are from the Mennonite church, but they could have easily been in United Methodist settings. 



As wildfire season ramps up across the western United States, Oregon-Idaho Conference interim disaster response coordinator Louise Kienzle is sounding the alarm on a low supply of disaster kits across the Conference.

The  hope is that churches and ministry settings can either a) make more kits (there are various types that can be made) or b) contribute to the Disaster Response Fund to help out.

Read more of this story on the Conference website to help.


Rev. Dr. David D.M. King, OSL, pastor at Forest Grove UMC, is starting a new lectionary study group for United Methodist preachers (or preachers at United Methodist churches) in Oregon-Idaho.

It will be Wednesday afternoons, beginning August 3, at 2 p.m. Pacific, 3 p.m. Mountain via Zoom (Zoom link here).

The plan is simple. The group will spend 10-15 minutes checking in with one another, followed by a brief centering prayer. Then 45-60 minutes discussing the texts assigned for the upcoming Sunday.

Rev. King is also the author of Reclaiming the Radical Economic Message of Luke

If you’re interested, but the time doesn’t work for you, let Reverend King know at .


August 23
September 13 & 27
October 4 & 18

2 p.m. MT/1 p.m. PT 
These Zoom calls are optional for clergy and lay pastors, but they are an excellent opportunity to be reminded of our connection as colleagues in ministry.  We typically use this time for fellowship, brainstorming together, or other needs/ideas brought by those in attendance.  If you are having a difficult day/week/season or are feeling alone on this journey, you are especially encouraged to log on for these online gatherings. This is also an excellent time and space to connect to workshop the challenges of COVID protocols, particularly when things are changing rapidly, which may well be the case in light of changing COVID circumstances. 

To join online, go to 

To join from a smart phone, click 1 of the 2 lines below and wait until you are connected: 
+12532158782,,93203301003# US
+13462487799,,93203301003# US

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 932 0330 1003 


Rev. Dr. Matt Johnson, pastor, advocate for marginalized people, and director of faith-based Initiatives at the Fletcher Group, a non-profit dedicated to expanding the quality and capacity of recovery housing offers help building partnerships in your community respond to the substance abuse epidemic.

Fueled by isolation, loneliness, and despair, the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) epidemic continues to rage across America with over 100,000 overdose deaths recorded this past year. Even in the small West Virginia town where I live, I hear of numerous overdose deaths each week. 

But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Such “deaths of despair” have an effect far beyond the individual who overdoses. The impact extends to child, spouse, sibling, parent, friend, employer, community, and can even be cross-generational.

For people of faith, such as myself, the loss has an additional dimension. I believe that all people are created in the image of God and are therefore known and deeply loved by God. But we can lose sight of that if, by focusing on the numbers—and not the people behind them—we become numb and resign ourselves to hopelessness.

We may find ourselves in the midst of a tragic and heart-wrenching epidemic, but we must never lose hope. As people of faith, we must remain in the light described by theologian Frederick Buecher: “The worst isn't the last thing about the world. It's the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best. It's the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock-bottom worst of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last, best thing is the laughing deep in the hearts of the saints, sometimes our hearts even. Yes, you are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes, you are healed. All is well.”

We believe that God, who created the world, is not done with us. God continues to write stories of transformation, working in miraculous ways to bring healing and wholeness to our broken world.  We are called to be a part of that important work.  

I wonder: What would you say if I told you that your church or community ministerial group already possesses all the gifts and abilities needed to partner with God in restoring the lives of those in need? What if you already have everything you need to create the transformative community partnerships that can reinvigorate your mission and give it new meaning? The size of your church doesn’t matter because the opportunity to engage is all around us. We need only see it.

Recovery is always a community effort. The organization I work with, the Fletcher Group, is dedicated to helping communities like yours develop the recovery housing people need to heal and recover. As the Fletcher Group’s Director of Faith-Based Initiatives, I stand ready to help you build the partnerships your community needs. Please feel free to contact me. I am here to serve.

Contact Info:
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
Director of Faith-Based Initiatives
Fletcher Group, Rural Center of Excellence


We continue to have reports of emails being received from someone who has created bogus Gmail accounts posing as district superintendents. They are using these accounts to solicit people in a practice called phishing. Please do not respond to these emails in any way; they are all too frequent and difficult to avoid.
Most of the time, these phishing attacks are not the result of anyone’s account being hacked. The names and email addresses of conference and district staff, as well as those of local church leaders, are often available in publicly accessible locations like the conference website, local church websites, and the Find-A-Church database on Unfortunately, while it is important to provide contact information to people for legitimate reasons, it also provides an opportunity for unscrupulous criminals.

The Oregon-Idaho conference and its staff will not send messages asking for gift cards, wire transfers, etc. While some staff use personal email accounts for some correspondence, please double and triple check before sharing any personal information, passwords, codes, etc.

Here are a few protocols to follow to keep safe:

  1. If you receive something suspicious, please contact the sender using a trusted email or phone number to verify or alert them of the issue.
  2. Never open an attachment if you cannot verify the sender or feel confident in the source.
  3. Never click on a link when you cannot verify or trust the sender.
  4. Avoid responding to emails requesting personal or financial information from an unverifiable source.
  5. Report any fraudulent emails you receive to your internet/email provider.

Additional information on avoiding internet fraud can be found on the Greater Northwest Area News blog.

This article on the ResourceUMC website also has helpful information on this topic.

Note that our DS does very frequently email from a gmail account, but you can always reach her at  When in doubt, email Karen at that address or email to ask if a suspicious email is legitimate or not. Please do not ever send money, gift cards, or funds in any form without confirming that you are communicating with someone you trust rather than someone impersonating them.


Please check your records - anything sent to the conference office
will experience a significant delay in reaching us.

Office phone             208-537-3683
Mailing address        P. O. Box 642, Twin Falls, ID 83303-0642
Office hours              Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. MT (8 a.m. – 4 p.m. PT)

Sage District Office of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
PO Box 642, Twin Falls, ID 83303-0642 ~