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PNW News Digest #32 - October 10, 2019

General Conference 2020 News

What exactly is going on in The United Methodist Church?

"My pastor hasn't mentioned General Conference once from the pulpit. He's afraid of the conflict."

"It's all so confusing. And exhausting. Help!"

I've been surprised on a number of occasions to encounter fellow United Methodists who are blissfully unaware of the current state of The United Methodist Church. I suspect that they often exist because of one of the two quotes I opened with.

I've had several conversations with laypersons who are very aware of what happened at General Conference 2019, who also happen to be in churches that aren't talking about it at all. For various reasons, they have taken it upon themselves to stay informed. One expressed their worry that their church won't be ready if they are forced to make a decision due to some split. I suspect that is a wise worry.

I've also spoken with several pastors who are simply overwhelmed by the onslaught of developments. The work of trying to stay on top of it all, coupled as it often is with the typical (and very real) challenges of the local church, is exhausting. It isn't always as simple as a desire to avoid conflict.

It's a difficult time to be a leader, lay or clergy, in The United Methodist Church. I get that, I really do.

It is also a really important time for our leaders, clergy and lay, to keep themselves well-informed so they can be having essential conversations with the communities under their care.

In collaboration with other communications colleagues, I've recently published a new page on the Greater Northwest Area website to make this work a little easier. It attempts to capture some of the key things that have happened since General Conference 2019 while providing a look ahead at some potential inflection points ahead.

Like The United Methodist Church, this page is an imperfect work in progress. Let me know what is helpful to you (and what isn't), and what is missing that maybe should be there.

The way ahead for us may be difficult and uncertain, but with preparation and God's help, I have no doubt that we'll make this road by walking together.


Patrick Scriven
Director of Communications, Young People's Ministry

View GC2020 News & Resources Page

Greater NW & Other UMC News

Green Bluff Apple Festival

Classic tunes, dumplings fuel fundraiser at Green Bluff church during ‘Apple Days’

The Apple Festival in Green Bluff is a chance to celebrate fall with pumpkin and apple picking, a corn maze, famous pumpkin donuts and other fresh produce from the small family farms in the area.

The Spokesman-Review offers this look at Green Bluff Community United Methodist Church’s annual fundraising and the volunteers and talent that makes it possible.

Read More

Bishop Stanovsky announces Greater Northwest Area guiding coalition

Bishop Stanovsky is announcing the formation of a Greater Northwest Area Guiding Coalition to help in shaping and leading a new movement of Methodism in the Northwest that fully includes LGBTQIA+ persons in membership, participation and leadership.

Workgroups of laity and clergy will examine areas where the conferences can shape or define a way forward.

Read More
Christ UMC to build senior housing

Christ UMC hoping to build senior affordable housing

Christ United Methodist Church in the Oregon-Idaho Conference is looking into planting affordable housing for senior citizens.

Rev. Ric Shewell shared that the property under consideration was purchased when the church was considering expansion. Kristen Caldwell has the story.

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Is Snail Mail dead?

Inspiring Generosity: Is Snail Mail Dead?

"[I]n terms of engagement, mail is 33% more engaging than email and 35% more engaging than social media advertising."

Stewardship consultant Cesie Delve Scheuermann shares a recent study shining a light on the continuing value of direct mail campaigns.

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Inspirational Quotes from Hispanic and Latinx Faith Leaders

Inspirational Quotes from Hispanic and Latinx Faith Leaders

Hispanic Heritage Month ranges from September 15 through October 15.

Rethink Church is celebrating a few of the voices that challenged and inspired our lives and faith. How do these quotes inspire or challenge you?

Watch Now
Not in Kansas Anymore

Commentary: We're Not in Kansas Anymore

"In short, this year’s Leadership Institute program told me that we’ve deluded ourselves into insanity, that is, performing the same actions over again and expecting a different result," writes UM Insight editor Cynthia Astle.

Astle reflects on last week's gathering in Kansas and the various plans submitted to reform The United Methodist Church.

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Alone But Never Alone

CrossOver: Alone But Never Alone

Are we ever really alone?

Alaskan layperson Lonnie Brooks reflects on this question, life, and the meaning we can find in Scripture’s Oldest stories, in his post for the Greater NW Area’s CrossOver study.

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One Church Many Doors

“A Door for Community” — Douglas Community UMC

Douglas Community UMC is the latest church featured in the Alaska Conference's "One Church / Many Doors" Blog Series.

Located on an island across from the city of Juneau, the church has established four areas of outreach to the local community.

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Faith in Action: Celebrating JFON's 20th anniversary

Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides legal aid to low-income immigrants and educates communities about the U.S. immigration system, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Warren Gill sat down with Rob Rutland-Brown, national executive director of JFON, for a question-and-answer session.

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10 Ways to support

10 ways church leaders can support people with mental illnesses

Many congregations and pastors know how to support people with chronic physical illnesses, but struggle with ways to reach out to those with mental illnesses.

During October, Mental Illness Awareness Month, consider what steps you and your church can take.

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Effective thanks

10 Ways to Effectively Thank Your Donors

Are you saying thank you to those who are financially supporting the ministry of the church? If so, are you doing it well?

Assistant PNW Conference Treasurer Rik Jamieson recommends this video from Horizons Stewardship for its practical tips on the topic.

Watch Now
Helping Staff Succeed

Lewis Center: 5 Ways to Help Church Staff Succeed

How can your congregation help those in paid staff roles perform most effectively?

Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff outlines five ways to clarify expectations and help church staff develop their professional skills.

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Closed Doors Commentary

Commentary: United Methodists behind closed doors

The United Methodist Church can be messy, but church law requires that nearly all meetings be open — despite the growing practice of closed meetings, writes the Rev. William B. Lawrence.

The former president of the Judicial Council spells out the tradition of openness in UMC governance and explains the limited circumstances in which church law allows leaders to close meeting room doors.

Read More

Upcoming Events

Fall ERT Training
Learn More & Register
Women in Ministry Retreat

Women in Ministry Retreat

February 2-4, 2020 | Rainbow Lodge, North Bend, WA

This annual retreat is a wonderful time for women in ministry (all clergy under appointment, lay-persons assigned, or retired) to come together for shared sisterhood, a slowing down of the pace to gear up for Lent and Easter season, a walk in the woods, sitting up talking or playing games, having all your meals cooked for you and cleaned up!, and just hanging out to get to know each other better.

Registration for the Full Retreat (2 nights, 5 meals) is $185. One Night (Monday lunch to Tuesday lunch; $128) and Monday Daytime only ($56, includes lunch & dinner) options are also available.

Visit the event page to learn more about this excellent opportunity!

Learn More & Register

Substance Use Disorders - A Primer for Clergy

November 12, 1-4 PM (Register by Nov. 8) | ZOOM Webinar | $30

Addiction is rampant today, and churches are not immune. Learn how clergy can respond when addiction is present in the church.

The opioid crisis has dominated headlines in recent years, but addiction of any kind is a concern for families, communities, and even the church. Many of us do not understand the power that substances can have on people’s lives. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, or other substances can result in shame or blame and impacts every aspect of users’ lives. Loved ones suffer the pain and fear of watching their family member spiral out of control. Clergy may be confronted with people in their congregations who suffer with addiction and/or their family members (or ours) who need help knowing how to respond appropriately.

We may not be able to fix the problem, but with this webinar, we might be more informed, more supportive, and less judgmental. Topics addressed will be: What is a substance use disorder? What are the common signs and symptoms? How might we help the substance user or their family members? What resources are available for recovery?

Learn More & Register

Resources & Opportunities

2019 PNW Annual Conference Journal now available to download

Both Volumes of the 2019 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Journal are now available to download at no cost on the PNW Conference website or via the buttons below.

Print copies of the journal will be available for purchase soon. Each volume will be $10 + shipping. Purchasing information will be published via the PNW News Digest in coming weeks.

Volume One of the 2019 PNWAC Journal is password protected because of the personal contact information that it contains. Conference members can email Patrick Scriven to request the password.

Download Journal Vol. 1 - Conference Directory & Rules
Download Journal Vol. 2 - Reports & Actions
The Committee

Discipleship Ministries: The Committee Teaching Course

“Chuck Knows Church: The Committee” was popular as a video series. Now, it is a free on-demand online course.

While the video series focused on a church considering whether to close, the course will spark conversation around issues important to nearly every congregation.

View Resource
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The Pacific Northwest Conference Office of Connectional Ministries works collaboratively and creatively to serve the missional needs of United Methodist ministries in Washington State and Northern Idaho.

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