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PNW News Digest #35 - October 31, 2019


Franklin Graham, Barack Obama, and how we respond to difference

By Patrick Scriven, Director of Communications & Young People's Ministry

On Tuesday, conservative Christian provocateur Franklin Graham offered his support to a Catholic priest in South Carolina who denied former US Vice President Joe Biden communion because of his stance on abortion. After applauding the act, Graham wrote, “I wish more churches, pastors, and priests would take a strong stand against abortion.”

On the same day, former US President Barack Obama made comments at an Obama Foundation event widely interpreted as a critique of ‘woke’ culture. Obama said, “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy; there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids. And share certain things with you.”

Graham and Obama present us with differing choices in how to engage with those who differ from us, describing as they do, patterns that may be familiar to close observers of United Methodism. And while only one is offering their opinion about religious actors, they both represent choices we have as we move into whatever comes next.

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GC2020 Resources

General Conference 2020 News & Resources

As we continue on the path to General Conference 2020, we will be providing members with news and resources about the important conversations happening in The United Methodist Church.

Please keep this page bookmarked and share it with people in your congregation. We will work to keep it updated with essential content to inform the important conversations taking place across the area.

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Greater NW & Other UMC News

JC Report

Bishops seek court’s guidance on Traditional Plan

The United Methodist Council of Bishops explained at an oral hearing the need for assistance from the Judicial Council in implementing several provisions of the plan adopted by the 2019 General Conference.

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Top court raises questions at lively oral hearing

A long-simmering investigation into improper voting during General Conference 2019 boiled over Oct. 30 as questions about lines of authority and a lack of information arose from several members of the United Methodist Judicial Council during a public oral hearing.

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Greater New Jersey Way Forward

Conference charts 'way forward' with LGBTQ people

Meeting in a special session over the weekend, the Greater New Jersey Conference voted to allow churches to include and affirm LGBTQ people by forming covenant relationships, while still giving congregations the right to agree to disagree.

Bishop John Schol vowed he would not forward complaints for trial concerning LGBTQ people’s right to marry, seek ordination or for pastors who perform same-sex unions.

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Judicial Council Fall 2019

Top court to look at church disaffiliation rules

An amended request from the Council of Bishops now asks the denomination's top court to consider the implications of the General Conference Commission's finding that four ineligible voters cast a ballot during votes on disaffiliation legislation.

The amended request is part of the 18-item docket as the Judicial Council meets this week.

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Bishop Carter on GC 2020

Bishop reflects on journey to GC2020

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter has held multiple roles during a time of great stress in the church.

The Council of Bishops president talked to UM News staff about the road from the Commission on a Way Forward, which he helped moderate, to yet another General Conference.

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LEAD 2020

A few spaces remain for LEAD 2020 event in Seattle

A limited number of tickets remain for the 2020 UMC LEAD Conference which will be held January 12-15 at First UMC, Seattle. The LEAD Conference "creates space for Christian leaders to be vulnerable and courageous, connects them around their hopes for the future, and equips them to bring those hopes into reality."

Among the speakers are a number of clergy serving in the Northwest!

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Don't Confront Alexa!

The Rev. Paul Graves has an occasional practice of sharing a letter to his three grandchildren in his column for The Spokesman-Review.

In his most recent post, Graves explores confrontation as a practical and spiritual matter.

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Inspiring Generosity

ROI: Don’t Fear the Numbers

In her latest Inspiring Generosity column, Cesie Delve Scheuermann encourages us to get beyond our fears and the resistance to collecting data.

In addition to stories, hard numbers can help us to evaluate our real impact as a church and to make necessary changes.

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CrossOver: Rivalry or Reconciliation

This week’s reading for the Greater Northwest Area’s CrossOver study engaged the choice we often have between rivalry and reconciliation. This reminded Nancy Tam Davis of a visit to an aquarium and the strange behavior of some fish she saw there.

Davis is Lay Leader for the PNW Conference.

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One Church Many Doors

The Sanctuary Doors | Birchwood Camp

"Birchwood Camp’s mission is to build community on common ground. We strive to offer hospitality to all, and we open our doors to groups both religious and secular"

Birchwood Camp Director Relena Lyddon Myers continues the Alaska Conference's "One Church / Many Doors" blog series with an overview of the ministry of this cherished conference camp.

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New Ad Campaign

New United Methodist Ad Campaign Addresses Loneliness

The United Methodist Church has launched the “Not the Only One” advertising campaign to help offer encouragement through community.

The ads target those who identify themselves as spiritual, socially conscious and seeking meaning in their lives, but who are not affiliated with a church.

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GC Hospitality

Dakotas-Minnesota Area makes 13,000 scarves for GC2020 visitors

Every person involved in the 2020 General Conference will get a purple scarf for comfort and as a symbol of the radical hospitality the Minnesota Conference intends to give to visitors.

About 13,000 scarves were knitted by folks at more than 215 Dakotas and Minnesota churches.

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All Saints Day

All Saints Day: A holy day John Wesley loved

On November 1, we celebrate people of faith who have gone before us. Who will you remember?

The journal of the Methodist movement’s founder John Wesley and a hymn by his brother Charles remind us why it matters.

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There Is No Such Thing as Church Revitalization

William Chaney says revitalization is the wrong goal for churches in decline, since it implies a return to the past.

Churches need to instead rewrite their DNA by rediscovering their mission, reengaging their neighborhood, and refocusing their resources.

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Hacking Christianity

Commentary: Will the General Church advocate for Big Boat Methodism or Scuttle the Fleet?

According to the Rev. Jeremy Smith, "One of the defining features of United Methodism is threatened in the current crop of division, schism, and dissolution plans. Will the General Church fight back?"

Smith, pastor at Seattle First UMC, considers this question on his blog Hacking Christianity.

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Gil Caldwell Commentary

Commentary: Christians should defend journalists

Those who love Christ should speak for those who strive to report the truth, writes the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, a retired United Methodist clergyman.

Caldwell notes that journalism provides a “means for raising awareness of issues that we might otherwise be inclined to ignore” in both the church and secular society.

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Upcoming Events

Installation of ELCA Bishop to serve NW Washington Synod

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle, Wash.
Saturday, November 2, 2:00 PM

All are invited to attend the installation of The Reverend Shelley M. Bryan Wee as Bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She will be installed at a festive service of Holy Communion on Saturday, November 2 at 2pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.

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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

Conference Journal now available for print on demand

Print copies of the 2019 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Journal are now available to order online via Please use buttons below to order one or both of the volumes.

Each volume is $10 + shipping. Lulu often has discount codes available; currently LKAB317CD, 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.

ORDER Journal Vol. 1 - Conference Directory & Rules
ORDER Journal Vol. 2 - Reports & Actions
Student Day

United Methodist Student Day Pastor & Leader's Kit

Our connection allows us to provide essential scholarships to United Methodist students who seek financial support. These strong Christian leaders need our help to continue on the path of answering God’s call to further their education. Be a part of United Methodist Student Day on November 24 with the help of promotional resources, student stories and much more.

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Download fall social media graphics

If you’re searching for All Saints Day, Thanksgiving or Laity Sunday social media content, UMCom has got you covered! Download free fall social media graphics and share them on your church’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles. They can stand alone, or you can post them alongside invitations to events and worship services, inspirational messages and more.

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