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PNW News Digest #42 - December 19, 2019

Merry Christmas from the PNW Conference Office!

As we celebrate the holidays, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the many opportunities we've had to share in ministry with you this year. May the coming year bring even more!

We hope that you have a safe, merry, and joy-filled Christmas!

Seasons Greetings,

Your PNW Conference Office Staff

Reminder: The PNW Conference office will be closed Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25, for the Christmas holiday. The office will also be closed on Wednesday, January 1, to observe the New Year.

p.s. Our next News Digest will be on January 9, so, Happy New Year too!

In the meantime, we will continue to share news and stories through social media. Please send your ministry stories, particularly if they have gotten into your local press, to

Conferences of the Greater Northwest Area commit to 100% payment of General Church apportionments in 2019

Story by Patrick Scriven, Photos by Rev. Dr. William Gibson

DES MOINES, WA — The three United Methodist conferences that comprise the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area have each committed to paying 100% of their General Church apportionments for 2019. The announcement, which comes toward the end of a tumultuous year where giving has slipped significantly across the denomination, was delivered by conference treasurers during the recent Greater Northwest Area Cabinet meeting.

For several years, the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho (OR-ID), and Pacific Northwest (PNW) Conferences have each stretched to honor this commitment to the General Church and our shared ministries, ministries which touch and save lives around the globe. The majority of the conferences in The United Methodist Church’s Western Jurisdiction have also met this commitment on an annual basis.

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Camp Indianola has a New Director!

Our Camp and Retreat Ministries of the PNW Conference are excited to announce Rev. Colin Cushman as the new Director of Camp Indianola! Colin comes to us with many years of camp experience as a camper, staff member and camp pastor at both Indianola and Lazy F Camps. Colin also grew up very involved in PNW Conference youth events and programs. More recently, Colin has served as Pastor at the Seabold, Bay View, and Sedro Woolley UMC Churches.

According to Colin, Camp Indianola was the catalyst for becoming a pastor. He Says: “Camp Indianola was, and continues to be, the most special place in Earth – A thin place bridging Earth and heaven, where I encounter God with peculiar regularity”.

The Cushman family will move to Camp Indianola and Colin will begin his new role in early January. Join us in helping welcome Colin as the new director of Camp Indianola!

—The Camping Board of Stewards, and Alan Rogstad, Executive Director of PNW Camp and Retreat Ministries

Greater NW & Other UMC News

Alaskan Generosity

Alaska Conference surprises GNW Area with generous gift

In this season of uncertainty and anticipation and about the future of The United Methodist Church, its heartwarming to see generosity flowing multiple directions across The Greater Northwest Episcopal Area.

Kristen Caldwell shares how United Methodists in Alaska are giving to support others in the southern part of the Oregon-Idaho Conference.

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RMN - Watch Night

PNW Reconciling Ministries to host Watch Night Services as 2020 approaches

On the eve of new prohibitions and punishments that go into effect January 1st, PNW Reconciling Ministries is coordinating Watch Night Services in churches across the Pacific Northwest Conference.

At these services, people will celebrate their resistance, confirm their belovedness, recommit to the church, and pray for those who may be harmed in the early months of 2020.

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Virgin Mary Slam Poet

Forget meek and mild, the Virgin Mary was a slam poet

While growing up, Rev. Katy Shedlock wasn't all that impressed with the Virgin Mary. Mary was too perfect and passive to relate to.

When she got into slam poetry, her perspective changed as she started to notice bold, prophetic voices throughout the Bible. For Broadview Magazine, Shedlock explains how this allowed her to see Mary and her Magnificat in a different light.

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Grangeville Christmas

VIDEO: Grangeville UMC presents Christmas concert

Grangeville United Methodist Church held its Community Christmas Concert Sunday, December 15.

The Idaho County Free Press has a short video montage of some of the highlights.

Watch Now
A 2019 Christmas Letter to the People of The United Methodist Church

Council of Bishops release Christmas letter

Prayer continues for the fulfillment of Scripture and “to walk to the end of our light is to walk in the light of the Lord,” said Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, president of the Council of Bishops. The council released a letter from Carter to coincide with the holiday season.

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Alaska moves to become ‘mission district’

Alaska moves to become ‘mission district’

The Alaska United Methodist Conference is taking steps to become a missionary district, a change from its current status as one of three missionary conferences in the U.S.

A task force recommended Alaska become a missionary district within the Pacific Northwest Conference.

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Top News in 2019

Special General Conference tops the news in 2019

For the second year in a row, The United Methodist Church's struggle to stay together despite a longstanding division over homosexuality was the denomination's top news story of 2019 — in particular, the results of a special General Conference.

Linda Bloom reports on the year's Top 5 news stories, as voted on by church communicators and UM News staff.

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What should a Christmas welcome look like?

What should a Christmas welcome look like?

New research shows more spiritual seekers are interested in visiting a United Methodist church.

As congregations prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, Heather Hahn reports on different ways churches say "Welcome home" on Christmas Eve.

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Bishop visits remote areas of Congo for first time

Bishop visits remote areas of Congo for first time

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda made his first trip to the most remote areas in the East Congo Conference to spread the word of God and see firsthand the “rural realities” facing United Methodists.

It was also the first time many United Methodists in the area had ever seen a bishop.

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UMCOR project in Alaska

UMCOR provides home sanitation units for Alaska’s Yu’pik community

Progress is being made as the first Yu’pik residents move from Newtok, Alaska, which is falling into the coastal river, to Mertarvik, further inland.

Twenty-one new homes, each complete with an UMCOR-funded sanitation unit, welcome new arrivals home.

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Upcoming Events

Youth Winter Camp

Youth Winter Camp @ Twinlow

January 18-20, 2020 | Twinlow Camp & Retreat Center

Twinlow in inviting all middle and high school campers to their Winter Camp, January 18-20th over MLK weekend. Come for the classic Twinlow experience, but with broomball, sledding, and snow.

The camp is already half full so act soon! Cost is only $85 and registration ends January 11th.

Learn More & Register
GNW Five-Day Academy

Greater Northwest Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

July 12-17, 2020 | Archbishop Brunett Retreat Center, Federal Way, WA

Registration is now open for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation being held next Summer in Federal Way, WA. The academy will focus on the theme "The Power of Story" with faculty Leticia Guardiola-Saenz, PHD, and Ray Buckley. Participants will be given time and space to respond to this theme through silence, written and spoken word, prayer, worship, and community sharing.

You can learn more and express interest on Facebook here. Click the button below for registration information.

Learn More & Register

Resources & Opportunities

Mutual Invitation

Mutual Invitation: A Tool for Having Hard Conversations

Having hard conversations can be difficult. Actually, having not hard conversations can be difficult in our current divided climate. When it’s time to get serious and talk about something that is either hard, or the nature of the people (diversity in ethnicity, ideology, etc.) makes communication difficult, mutual invitation can help open a space where real communication can occur.

Mutual invitation is an exercise we borrowed from Eric Law’s book The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb...

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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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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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