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PNW News Digest #36 - November 7, 2019

VIDEO: WJ Bishops declare Safe Harbor for LGBTQ+ clergy, candidates

Video by Rev. David Valera, Exec. Director of Connectional Ministries (PNW)

On Wednesday, the five active bishops serving the Western Jurisdiction released their Safe Harbor Declaration. In it, they made plain their intention to resist the "new provisions, prohibitions, and punishments" of the Traditional Plan, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

In less than 24 hours, x,xxx United Methodists have already signed the declaration in support.

Shortly after the declaration was released, a video was completed to accompany it. In powerful testimonials, the Western Jurisdiction bishops explain why they have taken this bold step of pledging Safe Harbor for LGBTQ+ United Methodist Clergy and candidates, and for those officiating at same-sex weddings.

In the video, our Bishop, Elaine JW Stanovsky, says, "There was a time when I had to ask myself, how will I as a bishop share the risk that these faithful folk experience in our church?"

This declaration by the bishops is certainly part of her response to that question. For those who share our bishops vision for a church which fully includes LGBTQ+ persons, how will you "share the risk?"

To learn more and to sign to support the WJ Bishops’ declaration, visit:

Click here to watch and share this video on Facebook.

Click here to watch and download the video on Vimeo.

Watch Now

Western Jurisdiction contracts Gwen Bortner to serve as Project Manager through September

The Western Jurisdiction Mission Cabinet is pleased to announce that Gwen Bortner has been contracted as a project manager for the next 11 months. Serving in a part-time capacity, Bortner will collaborate with existing leaders to provide appropriate support and assistance to the Annual Conferences, Mission Cabinet, Leadership Team, and grassroots movements within the jurisdiction as they determine how best to embody a wholistic, inclusive expression of United Methodism. She was selected from a field of 37 candidates.

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Greater NW & Other UMC News

KGW on Safe Harbor Declaration

KGW 8: Bishops within United Methodist Church sign letter of support for LGBTQ clergy

The local NBC affiliate in Portland, Oregon, spoke with Columbia District Superintendent (OR-ID) Rev. Erin Martin and Rev. Wendy Woodworth for its evening news coverage on Wednesday.

Woodworth, who married her wife two years ago, said the WJ Bishops' Safe Harbor Declaration gives her peace of mind allowing her to continue doing what she loves without worry.

UMNS: Safe Harbor

UMNS: 5 bishops pledge LGBTQ 'safe harbor'

With the Traditional Plan about to take effect, the Western Jurisdiction's five active bishops have promised to "protect the full participation" of LGBTQ individuals.

They are inviting other bishops to join them. Heather Hahn reports.

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RNS - Safe Harbor Declaration

RNS: UMC's Western Jurisdiction announces 'safe harbor' for LGBTQ clergy

The bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church have declared their churches a “safe harbor” for LGBTQ clergy.

Emily McFarlan Miller speaks with Bishops Karen Oliveto and Elaine Stanovsky about the declaration and its importance to the church.

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Women's equality amendment ratified

Church ratifies women's equality amendment

After a revote, United Methodists around the globe have ratified an amendment to the denomination's constitution that proclaims: “men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God.”

The amendment received a revote because of incorrect wording in what initially was sent to annual conferences.

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Bishop Harvey elected

Bishop Cynthia Harvey elected president of Council of Bishops

Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey was elected president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops during the bishops' meeting at Lake Junaluska Assembly.

Other new officers include Bishop Thomas Bickerton, president-designate; Bishop Tracy Malone, secretary; Bishop Bruce Ough, executive secretary; Bishop Sally Dyck, ecumenical officer; and Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, past president.

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United Methodists comfort earthquake survivors

United Methodists in the Philippines have amped up relief efforts after a third earthquake struck Mindanao in less than a month.

The Rev. Jennifer M. Panday, a United Methodist pastor, was among the thousands of residents who fled their homes and sought refuge at evacuation centers or under tents after the latest earthquake.

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Clergy Wellness

Clergy Wellness: Chronic Pain is My Superpower

"Why is chronic pain my superpower?" writes Rev. Jenny Smith, lead pastor at Marysville United Methodist Church.

Smith explains that living with chronic pain has forced her to take seriously things like Sabbath and helpful boundaries. It has also given her empathy for many others who struggle in similar ways.

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One Church Many Doors

“Doors Opening to God’s Love in Action”–Eagle River Methodist Camp South East

"Eagle River Methodist Camp SE has been an active part of the Juneau, Alaska, community for 60+ years. A place for learning, communing with nature and growing in faith, and fun."

Bunto Reed continues the Alaska Conference's "One Church / Many Doors" blog series with an overview of the ministry of this camp, a "rare jewel."

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Harmony UMC Homeless Camp

'A home for the homeless.' Camp established at Harmony United Methodist Church

For the past six months, Harmony United Methodist Church in Coos Bay, Oregon has offered refuge for local homeless, providing a safe place for them to stay in its parking lot.

Pastor Don Ford shares, “It started when I let a homeless person stay on the property because that person had no other place to stay..."

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Judicial Council Rulings

Church exit plan already in effect, court says

Legislation setting special provisions for United Methodist churches deciding to leave the denomination took effect immediately at the end of the special General Conference last February, the church’s top court has ruled.

The Judicial Council also issued no opinion on the “constitutionality, meaning, application or effect” of certain portions of the Traditional Plan.

Read More
South Sound Coop Video

VIDEO: Better Together - South Sound United Methodist Coop. Ministry

The pastors of the South Sound United Methodist Cooperative Ministry describe what makes us all "better together" in a video posted to the Olympia First UMC Facebook Page

How does your church collaborate with other faith communities?

Watch Now
Pringles Thanksgiving?

Inspiring Generosity: Give Thanks. No Really, Give Thanks.

"This morning I woke to this momentous news: Pringles now has a “Friendsgiving Feast Turducken Kit.” Did you even know that you wanted, yea, needed turkey, duck, chicken, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie-flavored potato chips this Thanksgiving? I didn’t either!"

Continue reading Cesie Delve Scheuermann's latest post on the Oregon-Idaho Conference site.

Read More

Upcoming Events

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

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.

Learn More

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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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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