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PNW News Digest #41 - December 12, 2019

13 days to Christmas! Are you ready?

Can you believe that we are nearly halfway through Advent already? As someone who grew up in the Midwest, I must confess that the rainy days on the westside of Washington don't scream "Christmas!" to me.

This week's News Digest has some stories that might help. June Darling shares a lovely post reflecting on the loss of a frequent attendee of Cashmere UMC who helped to stretch them. Rev. Paul Graves touches on the topic of grief, one that often surfaces as we approach the holidays.

Edmonds UMC got noticed in their community news for its partnering work offering dignity and support to 320 families in need as they prepare for the gift-giving season. And yours truly reflects on a provocative nativity at a UMC in California and some of the feedback it is receiving online.


Patrick Scriven
Director of Communications & Young People's Ministries

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels

By Dr. June Darling

A frequent attendee of our church, Jose, aged 68, died Tuesday. The coroner says his death was from natural causes. Jose’s body was found in his old gray van which served as his home.

Jose will be missed — not only because he filled a bench in our small, mostly conservative, aging Methodist congregation.
Nor will Jose’s sweeping the church sidewalks and steps, pruning the roses, raking the leaves, and picking up garbage be the main reasons his absence will be noticed.

Jose will be missed because he irritated us by often wearing his big sombrero-like hat in church, speaking or yawning loudly, hugging people that did not want to be hugged. Sometimes Jose even came to church smelling of alcohol, reeking of cigarettes, and wearing dirty work clothes.

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Greater NW & Other UMC News

Edmonds Toy Shop

Edmonds Toy Shop ensures parents in need have ‘the joy of giving with dignity’

On Saturday, Edmonds United Methodist Church, in partnership with Edmonds Food Bank, threw open its doors again to welcome 320 families into its annual Toy Shop.

The event, made possible by community donors, has served families in need for 30 years.

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Jesus was a Refugee

Does it even matter if Jesus was a refugee?

Offering hospitality and compassion to the stranger is a foundational and repeated message of the Bible.

Patrick Scriven wonders how then, is Jesus' childhood status as a refugee something to get upset about and deny?

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Making Friends with Grief

Making Friends with Grief

In his latest post, Rev. Paul Graves tackles a topic that many wrestle with particularly as they approach the holidays: grief.

When we are ready, Graves encourages us to resist our fear of grief and instead to sit with it and learn what it can teach.

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Tiny Homes

Church building micro home village for homeless

When homeless people are released from the hospital, even after major surgery, they may have nowhere to go to recover.

That reality led Glencliff United Methodist Church to build micro homes on its grounds to serve as bridge housing for homeless patients to recover from medical issues as they await permanent housing.

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Revised Social Principles

Revised Social Principles reflect worldwide church

The United Methodist Church has a long history of tackling complicated, controversial and contemporary topics such as polygamy, child marriage, abortion, violence and treatment of migrants.

The Revised Social Principles has been on an eight-year journey and the writing team included United Methodists from across the globe.

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Barna Study on UMC

UMCOM: Four in Ten Seekers Would Visit a UMC

A new survey reveals that 42% of U.S. adults who are aware of The United Methodist Church and are seeking more spirituality in their lives are open to visiting one of the denomination’s churches.

The Barna Group did the research for United Methodist Communications.

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As GC2020 nears, fewer keep to the sidelines

As GC2020 nears, fewer keep to the sidelines

United Methodists across the theological spectrum are taking public stands on the homosexuality debate and strategizing for the coming General Conference.

As denominational leaders weigh whether or how to split, more church members are speaking out.

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United Methodist Faithful Resistance - #ResistHarm

A coalition of United Methodist groups has launched an effort called #ResistHarm to provide solidarity with LGBTQ church members and oppose the Traditional Plan, which will take effect in the U.S. on Jan. 1.

The effort includes prayers, rallies and clergy support with information on

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SC Jurisdiction sues SMU

South Central Jurisdiction sues SMU

The United Methodist Church's South Central Jurisdiction is suing SMU, claiming the Dallas school improperly moved last month to sever ties with the conference and denomination.

The dispute deals with who has ultimate control over the school and comes as the denomination faces uncertainty about its future

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GBHEM Announcement

Bergquist named GBHEM General Secretary

The Board of Directors for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) announced this week the election of Rev. Greg Bergquist as the agency’s new general secretary.

A member of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, Bergquist comes to the role after serving for six months as GBHEM’s acting general secretary.

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Immigration Summit

Summit leads United Methodists to heart of border woes

Members of the United Methodist Immigration Task Force — hailing from around the U.S. and Mexico — witnessed the church’s work with migrants in El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Juárez, Mexico, during a three-day immigration summit.

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UMC Crisis

Commentary: The Crisis of The United Methodist Church

In his “Glorious Life” blog, the Rev. C. Don Jones observes that for all the talk about The United Methodist Church dissolving or separating as a denomination, few people seem to expect or want the same for their own congregations.

Where does that leave clergy whose church membership is more expansively connectional?

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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

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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