January 26, 2012
While we know that the real impact of the church happens at the local level - in our churches and in our communities - every four years we are reminded about our connectional nature. Yes, it’s General Conference season again. This week the UM Connector has several things about General Conference, from our delegation inviting open conversation, to previewing some key issues, and even the chance to start reading all the petitions that will be reviewed in April and May.
I think the global and local church go together; they can’t exist without each other. Individually we can have profound impacts in our community, and globally we can truly can change the world if we work together.
On a different note: Do you think it’s okay to text in church? Here’s a video story of what that means in a Missouri congregation that embraces the text dialogue.
Note: I’ll be away to a series of Jurisdictional meetings next week, so there will not be a UM Connector. You’ll hear from me again on February 9.
Greg Nelson – Director of Communications
This Week (and next) in The Annual Conference
Thursday, January 26
Measuring Our Congregational Vitality for Success - Parkrose
Friday, January 27
UMW Executive Team meeting and retreat (through Sunday)
Sunday, January 29
CLD Training – Salem
Tuesday, January 31
Western District North Valley Colloquy
Wednesday, February 1
Western District Capital Colloquy
Friday, February 3
Snake River District UMY Weekend begins
Saturday, February 4
CLD Training - Metro Westside
CLD Training - Klamath Falls
UMW Metro District Enrichment Event
Measuring Our Congregational Vitality Workshop – Idaho Falls
Tuesday, February 7
Wednesday, February 8
Ministry Leadership Team
Details on these, and other conference events, can be found on the conference website.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE NEWS
GC Delegation to Hold Informational Meeting March 31
Oregon-Idaho's General Conference delegation will hold a meeting at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center on Saturday, March 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The session is open to anyone interested in learning more about the issues that will come before the General Conference, which will meet in Tampa, Florida, from April 24 to May 4, 2012. The General Conference meets once every four years and is the only body that can speak on behalf of The United Methodist Church. Oregon-Idaho has two voting delegates (Laura Jaquith Bartlett and Jan Nelson) going to Tampa, and will also take 10 reserve delegates as part of a team that will network with others across the church, including other volunteers from the Oregon-Idaho Conference. The team welcomes questions as well as support from those who will not be traveling to Tampa. The Rev. Brian Shimer will be coordinating prayer support for the delegation (watch for an invitation to participate in "50 Days of Prayer for General Conference," which will unite prayers from around the globe to provide a spiritual foundation for the work of General Conference). The cost of the March 31 gathering is $15, which includes a delicious Collins lunch. To register, send an email to Laura Jaquith Bartlett at email@example.com or call the Collins office at 503-637-6411.
And for the Serious Conference Followers
The Advance Edition of the Daily Christian Advocate, the official journal of General Conference, is now online and available for download at gc2012.umc.org/ADCA. The advance contains all the legislation submitted for consideration by the delegates. The edition is available in English, French and Portuguese.
Conference Provides Demographic Data for Churches
Are you interested in finding out about the community surrounding your church? What are their needs, ages, interests? What could be the potentials for starting new ministries in the area? The first step to finding answers to these questions is just one click away at www.missioninsite.com.
To get access to the conference’s license to access MissionInsite, go to www.umoi.org/insite. Simply download the registration information, read the support guide, and begin exploring your community through up-to-date demographics. The New Start Initiative Team has established a 3-year contract with MissionInsite so that anyone from your congregation can access this information and use it to help reach your church’s mission field. If you have questions, contact Turella Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE
Quilts Honor Town’s 100 Years
Metzger UMC is hosting the Town of Metzger Centennial Quilt Show, Saturday, January 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There is no entry fee or admission charge, however a donation of 2 cans of non-perishable food is requested for the Feeding America Back Pack Meals the church provides weekly for the Metzger Elementary School.
The Metzger musicians will provide live music in Conklin Hall at 1:00 p.m. and refreshments will be served.
Anyone wishing to bring quilts to show may do so between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. Quilts may be picked up between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. The Metzger church is located at 9055 SW Locust Street, Tigard, 3 blocks East of Washington Square Mall, off Hwy 217.
Worship with Deep Soul Open to All
Southern District Enrichment Event Welcomes Marcia McFee
The Southern District will host Marcia McFee, author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist, at the district enrichment event on March 3 for 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at First United Methodist in Roseburg. Marcia’s passion for helping the church to worship God fully is especially directed toward the education of local congregations. She travels extensively in order to teach regional workshops that are accessible to congregational leaders and worship teams. All churches and church members from any district are invited to come join in this event.
Gwen Drake, Assistant to the Bishop in the Southern District, shares the following thoughts: “During my last year as the Senior Pastor at Hillsboro UMC, I finally formed a Worship Design Team and wondered - how did I get through 23 years of ministry without one! Marcia McFee is a great advocate for designing passionate worship; however, she doesn't do it by herself. She involves others who are also passionate about worship. Please come and learn and experience Marcia McFee. It will change how you want to experience worship. It will inspire you to design worship intentionally.”
Cost to attend is $20 per person individually (group rate for Churches with 6 or more people participating: $100); $5.00 per student (middle school through college); and children are free (childcare provided for children age 5 and younger). Download a registration form. Click here for a flyer that can be posted or used as a bulletin insert.
AROUND THE GLOBE
Briefing Previews General Conference Issues
TAMPA, Fla.— Diverse issues presented at a recent three-day briefing signaled the workload ahead for the lawmaking body of The United Methodist Church, which meets this spring. More than 300 delegates, communicators and others who will be part of the 2012 General Conference met Jan. 19-21 at the Tampa Convention Center, site of the legislative assembly, for a preview of some of the issues they will face April 24-May 4. (Oregon-Idaho Delegates Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett and Jan Nelson attended the briefing. Pictured left.) Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.
Preview to Church Restructuring Debate
TAMPA, Fla. — Delegates to The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body — the 2012 General Conference — got a hint of the debate to come regarding restructuring the denomination at the Pre-General Conference News Briefing. At the briefing participants heard an overview of restructuring legislation and concerns about the plan. Oregon-Idaho Director of Communications, Greg Nelson was invited by United Methodist Communications to moderate the conversation. Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.
Group Proposes Alternative Restructure
WASHINGTON D.C.— Uneasy with the Call to Action’s proposed restructuring, leaders of one special-interest group have submitted an alternative reorganization for The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body to consider. The Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial progressive caucus, is the only one of the denomination’s unofficial progressive and evangelical caucuses to submit legislation regarding restructuring. Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.
Alabama: Recovery Continues
North Alabama continues to work towards recovery after an outbreak of tornadoes ripped through the conference April 27, 2011. Since that day, the affected communities have worked steadily towards rebuilding and redefining their new normal with UMCOR’s help and support.
UMCOR has issued a $1 million grant to the North Alabama Conference as they enter into long-term recovery, which will last until at least December 2013. The funds will support volunteer coordination for reconstruction; case management to help families gain access to assistance; reconstruction; and other activities that are critical to recovery.
Alabama was struck once again by tornadoes January 22, 2012. Conference personnel are asking for prayers as damage assessments are made and the full impact of this storm is becoming clear. You can help UMCOR provide assistance when disaster strikes by giving to US Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670 through your local church.
Young Adults Lead Social Justice Startups
The United Methodist Church is taking a page from the tech startup world, and the resulting initiative enables young adults to be leaders in ministry. Called Spark12, it is an incubator for social justice ministries developed and implemented by young adults. Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.
Court Makes Major Religious Freedom Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court has for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment laws, a decision that legal analysts say is one of the most important in many years regarding religious freedom or separation of church and state.
The United Methodist Church joined in a friend of the court brief on the prevailing side, and one UMC leader said the decision could have implications for the 2012 General Conference, where delegates will grapple with whether to end guaranteed appointment for clergy. Read the rest of this United Methodist Reporter story.
55 United Methodist Bishops Endorse Global Aids Fund
Fifty-five United Methodist Bishops (including Bishops Hoshibata and McConnell) have endorsed the 20/20: Visioning an AIDS-Free World initiative by lending their personal and financial support. This effort by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee seeks to mobilize the denomination to raise $5 million for HIV and AIDS education, prevention, care, and treatment around the world. Retired Bishop Fritz Mutti, Kansas City, Missouri, notes that “United Methodist episcopal leaders believe that global health is integral to the mission of Christ’s Church. They are committed to overcoming the stigma often associated with AIDS and fueled by some religious leaders.”
Each bishop not only lent their name to the fund-raising project, but also shared their own financial resources. Gifts range from $20 donations to $20 a month until 2020. Some have joined the “2020” club pledging $2,020. With the help of Annual Conferences and individuals more than $3 million has been raised and distributed to over 200 programs in 38 countries.
Donald E. Messer, chairperson of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee, thanked the bishops and hailed the leading conferences for their generosity. Messer reports that “Lives have been saved, orphans helped, infections prevented, and suffering eased. The healing ministry of Jesus Christ continues around the world.” Contributions are designated for the UMCOR Advance No. 982345 and gifts are given either through the local church or sent to UMCOR’s office at PO Box 9068, New York, New York 10087. When gifts are given through the local church, the annual conference may reserve 25% to use in AIDS ministry sponsored by the conference. The other 75% is administered by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee.
The 20/20: Visioning an AIDS-Free World is coordinated by Ms. Rebecca Yount, Denver, Colorado. For more information and to see the complete list of Bishops and Conferences pledged see www.2020AIDSFreeworld.org or e-mail 2020AIDSFreeworld@gmail.com.
RETREAT and CAMPING CONNECTION
Sawtooth Winter Wonderland
If you thought Sawtooth was magic in the summer, you have yet to experience the crystal magic of a weekend of fun, spiritual renewal, and worship in the white wonderlands of Idaho backcountry. Come play, worship, and celebrate life in the wilderness at Snowmobile Camp coming up Feb 18th-20. Read more here & register today!
Winter Storm at the Coast
Camp Magruder did just fine through last week’s storm of wind and rain – it just added a few new temporary lakes to the site!
The new shower house at Suttle Lake Camp opened for its first use last weekend at the start of the first Winter Youth Retreat. Ten youth groups and nearly one hundred people gave thanks for the Time to Grow gifts that made this building possible. They also celebrated the continued commitment to make Suttle Lake Camp (and all the camps) hospitable and comfortable places for faith formation and renewal.
(photo by Art McEldowney)
Thank You, Quilters
The quilters at Oak Grove UMC (Portland) have been hard at work and have recently donated 17 more quilts for campers who come to Creation Vacation Camp. The quilts physically demonstrate to the campers that Christian love surrounds and warms them.
Free Lenten Devotions Program
The Society of St. Andrew invites your congregation to participate in our 2012 Lenten devotion and giving program, “Living Proof”. In keeping with the traditions of Lent, the Society of St. Andrew invites your congregation to participate in a program of spiritual reflection, prayer, and giving. SoSA’s Lenten devotion program challenges the reader to take seriously the scriptural injunctions to care for the poor, while also providing an opportunity to feed our hungry neighbors. Learn more at www.endhunger.org/lent.htm. For questions, or to order SoSA’s free Lenten devotion materials and Good Friday Fast, you can also contact The Rev. Jennifer Vestal Moore at email@example.com or 800-333-4597.
October 29, 1913 – January 19, 2012
Ruth Burdette, widow of retired pastor Laurance Burdette, died January 19, 2012. Ruth is survived by her son, David Lutes and two grandchildren; Scott and Alina.
Reverend Laurance and Ruth Burdette served Echo, Mt. Tabor, The Dalles and Prineville in the Oregon Conference until 1955 before going to the Pacific Northwest Conference where he retired in 1974.
A private memorial service will be held Sunday, January 22, in Salinas, California. Friends may contact David Lutes – at 1650 Stony Brook Drive, Salinas, CA 93906-4845.
Robert T. Hoshibata, Bishop
William Mullette-Bauer, Director of Stewardship and Finance
‘Tis the gift to be Simple
By Barbara Dunlap-Berg
…While a few United Methodists envision a more complicated-than-usual 2012, many hope to simplify their lives this year…