|Sage District News
Around the District
Annual conference was quite a gathering. What a joy to worship and dance with Mark Miller. Beyond that, I was honored by the trust you showed when you approved the conference restructuring legislation. Most of all I appreciated the feeling of hope and openness to the work of the Spirit I sensed moving among us. Even as we worshipped and did business mindful of the blessings of our past history, there was an amazing openness to move boldly into the new future God is calling us to.
This was apparent as we met as a new district. We laughed together. We debated our past history, our present reality, and who we were called to become as we discussed and voted on a new name. In the end we settled on the name suggested by one of our youngest delegates, Josh Bynum. Following his advice we voted to become the Sage District.
Immediately, that name became the fodder for many jokes. Someone asked whether the three other districts might have the wisdom to name themselves Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme, so that we might all sing old Simon and Garfunkel songs together. Someone else wondered if selecting the name Sage meant that those in our district who complained would be known as "sage grouses". And, of course, there were the inevitable comments about sage, sagacity and wisdom.
However, at a deeper level Sage encapsulates the history of who we are as a people. We are a collection of communities that were broken out the sagebrush of deserts, mountains, and valleys of Eastern Oregon and Southern Idaho. Sagebrush is what my great grandparents grubbed off their homesteads. It is what they burned to heat their homes. It covered the range where they ran their cows and hunted grouse for dinner. Their's was a history of living alongside and fighting with sage.
Moreover, as someone who spends a great deal of time driving around our conference I can tell you that despite our efforts to grub, burn and spray out sagebrush, sage is still our present reality. It is all around us, and even where we have grubbed it out all we have to do is leave the ground alone for a few years and it starts to come back.
Which means that, whether you are a lover or hater of sagebrush, it is both our present reality and our future. So the question becomes, how will we relate to it? On one hand, we could set land aside for natural range and seed brush to encourage its growth for game habitat as some choose to do. Or on the other hand, we could devote our lives to fighting it as my great grandparents did. Or I suppose we could just ignore sage and let it creep back in, but no matter what we choose sage is not going away.
Strangely enough I find hope in that. God created sage and spreads its seed on the wind, forming and reforming sagebrush ranges, whether following in the wake of wildfires, 24D, or grubbing great grandparents. Strangely, I hold out much the same hope for God's church.
I say strangely because, as I travel the district and worship in aging, struggling churches; as I read the stats on the decline of the church in America; as I hear on the news of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, of the association of church with the religious right, and of the growing incivility of those of us who call ourselves Christian I have cause to cynically question the future of the church in our district.
Yet strangely enough I still have hope. My hope is the hope of the sage. Like the sage, God created the church and the seed of the Holy Spirit will continue to blow and spring up where God sends it. God's Spirit and God's church are not going away. The question is whether we will be a part of that movement or whether we will fight it. Will we partner with God in sowing seeds of the Spirit? Will we be open to working in new ways with new folk in a new time? My hope is that we will be open to the movement of the Spirit around us. My hope is that we will stop fighting the sowing wind of God's Spirit. My hope is that we learn the lesson of the sage.
Perhaps there is hope yet. Perhaps Sage District is good name for us after all. Perhaps it is a name of deeper than mere historical and horticultural meaning. Perhaps there is something holy about sage, about us. Let's hope so. Let's pray for it. I know that my prayer is that our new name will describe who we are or at least who we may become.
May God bless you in the Holy Spirit filled, sage-like work of spreading God's seed.
Where is our District Superintendent?
On The Road With Kim
July 7-8 - New Meadows 100th Anniversary Celebration
July 9 - Caldwell UMC Charge Conference
July 11-12 - Conference Center
July 22 - Eagle UMC
| Your New District Assistant Introduction
Lucy the Mandel dog.
You may be wondering about our dog, Lucy, being called the Mandel dog. We (my husband, George, and I) are fans of America's Got Talent, where Howie Mandel is a judge. Howie does not like to be touched by strangers, well, neither does our Lucy, hence she is now Lucy Mandel.
Lucy has her own way of making friends .She takes her time, allowing a slow trust to form. That was my journey to faith as well.
I was raised in the country (milepost 41 on Highway 6, halfway between Portland and Tillamook), a little community called Gales Creek, outside of Forest Grove. Down the road about quarter of a mile was a Conservative Baptist Church to which my Uncle Oly (he had a wooden leg from a logging accident that as a child fasinated me) went. My parents owned a grocery store, service station which was open on Sundays and so they never attended church. My Uncle Oly invited me to go with him and I did, all through my childhood until I reached high school.
The conservative approach to God was not for me. I was "punished" because I wouldn't be baptized by immersion and actually was told I was going to hell because of that. I couldn't believe that God would turn me away for not wanting to be dunked under water to show my faith.
But upon going to high school I found the United Methodist Church in Forest Grove through the outreach of some youth of the church. It changed my life. The youth group there made my teen years bearable for which I was forever grateful. I found a path of faith that was gentle, slow and let me travel my own way without being condemmed. I was baptized at the Bend UMC (where I was the church secretary for 13 years before becoming the district assistant in 2000) with my youngest son, many years ago. I love remembering my baptism and being thankful because I made the decision on my own and wasn't forced into it.
So like my dog, Lucy, a slow, trusting relationship was developed with my Creator. I am so thankful for the connections I have made within the United Methodist Church that allowed my faith journey to grow is its own way.
I am so excited to learn all about each of you and your churches. I hope that you will have patience with me as I study up and learn all of your names and history. Please know that I am only an email or phone call away to help you.
FOR OPPORTUNITIES AT OUR DISTRICT CAMPS
CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING LINKS
2nd Annual Sawtooth Camp Sunday
August 12, 2012
The United Methodists Churches of the Magic Valley are joining together for a day of fun and worship at Sawtooth Camp. A bus has been arranged to transport us to camp for the day. This is a school bus not a motor coach. You may also take your car or plan a carpool. Lunch will be provided
Reservations for attending much be made by July 22nd.
Contact your church office to sign up or call 208-733-5872.
7:45 am Twin Falls First UMC
8:30 am Wendell UMC
8:50 am Gooding UMC
3:00 pm Leave Camp Sawtooth
Worship will be held locally for those who do not come to Camp Sawtooth. Watch for details.
Great Summer Events at Alton L Collins Retreat Center,
CAMP CATALOG INFORMATION
July and September
Golfing, Missional Wisdom, Taize, and Lectionary Reading Week-all great offerings to tempt you!
We collected almost 9,000 pairs of socks! Well done!
And More Socks . . .
I do not know if any of you noticed but two District Superintendents from the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference joined us in Salem for our Annual Conference. I in turn was invited to join the good folk of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference for their conference in Pasco. I believe it was a great learning experience for both parties, but I write to make you aware of the gift they asked me to bring back to you. Pat, the DS from Seattle, was so taken with the UMW sock drive that she sent me home with an overflowing bag of socks (over 50 pair) in a "God is green" bag to add to the cause.
Rev. Kim Fields, Sage District Superintendent and Assistant to the Bishop
|NEWS, OPPORTUNITIES & EVENTS
AROUND THE OREGON IDAHO CONFERENCE
|ANNUAL CONFERENCE WRAP UP .
Annual Conference was filled with
passion, hope, hard work and celebration.
To read more about it on the conference
In 2013 Annual Conference will be held in Boise, Idaho from June 20-23. It will be a great chance for us to show hospitality to the western side of our conference. Look for more details on how we welcome folks by reading the Sage Connections
Equipping Wesleyan Leaders for
the Twenty-First Century
Wesley Week is a new, annual event at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center, designed to provide short-term opportunities for Wesleyan studies for both clergy and laity. The program brings a nationally-known Wesley scholar to the Retreat Center each summer to lead an experience of education, renewal, and spiritual growth.
Each Wesley Week will feature separate components for clergy and for laity. The curriculum and schedule are similar for each, but tailored to the particular audience. The sessions are designed for intensive, stimulating learning opportunities along with ample free time to facilitate fellowship, relaxation, and informal networking. Daily worshp in the Wesleyan tradition grounds work and play in the spiritual discipline modeled by John Wesley. The natural beauty of the Collins setting and the gracious hospitality of the staff will allow retreatants to breathe deep and focus on renewal during this unique educational event.
The schedule for both the clergy and the laity sessions begins with room check-in at 4:00 pm on the first day, and concludes with lunch on the third day. The cost in 2012 is $225 for double occupancy, or $295 for single occupancy. This includes all meals, lodging, and program costs, as well as full access to the beautiful Collins facilities.
One Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is available at no additional charge. You must indicate your desire for CEU's when registering, and you must be present throughout the entire event. Be sure to select this option on the registration form--click the button below to register for Wesley Week.
Click on the title below for more information.
Holistic Evangelism in the Wesleyan Tradition
with Dr. Elaine Heath
Laity Section: July 6-8, 2012
Clergy Section: July 9-11, 2012
Little Dresses for Africa
Michael Gregor, Pastor of St. Helens UMC has fabric to donate to any church interested in making "pillowcase" dresses previously part of the mission project, "Little Dresses for Africa." What a great mission project and good timing with Sue Owen and Jim Monroe from our AC now serving as Individual Volunteers in Kenya. If your church is interested, please contact Mike Gregor directly at email@example.com or Scott and Bev Pressman, UMVIM Coordinators, OR-ID Annual Conference; firstname.lastname@example.org .
|The complete list of appointments made by Bishop Hoshibata can be found by clicking here
|National and International Opportunities