August 23, 2012
As I read articles and commentaries on church growth, heath, sustainability, development, and revitalization I see lots of different perspectives. One of the discussion points is the importance of worship attendance. For me, a humble lay person, I think worship attendance is the heart of a strong church. While community involvement, social programs and outreach are critical to vitality, it is our act of worshiping together that connects the community and invites us into relationship with Christ and with one another.
This week two resources came across my screen that look at this issue. The first is a blog post by Jessica Miller in Ministry Matters that reminds us of some key fundamentals to maintaining worship attendance. The second is a short video from Lovett Weems about his views on why worship attendance matters and what can be done to sustain it. He takes a look at how statistics can help a church evaluate attendance and create program schedules to have an impact on attendance and discipleship.
And finally, in this week’s commentary, Bishop Mike Lowry looks at the ongoing question of investing in new churches, or revitalizing existing ones. From his view in Texas he sees what is happening across the United States and sees a need for a two prong solution.
Greg Nelson – Director of Communications
This Week in The Annual Conference
Saturday, August 25
CLD Training - Forest Grove
Monday, August 27
Transitions Retreat for New Clergy
Reception for Bishop Hagiya – Burley, ID
Tuesday, August 28
Transitions Retreat for New Clergy
Reception for Bishop Hagiya – Boise 1st UMC
Wednesday, August 29
Transitions Retreat for New Clergy
Reception for Bishop Hagiya – Pendleton, OR
Thursday, August 30
Health Reimbursement Account Workshop – Salem
Health Reimbursement Account Workshop – Eugene
Reception for Bishop Hagiya – Rose City Park UMC, Portland, OR
Friday, August 31
Health Reimbursement Account Workshop – Medford
Reception for Bishop Hagiya – Lake Oswego, OR
Details on these, and other conference events, can be found on the conference website.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE NEWS
Bishop Hoshibata Shares Farewell Blog
In a recent posting on the conference website Bishop Robert Hoshibata shares some thoughts looking back at his time in Oregon-Idaho and looking forward to his new assignment to the Desert Southwest Conference. You can read his blog, and leave a comment on the conference website.
Bishop Hagiya to Tour Conference
Incoming Bishop for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, Grant Hagiya will be making a whirlwind tour of the conference at the end of the month. While he won’t be able to visit all of the over 200 churches, camps and other ministry sites in the conference, he is scheduled to meet with small groups of clergy and lay leaders, and will get a “drive by” introduction to some churches and communities as he moves from East to West to South across the conference.
Several sessions have been set up for open times of worship and welcome. Church members are invited to come and welcome Bishop Hagiya at one of these events:
Monday, August 27, 7:00 p.m.
Burley United Methodist, 450 E 27th, Burley.
Tuesday, August 28, 7:00 p.m.
Boise - First United Methodist, 717 N 11th St., Boise.
Wednesday, August 29, 7:00 p.m.
Pendleton - First United Methodist, 352 SE 2nd St, Pendleton.
Thursday, August 30, 7:00 p.m.
Rose City Park United Methodist, 5830 NE Alameda St, Portland.
Friday, August 31, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Oswego United Methodist, 1855 Southshore Blvd, Lake Oswego.
Saturday, September 1, 2:00 p.m. (note afternoon time!)
Nehalem Bay United Methodist, 36050 10th St., Nehalem.
Sunday, September 2, 7:00 p.m.
Salem – First United Methodist, 600 State Street, Salem.
Monday, September 3, 7:00 p.m.
Grants Pass – Newman United Methodist, 132 NE B St., Grants Pass.
Tuesday, September 4, 7:00 p.m.
Eugene – First United Methodist, 1376 Olive St., Eugene.
Conference Journal Available on Web
The 2012 Journal of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is now online. Proceedings, reports, statistics, rosters and rules are all there for online viewing or download and save to your computer or mobile device. The print version of the Journal is on schedule to be mailed the week of August 27. All clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference will receive a printed version of Volume 1, which contains contact information, appointments, conference policies and conference committee lists. Churches and other ministry settings will receive both Volumes 1 and 2 in print. Volume 2 includes daily proceedings, legislative action, standing resolutions, reports, rosters, historical listings, statistics and financial information for the Annual Conference. Both volumes are available online at www.umoi.org/journal. Questions about the Journal can be directed to the Conference Secretary, the Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE
Administrative Assistant – Conference Center, Portland OR
Applications are being accepted for an Administrative Assistant for the Oregon-Idaho Conference Center. The Administrative Assistant will assist the conference center by providing reception, office services, clerical, data processing and computer support for the Communications and Finance and Stewardship departments and serving as an assistant to the Director of Finance and Stewardship and the Director of Communications. See more details and application process at www.umoi.org/classifieds.
News from Oregon-Idaho Missionaries
New newsletters from both Teri and Evelyn Erbele, serving in Alaska, and Jim Monroe and Sue Owen, serving in Kenya, have been posted to the conference website.
New Prayer Shawl Retreat Coming in October
This wonderful new retreat is geared toward anyone who is part of a prayer shawl ministry...or who would like to begin one. "Knitted Together in Love" is a prayer shawl ministry retreat at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center, offered October 5-6. The retreat will be led by the Rev. Janine DeLaunay, who invites beginners as well as veteran knitters. Share experiences and ideas for a prayer shawl ministry, or learn how to get one started. Knit, talk, worship, learn, eat, and share in excellent fellowship while being nurtured by the Collins Center's gracious hospitality. Learn more, download a flyer to share, and register online at the A.L. Collins website.
SNAP Benefits Change Urged in Idaho
Idaho is one of only seven states that doesn’t stagger the release of SNAP (food stamp) funds for needy families. When benefits are released all on the same day, it creates a hardship for families and grocers, makes it hard to get food, and leads to waste and poor stewardship. Join the Idaho Interfaith Round Against Hunger by signing the petition to change this practice. The petition is at https://www.change.org/petitions/stagger-food-stamp-issuance-in-idaho and you can learn more at www.iirah.org.
AROUND THE GLOBE
General Board Looks at Needs and Issues for Young Clergy
United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates in their 20s and 30s talked at a United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry summit about their challenges and successes — and how the denomination can help them be more effective in ministry. Read the rest of this General Board of Higher Education and Ministry article.
Celebrating 621 New Congregations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship’s board of directors completed their 2009-12 quadrennium of service by celebrating landmark accomplishments in church renewal, new church planting and central conference resourcing. Among those successes, the agency’s New Church Starts (known as Path1) unit helped plant 621 churches during the past four years. That marks a 223 percent increase over the previous four years. Read the rest of this General Board of Discipleship story.
RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
Local Mission Volunteers Needed
Colorado’s United Methodist Buckhorn Camp Seeking Volunteers
The United Methodist Buckhorn Camp west of Fort Collins suffered major damage from Colorado’s forest fires this summer. As of July 31, Buckhorn is welcoming volunteer teams and individuals to help them rebuild. This is a perfect opportunity for retirees or Nomads (mission volunteers with RV’s). They request that you contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule and coordinate. For more information please visit their website at www.buckhorncamp.org.
Leaving a Legacy
Dennis Osborn, Associate Director of the NW United Methodist Foundation shares this thought about how to make an impact at your church, and how churches can help offer that opportunity:
For many years, Jill and Dave have regularly attended their church. The two would help out wherever needed, but they were not part of the Church leadership team, or associated with a particular group at the church. Dave and Jill just felt Sunday was their time to recharge their batteries and focus time on God. Dave and Jill were as generous as most to their church when it came to their offerings – but nothing special. Dave and Jill had two teenagers that were getting ready to embark on the adventure of life outside the safe confines that Dave and Jill had provided. The two are winding down successful careers and accumulated a decent portfolio of; insurance policies, equity in their home, solid 401k’s and a modest savings. All total they had about $500,000 in total assets and had a will in place.
Did Jill and Dave mention their church as a beneficiary in their will? Probably not! Do Dave and Jill sound like a couple that you might know at your church? The fact that Jill and Dave did not mention their church in their will does not mean they do not care about their church. More, the reason their church is not a beneficiary is because their church had never approached them about the possibility of leaving a gift to their church or spoke with them about how such a gift would allow their church’s mission to continue serving in the community even after they have departed. Often this is a difficult topic to discuss with congregations. This is where we can help. The NW United Methodist Foundation can assist your local church to establish policies, create resources and follow practices that encourage such giving. Please feel free to contact Dennis Osborn at 503-318-6043 or email@example.com for further information.
Official United Methodist Program Calendar Discount
The United Methodist Program Calendar is a comprehensive tool or scheduling ministry activities, keeping track of fellowship events, managing volunteers and planning committee meetings. It includes all the key dates for the church, and worship planning resources. Order now and receive 20% off with a purchase of $25 or more. It may be the most important organizational investment you make this year. Use Promo Code: CAL1308NPEP (all caps).
World Communion Sunday — Making Dreams Come True
World Communion Sunday is coming soon. Your participation in this Special Sunday is vital to developing United Methodist leaders. Your gifts provide scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students who might not be able to pursue higher education without your support. Julie Fleurinor is an example. When she was just 6 years old, Fleurinor and her family fled Haiti for Miami to escape oppression and poverty. Today, she is earning two master’s degrees to equip herself to bring healing and hope to Haitians in the United States and in Haiti.
The World Communion Scholarship, funded by World Communion offering, is making this dream a reality. The scholarship is a blessing for which Fleurinor prayed fervently because of the high cost of seminary education. “I’m really thankful for it.” Read more »
Offering inserts, poster, worship resources, stories, videos and PowerPoint presentation are all available online at www.umcgiving.org/WCS.
If you cannot celebrate this offering on October 7, you can observe this Special Sunday on any day of the year. Order your printed offering poster and leaflet online or by calling 888-346-3862.
RETREAT and CAMPING CONNECTION
The theme this year for the Safe Spaces Retreat at Suttle Lake is “Changed for the Better.” In these safe spaces we are invited to reflect on our own life journey, and explore our responses and learnings from hard places in life. For some of us, listening to our bodies and our own energy is a new practice. In the midst of these Safe Spaces, we will dare to allow what has hurt us to come close to us, and be welcomed. Read her whole invitation here. (Brenda Wills, Dean of Safe Spaces Retreat)
Joy Fund Makes a Big Difference
I wanted to send you a great big thank you! My daughter had a great time at camp and is still talking about the wonderful time she had. She made some good friends and they are keeping in touch and she was just really really blessed and I wanted to make sure that you and everyone that made this possible knew how much we appreciate you and all that you did. Once again THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!! (A Mom - who was able to send her daughter to camp thanks to the Joy Fund)
The Importance of the Both/And
By Bishop Mike Lowry
…I am convicted that vital faithfulness/fruitfulness is a both/and proposition. New church development is critical…