Bishop Stanovsky announces new leadership for Conference


Bishop Elaine Stanovsky announces two new leaders have been selected to serve the people and churches of the Oregon-Idaho Conference.

Hernandez to serve as Sage District Superintendent

Bishop Stanovsky intends to appoint Rev. Karen Hernandez to serve on the Oregon-Idaho cabinet as Sage District Superintendent, effective July 1. In this role she will serve as the “chief missional strategist” of the Sage District, working with pastors and lay leadership of the district to find new ways to strengthen and extend United Methodist ministries in Idaho and eastern Oregon.

“Rev. Hernandez is a person of deep faith, attention to detail. She has consistently built bridges across social divides and led the churches she has served into new community engagement,” Stanovksy said. 

“I believe Jesus means just what he said in the new commandment to love one another, no exceptions whatsoever—not even those who would exclude others are to be themselves excluded for the good of the whole. With equal passion and resolve, I believe that God is love, that love cannot exist apart from God, and that anyone who knows love is in relationship with God," Hernandez said.

Hernandez was ordained an elder in 2012. She knows the Sage District well, serving currently in her seventh year as the pastor in Kuna, Idaho, and previously in Burley, Idaho from 2008 - 2011. In the Oregon-Idaho Conference, she served on the Camp & Retreat Ministries Program Division, Episcopacy Committee, and Board of Ordained Ministry. In the Greater New Jersey Conference she was the Assistant Director of Admission for Drew Theological School and Assistant Pastor of Mt Fern UMC. She was raised a United Methodist in northeast Alabama. She is married to Ed Hernandez.

Current Sage District Superintendent and dean of the cabinet, the Rev. Gwen Drake, has requested to retire July 1.

New congregational vitality leader starts Feb. 5

Dr. Leroy Barber will serve as the Congregational Developer for Vitality for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. Barber is a graduate of Immanuel Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and has served as the International Executive Director for Word Made Flesh and is currently the Executive Director of the Voices Project, which is an organization that influences culture through training and promoting leaders of color.

He has authored a number of books, including "Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World" and "Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World." He also teaches at Multnomah University. Leroy and his wife, Donna, live in Portland and have six children.

In his new role with the Oregon-Idaho Conference, Barber will serve with staff from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest as a part of the Greater NW Area Office of Innovation, which promotes and supports the work of innovation, multiplication, and inclusion both for new people in new places and within the life of existing United Methodist ministry settings. The focus of this position is to help resource leaders— clergy and lay— in ways that lead to health and vitality. We are excited to have Rev. Barber join this gifted team of innovators and share his insights, experience, and breadth of knowledge with us.

Rev. Barber is replacing Rev. Steve Ross, who returned to the local church in July 2017 to serve as the pastor at Rose City Park UMC in Portland. Read more about Barber in upcoming issues of The Connector as he begins this important work in the life of our annual conference on Feb. 5.

Learn more about Leroy and Donna Barber and The Voices Project.