Conference kicks off with a call to reaffirm baptism



Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Conference’s annual gathering kicked off with a question.

“What was the last time you touched the baptismal waters?” Rev. Kathleen Weber, Crest to Coast District Superintendent for the Pacific Northwest Conference, asked the crowd gathered at First United Methodist Church Eugene on Wednesday night.

Scripture for the service came from Luke Chapter 3, the story of Jesus’ baptism, which happened during challenging socio-economic-political times, much like the times we find ourselves in today, especially as a church, said Weber, who described herself as a cisgender, queer woman who uses she, her and hers pronouns.

She specifically addressed the LGBTQ+ people in the room.

“You are welcomed here. You are valued. You are gifted,” she said. “You are God’s beloved. You belong with us.”

In these trying times, we need to remember our baptisms and the covenant we made to resist evil and injustice. It’s not easy to surrender to grace she said. People can learn from the font and return to it to repent, find hope, grace, inclusion and so much more.

“We need the waters to flow and the heavens to break,” Weber said. “There’s a reason Jesus’ ministries began after baptism.”

Worship concluded with stations for people to dip their hands in water and remember the baptismal call and an offering to support bringing members of the Alaska Conferenc