Guest preachers lined up for Annual Conference 2023


This year's Annual Conference will featuring preaching from individuals within our Annual Conference as well as guest preachers. If you're not attending in-person or via Zoom, you can still watch these preachers on our livestream at www.umoi.org.

Leading the preaching at Annual Conference will be Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth. He will preach the opening worship service on Thursday afternoon, June 8. Bridgeforth was just installed as the episcopal leader of the Greater Northwest Area on May 20, 2023. He was elected, assigned and consecrated as a bishop in The United Methodist Church during the Western Jurisdiction Conference in November 2022. Prior to his election the Greater NW Area, Bridgeforth served as the director of communications and innovation for the California-Pacific Conference. Rev. Dr. Bridgeforth has served as a local church pastor in diverse, urban churches in southern California, has served as a district superintendent, is a  published author and served in the U.S. Air Force. He's served as a clergy coach, consultant, and has served in many leadership capacities within the United Methodist Church connection, including Black Methodists for Church Renewal.

He graduated from Claremont School of Theology with a master's degree of divinity and earned an educational doctorate degree in organization leadership from Pepperdine University. Raised in rural Alabama, Bridgeforth earned his bachelor's degree in religion from Samford University. His election in November makes him the first openly gay Black male to be elected to the episcopacy. He and his spouse, Christopher Hucks-Ortiz, now call the Seattle area home.

Revs. Clay Andrew and Jorge Rodriguez have both been part of The Oregon-Idaho Conference for years, and served together at Hillsboro United Methodist Church together for years. They will be preaching in both English and Spanish during the memorial worship service on Friday afternoon.

Rodriguez lead the Hispanic/Latinx ministries of Hillsboro UMC for years until he was appointed to lead Hillsboro UMC in July of 2022. Rodriguez became an ordained elder in The Oregon-Idaho Conference in June 2022. He is a Honduran immigrant, graduated from the Latin American Biblical University and the Ecumenical School of Religious Sciences in Costa Rica. He served as a missionary for several years with the General Board of Global Ministries. 

Andrew was born and raised a United Methodist in Texas and has been part of the Oregon-Idaho Conference since 2005. He served the congregations of La Grande UMC and Hillsboro UMC, working alongside Rev. Rodriguez for 8 years. He is currently appointed to Lake Oswego UMC. 

Rev. Rachel Gilmore will be the guest preacher during the Celebration of Ministry through Commissioning and Ordination on Sunday, June 11. She is an elder in the Virginia Conference of The UMC and is currently serving in the cabinet of the Desert Southwest Conference as the director of new and vital faith. In 2009, she helped start a new faith community called The Gathering at Scott Memorial UMC in Virginia Beach, Va., and served there for 10 years.

She was the appointed as the director of recruiting, training and assessing for lay and clergy church planters in The United Methodist Church. Gilmore most recently assisted in the planning of the National UMC Planter Gathering, which was hosted by the Western Jurisdiction in April of 2023. She is a founding member of a church planting network, a podcaster on church revitalization and is a published author.