Installment #1: New West-Side Districts
The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.[i]
Making disciples of Jesus Christ can be a tough mission in the midst of generational change, religious pluralism, and political polarization. The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference is trying to be good stewards of the resources we have and put all our energy into ministries that change lives and the world to reflect God’s vision of abundant life. Last June the Conference acted to reduce the number of districts from 6 to 5, even as we are learning new ways to strengthen ministry both through existing congregations and by starting new ministries.
The reduction in districts will occur on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. The new districts will become reality on January 1, 2018 but you won’t notice much change until July 1, 2018. At that time we will add the word “Missional” to the name of each district, as a reminder that churches exist not only to support their members, but also to engage their context. Every church, fellowship and ministry is on a mission frontier, where people hunger and thirst for spiritual community.
Your district superintendent, and district programming will continue as they are now through the end of June, 2018, to coincide with the pastoral appointment year. Current district superintendents will continue in place through June, 2018, and they will continue to relate to churches and clergy in their present districts through the 2017-2018 appointment season. Beginning July 1, 2018, there will be one fewer district superintendent and churches and clergy will align to the new districts.
The assignment of churches to districts creates a new urban SeaTac Missional District, with the intention of developing specific initiatives for missional engagement in these growing urban areas, with their extreme economic disparities. Across the conference your staff is committed to both helping existing churches to engage their communities in new and life-giving ways, and to cultivating bold, new ministries that create new places for new people to become disciples of Jesus.
During 2018 churches will be aligned in districts as follows:
Inland Missional District: no change
Seven Rivers Missional District: no change
Puget Sound Missional District: [Click here for the list]
SeaTac Missional District: [Click here for the list]
Crest to Coast Missional District: [Click here for the list]
Click here to view a dynamic Google map of the new missional districts. An embedded version of this can be found at the bottom of this page.
Between January and June district superintendents will work with current leadership of groups like UMW, district lay leaders, district boards of church location and building, and disaster coordinators to adapt to the new district alignment. District superintendents are prepared to help you find answers to your questions.
God is saying, “Behold, I am doing a new thing…. Do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43: 19). We’re trying to do a new thing with God. I hope you will bring your patience and creativity to this time of transition.
May God guide and guard us through this change,
Living in Faith,
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky | Greater Northwest Area
[i] The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016, ¶ 601.
Greater Northwest United Methodists and people of compassion everywhere,
LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, STRENGTH AND MIND,
AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
DO THIS AND YOU SHALL LIVE. ~ Luke 10: 27
Hurricane Harvey is devastating Texas and Louisiana, stretching all systems of relief and recovery beyond their limits. We’ve watched as tiny babies, venerable elders, and people of every condition of life have had their lives swept away by the floods. Local United Methodists surrounding the affected area are already providing shelter, food and comfort to people in distress. They need us to support their work with “love made liquid” through prayer and offerings. And we’ll be sending Early Response Teams (ERT) from the Greater Northwest Area as early as October.
I am calling every church, fellowship group, Sunday School class, choir, coffee klatch, walking, or yoga group in the Greater Northwest Area (Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska Conferences) to love God and neighbor in the following ways:
- Pray for the people affected by the flood and those who work tirelessly to respond, and
- Receive a special offering for HURRICANE HARVEY FLOOD beginning this Sunday, and each Sunday in September. And when you donate, invite someone outside your group to donate, too. Donations will support United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) US Disaster Response fund* and travel costs for Early Response Teams from the Greater Northwest Area that will go to Texas and Louisiana.
Miracles happen when people share what they have. Thank you.
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky | Greater Northwest Area
* 100% of donations support UMCOR recovery and relief with no administrative overhead. UMCOR has the highest (4 ★★★★) rating by Charity Navigator.
- Jim Truitt, Disaster Response Coordinator, Pacific Northwest Conference, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dan Moseler, Disaster Preparedness and Response Coordinator, Oregon-Idaho Conference, email@example.com
- Dan Wilcox, Disaster Response Coordinator, Alaska Conference, firstname.lastname@example.org
Response – The Latest on UMCOR Response to Harvey
Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky sent a letter on Monday to Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski thanking her for her recent vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Referencing the United Methodist belief that health care be understood as a basic human right as found in our Social Principles, the bishop encouraged the senator to continue to work with other members of Congress “to find a solution to the very complex problem of providing health care … for all the citizens in our United States.”