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With General Conference over, our work begins now

With General Conference over, our work begins now

A pastoral message from Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth offers an informative and inspiring message for United Methodists in the Greater Northwest, highlighting several legislative accomplishments of a historic General Conference. His message connects the work of the delegates to the upcoming annual conference season, changes to the episcopacy in the jurisdiction, and our ongoing ministry in the Greater Northwest Area.

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A pastoral letter from Bishop Cedrick on the eve of the scheduled execution in Idaho of Thomas E. Creech

*Thomas Creech is a prisoner at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution outside of Boise and is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 10 a.m., local time.*

Thomas Eugene Creech is a child of God who was created in the image and likeness of God. 

Life is a gift and blessing from our Creator. Life is not ours to take nor end. Even as the state determines it has the power to end a life, that does not mean it has the right, nor does that make it right. We have power and how much more powerful is life and love than damnation and death?
I have not met or spoken with Mr. Creech, but I have a bishop colleague who has met and engaged him in conversation. This bishop shared with me the humility and humanity he witnessed and felt in the presence of Mr. Creech. I imagine when one is aware that their life rests in the hands of a system that finds it easiest and more just to kill than extend clemency, humility is all that’s left alongside despair. 

Mr. Creech’s execution is scheduled for 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time tomorrow. I invite you all to be in prayer with me as we lament this action being taken by the State of Idaho. If you feel called, in an act of solidarity with other churches, please do ring your church bells at 10 a.m. MST to offer a physical manifestation of our collective grief.

May we work to end the death penalty, express humility, extend mercy, and expect grace in the face of the loveless acts that we now await and expect. God created each of us in God’s own image and likeness. We are all made of the same sinew and possibility as Mr. Thomas Eugene Creech.

Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth
resident bishop, GNW Episcopal Area

Pastoral Letter: Peace is our work, everywhere

Pastoral Letter: Peace is our work, everywhere

Many people say, “We can’t find goodness anywhere.
     The light of your face has left us, Lord!”
But you have filled my heart with more joy
     than when their wheat and wine are everywhere!
I will lie down and fall asleep in peace
     because you alone, Lord, let me live in safety.

Psalm 4:6-8, CEB

My family still resides in and around Decatur, Alabama. If you search Decatur, Alabama, you will learn that before the conflict in Palestine-Israel escalated to all-out war, Steve Perkins, a 39-year-old African-American man, was shot by several Decatur Police officers. Steve’s death on the front lawn of his home invoked outrage across the city and has sparked protests, rallies, memorials, and other calls for justice and peace. I did not know Steve, but I know Steve’s plight. I know what it means to be confronted with violence and live with the threat of death every time I leave my home. With Steve’s death, we add to the litany of unarmed Black men who died at the hands of state-sanctioned violence. I wonder if even being home is as safe as I tell myself it should be.

My heart aches for Steve’s family. It breaks for families in Israel and Gaza already suffering injury and loss. And it will break again for the Palestinians, Israelis and others who will be caught in the crossfire as war rages across the area. With people being held captive by colonialist borders and nationalist policies, there is limited personal and communal agency. With powers from far away dictating strategies and funding war efforts, colonization. 

Our high aspiration for peace must always come through acts of justice and insurance of equity. We cannot expect peace if injustice and inequities are commonplace. Our pursuit of peace must begin before we hear gunfire or see bombed-out buildings. That work starts in our homes, neighborhoods, community gathering spaces, and churches as we call out and work against all manner of injustice and inequity – especially when we are not the ones directly affected. That’s one way we walk in solidarity with those who are unseen, forgotten, mistreated, or dehumanized.

Another way to work for peace in the land is to acknowledge our privilege, dismantle racism, rebut nationalism, and not shy away from calling out discriminatory acts against others. We may feel like the Greater Northwest has its own problems and that those problems are nowhere near as dire as what we are witnessing in Palestine-Israel or Decatur, Alabama, but that is not true.

War anywhere in the world is a sign that everyone has work to do. The only way we bury our heads in the sand is to deny the interconnected nature of life and our globalized economic and war-making alliances. Others may be firing guns and dropping bombs in Palestine-Israel, Ukraine, Sudan, or Alabama. Still, our country’s failure to have difficult conversations, resolve conflict and honor diverse viewpoints keeps us on the brink of war and economic collapse. When we are silent, apathetic, or too busy to bother with it, peace moves farther into the distance. If peace moves away, so does justice and equity.

Amid all that you are facing, holding, and trying to move forward, I pray the weight of these presenting conflicts will not slow or stop you from living as peaceably and boldly as you can. I pray that we will center equity and justice in all the spaces and places of your life to pursue peace constantly, calling attention to the injustice of war-making and anti-peace policies and actions – at home and abroad.

As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” May these words serve as a daily reminder that today’s war on the other side of the globe impacts and is informed by how we live on this side. Let us not grow weary. Instead, let us continue with hope and in pursuit of peace in every place so that we can fall asleep and live lives in peace.

Peace in Palestine-Israel!
Justice for Steve!
Equity for All!

Cedrick D. Bridgeforth
Resident Bishop, Greater Northwest Episcopal Area

The Council of Bishop’s released a statement condemning the violence in the Middle East that you can read here

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M.I.L.E. – 2023 Annual Conference Sermons

M.I.L.E. – 2023 Annual Conference Sermons by Cedrick D. Bridgeforth

Throughout the 2023 Annual Conference season across the Greater Northwest Area, Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth offered a series of messages to provide direction to the area.

How do we travel a M.I.L.E. in the Greater Northwest Area?

In his first year as episcopal leader of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth is encouraging congregations and ministry settings to go the M.I.L.E. this year and focus on Jesus’ call in the story of the Good Samaritan to “Go and Do Likewise.”

At his installation service in Juneau, Alaska, in May, Bridgeforth gave an overview of the theme and the meaning behind each step of the M.I.L.E. At each subsequent Annual Conference gathering – and in closing GNW worship – Bridgeforth offered in-depth explanation and inspiration for how we might all join him on this journey.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available here.

M: Ministry that Matters. Preached at Alaska Annual Conference opening session on June 3.

Ministry that Matters is about how churches and ministry settings can go outside of themselves to turn from the mirror and look out the window to be part of their communities. Specifically, Bridgeforth preached about the need to be engaged in the work of houselessness and health in our communities.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 

I: Itineration and location. Preached at the OR-ID Conference opening session on June 8.

Bishop Cedrick encouraged churches to be window people, not mirror people, and spoke about Itineration [and Location] as it relates to clergy who are called to lead and the ministry settings in which they serve. In his sermon, he asked people to think about how we might address inequities in the itineration system within The United Methodist Church to best suit the pastor, church and community in which they are all serving.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available.

L: Lay Ministry Enhancement. Preached at the PNW Conference opening session June 13.

At the opening of the PNW Conference, Bishop Bridgeforth preached about the importance of lay ministry enhancement as the church changes shape. Laity are already a critical resource in our congregations and ministry settings, but there is a need to equip and empower laity to be a more active voice in our churches and communities we serve.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available.

E: Eliminating Racism. Preached at the GNW Area closing session on June 15.

As people of faith, we need to renew our efforts to eliminate the racism that is pervasive not only in society, but within our congregations, ministry settings and the institution of the church in general. During this sermon at the close of Annual Conference season, Bridgeforth laid out plans for resources to be developed to engage churches and ministry settings in meaningful discussions and evaluate practices that lead to institutional racism and societal harm.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available.

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An Easter blessing from Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

An Easter blessing from Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth offers words of encouragement and an Easter charge to look out into our communities to find partners and to learn how we can be light and love for those who need it. His short message reflects on some positive signs, experiences and learnings during his first three months as resident bishop of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church.


Hello, I’m Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, the resident bishop of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church. And I’m grateful to share with you just for a few moments today. I’d hoped by now I’d have an opportunity to share a more comprehensive message with you. But I began January 1 and I have been busy. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of journeying to Anchorage, Alaska, where we chartered Ola Toe Fuataina, a Samoan congregation. It was a grand celebration, where we joined together with other United Methodists from around the Anchorage area to celebrate this new beginning.

During this time, I’ve also hosted many meet and greets, both in person and online. And I’ve gotten a chance to hear from many laity and clergy about some of the hopes and dreams that you have in your local churches, your community and even for our greater area. And I’m thankful for those of you who have taken time to reach out to me, to share with me during this time. I got the chance to meet with all of our conference leaders, and hear from them about the great work that they’re doing to make a difference in our area.

And beyond our local United Methodist churches, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet several of our ecumenical and interfaith leaders. And I’ve appreciated the ways in which we’ve maintained partnerships throughout the years. And I look forward to opportunities to build upon those relationships, and even to strike out and start new ones.

In the time that I’ve been with you, I’ve learned a lot, and there’s so much more for me to get to know, I don’t know everything there is to know about your systems, about policies of the Greater Northwest area. But I am learning. I also can share with you that I know quite a bit about myself. I know that I’m committed to having a positive impact wherever I serve. I know that I am open and willing to work with everyone who’s willing to do the work that helps us achieve our mission. I also know that I am focused on the resurrection. I am focused on what new life looks like for each and every one of us, whether we’re talking about clergy, laity, our congregations, but most especially the communities that God has called us to serve.

In this Easter season. I think it’s very important for us to take an opportunity to look out around us and see those who are calling out for us to come alongside them, to look out and listen for those voices of those who are calling out seeking partnership and collaboration. Those who are calling out for a light and new life, because we can bring that, we can offer that, we are called to bring that and offer that.

So as we enter this Easter season, may you seek opportunities to bring new life, in your congregations and in your communities. May you seek opportunities to know more about yourself and those that God has called you to serve. May you be blessed and may you be a blessing this Easter season.

Thank you.

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An Epiphany message from the WJ College of Bishops

The Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops offers a short video message for Epiphany. In it, they reflect on the season of change underway in The United Methodist Church and the promise reflected in the generosity and grace of ministries across the region as faithful disciples “respond to God’s call to be nurturing communities, ministries and churches where love lives.” Churches are encouraged to share this message and can download it for use in their local settings.

The video features Bishops Karen Oliveto of the Mountain Sky Conference, Interim Bishop Sally Dyck of the California-Nevada Conference, Dottie Escobedo-Frank of the California-Pacific Conference, Carlo Rapanut of the Desert Southwest Conference, and Cedrick Bridgeforth of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area. 

Epiphany falls on Friday, January 6, 2023. Please share this message with your congregation as you see fit on Epiphany, the Sunday following Epiphany, or at another time that works best for your ministry.

Click here to view the video.  
Click here to download the video.  


Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ on this day of Epiphany from the bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.

Today, we recall the story of three Magi who, according to the Gospel of Matthew, followed a star to visit the baby Jesus. They came to honor the one who was born king of the Jews. When they found him, they were overwhelmed with great joy, and offered their gifts to him.

After they had paid their respects to the Christ Child, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, who wanted to know where the baby was. He wanted to harm this One who was seen as a threat to his power. The Magi heeded the angelic message and returned home by another road.

We are a people who have lived in darkness, who have seen a great light. It is this light that leads us home through roads we haven’t intended to travel, journeying with people we never intended to be in relationship with, listening to voices that are both strange yet life-giving.

In this season of great change in The United Methodist Church, as some choose disaffiliation, we are walking an unfamiliar and uncomfortable road. It is hard to have some churches divided on whether to stay United Methodist and other churches already heading out the door. 

We also know that it is in moments like this–of uncertainty and fear–that God breaks into our lives and offers us a way forward. 

As new and continuing bishops, serving the Western Jurisdiction, we are excited by what God is doing in communities across our connection. We give thanks for congregations committed to extending God’s generous grace and wide welcome to all people. We rejoice in ministries that share the love of God to those beyond the walls of the church. We celebrate lives touched and changed by an encounter with Christ.

We believe that the best days for United Methodism could still be before us. To live into the promise, we must respond to God’s call to be nurturing communities, ministries and churches where love lives. As we enter 2023, may we, like the Magi, follow the star so that we may be bearers of the Christ light to a weary world. May the ways we share this light be a beacon of hope to those who are struggling. May this light be so compelling that people will want to know more. May this light illumine a new and unfamiliar yet life-giving path that leads us all home to the Body of Christ.

Beyond Weapons of War

Beyond Weapons of War

Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14

November 22, 2022

Friends in Christ, Thanksgiving is Thursday and Advent starts next Sunday.

My heart is anguished after the murders at Club Q in Colorado Springs last weekend. In “barely a minute,” five people died, 17 others were shot, and two others were injured. The 22-year-old shooter, carrying an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, stalked his prey in a place people came for sanctuary from anti-LGBTQIA+ hatred. They were unarmed in an enclosed space, like sitting ducks or fish in a barrel.

No one has the right to hunt and kill innocent people. No civilian should have the right to carry an assault weapon designed for war.

If you are a person who identifies as LGBTQIA+, I see you, I love you, I need you to survive. You should not be targeted for ridicule, bullying, or bodily harm by people who don’t understand you or hate you. I believe that Jesus calls every Christian to be a trustworthy ally as you seek to live the fullness of life God sets before you, but many are slow to respond to this call.

If you are a person who hates or fears LGBTQIA+ people, I’m sorry for you; you don’t have to remain where you are today. Each of us is held to account for our fear, our hatred, and our inaction. In the gospels, we have a front-row seat as Jesus meets all kinds of misunderstood and marginalized people – leper, blind, possessed, lame, tax collectors, women caught in adultery or with a flow of blood, robbers. He seeks them out, speaks with them, and invites them into his circle of friends. He saved his disdain for high priests and pious people he thought should know better – like us.

If you follow Jesus, he will introduce you to LGBTQIA+ people, and you will be given the opportunity to grow in your knowledge and love of Jesus by seeing what Jesus sees in them. We must love our way out of hate, or we will find ourselves on the side of Herod, slaughtering innocents in the pursuit of his rival, Jesus, instead of on the side of humble shepherds, tending their flocks and welcoming his arrival. 

Regardless of political party, it is time for Christian people, striving to walk in the way of Jesus, to join with others of generous spirit, to rise up to stop the sale of assault weapons. Courageous citizens have the power to protect innocent victims from people who lack the intellectual, moral, emotional, or spiritual ability to resist an impulse to wholesale slaughter. It is blasphemous to pray for God to do what we have the power but not yet the will to do. We are our brother’s/sister’s/sibling’s keeper. We can act, and so we must, to save countless lives.

This Thanksgiving, I hope you will enjoy good food in the company of people you love, whether family, friends, or strangers. I hope you will pray for those on both ends of gun violence. And as we prepare for the birth of Jesus, learn more and work to ban private ownership of weapons designed for war. I urge you to see how our General Board of Church and Society is helping us get involved in resisting gun violence. I hope you will also consider writing a letter to your elected representatives, as Olympia First UMC encouraged us at our annual conference session in June. We can make it safer for innocent, vulnerable people to gather without fear for work, a concert, a drag show, a movie, a nightclub, school, church, for love.

Love is born at Christmas!

Elaine JW Stanovsky
Bishop, Greater Northwest Episcopal Area

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Bridgeforth brings experience, collaborative mindset into new role as bishop of the Greater NW Area

Growing up in rural Alabama, it was Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth’s grandparents who made sure he got to church – even on the days he didn’t want to be there.

But it was in the church, Lakeview United Methodist and Oakville Baptist churches that he found purpose – even on the hard days. After serving in the U.S. Air Force and earning a bachelor’s degree in religion from Samford University and a master of divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology, he has found the joy, purpose and calling that led him to become a newly-elected bishop in The United Methodist Church.

“Hopefully, people can see that the degrees, the titles, and the experiences are not where I began. That’s just where I’m on the journey right now,” Bridgeforth said. “I do that in a way to connect with people. My leadership style is about connecting with people.”

On Jan. 1, 2023, Bridgeforth will begin serving as bishop of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area of The UMC. The GNW Area comprises the Alaska Conference, Oregon-Idaho Conference and Pacific Northwest Conference. He currently serves as the director of communication and innovation for the California-Pacific Conference.

When he was elected on the 18th ballot at the Western Jurisdictional Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Nov. 4, he became the first openly gay African American male to hold the title of bishop within The UMC. His husband, Christopher Hucks-Ortiz, stood by his side as he was welcomed. It’s history he’s proud to make, but it is only part of his story and ministry.

Raised on a farm in rural Alabama, Bridgeforth has served churches in the California-Pacific Conference since 1999. He became an ordained elder in full connection with the church in 2006. He has served at Bowen Memorial United Methodist Church and Crenshaw United Methodist Church, before supervising many churches as a district superintendent in Cal-Pac Conference. He also has been a clergy coach and nonprofit consultant, has served on the board of the Black Methodists for Church Renewal, worked as the director of academic programs and outreach at the University of LaVerne and is a published author, to name a few things.

Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth addresses the crowd at the WJC 2022 after being elected with spouse Christopher Hucks-Ortiz by his side.

“I want my story to be open and available to people. There are parts of it people will connect with immediately. There are parts that people will hear and say, ‘I don’t get it.’ And that’s fine. All of us have that in our lives,” he said. “My leadership style is very personal. I try to be accessible to people. I like to hear people’s story because it helps me connect with them.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, he met his good friend – who later became his colleague – Dr. Larry Hygh, Jr., when Hygh and others attending the Strengthening the Black Church conference were stranded in Los Angeles due to the terrorist attacks on this country. Hygh said then-District Superintendent (now Bishop) Grant Hagiya sent church leaders out to check on those who were grounded in Los Angeles. Bridgeforth was one of those pastors.

Hygh recalls a caring presence in that moment. The two became better acquainted when, less than a year later, Hygh became the communications director for the Cal-Pac Conference and got to see what Bridgeforth’s ministry was like up close.

“I think he brings a gift of strategic leadership. I also believe he’s a person who can work with folks from various theological perspectives,” Hygh said.  “Even when he might not agree, he can find commonality for the sake of the gospel. Folks like him are what we need.”

Hygh said he’s always appreciated his friend’s ability to meet people – all people – wherever they’re at in life. Hygh watched Bridgeforth work, as a district superintendent in the Los Angeles area, with some of the most diverse churches, communities and neighborhoods in the country.

“He makes connections that sometimes other folks do not see,” Hygh said.

This past summer, Bridgeforth, an avid cyclist and supporter of HIV/AIDS research, encouraged Hygh to train for and participate in a 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for the San Francisco Aids Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“He is a much faster cyclist than I am,” Hygh said. “I’m the caboose in the back.”

Nevertheless, Hygh said his friend rode with him in the back one day on the seven-day course and saw a different perspective.

“He’s a servant leader who walks the talk,” Hygh said.

Bridgeforth calls himself collaborative by nature and hopes to bring that work to his role as bishop. He describes it as “a necessity” at this time in the church’s life.

“For us to innovate at the rate we need to, we have to collaborate,” Bridgeforth said.

As he steps into the episcopal role in the Greater Northwest Area, he knows the church is at a critical point. Membership is in decline, and the church may be splintering as some churches seek to disaffiliate before the 2024 General Conference. He knows it’s something that the church will grapple with, and to do that, people must first maintain their hope in Jesus Christ.

“I’m not a person who believes divorce is a bad thing,” Bridgeforth said. “Sometimes divorce is necessary, and it is the only thing that will bring about healing.”

He said it’s a good thing for people to be clear about their values and to bless each other as they depart. But the faithful disciples who remain within the denomination need to be clear about why they have decided to stay – not just because some people they disagree with left.

“Did we remain United Methodists because we believe in the strength of Wesleyan grace? Do we believe in the strength of being connected? Do we believe that serving together is better than just serving on our own? Do we believe that there is truly hope in Jesus Christ? Do we believe we have a message of salvation and resurrection that can resonate in this season and in coming seasons? I’ll preach that; I’ll teach that,” Bridgeforth said. “I want to organize us so that we are delivering that message in every way possible. So that we examine our structures, we examine our policies, and our behaviors so that they align with this understanding of resurrection – of hope on the other side of division.”

*A transition team is working with Bishop Bridgeforth and his family to identify ways in which he will be introduced to our churches and communities over the next several months. We will keep you informed of those opportunities through our newsletter and social media channels as they become known.

Kristina Gonzalez to serve as GNW Executive Director for Innovation and Vitality

Kristina Gonzalez to serve as GNW Executive Director for Innovation and Vitality

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky has named Kristina Gonzalez Executive Director for Innovation and Vitality for the Greater Northwest Area. Gonzalez will continue to work with Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, Director of Innovation for an engaged church. The Innovation Vitality (IV) Team supports local churches, innovation projects and boards and agencies to continue to embrace inclusion, innovation and multiplication as practices of Christian discipleship that are core to vital ministry in the region.

Gonzalez will step into this leadership role following Dr. William Gibson’s resignation as the IV Team Lead, effective March 31.

In making the announcement of Gonzalez’s new role, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky affirmed that “Greater Northwest Area leadership remains committed to supporting new ways of being church, especially as IV projects help us learn where God is calling us today.”

“The United Methodist Church is struggling. We are declining, divided and constrained by white cultural norms,” Stanovsky acknowledged. “But Jesus continues to deliver good news and invites us into abundant life every day. Many of us struggle to keep pace with what God is up to. Kristina develops systems that foster disciples who look beyond decline to lead a new and bright future. We are blessed that she is willing to step into this role at this time.”

Gonzalez will be responsible for hiring and supervising the IV team staff and consultants, in collaboration with conference directors of connectional ministries, and providing strong support systems for innovation vitality projects and their leaders. She will also continue to ensure that intercultural competency leadership is at the heart of our efforts for this transformative work.

 “The Innovation Vitality Team helped to position intercultural competency as central to vitality in our new and existing ministries. Our abilities to interact across cultural differences – race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identities, physical and mental abilities and more – will define us into the future. As Rev. Dr. Barber says, ‘innovation happens at the intersection of difference,’” Gonzalez said.

In her role serving three conferences, Gonzalez will report to the bishop of the Greater Northwest Area. As executive director, Gonzalez will lead during a transition period. The Vitality Commission formed by the 2021 Annual Conferences is reviewing the structure and operations of the IV Team to recommend changes to strengthen this work. The Commission will make a progress report to this year’s annual conference sessions in June and will bring recommendations to improve and streamline vitality work in 2023. 

Gonzalez is a trusted leader and expert in intercultural competency with deep connections to United Methodism in the northwest and beyond. First hired as a Pacific Northwest Conference staff member by Bishop Elias Galvan in 1998, she joined the IV Team in 2018, bringing her gifts to the Greater Northwest Area.

“I’ve had the privilege of serving the Pacific Northwest Conference and the GNW Area of our United Methodist Church for more than 20 years. Despite title changes, restructuring and varied visions, my work has been about embedding intercultural competency at all levels of our complex church structure, from local church to the denominational Connectional Table,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez is a qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and an associate with the Kaleidoscope Institute for diverse sustainable communities. She has served as faculty of the annual school for United Methodist supervising clergy for 19 years and consults and trains ecumenically in intercultural competency.

Gonzalez has professional experience in the public and non-profit sectors working in the arts and human services. Her community service work includes eight years on the curriculum committee of Leadership Tomorrow, a community leadership program serving the greater Seattle area, and a term on the board of trustees.

She served on The United Methodist Church’s Connectional Table, from 2004-to 2008 and chaired the Washington Association of Churches (now Faith Action Network) for two terms. She served on the board of directors for Bayview Retirement Center in Seattle for two terms.

“My new position title, Executive Director for Innovation and Vitality is simply an extension of my hopes and dreams over time,” Gonzalez said. “Those hopes and dreams; that we in the GNW Area of The UMC embed in our culture the practices of inclusion, innovation and multiplication, as a means of refreshing and renewing our relationships with Jesus Christ through our Wesleyan heritage in ways that are relevant and resonant today.” 

Three practices for vital ministry

1. Inclusion – if WE – our ministries, leaders and members become more interculturally competent then we will learn to welcome, include, and partner with our diverse neighbors.

2. Innovation – if “WE” expands to include the variety of people in our neighborhoods, then WE will reach out with openness to join what God is already doing in sparks of innovation that come at the intersection of difference.

3. Multiplication – if our ministries make a difference in the lives of people and their communities, then we will follow Jesus to engage with more new people, and their needs, multiplying the people we partner with and serve.   

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Mensaje de Pascua de Resurrección de parte de la Obispa Elaine | jueves, 14 de abril de 2022

“La muerte ha sido devorada por la victoria.
¿Dónde está, oh muerte, tu victoria?
¿Dónde está, oh muerte, tu aguijón?”
                                                         1 Corintios 15:54b-55

Amados en Dios,

Este es un pasaje bíblico muy fuerte. Hemos estado en la sombra de la muerte.

Sentimos el aguijón.
En la sala de urgencias hospitalarias
En las calles devastadas por la guerra
Mientras vemos a nuestros vecinos como acechan a los que  están corriendo
En la estación del metro donde muchos son afectados por el humo
Y también al ver como la tormenta, las inundaciones y los incendios forestales arrebatan todo a los inocentes.

Las sombras de la muerte (tristeza, miedo, ira, desesperación) oscurecen nuestros días. ¿Cómo podemos cantar “Aleluya” cuando la muerte está tan cerca para nosotros como en tu teléfono y la televisión?

En la mañana de Pascua, miraré hacia el este. El sol saldrá, hará retroceder las sombras y derramará su cálida luz sobre la tierra. Pero, ¿qué pasa con las sombras en nuestros corazones que acechan nuestro espíritu? El sol no las ahuyenta simplemente.

En la Biblia, caminamos con Jesús de Nazaret, vemos cuando El se encuentra con todo tipo de personas. Escuchamos mientras habla de la realidad de sus vidas, y aprendemos que Jesús también nos conoce, nos reconoce, comparte nuestras luchas, pecados y tristezas. Y como conociéndonos por dentro y por fuera, Jesús nos ama. ¡Eso es como el amanecer!

Pero es fácil vagar en las sombras y olvidarnos de que Jesús nos ama. Pero, en la fe, nos amamos unos a otros, de diferentes maneras, que nos recuerdan el amor de Jesús. Y nos esforzamos por amar a las personas que no conocen el amor de Dios, como Jesús nos ama y como nosotros nos amamos unos a otros. El amor es cómo la esperanza, se eleva como el sol. El amor alivia el aguijón de la muerte. El amor es la luz espiritual que no se puede apagar, que tiene el poder de salvarnos al final de nuestro caminar.

Por lo tanto, mis amados amigos, “estén firmes y constantes, sobresaliendo siempre en la obra del Señor, porque ustedes saben que en el Señor su trabajo no es en vano”.

¡Cristo ha resucitado! El amor nunca termina, en Semana Santa y en las noches más largas y oscuras.


Obispa Elaine JW Stanovsky

Translated and adapted by: Rev. Cruz Edwin Santos, Director of Hispanic/Latinx Ministry