Table Talks: Finding a Way Forward Together
What to Expect
United Methodists in the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences are being encouraged to participate in Table Talk conversations being planned in various settings across the Greater Northwest Area. These opportunities will provide attendees a way to engage the church’s current discussion of human sexuality and the report of the Commission on a Way Forward within a structure of worship and respect for one another.
To develop that sense of respect, participants are asked to commit to a covenant for respectful dialog. In short, the covenant asks them to:
- Stay Curious,
- Be Kind, and to
- Listen with the same amount of passion with which I want to be heard.
Both worship and a covenant for respectful dialog are essential when we ask for God to be present in our conversations and recognize that we can sometimes get in the way of that. All across the area are asked to seriously consider participating in one of these opportunities.
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky sees that respectful dialog as a key to helping the church move forward, both here in the northwest, and globally. “Christians don’t need to beat each other up when we disagree.” she says, “If you love your church, and want it to see its mission witness remain strong around the world, I hope you will come to one of the Table Talks. If you are sick and tired of opposing sides in the church fighting about human sexuality, and who should be welcome in the Church, I hope you will come to one of the Table Talks. We can find a deeper unity, and new ways of listening to God and one another.”
See a video invitation from Bishop Elaine Stanovsky to attend a Table Talk session.
Visit vimeo.com/greaternw/table-talks to download this invitation to use in your local church.
Table Talk Opportunities
Planning to attend a Table Talk? Click here to RSVP so site leaders can prepare for the right number of people.
April 14, Saturday
- Anchorage: Anchor Park UMC, Anchorage AK, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – RSVP
April 15, Sunday
- Lewiston: First UMC, Lewiston, ID, from 2 to 5 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Portland: First UMC, Portland, OR, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
April 21, Saturday
- * Medford First UMC, Medford, OR, from 1 to 4 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Soldotna UMC, Soldotna, AK, from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. – RSVP
April 22, Sunday
- Gresham UMC, Gresham, OR, from 3 to 6 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Madras UMC, Madras OR, from 2 to 5 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Spokane Valley UMC, Spokane, WA, from 2 to 5 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
April 28, Saturday
- * Edmonds UMC, Edmonds, WA, from 1 to 4 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Nampa First UMC, Nampa, ID, from 1 to 5 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Anchorage: Turnagain UMC, Anchorage, AK, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – RSVP
April 29, Sunday
- Wasilla: Christ First UMC, Wasilla, AK, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. – RSVP
May 5, Saturday
- Anchorage: First UMC, Anchorage, AK, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – RSVP
- Juneau: Aldersgate UMC, Juneau, AK, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. – RSVP
May 6, Sunday
May 12, Saturday
- * Central United Protestant, Richland, WA, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Olympia: First UMC, Olympia, WA, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Fairbanks: First UMC, Fairbanks, AK, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – RSVP
- Nehalem Bay UMC, Nehalem, OR, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
May 19, Saturday
- Corvallis First UMC (combined Crater Lake/Cascadia), 1 to 4 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Pocatello UMC, Pocatello, ID 1 to 5 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
May 20, Sunday
May 22, Tuesday
June 2, Saturday
- Puyallup UMC, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
- Wesley UMC, Yakima, WA, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Directions – RSVP
June 3, Sunday
September 8, Saturday
* Bishop Stanovsky will be present at these events.
Learn More about the Way Forward
The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed at the 2016 General Conference by the Council of Bishops “to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.” The proposal was approved and a 32-member commission was named in October of 2016.You can learn more about their composition, vision, and how they are structuring their work here.
The Council of Bishops have also called a Special Session of the General Conference to be held be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri limited to acting on the report from the Council “based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.” Updates from the Council of Bishops can be found here.
Additional prayer resources have been produced for conference efforts surround all of this work in prayer. While each of the three conference in the Greater Northwest Area have completed their assigned weeks of prayer, you might still find resources and inspiration as others continue this work. You can learn more about this Praying Our Way Forward effort here.