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Author: Patrick Scriven

My first Annual Conference

From Left: Bishop Elaine Stanovsky and representatives of the Greater Northwest Area, Jan Nelson, Jo Anne Hayden, Rev. Donna Pritchard, Rev. Mary Huycke,  and Rev. Carlo Rapanut enjoy a moment together during the Installation Service on June 14, 2017 in Portland, Ore. Photo by Patrick Scriven, PNW Conference.


By Rachel Fitzgerald

People told me to hold on. I was in for a bumpy ride. You see, I’m new. I’ve never been to an Annual Conference; even through all my years as a PK (Preacher’s Kid). I was told this year’s conference was going to be unusual and a bit of a scheduling beast. I was nervous. I had no reason to be.

Rachel Fitzgerald

Being a PK, I’ve had an interesting and circuitous spiritual journey. I saw pain and hypocrisy in the church and became fairly jaded. It made me look for something that brought me deeper meaning and understanding. My divinity was in the theatre; in the spoken word and human emotional relationships. Then I started working for Bishop Elaine.

Something began to unfold on Wednesday night in the opening ceremony. All God’s children were represented – clergy daughter, native son, retired father, and lay mother. The joy was palpable. The Bishop, who I only knew as Boss, was speaking words that wrapped us in peace and buoyancy. There was fire but no brimstone. Bishop Stanovsky, through her humor, passion, intellect, and heart, placed us on the path to new and developing Pacific Northwest and Oregon-Idaho Conferences.  Her leadership is kind but will push us to become better human beings and followers of Christ. It was evident every time she spoke.

With that opening ceremony, I took a breath, smiled, and relaxed into my first Annual Conference.

I see the road ahead of us and it is good. It was evident in every ceremony, every meeting, and every smiling face I passed in the halls of the Red Lion. I am honored and humbled to be part of the larger congregation. May the spirit of the Annual Conference be with us throughout the year. I look forward to seeing you in 2018.


Rachel Fitzgerald serves as the Administrative Assistant for the episcopal office of The Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church. She started in this role in April.

All fourteen candidates for commissioning as Elders or Deacons kneel as Bishop Elaine Stanovsky prays over each. Photo by Greg Nelson.


Story by Angie Kiblinger | Photos by Bill Vollmer, Rev. DJ del Rosario, Greg Nelson, Patrick Scriven, and Teri Tobey

The Battle Ground High School Jazz combo set a welcoming tone at the 2017 Commissioning and Ordination Service of the Shared Pacific Northwest and Oregon-Idaho Annual Conferences at 2pm on Saturday, June 17th.

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky opened the service inviting Duane Medicine Crow to offer a prayer.

The ceremony included the commissioning of 14 candidates (11 Provisional Elders, 3 Provisional Deacons), the ordination of one Deacon and ordination of two Elders across both the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences. (A complete list can be found below.)

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Editor’s note: The following statement was read towards the end of the Pacific Northwest Plenary Session on the afternoon of Friday, June 16, 2017. Rev. Schindler was kind enough to share a written copy with us. 

By Rev. Elizabeth Schindler

Last night was the installation service for Bishop Elaine Stanovsky in the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences.

I was excited for the service, so happy to see my friends at the beginning of Annual Conference, and to process with them in robes and stoles; and I was completely unprepared for how emotional I felt during the service.

When Bishop Elaine was introduced by the Committee on the Episcopacy, tears welled up in my eyes.

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Tim Winslea and Emily Kroen presenting before a shared Laity Session of the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences.

By Sally Jones, OR-ID Volunteer Writer

Jan Nelson, Oregon-Idaho Conference Lay Leader and Nancy Tam Davis, PNW Conference Lay Leader kicked off the 2017 Joint Laity Session with an invitation to attendees to tweet comments about annual conference at the hashtag #gnwac17 ~ and sing ‘This Little Light of Mine’ ~ setting the tone for the video greeting from Bishop Stanovsky.  Our Bishop exhorted us to remember that laity are the engine of the good works for our churches and that God strengthens us all. All lay leaders were recognized with applause.

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We’re not in Kenai any more

By Rev. Jim Doepken

Well, to be honest, I’m not from “Kenai.” Kenai is a city in Alaska (although some who read this would question whether “city” is an accurate designation for a community of 7,500, that’s city-sized in Alaska). I’m not from “Kenai” but “the Kenai.” I’m from the Kenai Peninsula and serving as pastor of the United Methodist Churches of Seward and Moose Pass (not a made up Alaskan-sounding name but a real Alaskan-sounding one.)

So, we’re not in “The Kenai” anymore.

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All Annual Conference participants are invited to wear blue on Saturday, June 17 at Annual Conference. Following the Ministry Alive workshops, we will gather at the riverside to bear witness to the suffering of God’s creation, blessing the Columbia River along with the hotel workers who care for travelers along its banks.

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As part of her role at the General Board of Church and Society, Kirstin Kumpf (center left) organizes and participates in rallies across the country in advocacy for justice. Most recently she helped organize the Interagency task force National Gathering on Immigration in March 2017, this work helped lead to the Connectional Table pledging an additional $100,000 for addressing immigrant justice.


“This is a time of crisis in our country. Especially now, we must figure out how to best stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters and organize for change.”

– Kristin Kumpf, Director of Organizing for the General Board of Church and Society

By the Rev. Richenda Fairhurst

Kristin Kumpf will be leading the Sanctuary training workshop on Wednesday, June 14th, an important pre-conference offering through the Peace with Justice programs and Board of Church and Society of the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences.  Click here to get more workshop information here.

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AC Update – June 7- Issue #5

Worship Services are highlights of the Conference

Bishop Stanovsky’s Installation Service
Wednesday, June 14, 7 p.m.

The members and guests of annual conference are encouraged to attend this service to celebrate Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky being installed officially as the episcopal leader of the Greater Northwest Area. She will deliver the message. It is also open to the public and members of congregations nearby are encouraged to attend.

Offering – Project Rebuild: Up From the Ashes is a laity-driven fundraising and volunteer team recruitment effort to rebuild homes lost in the North Central Washington due to devastating wildfires in 2014 and 2015.  Our goal in the Pacific Northwest Conference is to raise enough money to rebuild six homes, one for each district in the conference, at a cost of about $92,000 each.  UMCOR has provided $90,000 as seed money and so far we have raised about $150,000.  With your help and the help of churches all across the conferences we can meet our goal.  Thank you for your generous contribution.

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Participate in #gnwac17 online and be a part of the conversation!

A team of Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conference staff and volunteers are working together this year to tell the story of our shared Annual Conference Session at the Red Lion on the River – Jantzen Beach next week. In addition to the production work on-site, we will also be supporting a number of social platforms for those who would like to be a part of the conversation in Portland and beyond.

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