OR-ID: Now in Session!

The Oregon-Idaho Conference began with a report from the Council on Finance and Administration.

The Oregon-Idaho Conference celebrates financial good news, mourns its church closures, and meditates on transformation outside of the four walls of church.

By the Rev. Eilidh Lowery | Photos by Jesse N. Love

To be honest I was a little nervous about how the shared plenary and the transitions to each Conference’s business would work. I needn’t have wasted the mental energy. Bishop Elaine ran the session with the perfect mix of humor, compassion, and no-nonsense facilitation. CF & A (Council on Finance and Administration) was the first report and while we were ‘winkingly’ promised a long, boring, statistics-filled presentation, what we experienced was a joyful sharing of the deeply thoughtful and faithful way the team has embraced their work. With financial good news to celebrate, an explanation of the ramifications of our divestment work, and a review of the team’s goals, it is clear that the finances of the OR-ID Annual Conference are in excellent hands.

Steve Sprecher & Erin Martin brought before the body a celebration of the legacies of the churches that are closing this year. Clatskanie has been ministering in their community for 121 years and many lives have been touched by their faithful work. Jason Lee in Salem began 107 years ago in a stout stone edifice. It will continue to be home to the largest food bank in Salem and will serve as the launching point for an emerging Hispanic UM congregation. Pine Grove-Odell is closing as a United Methodist Church after a long history and a season of deep reflection. It has reorganized as a community church.

As we prayed over the closures a deep sense of unity and peace pervaded the space.

The party really got started when we began work on legislation. Late petitions, a substitute motion, and more parliamentary procedure than the House of Commons kept the leadership and us on our toes.

I think that next year we should get Roberts Rules bingo cards with dark chocolate as the prize. With Warren Light and the Bishop running the show we quickly moved through the consent calendar and into specific petitions. A conversation on how to balance local and global concerns brought out the best in our Bishop as she led us in navigating how to talk to each other. Several laity shared deeply from their stories as we considered how God calls us to act in the world. After a respectful conversation the motion failed.

As we started to engage our next legislative piece the Bishop called us to time and we ended with a brief benediction as we headed to lunch.

The Rev. Eilidh Lowery serves as a new church Start Pastor at Sellwood Faith Community in Portland. Jesse N. Love serves as the Graphic Designer & Print Manager for the PNWUMC.

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