(From L to R) Friday’s PNW Plenary sessions featured Ruth Award recipients Noriko Lao; Marion Kline Award recipient the Rev. Lyda Pierce; the Rev. David Wright and Ann Mayer present Peace with Justice Awards; and Nancy Tam Davis (right) presenting a petition to the body.

By Mary Stanton-Nurse

“Big things come in small packages,” was an apt description of the ministry and leadership of Noriko Lao, who was awarded the Ruth Award by the PNW clergywomen as they sung us into our slightly-delayed second plenary session. Bailey Brawner, a seminary student at Boston School of Theology, received the Ruth Award Scholarship. The Marion Kline award was then presented to Rev. Lyda Pierce for her lifetime of ministry alongside Hispanic and Latinx (Latino or Latina) people. “I don’t do anything alone,” she said, inviting Hispanic/Latinx people, immigrants, and those whose ministry involves working alongside these groups to rise.

Friday morning’s joint plenary ran significantly overtime due to conversation about the Constitutional Amendments to be decided, and the PNW Plenary began a little more than twenty minutes late. The consent calendars were then presented, with the petition to reduce the number of districts from six to five (#15 on page C-11) having been removed by members of the conference. The consent calendars each passed as amended by a large majority.

Continue reading

“What is one joy and one challenge you’ve experienced at this year’s joint Annual Conference Session?”

Question Time with Aaron Pazan



“Joy: meeting and connecting with friends. Twice as many people equals twice the fun. Challenge: not enough protein at breakfast!”
The Rev. Ruth Marsh, Idaho Falls UMC, OR-ID





“Joy: making connections with the people from Oregon Idaho. Good energy between us. Challenge: increasing diversity in all intersections of faith.”
Sharon Ryder, Bothell UMC, PNW




“Joy: getting connected with people outside of our conference, sharing the good work of what the church is doing. Challenge: no down time with the other conference.”
Nicki Dyer, Queen Anne UMC, PNW




“Joy: seeing a whole bunch of people I see only once a year. Challenge: coordinating technology with PNW.”
David Armstrong, Idaho Falls, OR-ID





Aaron Pazan is a student and attends Portland: Portsmouth Union Church.

By Bruce Galvin

On Thursday and Friday around 130 participants in the HealthFlex program of both The Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences completed the Blueprint for Wellness Screening. The screening included height/weight measurements, blood pressure and 28 different test results from the three vials of blood drawn. These five measurements (body mass, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides) are then imported when participants take their health risk assessment (HQ) in August or September.

The HQ compiles current information and provides a health quotient score. If there are metabolic syndrome issues that are seen then the participant will be follow-up by nurses from WebMD. The program has been very successful over the last seven years informing participants that unknowingly could have a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The test results can then be taken to ones primary care physician for their review. The tests are very extensive that normally would not be completed in the local doctor’s office lab.

The cost is free to the participant and they receive $100 in their Virgin Pulse account for completing it.

Many participants have the screening done at local Quest Diagnostic labs. The screening must be completed by the end of July. If one is not able to have the screening completed at annual conference or a local Quest Lab the participant can take the screening form to their local doctor to complete but this could be considered an office visit with a cost attached.

The screening went very well today with an average time for the complete work up of only five minutes! The only inconvenience was the fasting required before the screening.

Bruce Galvin is the Conference Benefits Officer for the PNWUMC.

Young People from the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Conferences open up about their concerns about LGBTQ, immigration issues, outreach, and the future of the greater church.

By Pastor Carrie Bland

I sat down with our youth equalization-voting members after dinner to hear what they had to say. It’s surprisingly easy to get them to talk when you provide the space. We have eight youth, split evenly between the two Conferences and one visiting youth from Alaska. They came to conference because they see it as an opportunity to discuss some prevalent social justice issues such LGBTQ and immigration, which are important to their generation.

Continue reading

A view of the Interstate Bridge over the Colombia River. Photo by Aaron Pazan.

By the Rev. Jenny Phillips | Photo by Aaron Pazan

We will create a river of life alongside the mighty Columbia River this Saturday! At the conclusion of the “Ministry Alive!” experiences, everyone is invited to gather along the banks of the Columbia adjacent to the Red Lion Hotel. We will bear witness to the suffering of God’s creation and to the gifts made manifest through the river and through the hospitality of the hotel staff who nurture all who travel this way.

Gathering at the riverside is a means of experiencing God’s grace anew. “We, as worldly, bodily beings, are in God’s presence,” says theologian Sallie McFague. “We do not have to go to some special place—a church, for instance—or to another world to find God, for God is with us here and now.”

The Rev. Jenny Phillips, PNWUMC’s Minister for Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy, will give a short homily. At the end of the witness, we will unfurl large swaths of blue fabric as we commit to hold fast to hope for a river of life that brings healing to the nations. If you brought fabric, please bring it! If you have blue clothes with you, please wear them! Questions? Contact Jenny Phillips at jphillips@pnwumc.org.

The Rev. Jenny Phillips is intended to serve as Creation Care Program Manager for UMCOR, The General Board of Global Ministries.
Aaron Pazan is a student and attends Portland: Portsmouth Union Church.

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky presides over the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference plenary session with Paul Cosgrove, Conference Chancellor.

By the Rev. Karen Hernandez | Photos by Patrick Scriven and Jesse N. Love

In our Friday morning plenary session, the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference (strengthened and renewed by a more substantial breakfast, thanks be to God!) worked through some of our more complicated legislation. We completed voting on the standing and action resolutions sent to us through the Legislative Assembly.

We received the report and motions of the Council on Finance and Administration  and the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, including their proposals for some significant changes in health insurance coverage. Those insured through the conference plan will now have a choice of among six insurance plans, while the premiums paid by churches go up very slightly and are not based on the particular plan chosen by the plan participants. (God gives us a variety of gifts. Figuring out the nitty-gritty details of insurance and finances is not among my gifts! Thanks be to God for the hard work, wisdom, and faithful stewardship of those who serve on CF&A!)

Continue reading

Greater Northwest Area Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky pours water into a basin during the Memorial Service at Annual Conference.  The Rev. Shalom Agtarap (right) presented the night’s message, “Rivers of Life”.

A salmon sculpture serves as a one of the centerpieces for the night’s Memorial Service.

By Karen Yokota Love | Photos by Patrick Scriven with DJ del Rosario

The Memorial Service honored the passing of clergy, clergy spouses, laity, bIshops, spouses, surviving spouses, and churches that have closed over the last year.

The Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences gathered on Thursday, June 15, 2017 to honor and celebrate the sacred lives of clergy, clergy spouses, beloved laity, bishops, and bishops’ spouses that have passed on this year. Thursday night’s Memorial Service was filled with remembering those who gave their time, talent, service and heart to the ministry.

“Here By the Water” served as an anthem and backdrop for the naming of all of the church communities that closed over the last year. We celebrated with thanksgiving the life and work of each faith community and remembered the refuge, comfort, and challenges that they experienced for all God’s people — how they served for generations the faithful people of their communities.

When Jesus realized that the trusted structures and the traditional leaders could not longer serve God’s purpose, it was time for a change. So, where one church closes, another is birthed in a new faith community.

The Rev. Shalom Agtarap presented the message, “Rivers of Life” during the Memorial Service at the joint Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Session.

The Rev. Shalom Agtarap preached a moving sermon, “Rivers of Life.” She drew from John 7:37-39: “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” Agtarap notes that throughout the Greater Northwest Area, we have oceans and seas, streams and rivers that cut into and surround the land we inhabit. These rivers and streams have made impressions on this geography they have fostered life to grow in certain valleys, they have impacted where cities would be built, they have been disturbed and disrupted.

The Rev. Shalom used the Festival of Tabernacles, an annual reminder in the life of faith that God had delivered Israel from wandering, in hunger and thirst, to a future with hope.

Agtarap reminds us that God still loves us even if we fail him over and over again. She reminds us of Kairos time and when Jesus says, “my time has not yet come, but your time is always here.” Attendees were urged that Jesus is inviting us to pay attention to every moment. We should not to look away, but, instead, “to look at our own grief, our pain, our challenges — and say, how are you my teacher and what am I to learn?”

She asks, “What places do we need to be delivered from and ushered into the presence of living water? What brings heartbreak and sorrow today?”

“And, despite our waywardness, our warring madness, our inability to love dark skin the same way we love white skin — that God still wants to work with us. And God continues to love us,” she says.

Following the message was a sacred naming of the Honor Roll of our ancestors. It was bookended with a beautiful Prayer of Remembrance remembering the rising sun and its setting to remembering those who are weary and in need of strength.

A special offering was collected for the people in the South Congo to provide desks for 600 students in two schools in Lubumbashi. Each locally manufactured desk seats four students, at a cost of about $40 per student.

Rev. Shalom Agtarap concluded this year’s Memorial Service with a dismissal and blessing.

To view videos of services and other events from this year’s joint Annual Conference Session, click here.

Karen Yokota Love is currently the associate pastor of Puyallup UMC and is intended to serve Mason UMC beginning in July.

Patrick Scriven is the director of communications, Young People’s Ministries for the PNWUMC.

The Rev. Dj del Rosario serves as pastor of Bothell UMC.

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.

Continue reading

(From L to R) The Rev. Tim Winslea and Emile Kroen; Azzie Jones and Francine Freeman; Rosalee Mohney and Barry Hansen; and Rudilyn ‘Lyn’ Rush (see below) shared powerful examples of how laity actively make an impact in their communities.

By Jesse N. Love | Additional photos by YouTube

The shared Conference Laity Session focused on four ways that can help lay persons can have an impact in their communities.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am. Send me!” -Isaiah 6:8

The laity of this year’s Annual Conference gathered to hear real testimonies from laity impacting their communities in awesome, yet heartfelt ways.

Jan Nelson and Nancy Tam Davis, Conference Lay Leaders of The Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences (respectively), emphasized the high value laity have on the life of the church and the neighborhoods they reside. “Laity make up 99.2% percent of the Church. Understand that power, moving ahead,” shared Davis.

Continue reading