Workshops offer Annual Conference members opportunities to learn about Sanctuary Movement

Please mark your A.C. Calendar with important workshop dates Wednesday and Saturday.

Across the denomination United Methodist leaders and congregants are gathering to learn more about Sanctuary. Trainings are cropping up across the country, in Annual Conferences from Texas to the Rockies, and last month leaders from 5 Jurisdictions came together to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) to discuss Immigration and Sanctuary as a concern of the church and God’s people.

Last month’s training at the General Board in Washington DC and many others across the country have been led by Kristin Kumpf, Director of Organizing for GBCS. Kristin has spearheaded the church sanctuary movement within The United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Jorge Rodriguez sings during a May 13 immigration rally outside the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Rodriguez fled violence in Honduras and today serves as a United Methodist pastor in Oregon. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS.

This year at Annual Conference we welcome Kristin Kumpf as a special guest and expert presence to our conference. On Wednesday, June 14 at Camas United Methodist Church, and Saturday, June 17 on the site of our shared conference sessions in Portland, several workshops are being offered addressing the Sanctuary Movement, what it is, what it means, and how to help.

On Wednesday in Camas, Wash., there is a special workshop offering on Sanctuary and Bystander Training. This all day workshop will begin with Bystander Training led by Rev. Terri Stewart followed by Sanctuary training in the afternoon. These two trainings complement each other and are designed as a single all day event.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook for the Wednesday training!

Our Christian faith does not simply invite us to welcome the stranger, our faith declares it an imperative that we do. Across the country, and in and around our local churches, ourselves and/or our neighbors deal with fear and risk to personal safety and the wellbeing of their families. Deportations, detentions and denials of asylum have escalated dividing families and threatening the lives of those repatriated to countries they do not know or in which they face real harm.

The theme for our Annual Conference this year is, ‘Do this and you will live.’ In contemplating that, it is easy to jump from Luke 10 to Matthew 25 and recite the words, “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

The workshops listed below will help all of us to explore what abundance is possible when we care for and about each other. The young mother of Zarephath (1 Kings 17) who feeds Elijah worries that she is asked to give too much. But in her giving, she discovers God provides so much more for her that she could have ever imagined. As she prepares what she believes is a last meal, her faithfulness will change everything.

We who know the end of the story know that what she does in faithfulness to law is returned to her and her son a million-fold by grace. As she scoops the flour from her jar, she discovers that the jar does not empty, but instead flows abundantly with supply and blessing. In her act of righteousness, she is the living example of the words of Jesus: ‘Do this and you will live.’

These Wednesday and Saturday workshops are a team effort uniting key leaders from the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences. Thank you especially to the Board of Church and Society and Peace With Justice Program in both conferences and at GBCS for sponsoring these workshops.

If you have questions about any workshop, please contact Richenda Fairhurst, pastorrichenda@gmail.com

Workshop list is below. Bios of workshop leaders and presenters following.

Full Day Workshop, Wednesday, June 14th | 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Bystander Training | 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Led by Rev. Terri Stewart

Who is my neighbor? What must I do? Jesus answered with a parable. We know the story of the good Samaritan who traveled the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and discovered the fellow who was beaten and left by the road naked and bleeding. This Samaritan, an ancient enemy of the Judeans, stopped and intervened. It took courage and follow through to make sure the fellow on the road was safe and cared for. But, what if someone had stopped the fellow from being beaten? Intervening in escalating situations is scary and hard. But we can learn and practice techniques that will help us be braver. Join us to learn good strategies to use in your daily life to interrupt racist, homophobic, or sexist behavior that leads to the safety of all involved. This workshop will be led in a Peacemaking Circle format.

Sanctuary Training: Building a Sanctuary Community | 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Led by Kristin Kumpf, team members Rev. Lyda Pierce, Rev. Jorge Rodrigues, and Claudia Roberts.

From the most ancient biblical period, the church has been understood to be a place of sanctuary. Those fleeing persecution and those most in need have sought sanctuary in the homes and churches of Christian people who live the law of their faith through the gift of Sanctuary as an act of grace. Across the United States, churches of all denominations are exploring what it means to be a Sanctuary church. At the core of the movement is recognizing there is a need to build strong relationships between members of communities in order to provide real empowerment and support in the potential form of classes, connections, advocacy, and material support. Sanctuary efforts can strengthen families, build coalitions for advocacy, and simply develop the local church as a place of true welcome. At this workshop, we will explore practical helps and resources as we walk through the process of learning how to begin the Sanctuary process and build relationships cross-culturally.

Click Here for information on the ‘Ministry Alive’ Workshops on Saturday, June 17th


Presenter/Leader Bios

Kristin Kumpf
Kristin Kumpf

Kristin Kumpf began her work with the General Board of Church and Society as an intern serving in both the Philippines and the United States, and in 2013, she was named the Board’s Director of Organizing in Washington D.C. Her work takes her across the denomination and to many Annual Conferences for trainings, workshops and events.

Kristen Kumpf is a PK (a preacher’s kid!) who grew up the United Methodist way in the UMC. Her service to the local church included serving as Lay Leader and organizing mission work at her home church in Chicago.

As an organizer, she has worked with Interfaith Worker Justice, is a national organizer for the New Sanctuary Movement, and has worked toward indigenous people’s rights, peace building and reconciliation, and immigrant and refugee rights in the United States, the Philippines, and Rwanda.

Kristin Kumpf believes the work of civil and human rights is an imperative issue both nationally and globally. At the recent gathering of 5 Jurisdictions in Washington D.C., Kumpf stated “There are a lot of people who are really vulnerable, especially immigrants and refugees. As United Methodists, we have always stood with people in need of justice. We need to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters at this time.”

Rev. Dr. Lyda Pierce

The Rev. Dr. Lyda Pierce serves as a missionary in the position of Coordinator for Hispanic/Latino Ministries in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Lyda supports the development of Hispanic/Latino ministries throughout the conference. She serves to help the conference respond to the needs and fears of immigrants, create welcoming communities for our neighbors, connect with immigrants who are part of our churches, and discover many ways to take the word sanctuary from the name of one room to a description of our mission.

Lyda began her ministry in the Pacific Northwest, serving churches in eastern Grays Harbor County before moving to Central America in 1984. She spent 20 years as a United Methodist missionary amid revolutionary struggles and oppressive US-government-financed wars against the poor.

Lyda worked in that difficult context to help people at the margins, especially women, living first in war-torn Nicaragua, then in the indigenous highlands of Guatemala, and finally in Honduras, where she witnessed firsthand the effects of grinding poverty. She led seminars and workshops throughout Central America and the US, helping pastoral workers define and carry out effective strategies of ministry in rapidly changing social contexts.

Rev. Jorge Rodriquez Vasquez

Rev. Jorge Rodriquez Vasquez works extensively with Hispanic and Anglo congregations locally in Washington County, OR, leading workshops and conversations about immigration and sanctuary. His focus is connecting Hispanic and Anglo church communities, educating church leaders about immigration and other issues, providing classes, training, and sanctuary, while building relationships toward Christian solidarity.

Rev. Vasquez serves as president of Marcha Western Jurisdictional Caucus of the United Methodist Church, Metodistas Representando la Causa Hispano Americana. He works locally in partnership with Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario, and has worked with the Western Farmers Workers Association. Pastor Vasquez currently also serves as a church planter in Hillsboro, OR, where he leads and organizes Iglesia Metodista Hispana Las Naciones.

Rev. Jorge Rodriquez Vasquez came to faith in the Mennonite tradition before becoming a member of the United Methodist Church in Honduras. He served as a missionary with Global Board of General Missions for eight years in Honduras and studied at the Latin American Bible University in Costa Rica, Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana.

Rev. Terri Stewart

Rev. Terri Stewart is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. They pioneered the ‘Bystander Training’ workshop based in principles of restorative justice and have been working with groups to build strong cross-cultural awareness, strategies, and relationships in the Pacific Northwest.

Rev. Terri Stewart is currently co-located at the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition where they work with incarcerated youth and at Riverton Park UMC. Their specialty includes the intersection of mass incarceration, mentoring, restorative justice, racism and our church community. They serve also on the PNW Board of Church and Society, and are also on the national board of Reconciling Ministries.

Claudia Roberts

Claudia Roberts is a lifelong United Methodist and has served for eight years as the Peace with Justice Coordinator in OR-ID UMC Conference where she works closely with local churches, connecting them with the efforts of the global Church through the General Board of Church and Society’s Peace with Justice program. She also serves on the OR-ID conference Holy Land Taskforce and worships at Fremont UMC in Portland, Oregon.

Claudia Roberts cares deeply for human rights and is active with the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. This effort provides education, advocacy and accompaniment for immigrants in Oregon. She works both within organizations and in a personal commitment to justice. Recently, she provided support for a refugee who sought sanctuary at a Lutheran church in her neighborhood.

Ann Mayer

Ann Mayer believes being a United Methodist means to engage seriously with the Wesleyan Tradition of social justice. She has followed that engagement through seminary, and recently completed her MDiv degree at Seattle University’s School of Theology & Ministry. She serves as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at Federal Way UMC, and is the Chair of the PNW Conference Board of Church and Society.

Ann Mayer is passionate about living her faith outside the walls of the church, and encouraging others to do likewise. Her theology is grounded in compassion for all of humanity as well as all of creation. She brings that passion and compassion to her work in the church, the board, and the PNW Conference.

Rev. Richenda Fairhurst

Rev. Richenda Fairhurst worked as a writer publishing books, articles, and poetry before beginning seminary. As such, she recognizes the power of storytelling in Christian witness. In advocacy, she combines her joy of storytelling together with her passion for social justice. Truth-telling as Christian witness can show strength, reveal vulnerability, build empathy and relationship, and is especially powerful when engaging the ‘powers and principalities’ with the ongoing cry for justice.

Rev. Richenda Fairhurst is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She lends her voice and presence alongside those who work to address poverty, education, climate, and environmental issues in Southwest Washington. Currently, she serves on the PNW Board of Church and Society and is a member of the board of the Pacific Northwest chapter of Project Transformation.

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