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With General Conference over, our work begins now

With General Conference over, our work begins now

A pastoral message from Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth offers an informative and inspiring message for United Methodists in the Greater Northwest, highlighting several legislative accomplishments of a historic General Conference. His message connects the work of the delegates to the upcoming annual conference season, changes to the episcopacy in the jurisdiction, and our ongoing ministry in the Greater Northwest Area.

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A pastoral letter from Bishop Cedrick on the eve of the scheduled execution in Idaho of Thomas E. Creech

*Thomas Creech is a prisoner at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution outside of Boise and is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 10 a.m., local time.*

Thomas Eugene Creech is a child of God who was created in the image and likeness of God. 

Life is a gift and blessing from our Creator. Life is not ours to take nor end. Even as the state determines it has the power to end a life, that does not mean it has the right, nor does that make it right. We have power and how much more powerful is life and love than damnation and death?
I have not met or spoken with Mr. Creech, but I have a bishop colleague who has met and engaged him in conversation. This bishop shared with me the humility and humanity he witnessed and felt in the presence of Mr. Creech. I imagine when one is aware that their life rests in the hands of a system that finds it easiest and more just to kill than extend clemency, humility is all that’s left alongside despair. 

Mr. Creech’s execution is scheduled for 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time tomorrow. I invite you all to be in prayer with me as we lament this action being taken by the State of Idaho. If you feel called, in an act of solidarity with other churches, please do ring your church bells at 10 a.m. MST to offer a physical manifestation of our collective grief.

May we work to end the death penalty, express humility, extend mercy, and expect grace in the face of the loveless acts that we now await and expect. God created each of us in God’s own image and likeness. We are all made of the same sinew and possibility as Mr. Thomas Eugene Creech.

Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth
resident bishop, GNW Episcopal Area

Pastoral Letter: Peace is our work, everywhere

Pastoral Letter: Peace is our work, everywhere

Many people say, “We can’t find goodness anywhere.
     The light of your face has left us, Lord!”
But you have filled my heart with more joy
     than when their wheat and wine are everywhere!
I will lie down and fall asleep in peace
     because you alone, Lord, let me live in safety.

Psalm 4:6-8, CEB

My family still resides in and around Decatur, Alabama. If you search Decatur, Alabama, you will learn that before the conflict in Palestine-Israel escalated to all-out war, Steve Perkins, a 39-year-old African-American man, was shot by several Decatur Police officers. Steve’s death on the front lawn of his home invoked outrage across the city and has sparked protests, rallies, memorials, and other calls for justice and peace. I did not know Steve, but I know Steve’s plight. I know what it means to be confronted with violence and live with the threat of death every time I leave my home. With Steve’s death, we add to the litany of unarmed Black men who died at the hands of state-sanctioned violence. I wonder if even being home is as safe as I tell myself it should be.

My heart aches for Steve’s family. It breaks for families in Israel and Gaza already suffering injury and loss. And it will break again for the Palestinians, Israelis and others who will be caught in the crossfire as war rages across the area. With people being held captive by colonialist borders and nationalist policies, there is limited personal and communal agency. With powers from far away dictating strategies and funding war efforts, colonization. 

Our high aspiration for peace must always come through acts of justice and insurance of equity. We cannot expect peace if injustice and inequities are commonplace. Our pursuit of peace must begin before we hear gunfire or see bombed-out buildings. That work starts in our homes, neighborhoods, community gathering spaces, and churches as we call out and work against all manner of injustice and inequity – especially when we are not the ones directly affected. That’s one way we walk in solidarity with those who are unseen, forgotten, mistreated, or dehumanized.

Another way to work for peace in the land is to acknowledge our privilege, dismantle racism, rebut nationalism, and not shy away from calling out discriminatory acts against others. We may feel like the Greater Northwest has its own problems and that those problems are nowhere near as dire as what we are witnessing in Palestine-Israel or Decatur, Alabama, but that is not true.

War anywhere in the world is a sign that everyone has work to do. The only way we bury our heads in the sand is to deny the interconnected nature of life and our globalized economic and war-making alliances. Others may be firing guns and dropping bombs in Palestine-Israel, Ukraine, Sudan, or Alabama. Still, our country’s failure to have difficult conversations, resolve conflict and honor diverse viewpoints keeps us on the brink of war and economic collapse. When we are silent, apathetic, or too busy to bother with it, peace moves farther into the distance. If peace moves away, so does justice and equity.

Amid all that you are facing, holding, and trying to move forward, I pray the weight of these presenting conflicts will not slow or stop you from living as peaceably and boldly as you can. I pray that we will center equity and justice in all the spaces and places of your life to pursue peace constantly, calling attention to the injustice of war-making and anti-peace policies and actions – at home and abroad.

As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” May these words serve as a daily reminder that today’s war on the other side of the globe impacts and is informed by how we live on this side. Let us not grow weary. Instead, let us continue with hope and in pursuit of peace in every place so that we can fall asleep and live lives in peace.

Peace in Palestine-Israel!
Justice for Steve!
Equity for All!

Cedrick D. Bridgeforth
Resident Bishop, Greater Northwest Episcopal Area

The Council of Bishop’s released a statement condemning the violence in the Middle East that you can read here

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M.I.L.E. – 2023 Annual Conference Sermons

M.I.L.E. – 2023 Annual Conference Sermons by Cedrick D. Bridgeforth

Throughout the 2023 Annual Conference season across the Greater Northwest Area, Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth offered a series of messages to provide direction to the area.

How do we travel a M.I.L.E. in the Greater Northwest Area?

In his first year as episcopal leader of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth is encouraging congregations and ministry settings to go the M.I.L.E. this year and focus on Jesus’ call in the story of the Good Samaritan to “Go and Do Likewise.”

At his installation service in Juneau, Alaska, in May, Bridgeforth gave an overview of the theme and the meaning behind each step of the M.I.L.E. At each subsequent Annual Conference gathering – and in closing GNW worship – Bridgeforth offered in-depth explanation and inspiration for how we might all join him on this journey.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available here.

M: Ministry that Matters. Preached at Alaska Annual Conference opening session on June 3.

Ministry that Matters is about how churches and ministry settings can go outside of themselves to turn from the mirror and look out the window to be part of their communities. Specifically, Bridgeforth preached about the need to be engaged in the work of houselessness and health in our communities.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 

I: Itineration and location. Preached at the OR-ID Conference opening session on June 8.

Bishop Cedrick encouraged churches to be window people, not mirror people, and spoke about Itineration [and Location] as it relates to clergy who are called to lead and the ministry settings in which they serve. In his sermon, he asked people to think about how we might address inequities in the itineration system within The United Methodist Church to best suit the pastor, church and community in which they are all serving.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available.

L: Lay Ministry Enhancement. Preached at the PNW Conference opening session June 13.

At the opening of the PNW Conference, Bishop Bridgeforth preached about the importance of lay ministry enhancement as the church changes shape. Laity are already a critical resource in our congregations and ministry settings, but there is a need to equip and empower laity to be a more active voice in our churches and communities we serve.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available.

E: Eliminating Racism. Preached at the GNW Area closing session on June 15.

As people of faith, we need to renew our efforts to eliminate the racism that is pervasive not only in society, but within our congregations, ministry settings and the institution of the church in general. During this sermon at the close of Annual Conference season, Bridgeforth laid out plans for resources to be developed to engage churches and ministry settings in meaningful discussions and evaluate practices that lead to institutional racism and societal harm.
Watch on Vimeo, or click here to download. 
Transcript available.

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An Easter blessing from Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

An Easter blessing from Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth offers words of encouragement and an Easter charge to look out into our communities to find partners and to learn how we can be light and love for those who need it. His short message reflects on some positive signs, experiences and learnings during his first three months as resident bishop of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church.


Hello, I’m Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, the resident bishop of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church. And I’m grateful to share with you just for a few moments today. I’d hoped by now I’d have an opportunity to share a more comprehensive message with you. But I began January 1 and I have been busy. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of journeying to Anchorage, Alaska, where we chartered Ola Toe Fuataina, a Samoan congregation. It was a grand celebration, where we joined together with other United Methodists from around the Anchorage area to celebrate this new beginning.

During this time, I’ve also hosted many meet and greets, both in person and online. And I’ve gotten a chance to hear from many laity and clergy about some of the hopes and dreams that you have in your local churches, your community and even for our greater area. And I’m thankful for those of you who have taken time to reach out to me, to share with me during this time. I got the chance to meet with all of our conference leaders, and hear from them about the great work that they’re doing to make a difference in our area.

And beyond our local United Methodist churches, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet several of our ecumenical and interfaith leaders. And I’ve appreciated the ways in which we’ve maintained partnerships throughout the years. And I look forward to opportunities to build upon those relationships, and even to strike out and start new ones.

In the time that I’ve been with you, I’ve learned a lot, and there’s so much more for me to get to know, I don’t know everything there is to know about your systems, about policies of the Greater Northwest area. But I am learning. I also can share with you that I know quite a bit about myself. I know that I’m committed to having a positive impact wherever I serve. I know that I am open and willing to work with everyone who’s willing to do the work that helps us achieve our mission. I also know that I am focused on the resurrection. I am focused on what new life looks like for each and every one of us, whether we’re talking about clergy, laity, our congregations, but most especially the communities that God has called us to serve.

In this Easter season. I think it’s very important for us to take an opportunity to look out around us and see those who are calling out for us to come alongside them, to look out and listen for those voices of those who are calling out seeking partnership and collaboration. Those who are calling out for a light and new life, because we can bring that, we can offer that, we are called to bring that and offer that.

So as we enter this Easter season, may you seek opportunities to bring new life, in your congregations and in your communities. May you seek opportunities to know more about yourself and those that God has called you to serve. May you be blessed and may you be a blessing this Easter season.

Thank you.

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An Epiphany message from the WJ College of Bishops

The Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops offers a short video message for Epiphany. In it, they reflect on the season of change underway in The United Methodist Church and the promise reflected in the generosity and grace of ministries across the region as faithful disciples “respond to God’s call to be nurturing communities, ministries and churches where love lives.” Churches are encouraged to share this message and can download it for use in their local settings.

The video features Bishops Karen Oliveto of the Mountain Sky Conference, Interim Bishop Sally Dyck of the California-Nevada Conference, Dottie Escobedo-Frank of the California-Pacific Conference, Carlo Rapanut of the Desert Southwest Conference, and Cedrick Bridgeforth of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area. 

Epiphany falls on Friday, January 6, 2023. Please share this message with your congregation as you see fit on Epiphany, the Sunday following Epiphany, or at another time that works best for your ministry.

Click here to view the video.  
Click here to download the video.  


Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ on this day of Epiphany from the bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.

Today, we recall the story of three Magi who, according to the Gospel of Matthew, followed a star to visit the baby Jesus. They came to honor the one who was born king of the Jews. When they found him, they were overwhelmed with great joy, and offered their gifts to him.

After they had paid their respects to the Christ Child, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, who wanted to know where the baby was. He wanted to harm this One who was seen as a threat to his power. The Magi heeded the angelic message and returned home by another road.

We are a people who have lived in darkness, who have seen a great light. It is this light that leads us home through roads we haven’t intended to travel, journeying with people we never intended to be in relationship with, listening to voices that are both strange yet life-giving.

In this season of great change in The United Methodist Church, as some choose disaffiliation, we are walking an unfamiliar and uncomfortable road. It is hard to have some churches divided on whether to stay United Methodist and other churches already heading out the door. 

We also know that it is in moments like this–of uncertainty and fear–that God breaks into our lives and offers us a way forward. 

As new and continuing bishops, serving the Western Jurisdiction, we are excited by what God is doing in communities across our connection. We give thanks for congregations committed to extending God’s generous grace and wide welcome to all people. We rejoice in ministries that share the love of God to those beyond the walls of the church. We celebrate lives touched and changed by an encounter with Christ.

We believe that the best days for United Methodism could still be before us. To live into the promise, we must respond to God’s call to be nurturing communities, ministries and churches where love lives. As we enter 2023, may we, like the Magi, follow the star so that we may be bearers of the Christ light to a weary world. May the ways we share this light be a beacon of hope to those who are struggling. May this light be so compelling that people will want to know more. May this light illumine a new and unfamiliar yet life-giving path that leads us all home to the Body of Christ.