Early in the pandemic, the Greater Northwest (GNW) Area offered its ministries a Zoom hosting license at a reduced and subsidized rate. The tool has become essential for many as more churches have returned to in-person and hybrid worship. Understanding that COVID-19 continues to be a concern in our communities, GNW Area leaders are eager to extend this subsidy to ministries, supporting their adaptive work to safely include members in bible studies, meetings, social gatherings and worship opportunities.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve looked for smart ways to offer support to congregations and other ministries,” said Oregon-Idaho Conference Treasurer Rev. Dan Wilson-Fey. “While we never anticipated that any of us might need this tool for such a long period, we are impressed with the many ways churches have stepped up creatively to change the ways they gather and make decisions.”

United Methodist churches in the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Conferences will have their hosting license renewed for $50 for the entirety of 2022. This is approximately $75 less than the cheapest paid Zoom plan while including more features like the ability to host large meetings and webinars with up to 500 participants, unlimited cloud storage and transcription services in addition to the basic Zoom features.

Ministries that do not want to renew their licenses must opt out using this form by Friday, December 30. Failure to do so by that date will not allow our staff adequate time to remove your license before the annual Zoom renewal is completed.

Financial support for this initiative will come from existing funds in each annual conference budget and resources under the care of the Regional Media Center (RMC), which operates out of the Pacific Northwest Conference Office in Des Moines, WA. The RMC is a resource-lending library serving local churches across the Northwest and beyond for nearly two decades.

Additionally, the RMC is extending its free membership offer to all churches within the GNW Area, starting immediately and continuing through January 1st, 2023. Churches outside the GNW Area may still apply for membership, but fees will apply.

The membership offer includes free usage of the RMC’s regular resources and significant discounts on all other services provided. As they borrow physical resources, churches may still pay a portion of shipping costs, depending on the weight of items shipped.

“We are offering our membership for free again, understanding that some local churches continue to struggle financially,” offered RMC Manager Ian Patrick McKnight.

The Regional Media Center was developed years ago to provide a cost-effective, reusable library of media, and media-adjacent resources, for local churches. While the RMC is offering its services for free again this year, local churches and persons called to support this ministry can give online.

“If your congregation can afford to assist the Regional Media Center, we certainly do appreciate it,” wrote McKnight. “Your gifts are used to purchase new resources to expand our collection to stay relevant even in these trying times.”

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Patrick Scriven is a husband who married well, a father of three amazing girls, and a seminary-educated layperson working professionally in The United Methodist Church. Scriven serves the Pacific Northwest Conference as Director of Communications.

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