After four years working as the administrative assistant for the Sage District of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, Terri Bartish is ready to set sail – or maybe raft her way – into retirement starting April 1.
Though the Sage District is comprised of churches in eastern Oregon and southern Idaho, Bartish has either worked from the Conference office in Portland or now, her home in Astoria (spotting boats entering the harbor from her dining room). The position has always been a remote one and Sage District Superintendent, Rev. Karen Hernandez, said Bartish has always done a great job of connecting with the churches in her district even though they are hundreds of miles apart.
“When I started in 2018, she knew the lay leadership of our churches so well. She found ways to connect, and she cares deeply,” Hernandez said. “That connection was what I aspired to – I thought, ‘Wow! She knows all of these people.’ ”
Bartish’s first act of retirement will be taking a whitewater rafting trip down the Snake River, then watching her son get married this summer. It has been a lifelong dream of hers to live along the Oregon coast and she takes great pleasure watching the ships come into the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria.
“I’m grateful for Terri’s ministry to the people and churches of the Sage District for the last four years,” said Laurie Day, director of connectional ministries for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. “She has brought enthusiasm, compassion and strong organizational skills to her work as the administrative assistant for the district. She will be missed tremendously, but I know she’ll enjoy many fun adventures in retirement.”
Bartish said her commitment to the local churches is because she served a local church before moving to Portland. She worked as director of adult spiritual formation and pastoral support coordinator at Edmonds UMC (just north of Seattle) before looking to move to Portland to be near her beau. In February 2017, retired Rev. Gwen Drake – then Sage District Superintendent – hired her after an interview with colleagues like Cascadia District Administrative Assistant Linda Grund-Clampit and Sandy Lofy, former administrative assistant for the Columbia District.
“They were just good people doing great work,” Bartish said. “I do really enjoy working in support of people. My heart is with the local church, and that part of my job – the local church – that’s what we’re here for. They are doing amazing ministry in their communities.”
After graduating from college with a degree in journalism and marrying her husband Tim, Bartish has lived everywhere from Whidbey Island to Windsor, Ontario and Ft. Collins, Colo. And she has done everything from working as a local news reporter, helping with downtown revitalization projects and served as a preschool teacher. She did this – and more – while raising two young boys after their father died.
“It really isn’t a traditional career, but I’ve enjoyed it,” Bartish said.
Bartish said she’s also really enjoyed the last four years working with The Oregon-Idaho Conference staff and the churches and people who make up the Sage District.
“I do love the people I work with. They’re just great,” she said. “They work from this perfect blend of their hearts and their mind.”
The feeling is mutual among her “AAs” in the Oregon-Idaho Conference.
“Terri has been a joy to work with – her gentle presence, sincerity, and laughter will be missed,” said Brandon Rhodes, Columbia District administrative assistant.
“Terri is bright, intuitive, supportive and loyal; thus, she has been wonderful to work with,” Grund-Clampit said.
“Terri has a witty and calming presence and has always been wonderful to work with, particularly when she shares her tales about her boat sightings,” said Sheri Konowitz, Crater Lake District administrative assistant. “I am going to miss her terribly.”
Hernandez said she is grateful for the gifts Bartish brings to the position, describing her as cheerful, kind and committed to the mission of the work.
“All of these things have served the Sage District very well and blessed me and many others,” Hernandez said. “She’s got good things that lie ahead.”
Though we wish we could gather in-person to honor Terri, a Kudo Board has been set up to give you the chance to share your warmest wishes and best regards as she begins her next adventure in retirement.