Tag: news

Leadership changes in Oregon-Idaho Conference, Greater NW Area Cabinet

Changes are in store for the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area with a few changes in leadership positions in the Oregon-Idaho Conference, announced by Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky on Monday.

Wendy Woodworth

The first will be adding Rev. Wendy Woodworth of Morningside UMC to the GNW cabinet when she begins serving as the Cascadia District Superintendent July 1.

“I can’t wait to hit the road and visit the diverse churches and ministry settings across the Cascadia District: from the coast to the mountains to the painted hills, from urban settings to the small towns, and from large churches to smaller ones,” she said. “Each of you is called to unique ministries in your context and yet all of us are called to the vital ministry of bringing God’s love, grace and justice into our communities by following Jesus and being empowered by the Spirit.”

Woodworth earned her master’s of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion. She has served as an associate pastor at Portland First UMC, Pendleton, Portland Trinity UMC, Portland Fremont UMC, Salem Morningside UMC and now the Opeen Door Churches of Salem-Keizer, with primary responsibility at Morningside. She also served on the Conference’s Council on Finance and Administration for 12 years and currently serves as the chairperson of the Board of Ordained Ministry.

“You know Wendy’s deep faith, broad experience and steady demeanor.  I know that you will celebrate with her this new responsibility and honor her for her seven years with Morningside and Open Door Churches. Please keep Wendy and her wife Lori, in your prayers during this time of transition,” Bishop Stanovsky said.

Tim Overton-Harris

Rev. Tim Overton-Harris, who has been serving as the Cascadia District Superintendent since July 2017, will begin serving the Columbia District (which encompasses the metro Portland area) on July 1, 2020.

Prior to his position as District Superintendent, Overton-Harris served as pastor of Vermont Hills UMC. He started his ministry in the Oregon-Idaho Conference in Oregon City as an associate pastor. He moved on to serve churches in Estacada/Marquam, Salem Morningside, La Grande and Christ UMC in Portland. He is a graduate of Boston University School of Theology.

“The honor and challenge of serving Columbia District is great. The many and varied ministries, innovation projects, new starts, and the diverse communities of the district offer a unique opportunity for me,” he said. “I will build off of the faithful work of Erin and know that my skills, gifts and graces will be well used in my work with Columbia District.”

Erin Martin

Rev. Erin Martin, who has served as the Columbia District Superintendent for the last five years, is to be appointed to Fremont United Methodist Church in Portland effective July 1, in place of Rev. Linda Quanstrom, who is returning to retirement.

Martin served at Wesley UMC in Eugene for nine years before becoming Columbia District Superintendent.

Greater NW UMC Rural Church Engagement Initiative going strong

An exciting new Rural Church Engagement Initiative launched in the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church in 2019 among churches ministering in rural communities across Idaho, Oregon and Washington, will be growing in 2020.

“Our goal is to build competency and support with the local church for transformational change and new relationships with our neighbors,” said Lynn Egli, Crater Lake lay leader and coordinator of the Rural Church Engagement Initiative. “We’re reaching out to more neighbors, new neighbors and different neighbors. Our approach is very practical: learn by doing; learn in a cohort of learners that are ministering in a similar rural setting.”

There are currently 13 churches in smaller communities involved in this project, which has included 40 to 50 lay people, pastors, and leaders from the Greater Northwest Innovation Vitality Team providing resources and training opportunities for the pastors and lay leaders serving these churches.

Lynn Egli

The cohort regularly uses Zoom video conferencing technology to meet and study the Book of Acts in the Bible, discussing local community organizing efforts, sharing setbacks and what they’ve learned.

The cohort meets quarterly for remote training sessions on topics like social media, leadership development, creating change and community development. Each church gets an on-site visit from a nationally recognized faith-based community organizing consultant.

The churches currently involved in the Rural Church Engagement Initiative come from the Sage, Crater Lake, Inland and Seven Rivers districts.

Egli said next year the hope is to add another 18-20 church cohort, expanding into more districts, including Alaska.

Currently the Rural Church Engagement Initiative is being implemented in Ashton, Idaho; Coos Bay, Oregon; Chelan, Wash.; New Meadows, Idaho; Veneta, Oregon; Clarkston, Wash.; Gooding, Idaho; Klamath Falls, Oregon; Magic Valley Ministries in Idaho; Pullman, Wash., Sandpoint, Idaho; Toledo, Oregon; and Goldendale, Wash.

The current churches will join the new cohort of churches for a gathering at the Northwest Leadership Institute 2020 in March at Boise First United Methodist Church.

“Please pray for us as we continue to grow and serve,” Egli said. “We are so grateful for support of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon-Idaho conferences to launch this work in our rural churches that are serving so faithfully and, quite frankly, remotely.  We may be miles apart, but we know we are not alone. We are the church and we will move forward with hope, vision, confidence and courage.”

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