Tag: united methodists

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.

CRISES OF OUR TIME: Racism, Despair, Violence

I join Hispanic/Latinx United Methodists in calling for ACTION following three more mass shootings in America. God calls us to protect the innocent, and yet we permit people who are driven by racial hatred, mental illness and demons that are sometimes impossible to discern, to own and use weapons of mass murder to kill unsuspecting, undeserving innocent people. The two-month old baby who survived in El Paso because her parents sacrificed their lives to protect her has become a prayer icon as I grieve and look for a better way.

Taken together, conditions in the United States of American today are explosive:

  1. an embedded culture of white privilege (read White Fragility, by Robin Diangelo),
  2. a sense of white disenfranchisement (read Alienated America, by Timothy P. Carney),
  3. unfettered access to military weapons, and 
  4. conditions of extreme poverty, corruption and gang-violence making life unbearable in Latin America, leading to migration across the southern border of the United States .

Prayers after the fact won’t reduce the risk of another attack.

The stones cry out and so do the people. “DO SOMETHING!” Pray! Yes. Light a candle! Yes. Weep! Yes. If we are not weeping, we have lost our love for our neighbors. Gather with your neighbors to bear witness to the goodness and kindness of human communities that embrace cultural difference and respond to people in need! yes.

But also SHOUT OUT! to protect the innocent and vulnerable. Write your congress persons, advocating humane immigration and refugee policies. Speak to gun merchants in your neighborhood, asking about what weapons they sell, and what their safety practices are. Let them know your concerns. When you vote, consider the poor, tired huddled who travel to our borders seeking safety, liberty, opportunity. Use social media to let your voice be heard and shared and spread.

Fellow followers of Jesus: BE the Church! ACT YOUR FAITH! Bring the good news that God loves you to everyone in your community. Find ways to connect with disaffected, isolated white men on the margins. Build bridges between newly arrived immigrants and members of your community who have lived here their whole lives. Learn about opioid addiction and how to help people out of its grip.

Christians and other thoughtful, compassionate people need find a way to advocate for policies that protect the public safety in the face of violence that is out of control.  We can’t let ourselves become complacent as gun violence becomes normal. The debate about gun rights and gun control generates more heat than light. As people of open minds, it’s time to test our knowledge and our values about guns, gun rights and gun control against the teachings of Jesus. Gun rights and mass shootings are not ALL-or-NOTHING matters. The right to bear arms was only guaranteed by the Supreme Court in 2008. Before that it was never absolute, it was always limited and subject to interpretation.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by anxiety on so many fronts at the same time. That’s why we pray to get in touch with the power of the Creator of the Universe, who is working in and through, and in spite of us to care for all the children of the world. I know we can’t all do everything that needs to be done. But we can each do something.

For Christ’s Sake, DO SOMETHING!

Elaine JW Stanovsky
Resident Bishop