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Thursday, March 8
Most weeks the UM Connector seems to develop a theme of what’s happening all on its own. Well, not this week. We have a wide mix of stories from tornado response to General Conference to a long list of musical offerings and the return of Suzanna Wesley to our conference. There is also a long list of items on the calendar, and a commentary about those “stupid” 4-year goals that every church is being asked to set (by March 25!).
On and if that isn’t enough, Daylight Saving Time starts at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, so don’t be late for church. Move your clock 1 hour ahead before you go to bed.
Greg Nelson – Director of Communications
Heading – This Week in The Annual Conference
Thursday, March 8
Oregon Idaho Leadership Institute - Boise
Friday, March 9
Oregon Idaho Leadership Institute - Boise
Saturday, March 10
CLD Training - La Grande
People Reaching People Training - Salem
UMW Western District Enrichment Event
Western District Goal Setting Workshop
Sunday, March 11
3rd Sunday in Lent
Daylight Saving Time begins
Monday, March 12
Klamath Basin Colloquy
Tuesday, March 13
NCLI West 2012 (through Friday)
Wednesday, March 14
Saturday, March 17
Board of Pensions
CLD Training - Metro East
CLD Training - Madras
Extension Ministry Retreat
CLD Training - Eugene
People Reaching People Training - Treasure Valley
Details on these, and other conference events, can be found on the conference website.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE NEWS
Reminder for Clergy Making Changes
Clergy who are contemplating some kind of "conference relationship" change this year need to remember to be in touch with the Board of Ordained Ministry through the Conference Relations registrar, Laura Jaquith Bartlett. Nearly every change requires some paperwork (of course!) and an interview with the Board, so it's better to start the process sooner rather than later. The Book of Discipline outlines the procedure for these changes, which include retirement (par. 358), any type of Leave of Absence (par. 354), maternity/paternity leave (par 356), and Honorable Location (par. 359). Note that a renewal leave is not defined as a change of conference relationship, so is handled through the local church and the Assistant to the Bishop. Questions can be directed to Laura; the Board is eager to assist clergy who need support during the transition.
Who Will Lead the Laity for the Next Four Years?
Every four years the Lay Members of the Annual Conference Session have the opportunity to elect a new Conference Lay Leader. The Lay Leader represents the laity in the leadership of the conference on the Ministry Leadership Team, as Chair of the Board of Lay Ministries, at Annual Conference Session, and in many other ways. The Board of Lay Ministries is responsible for nominating candidates, and they are inviting applications.
To learn more and apply, download the information and application sheet from the conference website.
Time to Share your Knowledge and Ideas with Your Friends at Annual Conference!
Do you have a burning idea you want to discuss with others? How about a special expertise? Maybe you could assemble a roundtable of divergent points of view? Don’t miss this opportunity to present a workshop during Annual Conference! Submit a workshop application no later than March 30. You can submit your proposal for review online at this link.
Following General Conference: Local and Mobile
Those interested in following the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church will have many sources of information. You’ll be able to follow our Oregon-Idaho delegation through a webpage on the conference website at www.umoi.org/GC. Here you’ll find links to conference information, legislation, blog posts from Oregon-Idaho delegates and more! Plan to make it your first stop for following General Conference. General Conference is the denomination’s top policy-making body. It will be meeting in Tampa, Florida, April 24-May 4.
If you’re on the move, you’ll appreciate being able to follow General Conference with the new mobile app that has just been released. Mobile device users will be able to access information about The United Methodist Church’s 2012 General Conference through a new, free mobile application from United Methodist Communications. The app was developed in order to give users instant access to General Conference information without the need for a computer and Internet connection. Features of the mobile app include scheduling, legislative tracking, a map of the Tampa Convention Center and surrounding areas, information about display areas, news, photos and videos. To download the free app, go to your device's app store and search for United Methodist General Conference or visit gc2012.umc.org/app to find the link.
The denomination released a separate United Methodist app in October 2011 with daily devotions, news, videos, photos, social media sites and a searchable index of United Methodist churches by geographic area.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE
In The News
Ashland United Methodist Church has partnered with La Clinca to provide mobile medical services to the community. This new opportunity has been added to the existing community meal held at the church. The church also provides some private space for families during the meal and supervised crafts for children. Read about it in this Ashland Mail Tribune article.
Bach Birthday Organ Concert
Tabor Heights United Methodist Church invites you to join organist Jonas Nordwall in an all-Bach program to celebrate the composer’s birthday. A festive event is planned, including a birthday reception following the concert. The event is free and open to the public (with a suggested donation of $5.00) on Sunday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m.
Tabor Heights is located at 6161 SE Stark Street in Portland. For further information you can contact the church at 503-232-8500 or visit their website www.taborheightschurch.org
"Opening" Prayer Retreat Offers Respite, Renewal for Clergy
A brand-new event at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center comes at a much-needed time for clergy: right in the middle of Lent. This three-day program is designed to allow clergy to "open" themselves to the bottomless well of God's love. Led by the Rev. Jane Shaffer and the Rev. Jon Langenwalter (both of whom are experienced spiritual directors), the March 19-22 retreat features an "open" schedule so that those who are weary or burdened can find Holy Rest. The gracious hospitality of the Collins Retreat Center will care for body and mind as the retreat leaders--as well as the participants themselves--care for and nourish the souls of those who gather together for this sacred time. Registration closes in less than a week (March 12), so download the flyer and register today!
Nilsen to Share Music in Canby
Award winning pianist John Nilsen will be performing at Canby United Methodist Church on Sunday, March 25 at 4:00 p.m. A free-will offering will be taken to cover John's expenses and copies of John’s CD's will be available to purchase.
Susanna Wesley to Join Archive Group Meeting
The Western Jurisdictional Commission of Archive and History of the United Methodist Church will be meeting in Salem on April 12-15, 2012.
As part of this event on Saturday, April 14, Melinda Strobel will present her one-woman show, Susanna Wesley: Mother of Methodism. The 90 minute performance starts at 3:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, Salem. First UMC is located at 600 State Street in Salem, Oregon. The cost will be $5.
Susanna Wesley: Mother of Methodism was created for the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Conference 2003 Lay Academy and has been presented in various venues since then. Melinda Strobel has been a professional actor for over 20 years. She studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has a degree in theater from Willamette University.
Reserve tickets and learn more about the Jurisdictional Archives meeting by contacting Shirley Knepp at 503-949-1180 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets will also be available at the door. Following the performance there will be a potato bar dinner for $5.00. Reservations are required for the potato bar by April 11. Following dinner, there will be a question and answer time about Susanna Wesley moderated by Strobel and Charles Wallace, Willamette University Chaplin and Wesley scholar.
AROUND THE GLOBE
United Methodists Respond to Midwest Tornadoes
The Rev. Tom Hazelwood, US Disaster Response executive for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), is touring areas affected by last week’s spate of tornadoes. “I was in immediate contact with conference personnel from several of the affected areas to let them know that UMCOR stands ready to assist them,” Hazelwood reported.
Already UMCOR has sent emergency grants to five affected annual conferences to help with relief work. Those conferences are: Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Holston, and West Ohio.
Kentucky and southern Indiana suffered the greatest number of casualties due to the tornadoes, 21 and 13 deaths respectively, with hundreds injured. Three people died in Ohio and one each in Alabama and Georgia because of the severe weather. Read more. (Photo: The parsonage of the Harveyville United Methodist Church lies in ruins after a tornado tore through the small town in Kansas, injuring at least eight and causing damage to 60 percent of the town. ~ Julie Pohl)
You can help. Please give to US Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670 and choose Tornadoes 2012. You can give through your local church, or online at the UMCOR website. Follow Hazelwood on Twitter (@TomUMCOR) as he visits areas affected by the storms.
Bishop Outlines Disaster Relief
CHICAGO (UMNS) — Illinois Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer outlined yesterday steps that can be taken to help those affected by the Feb. 29 storms that hit areas in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and surrounding Midwestern states. “It is in these times that the people called United Methodists are at their best, providing a ministry of presence and offering care and compassion for those in need,” Palmer said. Read his full letter for more information.
Pension Board Votes To Retain Securities
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) — The directors of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits approved a resolution that explains why it believes it is important to retain investments in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. Six annual (regional) conferences, the Board of Church and Society and individual United Methodists have submitted petitions to the 2012 General Conference seeking divestment in these companies because of their products’ use in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The pension board’s resolution said it also plans to continue to urge these companies to protect and respect human rights, and to continue to seek a remedy for any human rights violations including, but not limited to, Palestine. Read the full statement by the Pension Board.
Pastor’s Death Sentence in Iran ‘heinous’
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has issued a statement calling the sentencing to death in Iran of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani “especially heinous.” Nadarkhani, now 34, was arrested in 2009 for questioning the compulsory Islamic education of his children. He was also accused of seeking to register a home-based church. He was sentenced to death in 2010. According to news reports, an order has been issued in Iran to carry out the sentence, which has led to a worldwide protest. “Sentencing someone to death for religious expression is especially heinous,” said Jim Winkler, the board’s chief executive.
RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITES
Women’s History Month Resources
March is both Women’s History Month and the 40th anniversary of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. The commission has created resources for your church or group to share including videos, bulletin covers and briefing information about Women’s History Month. Get it all on their website (chose menu items on the right side).
“Simply the Story” Workshop Offers New Way to Share Gospel
Westside United Methodist Church is hosting a "Simply the Story" workshop May 15-19. Simply the Story is the international recognized Gospel communication which is making Jesus accessible to people in illiterate cultures and to those who prefer oral learning. 87% of those in the United States are oral learners by preference--just ask 'how do you prefer to get the news?' and the majority want to 'hear it'!
The seminar for either becoming proficient in "telling the story" or in "training others to tell stories" is a great opportunity to go deeper with Jesus. Plan on getting insights into Scripture you have never had. Pastor Brian Shimer shares that, “This past summer I preached using this method and even from familiar stories people regularly would say: ‘Never in my life had I seen that insight before.’” To learn more, download a workshop brochure and registration form.
Apply Now for the 2012/2013 Lewis Fellows Program
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has announced that Wesley Seminary and the Lewis Center have received a Transition into Ministry grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., to help fund the continuation of the Lewis Fellows program for young clergy. The program brings together outstanding young clergy (generally those under the age of 35) from a variety of denominational backgrounds for intensive leadership development activities and sustained peer interaction. Learn more about the program, meeting dates, costs, and eligibility requirements. Applications are due by April 30, 2012.
Visit and Learn about Methodist History
The Travel Planning Committee of Portland First UMC has planned two trips to learn more about and celebrate our Methodist history in the U.S.A. They welcome members from all United Methodist Churches to join the trips.
The first trip will be on June 25 with vans leaving from Portland First UMC to Salem at 8:00 a.m. where they will visit the Salem First United Methodist Church to learn about the history of that church and view the conference archives exhibit. A walking tour of Willamette University and visit to the Mission Mill Museum with its interesting exhibits of Methodist history will fill out the day. Lunch will be at the cafe at Mission Mill. The trip will return to Portland by 4:00 p.m. Cost of the tour is $20 plus lunch on your own. To register, contact Chris Bostick in the First Church office at (503)228-3195.
The second tour will begin on September 24 to Nashville, Tennessee, where they will stay at the Scarritt-Bennett Center owned by Women's Division of the UMC, and will be visiting Methodist related institutions such as the Upper Room Prayer Chapel. The tour will also visit Civil War Memorial sites and enjoy programs on Nashville’s Music Row. Cost will depend upon airfare but it would be helpful to know of interested people. Contact Marilyn Outslay for more information at email@example.com@aol.com.
RETREAT and CAMPING CONNECTION
Youth and Church
The fact that youth participate in church less as they get older and often are not present in church as young adults can lead church leaders to assume they lack religious interest. A new book, A Faith of Their Own: Stability and Change in the Religiosity of America’s Adolescents, challenges that assumption. Sociologists Lisa Pearce and Melinda Lundquist Denton found that older teens and young adults see great significance in religion though not always in institutional forms of religious life. Read about the five types of religious identity among youth today. What can we do? See below:
Provide “Scaffolding” For Youth In Your Community To Grow In Faith
Camps are amazing opportunities for youth to grow in faith, experiencing Christian community, building on what they already know and helping them to claim a next step in faith. We need your help to identify and encourage them! Ask youth in your church or extended family which camp event they’d like to attend, suggest some for them, help them get registered and supported, get them there! Write to them, follow up with them, invite them to lead once back home. Repeat often.
Coming To Terms with Church Numbers and “Stupid” Forms
By Lura Kidner-Miesen, Pastor, Stayton UMC
If You Think Part II of the [Oregon-Idaho Conference] Church Profile is Stupid, Overwhelming or Confusing, Keep Reading.
When the Stayton Church Council and I read Part II of the Church Profile, we had three reactions. We were angry about the stupid form and the Conference bureaucracy that produced it. We felt overwhelmed by the task of coming up with future numerical goals for five diverse areas. We were confused because the form seemed to be going in a direction different from the one Conference leadership said they were going. I sent a semi-polite e-mail telling Kate we weren’t going to attend the workshop or fill in the form.
Kate managed to respond with a nicer e-mail that explained I needed to fill in the numerical goals for the General Church. That cleared up some of my confusion. The form is a blending of the direction our Conference is going and the denomination’s Call to Action. I felt better knowing the numerical goals came from the denominational bureaucracy and not my brothers and sisters on the Cabinet. However, I still thought the numerical goals were stupid and posed an overwhelming task.
So I asked Kate to call me and she generously gave of her time listening to and responding to my complaints. It turns out if I’d gone to the Vital Congregations site, I would have seen that the general church has compiled for us the information we’ve been sending in on our end of the year reports. (so much for my belief that the reports disappeared into a black hole.) There is a five year snapshot of our congregation for each of the areas where we are to put in numerical goals. Based on the past figures, they have already projected the worship attendance figures for the coming years. These are realistic rather than some fantasy goals we’re unlikely to reach.
Darn! I have to admit this in not an overwhelming task after all, and it will be good for the Church Council and me to see and discuss these figures. Maybe “shoot first and ask questions later” wasn’t the best approach. So hopefully my story will help some people.
God bless you,