At this year’s commissioning and ordination service, we will have an AC Member choir (both lay and clergy).
We will rehearse Wednesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. and perform Thursday, June 15, at the commissioning and ordination service. Both the rehearsal and performance will be at Mason UMC in Tacoma (2710 N Madison St, Tacoma, WA 98407).
The song we will be singing is “Show Us How To Love” by Mark Miller. You can preview the song and familiarize yourself with the music on this youtube video: https://youtu.be/_PTKfdgLuFg.
If you would like to be in the choir, please email email@example.com so we can know how many people to plan for at rehearsal.
Thank you so much! We can’t wait to sing together!
United Methodist Followers of Christ in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference,
With this letter, I call the regular 2023 session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference to meet on the dates listed within to attend to its regular business, gather in worship and explore impactful service opportunities.
This year’s theme for the Annual Conference Sessions held across the Greater Northwest Area will be “Go and do likewise,” centered on the familiar story of “The Good Samaritan.” In this parable (Luke 10:30-37), we find characters who exhibit attributes of servanthood, piety, mercy, and grace. Their intent and impact make a difference, especially considering the religious and historical context and societal norms present when Jesus first shared this story. These characters hold up mirrors for us to see ourselves more clearly and open windows to possibilities beyond our imagination.
As we come together this year, we continue our quest to find ways of gathering that will support our need to tend to our spirits, be in community, conduct business, and honor the space we may need between us at times. The world is changing. We must be nimble and attentive as we live within the parameters of our new realities. To this end, we will host AC2023 in person, with hybrid options available for those who choose to join online. All voting members will have the same access and privilege of participating regardless of the member’s choice to be in-person or online.
DATES and LOCATIONS
Our Area-Wide Conference will begin with the Bishop’s Installation and Opening Session at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Juneau, Alaska, which will be livestreamed on Saturday, May 20th (in-person participation will be by invitation only due to limited church capacity). The closing session for the area will be on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in the evening. The closing session will be livestreamed.
The Pacific Northwest Conference will host the main portions of its annual conference session June 13-15 in Tacoma, Washington, at Mason UMC and on the campus of The University of Puget Sound. We will commence with worship at 9 a.m. on Tues., June 13, and conclude early in the afternoon on Thursday, June 15, with the Commissioning and Ordination Service. A Memorial Service will take place on Tues, June 13 at 7 p.m., and a celebration of retiring clergy and recognition of Deaconesses, Home Missioners, CLMs, and Local Pastors will take place on Wed., June 14.
Before these dates, Clergy Session will be held via Zoom (with GNTV voting) on May 24. Focus Sessions will also be held in advance of the conference via Zoom on June 2 and 3 (as needed) from 6-8 p.m.
Registration will be sent to members along with more information at a later date. Registration will be required to receive voting credentials, and the deadline will be firm because it is essential as we prepare for a new model of conferencing. Guests will be able to watch the proceedings livestreamed via each conference’s YouTube channel. As your new bishop, I am grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you in what will be my first regular session of conference.
There will be a Special Session on Sunday, May 7th, for the sole purpose of voting on the approval of churches that wish to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church. That is a painful reality, but it is their choice to do so. We will work diligently and faithfully with each of those faith communities and our conference trustees to ensure they complete their due diligence in advance of the Special Session. We will release a separate call letter and registration information for this session with more information closer to the scheduled date.
When we gather, it is possible that there will be several disaffiliating congregations unable to complete the process this Spring. That may necessitate another session in the Fall to allow all others who are ready to complete their process and leave The United Methodist Church before December 31, 2023, when the special provision in the Discipline allowing their departure expires.
As you might imagine, we have many details to work out between now and when we meet in Special and Regular Sessions. I solicit your prayers and your patience. I also hope you will consider how you and those in your ministry setting view yourselves (mirror) and look into your communities (window) as you live out the teachings of Jesus in Luke 10:30-37. What are you learning and sharing about service to and among others? Where is God calling you to show up and do good? What impact are you having in your community or through your organization?
I have faith that our conference leaders and staff will continue in stellar service to you. They will answer your questions as they arise. My request is that you “go and do likewise” in all the places God calls you to serve.
The 149th session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference was held remotely online on June 19, 21 and 25, 2022, with clergy and laity sessions preceding it on June 1 and 14, respectively, and with commissioning and ordination occurring on June 22. Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area was the officiating bishop. The conference theme was Called To Be: Alert, Faithful, Brave, Love, based on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
With COVID-19 continuing to be a concern, the conferences across the Greater Northwest Area met online via Zoom. This proved a wise decision as several conference and area staff members tested positive for COVID just before the primary week of conferencing.
During her address, the bishop also touched on ways local churches are active in mission, highlighting a new initiative on gun control by Olympia First UMC and the response by Lents Tongan UM Fellowship in Portland to the tsunami-driven devastation in Tonga.
As she concluded her message, Bishop Stanovsky said, “Stand firm in your faith, that when God is doing a new good thing, there may be disruption. But there will be a way through it, and it will be worth it.”
During the opening session, members also received several other area-wide ministry reports, including those from the Circle of Indigenous Ministries and Disaster Response. The three conference lay leaders – Jo Anne Hayden (Alaska), Paul Nickell (OR-ID) and Nancy Tam Davis (PNW) – offered a shared Laity Address spotlighting ways laity were engaging in the ministry of the church.
Two days later, lay and clergy members of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference gathered in plenary session to receive reports from conference-level boards and agencies, including the board of ordained ministry, honor the retirements of clergy members, and remember the passing of clergy and beloved laity over the past year. Five districts of local church appointments and for clergy serving in extension ministry were read throughout the day. A powerful video from Hispanic/Latinx Ministries was shared by director Rev. Cruz Edwin Santos, highlighting a challenge and opportunity to offer fully-inclusive ministry to this community. The annual Ruth Award, a special honor given to a laywoman supportive of clergywomen, was given to Sue Magrath.
Conference parliamentarian Rev. Shane Moore shares details of the episcopal nomination process where members will consider support of elders exploring discernment for the role.
As it gathered, the body also received and acted upon the recommendations of the legislative Focus Sessions, which met earlier in June. Significantly, conference members passed the 2023 PNW Conference Budget and related financial items, approved the closure of Foothills UMC and added a new Conference Advance Special (Love Beyond Borders). They also affirmed a petition asking churches to observe Disability Awareness Sunday and another encouraging three actions toward creation justice. Finally, as recommended by the Focus Session, they declined to pass a petition which would have asked the General Conference for a change to ¶2543.1 and the regulations it establishes for proceeds raised from the sale of local church property.
With a motion to suspend the rules offered by parliamentarian Rev. Shane Moore, members received names for affirmation into the discernment process. With a simple majority, conference members affirmed six names for continuing discernment toward the episcopacy – Rev. Shalom Agtarap, Rev. Joe Kim, Rev. Katie Ladd, Rev. Derek Nakano, Rev. Tim Overton Harris, and Rev. Carlo Rapanut.
On Wednesday, in-person and online, members of the conference and friends and family of the candidates and provisional members had the opportunity to celebrate the commissioning and ordination of new United Methodist leaders during a service held at Kent United Methodist Church in Kent, Washington. Seven individuals were commissioned as provisional members (Mele Taumoepeau Aho, Carrie Bland, Kellen Corliss, Catherine Lyle, Danielle Estelle Ramsay, Gayle Tabor, Meghan Woods), one ordained in the order of deacon (Sonya Davis) and one to the order of elder (Zachary Taylor).
Rev. Dr. Troy Lynn Carr, a PNW Elder, appointed to the General Commission on Race and Religion, offered a powerful message during the 2022 PNW Conference Service of Commissioning and Ordination. Riffing off a well-known hymn, she closed her sermon by encouraging us, “‘Love lifted me. When nothing else would help, love lifted me.’ Stay woke, stay watchful, and do everything in love.”
Attendees also had an opportunity to contribute to this year’s conference offering being taken to support relief efforts in Tonga, which is still recovering from a devastating Tsunami earlier this year. Lay and clergy members raised over $11k for this cause during the week of conferencing across the Greater Northwest Area. To learn more and give, visit greaternw.org/tonga or text the code “GNWTONGA” to 44-321 on your mobile device.
Zachary Taylor, accompanied by his daughter, awaits his ordination as an elder during the Service of Commissioning and Ordination, held June 22, 2022, at Kent UMC. Photo by Paul Jeffrey.
Portland First United Methodist Church hosted a shared closing session of the GNW conferences on June 25. In the morning, members received additional reports on area-wide ministries, including the blessing of all names lifted for episcopal discernment and each conference’s delegations to the General and Western Jurisdictional Conferences. The conference secretaries, including PNW Secretary Rev. Shirley DeLarme, summarized the work of each conference session with reports displaying both similarities and distinctions between each conference.
Puget Sound Missional District Superintendent Mark Galang and Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky walk members through a reaffirmation of faith written by Rev. Heather Riggs.
Members voted and agreed to extend the work of theGNW Vitality Commissionafter receiving a report and request from its convenor Dr. Daymond Glenn. And they heard a report from the conference treasurers on the Boy Scouts of America pending settlement, commitments we would honor, and the steps each conference will be taking to ensure our ministries are safe places for vulnerable persons. The morning also included the commissioning of a new deaconess (Ronda Cordill) and home missioner (Caesar Marciales).
During the session, a statement was presented for consideration by Rev. Ruth Marston-Bihl (PNW), Rev. Nico Reijns (Alaska) and Rev. Eilidh Lowery (OR-ID). The statement asked members to support access to vital reproductive healthcare a day after the Supreme Court announced its overturning of Roe v. Wade. The court’s ruling allows states to restrict access to abortion, with at least one state in the GNW likely to do so within the month. By an overwhelming margin, lay and clergy members of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences voted to affirmthe statement.
In the afternoon, members returned for a closing worship service with a moving celebration of Bishop Stanovsky’s ministry. She anticipates retirement at the end of 2022, making this her last annual conference as an active bishop. The celebration included a video of her years in the episcopacy, testimonies of gratitude from staff, gifts from each conference, and a few remembrances offered by the bishop.
Membership stands at 30,984, down 1,644 from the previous year.
Worship attendance stands at 9,638, down by 3,302.
Church school attendance stands at 2,767, down 598.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2021 at 217, up from 2020 by 48.
Adults and young adults in small groups for 2021 at 9,763, down from 2019 by 2,478.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2021 were 7,200, down from 2020 by 548.
These statistical numbers reflect another year where many local churches were restricted in practice due to COVID-19 precautions.
— Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people’s ministries, Pacific Northwest Conference
We are seeking nominees to serve as PNW Associate Conference Lay Leader (ACLL). Angelina Goldwell, our amazing ACLL for the last four years, is moving on to new challenges. The role, responsibilities and qualifications are the same as for the Conference Lay Leader(CLL) and will work with the CLL in all areas. A full description of the role can be found in The Book of Discipline, 2016, ¶607. Here’s a brief extract from that paragraph:
“The conference lay leader is the elected leader of conference laity and will have responsibility for fostering awareness of the role of the laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community and world in achieving the mission of the Church and enabling and supporting lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, district and local church in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents and pastors.”
Of specific focus for the next several years will be strengthening the Lay Servant Ministries team of the PNW Board of Laity. We are actively developing laity leadership skills through certification paths, and in other areas laity seek to deepen and strengthen all laity gifts.
If you are interested in engaging in this new level of interaction, boldly championing laity leadership development and creating learning opportunities for learning, this job is for you. We will hold an election toward the end of the GNW Laity Session on June 14.
Please email Nancy Tam Davis to express interest in serving in this role or if you have additional questions. Nominations will also be taken before the vote during the laity session on June 14. Please do not nominate someone else without their consent.
The Greater Northwest Area’s Laity Session will be held at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, to discuss “being laity.” Alaska Conference Lay Leader Jo Anne Hayden, Oregon-Idaho Conference Lay Leader Paul Nickell and Pacific Northwest Conference Lay Leader Nancy Tam Davis will preside over this session. Lay members of the three annual conferences do not need to register separately for this gathering. A Zoom link will be sent to you in the days just before the gathering.
The Zoom meeting will feature worship and music components provided by several churches of diverse backgrounds from across the Greater Northwest Area. The guest speaker will be Sharon Gregory, lay leader from the Western Pennsylvania Conference of The UMC and past president of the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders.
From there, conferences will break out into individual discussion groups to talk about Gregory’s presentation and to conduct business relevant to the laity of each conference.
As Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky announced a theme for the Greater Northwest Area annual conference gatherings in June, so, too, came the need to develop a logo that was representative of the theme: “Called to be: Alert, Faithful, Brave, Love.” The theme is rooted in Paul’s letter in 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14: “Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be bold. Everything should be done in love.”
At annual conference sessions this year we will reflect on this scripture and this call. During these unsettling times, how can we live into this call so that we may continue – and begin again – the transformative, life-giving work God would have us do? With that, the Greater Northwest Area asked Kylie Nelson, an artist and graphic designer, member of Wesley UMC Eugene and General Conference reserve delegate, to create a logo that was responsive and reflective of this theme and call. Here is her description:
“The main concept for this design was stained glass artwork that’s typical in older churches. Usually, the larger window or sanctuary pieces tell a story. To incorporate the theme, there are depictions of a dove – a symbol of faith, love, and bravery, shown flying towards an arch, like an arched door in a cathedral or church. This is representative of us leaving the church on Sundays and going out into our communities to do the work that we’re called to do.
The blue squiggle in the smaller arch represents the Columbia River, the divide between Oregon and Washington, and also the Snake River, which flows through Idaho.
At the top of the text is a mountain range, the 3 mountains giving a nod to the Trinity and also highlighting the various mountains throughout our conferences. The middle one is meant to show some resemblance of Mt. Denali in Alaska.
The rainbow borders represent inclusive love, and how antiracism work goes hand in hand with LGBTQ+ rights. The color choices and thick outlines are intended to give the image a feeling of alertness.“
Today, we are announcing new dates for annual conference sessions across the Greater Northwest (GNW) area in 2022, moving most activities to the final full week of June (19-25). The new dates, primarily online with some hybrid events, offer more detail to our planning and replace in-person dates previously announced in June of 2021.
“The decision to shift from in-person dates at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup allows us to adapt better to whatever the pandemic is doing in June,” said Brant Henshaw, treasurer and director of administrative services for the Alaska and PNW Conference. “The change also takes some pressure off local church and annual conference budgets, while easing financial barriers to participation faced by some lay and clergy members.”
In advance of the full week of activities, Clergy Sessions will meet online in each annual conference as follows, with more details to be determined:
Tuesday, May 31 – Oregon-Idaho Conference, starting at 1:30 p.m. PT, 2:30 p.m. MT.
Wednesday, June 1 – Pacific Northwest Conference, starting at 1:30 p.m. PT.
Thursday, June 2 – Alaska Conference, starting at 10 a.m. AKT.
It is anticipated that Laity Sessions will occur earlier in June, before the week of annual conference sessions. Those dates will be released as they become available. Each conference may set additional dates for preparatory and legislative work.
The area’s primary week of annual conference sessions, where the business of each Conference is conducted by clergy and lay members, will start on the evening of Sunday, June 19, with a GNW area-wide opening. The remainder of the week will include a separate focused day of work for each conference and individual days for ordination and commissioning services in PNW and OR-ID.
The GNW Area-wide Opening will take place on the evening of Sunday, June 19.
The Alaska Conference will meet online on Monday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. AKT.
The Pacific Northwest Conference will meet online on Tuesday, June 21, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT.
The Pacific Northwest Conference’s Service of Commissioning and Ordination will occur during the day on Wednesday, June 22.
The Oregon-Idaho Conference will meet online on Thursday, June 23, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT.
The Oregon-Idaho Conference’s Service of Commissioning and Ordination will occur during the day on Friday, June 24.
The GNW Area-wide closing plenary and celebration will occur during the day on Saturday, June 25.
Each day of business will include morning bible studies and evening devotions during the first and last hour. These opportunities will be open for anyone – not just Annual Conference members – to attend.
Hybrid Ordination and Commissioning services are expected to follow with the PNW Conference’s service taking place on Wednesday, June 22, in the Seattle area, and the OR-ID Conference’s service on Friday, June 24, in the Portland area. While we anticipate these services will have some in-person participation, as they did last year, the extent will be determined as we move closer to the dates.
Our week of area-wide conferencing will conclude on the morning and early afternoon of Saturday, June 25, with an online GNW Celebration and honoring of Bishop Stanovsky’s ministry in advance of retirement later in 2022, with Bishop Stanovsky presiding from the Portland area.
“Conferencing last year allowed us the opportunity to get our essential work done,” said Rev. Carlo Rapanut, GNW Area Assistant to the Bishop and Alaska Conference Superintendent. “We are taking lessons learned last year with us, adjusting to improve the schedule and facilitate more engagement from lay and clergy members.”
The 148th session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference was held remotely online June 20-23, 2021, with clergy and laity sessions preceding it on June 7 and 9, respectively, and with commissioning and ordination following it on June 25. Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area was the officiating bishop. The conference theme was Love Never Ends, based on Paul’s evocative description in 1 Corinthians 13.
The conference met as United Methodists across the area were taking cautious steps toward in-person ministry. While COVID-19 continues to be a concern, growing optimism allowed for more creativity and function as conference officers, worship leaders, and support staff joined the bishop onsite at Des Moines United Methodist Church, providing something of a hybrid model compared to what was possible in 2020.
It was also possible to share more of the conference sessions as an area. For example, while the typical work of clergy sessions required conferences to gather separately, the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest (PNW) lay leaders collaborated in planning and hosting a shared Greater Northwest Area Laity Session. They invited Micheal Pope, California-Nevada Conference lay leader, as the keynote speaker. She encouraged members to fully step into their role as laity, asking what would happen if they were “empowered to not just sit back and let things happen” but instead took an active part in ministry beyond the administrative.
Opening and closing sessions, permeated with spirit-filled worship, were also shared by all three conferences. Talented PNW musicians offered thoughtful worship led by guests of the conference, worship leader Rev. Grace Cajiuat and musician/pianist Grace Pugh Hubbard, with planning assistance from leaders across the area.
During a plenary session, members approved a conference budget for 2022 down 12.5% from 2021, a $642,626 reduction, in addition to supporting other annual financial petitions. It also considered a petition requesting a change to background checks, deciding to refer that to a group for more study. Finally, in addition to reports from its Board of Ordained Ministry and Nominations, members received a moving testimonial report from its Hispanic/Latinx Ministries Committee highlighting the injustice immigrants currently face in the US.
Members also prayed for and received a video report from the 2021 retiree class. One deacon, 11 elders and one part-time local pastor retired this year. In addition, they approved petitions to close six churches, taking time to consider their legacy and offer prayers of gratitude for their good work.
The body overwhelmingly approved a petition from PNW clergy serving in the Alaska Conference calling for both conferences to begin to live into a new relationship with Alaska becoming a Mission District of the PNW even “in advance of the necessary actions of the General and Western Jurisdictional Conferences.” This expected action was celebrated and practiced in a shared Alaska and PNW Conference Session after the PNW concluded its work and just before the GNW Closing Session. Together, the conferences shared in this news and heard appointment readings for each.
Reports from the conference secretaries at the closing session noted some distinctions between the legislative work of each conference while also bringing to light much harmony and shared values. One petition mentioned, approved by each conference individually, established a cross-conference vitality commission, which further enables our cooperative and shared ministry future.
Dates were announced for a shared Greater Northwest Area Annual Conference Session to occur June 10-13, 2022, in Puyallup, Washington. Crest to Coast Missional District Kathleen Weber offered the invitation to meet there at the Washington State Fairgrounds.
As a final act, the PNW held a service of commissioning and ordination on Friday, June 25. The event took place outside Kent United Methodist Church with a limited audience and COVID-19 precautions in place. With sweltering weather, shade provided by several 50-year-old oak trees blessed the commissioning of five individuals and the ordination of 11 (with an average age of 45). The Rev. Lisa Talbott, pastor of Homer UMC (AK) and soon to be appointed as director of connectional ministries for the Alaska Conference, offered a sermon encouraging candidates to practice good self-care so they can recognize God’s love in their lives.
Rev. Yvonne Agduyeng being commissioned by Bishop Elaine Stanovsky during a service at Kent UMC on June 25, 2021.
MEMBERS of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences are encouraged to participate in a practice session to gain familiarity with the Zoom Webinar platform and the online voting system that will be used for Annual Conference this year.
GNTV will again be our tech hosts for this year’s virtual Annual Conference session and they are offering new and improved processes for voting and participation.
To help us get familiar with the technology, training sessions have been scheduled. Members need only to attend one session but may attend more if you need the extra practice.
GUESTS do not need to attend this practice or register for the Annual Conference Sessions. Each Annual Conference Session will be livestreamed for guests with more information released closer to the date.
Practice Sessions will be offered on the following dates/times:
The 2021 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Session offers an opportunity for young people to be involved in this important meeting in the life of the church. Young people help to bring new eyes and a younger perspective to the connectional work of the church. Applications are now available to fill the five youth and five young adult voting member spots for each district in the Pacific Northwest Conference.
The 2021 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Session will meet virtually over several days in June (June 9 and 20-23, 2021 – see schedule for details). Ideally each participant will have an internet ready device able to do a video chat platform, a second internet ready device for voting (or the ability to have a second window open with the voting website) and a reliable internet connection. If any of those requirements are a challenge or if you have any other questions please contact Teri Tobey (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Who can apply to be to be youth or young adult voting members? Youth must be 12-18 years old at the time of Annual Conference and be active in a PNW United Methodist Church or ministry setting. Young Adult applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30 at the time of Annual Conference and be active in a PNW United Methodist Church or ministry setting.
If you are a leader in your church, but don’t happen to be a young person yourself, please pass this along to an exceptional young person in your congregation! Thanks for your help in getting the word out about this opportunity.
Click below to apply to be District Youth Voting Member: