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2023 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

2023 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

June 13-15, hybrid with in-person locations in Tacoma, Wash.

The 150th session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference was held in a hybrid format on June 13-15, 2023, with shared Greater Northwest Episcopal Area (GNW) gatherings opening and closing the conferencing season. Newly elected Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area officiated. 

During the GNW Opening, leaders and guests gathered in Juneau, Alaska, to celebrate the installation of Bishop Bridgeforth on May 20. The occasion allowed the bishop to introduce the area’s Annual Conference theme – “Go and Do Likewise” based on Luke 10:30-37 – as he encouraged United Methodists across the Greater Northwest to “pray with our feet” and “get to neighboring.”

During the opening worship for the PNW Annual Conference Sessions in June, Bishop Bridgeforth continued a series of messages he has offered to the conferences of the Greater Northwest Area, this one focusing on enhancing lay ministry. A lovely service of music, liturgy, and Holy Communion complemented it. The opening was followed by a laity session where the bishop conversed with members for nearly an hour.

Later in the day, members processed numerous petitions assigned to the Administrative Support Focus Session chaired by lay member Stephanie Henry. They also received reports from Disaster Response Ministries, the General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation, the GNW Innovation Vitality Team, the Rules Committee, and an initial presentation of the proposed 2024 budget.

Members approved annual updates to its conference advances and several administrative support items. It also affirmed modest changes to its rules regarding lay membership and agreed to study separation pay for clergy ordained in another denomination.

The conference voted to close two churches – Pe Ell and East Wenatchee: Trinity – and celebrated the ministry these churches accomplished over the years. No disaffiliations were voted upon during this year’s regular session of annual conference. Appointments were read for the Crest to Coast and Inland Districts.

For the first Memorial Service for the Pacific Northwest Conference since 2019, Sue Magrath offered a message challenging us to make space for grief. In her sermon, she honored the passing of those saints over the past year and marked several other shared moments of grief since our last gathering. Appropriately subdued and beautiful music, led capably by Worship Team chair Rev. Justin White, accompanied reflective moments for members to remember those they have lost.

Conference secretary Rev. Shirley DeLarme, Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, and Orders of the Day lead Rev. Elizabeth Schindler guide members through a long day of plenary.

The second day brought a plenary full of legislative work, celebrations, reports, and other recognitions. It started with a lively devotional offered by Crater Lake District Superintendent John Tucker, a guest from the Oregon-Idaho Conference.

The Connecting for Missions Focus Session legislation consumed much of the second morning. However, chair Rev. Mary Stanton Nurse noted that the initial focus session conversations took much longer. Members approved a petition to call on General Conference to add fossil fuels to United Methodist investment screens, agreed to encourage divestment of local church, conference, and Faith Foundation NW funds from fossil fuels, and committed to seeking partnerships with environmental and climate justice organizations. The conference also affirmed its solidarity with the Filipino people and their struggle for human rights. In a final petition, the conference challenged itself to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. It also encouraged its local churches to increase the energy efficiency of their church buildings and parsonages by 50% by 2030.

The morning also included recognizing the gifts and witnesses of certified lay ministers, Hispanic lay ministers, home missioners, deaconesses, and licensed local pastors. And just before lunch, retiring clergy members were celebrated. In her message, Rev. Karen Yokota Love congratulated six retirees while lifting up their good fortune to have arrived at retirement. She alluded to the many things they have accomplished as a class in ministry while encouraging them to think deeply about what is next for them.

The afternoon included reports from several conference boards and agencies, highlighting their excellent work. The Board of Ordained Ministry introduced the candidates for provisional and full membership. Church and Society announced this year’s Peace with Justice and MLK, Jr. award recipients, and Archives and History marked several significant ordination milestones before celebrating Fern Prairie UMC and its 150 years of ministry.

Three districts – Puget Sound, SeaTac and Seven Rivers – had their appointments read on Wednesday. Feeling under the weather, SeaTac District Superintendent Derek Nakano joined Bishop Bridgeforth to read the SeaTac District appointments via Zoom.

The last item on the day’s agenda was receiving the GNW Vitality Commission’s Report. Formed 18 months earlier, the commission was charged with exploring the possibility of an area-wide decision-making body to oversee innovation and vitality work. Responding to members’ questions, they explained a withdrawal of legislation that would have established the team and shared mixed feelings about the former plan.

Rev. Meredith Gudger-Raines lights a candle in remembrance during the PNW Memorial Service at Mason UMC.

The final day of its 150th regular session was busy and productive for the PNW. During its final plenary, members received several reports, and Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth honored retiring Faith Foundation NW Exec. Dir. Tom Wilson with his first Bishop’s Award.

Conference members passed the proposed budget for 2024 (decreased by 3.94% from 2023) with the assurance that the Conference Finance and Administration board would be working with the Treasurer’s Office to provide more details in future years. Appointments to extension ministries were read, and dates and a general location for the 2024 annual conference were announced – June 13-16 in the Seven Rivers District.

People pray for Evangeline Rand and Ashley Skinner-Creek before their commissioning as provisional elders.

Shortly after members approved a closing motion from conference secretary Rev. Shirley DeLarme, members and guests celebrated the commissioning of two provisional elders – Evangeline “Vangie” Rand and Ashley Skinner Creek – and the ordination of one deacon – Mary Stanton Nurse – and several elders – Yvonne Agduyeng, Murray Crookes, Drew Frisbie, April Hall, Laura Holmes, Danielle Ramsay, and Dirk Wooten.

Retired Bishop Mary Ann Swenson delivered the sermon after an introduction from Bishop Bridgeforth, sharing her impact on his ministry and reminding PNW members of her connections to our conference.

A shared GNW Closing Worship, live-streamed to Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest conference members from the Mason UMC sanctuary, brought a final opportunity to worship, learn and celebrate. Members heard reports from each conference secretary, and GNW Area Disaster Response Coordinator Jim Truitt was honored as he retired from this role.

During the closing, members also received an Episcopal Address from Bishop Bridgeforth, the conclusion of the bishop’s inaugural preaching series on M.I.L.E. with a message focused on Eliminating Racism. All five sermons are now available to watch here.

  • Membership stands at 30,234, down 763 from the previous year.
  • Worship attendance stands at 8,815, down 821 from 2021.
  • Church school attendance stands at 2,144, down 634.
  • Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2022 were 178, up from 2021 by 16.
  • Adults and young adults in small groups for 2022 were 7,360, up from 2021 by 441.
  • Worshippers engaged in mission for 2022 were 7,091, down from 2021 by 109.

— Patrick Scriven, Director of Communications, Pacific Northwest Conference

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Report of the Annual Conference Secretary – #PNWAC23

Report of the Annual Conference Secretary – #PNWAC23

Video Transcript  |  Download Video Report

Hi, I’m Rev. Shirley DeLarme, conference secretary. I use she/her pronouns. It’s been important this week for us to name our pronouns as a way of letting everyone know, whoever they are, that they are welcome here.

How good it was to meet in person for those who could do so. And how good it was to have options for those who needed another choice. And so, grace began to bubble up, literally. With a children’s plastic bucket filled with bubble wands, we were ready to play, to have fun, and to let the grace flow.

In a beautiful service of worship, we joyfully commissioned and ordained some of our favorite people, some of whom were past due because illness prevented them from being here last year for their ceremonies. Grace welled up, and bubbles floated through the air as we laid on hands poured out blessings, and celebrated. Retired Bishop Mary Ann Swenson added to the grace by preaching for the ordinands and for us all.

But that came after we did some hard work, mixed generously with play and laughter, and a hard pinch of grieving. We were mournful, and we cried together, we recognized so much loss from the pandemic, from violence and church closures, escalating climate change, persistent racism and more. In worship, we lamented and sought hope. And in our work, we took action.

Picking up the theme and Bishop Cedrick’s opening sermon, we challenged one another not to look so much in the mirror at that which is familiar and has served for a season, but to look out the window to see what lies ahead, to see who are our neighbors to whom we have not been so good, despite all the good we do. We have some window work to do, lots of window work. And some of that work. In fact, all of that work is urgent. We must look out and see what is beyond ourselves that needs our urgent ‘good neighbor’ attention. And not just some of us, but all of us. Not just the ordained or licensed but the laity. Not just some laity, but all laity.

Bishop Cedrick added the ‘L’ to his M.I.L.E, which he began in the previous two sermons this conference season. In our window work, it is urgent that we eliminate racism, the ‘E’ in Bishop Cedrick’s M.I.L.E., about which we will hear shortly. In our window work, it is urgent that we stand in solidarity with the Filipino people who know so much. So much violence that a state-sponsored by their own state, so we committed to standing with them and asking our congressional representatives to do the same.

In our window work, it is urgent that we address climate change as individuals and as clergy and laity, and also in our ministry settings with our church buildings and parsonages and offices, and also with all those who handle our investments. So, we press one another to divest from fossil fuels with our monetary investments. We petitioned General Conference to add fossil fuel screens to the United Methodist investment screens, and we pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

This is big, but not impossible, especially when partnering with other agencies sharing educational resources and the possibility of adding a staff person to facilitate our work for climate justice. Appropriate mundane matters were tended to, routine business matters made no less important by being routine. We provided for retirement benefits and equitable compensation, moving allowances and special offerings. We wrestled over some rules and some issues of fiscal transparency.

And then, since the Board of Ordained Ministry told us we ought to permit some of us to retire, we celebrated our retirees and witnessed the beautiful ritual of passing the mantle from the class of retirees to the class of the ordinance.

It might seem that the work of this 150th annual conference session is complete. But truthfully, the real work is just beginning. The window beckons us to see and go and do likewise.

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Join the PNWAC Choir!

Dear Beloveds of the PNW annual conference,

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:

If you would like to be in the choir, please email so we can know how many people to plan for at rehearsal. 

Thank you so much! We can’t wait to sing together!

Rev. Justin White (he/him)
Joseph Lee (he/him) 

Call letter for 2023 Annual Conference Session

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.


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. 

More details can be found on the PNW AC2023 website. Please contact the District Service Center if you’re unsure of your status as a lay member of Annual Conference.

Before these dates, Clergy Session will be held via Zoom (with GNTV voting) on May 24Focus 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.

Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth

2022 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

2022 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

June 19, 21-22, 25, meeting remotely online

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 a shared opening session hosted at Des Moines United Methodist Church in Des Moines, Washington, Bishop Stanovsky offered words of encouragement and a call to perseverance during her final episcopal address to the lay and clergy members of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences. She highlighted the area’s efforts to address racism in our churches, including the continuing work by the Innovation Vitality Team under its new executive director Kristina Gonzalez. A video produced by GNW Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber, offered a spoken word reflection to mark the Juneteenth holiday.

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. 

During the plenary, members received a report from Rev. Mary Huycke, chair of the Western Jurisdiction’s Episcopacy Committee, that the committee anticipates the election of three new bishops in November and was recommending a new discernment-based process for episcopal nominations.

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 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 the GNW Vitality Commission after 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 affirm the 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

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2021 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

2021 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

June 20-23, meeting remotely online

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.

Bishop Stanovsky offered a sermon and her episcopal address during the opening session. In her address, the bishop emphasized the importance of continuing our anti-racism work even as we navigate through challenges posed by COVID-19 and the changing climate. Reports on the Wallowa land return to the Nez Perce and the GNW Area’s disaster response efforts complemented her words of encouragement.

Musical Moments

Three songs are available to download and use in worship (with local church licensing in place):

First elected delegates to General Conference updated the area on their work and what we might anticipate in the months ahead for the denomination, while Rev. Mary Huycke offered a short report on the work of the Western Jurisdiction’s Committee on Episcopacy.

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.
  • Membership stands at 33,011, down 1,644 from the previous year.
  • Worship attendance stands at 12,930, down 2,535.
  • Church school attendance stands at 3,365, down 1,173.
  • Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2020 at 169, down from 2019 by 452.
  • Adults and young adults in small groups for 2020 at 12,241, down from 2019 by 2,563.
  • Worshippers engaged in mission for 2020 were 7,748, down from 2019 by 2,504.

These statistical numbers reflect a year where most local churches were restricted in practice due to COVID-19 precautions.

— Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people’s ministries, Pacific Northwest Conference

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