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2007 Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference

June 12-16, 2007, Salem, Ore.

The 39th session of the Oregon Idaho Annual Conference was held at Willamette University and was convened by Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata

Bishop Minerva Carcaño, the conference preacher, called the conference to awareness of those we meet who are "broken-hearted and broken down" and need the uplifting, liberating power of God's good news.

"Boldly Making Disciples: Reaching Out in Love" was the conference theme that was reflected not only in sermons and presentations, but in an afternoon of community service when members were deployed to food banks, community gardens and public policy advocacy outlets.

Responding to the conference leadership team, members received a new "strategic direction" for conference ministries. They heard of concerns about anticipated cost of clergy health insurance and pension liabilities that will challenge the conference in the years to come, and they endorsed a feasibility study to explore a capital fund campaign to improve conference-owned camping facilities and one damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The members continued a three-year initiative to end hunger by receiving offerings of $26,872 from churches across the region to be distributed to advocacy efforts and food banks in Oregon and Idaho and by demonstrating support for hunger-fighting legislation to elected representatives in session at the nearby State Capitol.

Conference actions included opposition to the death penalty, encouragement of restorative justice efforts, declaring health care be a basic human right, and prayers for peace.

Members petitioned the 2008 General Conference to remove restrictions on same-sex marriages, eliminate references that restrict the use of conference funds in communications about homosexuality, refrain and divest of investments in companies that harm Palestinians and exacerbate the Sudan crisis; amend the course of study design to include online courses; and support Taiwan's security and self-determination.

In other business, the conference gave thanks for the dedicated service of seven retirees; commissioned two probationary elders and two probationary deacons; ordained one deacon and two elders and "transitioned" one deacon to ordination as an elder.

On the final day, members adopted a 2008 budget of $4,819,373, a 3.8 percent increase.

The lay delegate elected to General Conference is Greg Nelson of Salem, Ore. (head of delegation). The clergy delegate is Donna Pritchard of Eugene, Ore.

Lay delegates to the Western Jurisdiction Conference are: Karen Bolin, Portland; Joan Collison, Corvallis; and Jan Nelson, Salem. Clergy delegates are: Laura Jacquith Bartlett, Lebanon; Robert Flaherty, Boise, Idaho; and Scott Harkness, Portland.

Membership stands at 33,096, down 656 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 16,634, down 551. Church school attendance stands at 4,623, down 269.

- Patricia Breen