2007 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference
June 12-16, 2007, Tacoma, Wash.
The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference met in a spirit that reflected its theme: "God's Beloved Community: One in ministry to all the world."
In this spirit, the community shared Holy Communion daily in order to "center our life and work at the table of Jesus Christ." Bishop Edward Paup, in his Episcopal Address, reminded the body of its biblical call to be 'missional communities' within a wide variety of ministry contexts. A wonderful illustration of this was expressed in the story of the new Samahan United Methodist Church in Surrey, British Columbia-a community of sisters and brothers "from the Philippines coming to Canada who wanted to continue being part of the Wesleyan tradition." The bishop and entire body warmly welcomed Samahan representatives into "God's beloved community" in the Pacific Northwest.
In a moving worship service, Paup and the body honored 12 retiring ministers serving a combined 354 years in faithful ministry. With inspiring words from the Right Rev. Vincent W. Warner of the Episcopal Church, the body also joyfully admitted and ordained six elders and two deacons, admitted one ordained elder and commissioned three members in preparation for order of elder. In a closing worship service, the body welcomed a new member, baby Ainsley Hewson, in a service of Holy Baptism.
One of the most memorable experiences of this year's conference was the "Nothing But Nets" benefit basketball tournament. With tremendous enthusiasm, a "Youthful Yellow" team took on the "Bishop's Bunch" in a "team effort" to wipe out malaria in Africa. Donations totaled $4,628 from a large crowd of cheering fans who attended the Nothing But Nets event to purchase anti-mosquito sleeping nets for African children and families.
The body elected and blessed clergy and lay delegates to the 2008 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Laity elected to the General Conference are: Amory Peck, Bellingham; Gail Grossman, Bellingham; and Ryan Russell, Tacoma.
Clergy elected to General Conference are: Jin Ming Ma, Coupeville; David Valera, Issaquah; and Elaine Stanovsky, Everett.
Laity elected to the Western Jurisdictional Conference are: Peter Masundire, Seattle; Mary Simpson-Stanton, Walla Walla; and Barbara Dadd Shaffer, Stanwood.
Clergy elected to the Western Jurisdictional Conference are: Craig Parrish, Maple Valley; Bruce Smith, Longview; and Sharon Moe, Seattle.
Lay alternates are: Micah Coleman Campbell, Cheney; Katherine Cosner, Silverdale; and Darren Wertz, Ridgefield.
Clergy alternates are: Bonnie Chandler-Warren, Lakewood; Daniel Foster, Covington; and Crystal Sygeel, Seattle. Amory Peck will lead the delegation.
Some of the approved legislative actions include:
- Returning of the number of districts in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference from five to six;
- Presenting petitions to General Conference that include, for example, calls to establish a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence and for lay persons to accept primary responsibility for the growth and vitality of The United Methodist Church;
- Making available "After the Fact: Reducing the Risk of Suicide Among Sexual Minority Youth" to clergy and congregations;
- Recognizing the "diversity of our opinions and pledging to be in respectful dialogue with those with whom we disagree;"
- Urging legislators to plan for the immediate and orderly withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to form an international coalition for rebuilding the region;
- Urging legislators to oppose the appointment of Dr. James W. Holsinger as U.S. surgeon general; and
- Sending letters to the president of the Council of Bishops and the members of the Judicial Council expressing sadness and anger at Judicial Council Decision 1032.
Membership at the end of 2006 was 56,377, down 1,117 from 2005. Worship attendance was 23,608, down 601.
- Tanya Barnett