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2009 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference

Pacific Northwest Annual Conference

June 18-21, 2009, Tacoma, Wash.

At the 136th session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference there was a constant call: The need to shift from an environment of 'doom and gloom' to an ecology of God's grace, growth and abundance. All throughout the conference, the Four Areas of Focus of the denomination have begun to take roots, ready to grow.

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya convened his first Pacific Northwest conference session and preached that the theme "EveryBody Fed" is not limited to meeting physical needs. As followers of Christ, we must respond to issues of spiritual hunger, injustice, inclusiveness, health and poverty. Seeing the hungry multitude, Jesus commanded his disciples "You give them something to eat." Today, we as Christ's disciples are sent to feed a hungry and dying world. "Everybody is the charge. The reign of Gods abundance must not escape anyone in our midst. Instead of talking about dying, let's move on to living out our ministries," the bishop said.

The Council on Finance and Administration reported a 2 percent decrease in apportionment giving. The council and the Connectional Table shall employ new ways of reviewing funding requests. A 5-point spending plan for the remainder of 2009 and 2010 was presented by the treasurer's office.

In his District Superintendent's address, the Rev. Ronald Hines, reminded the conference of its missional role. "When the church says open doors, it is not just an invitation for people to come in, but permission for us to go out and be in ministry with others".

The board of congregational development introduced the District Planning and Strategy (DPAS) teams. Recently trained and resourced, these teams are tasked with identifying potential locations for new church starts and revitalization.

The Rev. Dave Gillespie, director of New Faith Community Development, presented the "Greening Movement." Working with DPAS teams, this movement aims to start 20 new faith communities in five years. The Revs. John Weston and Mark McMurray were presented as new church start pastors being appointed.

The Connectional Table presented its report and named leadership development as its top priority for the new quadrennium. Kristina Gonzalez, associate director of connectional ministries, gave an overview of training events lined up for the coming year.

The 2008 General Conference delegation led by Amory Peck, presented the 32 proposed Constitutional Amendments. After discussion and debate, the conference voted with an average of 86% affirmative votes.

Through its six legislative committees, the conference passed 24 legislations.

"Making their young voices heard: Shalom Agtarap and Micah Coleman-Campbell preached during the young peoples' worship. Megan Ernst, Nico Romeijn-Stout and Lauren Short addressed the conference with thoughts on ministry with young people."

A basketball game between Bishop Hagiya's select team and the young people of the conference was held. The winner of this fun-based game was "Nothing But Nets," receiving almost $10,000 in donations.

Bishop Jack Tuell preached at the memorial service, where clergy, beloved laity and the three churches closed this year were "remembered".

At the ordination service, Bishop Woody White asked the laity to "feed" their pastors with prayer and support. The conference commissioned 5 clergy and ordained 6 elders.

The worship team offered a dedicated worship space within the facility. This design allowed participants to quickly "move" from plenary to worship mode. Many attribute the success of the conference to great planning and worship.

Recipients of conference session offerings include: "Nothing But Nets," Jamma Lettu 2 (boys' orphanage in the Congo) and an Early Disaster Response Trailer for UMCOR.

Membership in the annual conference is: 53,040, declined by 2,091 from 2007. Average Attendance is 20,657, declined by 2,812. Church School attendance is 5,720 - declined by 622.

-the Rev. David Valera