Category: Updates

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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Learn how to Zoom and Vote for Annual Conference

Learn how to Zoom and Vote for Annual Conference

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: 

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Opportunities for Young People at Annual Conference 2021

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 (ttobey@pnwumc.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: 


Click below to apply to be District Young Adult Voting Member: 

Report and petition deadline reminders for the 2021 PNW Annual Conference Session

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky has asked clergy and lay members of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences to hold June 20-24, 2021 open for online Annual Conference sessions. More information will be released soon.

In the meantime, please mark your calendars with the following deadlines.

Annual Reports

Reports from Conference Board and Agency Chairs are due to the Conference Office by Thursday, April 1, 2021, for inclusion in the Pre-Conference Handbook. Please submit reports by email to Melissa Bortnick (mbortnick@pnwumc.org) and Patrick Scriven (pscriven@pnwumc.org).

Legislative Process

Petitions/recommendations to the 2021 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Session need to be in the Conference Office by Thursday, April 15, 2021. Per conference rules, resolutions submitted by this date shall be included in the Pre-Conference Handbook (PCH) which will be available in May.

Accepted petitions will also be included in the PCH to allow members the opportunity to prayerfully read and discern before they arrive at Annual Conference.

Per conference rules, other legislation can be submitted, if a “late development prevented consideration by April 15th”, up to 10 days prior to the annual conference session. That date this year is Thursday, June 10, 2021.

2020 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

2020 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Report

September 17, meeting remotely online

The 147th session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference was held remotely online on Thursday, September 17, 2020. Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area was the officiating bishop.

Originally, the three annual conferences that comprise the Greater Northwest Area planned to gather for a shared session in June of 2020 in Puyallup, Washington. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this anticipated gathering was delayed until 2021 with virtual sessions scheduled for each conference in September in its place.

Trainings were held on multiple occasions over the week prior to the session to aid members unfamiliar with the online meeting and voting platforms being used. Open captioning, American Sign Language and Spanish language interpretation were also offered directly within the meeting platform to support the goal of member’s full participation.

Shortly after the gathering was called to order, members received an update from Seven Rivers Missional District Superintendent Joanne Coleman Campbell on wildfires that were active across parts of the region and how the area was already engaging in response

Despite the changes in schedule and location, an area-wide worship team collaborated to produce worship elements for the session based upon a shared theme, “What does the Lord Require?” Standout pieces included an area-wide choir singing “What does the Lord Require of You?” and the traditional Charles Wesley hymn, “And Are We Yet Alive”, freshly arranged by PNW Elder Rev. Justin White.

Bishop Stanovsky released her Episcopal Address in three parts (IIIIII) in the weeks prior to the conference session. She called members to do no harm by holding firm to coronavirus safeguards, implored them to resist and undertake new measures to dismantle racism and invited them to reimagine United Methodism across the Church and more specifically within the Greater Northwest Area.


Downloads Actions of the 2020 PNWAC

On that final topic, Bishop Stanovsky acknowledged that people across the area are of different minds when it comes to the topic of merging together as one annual conference. Still, she proposed that it is time to have more serious conversations. “It’s never going to be the time to merge and I’m not going to solve that problem, but I am going to convene that conversation because I’m hearing that question out and about across the church.”

Bishop Stanovsky also offered a progress report on important conversations underway regarding the upcoming General Conference and decisions it might require. She shared that a Greater Northwest Guiding Coalition with 10+ workgroups had convened regularly until COVID-19 demanded a shift in attention. Even so, its Grassroots Connections group has continued to work with a video played displaying one of their projects.

Throughout the day, members focused much of their time upon the “essential business” of the Annual Conference as determined by Bishop Stanovsky in consultation with conference leadership. This included approving existing Advance Specials, updates to minimum compensation and moving expenses for clergy in addition to annually received petitions relating to pensions, retirements and disability benefits.

The conference also approved the closure of five local churches, with superintendents honoring the history and 565 years of Methodist ministry these faith communities represented. A related motion was passed asking the Conference Board of Trustees to establish a policy around the usage of closed properties in ways consistent with the Social Principles and “conference values of inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people and dismantling white supremacy.”

The final resolution approved by members was the conference budget. Members approved a $4.6 million budget as recommended by the Conference Council of Finance and Administration (CF&A). Despite relatively stable apportioned giving by local churches through the first half of 2020, the approved recommendation reflects a 10.02% annual decrease anticipating financial challenges posed by coronavirus-related closures and denominational conflict.

Received as an addendum to the CF&A report was a request for more transparency and accountability for the Innovation Vitality Team budget and work. The request and its questions were received just prior to conference with over 100 member signatures. CF&A chair Jan Kalshian promised that the questions raised would receive careful consideration with initial steps within 30 days.    

During a report to the annual conference, members of the PNW Board of Ordained Ministry shared actions that were approved by the Clergy Session when it gathered in June. Members approved the retirement of seven elders, one associate member, and one local pastor. One person was recommended for commissioning in preparation for the order of elder and one into the order of deacon. Six individuals were recommended for full membership and ordination as elders, three into the order of deacon. Bishop Stanovsky previously announced that these commissionings and ordinations would take place during the annual conference session in June of 2021.

Conference members also received an address from the PNW Conference Lay Leader and Associate Lay Leader. They updated members on efforts of the laity over the previous year and shared a letter calling laity to the important work of anti-racism recently released by the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders. Members also received a short report from their delegation to the General Conference that has been delayed to 2021.

In a pre-recorded message, PNW Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, Alan Rogstad, and the directors of the four conference camps, offered an update on how the ministries were adapting to coronavirus restrictions. Staff from the Northwest United Methodist Foundation also offered a recorded update providing assurance that managed funds were in good standing despite a chaotic year.

A visual presentation of the work of Early Response Teams, and a compelling video message from Hispanic Ministries were also received by members.

SeaTac Missional District Superintendent Derek Nakano shared with the body that most conference board and agency members had agreed to serve an additional year beyond the typical quadrennial terms.

Finally, dates were announced for a shared Greater Northwest Area Annual Conference Session to occur June 10-13, 2021, in Puyallup, as it is safe to do so. Crest to Coast Missional District Kathleen Weber offered the invitation to meet there at the Washington State Fairgorunds.

  • Membership stands at 36,620, down 1,123 from the previous year.
  • Worship attendance stands at 15,465 down 952.
  • Church school attendance stands at 4,538, up 88.
  • Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2019 at 621, down from 2018 by 68.
  • Adults and young adults in small groups for 2019 at 14,804, down from 2018 by 689.
  • Worshippers engaged in mission for 2019 were 10,288, up from 2018 by 309.

— Patrick Scriven, director of Communications and Young People’s Ministries, Pacific Northwest Conference

Need Help?

If you have questions about the Annual Conference Session, please contact the Rev. David Valera, Exec. Director of Connectional Ministries.

PNWAC2021 Session

The 2021 annual conference session will be held again online for members via Zoom. Access to a livestream for guests will be provided on this website.

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