Category: Updates

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 greaternw.org/tonga 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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Nominees sought to serve as PNW Associate Conference Lay Leader

We are seeking nominees to serve as PNW Associate Conference Lay Leader (ACLL). Angelina Goldwell, our amazing ACLL for the last four years, is moving on to new challenges. The role, responsibilities and qualifications are the same as for the Conference Lay Leader(CLL) and will work with the CLL in all areas. A full description of the role can be found in The Book of Discipline, 2016, ¶607. Here’s a brief extract from that paragraph:

  • “The conference lay leader is the elected leader of conference laity and will have responsibility for fostering awareness of the role of the laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community and world in achieving the mission of the Church and enabling and supporting lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, district and local church in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents and pastors.”

Of specific focus for the next several years will be strengthening the Lay Servant Ministries team of the PNW Board of Laity. We are actively developing laity leadership skills through certification paths, and in other areas laity seek to deepen and strengthen all laity gifts.

If you are interested in engaging in this new level of interaction, boldly championing laity leadership development and creating learning opportunities for learning, this job is for you. We will hold an election toward the end of the GNW Laity Session on June 14.

Please email Nancy Tam Davis to express interest in serving in this role or if you have additional questions. Nominations will also be taken before the vote during the laity session on June 14. Please do not nominate someone else without their consent.

GNW Laity session offered on June 14

The Greater Northwest Area’s Laity Session will be held at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, to discuss “being laity.” Alaska Conference Lay Leader Jo Anne Hayden, Oregon-Idaho Conference Lay Leader Paul Nickell and Pacific Northwest Conference Lay Leader Nancy Tam Davis will preside over this session. Lay members of the three annual conferences do not need to register separately for this gathering. A Zoom link will be sent to you in the days just before the gathering.

The Zoom meeting will feature worship and music components provided by several churches of diverse backgrounds from across the Greater Northwest Area. The guest speaker will be Sharon Gregory, lay leader from the Western Pennsylvania Conference of The UMC and past president of the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders.

From there, conferences will break out into individual discussion groups to talk about Gregory’s presentation and to conduct business relevant to the laity of each conference. 

The story behind the Annual Conference 2022 logo

As Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky announced a theme for the Greater Northwest Area annual conference gatherings in June, so, too, came the need to develop a logo that was representative of the theme: “Called to be: Alert, Faithful, Brave, Love.” The theme is rooted in Paul’s letter in 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14: “Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be bold. Everything should be done in love.”

At annual conference sessions this year we will reflect on this scripture and this call. During these unsettling times, how can we live into this call so that we may continue – and begin again – the transformative, life-giving work God would have us do? With that, the Greater Northwest Area asked Kylie Nelson, an artist and graphic designer, member of Wesley UMC Eugene and General Conference reserve delegate, to create a logo that was responsive and reflective of this theme and call. Here is her description:

“The main concept for this design was stained glass artwork that’s typical in older churches. Usually, the larger window or sanctuary pieces tell a story. To incorporate the theme, there are depictions of a dove – a symbol of faith, love, and bravery, shown flying towards an arch, like an arched door in a cathedral or church. This is representative of us leaving the church on Sundays and going out into our communities to do the work that we’re called to do.

The blue squiggle in the smaller arch represents the Columbia River, the divide between Oregon and Washington, and also the Snake River, which flows through Idaho.

At the top of the text is a mountain range, the 3 mountains giving a nod to the Trinity and also highlighting the various mountains throughout our conferences. The middle one is meant to show some resemblance of Mt. Denali in Alaska.

The rainbow borders represent inclusive love, and how antiracism work goes hand in hand with LGBTQ+ rights. The color choices and thick outlines are intended to give the image a feeling of alertness.

New dates, venues, announced for the 2022 GNW annual conference sessions

Today, we are announcing new dates for annual conference sessions across the Greater Northwest (GNW) area in 2022, moving most activities to the final full week of June (19-25). The new dates, primarily online with some hybrid events, offer more detail to our planning and replace in-person dates previously announced in June of 2021.

“The decision to shift from in-person dates at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup allows us to adapt better to whatever the pandemic is doing in June,” said Brant Henshaw, treasurer and director of administrative services for the Alaska and PNW Conference. “The change also takes some pressure off local church and annual conference budgets, while easing financial barriers to participation faced by some lay and clergy members.”

In advance of the full week of activities, Clergy Sessions will meet online in each annual conference as follows, with more details to be determined:

  • Tuesday, May 31 – Oregon-Idaho Conference, starting at 1:30 p.m. PT, 2:30 p.m. MT.
  • Wednesday, June 1 – Pacific Northwest Conference, starting at 1:30 p.m. PT.
  • Thursday, June 2 – Alaska Conference, starting at 10 a.m. AKT.

It is anticipated that Laity Sessions will occur earlier in June, before the week of annual conference sessions. Those dates will be released as they become available. Each conference may set additional dates for preparatory and legislative work.

The area’s primary week of annual conference sessions, where the business of each Conference is conducted by clergy and lay members, will start on the evening of Sunday, June 19, with a GNW area-wide opening. The remainder of the week will include a separate focused day of work for each conference and individual days for ordination and commissioning services in PNW and OR-ID.

  • The GNW Area-wide Opening will take place on the evening of Sunday, June 19.
  • The Alaska Conference will meet online on Monday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. AKT.
  • The Pacific Northwest Conference will meet online on Tuesday, June 21, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT.
  • The Pacific Northwest Conference’s Service of Commissioning and Ordination will occur during the day on Wednesday, June 22.
  • The Oregon-Idaho Conference will meet online on Thursday, June 23, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT.
  • The Oregon-Idaho Conference’s Service of Commissioning and Ordination will occur during the day on Friday, June 24.
  • The GNW Area-wide closing plenary and celebration will occur during the day on Saturday, June 25.

Each day of business will include morning bible studies and evening devotions during the first and last hour. These opportunities will be open for anyone – not just Annual Conference members – to attend.

Hybrid Ordination and Commissioning services are expected to follow with the PNW Conference’s service taking place on Wednesday, June 22, in the Seattle area, and the OR-ID Conference’s service on Friday, June 24, in the Portland area. While we anticipate these services will have some in-person participation, as they did last year, the extent will be determined as we move closer to the dates.

Our week of area-wide conferencing will conclude on the morning and early afternoon of Saturday, June 25, with an online GNW Celebration and honoring of Bishop Stanovsky’s ministry in advance of retirement later in 2022, with Bishop Stanovsky presiding from the Portland area.

“Conferencing last year allowed us the opportunity to get our essential work done,” said Rev. Carlo Rapanut, GNW Area Assistant to the Bishop and Alaska Conference Superintendent. “We are taking lessons learned last year with us, adjusting to improve the schedule and facilitate more engagement from lay and clergy members.”  

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: 

  • Dates To Be Announced

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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.

PNWAC2022 Session

The 2022 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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