Attendees of the quadrennial Leadership Summit close worship in prayer before beginning workshops. This year, the summit was held at Vancouver: First UMC.
The Leadership Summit assembled members of boards and agencies to identify struggles, get familiar with Conference resources, and reaffirm a vision in the new quadrennium.
By Scott Klepach, Jr. with Jesse N. Love
This year’s quadrennial Leadership Summit emphasized the work ahead for Conference committees and allowed space for the 135 registered participants to share the “summits” and “valleys” of their ministries.
This meeting was held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at First UMC in Vancouver, Wash. Held every four years, the Summit welcomes boards and agencies of The Pacific Northwest Conference.
During Opening Worship, the Rev. Jon Short, pastor of First UMC presented a message referring to the folk story of “stone soup”. Attendees connected this story with their work together, each member contributing ingredients of experience, gifts, and skills to help create something special for all to share.
Other highlights included workshops like “Culture and Communication for Effective Teams”, presentations on Communications (social media, storytelling, Regional Media Center, PNW Conference Calendar, etc.), and a report on the Rebuild Up from the Ashes project (which collected $1200 during offering at the Summit).
Pastor Harriet Wilkin who serves The United Methodist Church of Ephrata, opens up on a moment at the Summit she felt was very valuable. “The exercise (using three words to identify challenges over the next four years) provided dialogue to deepen discussions and provided another way for those attending to get to know one another.”
“It’s helpful to be mindful of where the different boards and councils intersect,” said Pastor Cody Natland, who serves at Central United Methodist Church at Sedro-Woolley and Bay View United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon. “It was a gift for me to be able to connect with them about our shared passion for reaching and empowering young people,” said Natland, who referenced ties between the Camping Board of Stewards and the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries.
On Friday evening, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky addressed the Summit announcing that she is softly entering the new Episcopal Area, with a focus on listening and observing. Although a concrete vision for the Area is still forming, Stanovsky emphasized developing leadership, creating new places for discipleship, and being in prayer as we continue to be the church that can change the world.
On Saturday morning, The Rev. Bill Gibson presented “Making Disciples Together” inviting attendees to open up with their stories of challenge and change. Finding new ways to meaningfully engage the local community, managing escalating conversations in a digital world, sponsoring juvenile offenders, and working to translate Jesus and culture between the walls of the church and the world were just some of the ideas shared by laity and clergy.
“There were comments and concerns for every program area and every geographical area of the Conference – no one need feel left out,” shares Rosalee Mohney, lay leader for the Seattle District. Mohney has been very active in bringing continued awareness of wildfire victims in Okanogan County. “I am really involved with the Rebuild: Up from the Ashes project, it was great to know that the Bishop is so supportive – it gave us all a boost, to say the least.”
Scott Klepach, Jr. serves as a student local pastor at Yakima: Wesley UMC as well as the convener for the Communications Commission of the PNWUMC. Jesse N. Love serves as the graphic designer & print manager for the PNWUMC.