Gail Grossman, Rev. Craig Parrish and Bishop Bob Hoshibata stand along the edges of the plenary space with those protesting the church’s stance on homosexuality. Picture by Patrick Scriven. 


I try hard to remain upbeat and hopeful. I admit it’s hard. Our wonderful church consistently votes 60/40 against issues I care about.

The very modest change in language that would have acknowledged that we differ on homosexuality. The divestment debate. The proposed restructure, Plan UMC,  is so confusing, and seems to shift even more power toward the South Eastern Jurisdiction and Central Conferences. It eliminates COSROW and GCORR and makes them committees under the new General Council on Strategy and Oversight (GCSO). This is all very unfortunate. I can foresee the GCSO directing the work on behalf of women and persons of color in ways that do not resemble advocacy. It was already stated on the floor that these groups waste money on things that don’t lead people to Christ. The end to the security of appointment not even debated. Issue after issue received a 60/40 vote. I am proud to be apart of the faithful 40%.

We will soon return home to an environment where we respect persons and acknowledge our differences. I now do not see a change in the 60/40 split at General Conference in the near future. Little here will change. I believe our collective efforts as a annual conference must continue in the direction Bishop Hagiya is leading us. We must double our efforts to grow, regain vitality, and engage our mission fields. I’m ready to go to work to create an Annual Conference to be reckoned with…

Financially strong, growing in every way, getting younger every day.

It is clear to me that if we don’t turn our PNW attention to the critical survival issues facing us, the General Conference may well bury all of us from the West.

It is almost lunch time.



Rev. Craig Parrish is the Conference Treasurer for the Pacific Northwest Conference and head of the PNW delegation to Tampa, Florida for General Conference 2012.


  1. I appreciate your words, Craig. When I have watched the live-stream this week, including the horrible hateful words spoken in regards to our GLBT brothers and sisters, I have felt close to despair, and wondered if I can faithfully remain a United Methodist for the long-term. But I am with you, believing that rather than leaving to start something new, our call is to strengthen our own churches so that our voice might be heard in the wider body. We have lots of work to do.

  2. Craig,

    I think this is what some of the younger people need to hear “I’m ready to go to work to create an Annual Conference to be reckoned with…

    Financially strong, growing in every way, getting younger every day.”

    Thanks for all you did. I’m proud of our 40%.

  3. It’s an uncomfortable place to be in the 40%. It is devastating when the 60% pretend we’re not here, don’t matter, or aren’t truly Christian.
    Let us remember this pain when we are in the majority, lest we, in our righteous anger, harm others in our AC.
    I have hope for the PNW AC and the ministry happening here, as we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit to serve our local mission fields. All study of social movements teaches us that devastating defeats are normal, endurable, and not the end.
    Comfort and peace be on your heart. Thank you for your faithful service. Hugs and hope await you in the PNW.

  4. Thank you and the rest of our delegation for all your work at a difficult and discouraging GC. As much as I am discouraged by the refusal to have the integrity to acknowledge that we are divided on the question of homosexuality, I am even more concerned about the new rules that eliminate “guaranteed” appointments. We already had tools in place to remove or refuse to appoint ineffective clergy. So when those in power feel they need more freedom to refuse to appoint clergy, I worry what it is they are after. As far as I can tell we have now given cabinets in every jurisdiction the power to defrock clergy with no process safeguards whatsoever. If I were back in the discernment stages I would change denominations. That would break my heart, because I was born and raised Methodist, and deeply love my Wesleyan roots. But the “guaranteed” appointment with a fair process for removing clergy was the one protection clergy had from being blamed if the cabinet made one or more mismatches in appointment. Now that protection is gone. I believe this decision spells the eventual end of the United Methodist Church in America. Our best and brightest will serve in other denominations where their gifts are appreciated. And we will lose out.

  5. Come on home, Craig! We do need to get back to work to further an inclusive, true to the gospel Annual Conference.
    Well done, good and faithful servant.

  6. I am here to help how I can and our church has started down this path to make a younger church. I agree with you.
    Financially stronger, growing in every way, getting younger every day.
    Ya to the 40% may we get bigger and stronger.

  7. Let us remember that the gap between the 40 and the 60 is 20 and we are already twice that. We have our work cut our for us in the PNW and we have the power to achieve what we choose and set out to do. May we be faithful to the task. If God be for us who can be against us? At least here in the PNW I believe that open hearts, open minds, open doors means just that. Thank you so much to each person from the PNW and WJ who spent time these past two weeks at GC. Safe travels home to you all and may restful hours and days be yours, soon!

  8. Long live the 40%, Craig! May our numbers increase… not so that we can be victorious in imposing our way on others (as their way has been imposed upon us) but so that we might win their hearts and minds for the glory of God. Thanks for your powerful witness, my friend.

  9. Rev. Craig Parrish
    Why did the UMC oppose homosexual clergy in 2012 when the Episcopal, Church of Christ (UCC), Lutheran (ELCA), and Presbyterian denominations had accepted it? What makes the Methodist Church different than other mainline protestant churches. Aren’t we declining in U.S. membership like they are?

    • Dale M. Crouse,

      As to your first question, (why the Bishops voted the way they did) you asked Rev. Craig Parrish. So I will let him answer. If you want a conservative perspective, I can offer that.

  10. Dale M. Crouse,

    If I may answer your question, the Methodist Church has some decidedly different characteristics: “Unlike the other traditionally liberal-led Mainline denominations, United Methodism is fully global in membership. (The 2 million member Episcopal Church of the U.S. does include the small churches of Latin America, Europe and Taiwan but is still 90 percent U.S. persons.) There are 7.5 million United Methodists in the U.S. and 4.5 million overseas, almost all in Africa, mostly in the Congo. With the U.S. church losing about 100,000 members a year (down from 11 million 44 years ago) and the African church gaining over 200,000 a year, the denomination likely will become a majority non-U.S. church in about 10 years or less.” (Tooley, 2012)

    Tooley, M., (2012, May 14), “United Methodists Transition from Liberal to Global”, Retrieved June 4, 2012 from:

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