All posts by Jenny Bygland

Mission u 2024

July 25 through 27, 2024
at Yakima Wesley, UMC

Mission u is the annual mission education opportunity for the Pacific Northwest Conference. We meet at Wesley UMC in Yakima, WA, for three days of learning and fellowship. Wesley UMC is our location of choice because of its size, its hospitality, and that it is centrally located for participants arriving from northern Idaho and all of Washington State.

Save the dates of July 25-27, 2024. We will reserve a block of rooms; children and youth are welcome to join, and an age-appropriate curriculum will be provided.

The curriculum for this year’s study is entitled: “Welcome Home,” by Neomi Fletcher, with Contributors Parker Roberts and Sandrea Williamson. The book is available for purchase through the United Women in Faith website: Mission u | United Women in Faith ( This link opens to the order page for the Adult curriculum book, as well as those for Youth and Children.

Plan to attend this Spirit-filled gathering. We are working to identify opportunities for home hospitality where some may stay in the home of members of the congregation while participating at Mission u.

The United Women in Faith reading list has been compiled for 2024. So many of our members are dedicated readers. Here is a link to the Reading Program Catalog for 2024:

United Women in Faith – 2024 Reading Program Catalog (

Remember, you can go back five years to compile your report of books read for the year. Some used United Women in Faith books will be available for purchase at Mission u.

Plan to come to Mission u this year. Bring your children or grandchildren along for a great weekend.

Jan Catrell
Assistant Dean, Mission u

Get ready for the Legislative Session!

On Wednesday 1/10 at 7pm or Thursday 1/11 at noon, you can attend Advocacy 101 to learn more from FAN Staff about how to advocate or refresh your skills. All sessions are online—you will receive the link when you register.

You can find FAN’s Legislative Agenda on our website; it is still being updated with bill numbers and sponsors as session begins. Our Issue Fact Sheets for each bill will continue to be updated as well as our Bill Tracker as legislation moves through committee hearings.

Before session even begins, we invite you to write your legislators to highlight the issues you care about this session. As the session moves forward, we’ll be focusing these alerts on specific bills, so this is a great time to share with them a general message about the change you hope to see. Here’s the link and template you can use.

It’s also a good time to make sure you know who your two representatives and senator are: you can confirm your legislative district and legislators at Washington State Legislature. Go to their websites, look at the legislation they’ve introduced, and find out what committees they are on. Finally, we hope you’ll plan to join us for Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia on Thursday February 8! Our plans for plenary, workshops, caucus time, and meetings with your legislators are coming together. We are intending to have an online opportunity in late January to meet others in your legislative district before IFAD to strategize your day in Olympia—more information will be shared with those who register. Put together a carpool and plan to join us! Some overnight accommodations are available at Gwinwood Retreat Center in Lacey for those coming from further away.  

Annual Meeting Highlights


Thank you for bringing a smile to my face and heart this afternoon as I read your email and saw the pictures. I rejoice with you for how inspiring your annual meeting celebration was and that you replicated the anointing from my installation service. I pray and trust that everyone that attended will keep the fire of hope alive as you and they move into the world as the presence of Jesus Christ. God’s mission through us will be blessed indeed.

I’m so glad that our national president could be with you, along with her daughter. ‘Ainise is an inspiration to all who encounter her.

Thank you and your leadership team for all you do on behalf of United Women in Faith.



Sally Vonner
General Secretary/Chief Executive Officer
United Women in Faith

Deb Avery with newly elected conference officers: President; Stell Wallace, Vice President; Jan Catrell  and Melissa Bortnick, Nominations Committee Members; Sophia Agtarap, Spiritual Growth; Jenny Bygland, Secretary and Communications; Linda Key, Treasurer; Marsha Aufenkamp, Nomination Committee Chair; Gail Simpson, Membership Nurture and Outreach. (Not pictured: Sara Krum, Chidi Okoros, Education and Interpretation)

We Received a Warm Welcome from Olympia First UMC United Women In Faith

Donna Gaddy and Linda Mills at the registration table. Collection for Olympia First UMC’s outreach programs

We Offered Our Thanks to Retiring Officers

Committee on Nominations Chair, Linda Key, offered thanks to our retiring officers.

Conference Treasurer, Kendra Smith, lighting the Mission Magic Candle.

Sharon McDaniel
Spiritual Growth Mission Coordinator

Linda Mills, SeaTac Missional District President

Stell Wallace, National Director

Inspiring Worship with Music and Communion, Anointing with Oils, and a Stirring Message

Deb Avery, Polyana Isama’u, and ‘Ainise ‘Isama’u raised their voices in song.

Patty Mitchell Upton led our music.

Deb Avery invited the District Presidents up to decorate the altar with items that represented their districts.

Crest to Coast District President, Bev Thomas

SeaTac District President, Linda Mills

Seven Rivers District President, Barb Stout

Puget Sound District President, Jeannine Lish

We celebrated communion & remembered those lost since we last gathered.

Marsha Aufenkamp and Linda Mills led us in a memorial service for those lost  since our last annual meeting.

Rev. Heather Sparkman led us in communion.

Lining up for communion.

Sue Raymond give the communion elements to ‘Ainise ‘Isama’u.

Sue Raymond give the communion elements to ‘Polyana Isama’u.

National President, ‘Ainise ‘Isama’u, led us in an inspiring message and introduced us to her daughter.

‘Ainise ‘Isama’u and daughter, Polyana Isama’u.

The newly elected conference officers were anointed, then everyone came forward to be anointed

District Presidents, Jeannine Lish, Barb Stout,
Bev Thomas, Linda Mills, and, filling in for Judy Dirks, Patsy Charlson

Anointing with oils.

Jeannine Lish anointing Kendra Smith with oil.

Stell Wallace giving the closing benediction.

Western Jurisdiction United Women in Faith Quadrennial Event

May 9-11, 2024

Regular Registration

December through  April 15, 2024: $345

Come to Jurisdiction in Alaska!

Greetings, United Women of Faith!

Registration is now open for the Western Jurisdiction United Women in Faith Quadrennial Gathering in Anchorage, Alaska! Please register at, where you will find detailed information on the hotel, Alaska Airlines discounts, time schedules, and workshop opportunities. Hotel Captain Cook offers the option of adding three additional days before or after our gathering if you’d like to extend your stay and take the opportunity to see more of Alaska.

We’re excited about this chance to Get Together” at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage on May 9-11, 2024. (pre-events start May 8, 2024). Our theme, “Get Together,” is centered in John 13:34, and all the jurisdictions share it. This theme feels especially relevant after having to cancel the 2020 in-person event and move to online only. After eight years, our team is eager to gather in person, as we’re sure you are! The central purpose of this event is to elect women who will represent our jurisdiction as National Board of Director members. In addition, we will worship, celebrate, share, serve, learn, sing, pray and connect.

The past several years of planning have been unusually challenging due to the pandemic. Still, our team is delighted with how well the many aspects of our event have come together to showcase our values and priorities while also highlighting the rich diversity and many cultures of Alaska. We’re honored to have Amy Valdez Barker, PhD as our keynote speaker and Makeda McCreary as our music director. This will also be an opportunity to meet Sally Vonner, our new General Secretary/CEO, and our President, ‘Ainise ‘Isama’u. It is our prayer that this event will be an opportunity for each of you to rest and be renewed as we celebrate our work as United Women of Faith together. Early registration goes through Nov. 30, 2023, offering you an opportunity to save $50. Thank you for your continued support of all we do as United Women of Faith! We hope to see you in Anchorage!

Become Part of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement

With the UM Commission on Religion & Race recently deciding to try to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050, I have created this chart loaded with real actions we all can take in support of this goal. Please share this poster with anyone who wants to work toward a healthy and just world!

I would also like to recommend people look into becoming a UM EarthKeeper and read these creation justice books:

  • “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” by Ayena Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Keeble Wilkerson
  • “Climate Justice: A Call to Hope and Action” by Pat Watkins
  • “Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have” by Tatiana Schlossberg
  • “Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation” by Paul Hawken“Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World” by Katharine Hayhoe
  • “The Better World Shopping Guide” (latest edition)
  • “This Is Climate Change: A Visual Guide to the Facts…See For Yourself How the Planet is Warming and What it Means For Us” by David Nelles and Christian Serrer