The Sower

Orchards United Methodist Church

August  2019 - 1st Edition
I want to tell you a clergy story that relates to you.

Throughout the ordination process, a candidate for ordained ministry has to tell their "call story". It's different for everyone. In essence, one has to tell the way they determined that God wanted them to take this particular path. For me, it was a series of steps and an accumulation of experiences that revealed my love of the church and my desire to serve God through serving the church. The ordination process is long and most of us have setbacks along the way during which our calling is questioned, doubted and challenged. For me, those setbacks caused me to sharpen my focus, clarify my calling and grow a spine. Nowadays I feel rather confident in my place in life.

What does this mean for you? Clergy are not the only ones that God calls. God calls each of us to a life of purpose. And as we gather as a singular body called the church, God also has a calling for the church. Having honed my call story over the years, I have learned to see the calling in others. I must remain humble, as I can get it wrong. But when I see a gift, I feel compelled to name it.

Gathering this summer at Summertime Read and Play has been a bit of an experiment. I have long sensed that you and the larger community ought to be friends. More specifically, people in the community who need a friend would be fortunate to know you. By the time Labor Day rolls around, 25-30 kids and a 5-10 adults from Orchards Glen apartments will know you. They will know you because you fed them, played with them and read with them. Your kindness in service, your consistent willingness and your ability to connect with the kids are quality gifts. There seems to be some evidence that God is blessing your ministry.

So what is God's calling for us as summer gives way to autumn? We have a deeper connection with Orchards Elementary School. Now their Reading Specialist, their Art Coordinator and one of their playground aides have seen us in fruitful ministry with the kids they help educate. This is in addition to being seen as a friend of Jennifer Beeks, the Family and Community Outreach director. In fall, we will launch our Community Family Support Team ministry. This has been envisioned by the Church Council and Rachon Hanson has agreed to lead this team. This team will connect with Jennifer Beeks and help her help the families. Your giftedness has been noticed. I suspect that God is calling you into a deeper ministry with your larger community.

Lastly, it is common that when the angel of the Lord appears the first statement is "Do not be afraid". Sometimes callings have setbacks and challenges. I encourage you to stay focused on loving your neighbors in word and deed. It is ultimately the love that your neighbors will remember. May this season of fruitful service be a legacy for Orchards UMC for years to come.

grace and peace,
Pastor Christopher
Summertime Read & Play

We're in the home stretch in our summer ministry at Orchards Glen Apartments!

It's not too late to sign up! We're there Tuesdays and Thursdays through August 15. The main thing we need from volunteers is just to come hang out with the kids (and also their parents and other adults!). Play the games together. Read together. Eat together. Just be together. Talk to Rachon at 206-551-5424/ or sign up on the board in the narthex.

Thank you for giving this a try. Thank you to those who have been the faithful crew, there time and again, helping make this a success. Thank you to those who have been there when you can, who have fit this new thing into your lives. Thank you to those who have bought or prepared food. Thank you to those who have stepped up to lead games or activities. Thank you to those who have prayed for the kids and for the volunteers.

We've been learning a lot. Whatever comes next in our partnerships with these kids, this summer has mattered. It has created connections. We've gotten to see God in one another. We're almost to the end of this summer's ministry, but, hopefully, the partnerships will continue. The relationships will continue. And we will all continue to grow in loving God, loving people, and serving both.

In September, we will be meeting at our normal times.  
 (1st Saturday) at 10 am - Annex

(3rd Thursday) at 6 pm - Annex 

  Remember to BYOCraft or just yourself as we enjoy this time of Fellowship and Crafting.
Contact Shiloh 541-740-8401 or  Sherry 360-518-9988
  if you have any questions.
  Annual Conference Report
Theme: Do this and Live...
Love Like This and You Shall Live

Delegates and reserve delegates to the 2020 Western Jurisdiction were elected during the conference session. 2020 General Conference delegates and reserves had been elected in 2019. The completed delegation well represents the Church the Pacific Northwest and aspires to be-diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
9 individuals were ordained as elders and admitted to full connection. Two individuals were commissioned in preparation for the order of provisional elder and one into the order of provisional deacon. The new license of a local pastor, and the retirement of 15 pastoral leaders, were also recognized.
The memorial service included the names of 17 people and 3 church closures
Membership stands at 36,845, down nearly 900 from the previous year.
  • Worship attendance stands at 16,417, down around 370.
  • Church school attendance stands at 4,450, down 54.
  • Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2018 stand at 694, down by 51.
  • Baptisms stand at 295, down 92.
  • Adults and young adults in small groups were 9,888, down by about 500.
  • Worshipers engaged in mission 9,979, down by 302.
But What is new?
53 church planters in the Greater NW Area, launched 43 new projects, and ended 9, 83 pastors were trained, 28 of which were church planters, and we placed 17 interns of color.
It was noted that if we inhabit the domain of privilege, we are the ones who must choose to step aside to allow others such as persons of color, and youth to lead. We, who have power must demonstrate our willingness to embrace differences, if we are to expand the boundaries of our churches.
The church is celebrating a Bicentennial of Mission, and the United Methodist Women are celebrating 150 years of Mission. During this time the church has weathered many storms and will survive many more. We each will, with God's help find our path forward, and endure strong and resilient, no matter what happens next.  
Finally, As I'm sure you know, a great deal of time and energy went into addressing the issues raised by the 2018 General Conference. The Pacific NW conference is trying to be proactive in our response, and many people continue to work to discern options, and how best to respond to changes.
What changes? Actually, the General Conference didn't actually change that much, but what was changed has significant impact on our local churches. It added language which imposes a Prohibition of approving or recommending any LGBTQ person for service, AND allows complaints against clergy including Bishops, who are now mandated to not receive recommendations for LGBTQ persons.
Important dates to be aware of:
  • The PNW district plans to become a separate legal entity and obtain a 501-C with a planned effective date by Oct 15
  • Jan 1, the new Traditionalist plan goes into effect. An onslaught of accusations is expected at that time.  
  • May 5th the next General Conference will be held in Minneapolis. Some are hopeful that changes may be made to the Traditional plan at that time, but expectations are low.   
Our Conference Sent Delegates to UM Forward, which identified 3 major options, to stay and resist, stay and explore a way out, or to leave.
Delegates were also sent to UM Next and explored Reconciling Ministries. They agreed on basic principles. 
  1. To be passionate followers of Christ 
  2. Resist evil, and oppression 
  3. Reject the traditional plan 
  4. To work to eliminate discriminatory language, and penalties. 
  5. More information can be found at (
On the more traditional side the WCA (Wesleyan Covenant Association) is also working on a contingency plan for themselves. They do not expect to be present at our Annual Conference next year.  
It is generally believed that the majority does not want a split, but this is an issue of conscience.
A matrix of options, with potential costs has been developed, and can be summed up as follows:
  1. Stay/resist. This is already happening.
  2. Disaffiliation/withdrawal which will take 1-3 years for the process and could be expensive and high risk.
  3. Withdrawal of annual conferences and single churches.
  4. Negotiated division with asset distribution 3-5 years to implement.
There is no reason to wait for another General Conference. We are being proactive.
At conference Offerings and gifts were received during the weekend. The first was for a Safe Harbor Fund to support clergy persons and candidates outside of the Greater Northwest Area endangered by the actions of the 2019 General Conference. This fund was Initiated by Bishop Stanovsky, and will be managed by the Greater NW Area.
The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference declared that it will:
  • Reaffirm and continue its commitment to Non-Compliance with United Methodist and governmental actions that limit, degrade, or hinder full participation in the life of both church and society for members of the LGBTQIA+ communities. 
  • Affirm and celebrate the sexual and gender identities of all members of the LGBTQIA+ communities. 
  • Live into the statements of the PNW Board of Ordained Ministry, the Western Jurisdiction's Leadership Team, and Mission Cabinet, as it seeks to become a truly inclusive Church [where its leaders have stated that they do not consider sexual orientation or gender identity as disqualifying candidates for ministry and refuse to capitulate to the by resisting and exploring alternate structures]. 
  • Listen to and further the work of gatherings like UM Forward and UM next, alongside those most impacted by oppressive systems, as it considers new ways forward for the church 
Petitions ran the gamut from calling for the exploration of disaffiliation, to creation of a task force to establish a new legal entity which might develop a new expression of Methodism.

Another expresses the will of the conference to prioritize complaints relating to LGBTQIA+ in an effort to minimize the impact of multiple complaints swamping the Conference, as investigations, arbitrations, and possible church trials stemming from a flood of complaints could easily overwhelm the administrative capacities of the conference. The conference also directed its secretary to send a petition to General Conference calling for the formation of the United States, or North America as a Central Conference.
In all over 30 petitions were approved.
This is yet another Cross over year. This year, decisions must be made, by each and every Conference, and Congregation. Each pastor, and each church member, ultimately will have to decide.
We hope you appreciate the concerns of our Council of Governance. We will continue to be listening to concerns of the congregation, in order that we may discern the thoughts, and feelings of our congregation, and determine how best to proceed as a congregation. Thank you.
Terry L. Eaton
Conference Delegate   

Centering Prayer and the Tuesday Evening Life Group

What is Centering Prayer? Very simply, in Centering Prayer our intention is to consent to God's presence and action within us. To do this, we sit in silence, and we choose a word to help remind ourselves of our intention. And when thoughts or distractions come up, and they always do, we silently repeat our word internally as a reminder of our intention to consent to God being present within us and working within us. When we find that we've become distracted or wandered off into our thoughts again, and we always do, we silently repeat our word to bring ourselves back to our intention. It's like saying to a friend, "Oh - where were we?" after being distracted in a conversation. In this prayer we are intentionally opening ourselves up to God. It's a prayer of intention. I like it because I don't have to think of what to say to God. I just keep re-consenting to God's presence and action within me. Centering Prayer gives us a way to take a step back from our constant mental commentary - our thoughts and distractions, which we often hide behind, and to be present with God who is always present right here within us, right now. The hard part is to stop running away from God.

Our Tuesday Evening Life Group keeps a focus on Centering Prayer. However, Centering Prayer is something you can do whether you participate in a Life Group or not. For more information on Centering Prayer come join us for an evening, or check it out at:

Our Tuesday Evening Life Group will start up again on Tuesday September 17th. We'll meet for ten weeks, with the last meeting of the quarter being Tuesday November 19th (Thanksgiving is November 21st). We meet from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the Annex basement.

This quarter for discussion starters we will be using Part 2 of Richard Rohr's latest book, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe, available at Amazon and elsewhere. Please consider giving us a try even if you're just curious and don't want to commit to attending regularly. You can easily join in the conversation without the book, even if you can only attend once or occasionally.

Rod Allen
360 609-7832
Don't forget to Vote!  
Reminder to  vote  in the local election - deadline  August 6, 2019
Local officials, education levies and emergency medical services will be decided.
Birthdays &

   3 Deb Burlingame
   9 Allison Hibbs
 12 Dorothy Shepard
 13 Jenah Boruff
 16 Terry Eaton
      Jason Olson
 17 Hunter Roe
 19 Kathy Funk
 20 Judy Klineline
       Ed Masters
 23 Charles Chandler
 26 Dustin White



   6 Eric & Betsy
   7 Michael & Allison
  8 John & Terry     
 11 Ray & Katie 
 12 Mike & Diane
 17 Stu & Merle
 29 Bill & Shannon

 If we don't have 
your birthday or   anniversary or  if the   information is  incorrect, please 
email  the office at:

Pray for Our Military

SFC Patrick Walker

SPC Gus Jeffries
National Guard

1st LT Tom Roller
Air Force
has been deployed


To View all current Calendar items 
use this link:

Men's Breakfast
August 10th
7:30 am

Read & Play
Orchards Glen
Tues. & Thurs.
(August 15th is 
the last day)
4-7 pm  


All Church Retreat
April 24-26


Contact Information

Website:       email:    

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Orchards United Methodist Youth  #OrchardsUMCYouth

Office Hours: Tues.-Thur., 9:30 am - 3:30 pm         Phone: 360-892-5240        

Pastor:  Christopher Gudger-Raines

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