The  Sower  
Orchards United Methodist Church Newsletter 
January 2019 - 1st Edition
Dear Church,

In less than 2 months, the most consequential meeting since the founding of the United Methodist Church in 1968 will begin. A specially called General Conference will take place in St. Louis February 23-26 to discuss and decide the church's stance on matters regarding human sexuality. This General Conference has been called by the Council of Bishops at the request of the General Conference in 2016. 

In 2016, our denomination came seriously close to collapsing over deeply held disagreements over the place of LGBTQ people in the church. The Council of Bishops then decided to host a "Commission on the Way Forward," a panel representing the various factions within the denomination. The Commission presented 3 proposals that would alter our Book of Discipline to address the impasse. These three proposals are very different. All three have been reviewed by our Judicial Council (our church's supreme court) and evaluated for whether they are compatible with our Book of Discipline. General Conference 2019 will look at these proposals and try to reach a solution.

I'm asking each of us in the Orchards congregation to set aside time for prayer on Wednesdays beginning now until February 27, the day after the General Conference's conclusion. I don't really know what to tell you to pray for. I have great fear that our denomination will implode. At the same time, I know the wise and beloved community at Orchards will endure. And I know even better that our calling from God to love our neighbors as ourselves--with mercy, kindness and respect--will emerge from the chaos of General Conference.

I do think that as societies change--and we have changed considerably on these issues--people are ultimately compelled to choose how or if they want to change along with it. As for welcoming and including LGBTQ people I have changed from prohibition to inclusion. Experiences I have had with gay and lesbian Christians have led me to see how the church's teachings are incompatible with the truths of their lives. I have watched fruitful and admirable ministers leave for friendlier denominations. I see how including and welcoming LGBTQ impacts how we include and welcome all people unlike us. To illustrate this, I want to tell you about my seminary classmate Hyoik.

Before coming to seminary in NJ, Hyoik got a degree in Sacred Music in Texas. He is a masterful pianist and singer. He moved to Texas with his wife and kids and began looking for church musician jobs to support his family. He heard that there was a church that welcomed gay people. He was very intrigued because his traditional Korean church was not like that. He reasoned with his wife 'If they can welcome and accept gay people, they will probably welcome and accept us foreigners.' His family took a chance and went. Their wisdom paid off. Soon Hyoik became one of their musicians and found a place that loved and cared for his family as they were negoiating a scary new homeland. Ironically, for all the LGBTQ Christians I have seen go to other churches, Hyoik's story still sticks in my ribs. The LGBTQ issue is really about how we love people.

These issues facing the church have deep and far-reaching implications. So General Conference must be flooded with prayers for wisdom! I hope you'll join me. Finally, on Wednesdays I will send via email and Facebook information on the General Conference to inform your prayers. It is a complex issue. But it cannot be ignored.

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help.

Pastor Christopher

 Hi Friends,

 Happy New Year! With a new year comes getting back to a bit of normalcy. We're going to   be meeting every Sunday in January (except for the 27th) from 1-3pm. We'll get some   time to talk about Christmas, and the season that follows. What does it mean for us to   celebrate having God living among us? How does it change the way we live?

 Instead of youth group on the 27th, I'm encouraging participation in the Race for    

 I can't wait to have these and other conversations with you this month. See you soon.


This month:

January 16th and 30th
 We would love for you to join us as we   craft, laugh and enjoy some fellowship   time together.   Just bring your own   craft project or just yourself.  We will be   meeting:
Thursday, January 17th at 6 pm
Saturday, January 26th at 10 am

Both meetings will be in the fellowship hall.  Contact  Shiloh 541-740-8401 or  Sherry 360-518-9988   
if you have any questions.

Tuesday Evening Centering Prayer Life Group

Our Tuesday Evening Life Group will start up again on Tuesday January 8
th. We'll meet for ten weeks, with the last meeting of the quarter being Tuesday March 12
th. We meet from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the Annex basement.
This quarter we will again continue our focus on Centering Prayer, which is one of many Christian contemplative practices. Centering Prayer and other contemplative practices are a way to help us take a step back from our constant mental commentary, and be open and present to God, who is always present within us. It's a way to help us move from thinking
about God, to
relating directly with God. For more information on Centering Prayer, come join us for an evening, or see .

We will also continue using Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations as conversation starters. For more information on Richard Rohr, or to sign up to receive his meditations or read previous ones, please see .

Please feel free to give us a try. There's no book to buy this quarter, and it will be easy to join in the conversation even if you can only attend occasionally.


  The adult Sunday school class will be   
  starting a series called Animate this
  Sunday. Join us in the annex at 9 am
  this Sunday 1/6 as we start the 7 part
 WHO dates are the evening of 1/27- morning of 1/30.
 Deb is taking sign ups for all shifts:


 We also need folks to bring in a hot dish or fruit and veggies or   dessert for the evening shifts on 27th, 28th, and 29th. The   shelter has been very full and we expect it to continue.

Deb also needs some one who can pick up laundry on Sunday evening at Share Orchards house.

A training is available any Sunday at 5pm at St. Andrew Lutheran Church if you need a refresher or if it's your first time volunteering. There are also detailed shift duties on the  WHOPROGRAM.ORG website if you are curious but have never volunteered before. Remember you're part of a team all working together, we even need people who can sit at the front entrance and make people feel welcome while keeping a watchful eye out.


There are really no words that are adequate to say thank 
you to our amazing church family. We appreciate all that you did to help our mom, Grammie  and us through a very difficult year. Thank you to everyone who was there with a phone call a card a visit a hug. We are forever grateful for each and everyone of you and your ability to support us and love us. We know that our Mom loved each and everyone of you and loved being a part of the Orchards church family.

Love you all,
Rick and Suzie
Eric, Betsy, Ellie and Chase
Ray, Katie, Douglas and Isabelle
Jim and Alice Bafus and family 
Birthdays &

If we don't have your
birthday or anniversary date,  or if it is incorrect,
please call the office,
892-5240 or   email

   2 Bill Hibbs
   9 Joyce Phillips
 10 Mike Coats
 11 Meredith
 16 Natalie Schmick
      Patrick Walker
 17 Cody Jeffries
      Mary Jordan
       Saffiere  Hanshew
 18 Jan Brewer
  21 Betsy Hemphill
      Jason Shafer
 23 Rod Allen
       Pomroy Schill
 24 Christopher
 25 Russ Allen
 28 Elaine Walker



  7 Christopher &

Pray for Our Military

PFC Patrick Walker
Fort Carson, CO

SPC Gus Jeffries
National Guard

1st LT Tom Roller
Air Force
has been deployed

James Major
Biomedical School
San Antonio,Texas

SGT Ben Major
Camp Pendleton
San Diego, CA


To View all current Calendar items 
use this link:


Jan. 27th - 30th
All Church Retreat
April 26-28

1:00 pm each Wednesday
Sower Articles:

25th of 
Each Month

Contact Information

Website:        email:    
Follow us on Facebook:  Orchards UMC Vancouver  #OrchardsUMC
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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