The  Sower  
Orchards United Methodist Church Newsletter
March 2019 -
1st Edition     
"It's...that...time of year." No I don't mean Christmas silly. I mean that other season of wonder, delight and effervescence: LENT!

Wonder because Lent takes us to the boundaries of good and evil, life and death and sin and salvation. We wonder at the courage and tenacity of Jesus who endured brutality for the 
 sake of us sinners. Delight because there is a joyous element to Lent. Jesus parties with Zombies (ie. Lazarus), bathes in expensive perfume (nard) and shares with us one last bottle of wine. Effervescence because the passion of Christ is nothing if not bubbling with enthusiasm. Jesus confronts the sin of the world and shakes it off with fervor, except for that whole crucifixion part. And what better way to celebrate overcoming evil, death, the Sanhedrin and the Roman empire than an early morning toga party in the cemetery.

The invitation is simple: join in the journey of Lent. It's 40 days of pain, struggle and relinquishment. Sounds groovy, right? Know full well it will end in resurrection and abundant life. Know also that the road is tough and there are crosses for you to carry as well.

The journey begins Ash Wednesday March 6, 6:30pm. Worship during Lent will be under the theme of "the stone the builder's rejected". I'd like for us to see how and why Jesus was rejected and executed. I think we will find plenty of parallels and hopefully good wisdom for our own day. We will have special prayer time and a sermon process that will be (a bit more) interactive. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services will both be in the Fellowship Hall which will allow us a more visceral worship opportunity. Lent is a good time to do things differently.

We will have multiple learning opportunities throughout the season. The primary opportunity will begin Monday, March 11, 6:30pm. I'd like to study the book We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McClaren. This is on the recommendation of our Bishop Elaine Stanovsky to reacquaint ourselves with the importance of spiritual disciplines. This study will continue Monday nights through April 8.

But wait! There's more. I'd like to offer two opportunities for 'deep level engagement'. The first is an invitation to engage with me in "me and white supremacy workbook". This is a new resource by Layla F. Saad that helps people see and understand how white privilege operates in our everyday world. The second opportunity is God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case for Same-Sex Relationships. This explores the Bible's teachings on sexuality. At this point in our church's history, it seems fruitful to hear what others have to say.

These 'deep level engagement' opportunities are meant to be hard: to reveal, confront and challenge our biases, beliefs and behaviors. Neither of these resources is neutral. Obviously they are about tough topics that divide our nation and our church. I offer them because Lent is meant to be hard in that 'iron sharpens iron' kind of way. These two resources will bring tears and frustration but also hopefully growth. To engage either one of these, just let me know. I'll make sure you get a resource and I will set up a weekly check-in time whereby we can discuss what you've read.

Finally, I encourage you to engage in the 40 days of Lent with deliberation. By deliberation, I mean making a plan for how you're going to spend the time. Going to give up meat, chocolate, sex, Facebook or anything else? Choose now how you'll be accountable. Going to read the Bible, volunteer at the food bank, walk in the morning, write 3 letters a week, or anything else? Gather your materials and map out your plan now. Lent is about the stark look at the sufferings of Christ...sufferings that reveal to us the depth and breadth of the love of God. Won't you join me?

--Pastor Christopher

Join us as we celebrate the 

Season of Lent!

Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, March 6th at 6:30 pm

Lenten Study: We Make the Road By Walking
Mondays, March 11th - April 8th
Soup Supper - 5:30 pm & Study - 6:30 pm
Palm Sunday, April 14th
Worship - 10 am - Easter Egg Hunt After Worship
Maundy Thursday, April 18th
Service  at 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall
Good Friday, April 19th
Service  at 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall
Easter, April 12st
Sunrise Service  at 6:30 am
Easter Worship at 10 am
Finger Food Brunch after 10 am Worship

There are other opportunities available for people who are looking for deeper  studies with Pastor Christopher. Study Book Examples:     Me and White Supremacy Workbook, God and the Gay Christian , etc.    Please see  Pastor Christopher if you are interested in exploring this opportunity.
Hi Friends,

March is upon us and we just survived the busy month of February. Thanks to Mick, Betsy, Jenahlee, Josh, Elaine, Dawn, and Ryan for all their help with the SH Dinner. Also, kudos to our amazing youth who stepped up as always, and also invited friends to do so as well. Finally, thanks to the most supportive congregation ever for making this our biggest SH Dinner to date.

March will be a little calmer than February was. We have youth group on the 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th. We are switching our week (this month only) for coffee hour, which to be the first Sunday, March 3rd.

Keep an eye out for info on Convo, Camp, and Mission Trip. We have a date for mission trip now, it will be July 28-August 2nd. I look forward to seeing you all this month.


This month:

March 6th 
and 20th
Summer Camp Registration 
is open for all four PNW camps
Twinlow, Lazy F, Indianola, and Ocean Park

All four camps offer unique ways to encounter God
and have a great summer camp experience. 

Ocean Park is the site of our all church retreat,
 and also  the site where many in our congregation 
either attend   or volunteer as leaders. 

Dates for summer camp at Ocean Park this summer are:
Primary/intermediate (entering 1st - 6th grade) July 14-19
Mid/high (entering 7th - just graduated) July 14-19
Family/Kite camp (all ages) August 22-26

You can find details and registration information 
for all four camps at or 
for Ocean Park specifically at
If you have questions about camping ministries, I am always happy to answer questions or find answers with you - feel free to contact me at, (360)608-0976, 
or at church on Sunday morning.

- Betsy Hemphill
Mark your calendars! 

 The All Church Retreat
 will be Friday, April 26-
 Sunday, April 28th at 
 Ocean Park Camp and 
 Retreat Center. Registration will begin March 3rd.  Registrations forms will be located on the Retreat display board.  Please take one, fill it out, and give the form and payment to Betsy Clayton.  We're also looking for volunteers to help with coordinate/plan/run various activities. A sign-up sheet with be available at church or by contacting Betsy Clayton. Contact Betsy C. for more details or with any questions.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a rule change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This rule change would impose a time limit on access to SNAP benefits for people who are unemployed or who do not meet a quota of hours of job training and/or work each week. Those who don't meet the required hours would lose their SNAP eligibility after three months, regardless of how hard they are trying to find more work, more hours, or job training. This proposed rule change would apply only to able-bodied adults without dependents.

Adding these time limits complicates the benefits process and negatively impacts those needing SNAP benefits. This threatens to take food off the tables of nearly 755,000 people. Lifting oneself out of poverty does not happen overnight. This rule change does not account for seeking training to work towards a living wage if the training hours do not meet the required amount. It does not account for hourly jobs and work schedules changing, or the inherent difficulties of finding a job or working more than part-time. 

This proposed rule change works in opposition to Congress, who rejected these changes when they passed the 2018 Farm Bill. It threatens legitimate harm to the health and well-being of individuals who cannot afford to lose SNAP benefits. It hurts grocery retailers, farmers, and agricultural producers by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur local economic activity. 

We ask you to submit a public comment that shows your opposition to this proposed rule change. FAN is part of the ELCA's State Public Policy Office network, and we offer their link to  submit a comment.  Please  personalize  the included message by adding a few sentences of why this is important to you or anything else you might like to include. The public comments are only counted by the federal agencies if they are unique from one another. While the language included in the link's suggested comment is specifically Christian and Lutheran, you can choose to change the language if it does not apply to you.  Please change the wording to reflect our congregation, and or simply  post your comment directly to the federal register

The comment period closes on April 2, 2019.

Religious Zoning Bill (HB 1377/SB 5358): Urge your Representatives to pass this bill out of committee, particularly if they are in the House or Senate Rules Committee. Click here to email your legislators. This bill would assist faith communities in developing low-income housing on their properties.  

Here is the link in case the one above does not work.

Here is the link directly to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service site

Social Justice Team

2018 Annual Report
Faith Partners for Housing

Faith Partners for Housing was formed in January 2016, with the purpose of mobilizing the faith community to address root causes of homelessness.
One root cause identified by this interfaith group was the severe shortage of affordable housing in Clark County. It became clear that Clark county is losing its stock of affordable housing as older apartment complexes, with modest rents, are being converted to expensive condominiums. And, while the county was in a home building boom, few "affordable" homes and apartments were going on line. One respected researcher estimated that the county needs between 3,000 and 6,000 affordable units to close the "affordability gap". This has essentially been the focus of Faith Partners for Housing.
Below is a summary of the activities of Faith Partners for Housing (FP4H) as of December 2018:
  • FP4H has done over twenty power point presentations from mid-2017 through the end of 2018 to faith organizations and community groups to educate around the core causes of homelessness. The presentation invites churches to become involved in actions that will reduce the shortage of safe, affordable housing.
  • FP4H has a voice on the allocation of federal housing funds coming into our community. A member of FP4H sits on a review committee that makes recommendations to the Vancouver City Council on grant applications concerning the distribution of federal housing funds submitted to the city and for grants awarded from the Vancouver Affordable Housing Fund.
  • FP4H was instrumental in developing a new consortium at the Vancouver city level aimed at preventing homelessness. It was funded by the Vancouver Affordable Housing Fund and it provides small grants and financial assistance to keep people in their homes.
  • Members of FP4H participated in a February advocacy day in Olympia to talk with legislators about bills before the legislature that would address homelessness and affordable housing issues.
  • With assistance from FP4H, one congregation (St. Andrew Lutheran) undertook a feasibility study to determine the capacity, estimated cost, funding sources, location and number of apartment units that could be constructed on church property while preserving appropriate areas for other ministry uses and the integrity of the entire property. The process is ongoing.
  • Faith Partners for Housing undertook a nine-month study concerning the potential for creating a shared housing program in Clark county. This program has a two-fold purpose. First, to provide a homeowner with rental income to allow them to remain in their home and, secondly, open up housing for an individual or a family that is "matched up" with the homeowner for compatibility. An exhaustive review was done with relevant agencies in Clark County to determine their capacity and interest in starting such a program. In December FP4H approached the Portland home share program, Metro HomeShare, to explore the possibility of a branch office being placed in Vancouver. Metro HomeShare was extremely receptive and talks are underway on how best to facilitate the process and the funding. 
  • FP4H has done other outreach to make the community and the faith community aware of the mission. FP4H was represented at the downtown Vancouver Peace and Justice Fair and had a table with information at the June 28 Prayer Breakfast hosted by St. Andrew.
  • An initiative was started in the Fall of 2018 to invite faith organizations to become formal members of FP4H by taking official action in their bodies to become "Supporting Partners" and make a small yearly contribution to support the organization.

Easter Card Making Class 

For those of you who enjoy hand made gifts, I will be hosting a class to make Easter Cards. This will be a fund-raiser for the All Church Retreat. The class will take place on March 30th, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Annex Basement. The cost for the class will be $10.00.

I will have cards designs prepared ahead of time, all you will do is follow a few simple directions and you will walk out with fabulous Easter cards to share with friends and family. Make as many as you like.

Please e-mail me at if you will be attending or leave a message on the home phone 
(360) 260-2563. (Then I have a general idea of what I need to prep.)

I will also have a variety of cards available for sale. $1.00 each.

Looking forward to sharing one of my favorite activities with you.


Birthdays &

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


  4 Norm Brenteson
  6 Eric Clayton
     Dave Erickson
 10 Leila Alexander
 11 Taya Allen
 12 Mick Hemphill
 13 Bonnie Morrissey
 18 Andy Roe
 19 Megan Franklin
 20 Aleisha Widner
 23 Samuel Hanson
 27 Arpa Martell
 28 Sandy Carscallen
        Sandy Erickson 
 29 Leilani Greene
 30 Beverly Olson
       Ollie Gudger-  



   5 Bill & Sherry       
 22 Russ & Tamera 
 25 Brian & Marilyn

To View all current Calendar items 
use this link:


Covington Breakfasts

March 6th & 20th
7:00 am

Men's Breakfast

Saturday, March 9th
7:30 am

Women's Group

Saturday,  March 9th
10 am 
Annex Lobby

Heart & Soul Crafters

Saturday, March 2nd
10 am - Annex

Thurs., March 21st
Annex Basement



Adult Sunday School 
9 am

10 am

Life Group
11:15 am

Youth Group
1-3 pm

Life Group
3 pm


Life Group
6:30 pm


Life Group 
1 pm 
Annex Lobby

Pray for Our Military

SFC Patrick Walker

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


Women's Retreat
March 23rd
All Church Retreat
April 26-28

10:00 am 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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