Rise Up! February 17 – 20 in Portland

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Don’t miss an exciting weekend with fellow justice seekers. This invitation letter will give more details on the conference. The date is approaching fast. The deadline for the lowest registration fee is January 17.

Our keynote speaker Friday night will be Bishop Karen Oliveto. Her preaching is guaranteed to inspire and motivate you. On Saturday, workshop leader, Beth Zemsky,  will lead us in learning to develop an intersectional movement to help bring justice for all. On Sunday and Monday, you will have an opportunity to become part of an action network of people across the Western Jurisdiction to plan and carry out action in at least one specific area.

One of the goals of this conference is to involve more young people and people of color. If you know someone who should be involved in this work for justice, share this information and urge them to attend. Scholarships are available, but the deadline for those applications is even sooner: January 12. Don’t wait!

See you in Portland!

September Newsletter

If you have not read our most recent newsletter, you can download it here. You will learn the status of our annual conference’s work to divest from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, the opportunities to minister to and with disabled people, and one church’s journey with their homeless neighbors. There is also information about our fall event on October 15.

If you have already read the newsletter, why not make a copy for a friend?

Concerned about homelessness?

In places large and small across Oregon and Idaho, homelessness is increasing. Why is this happening? What can we do about it? Join us on October 15 at the Tigard United Methodist Church for our fall event: “Homelessness: Relationships and Responses”. Download this flyer for all the details and a registration form. Mail the registration form with your check made out to “MFSA”. Or you can contact registrar Janine Delauney at jandela51@wvi.com

The keynote speakers for the morning session will be Paul Schroeder and Rob Justus, both active in the Portland area. In the afternoon there will be a choice of workshops with presenters from cities and churches of varying sizes with different approaches to making a difference.

MORE ABOUT OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

Paul Schroeder (MDiv) is the founder and executive director of New City Initiative (www.newcityinitiative.net), a nonprofit whose purpose is that all people should achieve their full human potential, and whose mission is to engage faith communities in ending the cycle of homelessness. A former Greek Orthodox priest, Paul was inspired by his experience with the CUSINA program, which offered Greek cooking classes for people transitioning out of homelessness, to create a network of congregations supporting people’s efforts to end their homelessness. In 2010, Paul started New City Initiative as a project at JOIN, a local homelessness services nonprofit. New City Initiative became its own nonprofit in 2012. He is the author and translator of On Social Justice: St Basil the Great, a collection of homilies by Basil of Caesarea, a 4th-century Christian figure who founded a center called the “new city” that was dedicated to healing the whole person. He is also the creator of Building the New City, an interfaith curriculum on homelessness that has been used by dozens of congregations in the Portland area. In 2012, Paul received the Lamplighter Award from Operation Nightwatch for his organizing work in the faith community around family homelessness. In 2015, he received the Lowenstein Trust Award at Portland City Hall, which is awarded each year to “that person who demonstrated (in the opinion of the Trustees) the greatest contribution to assisting the poor and underprivileged in the city of Portland, Oregon.”

Rob Justus founded JOIN in 1992, an organization to support the efforts of homeless individuals and families to transition out of homelessness into permanent housing. JOIN focused on individuals sleeping outside in the Portland Metro area and launched “housing first” as a model for helping transition people into housing. Rob has a long history working with nonprofits and church communities around the issues of homeless and housing. In addition to work on housing, Rob has worked with CASH Oregon creating innovative approaches to increase income for low income Oregonians.

Calling all knitters!

Anyone who has lived in western Oregon knows that the weather in May can feel like anything from winter to summer. This coming May, we will be hosts to General Conference delegates from all over the world. Remembering that some of the delegates in 2012 thought Tampa was cold (hard for us to imagine!), we are collecting handmade hats and scarves to offer to any delegates who would like them, as part of our hospitality.

This effort is being coordinated by Claudia Roberts for our chapter, but the hats will be distributed by the local host committee as a part of the overall welcome of our annual conference. Anyone can participate. Download the flyer for more details and instructions. This is a great activity for those who live too far from Portland to feel connected to the hospitality effort.

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Texas in August may not sound attractive to us in the Northwest, but this event will be worth the trip! Gather at the River is a joint event of MFSA and Reconciling Ministries Network. It will take place at Travis Park UMC in San Antonio August 6 through 9, and it will bring together United Methodists from all the world for worship, Bible study, and inspiration for our journey as we move toward General Conference 2016. Registration is now open, and the early registration deadline is coming soon. Scholarships are available. Get all the details and register at www.gather2015.org.