Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Grace and peace to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel! ("God-With-Us")

During Advent we remember that in Jesus' time, the faithful lived with the expectation that God's promise of salvation would be fulfilled and that their lives would find new meaning and hope. As the incarnation of God's love in the world, Jesus ushered in that new era of hope.

Our Annual Conference is experiencing a time of hopefulness too! Acting on our desire to reverse decline, Oregon-Idaho United Methodists have made a commitment to make changes that will help us grow healthy vital congregations. Now, six months into our journey, we are experiencing some of the uncertainty and fear that result when things are done differently. For some, the change in how we conduct annual fall meetings has been difficult. Others believe that nothing has really changed other than the titles of some of our leaders and processes.

But, if I am hearing about uncertainty and fears, I also see encouraging signs of hope! The Assistants to the Bishop report that at the all church meetings discussions are rich and inspiring when focused on discovering a vision for ministry in their local congregation. Hearing the results of these discussions helps all of us in learning about and understanding the serious challenges local congregations are facing; as well as the many and varied gifts present in your ministry settings. This process enables the Ministry Leadership Team, the Assistants to the Bishop and me to learn how to better assist you to engage in vital and relevant ministry.

I deeply appreciate the Assistants to the Bishop who work tirelessly building and maintaining relationships with congregations. In order to promote growth of mission and ministry in the future and to continue offering support to our congregations, we will continue to maintain five districts in our Annual Conference.

We are also blessed by the Ministry Leadership Team and its commitment to focus our expertise on assisting congregations to thrive. We are prayerfully discerning how to best nurture and support congregations and clergy in trying bold new ways of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and of practicing what we preach. Our efforts coalesce around the commitment to lead us out of decline and into dynamic growth.

I also count as a sign of hope the many congregations that understand how critical it is for our future to look outwardly at the community and world beyond the four walls of the church building. United Methodists are making a difference and becoming more relevant to our calling as we embrace changes in our society and the world. Laity and clergy are demonstrating a willingness to open themselves to new ideas, new challenges, and new opportunities.

As we navigate through the challenging times these are some of the signs of hope that I see during this time of change. There will be many more! We give thanks for God's presence with us, guiding us and equipping us to grow healthy vital congregations in our Annual Conference. In God's presence is our hope!
--In Christ's shalom, Bishop Robert T. Hoshibat

God is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer
United Methodist Communications

1 comment:

John Wilson said...

Hey Lladale, my name is John. I read a lot of blogs on religion and prayer and I've i feel like I've ended up here once before. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this prayer exchange website I thought it was an interesting idea and would be curious to hear what you (or other Christians) think about it

I'll check back here in the next day or two, thanks & God bless
John W.