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Electing New Leaders: Reflections on Jurisdictional Conference


“What is needed now, more than ever, is leadership that steers us away from fear and fosters greater confidence in the inherent goodness and ingenuity of humanity.” -Jimmy Carter

The Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church gathered last week in Scottsdale, AZ, and elected an out, married, lesbian as the newest Bishop of the United Methodist Church. And considered (and approved) many other legislative petitions and resolutions that will be made available for us in the near future. Jimmy Carter’s statement characterizes the mood, the events, and the outcome of the Episcopal elections last week—5 days of grace, peace, love and the Spirit of God.

It was my fifth Jurisdictional Conference as a delegate (over the course of the last 6 quadrennia) but the first one in which grace and mutual love and care reigned so completely. And it was an election! Small proof, perhaps, that an election can be an occasion of grace and love. And hope. I came away from Jurisdictional Conference believing that our willingness to risk on behalf of the whole church and the world unleashes God’s truth and wisdom and love to adequately address our times and convict us humans of both our complicity in the way things are and of the possibility to bring change, transformation, hope.

We intentionally and carefully considered the possible consequences of electing a lesbian or gay bishop at this point in our church life. But we were reminded that for the past several months we’ve been holding up the motto: It’s Time! Time for the Church to fully open to embrace all people, and the earth itself, as part of the Kindom of God. There were nine candidates for the Episcopacy and we took 17 ballots to elect The Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto our newest Bishop. Many of the candidates were beautifully qualified and gifted to lead the church, in these times and into a new future, and certainly that’s true of Bishop Oliveto as well. In the end, the Jurisdiction voted overwhelmingly (88 out of 100 delegates) to name Rev. Oliveto our next Bishop. She will bring her personal experience and a heart full of compassion for all marginalized persons to her ministry as Bishop. Let us welcome her to the Mountain Sky Conference as it continues its new formation (Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Conferences).

And as a final note, you have probably also read that we in the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area will receive a new Bishop in September. Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, who was elected to the Episcopacy from this Conference, will become our Bishop September 1. I hope you will join me in welcoming her back to the Pacific Northwest.


Rev. Sharon Moe

Sifting Through the Noise

Listen to Carina Schubert’s sermon from Sunday, July 17, 2016 Sifting Through the Noise. (Image by Abigail Southworth.)

Heart Stirrings from Rev. Moe


The events of the last few weeks present themselves to us with urgency: the shootings in Dallas of police officers is one more layer of tragedy and uncontrolled violence in our cities on top of seemingly random individual killings of black men in various cities across the country, in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, and the recent massacre in the Pulse LGBTQIA nightclub in Orlando. It is mind-boggling and overwhelming, and we all seek to understand why and how it can be prevented. In the meantime we must deal with our personal and community fear and grief, outrage and impotence and with our deeply internalized racism and violence.

As a step toward acknowledging the horror and grief of these shootings, various Seattle Faith Communities (listed below) and persons of faith reached out last week to deliver flowers to the police precincts in King County and to individual police officers. The message delivered with the flowers is “Our prayers for safety and peace on this painful day. With gratitude, love and hope for a more just and peaceful future.”

Queen Anne United Methodist Church/The Well
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
The Church Council of Greater Seattle
The Catacomb Churches
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (Lynnwood)
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Shoreline)
University Presbyterian Church
Maple Leaf Lutheran Church
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, Seattle
Northminster Presbyterian Churcher
First Church (First United Methodist Church, Seattle)
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Seattle
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer Island
Edmonds Lutheran Church
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Interfaith Community Sanctuary & School
Queen Anne Presbyterian Church
Seattle Mennonite Church
UW Lutheran Campus Ministry
Columbia City Church of Hope
Shoreline United Methodist Church
First African Methodist Episcopal Church-Seattle, WA
Wedgwood Presbyterian Church
Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
Broadview Community United Church of Christ
Good Shepherd Baptist Church
Immanuel Community Services
Northlake Lutheran Church, Kenmore, WA
Grace Lutheran Church – Bellevue
This isn’t the last action to be taken by King County Faith Communities on behalf of non-violence and the lives of black people, who are too often the victims of violence. We will be working together to forge paths toward peace and well-being among peoples and communities who are killing each other.

How can we all reach out to mend the rifts, so that “…your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.” (Isa. 58:12)

Shared Breakfast Dishwashers Needed!

dinner plate stackLooking for an opportunity to sharpen your dishwashing skills and have some fun?! The Shared Breakfast Dishwashing Team is looking for volunteers interested in helping wash dishes one Sunday morning per month.  This is a wonderful opportunity to support Shared Breakfast, our weekly hot meal for those in need in our community. The dishwashing starts at 7:45am and runs until approximately 10:15am. Any availability during this time would be welcomed. The dishwashing makes for great camaraderie and fellowship as well as a good workout!

Provide & Protect Workshop (Will & Estate Planning)

Sunday, August 7 at 1pm after the All-Church Picnic

Are your loved ones well-cared-for? Will your property pass to your intended beneficiaries? Will your estate avoid unnecessary taxes? Prepare to make your plans known. Tom Wilson, the Executive Director of the Northwest United Methodist Foundation will be presenting a workshop entitled Provide & Protect on August 7. In partnership with the NWUMF, we will be providing instruction and resources to guide you through end-of-life planning, creation of your will, and legacy conversations. Come enjoy our all-church picnic lunch and then begin a plan to Provide & Protect those individuals and organizations that are most important to you.