BISHOP’S BLOG2018-12-19T21:05:13-08:00

UMC Special General Conference Update

The United Methodist Church (UMC) has just completed a Special Session of their General Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri February 23-26, 2019. The UMC is a broader communion than the ELCA so this meeting included churches from Africa, the United States and beyond. The purpose of the Special Session was to receive and act on a report from the UMC Commission on a Way Forward, authorized to examine paragraphs in the The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen church unity.

Central to the Commission’s work was the possible acceptance of LGBTQ […]

By |February 27th, 2019|

Vision Series 1: The Big Picture

Three weeks ago I was in Phoenix, AZ with faculty and staff from PLTS and Luther Seminary. There were also a few ELCA Churchwide staff and other guests present. Our discussion was around the needs and opportunities for church leadership in this new age. Saturday evening I flew home and then Sunday I was privileged to be with Pr. Carl Hansen and the congregations of Colton Lutheran and St. Paul of Damascus for worship.

Last weekend I sat with the board of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. We’re in a search for a new […]

By |February 12th, 2019|

The Baptism of Our Lord

Everything about being human – vision and imagination; our health; politics; family; mysticism, poetry and the arts; our economic well-being; religion; joy; social structures – everything and any thing about human health and wholeness is derivative. That is to say that our human wholeness is dependent upon something else. Human health is not a possibility without the health and wholeness of our planet. That’s the something else. And now, for the first time in the 14 billion years of the universe’s evolution, the opposite is also true. The Earth’s health and viability is […]

By |January 10th, 2019|

We Three Kings . . .

The Holy Days of Christendom no longer mark the progress of our time. Once church bells tolled the hours of the day, and holidays told the story of the year. There were four Sundays of Advent; 12 days of Christmas celebration, December 25-January 5; and then there was the Day of Epiphany, January 6. This was the day of the star and the Wisemen.

One might long for a simpler, more “Christian” time, but truth be told the Bible story differs from the tradition it has become. Matthew 1 does not speak of kings, but […]

By |January 6th, 2019|

Merry Christmas!

The Oregon Synod staff wishes you all a very merry and blessed Christmas. We value all we share together with you and give thanks for the birth of Jesus. May our hearts have room for that God gives this day, and in the year to come.

By |December 25th, 2018|

Stir Up Your Power, O Lord, and Come – AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Fourth Sunday in Advent 2018

Now we’re getting close! We are pregnant with hope. Mary and Elizabeth are pregnant with holiness. The story takes us back, pre-birth, to a place of expectation and promise.

But don’t you see. This is what Advent has been about all along. Christians are people of a proclamation, but God’s work among us is not done. We are also – and always – people of expectation and promise. And what do we learn from Mary, the mother of our Lord, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist? […]

By |December 23rd, 2018|

Stir Up the Wills of Your Faithful People, O Lord and Come!

Third Sunday in Advent 2018

“What shall we do?!”

This is a somewhat panicked response to John the Baptist’s warning about the wrath to come. And we see it, don’t we? We see the demise of sanity. We see the selfishness, the walls going up, compassion lost, fear, hatred and abuse on the rise. What shall we do? Do the simple, right, humble and helpful thing. That is all.

If you have two coats share with with somebody who has none. If you have power do not use it over or against another. Be content with […]

By |December 16th, 2018|


hope /hōp/
1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
By |December 13th, 2018|

Stir Up Our Hearts, O Lord, and Come!

Second Sunday in Advent 2018

The voice of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness “Prepare the Way of the Lord!” is so familiar to long time people of faith that we sometimes think John is foretelling Christmas.

He is not.

John is a voice from the margins, somebody from the outside of power speaking to core abuses. He fulfills prophecy because God’s chosen generally find themselves in this position – that is, speaking from the outside in. The “coming” John proclaims is the adult Jesus, sent to usher in a new age. Today it […]

By |December 9th, 2018|

Giving Thanks for Former President George H.W. Bush

Former president George H.W. Bush passed away this last Friday, November 30. He was 94 years old. Former president Bush served as Vice-President of the country under Ronald Reagan from 1981-1989. He then served as our President from 1989-1993. Most, including me, remember him as a humble, compassionate and caring leader. We have lost a man of good character who gave much to this country. So, we are thankful as we honor him this week.

December 5, 2018 has been designated as a national day of mourning. Please remember all he gave in […]

By |December 4th, 2018|

Stir Up Your Power, O Lord, and Come!

First Sunday in Advent 2018

Advent is a season of hope and expectation. The word “advent” means “coming” or appearance. During this gentle, quiet season which precedes Christmas we consider the ways God comes to us – in all times and various ways.

Oh, did I say “gentle, quiet” season? I know that is not our reality, but once upon a time Advent was quiet. No Christmas trees, no shopping, no carolers, no cookies. Those were all held back until the “Twelve Days of Christmas” – Christmas Day through January 5.

By |December 2nd, 2018|