Breaking Down the “We” and “Them”

Breaking Down the “We” and “Them”

Bonnie Umland is a member of Christ Church, Lake Oswego, and served on the Board of Trustees.


What sparked your interest in serving on the Board of Trustees?
It all started when my rector invited me to serve as the Treasurer of our parish. I had recently retired from a career in banking and was looking for a new opportunity to use that experience. Through that I got to know a few more people and after some time was invited to join the Diocesan Finance Committee. Really, each step of service I’ve taken has led to another place of ministry, until eventually I was elected to the Board of Trustees. (But I wasn’t elected the first time I was nominated, but because I was really interested I stood for election again the next year.)

What are some of the significant experiences that you have had on the Board of Trustees?
There are several financial duties that the Board of Trustees oversees and decisions they make regarding church property and finances, and I was glad to be able to utilize my professional background in assessing those situations. After leaving the Board of Trustees, I joined the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Foundation Board, which I really enjoy; the Foundation supports so many amazing things that happen throughout the Diocese!

I also think that, being a layperson on the Board of Trustees, I had an important opportunity to be the voice of the parishes and missions. I met so many people from outside my parish, and learning what’s going on in other places was exciting and eye-opening. Those connections are very rewarding for me, and it’s an honor to work on breaking down the sense of “we” and “them” that can happen both between clergy and laypeople, and between the Portland-area churches and those in other areas.

This is part of a series of interviews with former and current members of the Standing Committee, Board of Trustees, and Diocesan Council, the three main bodies that comprise our diocesan government. All three are accepting nominations for new members, with the election taking place at Convention.