Offering Sacred Welcome Curriculum

Offering Sacred Welcome Curriculum

Offering Sacred Welcome is a curriculum designed to engage Episcopal congregations in prayerful reflection and thoughtful actions regarding immigrant and refugee justice.

This curriculum has been developed by the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) in partnership with the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary. The groundwork for this initiative was laid with the “Welcoming the Stranger” resolution at the 2019 diocesan convention and the 2018 General Convention resolution “Becoming a Sanctuary Church.”

Commission member Hjalmer Lofstrom points out, “This curriculum supports the openings of small and large doors in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon’s communities as a response to our Baptismal Covenant.”

The Commission on Sanctuary and IMIrJ are available to address questions and assist in adapting this curriculum for diverse communities. If you plan to use this curriculum for your congregation, please contact the Rev. Chris Craun at for support and to provide feedback.

Convention Election Results for Diocesan Leadership

The following people were elected to diocesan leadership positions at the 131st Annual Convention, October 25 and 26, 2019 at the Salem Convention Center:

Standing Committee:

The Rev. Agustin Valadez (four-year clergy term)
The Rev. Karen Tiegs (one-year clergy term)
Megan Colwell (four-year lay term)

Board of Trustees

The Rev. Brendan Barnicle (three-year clergy term)
Lianne Thompson (three-year lay term)

Diocesan Council

The Rev. Anne Abdy (three-year clergy term)
The Rev. Marlene Mutcher (three-year clergy term)
Edith Arriaga-Flores (three-year lay term)
Maria Pastrana (three-year lay term)

Trinity Cathedral Chapter

The Rev. Andria Skornik (three-year term)

General Convention Deputies


The Ven. Canon Carter Hawley
The Rev. Wes Sedlacek
The Rev. Roberto Maldonado-Mercado
The Rev. Kerlin Richter

The Rev. Gavin Shumate
The Rev. Robert Bryant
The Rev. Deacon Diane Higgins
The Rev. Tom Sramek, Jr.


Alan Murray
Sydney Fitzpatrick
D. Rebecca Snow
Toni Phipps

Rose Thomas
Martin Loring
Marla Lowen
Cindy Russell

The Episcopal Church Responds to the Opioid Epidemic

[October 30, 2019] The Task Force to Respond to the Opioid Epidemic, created by legislation at the 79th General Convention, is seeking input from lay and ordained leaders throughout the church about the local response to the opioid epidemic through the short survey linked in English here, in Spanish here, and in French here.

Resolution 2018-C037 Call to Respond to Opioid Epidemic calls on all dioceses and parishes in The Episcopal Church to respond to the opioid epidemic with training, pastoral care, advocacy, and liturgy. Central to this response are partnerships with local responders and others in the medical community, other faith communities and local recovery programs to offer pastoral care to those affected by this epidemic, and with other faith leaders to advocate with local and state government regarding policies and laws to promote healing and wholeness for those affected by this epidemic.

This brief survey is designed to gather information in two areas: what is currently working in local contexts, as well as what kind of resources are still needed. There are eight survey questions and an open-ended space for sharing additional resource needs. Survey questions include:

  • Have you offered pastoral support or guidance to an individual or family facing substance use disorder involving opioids/heroin?
  • For those who preach: Have you addressed addiction, substance use disorder, opioid/heroin epidemic, social stigma and discrimination of persons with substance use disorders from the pulpit?

The information collected will help the Task Force to shape their work as they curate and create resources for real-life, church-based opioid response ministry for use by churches, organizations, and others in the communities we live, work, and worship in.

Please take a few minutes to help with the important work of loving our neighbors that this Task Force has been called to address. Your participation is greatly appreciated! 

For more information on the General Convention mandate “2018-C037 Call to Respond to Opioid Epidemic,” click here.

Task Force resource materials will be posted here in the coming months.

Welcoming the Stranger

At the 131st Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, delegates voted to approve the following resolution.

Resolution of Policy: Welcoming the Stranger

RESOLVED that the 131st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon urge all congregations and their members to support and participate in training and educational opportunities to offer sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees; and be it further

RESOLVED that, as part of this training, the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary will offer workshops on offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees in the Portland metro area on November 16 at St. Francis, Wilsonville, and in the central portion of the Diocese on November 23 at St. Thomas, Eugene; and be it further

RESOLVED that, as a follow-up to the Workshops, the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary will offer a plan for a series to be offered in diocesan congregations exploring aspects of the reality of offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees; and be it further

RESOLVED that all congregations of the Diocese be urged to offer the series either this coming Advent (2019), during the Sundays after Epiphany (2020), or in Lent (2020) in a format appropriate for their congregation.


This resolution is inspired by the resolution titled, “Confronting Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon,” approved by the 129th Convention of the Diocese of Oregon in 2017. Among its several resolves, this resolution called for the creation of a Commission for Sanctuary to provide guidance on implementing the Biblical imperative to welcome the stranger.

The Biblical imperative is, of course, evident throughout the Scriptures, but is perhaps most clearly stated in the parable of the Good Samaritan: Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” At the end of that parable, Jesus tells the lawyer to “go and do likewise.”

But also providing foundational support for both this proposed resolution and the one approved in 2017, are our Baptismal Vows, where we promise that, with God’s help, we will

  • Continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship and in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers
  • Persevere in resisting evil and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord
  • Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
  • Seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself
  • Strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being

And while the last two of these promises may seem to pertain most clearly to this resolution, in fact, all are embodied in our efforts to follow Jesus’ lead as we identify our neighbors and embrace the strangers among us.

This resolution is also a response to the Resolution (C009), of the Episcopal Church, meeting in its General Convention in July 2018, which recommended “that its institutions and congregations become places of welcome, refuge, healing, and other forms of material and pastoral support for those targeted for deportation due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference.” It further encouraged “its members to connect with local and national sanctuary communities and institutions, faith-based coalitions, and immigrant rights groups and coalitions, and engage in educating, organizing, advocacy, and direct action” with the focus of ensuring “the safety, security, and due process for immigrants.”

In keeping with the resolution of The Episcopal Church (C009), this resolution offers ways for all of us in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon to learn more about the plight and needs of immigrants and refugees, within and beyond our worshipping communities, and how best to accompany them as they confront countless daunting obstacles to their health, safety, and general well-being.

There will be no financial impact on the 2020 Operating Budget of the Diocese of Oregon. The workshops will be funded by an endowment grant from a congregation within the Diocese.

Nominations for Diocesan Leadership Positions

Do you have opinions to share about the mission and vision of the Diocese of Oregon and a passion to help turn those ideas into action?

Would you like to represent Episcopalians from throughout the diocese to the broader Episcopal Church?

Here’s your chance! At the 131st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Oregon, we’ll be electing a number of people to fill the following diocesan leadership positions:

Standing Committee

One clergy for a four-year term
One layperson for a four-year term
One clergy for a one-year term

The Standing Committee advises the Bishop and gives consent in matters of the disposition of property, ecclesiastical discipline, the election and consecration of bishops, and in the matter of candidates for ordained ministry. The Standing Committee meets monthly at St. Paul, Salem on Thursday usually at 9:45 am. Meetings may be held via web conference. The Standing Committee, Board of Trustees, & Diocesan Council meet together three times a year.

Board of Trustees

One clergy for a three-year term
One layperson for a three-year term

The Board of Trustees act within bounds set by the Bishop, the Convention, and the Standing Committee to steward the funds and property entrusted to the diocese. The Finance Committee of the Diocese, appointed by the Board of Trustees, conducts ongoing review of all financial transactions in the diocese. The trustees meet the last Thursday of the month at The Bishop’s Close in Portland at 1:00 pm. Meetings may be held via web conference. The Board of Trustees, Standing Committee, & Diocesan Council meet together three times a year.

Diocesan Council

Two clergy for three-year terms
Two laypeople for three-year terms

The Diocesan Council oversees the creation of a budget each year and has authority to create and prescribe the duties of program ministries and committees in support of the mission of the Church in the Diocese. Council members visit congregations. Council meets monthly, and the meetings are on Fridays at 10:00 am and end around 2:30 pm. Most meetings are held in Salem or Eugene. The Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, & Board of Trustees meet together three times a year.  

Trinity Cathedral Chapter

One person for a three-year term

The Trinity Cathedral Chapter includes one person from the diocese elected annually.  The Chapter meets three times a year in Portland to facilitate communication between the Diocese and the Cathedral, to seek alignment between Cathedral and Diocesan vision, and to ascertain ways in which the Cathedral congregation and other congregations of the diocese may relate in positive and helpful ways.

Deputies to General Convention

Four clergy deputies
Four lay deputies
Four clergy alternates
Four layperson delegates

General Convention will meet June 30 to July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. All deputies plus the first alternate attend. There are several meetings to review the distributed convention materials and deputies and alternates are encouraged to visit congregations and convocations to discuss the issues of the convention. Deputies continue to serve until the election of deputies for the following General Convention.

Training Requirements

All elected to serve in leadership in the Diocese of Oregon are expected to fulfill the following trainings within the past five years or within one year of their election. Further information about these requirements is available on the diocesan website or by contacting the Rev. Canon Carol Sedlacek at

  • Safeguarding God’s Children and Safeguarding God’s People  (offered online, for free)
  • Diverse Church Training Workshop (offered once a year in a face-to-face format, fee $25 per person)

To Make a Nomination

To nominate yourself or another person for one of these positions, please complete the following form: Diocesan Position Nomination Form

All nominees need submit brief biographical information, a recent photo, and personal statements for the Convention Booklet and posted online in advance of the convention. The submission form is available here: Diocesan Nominee Information Form

“The Once and Future Church” forum

Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention for the Episcopal Church, will be visiting Portland on the weekend of March 18. He will preach both Sunday services (8:00 and 10:00) at Trinity Cathedral, and lead a 12:00 forum: “The Once and Future Church: General Convention and the Shape of Things to Come in The Episcopal Church.”

A priest for over three decades, Canon Michael Barlowe led growing urban parishes, and was founding dean of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Des Moines, Iowa. Before his appointment as Executive Officer of the General Convention, Michael was Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of California, and held numerous leadership positions throughout the church. As Secretary of the General Convention, Michael holds the oldest church-wide office of The Episcopal Church. Within the Anglican Communion, he represents our church as Provincial Secretary, and is a canon of both St. Paul’s and Grace Cathedral.

A graduate of Harvard College, Michael worked on Wall Street before attending the General Theological Seminary in New York. He earned a doctorate from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, where his research was on church planting among young adults. In 2017, CDSP also awarded Michael an honorary doctorate for distinguished service to the church.

Michael is married to the Rev. Paul Anthony Burrows, and lives in New York City.

People of the Diocese: Alan Murray

Alan Murray, far right, and the Asian-American deputies at the Deputies of Color Gathering

This summer is the 79th Annual General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. Deputies from the Diocese of Oregon were elected at our 128th Annual Convention in 2016, and are beginning their preparations for this important time of fellowship and church administration.

Alan Murray, a member of Trinity Cathedral, Portland is one of our deputies, and shares the following reflection on why he is participating in General Convention.

Last September, PBS released a new survey indicating the share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether. What was striking during the Deputies of Color gathering is that we are still not very well represented across church leadership. There are significant challenges in recognizing and developing leaders among the people of color. Our church is not reflecting the change of demographics in our churches. Our liturgies continue to be very Anglo-Sexton and there is desire to see more cultural sensitive liturgical resources.  Many deputies of color are passionate about legislative priorities that fall into the three pillars of the Jesus Movement – evangelism, reconciliation and care of creation.

As a person of color and as a gay person, I see the importance of having my voice at the table. I have received and developed so many gifts all because of how the Episcopal Church has given me the safe space to grow and develop spiritually and I want to offer my gifts back to the church. I love church governance, not for the sake of politics but when we come together as a church when all God’s children’s voices are represented, we are becoming the Beloved Community. Good church-wide policies can shape our future church and how missions are carried out at local level and I want to be part of those decision making process. The General Convention allows me to meet new people across the church, to have new opportunities to network with people and to share resources and best practices. This work is deeply transformational.

And of course, who doesn’t like a good Texan BBQ!