photo by Kristen Caldwell for the Western Jurisdiction

by Kristen Caldwell, WJ Communications

Whether it was pulling weeds, preparing meals for local houseless ministries, preparing resources for families in need or creating UMCOR kits, more than 100 Western Jurisdiction volunteers spread out across Spokane, Wash., to support ministries that matter.

 “I firmly believe, when we go somewhere, we should impact the area. We should do more than just use a hotel ballroom or gather at a church,” said Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, who leads the Greater Northwest Area. “We should actually make a mark, in a positive way, everywhere we go.”

 As the Greater Northwest Area hosts the Western Jurisdictional Conference in 2024, Bridgeforth wanted to expand the reach of the area’s “Ministries that Matter” initiative to include siblings across the jurisdiction in this work.

 Bridgeforth said this as he chopped fruit for a fruit salad at the Catholic Charities’ House of Charity in downtown Spokane. Around the corner from him in the kitchen, Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank from the California-Pacific Conference was busy slicing tomatoes for later meals at the center.

 The Rev. Meagan Madsen from Covenant United Methodist Church in Spokane was responsible for coordinating the volunteer opportunities. She reported that all of the active WJ bishops were out serving somewhere Wednesday morning.

 “That speaks highly to the leadership of the Western Jurisdiction, that they understand this is who we are,” Madsen said.

 As preparations began for hosting the Western Jurisdictional Conference, Madsen reached out to members of the homeless coalition to find volunteer opportunities. Local United Methodists started dreaming big, then adjusted their focus to fit the time frame that was available, given the evolving nature of the conference this year.

“To us it seemed like hand-in-glove,” Madsen said. “As United Methodists our social witness and our commitment to social justice and acts of charity is part and parcel with who we are.”

photo byTim Tanton, UM News for the Western Jurisdiction

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