e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Aurora
CONFERENCE NEWS
Annual Conference Forms Available
In case you do not already have the date on your calendar, this year's Annual Conference will be held June 2-3 at UMC of Chugiak.  There will be a day of workshops on June 1, prior to the Annual Conference.

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky writes, "The theme for annual conference for the next four years will be "Do This and You Will Live!" taken from Luke 10:26-28. Jesus' instructions are a rich lesson, "...You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."  In this short exchange with a legal expert, Jesus explains the why of our faith, and the mission of the church. The reason Jesus came, the reason we follow and love is so that we can live a truly abundant life."

Read more about the theme and logo.

Here are links to various information that pertains to the upcoming Annual Conference.  Please note the due dates if you wish to submit anything for consideration.

PETITIONS - due April 15
COMMITTEE REPORTS - due April 15
OUTSTANDING LAY PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINATION - due April 30
HARRY DENMAN EVANGELISM AWARD NOMINATION - due April 30
MEMORIAL ROLL SUBMISSIONS - due May 15
MINISTRY DISPLAY TABLE REQUEST - due May 15
Western Bishops Share Messages of Lent
The bishops in the Western Jurisdiction will offer messages of faith each week of Lent, with the prayer that God will strengthen the Church for its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

This week, Bishop Robert Hoshibata shares a message exploring the special thirst described in the gospel of John 4:13-15. Read his thoughts on quenching thirst and looking beyond ourselves.

Last week Bishop Minerva Carcaño offered the third in a series of Lenten messages.  Read her Lenten message: The Lord is Your Keeper.
 
The second message came from Bishop Grant Hagiya of the California-Pacific ConferenceRead his reflection on the Western Jurisdiction website.

The first message came from our very own, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky.  You can read her message here.
Alaskan of the Week - Rev. Ev Erbele
Alaskan Senator Dan Sullivan recently recognized missionary and Ketchikan First UMC co-pastor Rev. Evelyn Erbele as the Alaskan of the week.  We are very proud of the things she is doing for the Homeless Day Shelter at FUMC. Watch a video of his presentation.
Birchwood's Women's Psalms Retreat
In this fast paced world of family responsibilities, career demands and social media, take a break to relax, slow, and grow at the Women's Psalm Retreat at Psalm Lake on Birchwood Camp.  We will be digging deeper into Psalms along the shores of Psalm Lake; the perfect place for God to speak peace and joy into our crazy busy lives!  Starting on Friday, April 28th at 7pm with welcoming and a restful evening; followed by Saturday, April 29th sunrise beside Psalm Lake praise, worship, meditation, prayer walk and much more! Leave around 8pm refreshed and renewed.  Visit www.birchwoodcamp.org for registration.
"Walk With Wholeness" - Spiritual Growth Retreat
Come Join Us for the 2017 Spiritual Growth Retreat hosted by United Methodist Women
 
"Walk With Wholeness"
March  31 - April 2, 2017
North Star Bible Camp, Willow Alaska
 
Registration is $160
Deadline Extended: ALL REGISTRATIONS ARE DUE BY  MARCH 22, 2017
 
We are excited to welcomPraveena Balasundaram from the United Methodist Women's National Office as our Retreat Leader and Rev. Lisa Talbott, from Homer UMC, as our Retreat Clergy.

You can download the registration form from our website.
  If you prefer, you can fill out your registration form online and then mail in your payment.
 
Please plan to join us for this wonderful spiritual growth opportunity!
Anchorage First UMC Foundation Grant
The First United Methodist Church Foundation (Anchorage) is accepting applications for grants to be used for educational benefits, scholarships, outreach to the community and the world, and capital projects for the First United Methodist Church, Anchorage. Applications are available at the First United Methodist Church or click here Applications should be concise and fit within the one page application. Submissions must be received by 31 March, 2017 .

The First United Methodist Church Foundation was formed on January 13, 1991. It was formed from the First United Methodist Church Endowment which began in 1989. The purpose of the Foundation was to distribute dividend profits to various charity organizations. Grant requests can be used for educational benefits, scholarships, out reach into the community and the world, and capital projects for the First United Methodist Church.

Since currently this is a relatively small fund, all grant requests received will be prioritized by the committee in accordance with the bylaws and selected by the majority members of the Fou
ndation. Selected grant approvals will be notified and receive their funds in a short period of time afterwards. Unfortunately not all grants can be approved, but as the fund grows, this Foundation will be able to help others.
Update Insurance Information by April 1
In a letter that was mailed out to each church on January 3rd, the Conference Treasurer has requested that each church and/or group that is covered under the Conference Group Fire and Liability Insurance program send updated information by April 1st.

It says, "The program is based on accurate reporting of values and contractual risk factors.  With it now being a few years since the program incepted, the insurer would like updated information on your congregation's operations.  We ask if you may complete the enclosed application and return it to us..."

This is a friendly reminder to make sure you begin working on the renewal with the updated information and get it sent into Van Vong with Marsh as well as Brant Henshaw, Conference Treasurer.
Clear Appointment Openings
A list of churches that are open for appointment can be found on the Greater NW Area website. As appointments are announced and the appointment process unfolds, new clear openings will be added to the list. See the latest.
NATIONAL NEWS
New Web Page Spotlights Native Ministries
The United Methodist Church recognizes the contributions and gifts of Native peoples to the church and their communities around the globe. In support of Native Americans and indigenous peoples and their traditions, United Methodist Communications has launched a new "Native Peoples and the UMC" landing page on UMC.org. The site features stories by and about Native people, along with resources, information about upcoming events and links to ministries.
Visit page
Make History Legible!
The General Commission on Archives and History has 43,000 album pages of mission work from the past century on its website (catalog.gcah.org/omeka/).  Those album pages hold a total of over 100,000 images.  Within the next few weeks GCAH will begin a crowd-sourcing project where participants are invited to help transcribe the handwritten captions for the images.  This will make the individual images searchable on the web.  How can you become a participant in the great transcription challenge?  You'll need an internet connection, some patience as you learn how to read century-old handwriting, and your competitive spirit as you log the number of pages you've edited and compare it to your friends' and family's.  Stay tuned for more information on how to become a participant. 
Updated Document Archiving & Preservation Best Practices Available!
Archives & History
In our offices, local churches  and on our computers we are faced everyday with the question, what should I keep and what can I toss or delete?  

The United Methodist Church has strong policies in place on keeping historical records as well as records which enable us to be a transparent and responsible organization.   

The Retention Guideline series created by the General Commission on Archives and History, as part of its disciplinary responsibility, helps to answer that question for the local church, the annual conference, our general agencies and episcopal offices.   

The latest edition of the Guidelines Series is now available on the GCAH  website. The guidelines point out some of the most important records to keep as well as records which need to be kept only for a little while and then can be disposed.  These guidelines should be used by the episcopal offices and general agencies and are serious resources for the local church and annual conference.  Visit http://gcah.org/resources/guidelines-and-publications and you'll see all the options  on the left hand side.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact GCAH at research@gcah.org. 
UMW 3rd Annual Day of Giving - March 23
United Methodist Women will have their 3rd Annual Day of Giving THIS THURSDAY, March 23, 2017.

The money received from A Day of Giving goes to The Legacy Fund, a permanent endowment fund, established to support the mission outreach of future generations of United Methodist Women.

The March 23 Day of Giving honors the women at Tremont Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts that first organized for missions in 1869. The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, a predecessor of United Methodist Women was established and women around the country raised money to send a doctor, Clara Swain, and a teacher, Isabella Thoburn, to India as missionaries to serve the women of that nation.
 
You can donate through any of these options: 
  • Online at  www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/legacyfund.
  • Phone: 800-278-7771 (8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday).
  • Text Legacy150 to 41444.
  • By check to Office of the Treasurer, United Methodist Women,
    475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115.
    Write "The Legacy Fund" in the memo section.
 
Consider a $15, $150, or even $1,500 contribution, in recognition of the upcoming 150th anniversary, or $18.69, $186.90, or even $1,869, in recognition of the year of United Methodist Women's founding.
UMCOR Sunday - March 26
UMCOR Gifts to UMCOR on UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for all United Methodist Committee on Relief work by covering the costs of doing business. This means all contributions designated to specific programs can go 100 percent to these programs because UMCOR's basic expenses are covered.
Heritage Sunday is May 21
Heritage Sunday
This year's theme is: "MILESTONES - Calling Local Churches to Discover and Celebrate Their History." Resources to guide and assist planning your local church Heritage Sunday celebration are available on the GCAH website. Heritage Sunday (para. 262, 264.1) calls every congregation to remember United Methodist heritage as a source of inspiration for ministry in the present and shaping vision for the future.
CONFERENCE CALENDAR
March
23: UMW Day of Giving
31-April 2: Women's Spiritual Growth Retreat

April
16: Easter
18-20: GNW Cabinet meeting in Portland - Carlo attending
20-22: GBGM Board Meeting in Atlanta - Carlo attending
23-24: UMDF Board Meeting in Austin - Carlo attending

May
6: Leadership Team meeting
21: Heritage Sunday
22-25: GNW Cabinet meeting in Seattle - Carlo attending
29: Memorial Day - Office Closed
Conference Office Email Address has Changed
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We have changed the conference office email from umc@gci.net to alaskaumc@gmail.com.  For workflow ease, we are consolidating everything to the Google platform (email, calendar, etc.).  Please update your address books/contacts lists and start using alaskaumc@gmail.com for your emails to the conference. Carlo's email ( carlorapanut@gmail.com) will remain the same.
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Upcoming
Clergy Birthdays
 
March 21: Nico Romeijn-Stout
March 25: Evelyn Erbele
March 29: Doug Handlong

April 3: Tim McConville
April 12: Robert Hicks
April 22: Melissa Engel
April 23: Karen Martin Tichenor



Conference Office
907-333-5050

Superintendent Carlo
907-854-8340
Submissions - If you have an article or event that you would like to share with the rest of the conference, submit it to the conference office by Monday evening for consideration.
AUMC Logo Mission Statement:
The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  Held and supported by the transforming relationship with God through Christ, we of the Alaska United Methodist Conference seek to be a community that creates a home for all peoples, finds our hope through grace and journeys together into God's preferred future.
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