A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
AUMC Winter Rendezvous and Special Called Session
February 20-22, 2020
Call for Special Session
In response to the Leadership Team’s request in December, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky has called a special session of the Alaska United Methodist Conference to vote on a petition to General Conference asking for Alaska to be released from missionary conference status at the close of the 2020 Jurisdictional Conference, so that the Western Jurisdiction can include Alaska within the boundaries of another conference in the same Episcopal Area. It will be on February 22, 2020, 10 am to 2 pm at the Alaska UM Conference Center, 1660 Patterson St., Anchorage AK.  Click here to read the Bishop’s letter .

Here’s a link to the  Resource Page on our conference website that contains materials and documents pertinent to the decision to be made at the special session. The Future Visions Task Force of the Leadership team will continue to add materials to this page as they are finalized.

Information Gatherings
To process the content in the materials, clarify and respond to further questions and hear hopes and concerns, information gatherings will be facilitated by the Future Visions Task Force.
January 29, 2020, 6:30 to 8:30pm - Zoom only
February 1, 2020, 10am to 12noon—St. John UMC, in person and Zoom
February 11, 2020, 6 to 8pm—Zoom only

These are open meetings to anyone who is interested. It is highly encouraged that folks gather in groups as there will be group engagement built into the process. It will also be helpful in managing the bandwidth of Zoom. Clergy, Deaconesses and Lay Members to Annual Conference are required to attend at least one of these sessions in order to make informed decisions about our collective future. Please take time to read the materials provided before you come to the information gatherings.

Schedule and Registration
As announced, the special called session will be held in conjunction with the Winter Rendezvous Meetings February 20-22, 2020. The Rendezvous will be a pre-conference creative time of visioning, dreaming and discerning what God is calling us to be beyond 2020. Here’s a general schedule for purposes of travel planning:
Thursday, February 20 - Rendezvous Sessions 10 am to 8 pm
Friday, February 21- Rendezvous Sessions 9 am to 3 pm; Committee Meetings 3:30 to 8:30 pm
Saturday, February 22 - Special Called Session 10 am to 2 pm

Clergy and Deaconesses are required  to attend the pre-conference sessions beginning February 20. Please contact the Superintendent if you cannot attend. Understanding schedule challenges due to work, Lay members to Annual Conference are NOT required but highly encouraged to attend the pre-conference sessions beginning February 20. Registration information will come out later this week.
Conference News
Anchorage Emergency Cold Weather Shelter
As many of you have seen in the news recently, we are blessed to have 10 area churches in Anchorage that work together to provide a warm and safe place for families to stay the night during these extremely frigid nights. BUT it is truly the volunteers that make this happen. Without volunteers who are willing and able to answer the call to help families who are currently un-housed, this service wouldn't be a reality. We are always looking for new volunteers who are able to participate. There are many opportunities to help that are not limited to staying overnight; help set up, provide dinner, clean up, provide breakfast, and more including overnight volunteers.

There are two Anchorage Area United Methodist Churches that host the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter. Please check out the links below to see if you are being called to participate in helping these Anchorage Families:

If you have any questions about the shelter and the roles that need to be filled, please contact the churches directly. They are more than happy to answer your questions!
Birchwood Camp
Plow truck needed at Birchwood Camp
This winter is what i know from growing up here--the intense beauty and the persevering under extreme conditions.

The plow truck that is used at Birchwood Camp is almost 30 years old! (1992). This hearty truck and plow have been maintained by camp staff over these years. The plow has been welded and re-welded but has snapped again. Aging human bodies and aging truck engines are alike--they both have frequent breakdowns that take valuable time and money to rectify. As an example, the last engine malfunction required a six hour fix in the freezing cold.

Birchwood Camp has received a commercial quote of $1,200 per plowing of more than 2 acres of access roads and parking areas. As snow people, you know that timely plowing of such areas is a health and safety issue for the families living there, the staff and the user groups.

It is time to retire the camp's aged, undependable truck and plow and replace it with a reliable one. Our DREAM is a 3/4 ton, 4 wheel drive truck, with a short-turning radius and in very good running condition. Other ideas are a 4 wheel drive farm tractor or a skidster.

This may be the perfect opportunity for you to get your new dream plow truck and receive a tax write off when you donate your current truck and plow to Birchwood Camp! We have faith that God will provide the solution to this new challenge in the mission of Birchwood Camp.

Please call or email with your ideas, comments and suggestions!
Liz Ashlock
Board Member
You asked: Alternatives to CDs
The Northwest United Methodist Foundation released a new "You Asked" column this week based on real questions from real churches in our area.

Last week, they share some alternatives for a local church that has CDs scheduled to mature this year.

Quilt Retreat scheduled
Start the new decade with quilting! Come out of the cold and surround yourself with the warmth of friends. Smiling faces will greet you. Laverne Griffin Youth Camp is located on a lovely lake in Wasilla. This quilt retreat will be February 6-9, 2020. It will start Thursday at 3:30 pm.

Things you should know:
*Retreat is limited to 30ish people
*Cabins are centrally located
*Home cooking 3 meals a day
*Bathhouse short walk from cabins
*Beautiful windows in sewing spaces
*Good friends
*A chance to get away
*Sewing, laughing
*Learn something new
*Show and tell Saturday night

Registrations must be received by January 27th, 2020 Make checks payable to UMW
Cost: Thursday -Sunday $234, Friday -Sunday $179

Questions and to get a registration form contact Susan Williams 317-0406
First UMC Anchorage offering grants again
The First United Methodist Church Foundation is accepting applications for grants to be used as educational benefits, scholarships, out-reach to the community and the world, and capital projects of First United Methodist Church, Anchorage. Applications should be a concise request using the form provided by First United Methodist Church, Anchorage and can be found on the FUMC website or the church office. Submissions must be received by February 21, 2020 at the street address given below. Award recipients will be notified in March 2020.
FUMC Foundation - Grants
725 W 9th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501

Aging America video conference
The Children’s Hospital at Providence Bereavement Council and Hospice of Anchorage are sponsoring a free training, “Aging America: Coping with Loss, Dying and Death Later in Life,” by the Hospice Foundation of America – the training will include a video presentation and a local panel discussion.
The training will take place from 8:30 - 11:30am and repeated from 1:00 - 4:00pm on Friday, Jan. 31, at Providence Alaska Medical Center, Willow Room (down by the cafeteria).
For more information, please see contact Hospice of Anchorage at 561-5322. 
National News
GC2020: Proposed Plans
A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation is the newest proposal for the reorganization of The United Methodist Church. Learn more about this proposal, and others, which will be offered to 2020 General Conference delegates in May.

Panel offers behind-scenes peek of separation plan
Even though they agreed The United Methodist Church should split, participants still talked about loving each other in a livestreamed discussion Jan. 13 to explain how the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation was formed.

Feinberg kept United Methodist negotiators at table
Famed mediator Kenneth Feinberg described as a "labor of love" his work helping a diverse team of United Methodist leaders come up with a "Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation." The plan, which requires General Conference approval, foresees breaking the denomination's impasse over homosexuality by traditionalist churches departing to form a new denomination. Feinberg and fellow lawyers Richard Godfrey and Wendy Bloom spoke to Sam Hodges about their role in the talks.

Bishop Coyner, unifier of people, dies at 70
Throughout his ministry, Bishop Michael J. Coyner worked to bring people together. His sudden passing at the age of 70 brought together United Methodists of varying views who testified to his fairness and faithfulness.

2019: The year in UM News photos
The year 2019 was an eventful one for The United Methodist Church. Photographers from UM News, the denomination's official news service, documented a year in the life of United Methodism worldwide.

Bishop Eutsler, trusted leader, dies at 100
Bishop R. Kern Eutsler is being remembered as a "strong yet compassionate" leader who was both a master preacher and administrator. Eutsler, who led the Holston Conference from 1984 to 1988, died Jan. 2 at 100.

Puerto Rican Methodists tackle earthquake response
The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico is putting its Hurricane Maria experience to use as a series of earthquakes cause damage, power outages and a constant state of distress. The United Methodist Committee on Relief also is sending an assessment team to the island.

Photography as a Spiritual Discipline
How will you connect with God and others in 2020? For one year, the Rev. Steve Little committed himself to take one picture each day. See his photos and hear him describe the journey. "When I began each day hoping to see something beautiful, in a way I was inviting God to be present with me."

The Art of Hospitality conference
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection announced today registration is open for The Art of Hospitality Conference held April 23 – 24, 2020. 

The conference takes place at Church of the Resurrection’s Leawood, KS Campus and focuses on the ministry of welcome and intentional hospitality. Participants will learn key principles and methods key to becoming an outwardly focused church, including: attracting visitors, effective follow-up and volunteer training.

Revising insurance standards for churches
The United Methodist Insurance Program has announced revised minimum insurance requirements for local church property coverage. The General Council on Finance and Administration board approved the revisions in November.

Archivist L. Dale Patterson retires
L. Dale Patterson, who took the United Methodist Archives and History collection from hi-fi to Wi-Fi, retired at the end of 2019. Patterson oversaw the digitization of the collection, helping develop websites that invite the general public as well as professional researchers to engage the material.

Plan a 'Souper Bowl' party
Held in conjunction with the Super Bowl, scheduled this year for Feb. 2, Souper Bowl of Caring events have generated over $153 million since 1990 for organizations that work to alleviate hunger. The United Methodist-related Society of St. Andrew offers resources to "join the team" and make an impact.

Agency examines financial implications of plans
The General Council on Finance and Administration has the responsibility of proposing a four-year budget to fund ministries of The United Methodist Church. Preparing the budget includes analyzing all General Conference legislation that has financial implications for the church. The agency plans to provide information after all legislation, including that for the newly proposed protocol, is available for review.

Human Relations Day | January 19
We have been asked to love one another like members of our family. Knowing how hard this request would be, God sent Jesus to show us how. Jesus walked with those in the margins during his life and shared the message that everyone is valuable and loved. This is the message we celebrate on Human Relations Day.

On Jan. 19, across the United Methodist connection, we come together to help bridge the gap between church and community. We do this by participating in an offering set aside for Human Relations Day.
Conference Calendar
20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Office Closed
20-22: ADCM Meeting - Carlo attending
23-24: Pre-General Conference Briefing - Carlo attending
26: Annual Meeting - Northern Light United Church
27-28: GNW AC Planning Core Team Retreat - Carlo attending
4-9: WJ Leadership Meetings - Carlo attending
10-12: GNW Cabinet - Carlo attending
14: Valentine's Day
20-22: Winter Rendezvous and Special Session
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

January 18 -
Karen Dammann

February 19 -
Steve Fisher
Conference Office

Superintendent Carlo

The NEW Conference Office hours are:

Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
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 Tuesday at 9:00 am for consideration.
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 in God's preferred future.