A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
CrossOver to Life! | Week Eleven
Heaven! Hell! Oh, the places you'll go!
By Jan Nelson
CrossOver reflection for Week Eleven • Beginning February 10, 2019
I guess I could be called a nerdy church kid.

When I was growing up, I did Sunday School, confirmation, and youth group. When I was in high school, there was a group of us who got together on our own and did Bible study. We didn’t have any adult leaders or any commentaries. For that matter, we pretty much just had the Revised Standard Version of the Bible to work from. But we spent time together wrestling with tough questions.

The question I remember the most was about heaven and hell: If you have to be a Christian to go to heaven, then how is that fair for people who might never have heard about Christ? It just didn’t seem like a loving God would send people to hell who never had a chance.

As the years passed and my understanding evolved, I questioned whether God would send people to hell if they were Muslim or Hindu. Or atheist. Or even if they are a really bad person. Would a God who loves everyone really punish someone forever ?

Conference News
The Life of Rev. David Fison
There will be a celebration of life for the Rev. David Fison on February 17 at 3:00 pm at St. John UMC. This service will be live streamed for those that are not able to make it in person. Use this link to view the service. It will go live about 10 minutes before service.

Clergy are invited to wear their robes and use whatever stole they feel would honor David's memory and legacy.

If you would like to send sympathy cards to Aleen, you may send them to 32049 109th Place SE #253, Auburn, WA 98092.
Western Jurisdiction updates during General Conference
The Western Jurisdiction Communicators are pooling their talents and resources together to curate a digest of the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019 in the form of a limited edition newsletter for the Western Jurisdiction. Because of your interest in Conference and District news, you are included in the subscriber email list.

Beginning on February 22, 2019, you'll receive a daily newsletter until February 27, 2019.

When you receive an edition of Western Jurisdiction updates, add the sending email address to your contacts to ensure you don't miss any of the upcoming news. If you don't want to receive the special edition newsletter, you can unsubscribe through the link provided in the footer of the Western Jurisdiction update. You'll find updates about General Conference from this newsletter and other news outlets by visiting  www.greaternw.org/GC2019
You are invited to prayer
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” - Psalm 34: 15

We invite you to join the LGBTQ+ Team from St. John UMC in Anchorage, Alaska to hold all the delegates to the 2019 General Conference Special Called Session in prayer. May we lift them up to God as they do the hard work of discernment, deliberation, and conversation. Please sign up for one slot and commit to praying for the delegates at some point during that hour. Together, let us surround them in unceasing prayer.

All means all. One means one. Some means none.
How do we read the Bible? What does it mean to say God loves all? What is our baptismal covenant to one another?
These are some of the questions that Bishop Elaine Stanovsky wrestled with as she prepared for a recent sermon given at First United Methodist Church in Seattle. The result is a deep dive into how scripture looks at our relationship as a Christian family and how that viewpoint informs the United Methodist Church’s current conversation about full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life and leadership of the church.
You can read the text of her sermon, or listen to the podcast of it on the GreaterNW.org website.
A better choice for your Palm Sunday celebration
Eco-palms are gathered and sold in a socially and environmentally just way. Harvesters are paid a fair price per palm based on quality, so they take fewer palms out of the forest, which protects important nature reserves. Community members sort, package and sell the palms themselves — not via middlemen — so more of the money paid for the palms stays with the people who worked the hardest to provide them. Because there is a steady market for the palms, locals are motivated to protect the forests (their source of income), ensuring harvests well into the future. Harvesting communities receive 5-6 times the normal payment per frond.

Annual Conference workshop proposal form - DUE TODAY
It does seem early to think about Annual Conference but we are doing it! Do you have a topic you want to present as a workshop before Annual Conference? Do you know someone else who does? Well, now is the time to fill out our Workshop Proposal Form! This helps us plan for the Pre-Conference workshops. Submit your form by Tuesday, February 12th to be considered.

Disaster Plan
Alaska Disaster Response Mini-Academy
The first Alaska Disaster Response Mini-Academy will be happening on April 26 th and 27 th at Birchwood Camp. This will be an opportunity to receive Basic Early Response Team (ERT) training and certification, as well as training as an Volunteer In Mission Leader. Plus extras! Cost is $75 for those staying, and $50 for those commuting. Registration and more detailed information will be available in the coming weeks. For more information or any questions, please contact Disaster Response Coordinator, Daniel Wilcox at 907.414.7078 or danielpwilcox@gmail.com.
UMFCU Visa Credit Cards
Is your church encumbered by a reimbursement process for staff expenditures? The UMFCU church VISA program offers a solution. Individual card limits can be set for each cardholder (minimum $500) and separate statements provide easy reconciliation. There is no annual fee. Churches must have a basic UMFCU membership share savings account (only $25 minimum maintained balance required) to apply for Visa ® services. To learn more go to https://umfcu.org/church-visa/  To request a church membership packet call 800-245-0433.
National News
UMC Bishops prepare to preside at Special Session of General Conference
The bishops of The United Methodist Church are preparing to preside over the three-day Special Session of the General Conference set for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. In a letter to the United Methodists released today, Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter noted that the bishops will be bound by a covenant of presiding, which was written in collaboration with the Commission on the General Conference.

This Special Session has been called by the Council of Bishops to find a way forward beyond the impasse around LGBTQ identity, interpretation of scripture and the unity of the church. The General Conference is the highest legislative body in the church and the only group that can decide church law and speak officially for the global denomination.

Download Black History Month graphics
Celebrate Black History Month on your church’s social media channels with the help of free downloadable graphics for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Post the images on their own or post them alongside invitations to events and worship services, celebratory messages or inspirational words from a pastor.

ADCA available online in four languages
The Advance Daily Christian Advocate is available online in English, French, Kiswahili and Portuguese. The publication contains the agenda, rules, delegate listings, petitions, information for delegates and codes of conduct for the 2019 General Conference. Online versions are free and bound printed volumes can be purchased from Cokesbury.

Panel offers 'Perspectives on a Way Forward'
Spokespersons for four proposals on the future of The United Methodist Church engaged in a panel discussion to highlight the differences among their plans. The conversation, "Perspectives on a Way Forward," can be viewed at any time on UMNews.org. The panel, organized by United Methodist News Service, comprised the Revs. Chris Ritter, Connectional Conference Plan; Mark Holland, One Church Plan; Althea Spencer-Miller, Simple Plan; and Rob Renfroe, Traditional and Modified Traditional Plans.

Conference Calendar
11-12: GNW Cabinet meeting
14: Valentine's Day
17: David Fison Celebration of Life @ St. John UMC
18: Presidents' Day
23-26: General Conference Special Session
5-7: GNW Cabinet meeting
9: Leadership Team meeting
10: Daylight Saving Time starts
11-15: WJ Leadership meetings
17: St. Patrick's Day
24-27: ADCM meeting
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

February 19 -
Steve Fisher
Conference Office

Superintendent Carlo
The Conference Office hours are:

Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am - 11:30 am
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.