A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
Christmas greetings from your Conference Office staff
Carlo and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas! The office will be closed next Tuesday and Wednesday. We will try to get an e~Aurora out to you on Monday. Blessings!
Alaska moves to become 'mission district'
The Alaska United Methodist Conference is taking steps to become a missionary district, a change from its current status as one of three missionary conferences in the U.S. A task force recommended Alaska become a missionary district within the Pacific Northwest Conference.

Conferences of the Greater Northwest Area commit to 100% payment of General Church apportionments in 2019
The three United Methodist conferences that comprise the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area have each committed to paying 100% of their General Church apportionments for 2019. The announcement, which comes toward the end of a tumultuous year where giving has slipped significantly across the denomination, was delivered by conference treasurers during the recent Greater Northwest Area Cabinet meeting.

Visit with a Missionary
We have the opportunity to share in a Zoom meeting with UM Missionary Carmen Scheuerman on either Jan. 4 or 5. This would be a late afternoon or early evening experience in which you connect using your computer and the ZOOM program to hear her share about her work and life. There would also be an opportunity to ask questions. You could do this alone or invite others from your church, Sunday School Class, Mission Committee, or UMW Circle to join you. Below you will find her information from the General Board of Global Ministries.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED:  Contact Fran Lynch at flynch@mtaonline.net no later than Dec. 21
Your UMFCU serves your family
When you are a United Methodist Federal Credit Union member, your spouse, children, siblings and grandchildren are also eligible for membership. UMFCU provides savings, checking with identity protection, credit card and lending services. Online & mobile banking combined with nationwide CO-OP Shared Branching & ATMs allows convenient access to accounts. Share www.umfcu.org with your family members. They can call 800-245-0433 to request a membership packet.
National News
2019 Christmas letter from the Council of Bishops
Bishop Ken Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, has shared a Christmas letter to the people of The United Methodist Church.

"As we journey through Advent on the way to Christmas, we read and sing Israel’s promises and prophecies. We hear the prophet Isaiah’s invitation: “ Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord ” (Isaiah 2:5).  And for many of us, all of this culminates as we stand in the darkness of a sanctuary on Christmas Eve, holding a candle, and sharing the light of Christ. “ The light shines in the darkness ”, we proclaim, “ and the darkness has not overcome it ” (John 1:5)."

Podcast addresses grief at Christmas
For many people, this season is not the most wonderful time of the year. The Rev. Toni Ruth Smith, a pastor who has her own experience with Christmas loss, talks about how churches can create space for stillness, hope and even sadness in the midst of the holiday rush.

How can churches respond to people with dementia?
An estimated 5.8 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, and that number is climbing. How can churches respond? How can churches equip caregivers? Join experts exploring these questions in a four-part webinar series beginning Jan. 17, produced by the Committee on Older Adult Ministry and Discipleship Ministries.

Click here for the entire schedule and more information.
Bishop visits remote areas of Congo for first time
Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda made his first trip to the most remote areas in the East Congo Conference to spread the word of God and see firsthand the "rural realities" facing United Methodists. It was also the first time many United Methodists in the area had ever seen a bishop.

Duke Divinity gets $12 million grant
Duke Divinity School, a United Methodist seminary, is getting a $12 million grant from The Duke Endowment. The funds from the private foundation will create new scholarships, strengthen the doctor of theology program and support lifelong learning for pastors.

Former young adult missionary dies in Zimbabwe
Tawanda Chandiwana — a former United Methodist Global Mission Fellow who was at the center of a 2018 campaign to win his release and that of two other young missionaries detained on spurious charges in the Philippines — has died in Zimbabwe, just days before his 30th birthday. His health situation and treatment were complicated by a prolonged strike of many doctors in Zimbabwe, church contacts told the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

A close look at partners in men's ministry
What's happening with United Methodist Men? The winter issue of UM Men magazine offers an overview of the ministry partners of the Commission on United Methodist Men. These partners, including the Society of St. Andrew, Rise Against Hunger and Strength for Service, help extend the church's outreach around the globe.

Revised Social Principles reflect worldwide church
For the past eight years, a diverse group of writers and editors has been revising the denomination’s Social Principles, which long have been an expression of the Wesleyan commitment to doing good. The revision heads to the 2020 General Conference for approval.

Conference Calendar
18: Charge Conference - First UMC, Ketchikan
24: Christmas Eve - Office closed
25: Christmas Day - Office closed
31: New Year's Eve - Office closed
1: New Year's Day - Office closed
9-11: GNW Cabinet - Carlo attending
12-14: UMC Lead - Carlo attending
20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Office Closed
20-22: ADCM Meeting - Carlo attending
23-24: Pre-General Conference Briefing - Carlo attending
26: Charge Conference - Northern Light United Church
30-Feb 1: Winter Rendezvous
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

December 23 -
Christina DowlingSoka
Curtis Matz

January 5 -
Janice Carlton

January 18 -
Karen Dammann
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.