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 has added materials to help in your discernment and decision-making.

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. The Zoom call-in information is in the Resource Page .
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.

Committee members, please check with your committee chairs about the schedule of your committee meetings.

The Conference will only pay for the travel expenses (airfare/mileage) of the clergy person, deaconesses and the lay members to Annual Conference.

Conference News
Greater Northwest Area Cabinet begins 2020 with pledge to Resist Harm as it continues to see a vital, more inclusive church
Even as members of the Greater Northwest (GNW) Area Cabinet absorbed the implications of the proposed  Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation , they recommitted themselves to resisting elements of the Traditional Plan that took effect January 1. Meeting for the first time in 2020 last week, they joyfully reaffirmed their baptisms, pledging together to resist harm as they provide leadership to the Area.

Last November, the bishops of the Western Jurisdiction issued their  Safe Harbor Declaration , explicitly refusing to implement the new provisions and prohibitions of the Traditional Plan. The GNW Area Cabinet welcomed this statement at the time and continues its move forward with the clear guidance it provides.

While the Protocol mentioned above includes a moratorium against the filing of charges against LGBTQ+ clergy, and those performing same-gender weddings, if passed, it would only create a pathway down which full inclusion could be reached. Stopping the harm is only one step down the path.

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
I need an IV, stat! A report from the IV Team
Growing up, I loved the television show, EMERGENCY! The mid-70s medical drama centered on the heroic work of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 51, Squad 51 — specifically two paramedics named Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto. It appeared that every time Johnny and Roy called in from a scene to Rampart General Hospital, they were always instructed to, “Start an IV of D5W, TKO, stat!” Without fail.

IV, of course, is the abbreviation for “intravenous.” And, “stat,” which comes from Latin origin, is often used as a directive to medical personnel. It means “immediately” or “instantly,” as in right now! Even today, when colleagues use the abbreviation “IV” referencing the Innovation Vitality Team, it makes me think of EMERGENCY! Could it be because the church often needs an IV infusion of life, stat?

On that note, perhaps it’s the perfect time to share an IV (Innovation Vitality) stat (or two) that represents the work our team has been charged to lead, particularly around the practices of Inclusion, Innovation, and Multiplication. I am asked all the time about how much we are investing in existing congregations.

Read more of Gibson’s report on the IV team on the Greater NW Area website.
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
Clear Appointment Openings
The appointive cabinets of the Greater Northwest Area and the Bishop are continuing the practice of sharing “clear openings,” those church appointments that are open due to retirements and other changes, as the appointment process unfolds.

On the Greater Northwest Area website you'll find a current list of clear openings which will be updated as new openings are created by announced appointments. You will also find instructions regarding the process. Please read these instructions carefully as it is expected that clergy will follow them as described.

First UMC Anchorage offering grants
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

Alaska United Methodist Women newsletter
The newsletter from the Alaska United Methodist Women has been completed. If you did not receive it by email, you can view it here.
National News
UMCOR names new executive director
The new executive director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, effective Feb. 3, is Lara S. Martin, currently the manager of education and programs at the Center for Humanitarian Emergencies of Emory University. Formerly with Save the Children in Washington, Martin is a member of North Decatur United Methodist Church in suburban Atlanta.

The Connection: The Life and Order of the United Methodist Church
While most conversations about The Book of Discipline revolve around paragraph's limiting the full inclusion of LGBTQ-persons in the life of the Church, the accumulation of rules over time is a weight we all share.
A group in the Greater New Jersey Conference has set out to do something about it, creating and releasing a proposed new Discipline they call 'The Connection' which they believe is "simpler, clearer and better organized than our current discipline."

Conference Calendar
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

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.