A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
The Gateway Arch and My Prayer for GC 2019
I do a lot of traveling for work but I do not let that get in the way of my running. I try to run wherever I am, whatever the weather. So aside from checking the weather to know what running gear to pack, one of the things I do to prepare for a trip, especially to places I haven't been, is to go online and scope out places I can go for a run while I am there.

Two weeks ago, I was checking the map of St. Louis, Missouri to plan running routes close to my hotel while I am there to attend the Special Session of the UMC General Conference this weekend into next week. I found routes, alright. But more importantly, I was pleased to find out that my hotel and the convention center is close to the Gateway Arch and I can run in the park.

CrossOver to Life! | Week Twelve
Jesus, Violence, and Power
By Mary Huycke
CrossOver reflection for Week Twelve • Beginning February 17, 2019
Jesus, Violence, and Power – what a perfect title for the chapter I’m to reflect on as I prepare to head to General Conference next week. It names so clearly what we are to crossover from. The chapter begins, “Once Jesus took his disciples on a field trip. There was something he wanted them to learn, and there was a perfect place for them to learn it.” McLaren is referring to their trip to Caesarea Philippi, first a site for worshippers of Baal, later of the Greek God Pan, and then a stronghold of the Roman occupation.

It was there, “in the shadow of the cliff face with its idols set into their finely carved niches” that Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say I am” followed by, “and who do YOU say that I am?” I can imagine them seeing Jesus in that place and wanting him to tear down the idols and throw out the occupiers and rise in victorious rule. When Jesus explains how different his path will be, they are horrified. “God forbid it, Lord.” Peter exclaimed. “This must never happen to you.”

Conference News
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.

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 news, you are included in the subscriber email list.

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

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
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.

Let's Eat! St. John UMC considers sustainable food choices
Many folks attempt a food or drink “cleanse” in January. This could mean going on a diet, abstaining from alcohol or simply trying out a new relationship with food and exercise. Diet and self-help book marketers have taken full advantage of this new type of resolution and shout at us from all directions about which diet is the “best.” What’s “best,” though, rarely considers a diet’s sustainability.

Did you know that it was possible to make food choices that positively impact the planet? Did you realize that factors such as how much land a crop needs or how far a fruit or vegetable travels to get to your plate can directly influence global warming?

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.
Rainy Day funds support the connection
Does your church keep its rainy day savings at a local bank? If so, are they earning an acceptable rate of return? And while they’re providing security for your church against emergencies, are they also supporting the United Methodist Church two towns over?

National News
How those not at GC2019 can participate
All United Methodists have ways to stay connected to the special General Conference, even those who don't have a vote or can't attend the legislative gathering. The Rev. Joe Iovino offers some practical tips for getting involved and some Scripture for reflection.

LGBTQ United Methodists are hurting - and leaving
United Methodist News Service spoke to former United Methodist clergy and lay people who left the church because of frustration over treatment of LGBTQ people.

What do United Methodists really believe?
The United Methodist Church is a big tent theologically, and people with conservative or traditional religious beliefs make up the largest group under that spreading canvas.
Those are two key findings from a new United Methodist Communications survey of United Methodists in the U.S.
Of those contacted, 44 percent identified themselves as conservative/traditional in religious beliefs, 28 percent as moderate/centrist and 20 percent as progressive/liberal.

Read more of this story from United Methodist Communications .
See All The People video teaching series launches March 4
It has never been more important for congregations to create authentic relationships with those in their community. The role church leaders play in their community has become more vital and more urgent. With that in mind, Discipleship Ministries is launching a new online teaching series that will help open conversation and push congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and to do so authentically.

Conference Calendar
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.