e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
CrossOver to Life! | Week Eight
The Stories We Need To Tell
By Rev. Jeremy Smith
CrossOver reflection for Week Seven • Beginning January 20, 2019
We see the stories we want to see. Lin-Manuel Miranda was sitting on a beach reading Ron Chernow’s historical biopic Hamilton and he said to himself “this is a hip-hop story.” Adapting the historical narrative into a new musical framework formed the basis of the Broadway smash by the same name. Amidst the historical narrative, Miranda saw a story that was familiar to his world, and he brought it to life.

We also see the stories that we are trained to see. We see the same story again and again in many forms of storytelling. The “Hero’s Journey” is found in many stories, from Star Wars to Lion King to Grimm’s fairytales. Ten Things I Hate About You is a 1999 remake of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” and 2018’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before recalls parts of 1987’s Can’t Buy Me Love. Blockbusters often offer only small variations of stories so familiar to us. We see the same story so often that we don’t realize how unoriginal it really is.

So which stories do we see in Scripture? The ones we want to see, the ones we are trained to see, or the ones we need to see?

Conference News
Cross-Cultural Competency Learning Event | February 7-8, 2019
Kristina Gonzalez, Director of Innovation for an Inclusive Church of the Greater Northwest Area, will be leading a workshop on Cross-Cultural Competency and Inclusivity. All are welcome to attend! The conference will pay for clergy and one lay member from each congregation to travel in for the event.

A key component of this workshop is a discussion of our group intercultural competency profile based on the participants’ response to the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). This assessment needs to be ordered before it can be administered to each one of the participants so PLEASE REGISTER THIS WEEK so that the instruments can be ordered, a link can be sent to you for you to fill-out and also giving time for Kristina to collate and interpret the group data before our workshop.

The general schedule is as follows: Thursday, February 7, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; Friday, February 8, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Lunches will be provided.
Winter Rendezvous Committee meetings | February 8-9, 2019
The upcoming Winter Rendezvous committee meetings will be held at the Conference Center (1660 Patterson Street, Anchorage).

The committee meeting schedule is: Friday, February 8, 5:30 pm dinner, 6:30-9:00 pm committee meetings; Saturday, February 9, 9:00 am-noon committees continue as needed, 12:00-3:00 pm Leadership Team meeting.

If you are unable to attend, please notify the conference office.
Here you can find the letter that was emailed directly to clergy and members of the conference committees. The registration deadline for both events is January 30th. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO REGISTER. If you attend the learning event, there is an assessment that is required to be completed beforehand and it takes a few days to get the assessment sent to you.

Annual Conference Workshop Proposal Form
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.

Housing & Transportation for our February meetings
During our meeting times we are always looking for people that could house someone or help with transportation. We have meetings coming up in February. If you could help out between February 6-9, please contact the conference office and let us know! We always appreciate those that can help.

alaskaumc@gmail.com or 333-5050
3 ways we use our money for good
If you’re a clergyperson with a pension, or if your church has long-term investments with the Northwest United Methodist Foundation, chances are that your investments are being managed by Wespath. That’s the investment arm of the United Methodist Church.

This is one of the perks of being part of a global denomination. Just like UMCOR allows us to do more in the mission field than any of our churches could do alone, Wespath allows us to pool our money and have a bigger positive impact in the markets.

My Walk with Jesus and his LGBTQ Followers
In a personal reflection, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky explains how a Methodist Youth Fellowship peer's vulnerability helped her to see the struggle of LGBTQ people differently.

“I’ll be offering a few reflections in advance of General Conference 2019. In some, like this one, I will share memories of my own journey alongside LGBTQ siblings in the Church. In others, I’ll work to answer questions that I am hearing in my role as your bishop. I hope each will offer you some insight into my thinking as we walk this road together over the coming months."

Read the Bishop’s reflection here.
Final Apportionment report for 2018
The conference as a whole completed 2018 with paying 86.73%. That is an increase from last year which was 84.50%. Congratulations!

Thank you to all the churches who fulfilled 100% of their connectional commitment. Special thanks to Willow UMC (161.23%), UMC of Chugiak (107.74%), Ketchikan First UMC (104.92%) and Turnagain UMC (101.47%) who gave above and beyond their apportionment goals, especially those who did so in response to a plea for “2nd-mile giving”.

Money
National News
Furloughed government workers turn to the church
Churches across the country report they are setting aside money or storing up food — sometimes both — to help victims of the partial federal government shutdown. Faith leaders gathered at the United Methodist Building to call for an end to "this senseless government shutdown."

UMVIM
St. Croix UMVIM opportunity
A UMVIM team is forming to serve in St. Croix for those areas damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

The dates of the trip will be November 2-16, 2019, but the planning is starting now. If you might be interested in serving, please contact carolinejn66@gmail.com for more information. 

This is sponsored through national UMVIM groups.
Conference Calendar
18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
22: Charge Conference - St. John UMC
23: Charge Conference - Palmer UM Fellowship
26: Charge Conference - Homer UMC
27: Charge Conference - Northern Light United Church
7-9: Winter Rendezvous meetings
11-12: GNW Cabinet meeting
23-26: General Conference Special Session
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

February 19 -
Steve Fisher
Conference Office
907-333-5050

Superintendent Carlo
907-854-8340
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.
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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.
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