e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
Wednesday Webinar: Ministry in the New Normal: Our church life beyond the COVID-19 crisis, part 2
For the second installment of this webinar series, we will begin discussing the practical steps and questions churches and ministry settings should be asking as we move toward returning to our facilities.

As per usual, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky and Alaska Superintendent, Rev. Carlo Rapanut, will help to guide our time of prayer and discussion.

The webinar is anticipated to last up to 90 minutes. It begins at 8 am AKDT, 9 am PST, 10 am MST.

New deadlines for Annual Conference related items

As you read in a previous letter from the Bishop, the shared session of three Annual Conferences has been canceled. In anticipation of a virtual meeting in the fall (date to be determined), please see the updated due dates(May 26) for all submissions.
Birchwood Camp
Can you donate to Birchwood Camp?

It has been 8 weeks since Birchwood Camp temporarily closed its doors to guest groups due to COVID-19. It is still uncertain when they can safely welcome them again to use their facilities. With the cancellation and postponement of reservations, our income has completely stopped. Even though events were cancelled, there are still bills to pay to keep camp running. Now, more than ever, they need your help.

Pray for them and with them. Donate your stimulus check or part of it to Birchwood Camp. Let your friends know.

They have a donor wanting to do a matching donation challenge. For every donated dollar by May 15, the donor will match up to $5,000. Please consider giving to Birchwood Camp now to help your gift go further! Thank you!
National News
WCC: Pray on May 14 for pandemic's end

The Rev. Ioan Sauca, acting top executive of the World Council of Churches, invites all member churches, including The United Methodist Church, to observe a global prayer day on May 14. The joint initiative with the members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity is calling for "prayer and supplication" to God for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 14 webinar among resources of hope

A May 14 webinar, "What Communities Need to Know About COVID-19 and Reopening," is being offered by three major ecumenical groups in the U.S. The webinar, at 1:30 p.m. ET, will include representatives from the Centers for Disease Control interacting with ecumenical leaders. The United Methodist Council of Bishops is encouraging church members to take advantage of the groups' resources, which also include a May 28 webinar and an ecumenical resource sheet.

Churches have much to consider before reopening

Social distancing measures that came with the coronavirus pandemic forced churches to transition to online worship and ministry. As many states lift shelter-in-place orders, churches must contemplate how — or whether — to return to in-person worship. On May 10, a few United Methodist churches held their first small in-person services since the pandemic.

Groups press forward amid General Conference delay

With General Conference on hold for at least a year, various United Methodist advocacy groups are pressing ahead with the church future they envision. Mainstream UMC is asking bishops for a moratorium on church trials and a more gracious exit for churches that want to leave. The Wesleyan Covenant Association continues with plans to launch a new traditionalist Methodist Church. UM-Forward released a video of its vision of a Liberation Methodist Church. Reconciling Ministries Network held a virtual worship service.

Being the rural church in a pandemic

Rural churches have a unique opportunity to provide resources, connections and hope during these stressful times. The Means of Grace podcast features a conversation with the Revs. Santosh Niroula, Kristen Richardson-Frick and Allen Stanton, three leaders who have experience and expertise in leading and understanding churches in rural areas.

A Conversation on Embracing the Ministry Possibilities of 2020

Before the COVID-19 crisis is over, nearly every church on earth will go through a period of closed facilities. Afterward, tens of thousands of United Methodist churches will re-open their facilities to the public. Given this unique moment, the Path1 team decided to convene a conversation with some folks in the United Methodist Church planting community to help the rest of us re-frame this moment as an opportunity for relaunch.

The one-hour video and accompanying conversation guide are free to use and to pass along to others. It is designed for a two-hour conversation, either in two gatherings with a church leader team or as an extended two- to three-hour church leader retreat.

Conference Calendar
25: Memorial Day - office closed
21: Father's Day
26: Leadership Team meeting
28-30: GNW Cabinet Retreat
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

June 8 -
Jim Doepken

June 10 -
Carlo Rapanut

June 15 -
Matthew Reinders
Conference Office
907-333-5050

Superintendent Carlo
907-854-8340
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.