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
There are a lot of decisions laity and pastoral leaders must consider before opening their church doors once more for ministry and worship.

Join us Wednesday for what will be the first in a new series of webinars, each providing discussion and information to support church leaders in making healthy, responsible pastoral decisions.

The webinar begins at 9 AM Pacific (10 AM Mountain, 8 AM Alaska) and is expected to last around 90 minutes.

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.
What's in your pocket? Donate to Funds for Families

Sharing what we can when people are suffering comes as second nature to people who follow Jesus. If you have the ability to give money at this time of crisis, I am writing to encourage you to do so.

Apportionments

We have been sent the April 2020 apportionment report from the treasurer's office. You can view it on the conference website here.
3rd annual Anchorage National Day of Prayer

Join the interfaith Council of Anchorage on Thursday, May 7th for their Interfaith Observance of National Day of Prayer. It will take place at 7:00 pm online. All people, all peoples, all prayers welcome!

Alaskan Hymn

St John member Aimie Morgan shared her original composition Alaskan Hymn in worship at St. John UMC. It is a very timely piece for us in the midst of Covid 19. Some may recognize it from Annual Conference a couple years ago in Seward. You can view the song here.
Heritage Sunday

Heritage Sunday this year will be on May 24, 2020. The theme this year is "The Power of Through." You can visit the General Commission on Archives and History website for more details about Heritage Sunday and how your church can participate. Heritage Sunday is a time to reflect on the United Methodist Church's history.

National News
Bishop Harvey makes history as first Hispanic woman to be COB President

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Area has made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman to be president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. She is also the first woman of color to lead the more than 128 active and retired bishops of one of the largest denominations in the world.

Bishop Harvey assumed the mantle of office last week as the active and retired bishops from around the globe gathered in a virtual meeting April 29 to May 1 to celebrate new leadership and to discuss plans for episcopal supervision brought on by the disruptions and postponements due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Webinar Series - Save the Date

Church and Society takes its signature  Seminar Program  virtual in a series of webinars on COVID-19 and social justice issues. The weekly series, called Pre-existing Disparities Revealed, explores how the pandemic intersects with topics such as systemic racism, the carcel system, and access to food.

Bishops told connection is key in pandemic fight

United Methodist bishops initially expected to spend this year’s spring meeting preparing for a General Conference that possibly would split the denomination.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the denomination’s lawmaking assembly and put any plans for separation on hold. For the time being, United Methodists are doing ministry together even as quarantine requires they worship apart.

Read more of this story from UM News Service.
Self-Care and Boundaries during these times

None of us were prepared for a worldwide pandemic.
 
Our lives are different in many ways. Our workplace, whether inside or outside the home, has changed. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent loss of life may have invited you to pause, reflect, and look life in the eye. In doing so, perhaps you understand better who and what are important to you.

#IGiveUMC campaign honors loved ones

The new #IGiveUMC campaign launched this week invites donations in honor of a loved one to the church their honoree attends, their own church or a church with family ties. The giving campaign by United Methodist Communications in partnership with the General Council on Finance and Administration encourages donors to post a photograph or video on social media using the campaign hashtag.

Both green light, red light for online communion

The COVID-19 pandemic, consequential in so many ways, has prompted debate about and experimentation with online communion across The United Methodist Church. Bishops have weighed in differently about the practice.

Dear Mother ... Love, John Wesley

On Mother’s Day, United Methodists around the world reach out and tell the important women in their lives how special they are. Methodist founder John Wesley did the same more than 275 years ago by regularly writing letters to his mother, Susanna.

A pandemic changes everything, even grief

When Gerri Helms lost her husband to a sudden heart attack, she learned firsthand how COVID-19 changes grief. "People are finding ways to let you know they are there for you," Helms said, "but it's nothing like a family being together."

Local Church Racial/Ethinic Ministries grant applications due Sept. 1

Applications for Racial Ethnic Local Church Concerns (RELCC) grants up to $7,000 to help local United Methodist churches build ministries that strengthen and support racial and ethnic church concerns are due on Sept. 1.

The purpose of the RELCC grants from Discipleship Ministries is to provide funding to strengthen the ethnic local church through leadership training, small groups, worship, stewardship and spiritual formation as they engage in developing disciple-making systems inside the church walls, as well as in the local community.

To apply for a RELCC grant, click here .
Communicating with the unplugged

COVID-19 has meant online church and virtual communications for United Methodists. But how do churches stay in touch with those who aren't online or smartphone savvy? Eric Seiberling offers suggestions including calling circles, handwritten letters and sidewalk chalk.

Publishing house laying off about 70 workers

The United Methodist Publishing House is laying off about 70 workers beginning in June, partly because of the impact of the coronavirus on church attendance. The layoffs, about one-fourth of the 296 employees, were announced as the denominational publishing agency predicted as much as a 50% decline in sales.

UMFCU
Faith, Hope and Thank You coloring pages

Sandra Moore, from the United Methodist Federal Credit Union, has created Faith, Hope and Thank You coloring pages. These are to be colored then sent to essential services workers and anyone who could use a boost of hope. Go to https://umfcu.org/ They are featured as one of the images in the main slideshow and there is a download button underneath with a link to a 3 page pdf.
Conference Calendar
5: Cinco de Mayo
7: GNW Cabinet meeting - Carlo attending remotely
10: Mother's Day
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.