e~Aurora
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 .

Materials
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 TOMORROW!
February 1, 2020, 10am to 12noon—St. John UMC, in person and Zoom SATURDAY!
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.

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 Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation
Registration is now open for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation being held this summer (July 12-17, 2020) in Federal Way, WA. The academy will focus on the theme "The Power of Story" with faculty Leticia Guardiola-Saenz, PHD, and Ray Buckley. Participants will be given time and space to respond to this theme through silence, written and spoken word, prayer, worship, and community sharing.

You can learn more and express interest on Facebook here .

Birchwood Camp
Plow truck needed at Birchwood Camp
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.

Please call or email with your ideas, comments and suggestions!
Love,
Liz Ashlock
Board Member
907-748-2565
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

907-272-2112
National News
General Conference 2020: Advance Daily Christian Advocate
The Advance Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA) for General Conference 2020 was released last week as United Methodists gathered in Nashville to prepare for May's global gathering.

The ADCA contains the agenda, rules, delegate listings, petitions, reports from the general agencies/commissions and study committees, information for delegates, and codes of conduct for the General Conference.

Bishop to Texas governor: Accept refugees
Bishop Robert Schnase and other top Rio Texas Conference officials have written Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, protesting his decision to exclude the state from the federal refugee resettlement program in 2020. Texas has "sufficient room, economic strength and non-profit commitment" to keep taking in refugees, the letter says.

United Methodists in Philippines help volcano evacuees
United Methodists are among those responding to some of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the Taal volcano eruption on Luzon Island.

Churches are offering hot meals and other relief as fears of a bigger eruption mount.

Minority funding critical to separation deal
Negotiators of a proposed separation plan for The United Methodist Church say $39 million for minority ministries was a critical element to reaching an agreement.

Southeastern Jurisdiction mulls number of bishops
Amid discussions of potential church separation, the Southeastern Jurisdiction made plans to hold its regularly scheduled bishop elections in July. Five bishops in the jurisdiction are retiring. The Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy plans to make its final recommendation for the number of bishops to be elected after the 2020 General Conference.

Youngster helps hurricane victims
An 8-year-old member of First United Methodist Church raised $1,200 to help hurricane victims in the Bahamas by selling homemade rubber band loom bracelets. Olivia Hoffman received a certificate of appreciation from the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Conference Calendar
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
907-333-5050

Superintendent Carlo
907-854-8340

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.
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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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