A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
General Conference Special Session
You should be receiving daily updates from the Special Session of General Conference. Today is the last day and they are doing the final voting on things. You can visit the Western Jurisdiction website for all the updates as well as our Alaska United Methodist Conference Facebook page.
CrossOver to Life! | Week Thirteen
It All Comes Down to This
By Rev. Timothy L. Overton-Harris
CrossOver reflection for Week Thirteen • Beginning February 24, 2019
I begin with a confession. When I signed up to write the Crossover Blog for this week, I really didn’t pay attention to the chapter or the date—I just wanted something away from Christmas and Easter. So, I picked February 24, 2019, and Chapter 26. As I was entering it into my calendar (so that I would be sure to complete my homework) I became aware of the fact that I had picked THE week of the year—the week of the special session of General Conference 2019!

I almost asked for a redo. Who am I to write this blog on the week of such a potentially world-altering event? What could I possibly say that would matter as we all await what will come on the other side of GC2019? How could I offer something significant, even inspirational at such a momentous and potentially devastating time in the life of the UMC and for so many who hold it dear?

Then I heard the Bishop’s voice and remembered what she said about God calling us to mission and ministry regardless of what happens at GC2019. I took a deep breath and I deleted my email pleading for a change of date and chapter and began to reflect and pray.

National News
Traditional Plan advances as One Church, Simple plans fail
After approving the Traditional Plan in the morning, General Conference delegates spent the afternoon debating and ultimately voting against the One Church Plan and the Simple Plan.

Key GC2019 votes prompt anguish, satisfaction
A long, emotional day of General Conference, with telling though not final votes, left those wanting fuller inclusion of LGBTQ people in The United Methodist Church admitting discouragement.

Lessons from other denominational divides
Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians all have faced their own splits related to homosexuality and the Bible. Heather Hahn has an overview of their experiences and what lessons they might offer as United Methodists head to General Conference. 

Many arrive to witness United Methodist History
Clergy and laity observers at the 2019 General Conference reflect the theological diversity that’s challenging The United Methodist Church. Many say they’re here to pray and to watch history unfold as delegates grapple with legislative options regarding the church’s stance on homosexuality. Some 3,000 observers had registered by late Feb. 23.

UMCOR Sunday is 1 moth away
With UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) just a month away, now is the perfect time to begin preparing your congregation to give generously.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) depends on contributions from offerings like UMCOR Sunday to keep operations strong so that they can respond as soon as a disaster strikes. And because the offering received on UMCOR Sunday supports overhead costs, when a disaster occurs, 100% of donations can go where they are most needed.

The generosity of United Methodists makes it possible for UMCOR to save lives and offer hope around the world in the midst of calamity. Thank you for encouraging your congregation to give generously on March 31.

K-State seeking Resident Life Director
Wesley Campus Ministry at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kansas, is seeking a Resident Life Director (RLD) for the 2019-2020 academic year. The RLD is responsible for overseeing the Christian residential living environment at K-State Wesley. Job duties include administration, programming, policies, communications, services, and personnel management.

Applicants may email a one-page letter of interest, resume and references to Chelsea Shrack, Director of Campus Ministry, at kstatewesley@gmail.com. For full consideration, apply by March 25, 2019.
Conference News
Newspaper column on Alaska Pacific University
Ray Bonnell, a member of First UMC Fairbanks and a columnist for the "Fairbanks Daily News-Miner" newspaper wrote about Alaska Pacific University, which has a historical connection to the United Methodist Church. His article was published in the "News-Miner" Sunday, February 10th edition.

Ray is an artist and writer and has been producing a historical column, “Sketches of Alaska,” for the newspaper for the past nine years. The column is about historic sites in Eastern Interior and Southcentral Alaska. Each column features a pen & ink drawing of a historic site, plus a short essay about the site.

Ray has published a slightly revised and expanded version of the column on his blog, "Sketches of Alaska." (he is limited to 600 words in his column for the newspaper, so he usually expands the column a bit for his blog.)

Here is the URL to his blog post —
Call to Prayer and Self-Denial Service
The United Methodist Women of First UMC Anchorage would like to invite all United Methodist Women to join in our Annual Call to Prayer and Self-Denial Service. This year the title is “BUILDING A THRIVING GENERATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH WORLDWIDE”, the objective of this service is “to provide an opportunity for United Methodist Women members to learn more about the difficult circumstances children and youth face around the world, how United Methodist Women is promoting their well-being and equal opportunities for them, and how members can support children and youth in need through the Call to Prayer and Self-Denial offering.” This will be a time of worship, reflection, activities, praying, and singing. A light lunch will be provided.
Please RSVP by sending an email to Alice Chaney at chaneyvo@alaska.net We will be gathering in the Fellowship Hall March 30 th at 11:30 a.m.
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.

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.
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

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.