A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
Bishop Stankovsky announces Greater Northwest Area guiding coalition
In the wake of the exclusionary and punitive actions of General Conference 2019, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky is announcing the formation of a Greater Northwest Area Guiding Coalition. The coalition will help to shape and lead a new movement of Methodism in the Northwest that fully includes LGBTQIA+persons in membership, participation, and leadership, both lay and ordained.

In conversations with people inside and outside our churches, listening deeply to voices on the margins, the group will develop proposals for United Methodists across the Greater Northwest to move into a future of vital, inclusive, innovative, multiplying, engaged Christian ministry in the Wesleyan Tradition.

“We are forming this Guiding Coalition in response to many conversations since last February, and to legislation passed at the annual conference sessions earlier this year,” shared Stanovsky. “It is clear that we need to be both strategic and collaborative at this moment when the generous practice of United Methodism is under attack. The coming months may require us to move quickly and rely on our collective strength.”

The Guiding Coalition is comprised of representatives from the three conferences that make up the Greater NW Episcopal Area – The Alaska Conference, the Oregon-Idaho Conference, and The Pacific Northwest Conference.

According to Stanovsky, the coalition will embody practices and values that build on strengths already present in the Greater NW Area. Previous discussions in the area have identified the need for deeper Christian discipleship and community engagement, including stronger ministries of solidarity, justice, and mercy.

The Guiding Coalition will invite workgroups of laity and clergy to examine areas where the conferences can shape or define a way forward. One group will consider how the area can continue to resist the harmful remnants of the Traditional Plan that were passed by the 2019 General Conference while seeking to reform the Church through legislative action in 2020. Another will look at financial resources, including apportionments, seeking to align them with the values and concerns of United Methodists in the Northwest. And yet another will strive to discern what a new expression of Methodism might look like if designed for 21st-century people living in the Greater Northwest Area.

One group will envision what a “grassroots” connection might look like, built on authentic relationships. Vital conversations across difference — between established and emerging leaders, churches of different hearts, minds, and experiences — will be explored. The group will also look forward to the 2020 Shared Greater NW Annual Conference Session in June, with anticipation for the potentially monumental decisions that may need to take place.
Members of the Greater NW Guiding Coalition include: Jim Doepken, Jo Anne Hayden, Kelly Marciales and Carlo Rapanut from the Alaska Conference; Wendy Woodworth, Jan Nelson, Mark Bateman, Rick Shewell, Jeremy Smith, Paul Cosgrove, Karen Hernandez, Allen Buck, Carter Lybeck, Laurie Day, and Donna Pritchard from the Oregon-Idaho Conference; and Skylar Bihl, Brant Henshaw, Joe Kim, Marie Kuch-Stanovsky, David Reinholz, Katy Ritchey, Elizabeth Schindler, Dionica Sy, Kathleen Weber, Karen Yokota Love, David Valera and Kristina Gonzalez from the Pacific Northwest Conference.

Many more people will participate in the workgroups as they form in the weeks ahead.
A Door for Community | Douglas Community UMC
Douglas Community United Methodist Church is situated on Douglas Island, across the channel from Downtown Juneau.  In addition to worship and study, the congregation is focused in four areas of outreach in our community:
  1. Feed the Hungry/Feeding Juneau’s Future
  2. Glory Hall Meals
  3. Food Pantry
  4. Building Community in Douglas.

Small Church, Big Heart | UMC of Sitka
The United Methodist Church is blessed to be able to minister and serve in this beautiful island of Sitka in South East Alaska. This is a town with a population of about 9,000 people, a 14 mile road system, and a rich history of Russian influence. It is home to Tlingit and Haida Alaska Native groups, was the site of the Alaska Purchase, and was formerly the capital of Alaska.

Life in this “rock” as locals say, is serene and simple but it is not without challenges as Sitka is only accessible by plane or boat. High cost of living, difficult access to low cost housing, growing senior population, and substance abuse are also realities that Sitkans face in varying degrees. But being the Alaskans that we are, resilience and community help people cope and thrive. The strong and close-knit community fosters a “we make it happen” spirit that is evident in arts, education, sports, recreation and even mission.

CrossOver to Life! · Week 44
Alone But Never Alone
Lonnie Brooks
CrossOver reflection for  Week 44 • Beginning October 6, 2019

In September of this year, 2019, I turned 79 years old. That’s precariously close to 80, which some consider to be the marker or when one becomes really old.

The milestone for me that really mattered, however, was the one I reached in 2012 when I turned 72. You see, my dad died when he was 72, and my mom followed him on that journey into eternity two years later when she was only 68.

So, starting in 2012, every day marked for me a day that I had lived longer than either of my parents, and that means that in a sense that was new for me, I was making the road by walking where nobody in my immediate family had gone. For seven years now, I’ve been making that road.

CrossOver to Life! · Week 43
Image Bearers
Rev. David Valera
CrossOver reflection for  Week 43 • Beginning September 29, 2019

It was one of those moments when something spoke so powerfully that it stunned me. After a few moments of figuring out why this social media image so genuinely captured me, I realized that it spoke words I have been searching for and wanting to say.

I have long wanted to name and describe a growing emptiness within me. Significant events have adversely affected my life these past few months — the sad decisions of General Conference 2019, my dad’s passing and then having to leave my mom in the Philippines, the uncertainty of a future for of The United Methodist Church.

Birchwood Camp
Birchwood Camp Annual Auction
You are cordially invited to the Annual Auction and Dinner at Birchwood Camp, the Lodge, on Sunday, November 3, 2019 beginning at 5pm. Please feel free to invite friends and family. Please RSVP to info@birchwoodcamp.org
Apportionment update
The treasurer's office has sent us the updated apportionment document. You can view where your church and other churches stand by visiting the conference website. We only have a few months left in 2019. Let's finish this year strong!
Community Health Fair at Anchor Park UMC
Date: Saturday, October 12, 2019
Open to the public: 10AM-3PM
Location: Anchor Park United Methodist Church, 2300 Oak Dr.
Participation- Free
Sponsor/Coordinator: Charter College Anchorage Campus
  • Blood Bank of Alaska
  • Municipality of Anchorage Health Dept-Flu shots
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Alaska Back Care
  • Health Coaching
  • Blood Pressure screening
  • Nutrition education
  • Physical activity education
  • Suicide Awareness
  • Domestic Violence Awareness
Contact: Jessie Heller at 777-1313
Mission u is coming to you!
Mission u events take place across every United Methodist Conference and are organized by conference United Methodist Women leadership. At our Mission u events in Alaska we will grow in our understanding of the mission of the church in the current world context. Events include worship, singing, interest groups around current issues, audio visual presentations, food and fellowship! Please join in embracing the opportunity to grow, share and advocate for others!

Soldotna UMC: November 1-2
UMC of Chugiak: November 22-23

National News
Annual event becomes forum on church's future
A typical Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection offers advice to church leaders for growing their congregations. Not this year. Some 2,500 United Methodists, overwhelmingly centrist or progressive on LGBTQ inclusion, gathered to discuss and strategize about the denomination's future in a fragile time. Sam Hodges reports.

Breaking up would be hard to do
The 2020 United Methodist General Conference will continue the denomination's 47-year debate on homosexuality. Kathy L. Gilbert reports on the history that has brought the denomination to the brink of breaking up.

N.E.W. Plan would create 4 denominations
The advocacy group UM-Forward is proposing legislation to General Conference that would dissolve The United Methodist Church and form four new denominations. The group identifies the new churches as traditionalist, moderate, progressive and liberationist.

JFON: 20 years of service to immigrants
Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides legal aid to low-income immigrants and educates communities about the U.S. immigration system, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Warren Gill sat down with Rob Rutland-Brown, national executive director of JFON, for a question-and-answer session.

Court docket reflects busy conference season
Two oral hearings have been set for Oct. 30, during the fall meeting of the Judicial Council.
The hearings, which are open to the public, involve requests from the United Methodist Council of Bishops related to actions of General Conference 2019.

9 New England churches consider disaffiliation
Citing The United Methodist Church’s unchanged position on LGBTQ issues, nine congregations in the New England Conference are embarking upon an eight-month “process of discernment” to consider disaffiliation from the denomination.

Read more
Methodists in Bahamas cope with Dorian's trauma
The Rev. Kenneth Lewis, a Methodist superintendent in Grand Bahama, has experienced numerous hurricanes, but Hurricane Dorian was exceptionally devastating. Two Methodist denominations in the Bahamas are responding to immediate needs and worrying about the hurricane's psychological impact.

Pastor Appreciation
15 ways to pray for your pastor
As many congregations recognize Pastor Appreciation Month, October is a great time to lift up our pastors in prayer. But how do you pray for a pastor? These tips will help you get started.

Need a website?
Many people will “visit” a church online before they visit in person. If your church doesn’t have a website, it’s time to build one. We can help! Local churches are invited to apply for a Website Development Grant, which includes:
  • One year of web hosting and domain name registration
  • WordPress online training and support
  • Pre-designed templates and access to Google apps

2030 targeted for end of world hunger
Hunger in the U.S. has been falling and it's possible the world could be rid of it by 2030, according to Bread for the World Institute. But there are strong barriers against that happening, including climate change, war and the inequality of women.

MARCHA Sunday, October 13
MARCHA, the official Hispanic/Latino Caucus within the UMC, invites congregations to observe MARCHA Sunday, this upcoming Sunday, October 13, 2019. This is a unique opportunity for your congregation to celebrate the work that MARCHA does on behalf of the Hispanic/Latino community in our denomination and as a movement that promotes respect of human rights as well as a commitment to peace, justice, liberty and equality. Click here for more information and resources.
Learning about mental illness
Many congregations and pastors know how to support people with chronic physical illnesses, but struggle with ways to reach out to those with mental illnesses. During October, Mental Illness Awareness Month, consider what steps you and your church can take .

Conference Calendar
10-12: GBGM Board Meeting - Carlo attending
14: Charge Conference - Unalaska UMC
19: Charge Conference - Soldotna UMC
19: Charge Conference - St. Peter the Fisherman UMC
20: Charge Conference - Seward UMC
20: Charge Conference - Moose Pass UMC
25: Charge Conference - UMC of Sitka
26: Charge Conference - Aldersgate UMC
26: Charge Conference - Douglas Community UMC
29: Charge Conference - Nome Community UMC
31: Halloween
3: Charge Conference - Christ First UMC
7: Charge Conference - Willow UMC
10: Charge Conference - Girdwood Chapel UMC
10: Charge Conference - Jewel Lake Parish
11-13: GNW Cabinet - Carlo attending
14-16: WJ Summit - Carlo attending
16-17: WJ Mission Cabinet - Carlo attending
18: Charge Conference - First Anchorage/First Samoan UMC
19: Charge Conference - Palmer UM Fellowship
20: Charge Conference - Turnagain UMC
21: Charge Conference - UMC of Chugiak
23: Charge Conference - Kenai UMC
23: Charge Conference - North Star UMC
23: Charge Conference - St. Peter the Fisherman UMC
24: Charge Conference - Homer UMC
26: Charge Conference - Anchor Park UMC
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

October 8 -
Andy Bartel

October 10 -
Luke Jones

October 12 -
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky

October 13 -
Erin Day

October 18 -
Dan Wilcox

November 6 -
Fa'atafa Fulumu'a

November 9 -
Murray Crookes
Conference Office

Superintendent Carlo

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.
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.