A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
12 Doors and More | Valley Interfaith Action
Valley Interfaith Action (VIA) has 12 “doors” in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. We are Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal and Catholic congregations who utilize a community organizing model to address the quality-of-life issues which affect residents in the Mat-Su. We were originally Valley Christian Conference, a collection of churches who birthed new nonprofit agencies to fill service gaps. Out of Valley Christian Conference sprung Valley Residential Services which provides low-income housing and Day Break which provides mental health services, among many other nonprofits over twenty years. In 2015, Valley Christian Conference relaunched under a new vision and mission of faith-based community organizing to develop and empower leaders to advocate on their own behalf. Since launching as VIA, the organization has developed six local organizing ministry teams from Palmer to Willow and held public meetings yielding notable improvements to the lives of Mat-Su residents. 

VIA is currently working with Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together (AFACT) to establish an organization on the Kenai Peninsula which would broaden our connection of congregations who are engaged in this transformational outreach work. VIA leaders are excited for this expansion.

CrossOver to Life! · Week 35
Life in the Upside Down
Rev. Jeremy Smith
CrossOver reflection for  Week 35 • Beginning August 4, 2019

Like many preachers, I usually start my discernment for a week's worship service and sermon message with the Lectionary: that decades-ago discerned calendar for preaching and teaching. I don't always stick to it, but I begin with it because it is remarkable how often the Lectionary readings match the text of our lives that week.

The same is true for this CrossOver year book We Make The Road By Walking. This week's Chapter 48 is about demons and what happens when a spirit seems to take hold of a people causing them to do things completely out of their character. McLaren outlines what happens when ordinarily decent people act badly and cause great harm that they wouldn't normally do.

A message from the Leadership Team Chair
Dear Alaska United Methodists,

As many of you know, our conference streams of revenue have been declining over the past many years. From declining funding from the General Board of Global Ministries, to reduced Advance Special giving, to declining local church apportionment support, our conference revenue streams are shrinking.

Our conference has been making up the difference through reserve spending, which is a finite and dwindling resource. The Leadership Team, the elected body authorized to act in between sessions of Annual Conference, has formed a task-force to evaluate and propose some changes to our structure and staffing to help realign our mission, income, and expenses for a more sustainable future as a church.

The task force members so far are the Rev. Carlo Rapanut, Lonnie Brooks, Joe Talbott, the Rev. Lisa Talbott, and one more laywoman to be named later. They will be discussing the possibility of new revenue streams, including an Annual Conference Special Sunday and/or increasing Advance Special Giving among other ideas. They will also be talking about ways to reduce expenses, including the possibility of reshaping our conference staffing from a full-time Superintendent/Director of Connectional Ministries, to other creative ways to structure, staff, and pay for these functions. The team will also be considering our status as a Missionary Conference and if we might be better served by being a Mission District of another Annual Conference. The Task-Force would welcome your input and suggestions as they create proposals for the Leadership Team to consider, and then forward on to the Annual Conference.

Please be in prayer for the members of this Task Force, that God would grant them wisdom and clarity of vision for how United Methodists in Alaska can be in mission and ministry for the next 100+ years.

Your fellow disciple,

the Rev. Andy Bartel
Leadership Team Chair
Nome Community Center
Mission Team needed in Nome
The Nome Community Center had a mission team lined up to help them install metal siding onto the Boys and Girls Club building later this summer, but as sometimes happens, they had to cancel. They have all the materials already on site and some of the tools needed for the job. They are interested in 3-6 skilled persons to help them with the installation. The building is two story (plus its on 3’ stilts) so ladders and some type of scaffolding will be necessary. They haven’t secured that yet. The siding is 36” wide x 12’ long and will be installed horizontally. The building is 40’ x 60’ and is 28’ tall on the gable end. It’s a large project, but with good weather, they think they can knock it out in a week, as most of it will go quickly. They can usually accommodate groups of any size as needed.

They also have a project to rebuild the existing deck/ stair platform, and to rebuild the entrance to move the door to a new spot on the building, so there is room for a larger team if that was available.

If you have questions or are interested in helping out, please contact Greg Bishop, Property Manager at the Nome Community Center (907-443-5259)
Air mattresses available for use
The UMC of Chugiak has 40+ full sized air mattresses available for any church who could use them in their mission or for housing youth sleep-overs or VIM teams. Pumps are available as well. These are new, used only one week by a VIM team. Several are available to give away or to borrow. Contact the church office or Kay Abrams for details.
Rev. Dr. F. Thomas Trotter passed away
Claremont School of Theology announced that Rev. Dr. F. Thomas Trotter, 93, died on July 26, 2019. He was President of Alaska Pacific University for ten years.

National News
UMC bishops call for discipleship; urge end to white supremacy, xenophobia
The United States has witnessed a steady occurrence of mass shootings across our nation, this past weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. I commend the statements of Bishop Gregory Palmer and Bishop Earl Bledsoe to the people of their residential areas (West Ohio, New Mexico/Northwest Texas). The carnage following these acts of violence reminds us of Sandy Hook and Orlando, Sutherland Springs and Charlotte, Las Vegas and Parkland, Charleston and Pittsburgh, and on it goes.

Underneath the violence is a culture of white supremacy and a fear of immigrants (xenophobia). These are expressions of our sinful nature, and deny the image of God (Genesis 1) that is in every person. Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5), and in this he loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5).

Register for Leadership Institute now and save
It is not too late to get in on Super Early Bird pricing for  Leadership Institute 2019 , held at Church of the Resurrection September 25 - 27!
In the last few days, the  General Session topics  and two keynote speakers have been finalized. We wanted to provide you more time to determine who from your church might come to represent your congregation, now knowing more details about the conference.

Super Early Bird pricing is extended through  Wednesday, August 14  - so register today to take advantage of the best pricing and availability.
Join with United Methodist leaders from across the connection for this historic and important gathering as we, together, help shape the future.

Board affirms digital initiatives
The United Methodist Publishing House board, at its July 23-24 meeting, approved plans to invest in new initiatives to deal with churches’ changing needs. The board unanimously approved investing more than $2 million in an internet-based platform with Wesleyan content for teaching, training and evangelism.

Agency distributes more than $10,000 in honors
The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History announced the 2019 recipients of six awards, grants and scholarships. The honors recognize and, in some cases, help fund the research and archiving work of United Methodists around the globe.

Applications open for 2 ecumenical programs
The Council of Bishops invites applications for two programs designed to strengthen ecumenical and interreligious relationships. Groups within annual conferences can apply for 2020 local initiatives grants and United Methodist young adults can apply for a scholarship to attend the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland. The deadline to apply for both programs is Sept. 13.

We invest in #TransistionReady companies
At the most basic level, money is a tool for expressing the value of things. We also believe it’s a tool for expressing the values of our faith. That’s why we partner with Wespath to invest money for churches and agencies. Wespath engages the global financial market from a Wesleyan perspective.

Wespath’s most recent sustainable investment report states: “We view the world’s broad acceptance of climate change as the megatrend driving one of the most important shifts in the financial markets—the transition to the low-carbon economy… Overall, the world has adopted clean energy far faster than experts expected, and countries have moved aggressively in the past few years to reach their targets. This includes the U.S., where despite recent actions at the federal level, many states, cities, companies and citizens are taking action on their own to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Church leaders affirm Baltimore after tweets
Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling and the Rev. Wanda Bynum Duckett defended their beloved city of Baltimore in the wake of disparaging tweets from President Donald Trump.
They identified the tweets as "a strategic diversion from a plethora of critical conversations around race and class disparities..."

Is nostalgia sabotaging your church's future?
A sentimental longing for the past often distorts a church’s perspective on change and keeps it from seeing new paths, says Matt Miofsky.
While nostalgia is normal, we need to see it for what it is and not let it keep us from claiming a new future.

Conference Calendar
2: Labor Day - Office Closed
3-5: WJ Mission Cabinet - Carlo attending
10-12: GNW Cabinet - Carlo attending
20-22: UMW Annual Gathering - Solid Rock Camp
25-27: UMC Next
30-Oct 4: Crystal on vacation
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

August 13 -
Bennie Grace Nabua

September 11 -
Emily Carroll

September 17 -
Autumn Krueger

September 22 -
Won Jea Keum

September 24 -
Selusi Tuiolemotu

September 28 -
Darla Bradley
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.