A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
Coronavirus information
Please regularly check the conference website. It gets updated weekly with new Sunday worship links for the Alaska churches. There has also been a lot of information being sent out about the coronavirus and pastoral letters from the Bishop. If you have missed any of it, you can visit the Alaska United Methodist Conference blog page or the GNW Resource page .

As a reminder, the conference office is closed and the staff is working remotely from home. Feel free to contact us anytime through our regular phone and email.
The Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, & Pacific Northwest Conferences meet together in June!

The Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Conferences of The United Methodist Church will meet together in a Shared Annual Conference Session June 11-14, 2020 at the Showplex Center on the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup, Wash.

The Greater Northwest Shared Annual Conference Session (GNWAC2020) is expected to begin formally at 2:30 PM on Thursday, June 11 th and conclude with a service of commissioning and ordination starting at 10:30 AM on Sunday, June 14 th . As we learn of pre-conference meetings for different groups, we’ll work to add them to the preliminary schedule.

Home Stays - respond by March 31

There is someone in the host district working on providing home stays for Alaskans who need it. If you are interested in doing a home stay, please notify the Alaska Conference office ASAP. We need to know by March 31st how many people will be needing a home stay.

Email or call (907-333-5050) now.

If you would rather stay in a hotel, please visit the accomodations page of the GNWAC2020 website. Please bear in mind that the cost of your hotel room will be at your personal or local church expense. The conference will not reimburse hotel stays.
Annual Conference reports

As you may know, the Annual Conference collects reports from the various committees, councils, institutions, groups, and boards that relate to Alaska. Now is the time to start writing those reports and sending them into the conference office. Alaska will still have a Pre-Conference Handbook so these reports are pertinent. The deadline for reports is April 28.

Annual Conference petitions

If you would like to send a petition to be voted on at Annual Conference, this is the form you need to use. Please make sure it is submitted by April 28.

Award nominations

Each year, the conference awards several deserving people for what they do within our Annual Conference. If you would like to nominate someone for one of the 2020 awards, please fill out the nomination forms below and submit them to the conference office by April 28.

Harry Denman Award - There are three awards to be given, one each for youth, lay person, and clergy.

Memorial Roll submissions

As has been our practice, we will appropriately recognize members and constituents who have died since last year’s Annual Conference (June 1, 2019) during the separate conference times at the Shared Session. Due to limited time this recognition may not be within a memorial service. It is our intention to be as inclusive as possible. Churches, please fill out the Memorial Roll form and send it back to the conference office by April 28.

Library resources when you are stuck at home

Whether it is called “social distancing” or “hunker down” or “shelter in place”, you are now stuck at home. And the library and the bookstore and a lot of places are closed. But we have some fantastic resources at the library that you can access from anywhere you have internet.

Getting a library card
The first thing you need is the  library website  ( www.anchoragelibrary.org ) and a library card. If you have a problem with your card, call us at 907-343-2975; we are trying our best to keep the phones manned. If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for one  here . That temporary number will be good for 90 days and work for almost every resource.

Downloadables & Streaming
On the library’s webpage is a button that says  downloadables and streaming . Behind it is a wealth of resources. There are ebooks to read or listen to (Alaska Digital Library, Hoopla, and more). With Freegal you can download five songs per week to keep permanently and stream up to 7 hours of music a day – with no commercials! There are even movies and television on Hoopla.

You may have to look in a couple of places to see if we have the book you want. And we don’t have everything available on ebook. (Unfortunately ebook pricing and availability is rather a war between libraries and publishers right now, but that’s a story for a different day.) We do have over 30,000 titles available across the platforms. Some are immediately available, others may require a hold just like a physical book.

Learn a New Skill
Now might be the perfect time to learn a new skill or sharpen an existing skill. The library has a  ton of databases for learning . Come out of isolation bilingual with Mango Languages. With  Linked In Learning  (formerly  Lynda.com ) you can learn anything from guitar to coding. Learning Express Library will help you study for exams from college entrance (like the SAT or ACT) up to professional exams (such as the ASVAB or PRAXIS). There are also resources for learning everything from how to craft to how to repair a small engine!

For the Kids
Some of my favorite resources are for the kids. (I’m biased as a children’s librarian.) We have been collecting all of our resources and great things offered by various companies in  one big webpage . For library resources I especially like the ebooks from tumblebooks that kids can read themselves or have a narrator read to them. Brain pop has great lesson plans with a video and follow up activities on a variety of topics.

It’s hard to stay in, but doing so keeps every one safe. Stay home, save lives, and enjoy some free resources. I’m happy to answer any questions anyone might have! Elizabeth Nicolai , librarian and St. John UMC memeber.
Budgeting webinar offered for free

UMFCU is excited to be launching and expanding FREE financial literacy education in 2020. Our first webinar is Thursday, March 26 th at 9:00am Alaska Time. The focus is Budgeting for individuals. It will be participatory and conversational, approximately 30-45 minutes in length. Please spread the word this resource is available.

To join our UMFCU webinar, please click the Zoom link just before the meeting and type in the following information:
Meeting ID: 378 484 592 | Password: 844532
Online will writing workshop

Associate Director Julia Frisbie will teach an online will-writing workshop on Thursday, March 26 from 11 am-12:30 pm. Join via webcam from the comfort of your home and learn how to write or revise your will in a strategic way that reduces tax liability and provides for the people and charities you love. As supplementary material, you'll receive a PDF of our "Planning Your Legacy" guide, and a copy of the slideshow.

In order to join, you need to RSVP to julia@nwumf.org. You will then receive login instructions via email. Space is limited, so if you think you'd like to join, please don't delay in signing up! And if you're interested in classes like this, but the timing doesn't work for you, please let Julia know so that another workshop can be scheduled that accommodates your needs.
Other Lay Servant Classes offered

Lay Servant/Speaker Preaching Course: Rev. Joe-d DowlingSoka will facilitate the preaching course, March 26, through April 23, Thursday evenings at 7 -9 PM at Christ 1 st UMC in Wasilla. Exception: Maundy Thursday there will be no class. You will need a copy of the book, "From Pew to Pulpit", Clifton F. Guthrie, Abingdon Press, copyright 2005. We will take up an offering to offset Pastor Joe-d’s transportation costs from Willow to Christ First in Wasilla. 
Basic Lay Servant Course: Linda Haynes will facilitate, Tuesday evenings at 7 - 9 PM, at Christ 1 st UMC in Wasilla starting March 31, for five weeks, concluding April 28. All necessary materials and book will be provided. Linda asks that you make a donation to UMCOR Disaster Relief. Linda is an approved Basic Course facilitator for the Alaska UM Conference.
In the interest of safe-distancing, the courses at Christ 1st will be limiting the number of participants. Every precaution will be taken to insure the safety and health of each other. Should a participant or instructor test positive, we will re-evaluate the possibility of postponement or make any necessary arrangements to conclude the courses.
Contact Linda Haynes if you have any interest in taking either of these courses, or if you would like to know more about Lay Servant Ministries, Lindahaynes87@gmail.com or 907-355-8263
Certified Lay Ministry Classes Coming to Anchorage

Have you felt God nudging you to a deeper discipleship? Have you wanted to serve the church and community in a more focused way that uses your talents and God-given gifts? The United Methodist Church has a certified leadership program that equips church members to use their gifts in service to others through the church and in the world.

There are three tracks of certification available– Certified Lay Servant, Certified Lay Speaker, and Certified Lay Minister. All three tracks begin with the BASIC course, and have follow up advanced coursework. Many of the advanced classes can be taken online through www.beadisciple.com

Two classes that cannot be taken online are BASIC and PREACHING. We will be offering the BASIC coursework as a one-day seminar at St John UMC in Anchorage on Saturday May 2 from 9am – 5pm.

We will offer the PREACHING course as a two-part class at St John UMC on successive Saturdays May 16 and 23 from 9am – 3pm. Participation in both days is required to complete the preaching course.

An important note: One does not need to preach to become a Certified Lay Servant. There are so many great advanced courses to choose from to help grow in your discipleship and develop you as a Christian leader. For a complete list of course offerings, visit the Certified Lay Ministries catalog here.
To register for the BASIC class visit CLICK HERE.
To register for the PREACHING class visit CLICK HERE.
Questions? Contact Pastor Andy Bartel 344-3025 or stjohn.sjumc@gmail.com
National News
Church leaders postpone 2020 General Conference and then move it to 2021

With the global impact of the coronavirus, General Conference organizers decided they have no choice but to postpone the denomination's legislative assembly. The venue that was scheduled to host is canceling large events through the first five days of the big meeting.

Commission denounces 'Chinese Virus' language

The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race called President Trump's description of the coronavirus as the "Chinese Virus" racist and xenophobic. "Not only does this unapologetic use of xenophobia and racial terror create physical, emotional and economic harm to persons of Asian descent, it amplified President Trump's individual racism with the institutional power of the United States government," the commission statement said. The commission offers five ways for Christians to respond when they hear or witness racism.

COVID-19 resources

While your community copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, turn to resources that will support your church during this time of uncertainty and change:
  • ResourceUMC.org: Leaders will find virtual worship how-tos, congregational care ideas and ways to respond
  • UMC.org: Members will discover prayer tools, encouraging podcasts and comforting articles
Happy 200th birthday, Fanny Crosby

On March 24, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Fanny Crosby's birth. Crosby, who penned more hymns than Charles Wesley, was a musical visionary, despite losing her sight when she was six weeks old. The songwriter of "Blessed Assurance" and "Close to Thee," Crosby wrote more than 8,000 hymns during her lifetime.

Remembering Holy Week, celebrating Easter at home

What can families, especially those with younger children, do at home to celebrate Holy Week and Easter? Discover ideas that will help families journey toward Easter together and then make Easter a season‑long, rather than one‑day, celebration.

See MinistrySafe's EasterNow app with Apple or Google Play
Spotlighting black heroes in children's books

A new children's book tells the story of Methodist minister Charles A. Tindley, who worked his way up from childhood poverty to become a respected clergyman and hymn writer.

Conference Calendar
26-27: WJ Mission Cabinet - Carlo attending remotely
12: Easter
15: Tax Day (EXTENDED TO JULY 15)
15-17: GNW Cabinet - Carlo attending remotely
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

April 23 -
Karen Martin Tichenor

April 30 -
April Hall
Conference Office

Superintendent Carlo
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.