e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
Away from it all | Hope Retreat Center
I know that Alaska might seem far “away from it all” to people in the Lower-48. But even Alaskans sometimes want to “get away from it all” at times. It could be for vacation or different outdoor activities in a new spot. Sometimes it’s for retreats and group-building. Sometimes it’s just because we need a place of quiet.

The Hope Retreat Center is one of those places and it has a long history as a place to “get away” in Alaska.

Hope, on the northern tip of the Kenai Peninsula and about 90 miles from Anchorage, was not always a small town. The area around Hope was once bustling with activity at the the height of the Gold Rush. While there were Alaska Native families that predated the arrival of Euro-Americans, it was the discovery of gold in Resurrection Creek in 1893 that brought people in. Miners needed supplies. They built cabins and warehouses for goods. Families started to settle. And by 1897, Hope was officially “on the map.” At one point, there were literally thousands of people in the area.

Annual Conference Registration is OPEN
Annual Conference is coming up May 31 - June 1 at Christ First UMC in Wasilla. There will be workshops held on Thursday, May 30th at Christ First UMC as well. Please make sure these dates are on your calendar if you are the Lay Member to Annual Conference from your church. An email went out to all clergy and voting delegates. You can view that email here .

There is one CORRECTION to announce: the Fact Sheet had an incorrect date (should say May 30: Pre-Conference Workshops - not May 31).

Early registration discount ends TODAY APRIL 2, so save money and register now!
A written report is expected from all committees, units, and ministries of the conference. We are asking for a half page report to be put into the Pre-Conference Handbook. The report request has already been sent out. The reports are due to the office by April 9.

Action items to be brought to the floor of Annual Conference for a vote need to be submitted to the conference office by April 9.

If your ministry would like to have a table at Annual Conference, you will need to fill out a request form. Our space is limited so plan your display accordingly. Requests are due by May 1.

Each year we ask for nominations for two awards. The first is the Outstanding Lay Person of the Year award. The second is the Harry Denman Evangelism Award (individual Lay, Clergy & Youth nominations). If you know a deserving person, nominate them by May 1.

CrossOver to Life! | Week 18
Engineers Make Roads, Too
By Rev. Daniel Wilson-Fey
CrossOver reflection for Week Eighteen • Beginning March 31, 2019

During this Crossover Year, we are reading Brian McLaren’s book,  We Make the Road by Walking . When I heard that title, one of my first thoughts was “no we don't—one makes a road by doing a topographic survey where they want to build the road, drafting design plans, producing a cost estimate, putting it out to bid, hiring a contractor, and then finally building the road according to plan. That’s how you make a road.
 
I used to work for consulting engineers doing this kind of work. If we were going to build a road, we didn’t just go out and walk. We took measurements locating all current topographic features of the land and existing improvements, both horizontally and vertically. We would then design the road we wanted to build, specifying the alignment, width, and grade, calculating the radius and superelevation of curves, making runoff calculations, designing drainage, and indicating the type of surface for the finished roadway.

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. For more information or to register, please check out our registration page: Alaska Disaster Response Mini-Academy . For any questions, please contact Disaster Response Coordinator, Daniel Wilcox at 907.414.7078 or danielpwilcox@gmail.com .
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Apportionment Report
The March 2019 Apportionment Report for the Alaska Conference is posted to the conference website. You can view the report here.
National News
Denomination's future under discussion - quietly
Discussions about the future of The United Methodist Church are quietly occurring among denomination leaders after a recent General Conference that underscored deep divisions over homosexuality. Centrists and progressives have begun to meet, and separate talks are underway between some who backed the Traditional Plan and some who favored the One Church Plan.

Resistance to GC2019 spreads
Resistance continues to the passage of the Traditional Plan at the recent United Methodist General Conference. It's taking different forms and drawing in people who haven't spoken out before.

Group advises where to add 5 new bishops
A United Methodist leadership body unanimously backed a plan that both changes the church's map in Africa and adds five new bishops to the denomination's fastest-growing region. Now the plan heads to the 2020 General Conference, which decides funding.

Seminary leaders stress inclusiveness after GC2019
Leaders of most United Methodist seminaries in the U.S. that train clergy for the denomination are stressing their inclusive policies after the special General Conference affirmed the church's LGBTQ bans.

UMCOR grants aid initial cyclone response
The United Methodist Disability Ministries Committee, now under the umbrella of the Council of Bishops, has launched a new website featuring practical tools and a helpful search engine. The committee also will co-sponsor legislation for General Conference 2020 with the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Mental Health Ministries, the United Methodist Congress of the Deaf and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Committee.

Heritage Sunday
Heritage Sunday 2019
The date for Heritage Sunday 2019 is May 19. 
 
Heritage Sunday is set aside for remembering our legacy as United Methodists. It is an ideal time for local churches and Annual Conference Commissions on Archives and History and Historical Societies to develop programs and projects reflecting the importance of history in congregational formation and casting the future.

This year's Heritage Sunday is a celebration of the 150th Anniversary of  United Methodist Women and is themed "Bold Faith, Audacious Women."

Use this Special Sunday and the resources provided to serve as a vehicle for launching any number of history-related projects in the Annual Conference.
Engage on social media | Free digital download
People will seek renewal this spring. Connect with them on social media with the help of brand new Easter and Holy Week shareable graphics! The free downloads can be used as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts. Use them on their own, or post alongside invitations to events and worship services, celebratory messages, inspirational words from a pastor and more.

5 reasons to talk about planned giving
A planned gift is any gift above and beyond a person’s usual pledge that requires careful thought and planning ahead of time. Most planned gifts come in the form of bequests (gifts made through a person’s will after death) or beneficiary designations. If you’re hesitant to talk about this type of giving at your church, you’re not alone… but you might be missing out on some ministry-changing generosity! Here are five reasons to start talking about planned giving at your church.

Conference Calendar
8-10: Methodist Missions Bicentennial Event
10-12: GNW Cabinet Meeting
11-12: GBGM Board Meeting
12-13: GNW Stakeholders Summit 2.0
14: Palm Sunday
15: Tax Day
21: Easter Sunday
5: Cinco de Mayo
11: Leadership Team meeting
12: Mother's Day
14-16: GNW Cabinet meeting
27: Memorial Day - office closed
30: Pre-Conference Workshops
31-June 1: Annual Conference @ Christ First UMC, Wasilla
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

April 3 -
Tim McConville

April 23 -
Karen Martin Tichenor
Conference Office
907-333-5050

Superintendent Carlo
907-854-8340
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.
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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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