e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
CrossOver to Life! | Week Seven
The Best Laid Plans
By Rev. Daniel Miranda
CrossOver reflection for Week Seven • Beginning January 13, 2019
When I was a child, I noticed a trend in our family vacations that I might describe as a curse or maybe just bad luck. Every time we planned a vacation, my dad’s car would have some major problem and wouldn’t work. Vacations were often postponed or cancelled.

It can be so exciting to sit down to plan a vacation. We get to imagine, plan and hope for the best adventure ever! When I go on an adventure, I attempt to plan well and ask myself some questions—with the help of my spouse, of course. Questions like: Where are we going? What are we going to do? How long will we stay? What do we need to take? All of these are important questions to ask when we are planning a trip.

Conference News
Cross-Cultural Competency Learning Event | February 7-8, 2019
Kristina Gonzalez, Director of Innovation for an Inclusive Church of the Greater Northwest Area, will be leading a workshop on Cross-Cultural Competency and Inclusivity during our Winter Learning Event for the Alaska United Methodist Conference. All are welcome to attend! The conference will pay for clergy and one lay member from each congregation to travel in for the event.

The general schedule is as follows: Thursday, February 7, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; Friday, February 8, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Lunches will be provided.
Winter Rendezvous Committee meetings | February 8-9, 2019
The upcoming Winter Rendezvous committee meetings will be held at the Conference Center (1660 Patterson Street, Anchorage).

The committee meeting schedule is: Friday, February 8, 5:30 pm dinner, 6:30-9:00 pm committee meetings; Saturday, February 9, 9:00 am-noon committees continue as needed, 12:00-3:00 pm Leadership Team meeting.

If you are unable to attend, please notify the conference office.
Here you can find the letter that was emailed directly to clergy and members of the conference committees last week. The registration deadline for both events is January 30th. Please do not wait until the last minute to register. If you attend the learning event, there is an assessment that is required to be completed beforehand.

Annual Conference Workshop Proposal Form
It does seem early to think about Annual Conference but we are doing it! Do you have a topic you want to present as a workshop before Annual Conference? Do you know someone else who does? Well, now is the time to fill out our Workshop Proposal Form! This helps us plan for the Pre-Conference workshops. Submit your form by Tuesday, February 12th to be considered.

Housing & Transportation for our February meetings
During our meeting times we are always looking for people that could house someone or help with transportation. We have meetings coming up in February. If you could help out between February 6-9, please contact the conference office and let us know! We always appreciate those that can help.

alaskaumc@gmail.com or 333-5050
National News
Committee rules 78 petitions 'in harmony' for GC2019
Options for the fast-approaching special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church have become clearer with a key panel's ruling on which legislative petitions can be considered. The Committee on Reference determined 78 petitions to be "in harmony" with the stated call for a conference aimed at keeping the denomination unified despite division over homosexuality.

Churches respond during government shutdown
As the partial U.S. government shutdown continued into its third week, the impact was felt in people's pocketbooks. Churches throughout the Baltimore-Washington Conference are responding to federal employees and other people hurting because of the shutdown.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is urging all United Methodists to join in the global Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which starts on January 18 and runs until January 25.
 
Organized by the World Council of Churches, this year’s Week of Prayer is under the theme "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue ..." and is inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
 
During the week, congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services.
 
The resources for the week have been prepared by members of different churches in Indonesia. Read more about the resources here .
 
Download 2019 materials in English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese here .
UMVIM
St. Croix UMVIM opportunity
A UMVIM team is forming to serve in St. Croix for those areas damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

The dates of the trip will be November 2-16, 2019, but the planning is starting now. If you might be interested in serving, please contact carolinejn66@gmail.com for more information. 

This is sponsored through national UMVIM groups.
Native American clergywoman took justice to heart
The Rev. Cynthia Abrams is being remembered as a committed, compassionate leader who found her voice through The United Methodist Church. A longtime staff member of the Board of Church and Society and a Native American clergywoman, Abrams died Jan. 11 at the age of 58.

Deciding what budget cuts mean for ministry
United Methodist general agencies are looking at what a planned budget cut of more than 20 percent will mean for their work, their staff and the people they serve.

You can make a difference for the dis-empowered
Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year is full of promise and potential. Our opportunity as a church to share that promise and potential starts today. We invite you and your community to help us be the voice for those who have no voice.

Did you know Human Relations Day is our day to support those living on the margins of society? On this day, we come together and celebrate by sharing a special offering. It is our chance to be the heartbeat of Matthew 25 — to invest in the overlooked and ignored. Are you ready to celebrate Human Relations Day on January 20?

Jones addresses concerns on Way Forward plans
Though he doesn’t feel bishops should publicly support any particular plan, Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones uses his Facebook page and blog to help address concerns and even misconceptions some may have about the three plans to be considered at the special 2019 General Conference. Jones spoke with UM News as part of "Seeing a Way Forward," a video series featuring different perspectives of church leaders on the work of the Commission on a Way Forward.

Kennedy's 1968 telegram to the UMC rings true today
President of the Council of Bishops, Kenneth Carter, writes a letter to the people of the United Methodist Church which says in part, "In 1968, the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist Churches formed The United Methodist Church in a Uniting Conference. Robert F. Kennedy sent this congratulatory telegram to Bishop Reuben Mueller, to be shared with the assembly in Dallas. The telegram was discovered recently by General Commission on Archives and History staff under the guidance of General Secretary Alfred Day. 

The telegram is dated April 22, 1968. Robert Kennedy would be assassinated six weeks later. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated earlier that month.

In this moment, this telegram reminds us of where we have been and at the same time comes as an urgent and prophetic gift."

Methodist University leaders call for broad ecclesiastical support of LGBTQ community
Presidents and representatives of United Methodist colleges and universities across the U.S. are urging United Methodist General Conference delegates to follow an inclusive path as they chart the future of the church. 
Delegates of The United Methodist Church’s special General Conference will meet Feb. 23-26 to discuss church policy in relation to human sexuality – specifically toward those who identify as LGBTQ.
 
On Jan. 4, members of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) signed a joint statement urging church leaders to secure full and fair access for all individuals to the church and its ministries.
 
“We call upon the leaders of the United Methodist Church at this 2019 Called General Conference to honor the past and current practices of inclusion by amending their policies and practices to affirm full inclusion in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church of all persons regardless of their race, ethnicity, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression or sexual orientation,” write the NASCUMC members.

Conference Calendar
15-17: GNW Cabinet meeting in Portland - Carlo attending
18: Charge Conference - UMC of Sitka
18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
20: Charge Conference - Turnagain UMC
21: GC 2019/2020 Delegation Meeting
22: Charge Conference - St. John UMC
23: Charge Conference - Palmer UM Fellowship
26: Charge Conference - Homer UMC
27: Charge Conference - Northern Light United Church
7-9: Winter Rendezvous meetings
11-12: GNW Cabinet meeting
23-26: General Conference Special Session
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

January 18 -
Karen Dammann

February 19 -
Steve Fisher
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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