e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
"Welcome to St. John" | St. John UMC
“Welcome to St John. We’re so glad you’re here!” These are the words you will hear when you walk through one of the many front doors to the building that is home to the largest United Methodist Congregation in Alaska. This congregation began over 60 years ago because God had told a layman, Bob Smay, that he was supposed to plant a church. “You’re crazy!” they told him. “Nobody will ever come to a church way out there!”

But with the help and support of the Rev. David Fison and others, they began inviting folks to worship on the hillside in the quonset hut with their little fellowship known as the “Church of the Beloved Disciple.” Bob invited a man by the name of John Cox to join their fellowship. John was resistant at first, wondering if his family would really be welcome in this new church. It was the 1960’s, and John had adopted a number of children, Alaska Native and African American. Being a mixed-race family, they were shunned from every other church they attempted to associate with in Anchorage. Bob assured him, “There will always be room for your family in this church, and for ANY family that might look differently.” (Incidentally, the church’s name change many years later to St John was in honor of John Cox.)

CrossOver to Life! • Week 20
On Recognizing Jesus
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky
CrossOver reflection for Week 20 - Easter • Beginning April 21, 2019
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23, NRSV

Toward the end of her life, as my mother was withdrawing into the twilight of forgetfulness, one of the delights we shared was walking through a public garden. On a sunny spring stroll, she exclaimed, “Oh, isn’t that beautiful!?” Her eye was captivated by electric blue blossoms crouched alongside the path. We paused and marveled at the delicate blossoms broadcasting such intense color.

As we resumed our walk, not ten feet further along, her eye fell upon another patch of these same flowers, and again she exclaimed, “Look at that! Aren’t they lovely!” And so, it continued along the way. Time and again she saw these graceful flowers as if for the first time and received them as the extraordinary gifts they were— the glory of the Lord !

Annual Conference
Annual Conference is 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 informational email went out to all clergy and voting delegates. You can view that email here .

If you have not registered, please do it soon! Late registration begins on May 1 so don't wait! REGISTER NOW

The Fact Sheet had an incorrect date: it should say May 30: Pre-Conference Workshops - not May 31.
A tentative schedule (subject to revision) is now available on the conference website.

The Pre-Conference Handbook will be finished this week. It will be mailed to those who requested that option and posted online for those that requested a download option. Please make sure you read through it before Annual Conference!
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.

Basic Early Response Team Training offered this Saturday
Due to low enrollment, the Alaska Disaster Response Mini Academy has been cancelled for this coming weekend. The Basic ERT course, though, will still be offered on Saturday, April 27 th , from 9:00am-5:00pm at the conference office (1660 Patterson St., Anchorage, AK). This training allows you to be certified and credentialled so you can be deployed in the early response after a disaster both in state, and around the country. 
 
There is no registration fee, but we are using the same registration link: Alaska Disaster Response Mini-Academy
 
For any questions, please contact Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Daniel Wilcox at 907.414.7078 or danielpwilcox@gmail.com .
Annual Conference deadlines apporaching
April 30 is the deadline for registering for Child Care, Home Stays, Transportation requests, and the General Registration. After this date, we can not guarantee these things for you. If you have any of these needs, please make sure to request it before the deadline.

National News
Top court meets in aftermath of GC2019
The United Methodist Church’s top court is poised to review actions taken in February during a contentious legislative session that still threatens to divide the denomination.

The Judicial Council meets April 23-26 in Evanston, Illinois. No oral hearings are scheduled, and the court’s rulings will be posted on its website at some point after the session concludes.

The April 2019 docket is short but significant.

Bishops call for prayers for Judicial Council as it meets this week
The Council of Bishops is inviting the people of The United Methodist Church to be in prayer for the Judicial Council, which is in session this week. The Judicial Council will be discussing the constitutionality of matters related to the Special Session of the General Conference held in February.

“In our residential areas, in the midst of voices we have heard around these decisions and for the sake of the whole church, we lift these elected members of the Judicial Council in prayer, as the events of this week help us to take the next step as people who seek to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6. 8),” Bishop Ken Carter, President of the Council of Bishops said in a letter released today.

GBGM
Mission agency expresses solidarity with Sri Lankans
The top executive of The United Methodist Church's mission agency joined the chorus of Christian and other religious voices in condemning the terrorist bombings of churches and other places in Sri Lanka on Easter. "Such violence is an attack on both the Easter celebration of life and hope and an affront to the human aspiration for a world of peace and reconciliation,” said Thomas Kemper in a statement on behalf of the Board of Global Ministries.

Centrists, progressives to discuss church's future
Unhappy with the results of General Conference 2019, about 600 centrist and progressive United Methodists from across the United States will meet May 20-22 at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. The question being asked: What should become of The United Methodist Church?

UMFCU
Spring 2019 Newsletter from your United Methodist Federal Credit Union
Read about protecting yourself from tax fraud.  A wealth of additional information on credit union products and services can be found at www.umfcu.org To receive a membership packet for yourself or your church call 800-245-0433. 

Ask the UMC: How do we understand the timing of the Great 3 Days?
On May 5, United Methodist churches will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday by honoring Native American traditions and receiving a special offering.

We invite your congregation to give generously to honor and empower Native Americans.

Connectional giving through offerings like Native American Ministries Sunday provides an opportunity to share the costs of worldwide ministry with other local churches. United Methodist Native Americans — with many unique languages and cultures — honor Jesus and live as Christians, led by a contingent of primarily Native American pastors.
Conference Calendar
22-26: Carlo on retreat
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 @ Christ First UMC, Wasilla
30: Lay & Clergy Session @ Christ First UMC, Wasilla
31-June 1: Annual Conference @ Christ First UMC, Wasilla
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

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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