A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Conference News
A Christmas Message from Bishop Stanovsky
Please enjoy this Christmas message for United Methodists across the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area from Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky. She invites us to step outside to see what God is up to beneath the surface.

Christmas greetings from your Conference Office staff
Carlo and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas! We hope those of you who find this time of year difficult are able to process it as you need.

The office will be closed this Tuesday and Wednesday (December 24 & 25). It will also be closed next Tuesday and Wednesday (December 31 & January 1). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
UMCOR provides home sanitation units for Alaska's Yu'pik community
Progress is being made as the first Yu’pik residents move from Newtok, Alaska, which is falling into the coastal river, to Mertarvik, further inland.

Twenty-one new homes, each complete with an UMCOR-funded sanitation unit, welcome new arrivals home.

No e~Aurora newsletter next week
This will be the last e~Aurora for 2019. It has been a busy year for us in Alaska as well as the denomination around the world.

Don't forget that if you would like to see more local/conference related news articles, then you need to make sure to send them to me. Otherwise, it tends to be more of an a national news publication.
National News
2019: Remembering church newsmakers
United Methodists this year marked the passing of a revered hymn composer, a beloved Zimbabwean lay leader and a man who used his funeral to bless his community. Heather Hahn shares 29 remembrances of notable church members.

Delegates offer proposal for church unity
United Methodist leaders from Africa, Europe and the Philippines are offering a "Christmas Covenant" for unity and inviting others to sign on.

Texas church votes to leave denomination
The congregation of Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church voted Dec. 15, by a 96% margin, to leave The United Methodist Church. Actual departure could take months. The 2,800-member Houston-area church plans to join the Free Methodist Church denomination.

Church future under negotiation before GC2020
A small group of United Methodist bishops and U.S. traditionalists, centrists and progressives met Dec. 16-17 as part of negotiations about the denomination's future.

Special General Conference tops the news in 2019
For the second year in a row, The United Methodist Church's struggle to stay together despite a longstanding division over homosexuality was the denomination's top news story of 2019 — in particular, the results of a special General Conference. Linda Bloom reports on the year's Top 5 news stories, as voted on by church communicators and UM News staff.

Human Relations Day | January 19
We have been asked to love one another like members of our family. Knowing how hard this request would be, God sent Jesus to show us how. Jesus walked with those in the margins during his life and shared the message that everyone is valuable and loved. This is the message we celebrate on Human Relations Day.

On Jan. 19, across the United Methodist connection, we come together to help bridge the gap between church and community. We do this by participating in an offering set aside for Human Relations Day.

Download worship ideas, social media graphics and other resources from the Human Relations Day Pastor and Leader's Kit.
Christian art museum to close
The art museum within The Upper Room will close Jan. 11 and the space will be repurposed as a gathering space for prayer and other spiritual practices. Staff are evaluating the 2,000-piece collection to decide what to keep.

Advent candles spark church fire
Baxley First United Methodist Church was damaged by fire Dec. 15, but no injuries were reported. Church leaders say the fire was an accident that started in the pulpit area where candles on an Advent wreath were left burning unattended.

Conference Calendar
24: Christmas Eve - Office closed
25: Christmas Day - Office closed
31: New Year's Eve - Office closed
1: New Year's Day - Office closed
9-11: GNW Cabinet - Carlo attending
12-14: UMC Lead - Carlo attending
20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Office Closed
20-22: ADCM Meeting - Carlo attending
23-24: Pre-General Conference Briefing - Carlo attending
26: Charge Conference - Northern Light United Church
30-Feb 1: Winter Rendezvous
Upcoming Clergy Birthdays

December 23 -
Christina DowlingSoka
Curtis Matz

January 5 -
Janice Carlton

January 18 -
Karen Dammann
Conference Office

Superintendent Carlo

The NEW Conference Office hours are:

Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
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.