From Our Bishop
Let me extend my warmest greeting to you as you explore our Alaska Annual Conference website. We try to practice radical hospitality in all that we do, and it is our hope to provide you with all you need to navigate our site. If there is anything you cannot find, or have questions not answered on this website, be sure to contact our staff who can direct you to what you need or answers to any questions you might have.
As one of the newest frontiers of our great country, we embody that spirit that has made our nation great: adventure, exploration, experimentation and missions. If you are moving to our great state, or simply visiting, please join us at one of our 28 United Methodist Churches spread throughout Alaska. Hopefully, you will find our United Methodist openness andhospitality that embodies God’s Grace. Once again, welcome, and if there is anything we might do for you, please let us know…
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant Hagiya
Resident Bishop, the Seattle & Alaska Regions
You can always find Bishop Hagiya’s blog posts at the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area website. Read his latest here!
From Our Superintendent
When people I meet discover I live in Alaska they often tell me about a special Alaska vacation or that they have always dreamed of visiting Alaska. My wife and our four children ventured to this Great Land nearly twenty years ago from Ohio thinking we would be here for four years! Alaska has a way of getting into your blood and soul. Maybe it is the grandeur of endless mountain peaks viewed from a passenger jet. Maybe it is the experience of the transcendence of God when you hike into the wilderness and come to a magnificent vista at a high ridge. Perhaps it is the people here who are a real as it gets. Alaska is a land drenched with the sacredness of God from the traditions of people who have been here for thousands of years to the wildlife that roam the land to our 28 United Methodist Churches who are trying to follow Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Enjoy your visit to our website and may the grace of God fill your heart and guide your actions.
Our new Conference Vision was presented and approved at the Alaska United Methodist Conference on June 5, 2010. This vision is offered to the individual churches to take, and to study, and to pray about. It is designed to be “OPEN”…recognizing that the mission of each individual church will reflect their individual settings. This is offered to our local churches and it is hoped that pastors and laypersons will begin discussing how this shapes their ministry today and into the future. The Visioning Team is committed to keep this mission before us and to work on resources to be used in the local church setting.
Five Top Priorities:
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Third, we have four questions to guide our discussions in our settings. These are meant to focus us and force us all to ask the big questions about who we are, who are the people in our communities that aren’t being reached, and what kind of sacrifices are we willing to make as we discern where it is that God wants us to go. Each church will come up with different answers here.
Our Vision Theme:
This vision theme is for all of our churches to take back to their local settings. This theme gives us a timeframe/benchmark of the year 2020. So, we have nine years to be focusing on this in our local settings and nine years to be thinking ahead to where God is calling each of our churches in the years to come. And we look at this, understanding that we are moving forward to a horizon…but that it’s God’s horizon. We look at this, praying that God would, indeed, give us 20/20 Vision.
By Larry Hayden
Some of the first known Methodist missionary work was a result of visits from British Columbia to Wrangell in 1877 by the Reverend Thomas Crosby, pastor of the Fort Simpson Methodist Church.
In 1886 John and Ethelda Carr were sent by the General Agent for Education in Alaska, Dr. Sheldon Jackson, to start a school and church in Unga in the Shumagin Islands. The Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church furnished support and travel money for Mrs. Carr. Methodist work carried on sporadically in Unga until about 1953.
In 1890 the Women’s Home Missionary Society furnished money to build and operate a children’s home in Unalaska, named for Jesse Lee, one of the early itinerant Methodist preachers on the New England and east coast.
The Klondike Gold Rush began about 1897 and the Reverend Carl Larson, appointed by Presiding Bishop Charles McCabe, came to preach to the miners who were primarily speakers of Scandinavian languages. Larson preached in Douglas, Juneau, and Skagway, and set up his gospel tent in Dyea. McCabe Methodist College was built inSkagway in 1899; Douglas had a church built in 1901 and Ketchikan in 1902.
The first Annual Meeting of the Alaska Mission was held in Juneau in July 1904.
In 1905 the Seward church was established. Soon after churches were built in Fairbanks and Nome. Just east of Nome in Sinuk, the Women’s Home Missionary Society started a mission effort to help local people raise reindeer. A hospital was also organized in Nome.
World War Two and the Korean Conflict brought many people to the Great Land and much activity and growth took place in the 1950s.
The church at Hope, now a conference retreat center, was built in 1944. Moose Pass was added as a charge in 1945. The Women’s Division operated the Seward Tuberculosis Sanatorium starting in 1946.
Anchorage organized its first Methodist church in 1944 with a log cabin which was later enlarged and named the Baxter Memorial Methodist Church. In 1952 a new Methodist church was organized in Fairbanks. Other churches soon followed. Argetsinger (Eagle River) and Birchwood Camping Ministries were started in the late 1950s. Cooperative projects were begun with Presbyterian churches. The Alaska Native Ministries Programs were given a boost in 1974 with Native Land laws and the start of the oil pipeline construction. An Alaska Council of Churches was formed in 1958.
The Alaska Mission became the Alaska Missionary Conference in 1972 and in 2008 it was renamed the Alaska United Methodist Conference.
Alaska Methodist University was begun in the mid-1950s. A few churches have closed over the years but 28 currently are strong and active. Various ministries have focused on youth, students, military chaplaincy, indigenous peoples, music, health, economics, environment, global relief and general missions.
We welcome your involvement today so you can share in our rich history which is being created now.
Readers may want to research more in-depth topics by reading the comprehensive book written for the Conference Centennial in 1986 by Bea Shepard and Claudia Kelsey Have Gospel Tent Will Travel. Please click here to download. Many other primary sources are available at the conference archive collection at East Anchorage United Methodist Church. Contact Larry Hayden for access or an inventory. (907) 279-4862 or email@example.com.
Serve in Alaska
A note to all clergy who may sense an urge/call to serve a church in Alaska
By Rev. David Beckett, Conference Superintendent
Welcome to the Alaska United Methodist Conference. We are a diverse group of 28 churches, two community institutions, and two camps living and ministering with Alaskans for the sake of Christ. We need clergy leaders who feel a deep call to be in mission with people, who realize that God is already present among all peoples, who desire to see all people included in the life of the church, and who have a vital and personal faith.
The number one quality I seek in pastors to appoint to Alaska churches is adaptability. We need pastors who can move into a ministry context, sense what leadership style is needed, and who can implement that style to help that church meet its mission. It should not just be about replaying our demonstrated skills, but a desire to learn new skills for a new context.
One of these new skills is the ability to discern how to grow a church in our various Alaskan contexts. Bishop Grant Hagiya and I really desire to see the church grow in Alaska. So we want to raise the bar in terms of clergy effectiveness. We want the best and brightest pastors to lead our churches into a new era of church growth.
Many new clergy share that it feels like coming home. My wife and four small children trekked here from Ohio thinking we could stay four years. That was in 1991 and I am serving my third appointment in Alaska. It is a place where people give you the freedom to be yourself, your real self, the self God is creating you to be.
If this is your desire, to live in a land of deep natural beauty and to give sacrificially in ways that give you life energy, then I invite you to pray and discern a call to come to the Alaska UM Conference. If you feel like exploring this further please complete this application. You can mail a paper copy to me at our office (1660 Patterson St. Anchorage, AK 99504) or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d also like two video sermons with one of them in a video of an entire worship service you have led.
Please don’t consider coming to Alaska if your main desire is to hunt, fish, or play. Do consider coming if you have a deep desire to serve God by serving people who will show you something of the magnificence of God in this Great Land.
Top 10 List of what the superintendent expects of all clergy serving in the Alaska United Methodist Conference
- BOUNDARIES. Respect all ethical boundaries of human behavior in your church and community. Be very aware to avoid situations where you are alone with a person who is fragile and vulnerable.
- FAMILY. Married clergy will need to pay special attention to their marriages and their children. The isolation and climate affects people in different ways. Single clergy need to find friends who can provide nurture and accountability.
- CONNECTIONALISM. Due to the isolation and remote geography of Alaska we really depend on each other. All pastors and lay professionals under appointment are expected to attend the annual clergy retreat and winter rendezvous in February, Fall rendezvous in October, regional program councils, and annual conference.
- PREACHING/WORSHIP. Work on your preaching and worship leadership. If there is one common quality our churches request at the time of a pastoral change it is that they desire a preacher who can offer a relevant, engaging message based on God’s Word they can take home and apply to their daily lives.
- SPIRITUAL LIFE. Read the Bible and pray daily. Be aware that spiritual insights are not always given to pass on to others, but for your soul’s benefit.
- LOVE. Love your congregation and community. In big and small ways show them that you are one of them, that you embrace this Alaskan life in its grandeur and in its sometimes difficult realities. Remember to include self-love and self-care for your physical and emotional well being.
- MISSION. Lead your congregation by example in reaching out to be in ministry with the poor and to engage your church in mission beyond themselves.
- EVANGELISM. Create a church system that is conducive to welcoming new people. Help them deal with the changes that are necessary in order to assimilate new people. Remember, disciple making is the purpose of the Church, and the work of a disciple is the transformation of the world.
- IMPROVE. Show a genuine willingness to become a better pastor. Take your continuing education seriously. Ask your SPRC for ideas. Consider relating your education experiences to the goals of your church.
- LAUGHTER. Look for ways to not take yourself so seriously. Letting things roll off your back with a humorous comment will go far to strengthen your emotional well being in Alaska.
Documents & Forms
Click the corresponding tab to locate the files you need. Files are either in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format.
- Badge Letter to Clergy
- Clergy Badge Form
- Alaska Statistical Reports
- Guidelines for promoting our Advance Project
- 2013 Remittance Form
- W-2 IRS Letter
- Five Year Basic Breakdown of Churches
- Alaska Demographics from New Clergy Orientation
- IMPORTANT FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR CLERGY
- Wellness Points Tutorial & HQ Combo
- Letter for Minimum Insurance Requirements
- Amy Lynch – Incorporating Millenials and Gen X
- Quadrennial Leadership Training 2013
- 2012 Leader Survey PDF Word
- Healthy Church powerpoint
- Healthy Church PDF
- Disbursement Voucher
- Healthflex Incentive Program – Updated 1/23/13
- Interpreting Congregational Feedback for Clergy
- Pastor Profile
- Church Profile (WORD)
- Church Profile (PDF)
- Clergy Evaluation Tool
- Clergy/Church Covenant
- Expectations of Clergy serving in the Alaska Conference
- Agenda PDF Word
- 2013 Church Conference Checklist PDF Word
- 2014 Pastoral Support Worksheet PDF Word
- Pastoral Support Worksheet Definitions PDF Word
- Worksheet for Computing Minimum Salary PDF Word
- Equitable Compensation/Salary Subsidy Request Form PDF Word
- Church Officers PDF Word
- Ministry & Membership Report PDF Word
- Report of the Pastor PDF Word
- Report of the Trustees PDF Word
- Parsonage Annual Report PDF Word
- Property Insurance Review PDF Word
- Report of the Finance Committee PDF Word
- Lay Servant Annual Report (formerly Lay Speaker) PDF Word
- October 2013 Apportionment Report
- September 2013 Apportionment Report
- UM Connectional Giving
- August 2013 Apportionment Report
- July 2013 Apportionment Report
- Nominations Report 2013
- June 2013 Apportionment Report
- May 2013 Apportionment Report
- January through April 2013 Apportionment Report
- December 2012 FINAL Apportionment Report
- November 2012 Apportionment Report
- October 2012 Apportionment Report
- September 2012 Apportionment Report
- August 2012 Apportionment Report
- July 2012 Apportionment Report
- May 2012 Apportionment Report
- April 2012 Apportionment Report
- March 2012 Apportionment Report
- February 2012 Apportionment Report
- January 2012 Apportionment Report
- Apportionment Analysis
- Where Do Our Apportionment Dollars Go?
Please contact the Conference office for a list of VIM Teams coming to Alaska and for a list of the Alaska churches needing VIM teams. 907-333-5050 or email@example.com.
- Mission U Event Flyer – Kenai Peninsula
- Mission U Registration Form – Kenai Peninsula
- Mission U Housing in Homer
- July 2013 UMW Newsletter
- March 2013 UMW Newsletter
- December 2012 UMW Newsletter
- UMW 2012 Annual Gathering Newsletter
- September 2012 UMW Newsletter
- July 2012 UMW Newsletter
- May 2012 UMW Newsletter
- UMW Talent Bank form
- November 2011 UMW Newsletter
- August 2011 Newsletter
- June 2011 Newsletter
Blue Track 1: Financial and Benefits Leadership
- Denominational Retirement Plans and Legislative Changes
- Connectional Overview of Benefits and Their Financial Status
- Funding the Future: The Need for Security
- Retirement Plan Services Enhancements
- Comprehensive Protection Plan – Legislative Changes 2013
- Conference Options and Decisions
- Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
Red Track 2: Benefits Training and Administration
- Roles and Responsibilities “Using Your Gifts”
- Church Benefits Background: Clergy Tax Considerations
- Clergy Plan Basics: Welfare Plans
- Investment Support for Conferences and CBOs
- Clergy Plan Basics: Retirement
- Paying for Clergy Plans: Talking about the Basics
- Voluntary Plans and Services: HealthFlex, UMLifeOptions, and United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP)
Yellow Track 3: Decisions and Considerations in Appointment Making
- District Superintendents and Clergy Health
- Voluntary Transition Program
- What’s a Cabinet Member to Do? Appointment Making with New Pension Plan Revisions
- Comprehensive Protection Plan Essentials: You Can Make a Difference
Green Track 4: Health Initiatives and Health Care Reform
- Health Care Reform: Impact on the UMC
- Church Systems Task Force: Recommendations for Healthy Pastoral Leaders, Considerations for the Connection
- UMC Wellness Initiatives and Resources from the Center for Health
- Behavioral Incentives
- Retiree Health
Orange Track 5: Benefits/Treasury Administrative Staff
- Benefits Access Portal (BAP) for Conference Staff
- Benefits Access for Participants: New Feastures and Planning Tools
- Administering CRSP Matching Contributions
- Socially Responsible Investing and Positive Social Purpose Lending Program
- General Board Services and Support
- Voluntary Plans and Services: HealthFlex, UMLLifeOptions, and United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP)
- Health Care Reform: Impact on the UMC
- Benefits Access for Participants: New Features and Planning Tools
- Policies/Practicies to Help Keep You Out of Court