A Word from our Historian About Heritage Sunday — May 19, 2013

Heritage Sunday
May 19, 2013
“The Power of Place: The Contemporary Mission of Heritage Landmarks and Historic Sites”


Alaska does not have any Heritage Landmarks but we do have two Historic Sites:  #350 Jesse Lee Home in Unalaska, and #368 First United Methodist Church in Ketchikan.  We have to thank Bea Shepard for these designations.  If anyone else knows of potential places please let your Conference Commission or Office know so we can do the paperwork.

The date reminds us of John Wesley’s “heartwarming experience” at his meeting on Aldersgate Street in London, and can also call to mind Otterbein’s and Albright’s experiences of the grace of God as these experiences lead to the evangelical revival. The Discipline states, “Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God” (par. 264.1).

The theme will remind the church that there are 46 Heritage Landmarks and almost 500 Historic Sites. Heritage Landmarks are set by the General Conference upon recommendation of GCAH and Historic Sites are determined by annual conferences (See Discipline, par. 1712). Resources developed for the observance of Heritage Sunday will call upon United Methodists to consider the role that pilgrimage has played in spiritual formation, what is means to understand sacred space, and how location can inform efforts for evangelism, mission, and social transformation today.

Powerful images of place arise from the Biblical witness. When Jacob awakes from his dream at Bethel he said, “”How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17) Also, when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River they were commanded to take stones from the river and build a monument at Gilgal so that future generations would ask what those stones mean and would be taught about God’s actions (Joshua 4). There are those places whose very history can inspire visitors to faithful living and can inform inquirers about meaningful ministry.

The following resources are available at www.gcah.org:
Sermon outline based on the Genesis 28:17 text.
A power point presentation in zip file format. (Note: it may take a few minutes for this file to load depending on the speed of your internet connection.
A power point presentation as a pdf.
A guide to accompany the power point: 
   webpage format
   pdf formats
An essay on heritage landmarks in the United States by Robert Williams that was published in the Heritage newsletter of the Methodist Conference in Great Britain. 
An order of worship and a sermon in pdf.


All Alaska United Methodist Churches are encouraged to focus on this event in May.


Larry Hayden, Chair, AUMC Commission on Archives and History

April 20, 2013