“Living into Our History” — St. Peter the Fisherman’s UMC in Ninilchik

St Peter the Fisherman UMC is an extension of the rich heritage and history that began this community almost 200 years ago. Russian fur traders colonized this fishing village in 1820, as it had become a favorite place for trappers to inhabit especially for retiring. Steeped in the history of early Russian America, it offers an old-world setting with its Russian Orthodox Church on the hill, quaint fishermen’s cottages and log homes. It was built around a tight community that recognized the need to be there for each other, as well as a quick understanding that new faces along with the versatile assets they brought with them were always welcome and needed for survival.

The front doors of St. Peter the Fisherman UMC.

The United Methodist Church in Ninilchik maintains that mentality. Their openness and acceptance of the need for all gifts and graces has made them a favorite return spot for vacationers as well as numerous congregants that snowbird out each winter to faithfully return to family and community in the spring.

Upholding the same mindset the community was founded on, St Peter the Fisherman has considered the needs for survival, both physically and spiritually, in the community and found ways to best serve and meet the needs through gifts that they have to offer.

One of the ministries that they have been offering for some time now is the housing of two AA meetings and one NA meeting each week. Addictions are robbing life and spirit from too many of the community people and offering support, prayers, and love is a gift dear for many. These programs are reported to be some of the strongest attended on the Kenai Peninsula.  

This sanctuary serves as sanctuary for many in the community, including those who don’t “belong” to any church.

For the past couple of years, a new need was recognized in the community as it was reported that as many as 50% of the elementary children were reporting lack of food in the homes. Teachers were reporting children too focused on hunger to be attentive to learning. St Peter the Fisherman began to house a project, supported by the community, of sending home food supplies each Friday. That way, when community children could not receive at least one school lunch per day at the school, they would have other options for food on the weekend. They are now providing weekly food through the summer months as well.

St Peter the Fisherman is often called on as the community’s church family for those who do not belong to a church. They are known to oversee weddings, funerals and simply to be there for visits to community shut ins and sick.

Just as the needs and concerns of the Russian Village, Ninilchik, grew and changed from 200 years ago, our community family continues to evolve today. St Peter the Fisherman also continues to grow and search for places where their gifts can fit the requirements of those in need. In this fluctuating fishing village of up to almost 900 people, the continued search for physical and relational needs to care for with the love of Christ is an honor.  

Telling “the story” through stained glass.


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