A Snapshot from Willow Church and Community Ministry — The Abundance God Provides

Thanksgiving Blessing

(From Fran Lynch)


In the just reward of labor, God’s will is done; In the help we give our neighbor,
God’s will is done; in our worldwide task of caring for the hungry and despairing, in the harvest we are sharing, God’s will is done.

“For the Fruits of This Creation” UMC Hymnal

As the Church and Community Worker in Willow, AK I love this hymn as we move into fall preparing for the winter. Walking through the Willow Farmer’s Market and the agricultural area of the Alaska State Fair I reminded of the abundance God provides.

Each year one of the snow birds of Willow (A person who lives in Alaska for the summer and goes south for the winter) purchases animals at the state fair – cows, pigs, and sheep. He then has these butchered so that he can give the meat to his neighbors and to the Food Pantry. On a
day in mid-October that did not get above freezing he called wanting to meet me that evening to deliver the meat for the Food Pantry. He and his wife are both talkers, full of joy, and a pleasure with which to visit. We met at the Pantry and unloaded about 400 pounds of beef, pork, and lamb. I was excited. With this addition to the moose meat harvested earlier in the month we had plenty to go around for the next few months. We also have lots of ham steaks to give folks at Christmas who do not have ovens and cannot cook turkeys. Providing this option for hams is a big expense for the ministry, but is worth it as folks receive food they can easily cook. Our snow bird makes this possible as he lives his faith in caring for the hungry.
In the worldwide task of caring for our neighbors God’s will is done and we experience the abundance.

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

“Alaska Churches” an Advance Special for 2013-2016

The Advance has approved our application for “Alaska Churches” to continue as an official project of The Advance for the 2013-2016 quadrennium.  Our Advance number is 931027.  Our project will be able to receive gifts from donors for up to $50000 annually.

The Advance will be promoting and marketing your project to United Methodist congregations; however, funding is not guaranteed.  The amount we will receive will depend on donor response.  Being a part of The Advance grants us the right to solicit United Methodist congregations for support for your mission or ministry work. 

100 % of all gifts raised will be sent to our Alaskan Churches, strengthening local church mission and ministry while launching new leadership for new programs.

You can read about our project and give HERE.

Bishop Grant Hagiya to Serve New Episcopal Area in West

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya, presiding over the Western Jurisdictional Conference Session on Friday, July 20, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Patrick Scriven

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya, presiding over the Western Jurisdictional Conference Session on Friday, July 20, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Patrick Scriven


By Greg Nelson, Director of Communications for the Oregon-Idaho Conference

The Western Jurisdiction has ratified the assignments of their Committee on Episcopacy for five episcopal areas.

Following action of the 2008 General Conference, the jurisdiction has restructured its episcopal areas so that a new Greater Northwest Episcopal Area, with episcopal residence in Normandy Park, Wash. will provide leadership for the Alaska United Methodist Conference, Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, and the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. This creates the largest geographic episcopal area in the United States.

Other assignments made by the conference were: Bishop Minerva Carcaño to the Los Angeles Area (California-Pacific Annual Conference), Bishop Robert Hoshibata to the Phoenix Area (Desert Southwest Annual Conference), Bishop Elaine Stanovsky to the Mountain Sky Area (Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Annual Conferences), and Bishop Warner Brown to the San Francisco Area (California-Nevada Annual Conference).

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, who currently serves the Los Angeles Area, will retire at the end of her term in August. With this one retirement, the Western Jurisdiction was left with five Bishops as proscribed by the mandated reduction of leadership.

In recognition of the geography and shared values of the area, the Denver Area has been renamed the Mountain Sky area by the Jurisdictional Conference. Similarly the new episcopal area was named the Greater Northwest Area in recognition of the expanse and diversity of the area rather than the for the location of a residence or office.

The Conference also adopted a motion to change the name of the Alaska Missionary Conference to the Alaska United Methodist Conference. Without changing the status the conference has with the General Board of Global Ministries, this name change creates a more respectful relationship to the indigenous people of Alaska.

February Aurora Witness Available

Download the new Aurora Witness HERE.  In this edition, you’ll see some notes from the Conference Coordinating Council.  You’ll read a response from the Western Jurisdiction Bishops concerning the proposed restructuring of the United Methodist Church.  You’ll read about the latest recipient of Turnagain UMC’s “Towel and Basin Award.”

And there’s more.  Download your copy today.