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2007 Alaska Missionary Conference

May 25-27, 2007, Anchorage

The Alaska Missionary Conference of The United Methodist Church conducted its 2007 Annual Conference at St. John United Methodist Church in Anchorage.

The Top 10 happenings of the conference meeting were:

10. Wonderful food was prepared by the good folks at St. John United Methodist Church, First Samoan United Methodist Church and the Alaskan Emmaus Community. "We were well-fed. As an army fights on their stomachs, that's where United Methodists do their best work."

9. The conference was grateful for the presence and support of members of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, particularly Superintendent David Wilson and Diane Fitzpatrick. This furthered "our" working relationship as we strive to do ministry in two of the denomination's "missionary" conferences.

8. Fifteen petitions to the 2008 General Conference were approved, making sure there would be an Alaskan presence as those delegates gather from around the world.

7. The conference theme "God's Beloved Community: Nothing But Nets" netted $6,405 for First Samoan United Methodist Church and provided a framework for talking about providing "nets" of ministry in Alaska. The conference also heard a great deal about the Nothing but Nets campaign for Africa, and all conference churches were encouraged to take this message of mission back to their congregations.

6. The conference said goodbye to pastors moving on to different ministries and life experiences. These folks represent more than one-fourth of the active pastors at the close of the conference year.

5. Conference lay leader Dave Kobersmith shared his passion for environmental stewardship and encouraged all churches to participate in "Alaska Interfaith Power & Light."

4. The conference had a visible youth presence throughout the session and celebrated their participation in the life and legislative process of the Alaska Missionary Conference. Because of a petition from the youth, 2007 Funding for Council on Youth Ministries was restored.

3. The conference elected Georgina Dapcevich, a lay member of Sitka United Methodist Church, as the First Alaskan Native delegate to General Conference in 2008. Elected as alternates were: Lonnie Brooks, Jo Anne Hayden and Kate Simeon. Clergy elected were: David Beckett, Rachel Lieder Simeon, Jim Doepken and Kay Shock.

2. The conference celebrated successes and struggled with the difficulties of being in ministry with one another, remembering that the work of Christ is a collaborative process &ellipsis; and we're in it together for the glory of God.

1. As we redefine how Native Ministries happen in the life of the conference, Della Waghiyi was ordained as the first Native Alaskan elder in The United Methodist Church. This action was taken in accordance with Paragraph 588 in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. This will shape how we recognize and celebrate the ministry of Native Alaskans within the denomination and how we strive to reach out to more persons with the grace and love of Christ.

Membership stands at 4070, up 70 from the previous year. Average attendance stands at 2,568, down 68. Church school attendance stands at 992, up 116.

Jim Doepken