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2009 Alaska Missionary Conference

Alaska Missionary Conference
June 5-7, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska

The Alaska United Methodist Conference held its annual conference in Anchorage. There are 28 United Methodist Churches spread out over The Last Frontier, with ministries to several outlying areas. When the conference members gather, it is a family affair. Members share their struggles and triumphs and celebrate the work of God.

This year's conference was "tweeted" on Twitter for the first time as to open new doors to new people. The highlights of the conference include:

  • The conference theme "Turning the World Upside Down," from Acts 17:1-9. How do we offer the world our topsy-turvy gospel?
  • Welcoming new laity, new clergy and Grant Hagiya, the new bishop.
  • Spending a lot of time in a Visioning Process for the conference, breaking into small groups to share hopes and dreams.
  • Churches were challenged to get their "Welcoming Certification Award" as we strive to RETHINK CHURCH collectively as a conference.
  • The Alaska Conference faces financial struggles and is examining the cost of ministry in all areas.
  • Welcomed Shawn Bakker from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, The Advance and Mission Personnel, which makes ministry possible in some of the conference's more remote areas.
  • Setting two conference mission priorities for 2009-11: Global Clean Water initiatives and support of Campus Ministries.
  • Approval of a plan for $2 million coming to the conference with a 2010 increase of 0.2 percent in apportionments.
  • The Rev. David Beckett, conference superintendent, standing on his head to show how things the conference is turning things upside down.
  • Bishop Hagiya, in his address, wants everybody FED - FEEDING people, ENGAGING people, and DISCIPLING emerging generations of leaders.

During the conference, all 32 constitutional amendments from the 2008 General Conference were passed.

Membership stands at 3927, down 143 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 2300, down 115. Church school attendance stands at 952, down 12.

- Jim Doepken.