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2015 Alaska Conference

Officiating bishop: Grant Hagiya

Guest speakers:

Tom Wilson, Northwest United Methodist Foundation

Belinda Denicola, Enlisting volunteers for General Conference

Kelli Williams, Alaska Child and Family

Ray Buckley, native speaker for theme “Restoring the Sacred Circle”

Via letter, David Mahaffey, bishop of the Orthodox Dioceses of Sitka and Alaska

Julie Frisbee, Imagine No Malaria

Heather Wilson, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Western Jurisdiction

Memorable Quotes by speakers

“Everyone has a story. Don’t reduce them to labels” —Carlo Rapanut, district superintendent.  

“Our mission is not to feed. That’s God’s mission. Our mission is to lead people to the field.” —Carlo Rapanut, district superintendent.

Resolutions adopted by the conference: None

Election of delegates and alternate delegates to the jurisdictional or central conference gathering

Clergy delegates are:  The Rev. Carlo Rapanut, General and Jurisdictional delegate; the Rev. Doug Handlong, General alternate and Jurisdictional delegate; the Rev. Evelyn Erbele, reserve delegate; and Dan Wilcox, reserve delegate).

Lay delegates are: JoAnne Hayden, General and Jurisdictional delegate; Jim LaBau, General alternate and Jurisdictional delegate; Fran Lynch, reserve delegate; and Linda Haynes, reserve delegate.

What did the conference do to reinforce the Four Areas of Focus and what commitments has the conference made for the coming year?

Engaging in Ministry with the Poor

We have seen a renewed emphasis on mission trips from our conference and we welcomed a strong UMVIM team to help with the restoration of Galena, Alaska after flooding. We continue to nurture and support our relationship with Alaska Child and Family and their work with children.

Improving Global Health

We have met our $150,000 goal for “Imagine No Malaria” and we have committed to raise another $50,000. This is a great cause to celebrate in our conference.

Developing Principled Christian Leaders

Our conference closed with an Altar Call as we trust that God is raising up new leaders in our midst. We celebrate that we are seeing Alaska-grown candidates for ministry. 

Creating New and Renewed Congregations

We are continuing with the influences of the Academy for Missional Wisdom from the work of Elaine Heath at Perkins School of Theology.  We continue working with a new expression of church in Anchorage, called “Ascent” and a cooperative expression in the Matanuska Valley called “PLUME.”  We are working with the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UMC in their Beta Vitality Project to develop and strengthen churches. This year we also started awarding the “One Matters Award” for discipleship and evangelism with Turnagain UMC in Anchorage being the first recipient.

Number of people ordained, commissioned, or received into associate membership and average age: Two people commissioned as missionaries in the Alaska Conference — average age 25

Membership —3,367 in 2014; 3,539 in 2013 — a loss of 172

Worship Attendance  —   2,023 in 2014; 2,057 in 2013 —  loss of 34

Professions/Reaffirmations of faith — 103 in 2014; 73 in 2013 — a gain of 30

Adults and Young Adults in Small Groups — 976 in 2014,  965 in 2013) — a gain of 11

Worshippers engaged in mission — 1,307 in 2014, nothing reported for 2013

Amount given to mission — $167,325 in 2014; $206,903 in 2013 — a loss of $39,577

–Jim Doepkin