e~Aurora
A weekly news update from The Alaska United Methodist Conference
Aurora
Annual Conference Wrap-up
This years Annual Conference is now in the books.  We want to thank everyone who helped make it run as smoothly as we felt it did.  A big thank you goes to St. John UMC for hosting the event.  Thanks go to Rev. Andy Bartel and his helpers for running all the technology during the pre-conference workshops and during the plenaries and worship services.  Thank you to Amber Packer, for providing break snacks and coffee and assisting our needs when we had questions.  Thanks again to Barbara Mitchell for running the Cokesbury book sales table. The meals were delicious so we definitely want to thank the St. John LGBTQ+, Wednesday Night Supper Crew, and the United Methodist Women groups for providing all our meals. We also want to thank all of the pre-conference workshop leaders: Doug Ruffle, Lynn Swedberg, Colby May, Melissa Engel, Brant Henshaw, and David Nieda.  It was wonderful having Thomas Kemper here to answer our questions during his Town Hall meeting as well as give a talk during a plenary and preach during the closing worship service.  We also want to thank all those people we didn't see who helped provide housing and transportation for the out of town delegates that needed it.
If you missed any of the live streaming during Annual Conference, you can view it here.
Africa University wants to thank the Alaska United Methodist Conference for paying 100 percent to the Africa University Apportionment Fund.  They also provided a banner that was presented at Annual Conference.
We know that many of you were not able to attend the pre-conference workshops in Anchorage on June 2nd.   We also assume that all churches want to be as disability-friendly as possible.  With that in mind, Lynn Swedberg, presenter of the workshop "Strategies for Becoming an Intentionally Disability Friendly Church" has posted her PowerPoint presentation and a number of useful handouts on Dropbox for you to access.  Use this link to open and download the files.  Feel free to use these materials in your own church.  For more information contact Maria del Rosario, Alaska Conference Disability Advocate at joel_kiss@hotmail.com, or Lynn Swedberg, Disability Consultant for the DisAbility Committee of the UMC at umdisability@gmail.com.
Pastoral Letter from Bishop Grant Hagiya's
The Bishop has written a pastoral letter to the Greater Northwest Area.  We shared it yesterday but wanted to share it again today.  You can find it posted here.
Sweezey Farewell
Birchwood Camp will be hosting a Send Off for Stephen and Marie Sweezey on Saturday, June 25th at Birchwood Camp. Dinner will be at 6 PM and the Farewell program will begin at 7:30 PM.  Please bring a potluck dish to share.  Beverages, hotdogs, burgers, condiments, and s'more fixings will be provided!

In the spirit of camping, please wear your favorite Birchwood Camp t-shirt or hoody.

Please bring a care card for Stephen and Marie expressing your farewell thoughts and best wishes.  If you are unable to attend, please send your care cards to: Birchwood Camp, PO Box 670049, Chugiak, AK 99567.  Feel free to spread the word to others who would like to wish Stephen and Marie farewell.
Alaska United Methodist Camps
Eagle River United Methodist Camp
Eagle River United Methodist Camp located in Juneau, Alaska will be having Discovery Camp for kids going into 3rd thru 8th grade. The dates for camp are July 17th - July 21st. This year's theme is "Power Up". To sign-up please contact the Sitka United Methodist Church at 907-747-8775 for a registration form. Children from other communities in Southeast Alaska and beyond are welcome to participate.   Let's get together for camp!!!
Birchwood Camp
Summer Camps have begun.  There are still a few spots left for upcoming camps so sign up now!

There is a need for male counselors for some of the camps so if you would like to participate, please contact the camp.
Fairbanks "Sprouts" a Top Supporter of PET
Seated: Michael R (L) and Cathie S (R)
Standing: Bonnie M (L) and Wesley T (R)
The older elementary fellowship/study group, The Sprouts, completed several weeks of study regarding the needs of the disabled poor of the world by raising $2525.00 to fund Personal Energy Transportation (PET) Mobility carts.
 
The Sprouts finished this special project on May 15th by sharing in morning worship, hosting Information tables in their fellowship hall and encouraging adults and kids to become acquainted with this sturdy, hand-cranked cart by driving one of four PETs around traffic cones in the church parking lot.
 
They are one of the top supporters of the PET mobility project among United Methodist
Youth in our entire church. In 2005, SPROUTS raised $4512. For PET, The 2009 SPROUTS
raised an additional $4648. With this 2016 effort, this will bring the total funds raised
to well over $11,500 - translation: this means that 45 adults and kids who have been
impacted by land mine injury, war amputation, polio, birth defects etc, now have mobility,
dignity and a chance for a better life!"
 
To learn more about PET and see stories and videos go to www.petinternatonal.org.
Apportionment Report
The May Apportionment report has been posted to the conference website.  You can view it here.
Bishops in No Rush to Form Sexuality Panel
United Methodist bishops have yet to set a timetable for when they expect to have a new commission on human sexuality up and running. However, they already are talking about the kind of qualities they would like commission members to have. Read the rest of this United Methodist News Service story.
Looking for Ways to Improve Your Bulletin?
You may find some ideas for improving your church bulletin in "7 Steps to a More Successful Church Bulletin" by Ryan Holck. Topics include: be intentional about what you include, re-purpose your content, confirm your information, make it scannable, and more.
How to Love your Church by Letting Go
How can you help your church grow? Sometimes, church leaders need to follow the advice of Elsa in "Frozen," and "Let it go." Tricia Brown, writing for United Methodist Communications, offers three areas where churches might benefit from some loosening up.
UPCOMING EVENTS

JULY
4: Independence Day - Office Closed
13-16: Western Jurisdiction Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Carlo attending
19-August 18: Carlo on vacation in the Philippines
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