Monday, June 22, 2009

Alaska and Pacific Northwest Conference

I just returned from attending PNW's annual conference which was a real delight. There were several reasons to go: being there for David and Julie Elmore's commissioning, telling the AUMC story at their Ministry Fair, networking with leaders, and playing on the bishop's basketball team to raise money for Nothing But Nets.

The commissioning/ordination service was inspirational with retired bishop Woodie White preaching about feeding the shepherds. He challenged the laity to feed their pastors. Bishop Hagiya asked people to come forward if they were feeling a call from God into professional ministry. The superintendents prayed for them. It was a holy privilege for me to pray with several people who came in tears.

I was able to spend time with Craig Parrish, our treasurer, on a few AUMC issues. I also was briefed on the role of Volunteer's in Mission. My past work with PNW's board of ministry helped in making connections with folks.

You should know that our bishop is quite a good basketball player. The game got crazy as people bribed the officials with donations to Nothing But Nets. I wondered if we might do something similar in Alaska next year.

I am trying to be patient with myself for not being up to proper superintendent speed. It is not an easy transition to go from being a pastor for 30 years to this new role. I ask for your prayers, and for Leila and Crystal as we forge a new team.

Grace and peace,
Dave Beckett

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My last dibble for St. John UM Church

After ten years of pastoring St. John United Methodist Church the time is quickly approaching for my departure June 14. On June 15 I will become the new superintendent of the Alaska United Methodist Conference. This is my last piece for our newsletter.

This is my last dibble! For the past ten years I have tried to poke some holes here and there to make room for some seeds of grace and truth and love to sprout in all our lives. I know that St. John will continue to thrive and grow as you move forward with your mission. I am deeply grateful for the many ways you show God’s love to the world. Kim and I enjoyed the second chapter of raising our four children at St. John. You have understood our struggles as parents. Lay leaders and staff have encountered my weaknesses and shown me grace. Kim and family will continue to be at St. John. We will remain at our home and I will have a longer commute to the conference office at East Anchorage United Methodist Church. I will return for my daughter’s wedding in July and another in September. But I will not come to worship services unless I am invited in my new role as superintendent. You need time to bond with your new pastor. I am thrilled to hand over the reins to Dr. John Dodson. John will serve you fully and ably for the next year at which time the bishop will appoint your permanent new senior pastor. The good news is that I will be involved in that new appointment. Keep in mind that this is not my church, nor is it yours. We are God’s church. This is God’s work in and through us, sometimes even despite us! So I pray for a continued servant attitude for St. John, for a deepening desire for God, and for a spirit of contagious joy that reaches out to create new places for new people.
I love you.