Monday, August 23, 2010

United Methodist Passion in Kenai, Alaska

Rev. Marti Slater invited me to preach at United Methodist Church of the New Covenant in Kenai last Sunday.  I combined it with a fishing charter out of Homer with Lonnie Brooks, our conference lay leader.  I spent some time with Charles and Karen Martindell, pastors at Homer UMC.  Charles and I went on a movie date where he introduced me to the famous Homer popcorn.  Then some golf with Revs. Paul Caseman from Seward and Moose Pass, and Richard Whetsell from Soldotna.  The weather, exercise, and fellowship was terrific, but not my golf game!

It was fun to be with the Kenai saints.  I was pastor of Soldotna UMC years ago when we started a joint Ash Wednesday service with Nikiski, Kenai, and Soldotna.  Some of the folks still have a stale marshmallow I gave them 15 years ago!

We looked at Kenai's rich history of including Christians from other denominations.  Today they have a food pantry that is stocked and distributed once a week by church members.  After worship we had a conversation time where we talked about ways to revitalize the church.  One member, Kari Mohn, had a great idea which I want to implement soon.  She could not find anything on our conference web site that described where our apportionment dollars go here in Alaska.  I promised her it would be there within 30 days.

Here's a clip of the benediction song they sing at the end of every service.

Grace and peace,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Remembering Rev. Dick Heacock

Last Tuesday I flew to Fairbanks for the memorial service for Richard Heacock, long time Alaska pastor and prophet. The service was beautiful in the sanctuary of First UMC. Pastor Tom Telfer led us well with an appropriate balance of anecdotes, humor, and the gospel truth of our faith. I was astounded at the huge choir who was present at this weekday afternoon service.

Retired pastor Walt Hays and his wife, Jo Ann, were present. Walt represented so many other of Dick's colleagues over the years and did a masterful job of talking about Dick's life and faith. Here is a quote from Walt: "On these visits, I would often pick up the miniature bronze statue of “Swords into Plowshares” statue that was shelved in his living room.
The great statue was given to the UN by Russia for its outdoor statuary garden in 1969. I must confess that I would pick it up just to hear Dick respond in that great bass voice with the works from the second chapter of Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into
pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up swords against nations, neither
shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4) Dick’s great spirit has blessed my life and the lives of many. We truly give thanks for his life and ministry."

The big surprise for me was the impromptu ending. Dick's family members led us in singing the chorus "We Are Marching in the Light of God." It was really cool. Here's a clip.

One more thing. While walking around downtown Fairbanks I came across this hanging flower basket. Just had to share with you all the beauty of Fairbanks, not only the flowers but the land and the people, people like one of our saints, Dick Heacock.

Grace and peace,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Energy and Passion in Palmer!

Wow! What a great worship experience with our Palmer Fellowship last Sunday. A new place in the basement of the Country Cutts building with handicapped access, new carpet, new chairs. Pastors Robert and Tori Hicks are leading this renewal in what could be described as a church restart. In this video clip see if you can notice Tori's toes keeping time with the music.

Palmer was started years ago as a satellite campus of our Wasilla church. What we need now is the blessing and support of the Alaska conference. One of the ways they are rethinking Church is by listening to hockey families. So they will consider shaping their church's ministry around the needs of hockey families to discover and nurture their spiritual lives.

So please join me in praying for our ministry in Palmer. Check out their new web site at

Grace and peace,