Sunday morning I stopped by my office on the way to Chugiak for church conference. I slipped into worship at East to hear our youngest pastor in the conference. Jenny Smith shared the second of a series dealing with technology and social media. I had a nostalgic moment when I realized that in 1984 I preached my first sermon in Alaska in that pulpit when John Shaffer was pastor of East. Jenny was with Kim that day as a two year old. Now that two year old had grown up, mostly in Alaska, nurtured by the saints of Soldotna UMC and St. John UMC. Here she was in that same pulpit. Pretty cool dad moment for me.
The saints at Chugiak are like the energizer bunny. They keep going and going! Pastor Carlo Rapanut has an effective ministry and is a pretty good preacher. They are still using a prayer response I stole and used in Soldotna and St. John years ago. With just over 200 members and around 170 in worship they are managing a building and mortgage payments the same size as St. John. Here is a video clip of part of Carlo's video pastor's report.
Then it was off to Girdwood. They had just recently got some heat in their new building. Ceiling drywall is being done this week. A VIM electrician is coming next week. They hope to be in the new space for Christmas. Girdwood Chapel is hurting right now. They have experienced two sudden deaths in their church and community. The church's ministry is vital to the town and Jim Doepken is the only full-time, resident pastor. I shared with them about the importance of apportioned giving and how other Alaska churches who are struggling with finances are giving so that churches like Girdwood can thrive.
Have a thankful Thanksgiving!