Monday, January 17, 2011

Ketchikan and Sitka

 After the constant rain in Juneau it was a wonderful surprise to see Ketchikan and Sitka bathed in winter sunlight.  Pastors Teri and Ev Erbele drove me around to see more of this island's beauty and history.  I felt badly that the church had to have their charge conference on a Saturday morning.  This church is forging a new identity from that of helping with the city's blueberry festival to that of the church providing a day shelter for people without homes.  They are also reaching out to the residents of a nearby tenement house.  Lots to celebrate at First UMC! 
This is a clip of our visit to the dock area.

Sitka is a short flight north from Ketchikan.  Rev. Oconer and family were permitted to visit their home in the Philippines at the last minute so I stayed in the empty parsonage.  Sitka was the last of the churches for me to be in worship.  I told the congregation that morning that if they could pretend just for the morning that I was their pastor that it would make me feel good.  So I got to preach about Jesus' baptism.  This church is a vital part of the community and is one of the few churches without a financial struggle.  The clip is of Julia Smith's (Conference UMW President) granddaughter, Zia, dancing during choir rehearsal.

I always enjoy my travels to southeast Alaska.  Did I mention to you all that all five of our southeast churches gave 100% of their apportionments in 2010?  They understand how important it is to keep our connection strong. 

The last three are Jewel Lake, First, Anchorage, and Turnagain.

Grace and peace,

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