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,