This may sound like a travelogue but it is important especially for new UM clergy and laity to get a broader picture of our conference. In January I conducted a charge conference with Sitka UMC by Skype. This enabled me to spend last weekend in Sitka. Pastor Ferdie Llenado put me to work! I led three workshops on spiritual type, healthy church, and missional church. And he had me preach and do the children's sermon. I enjoyed walking around town during three gorgeous sunny spring days. Saturday evening was a community dinner honoring Marcia Hirai, one of the very involved leaders at Sitka UMC.
I stayed in the parsonage enjoying Filipino food and playing with Ferdie and Louie's three boys, J.D., Hiram, and Theo. Ferdie and I had several deep spiritual and ministry conversations. He gave me a copy of his book, "Home, I Am" A minister's metaphorical memoir on midlife meaningless. At the end of the weekend Ferdie shared with me that he feels very connected with the conference and the denomination. Living and ministering on an island can be isolating.
I invite us all to send a note to a fellow pastor or lay leader in our isolated regions. Strengthening our connection is especially important to us in Alaska.