Episcopal Address Part I and COVID-19 notice no. 8Bishop Stanovsky’s address to the September 2020 online Annual Conferences will be issued in written form in three parts before the sessions scheduled for September 15, 16 and 17. Today we receive Part 1, which is also COVID-19 Notice no. 8.
Click Here to read the Bishop's address, Part 1.
"Ask yourself, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Wash your hands with soap or hand sanitizer. Stay at home as much as you can. Wear face coverings in public. Keep socially distant. Don’t gather in large groups. And be gracious about it! Do not look dismal (Matthew 6: 16). These are small, life-saving sacrifices in the face of a pandemic that has killed 180,000 people in the United States and is far from finished. Think of them as acts of love for God, self and neighbor. "PASTOR'S NOTE
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who spent years as a prisoner at Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps. When he was finally liberated, he wrote “Man’s Search For Meaning”, which has sold over 10 million copies in 24 languages.
I read that book when I was 18 years old, and I consider it one of the most important books I have read. It helped me realize that there is one thing that no one can take away from me: the attitude with which I face the challenges that life brings.
Frankl wrote this: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts, comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.“
These are hard times. It is easy to become disheartened. It is ok to be sad, worried and overwhelmed. Anger is entirely appropriate as we experience the lack of control to our situation. Many of us feel anxiety, exhaustion and sadness. The fury that we feel as we witness the racism that is tearing us apart is very real, and all of this, all of these feelings are calling to us for a response.
As Bishop Elaine writes in her letter mentioned above, "To combat declining mental, emotional and spiritual health experienced by many during the COVID-19 pandemic, I call United Methodists to return to the deep well of God’s love and grace, revealed in Jesus Christ, as we remember, refresh and reclaim the spiritual strength and courage of our faith preserved in the scriptures, hymns, prayers, teachings, and practices of our Church. And I call on new generations to lead us into new expressions and practices that have the power to bless people in this pandemic with fortitude and resilience."
Thankfully, we get to choose how we will respond to the pandemic, to the ugly racism as it is being played out, and the havoc that these things are wreaking in our lives. We are free in one thing, among all the things we cannot control. We are free to choose our attitude. We are free to choose our response. We are free to accept the calling of our faith tradition, to respond to injustice in our world.
Remember to breathe. Tend to your Spirit. Connect with one another. Join us on virtually on Sunday morning. Pray. Reach out to someone who might especially need your love in these moments. Help those who need it the most.
These are hard times, but we can get through this. I can’t shake the belief that we were “born for such a time as this”. (Book of Esther)
Pastor KarenONLINE Worship THIS Sunday At 10amOur Online this Sunday, September 6 at 10:00am Since it is the first Sunday of the month, it is Communion Sunday! If you wish to participate, please have bread or crackers and juice ready in your home.
Click Here for the September 6 Bulletin.
Click Here to go to our Facebook Page to participate. Look for the notice of "live" video. We will start the video link a few minutes early, but will start the service at 10.
And FINALLY, Click Here to join us without using Facebook, this is our online church worship setting, which will have an embedded video of the service and the chat/prayer conversation too.
You can also Click Here to watch on our Youtube Channel.LAY LEADER David MeansWhat will the church become once this pandemic is over? What will Aldersgate UMC become? How about all of Christianity, or even all religions—what will happen to them? What will become of other organizations and institutions? All I can say, there is nothing normal now, and none of us have the answer about the future. I will have to change my dreams about Aldersgate’s future. The technical and social barriers are changing so rapidly that the church of the 1960’s, 2000’s or even of 2019 will become a fading memory. Will the church of the future even have a building, or is that obsolete? Will the church of the future have neighborhood boundaries? Most likely not. People from Illinois, California, and South Dakota watch and worship with Pastor Karen as easily as Juneau residents. And expanding neighborhood boundaries may be scary on whether smaller churches will survive or just become mission outposts of large megachurches. We took some time to reimagine our life together as a congregation earlier this summer. When we prepared that plan, we thought that eventually we will return to our building, and somewhat close to the life of the 2019 church. This still may happen. But I doubt if it will last. The pandemic, even if it fades away, has changed church life forever. We will continue to hold online worship services; it is only a question of whether there will be a full congregation in the pews or only the camera operator. Because of online worship, world boundaries have replaced local neighborhood boundaries. Worship will be more like a family watching television than participating in the lively glory of God. Doctrine and theological belief will be more important to a Christian than nearness of the church. Or a parishioner may select his or her church based on the preacher’s delivery style rather than her content. And, the NFL will have Sundays exclusively because Christians can watch their service after Sunday Night Football. Our local churches will still need to minister to our community needs: food banks, housing the homeless, providing English speaking classes, and providing a place for young people to safely gather. These missions will become jeopardized as their support will slowly wither away to large, national churches. What will Aldersgate UMC become once this pandemic is over? In many ways it is up to us to decide. Can we adapt to our new environment? That is the crucial question.Join United Methodists for 30 Days of ANTI-RACISM
#30DaysAntiRacismJoin us this September for 30 days of anti-racism. Each day we will engage in an activity that helps us to become more anti-racist in the ways we think and act. Share your progress with a picture or a reflection using #30DaysAntiRacism.
CLICK HERE for More Information
Sunday ONLINE Worship 10:00am ONLINE Sunday School at 11:00 The Cooperative Youth Group is meeting ONLINE. If you would like info, please contact Pastor Karen.
SEPTEMBER ZOOM Events: September 2 ~ SPRC on Zoom 6pm
September 9 ~ Finance on Zoom 6pm
September 16 ~ Church Council on Zoom 6pm
September 23 ~ Trustees on Zoom 6pm
September 30 ~ ALCC BOARD on Zoom
September 30 ~ CHARGE CONFERENCE 6pmAurora Lights News
Thank you,KatieALCC AdministratorCooperative Youth Group
Cooperative Youth Group Update
Our youth began virtual school this week. Please keep them in your prayers as they navigate new teachers and new technology! Please also keep parents, guardians, caregivers and teachers in your prayers. May they have courage and confidence during this very different school year.
Kristi is available to youth for pastoral care and can be reached at email@example.com and at (314) 596-7458. She has held individual Zoom calls and phone calls and social distanced meetings with members of our Cooperative Youth group over the last two months.
We began another Confirmation Study group at Douglas Community UMC on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm. We will continue to evaluate this time as the school year and activities commence. We also gained two new youth group members! When we can safely gather, we will resume youth activities. In the meantime, stay safe!
Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7, CEB)Amen.ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSThe adult Sunday School class will study the book, Stories Jesus Told, How to Read a Parable by Greg Carey. This book will look at seven of Jesus’ most famous parables such as the Good Samaritan and help explain them. This is a six-weekstudy beginning Sunday, September 6. Classes begin at 11:00 AM or shortly after the Sunday worship service ends.
This class will have its own Zoom invitation:
Topic: Adult Sunday SchoolTime: Sep 6, 2020 11:00AM Alaska Every week on Sun, 6 occurrence(s) Sep 6, 2020 11:00 AM Sep 13, 2020 11:00 AM Sep 20, 2020 11:00 AM Sep 27, 2020 11:00 AM Oct 4, 2020 11:00 AM Oct 11, 2020 11:00 AMPlease download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.Weekly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZEpdeuhqzopHtwQYCVD1NbvWW7Bp3aWn4i5/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGtqjkoE9GUsx2PRpwMBojoa_PwmH5egrdKrSbGNQQCTAHgAdUVEKIsEe_e
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to participate in the Adult Sunday School.
Book ReviewWhy Religion? A Personal Storyby Elaine Pagels (HarperCollins, 2020)
This is an autobiographical story of a mother whose six year-old son died from lung disease and whose husband fell to his death while hiking in the Colorado Rockies a year later. The author, Elaine Pagels, grew up in Palo Alto, California, attended Stanford, and later Harvard where she received her doctorate. She studied and translated codices (fourth century books) found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt. She met and married her husband, Heinz Pagels. Their son, Mark, was born several years later with a heart problem. After his surgery, Elaine and Heinz learned that Mark had a rare lung disease. They adopted a daughter, Sarah, just before Mark suddenly died. A year after Mark died they adopted a son. A few weeks later Heinz fell to his death. These deaths devasted Elaine Pagels. Throughout these stories Dr. Pagels vividly shares her very personal story including her reactions to their deaths, and her searching for answers in early Christianity. She found solace and healing in her work reading and interpreting scripture and Nag Hammadi books. Dr. Pagels is a renowned researcher and writer about early Christianity emphasizing the books discovered at Nag Hammadi. I have read and reviewed several of her books on Revelation, the Gospel of Thomas, and Satan. All of them became best sellers. In this book she tells about writing her books and the reasons why she wrote them. This book is nicely written and understandable. One drawback is that she does not share a timeline which makes it hard for the reader to follow elapsed time between events. Her son and husband died about 30 years before she wrote this book. Most of this book is autobiographical, but in some sections of it she shares her research and conclusions, especially in the final chapter.
Recommendation: 5 out of 5A Message From Barbara MitchellThe United Methodist Church and Indigenous Peoples
Faith & Facts is a publication from the General Board of Church and Society. It is a series of cards that give definition to current issues of church and society relating them to what the Bible says, what the United Methodist Church says, what the facts say and what we can do about the issue. Since we as a nation are in the midst of challenging racial injustice, I chose the card on Indigenous Peoples to share with you all. I got the cards a while back and was going to share the information at church, but we know what happened there.
Having been a member of United Methodist Women (UMW) for the past 11 years, I’ve learned that I can’t make change without educating myself about an issue. As far as indigenous peoples go, I have only begun to scratch the surface of information. I believe the Methodist Church came to Alaska to spread “the good news” farther around the world. I believe they made mistakes that they are now trying to rectify. I may only be able to change my own perceptions and actions toward indigenous people, but I would like to see the United Methodist Church in Alaska be in a better relationship with Native Alaskans. I do not want to change them. I would like to understand how we got to where we are and where we can go from here.
Faith & FactsCivil and Human RightsIndigenous Peoples
What does the Bible Say?· So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)· What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:4-5)· But they shall ALL sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid, for the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:4) (emphasis mine)· I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you do nothing. (John 15:5)
What does The United Methodist Church say?· Indigenous peoples demand respect of their right to their culture, spirituality, language, tradition, forms of organization, ways of knowing and doing, and their intellectual properties. (2016 Book of Resolutions, #6025, “Globalization and Its Impact on Human Dignity and Human Rights”)