News

Pastor’s Note, August 2023

Dear Aldersgate Family and Friends,

Our neighbors are experiencing displacement and disruption from Suicide Basin draining rapidly and flooding the Mendenhall Lake and River. The power of water to rapidly wash away tens of feet of shoreline with large trees and homes has left us all in a bit of shock. We will keep you posted as we hear of needs in our community now that the waters have retreated and clean-up has begun. It is an opportunity for us to pray with our feet and love with our resources.

We concluded July’s Worship Theme of Rest with an amazing Rest & Connect Retreat at ERUMC Camp! It was a blessed time to walk, cook, rest, play, and begin new relationships with our neighbors. Our thanks to indigenous plant expert Vivian Mork for leading the plant walk and cooking homemade gooseberry tarts to share! We had 30 adults and 16 children and youth attend, with almost everyone being local to Juneau. Many had not experienced the camp. It was a joy to break bread and to connect with creation while resting in the beautiful sunshine with many of you.

We hosted a group of 8 youth and 2 adults with Pastor Nora from St Luke in Minnesota. I’m very proud of Aldersgate for the radical hospitality in hosting this group. We served 65 people at the Glory Hall, introduced these new friends to Aak’w Kw√°an territory, and they blessed us by cleaning up the front playground. It looks amazing!

National Night Out on Tuesday, August 1st was a great start to our worship them of Connection. We had over 60 children and family members enjoy our sanctuary (overtaken by 2 bouncy houses, switch games, music, and faceprinting), interact with police, fire, Seadogs rescue, Assembly members, judges, and other community leaders. The fire pit made a lot of s’mores and our neighbors across the street left with smiles, new school backpacks filled with supplies, and full bellies. We had reporters from KINY radio and the Juneau Empire attend, and they showed up for worship on Sunday! Thank you to everyone who served & participated!

With Hope and Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, July 2023

Dear Aldersgate UMC and Friends of Aldersgate,

It is a joy to highlight the ministry of Lay Servant, David Means and Council Chair, Melanie Venables. They each received distinguished awards at the Alaska Annual Conference for their service. David received the Denman Evangelism Award, and Melanie received the Outstanding Lay Leader award. Laity are the cornerstone of our United Methodist Denomination. Their call is different from mine – and it is equal to mine. The balance of laity and clergy is an example of the equitable relationships that we are called to model for the transformation of the world. Please join me in celebrating their gifts!

Beloveds – our Bishop can PREACH. If you missed any of Bishop Cedrick’s sermons from Annual Conference, I invite and I challenge you to listen to them. Our Bishop has set the course for this year, and his authenticity and the clarity of his vision is inspiring. We were thirsty for his leadership – and I am grateful. Below are the links for you to access:

M.I.L.E. – 2023 Annual Conference 

PRIDE month is officially over, but we are still celebrating the humanity and dignity of our LGBTQ+ siblings at Aldersgate. We lament the recent decisions from the Supreme Court that allow for discrimination. We also lament the decision to block student loan relief. Finally, we deeply lament the decision that impacts the equity of college admissions. May we learn from the divide that is present in the highest court in our nation and behave differently. We must continue our work with grace, hope, and love. How long, Lord? Let us move to action and to praise.

I am delighted to share that we gifted our rainbows to First Fairbanks during Annual Conference. It is a reflection of Aldersgate that these rainbows graced all of the spaces across the Greater Northwest. These visual reminders are so important. I’m proud that a little bit of our church has been shared with abundance.

With Hope and Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, June 2023

Dear Aldersgate UMC and Friends of Aldersgate,

Thank you to all who took part in our May activities, welcoming our siblings in Christ from all over Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (in person and virtually). This was an amazing opportunity for the United Methodist Church in Juneau to connect with our local community.

One of the highlights of the Installation weekend was the participation in non-violent civil disobedience training and learning event on the need for a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Arctic. We partnered with Vets for Peace (VFP) to pray with our feet, and marched across the Juneau-Douglas bridge to raise awareness for the threat that nuclear weapons in our state and country pose to all of creation.

We plan to have more Moral Monday public witness opportunities and invite you to participate actively to level imbalances and work to dismantle inequities wherever they present themselves. You can participate in many ways, including letter campaigns to all levels of government. Go to https://www.akhopecongress.org/ or contact me to learn more.

It is our Annual Conference time, and I will be traveling for the next two Sundays. Thanks to Susan Johnson and David Means for preaching! I look forward to watching the worship services online with you!

We invite you to fill out a pledge card for our Council and Finance Committee to plan for the rest of the year (July through the end of December). Thank you for all of your contributions (financial and non-financial gifts). We are grateful for the many ways you love with your resources and share in the work of Christ in our church and our community. Click here to access the 2023 Pledge Card.

With Hope and Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, May 2023

Dear Aldersgate UMC and Friends of Aldersgate,

Please join us for worship in person!

We have so much to celebrate. It is a good and gracious thing to be in worship and fellowship with each of you. This month, we will celebrate Mother’s Day together on the 14th. As a gift to you, we will have photos for families and any group that wish to take a picture together after worship. You are invited to donate to our music ministry.

As we prepare for our Opening Session of Annual Conference and the Installation of the Bishop, we invite you will participate in some way in this celebration. In the midst of grief and challenges, we hope this is a unifying time for us as United Methodists in Alaska. Another information session will be held immediately after worship this Sunday, May 7th.

With Hope and Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, April 2023

Dear Aldersgate UMC and Friends of Aldersgate,

Please join us for worship this Holy Week!

I want to take a moment to celebrate the amazing work of our Trustees and work teams. Our sacred spaces have received hours of attention and renewal. We are grateful for Kimberly’s leadership and all who have put in time on Saturday to clean, paint, repair, and upgrade!

Thank you for all of you who attended our Information and Planning session for the Opening Session of Annual Conference and Bishop’s Installation on May 20th. This is a wonderful opportunity to unite for this joyous celebration. We will hold additional sessions as the date draws closer.

The Scripture reading for today – Holy Monday – is from John 12:1-11. It is the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with valuable perfume. I invite you to imagine the presence of Christ and the room filled with fragrance. Mary’s witness is lifted by Jesus in this Scripture. Judas is silenced. When we are at the table this week, may we put aside the judgment that is so prevalent in the world, and move toward grace and generosity, inspired by Mary.

With Hope and Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, March 2023

Dear Aldersgate UMC and Friends of Aldersgate,

It is a good and gracious thing to be back in Juneau after nearly two weeks of travel. I have much to share from my travel seminar to Cuba last month, where I visited Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey, and Santiago. I will plan a workshop after Eastertide (with a potluck, of course) to share more details. For now, I give you thanks for your support of this opportunity. I was able to be in worship, study, and fellowship with many new friends and learn so much about the unique culture and struggles of the Cuban people.

I want to take a moment to celebrate the music ministry of Aldersgate. Hannah and Susan have engaged and welcomed a diverse, multigenerational choir of women and youth that have blessed our worship services with rich vocals! We are looking forward to longer days with more singers and more song! I love to see our children participating and playing instruments. I am still smiling from having 10 children at worship yesterday.

We have started planning for Bishop Bridgeforth’s installation at Aldersgate on Saturday, May 20th. This event will be by invitation from the Greater Northwest Conference. There will be opportunities to meet and greet the Bishop and members of the Cabinet from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest on Friday and Sunday of the same weekend. We are so lucky to be able to host this important celebration in the life of the United Methodist Church! Look at God!!

I want to thank our Trustees for their hard work in painting the preschool rooms and sprucing up our church spaces. There has been a fantastic turnout for work parties led by Kimberly, and we are grateful! Our Mission District Task Force for the Alaska Conference has made great strides with Strategic Planning, which are aligned with our work at Aldersgate. I will be working on our goals with our laity this month. Stay tuned for those details.

With Gratefulness and Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, February 2023

Dear Aldersgate & Friends of Aldersgate,

We have so very much to celebrate. Thanks to Susan Johnson for joining us as a pianist and harmonizing with Aldersgate’s Musician Hannah Kuhnert. Our music ministry continues to flourish, now with the adult choir meeting on Thursdays at 6:30 pm. It is a blessing to have these voices singing again in our sanctuary during Sunday worship.

We are honored that Aldersgate UMC will be hosting the Installation of Bishop Cedrick D Bridgeforth on May 20th. Pastor Kristi will be working with Pastor Lisa Talbott (Director of Connectional Ministries) to support this event with hospitality and grace. We look forward to having Bishop Cedrick, his husband Christopher Hucks-Ortiz, and clergy from the Pacific Northwest visit our wonderful community. We have been praying for opportunities for our church to share our positivity, inclusiveness, and love, and this is a wonderful answer to those prayers. The installation of the Bishop will not be a public event, but we expect opportunities for fellowship and relationship-building with our PNW colleagues.

It is Black History Month, and I invite you to explore the history and writings of black authors, theologians, and musicians. Today, I shared a Word from Rev Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III. I recommend the works of Walter Earl Fluker, James Cone, Gregory C. Ellison II, Luke A Powery, Leah Gunning Francis, and Kelly Brown Douglas for theological study. If you’re interested in reading a selection from these authors, I would be delighted to share a book with you.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, January 2023

Dear Aldersgate & Friends of Aldersgate,

Happy New Year! I want to the Tech Team for their amazing support of four worship services during the week of Christmas. We met new people and had our first Filipino Christmas Service. This service led by Pastor Bennie Grace (JoJo) Nabua was our most engaging Livestream during Advent and Christmas! We are grateful for her participation and the fellowship of the families (mostly virtual). We hope to continue this as a ministry into the new year.

Our Aurora Lights Childcare Center will be closing earlier than expected on January 18th. I want to thank and recognize Barb and Charlie Mitchell for the thousands of hours that they have volunteered to provide affordable childcare to our community and to nurture families and staff with generosity, love, and grace. It has been such a successful endeavor and gift to Aldersgate UMC. As part of our strategic planning, we will be outlining goals for the use of our building in harmony with the ministry of our church. At this time, we do not plan to continue a childcare center in the church building because of the lack of staffing available in Juneau. We do plan to continue to engage and support children and families as we enter a new season of the church.

Susan Johnson has joined our music ministry and has quickly entered into a rhythm with Hannah and Bobbi. We welcome her back to Juneau and Aldersgate. We are still working on a rebirth of our adult choir (led by Susan) and a new youth choir (led by Missouri) and will keep you posted on those developments. If you are interested in participating in the adult choir, please join us at 9:15 am on Sunday, January 15th (before worship) for a quick meeting to get the singing started!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, December 2022

Dear Aldersgate & Friends of Aldersgate,

We are in the second week of Advent and entering the third week. Advent is a season of anticipation and of quiet preparation for the presence of Christ. As followers of Jesus, we believe that the world will be transformed into something new. This world is counter-cultural. It is a kin-dom with peace and equity.

Advent is the beginning of a new year in the liturgical calendar of the church. I encourage you to embrace this new season in the spirit that it is intended. Resist the rush and the pressure to spend resources, and find where Christ is with you now. May you be restored by the beauty and magnificence of the incarnation of God. May you be childlike with wonder and imagination.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Kristi

Pastor’s Note, November 2022

Dear Aldersgate,

I want to start off our November newsletter by announcing that our former District Superintendent, Rev Carlo Rapanut has been elected as a new Bishop for the Western Jurisdiction. Congratulations to Carlo and the Rapanut Family!!

It is a season of transitions in ministry, as I shared in my Pastor’s Report (click here) and our Lay Leader David Means also shared (below)! The Holy Spirit is at work in this time of rebirth, and I am so grateful to be with each of you during this season of ministry for Aldersgate UMC.

It was a joy to welcome DS Rev Christina DowlingSoka to our Sanctuary for our All Church Conference and share a well balanced potluck meal. Our Nominations were approved, Pastor’s Compensation was approved, we saw a final address video from Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, and we shared our celebrations as a church. Thank you to all who participated!

We are planning for Advent and Christmas, so please send me your favorite Advent and Christmas Hymns and Carols (email [email protected]). We are planning to have a youth choir and adult choir begin meeting and singing. Please also send me an email if you are interested in participating. Practice will begin soon! The first opportunity to sing will be at the Douglas UMC outdoor tree lighting on Nov 25th with Missouri Smyth. Let me know the best dates and times to practice.

Please join us to ready the Celebration room for Advent on Sunday, Nov 26th. There are so many opportunities for us to gather together for worship and fellowship!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Kristi