Last week, Pastor Luke spent five days in Nome teaching a class on the New Testament, as a part of the Western Alaska Ministry Training (WAMT) program, to a group of about fifteen pastors, lay leaders, and ECCAK Conference staff, who serve in Alaska Native villages in Western Alaska and around the state. WAMT is intended to train and equip Alaska Native pastors and others serving in Alaska ministry for more effective ministry by offering an opportunity to receive seminary-level training and providing an alternate track toward ordination in the ECC, as it is often unfeasible for ministry personnel to sacrifice the time and money to attend traditional seminary.
The days were long, both literally and figuratively: class ran from about 8:30am to 5pm...but the sun did not go down until after 11pm! Yet despite those long days, it was a wonderful week of learning from one another, digging into the life and world of Jesus in the first century, reading scripture together, contemplating the implications of the Gospel for the Alaskan villages (and for all of us), and fellowship among the body of Christ. Pastor Luke says that, though he went as the teacher for the course, it was even more importantly a conversation among ministry colleagues about how we might embody and proclaim the Gospel in all times and places, from the remote villages of Western Alaska all the way to right here in Superior, WI.
Ministry in Western Alaska is difficult. Pastors are often underpaid and overworked. Ministry resources are scarce and the realities of environment, village culture, and systemic issues are challenging. Please pray for the ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska (ECCAK), the churches of Western Alaska, the pastors who serve those churches, and for the whole Alaska Native (and non-native) community that is represented by them.