Alaska Constituents Re-elect Officers And Recognize a New Church

Alaska constituents voted unanimously to re-elect incumbent officers to new four-year terms on Sunday, July 20, in Palmer, Alaska, at the conference's 15th regular constituency session and considered new methods to "Share the Light."

The 214 delegates re-elected Ken Crawford, president; Ed Dunn, executive secretary and native ministries director; and Sharon Staddon, treasurer. In addition, John Kriegelstein was re-appointed as director of education, communication and youth.

In other business, constituents accepted the Anchorage Samoan Church into the Alaska Conference of Seventh-day Adventist churches and recognized believers in Kotzebue, Alaska, as a group.

Staddon's treasurer report showed that over the past four years expenses have exceeded income (12.8 million tithe dollars) by $331,000 resulting in a cumulative loss of 3 percent between 2004 and 2007. Traditionally, every year except 2006, there has been a slight deficit. Increased medical costs and travel expenses have offset annual gains. Staddon noted that pastoral positions have been reduced from 17 in 2004 to 15.5 positions today. On the educational front, school attendance has also declined from 146 in 2004 to 103 students in Adventist schools in 2007. The conference tapped its operating fund reserves several years ago and has not been in a position to replenish them to the level the North American Division recommends.

Staddon offered a two-word solution to the conference's current financial problems: "Tithe faithfully!" She effectively showed that if existing attending members were just 10 percent more faithful in returning tithe, the conference could be on solid financial ground and have funds for new outreach projects, such as radio stations.

Crawford spoke about the opportunities and the financial challenges. "In the past, conference parsonages have been sold to help balance the budget, but now is not the time to sell, now is the time to grow. Now is the time to find people who are willing to fill positions and grow the work. Every church needs to seriously consider growing their attendance by 10 percent each year. For most churches in Alaska, that means adding two to four new people. If every church would set this as their goal, and be faithful with tithes and offerings we could turn this trend around," says Crawford.

Delegates also approved by unanimous vote Crawford's four-year, "Share the Light" capital campaign, which aims to raise $320,000 for radio stations and Bible workers while promoting, the "Arctic Mission Adventure" suicide prevention projects, and establishing a $1 million education endowment scholarship fund.

After a suggestion to change upcoming camp meeting dates to August, due to the recent unpredictability in the Bristol Bay fishing season, a vote was taken not to change already scheduled camp meeting dates. Constituents adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

September 01, 2008 / Alaska Conference