For years, provincial leaders in Alaska struggled with a lack of trained congregational leadership and dreamed about a multi-purpose building that would address the many needs of the Alaska Province. In January, that dream came closer to reality when the Province dedicated and blessed the land for the new Provincial building project.
As wind chills approached 20 degrees below zero, Rev. Isaac Amik led some 60 delegates from the 2015 Alaska Province Synod to the building site for a short ceremony. Bro. Tim Samson led the service and Bro. Luther Harrison, vice president of North American Ministries of Samaritan’s Purse, closed with a prayer that focused on Jesus’ words from Matthew 19:26; “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
This expansion opportunity, along with the graduation service held during synod, collectively began to address the provincial need for trained leaders. Synod delegates celebrated with our newest graduates as the Alaskan seminary recognized two students who completed their base studies. These two will prayerfully be joined at the end of the current semester by two more graduating students and together they will enter the Pastoral Program. It has been some time since the seminary presented the province with trained candidates for pastoral service. These two events are answered prayer and a sign of great things to come!
Currently, villages have limited leadership and resources equipped to deal with issues of addiction, physical and sexual abuse, depression and suicide; especially from God’s perspective. The seminary trains local people to serve locally, preparing students for leadership positions in their churches and communities. Graduates will become tribal and church leaders using God’s teaching and Christian morals to facilitate planning and decision-making processes that impact all aspects of the village. Samaritan’s Purse recognized the value of this training and has chosen to partner with the Moravian Church to help address these needs.
Samaritan’s Purse heard about the work of the seminary and felt strongly that it is a ministry in Alaska that they still want to partner with and help to grow. In previous projects with the Moravian Church, Samaritan’s Purse was impressed with all aspects of their partnership with the church. These experiences helped Samaritan’s Purse commit to a project of this size and scope.
The project consists of building a new women’s and couples’ dorm and a multi-purpose building that will house three seminary classrooms, a library, two conference rooms, a kitchen and four offices, while converting our current facility into a men’s dorm. This increases our housing and classroom capacity three-fold and our library five-fold.
Housing expansion provides greater opportunities for female and married students while the multipurpose building supports growth and offers technological advancements to our library and classrooms, providing greater educational opportunities for all students.
The total budget for this project is $3.5 million, with construction costs of approximately $3 million funded by Samaritan’s Purse. The remaining balance will be used for building furnishings and will be raised under the responsibility of the Alaska Moravian Church and Alaska Bible Seminary through fund raising efforts.
God has blessed us greatly; the glory and praise belong to him. Please keep the work of the Moravian Church in Alaska in your prayers as we continue to discern God’s will as we move forward doing his work!
Quyana Cakneq (Thank you very much).
Ed Dehnert is dean of the Alaska Bible Seminary in Bethel. Photos by Judy Ganz and Greg Aloralria.
From the April 2015 Moravian Magazine