UAMM Take Over of Anchorage Moravian Church

UAMM’s Directors met with five good standing Board members of the Anchorage Moravian Church (AncMC) on December 3, 2017 and based upon the UAMM Book of Order agreed for a takeover of the Anchorage Moravian Church to preserve its good name and Moravian heritage.

Since its creation in January 2001, the AncMC has abided by the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living which states that the congregation shall abide by decisions made by the official boards of the Church and agree to be governed “as individuals and as a congregation, by the enactments of its synod” and in the case of this Church UAMM’s General Church Conference and its Book of Order. This covenant has been broken in the area of unity and unwillingness to settle differences and is resorting to the threat of court, which is very un-Moravian and against the spirit of the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living.

For over two months complaints have been received by Bishop Nicholson. Beginning September 2017, a small group of four new leaders led by Sho Walter Smith have been dividing the church and members have been leaving. Complaints received were due to improper removal of a good standing Church Trustee without prior notice to other board members, decisions made without notice to other board members, disrespect to its pastor, disrespect to UAMM, disrespect to the Bishop position and no proper notice to relocate his office. Other complaints arose concerning improper conduct to other board members and congregate members/church attendees.

The five good standing board members are appalled that as board and congregate members they have not seen this kind of leadership style that has created great turmoil. And they note that these leaders during the weekly Sunday services have not faithfully attended the worship services.

Upon his return from a nine-day trip to Honduras, Bishop Nicholson met with Sho Walter Smith, members of the AncMC Joint Board on Thursday November 30, 2017. Out of this meeting Sho Walter Smith was told that a petition headed up by Pastor Ron Moo of the AncMC and five good standing Board members of the AncMC will begin effective immediately if he (and the other three Board members) will not resign by December 2, 2017. On Sunday morning, December 3, 2017 during the morning worship service and evening worship service it was announced that a special AncMC Church Council meeting be held on December 17, 2017, 11:30 am, to elect new officers, and amend the bylaws of the Church to bring order and peace to the Church.

Sho Walter Smith put together an Elder’s meeting and requested the Trustees to attend on December 4, 2017, at 6:30 pm. Bishop Nicholson and over 30 guests in attendance found two security guards hired by Sho Walter Smith to keep order.

As Elder Smith began the meeting, Bishop Nicholson informed the Chair the only agenda was to save the Anchorage Moravian Church. And as he stood on the floor with Sho Walter’s disapproval, he announced (with earlier approval by the five AncMC Board members in good standing) that this meeting’s only agenda is to “Save the AncMC”! Bishop Nicholson’s opening remarks stated that AncMC should stand on its Moravian Covenant for Christian Living and enactments of UAMM. And that this Church has been run with intimidation as a benevolent prison with guards standing and lawyers at beckon and call, which is not the way Churches are run. He stated that the AncMC operates under UAMM’s blessing; not the other way around. AncMC is accountable to its covering.

Bishop NIcholson under protest of Sho Walter Smith who tried to get his security guards “to escort him out” continued to speak. Nicholson read a formal letter dated December 3, 2017 stating the reason for the UAMM Director’s takeover of the AncMC Joint Board is that circumstances have arisen in which the congregation is unable to function in its own best interest, or in the best interest of the organization, in regard to the care of its real estate or in matters of law and finance, so as to jeopardize the safety of its own material assets or the good name and assets of the organization citing UAMM’s BOO, Chapter Three: The Congregations, Page 43.

He then stated that the UAMM Executive Committee shall have the authority to function as the executive board of the congregation with power such as, but not limited to,
a. Appoint pastoral leadership
b. Hire and terminate employees
c. Contract for legal and other services in the name of the congregation
d. Dismiss members of Executive boards of the congregation as may be necessary in response to irreconcilable differences or conflicts of interest; and appoint members of the Executive boards of the congregation as may be necessary in the absence of the congregation’s ability to do so.

Bishop Nicholson then shared that the present board (Sho Walter Smith, Elder, Hector Ortiz, Elder, Aan Ortiz, Trustee, and Bonnie Gregory, Trustee abrogated their responsibility when they failed to supply worship materials and leadership for Sunday morning – 2nd Sunday of Advent worship, and the Elder Sho Walter who was supposed to lead the evening did not show up to fulfill his responsibilities. Bishop Nicholson, President of UAMM had to step in to run the morning worship on December 3, 2017, and during the evening worship UAMM directed Elder Richard Mercer to assume leadership.

Bishop Nicholson with repeated efforts by Sho Walter Smith to stop his presentation (ordering the two hired security guards to escort him out) and before he was escorted out, stated on the floor that a letter was sent December 3, 2017 to Skyline representative Rev. Phil Larson (by UAMM directors supported by five AncMC leaders in good standing) to assume the lease for Skyline. This letter was forwarded to the Los Angeles headquarters office.

The two AncMC hired security guards escorted Bishop Nicholson out of the AncMC meeting outdoors. Following Bishop Nicholson were the five AncMC Board members in good standing and majority of the guests in attendance voicing their consternation. It was agreed that the four (the fifth member was improperly appointed, a couple weeks prior) AncMC Board members in the building, not in good standing, cannot represent the AncMC in any formal decisions such as signing a new lease for Skyline on behalf of its membership.

Trustee Aan Ortiz made a statement during the meeting that Bishop Nicholson is guilty off embezzlement during his past administration. Nicholson responded that this issue as well as any other issues of import will be dwelt with at the upcoming Special Church Council meeting on December 17, 2017, 11:30. Bishop Nicholson stated privately to his supporters that over the 16 years that he has been pastor of the Anchorage Moravian Church he has never touched money as a matter of policy, and has no knowledge of the allegation by Ortiz. What he did not mention is that the AncMC owes him $18,000 to $20,000 in back pay for his professional pastoral services via contract signed by a previous board.

The AncMC Board members in good standing are requesting members of the AncMC, non-members who attend its religious services, and supporters of the AncMC to sign the petition for removal of the offending board members. Please contact Pastor Ron Moo or Bishop Nicholson or any Board member in good standing to sign the petition.

Our Lamb has Conquered; Let us Follow Him.

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