Whether you’re completely new to church, or just new to the Anchorage Moravian Church, we’d like to extend a warm welcome to you. We’d love to meet you in person, so please do visit us on a Sunday or contact us at the office or Email me with any questions you have. Our main meetings together happen on Sunday mornings and evenings, but there is a lot more to church life that happens throughout the week.
If you’re new to the Moravian Church in Alaska below is a summary of how the Moravian
Church came about in Alaska:
Moravians began ministry in Alaska in 1885 at the invitation of the Rev. Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian minister, accepting the invitation as a call from God to proclaim the gospel among the Yup’ik people. In time, other Christian denominations followed the Moravians to Alaska to minister to the native people.
The first five missionaries reached the Kuskokwim River and held a worship service on June 21, 1885. Within five years three native helpers, Hooker, Lomuck, and Kawagaleg, were assisting the missionaries. Within ten years of the founding of the mission, more than twenty native helpers attended the first General Church Conference, in addition to the missionary staff. The Rev. John Kilbuck was perhaps the most influential and capable missionary during those first years. A native American himself, Kilbuck quickly learned the Yup’ik language. He instituted new strategies of outreach, centering the proclamation of the gospel in the existing villages, rather than establishing mission stations as had been done by Moravian missionaries in Greenland and Labrador. In 1896, Rev. Kilbuk’s wife younger brother Dr. Joseph H. Romig, a Moravian missionary came to assist him in Bethel, Alaska. Later, Dr. Romig served in Dillingham (Nushagak) and then moved to Anchorage and became Mayor of Anchorage in 1937. In his honor, Romig Hill and Romig Middle School in Anchorage was named after him.
Over the years 22 congregations and fellowships have been established in Alaska, most of them in the Kuskokwim region. However, Moravian congregations are present also in Bristol Bay and in Anchorage.
The Anchorage Moravian Fellowship came to life in 1973 through the efforts of Brother Albert Romer who began to meet with fellow Moravians who had moved into the city of Anchorage, Alaska. They first met in a home in Anchorage. Soon afterwards, Brother Romer and his fellowship moved to 1st Covenant Church on C Street in Anchorage, where they felt they can minister on a more formal basis and reach Alaska’s Native people. After a time, Brother Romer moved the Moravian Fellowship to Turnagain United Methodist Church on Northern Lights Blvd. in west Anchorage, near Ted Stevens International airport, where he led as a Lay Pastor/Acoytle under call from the Alaska Moravian Church. By autumn of 1985, Lay Pastor August Alexie, who had Seminary training from the Moravian Seminary in Bethel, Alaska was appointed by the Alaska Provincial Board (APB), where he served ably until December 2000.
By 2000, it was felt that among the 27,000 natives living in Anchorage, Alaska, there may be many former Moravians interested in attending an organized Church. In autumn of 2000 the leaders of the Moravian Fellowship held organizational meetings. By early January 2001, the Anchorage Moravian Fellowship held their first Church Council meeting where they adopted Bylaws and elected their first officers. At that time the Fellowship formally became known as the Anchorage Moravian Church (AncMC), the first organized Moravian Church in Alaska’s largest city.
In autumn of 2001, the Joint Board issued a specific call for an ordained clergyman. The Rev. William Nicholson responded to the call in late autumn of 2001. Brother Nicholson was installed by Alaska Provincial Board Chairperson, The Rev. Issac Amik, in a worship service on December 16, 2001 at the Turnagain United Methodist Church. By November 2009 with an aggressive membership and building fund campaign, the AncMC leaders purchased its first Church building, parsonage, and grounds at 3512 Robin Street in East Anchorage. Historically this means that the AncMC became the first fully established, full program, Moravian Church in Anchorage. By 2009 Rev. William Nicholson was consecrated as a Bishop of the Moravian Unity.
Current scope of ministry
In November 2012 because of being far removed from rural Alaska and its “Spirit-filled” Missions emphasis, the AncMC is a member Church of United Alaska Moravian Ministry (UAMM), a Moravian Group recognized by the Moravian Unity Board. But due to difficulties in reconciliation with the Alaska Province in August 2016 Moravian Synod moved to remove UAMM from the Moravian Unity. During UAMM’s General Church Conference of January 2017, UAMM agreed that it must be free from the Unity and continue growing on its own under the arm of the Honduras Moravian Church in which it has a strong Covenant Partnership agreement since February 2013. UAMM originally was made up of growing Moravian Fellowships and Churches in Manokotak, Big Lake, Kenai and Anchorage, but by January 2017 has grown to 17 Fellowships and Churches, mainly located in south-central Alaska, one of which exists in Washington State near Seattle. UAMM’s mission is to “Further the Gospel” on the Alaska highway system and to other non-Moravian areas of Alaska and to the world.
On August 1, 2013, the AncMC congregation needing more room to grow moved from 3512 Robin Street to Skyline Church located at 2150 E. Dowling Road (corner of Lake Otis and Dowling Road) in mid town Anchorage, Alaska. Currently the congregation is leasing the entire north-side of building and sharing a 299 seat sanctuary space.
The Moravian Church in Anchorage invites anyone to worship, each Sunday, at 11:30 PM and Sunday night at 6:00 PM. The morning worship service is a more traditional recognizable service, while the evening service has a contemporary non-denominational focus with singspiration and testimonies shared by believers who freely come from throughout Alaska. Sunday School is at 10:30 AM. A Bible study and prayer group meets each Wednesday evening at 6 PM. And for those that need a place to enjoy good singing and testimonies after a busy week, a UAMM sponsored “Singstunde/Aturli” is held every Friday night at 6:30 PM.
If anyone has any questions about the AncMC, or need pastoral assistance, please call the Church office at (907) 868-3177.
What Our Church Believes
As a United Alaska Moravian Ministry member Church, we recognize the historic creeds of Christendom. We believe salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ and that the Christian Church is the fellowship of believers in what we call a “Living Church” (rather than Charismatic or Pentecostal) who share this experience. We accept the Bible as the instrument of God’s revelation of Himself and as the guide for Christians today.
Much of the spirit of the Moravian Church is understandable through a popular motto of the church – “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, but in all things love”. By this we mean that in certain essential Christian doctrines — the Trinitarian nature of God, the Deity of Jesus Christ, the universality of man’s sin and need for a Savior, and the Scriptures as the ground of our faith and practice — we must stand united. On the other hand, in certain non-essentials — such as how Christ is present in the elements of the Holy Communion, what mode of baptism should be followed, and how the Church should be organized — there have always been differences of interpretation between Christians. We believe that these non-essentials should not divide those who love Jesus Christ. Finally, we believe that, whether or not we agree entirely on some of the less essential doctrines of the Christian Church, we can live and work together because of our common love for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
You can read more about “Who are Moravians” on the web links available on the Home page of this website.