Alaska MissionElizabeth Levi rings the bell as Bishop David arrives at conference site. Alaska MissionBishop David enters the Elevation of the Holy Cross Church, Russian Mission, AK for the conference Liturgy. Alaska MissionChildren assist as Bishop David is vested for the Liturgy. Alaska MissionThe Divine Liturgy begins. Alaska MissionReader Joseph Gary Alexie is elevated to the subdiaconate. Alaska MissionGramota recipient Barbara Heckman [far right] with [front row, from left] Fr. John Larson, Protodeacon Nicodemus Meyers, Bishop David, and Frs. Thomas Andrew and Stephen Heckman and [back row, from left] Frs. Maxim Isaac, John Dunlop, Peter Askoar, Nicholai Isaac, and David Askoak.

For decades, faithful representing specific areas throughout the Diocese of Alaska have gathered for regional conferences, during which the diocesan hierarchs have met with their clergy and faithful for worship, fellowship and ongoing education.  The gatherings always have served as occasions for inspiration and the renewal of the faithful’s mission to live the Gospel.

From June 24-26, 2016, His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska joined the clergy and the faithful from the Yukon region at the Elevation of the Holy Cross Church, Russian Mission, AK.  Meeting with the region’s clergy, he shared and discussed current issues facing the Diocese of Alaska and the Orthodox world in general.  A lively question-and-answer session, with questions ranging from the meaning of a bishop’s vestments to Orthodox Christianity’s view of salvation, was held with youth participants.  Numerous other meetings also were held, all with the aim of strengthening the life of the Church and her faithful throughout the region.

Archpriest John Dunlop, Dean of Saint Herman Seminary, Kodiak, AK offered an inspiring presentation on vocations in Alaska and the opportunities available for young men and women at the seminary and prospects for ministry on many levels throughout the diocese.  Also participating in the conference were Archpriest Stephen Heckman, Rector of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Church, Pilot Station, AK and Dean of the Yukon Deanery, who welcomed attendees on the opening day, and Archpriest Thomas Andrew, Rector of Holy Assumption Church, Kenai, AK and Chancellor of the Diocese of Alaska, who grew up in Marshall in the Yukon Deanery.

Reader Joseph Gary Alexie of Saint Peter the Aleut Church, Mountain Village, AK, was elevated to the subdiaconate during the closing Divine Liturgy, after which Bishop David awarded a gramota to Barbara Heckman, a member of the Elevation of the Holy Cross Church, Russian Mission, for her many years of dedicated service to the Diocese of Alaska and the Orthodox Church.