Linda Jean Myers will be appointed as our pastor effective July 1. Here is her letter of introduction:
Dear Friends and Members of the United Methodist Church of Chugiak,
It is with humility and with great joy that I take this opportunity to introduce myself to you as your pastor this coming July. My first trip to Alaska was in 1980 when I came with a work team to Birchwood Camp. That experience was life changing for me and I fell in love with this great land!
As a way of introduction, let me share with you a bit about my journey:
I was born and raised in Iowa and met my husband Ron in seminary. Ron was born at Elmendorf AFB and currently is serving at First United Methodist Church, Anchorage. We have two daughters, Rachel (born in Palmer) and Rebekah. Rachel is in Law School at Emory in Atlanta and Rebekah is a junior at South High School. I particularly enjoying gardening, traveling, reading and laughing!
Over the years I have lived and served in Iowa, Alaska (Wasilla, Willow and Trapper Creek 1988-1994) and Texas. Currently I am the Interim Pastor at Girdwood Chapel United Methodist Church. Prior to that I was appointed to the Bethany UMC in San Antonio and Lake Travis UMC in Austin, Texas.
Ron and I served as co-pastors for nine years at Lake Travis UMC in Austin. During our time there the congregation built a new sanctuary and grew in membership from 400 to 1100. For two years in a row, LTUMC won the top Evangelism award for church growth in the Southwest Texas Conference. It was an exciting, vibrant and energetic place to be in ministry.
My appointment just prior to moving back to Alaska in 2011, was at Bethany UMC in San Antonio. The congregation was a diverse and missional church close to Fort Sam Houston. We actively responded to hunger issues by providing a daily senior nutrition center, commodities and food pantry. We hosted a youth program throughout the summer for working families. The neighborhood had a significant homeless population, so Bethany hosted a cold weather shelter, which provided hot meals, showers and laundry services. On staff we had a full time Wesley nurse and the congregation worked ecumenically with the surrounding churches to host Vacation Bible School and to meet the numerous needs of the community.
I am eager for the opportunity God has blessed me with to share in ministry with you. I believe that together we can open ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit so we may know God’s will and follow with generous hearts.
I look forward to meeting you all and learning the wonders of your life and faith stories. In the days ahead, I welcome hearing your wisdom, insights and concerns.
Grace and Peace,
Linda Jean P. Myers