Aywaan Parish

The Community United Methodist Church of Nome, the Gambell Presbyterian Church, the Nome Presbyterian Church, and the Savoonga Presbyterian Church joined together in January of 1976 to form what was originally known as the Aygum Bering Sea Larger Parish, but later changed to the Aywaan Parish.

“United by our common commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, our historic Protestant heritage within the Methodist and Presbyterian tradition, and our desire to give expression to our unity as Christians in witnessing to our faith in Northwest Alaska: we join together to share in programming which will be mutually beneficial,” the organizing resolution read.

Each member church would retain complete autonomy or self-government, except in those areas that are referred to the Parish Council for decision or coordination by the member churches. All pastors and lay preachers appointed or called to local churches within the parish were to be available for service in all parts of the larger parish.

A Parish Council would be formed which would consist of the full time or part time staff (including lay preachers) and a lay representative from each local church involved in the parish. There would be plans for a meeting of the parish council each time that the Presbytery of Yukon meets, as transportation costs could be paid for the delegates traveling to Presbytery from St. Lawrence Island.

Officers for the new parish elected January 14, 1976 were:

President: Winfred Matuklook

Vice-President: Clarence Irrigoo

Secretary/Treasurer: John Shaffer

Winfred Matuklook, certified lay preacher, assigned to Aygum (later spelled "Aywaan") Bering Sea Larger Parish. Commissioned by Yukon Presbytery on January 14, 1976. Mr. Matuklook's commission renewed on September 11, 1981 and again on October 11, 1985.


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