Presbytery of Yukon
(Presbyterian Church U.S.A.)
1899-1988 Compiled by Jessie DeVries and Edited by Nick Brewer
Each stated clerk of the Presbytery contributed to this history with their faithful records. Others, like Anna Kirk in her diary, gave us added insights. Tay Thomas,, in 1967, under the auspices of the Alaska Council of Churches, unearthed other information that helped to further enlighten me as I sought to write this very short history of almost a century of activity. Mabel Bingle first retrieved the minutes of the Presbytery from 1899 to 1929 from the historical records in Philadelphia. In 1974, Pat Von Bergen expanded it to include the minutes through 1974. May we who follow in their footsteps continue to report our actions as carefully and accurately, always glorifying our God who is the author and finisher of our faith.
On the eighteenth of October, 1867, Alaska was formally surrendered by Russia to the United States, and the call of God's providence came to the American churches to enter in and possess the land for Christ.
The response of that call was very slow and for the first ten years only a few spasmodic efforts were made by individuals, either to commence the work or arouse public sentiment to its claims.
At noon on the tenth day of August, 1877, Dr. Sheldon Jackson and Mrs. A.R. McFarland reached Fort Wrangell and commenced Presbyterian Mission in Alaska.
On the eighth of August, 1878, the Reverend S. Hall Young arrived and took charge of the work at Ft. Wrangell with earnestness and vigor.
In 1880, the Rev. S. Hall Young and the Rev. G.W. Lyon petitioned the General Assembly in session at Madison, Wisconsin, to create the Presbytery of Alaska. No action was taken then and in 1881 the Territory of Alaska was attached to the Synod of Columbia. The General Assembly of 1883, in session at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., May 15th, in response to the petitions of all the ministers in Alaska and an overture from the Presbytery of Oregon created the Presbytery of Alaska, with the boundaries of the Presbytery to be coterminus with the territory of Alaska and the Presbytery of Alaska to be attached to the Synod of Columbia.
In undertaking the task of bringing education to Alaskans, Dr. Jackson knew that the Presbyterian Board of Missions could not take on any more than they were already committed to. Therefore, in 1880 he decided to call a meeting with representatives of other interested denominations to seek support. At this session several churches agreed to take on mission work in different areas of the vast territory. Baptists would begin in Kodiak and the Cook Inlet area; Episcopalians would continue work already begun by Canadian Anglicans along the Yukon and also help along the Arctic Coast; the Methodists planned to begin mission work in the Aleutian Islands; the Moravians would start in the Kuskokwim region; the Congregationalists the Cape Prince of Wales area; and the Presbyterians would continue in Southeast and along the Northern Arctic Coast. This agreement to join in the sharing of the work in different areas was a tremendous boost to the development of Alaska, but because it was a broad and unofficial arrangement, it did not preclude the starting of churches in any area where incoming people from the states wanted to have their own denominations.
History of the Presbytery of the Yukon
In the summer of 1878 traders visited the eight hundred Eskimos on St. Lawrence Island and took all the seal and walrus skins in return for liquor. Most of the people were drunk all summer, ignoring hunting and fishing, so when winter descended they had no furs or food to keep alive. When the revenue cutter paid its yearly visit to the island the following spring they discovered with horror that whole villages had frozen to death. Over half the population of the island had died because of the white man's gift of liquor.
Sheldon Jackson heard this story from the captain of the cutter and resolved to establish a mission on the island. In 1891, he built a schoolhouse and a teacher home there, but it took him another three years to find someone to occupy them.
In 1894 the Rev. and Mrs. Vern Gambell were set ashore and immediately opened the school which was farther west than any other on land belonging to the United States.
In the summer of 1890, Sheldon Jackson sailed north on the revenue cutter BEAR...with Professor Leander Stevenson to Barrow.
The revenue cutter also brought provisions for the rescue station maintained at Barrow by the government to help whaling ships in distress. The mission teacher was given a rear room at the station for his school and living quarters, and he later took complete charge of this government work. He had promised the Mission Board (and his wife) that he would serve one year, but it was seven years before he returned home and his work was carried on by Dr. and Mrs. Horatio Marsh.
In the summer of 1897, the Home Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. invited the Rev. S. Hall Young, of the Presbytery of Wooster and formerly a missionary in Southeastern Alaska (1878-1888), to go into the Klondike, the newly discovered gold fields the reports of whose wealth had drawn there so many people. At that time it was supposed that the Klondike was in American territory. Mr. Young arrived in Dawson, the center of the Klondike region, in the autumn of that year, having made, on foot, the dangerous journey over the Chilkoot Pass, and the equally perilous voyage down from the head waters of the Yukon in a small open boat.
During the fall and winter, the Rev. Young organized the Presbyterian Church in Dawson and assisted in the establishment of a hospital. When it became definitely known that the scenes of his labor were not on American soil, the Canadian Presbyterian Church sent in missionaries, to whom the Rev. Young turned over the work at Dawson.
In the summer of 1898, he took a trip down the Yukon through Alaska, visiting camps and towns as far as Rampart. He then returned to the States and urged the Home Mission Board to send a number of missionaries into the Yukon Valley.
The Rev. Young spent the winter of 1898-1899 helping the Board raise funds to liquidate its heavy debt and at the same time to enlist an intelligent interest in the work for Alaska. As a result of his labors in the latter cause over $6,000 was secured as a special fund for the Yukon work. Several men were commissioned to go at once to that distant field.
Erection of the Yukon Presbytery
Because of the inaccessibility of the country it was thought best by those enlisted in the work, to petition the General Assembly of 1899 to authorize the erection of the Presbytery of the Yukon. This Presbytery would include the Missions of Point Barrow, St. Lawrence Island and all northern Alaska. The petition was granted by the Assembly in session at Minneapolis, May 26, 1899, and the Presbytery was to be a part of the Synod of Washington.
The first meeting of the Yukon Presbytery was held at Eagle, Alaska, July 26, 1899, by the members assembling there while en route to their respective fields. The roll of the first meeting of the Yukon Presbytery was made up of the following men: the Revs. S. Hall Young of the Presbytery of Wooster, James W. Kirk of the Presbytery of Philadelphia North, M. Egbert Koonce Ph.D. of the Presbytery of Blairsville, Horatio R. Marsh M.D. of the Presbytery of Alaska, and Samuel R. Spriggs of the Presbytery of Ostego (history compiled by the Rev. J.W. Kirk).
The Kirks remained at Eagle, Marsh and Spriggs continued on their way to Barrow while Young and Koonce proceeded to Rampart where Koonce was to labor. Young joined the gold seekers headed for Nome. At St. Michael, he met Dr. Sheldon Jackson who had been appointed the first Commissioner of Education for Alaska, making his annual tour of the schools. Dr. Jackson said, "Hurry on to Nome, you will find the greatest task of your life in that new camp."
The Typhoid Epidemic of Nome
The Rev. L.L. Wirt, a Congregational minister, had already arrived in Nome, having passed the Rev. Young at Eagle while waiting for the members of the Presbytery to arrive. The Rev. Wirt had looked over the situation and seen the need for a hospital and a church. He raised money for these and had departed for Seattle to buy the lumber. In the meantime, an Elder by the name of Fickus, from a San Francisco church, had been trying to hold services since the town was without a minister.
As the news spread of the gold strike at Nome, men who had failed elsewhere descended on the beach at Nome. In their rush and excitement, they had not put down wells or secured a supply of pure water. They were drinking the seepage of that impure camp. An epidemic of typhoid broke out in its most virulent form. Before a week had passed, one third of the men at Nome had typhoid fever.
The Rev. Young had eleven funerals in one week. Religious services were not neglected. The first Sunday the Rev. Young had a meeting in the upstairs of Minor Bruce's warehouse. Young said, "We had a great meeting, splendid singing by trained voices." For six and one half weeks he was the only minister at Nome to care for the sick and dying besides holding services on Sunday.
After six weeks the Rev. Wirt returned from Seattle with material for the erection of a hospital at Nome. With him were nurses, medicines, and an additional physician. Also with the Rev. Wirt was a young man, Mr. Raymond Robins, who came to help in whatever way he could.
Although the Rev. Wirt felt some resentment at the appearance of the Rev. Young, he recognized the necessity of the work he had been doing. The Rev. Wirt had occupied the pulpit in the warehouse and the Rev. Young continued with his humane work. The steamers that lay in the offing at Nome, ready to sail eye the ice should form, had all their berths engaged. Suddenly the disease he had been fighting struck him. The miners and a bartender kept him alive by loving care and milk from the only cow in Nome. The fever lasted seven and one half weeks.
The Rev. Young received word from the Mission Board to hand over his work to the Congregationalists. He was to go elsewhere. His comments were, "While this was strictly in accord with the Agreement of Comity between the two churches, it was a wrong thing to do under the circumstances. The Board had no conception of the great stampede which would pour its thousands on the tundra at Nome the following spring."
The Rev. Young was too ill to be moved, much less to be sent out on the steamboat, when the letter from the Board arrived. He obeyed the request of the letter and asked the Rev. Wirt to assume the responsibility of the church in Nome.
The Rev. Wirt returned to Seattle. Dr. Young, still recovering from the fever, helped Mr. Robins, who was just learning to preach.
In April 1900, Dr. Young made a trip by dog team from Nome to the new camp at Council, 85 miles northeast of Nome, and organized a mission which later became a Presbyterian church.
In June, Dr. Young returned to Nome which swarmed with 20,000 gold seekers. An epidemic of smallpox and German measles scared the incomers and delayed the landing of thousands. Dr. Young had to go to the hospital for an operation. As soon as he was able he purchased a large tent, secured a lot, and with a wooden floor and benches, soon had his church in order. Both the Congregational Chapel and the Rev. Young's Presbyterian tent were filled with eager worshipers.
The First Preaching Mission
The first preaching mission in Yukon Presbytery was held in July, 1900, when the Rev. Kirk and the Rev. Koonce and another Presbyterian minister came to Nome to attend the meeting of the Presbytery. All helped in Young's services and started meetings in different parts of the great camp.
The meeting of the Presbytery was held on July 19th at Nome instead of at Rampart as previously arranged. Word was received from the Rev. Horatio R. Marsh announcing the organization of the Ootpeanik Presbyterian Church at Point Barrow on Easter Sunday, 1899. At this meeting the Rev. Luther M. Scroggs and the Rev. Walter R. Scroggs were received as corresponding members of Yukon Presbytery.
The Presbytery approved the work of the Rev. Young at Nome and authorized him and the Rev. Luther Scroggs to proceed with the organization of a Presbyterian church. The Moderator was directed to send a communication to the Board of Home Missions explaining the action of the Presbytery.
After a summer of hard but inspiring work, the Rev. Young organized a church with 32 charter members representing a number of different denominations. The Rev. Scroggs was appointed Stated Supply of the Mission and the church at Nome.
The Rev. Koonce was ordered to discontinue the work at Rampart on account of the depopulation of that gold camp. It was recommended that he go to Council City where the Rev. Young had established a mission in April of 1900. The Rev. Kirk was to continue his work at Eagle using his discretion regarding the organization of a church.
Due to the Rev. Young's health, he was to go to Port Valdez on the Gulf of Alaska to determine the possibility of organizing a church there.
1901 General Assembly
Dr. Young was to be the delegate to the General Assembly in 1901 with the Rev. Marsh as alternate. In the fall of 1900, Dr. Young arrived at his home in Ithaca, N.Y. He had left the church in Nome in charge of the Rev. Luther Scroggs. Dr. Young was the first Commissioner from the new Presbytery to the General Assembly which met in Philadelphia in 1901. Mr. Peter Koonooya, an Eskimo elder from Point Barrow, was the first layman of the Yukon Presbytery to attend a meeting of the General Assembly. Dr. Young pleaded with the Assembly for a man to go to the new gold camp at Teller. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Converse gave him $1,500 a year for the work at Teller as long as the mission endured.
The Rev. Young returned to Alaska accompanied by the Rev. Marsh and his family who were returning to the Arctic Mission. With them were Peter Koonooya and his wife. There was a meeting of the Presbytery in Eagle July 3rd.
Anna Kirk at Eagle
During the month that was required for Rev. Kirk to go to and return from Presbytery, Anna Kirk was responsible for holding services in Eagle. When they had left Pennsylvania, one of the items Mrs. Kirk had insisted on taking with her was her upright piano. When they arrived they found that the crated instrument was too large to go through the door of the log cabin where they were to hold services, so for several months it stood in its crate on the porch. During the time Rev. Kirk was gone she suddenly had the inspiration to uncrate it. While it was still on the porch she sat down and began to play. Before long there were more people standing around her than they had ever had in any previous service. The music was a reminder of home and was a distinct calling card for lonely souls.
Additional Mission Points
Under the leadership of the Rev. S. Hall Young, who was appoint General Missionary for Alaska in 1902, the early ministers established mission points mostly in the gold mining camps such as Rampart, Eagle, Council, Nome, Teller, Nenana, and Fairbanks, any place where there were large numbers of people who, they felt, needed their ministrations. Council, Nome, Nenana, and Fairbanks were the only camps to have officially organized Presbyterian churches. The original church in Nome was turned over to the Congregationalists in 1901; Council was disbanded in 1912; and the Grace Presbyterian Church in Nenana, which was the first self supporting church, was dissolved in 1947.
No meetings of the Presbytery were held during the years of 1906 to 1911. Dr. Young traveled from mission to mission and when copper mining boomed in Cordova in 1908, he began services there in a rude hall under a drug store and had a church of forty members organized in 1909.
At the Presbytery meeting in 1912, the following Resolution to the Home Mission Board as adopted:
"Whereas, at the head of Cook's Inlet there is a large expanse of fertile ground suited for farming, promising gold fields, and in the vicinity of the great Matanuska coal fields, this region being also on a proposed railroad route to the interior of Alaska, and
Whereas, there are at present about a thousand white people in that region, grouped principally about the villages of Susitna, Knik, Sunrise, and Katmai, with the prospect of a large population as soon as needed legislation is obtained, this region having been hitherto entirely neglected by all evangelical denominations,
Therefore, Resolved by the Presbytery of Yukon that the Home Mission Board be urged to commission a suitable man as traveling evangelist to meet the growing needs of this community."
This was long range planning. No traveling evangelist developed, but at Ship Creek camp of the Alaska Railroad the town of Anchorage evolved and on January 14, 1917, the First Presbyterian Church of Anchorage was organized.
Hearing about the colonization of the Matanuska Valley in 1934 by the United States government, Presbytery realized that another opportunity for service was at hand and was able to arrange to have a Presbyterian minister available to greet the colonists when they landed. With time two more Presbyterian churches were erected within the bounds of the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys.
At the same Presbytery meeting in 1912, there is a note in the minutes which states:
"The Home Mission and Church Erection Boards were urged to set aside a fund to be used for securing suitable locations in new towns. Usually the best opportunities are lost by not having funds."
The ever present tension between great needs and very little funds probably has been the Presbytery of the Yukon's greatest challenge.
Many ways were devised to get the most out of every dollar. One of the recommendations in the rules on minister's vacation at one time was that in arranging for the furlough, the Presbytery, as far as it may be possible or convenient, should appoint a commissioner to the Assembly whose time is up for furlough. General Assembly would then pay for traveling expenses.
The National Missions report the same year recommended that:
"The Presbytery of Yukon request the Board to commission the wives of missionaries, without salary, as wives of missionaries are granted clergy rates on the Alaska Railroad."
The minutes of Presbytery 1922 state:
"There is no missionary on St. Lawrence Island. The Superintendent of the Bureau of Education gives assurance that if a missionary and wife could be sent to the Island that the wife, if adapted, would be appointed as teacher in the government service and thus render a double service. This would be a saving to the board."
Many years later the Presbytery tried to get double service from its committee chairpersons when they were asked to serve on more than one Synod committee while they were at Synod headquarters. Very often this kind of double service ended up being more than one person could do well.
Even though the bylaws of 1927 stated that:
"Every church session is required to be represented at every stated meeting, or give reason in writing for non-representation,"
very few churches sent representatives until the early 1950s. Not until 1940 were there more than three or four ministers in attendance at Presbytery meetings and only the church where they were hosted sent an elder. By 1912 most of the meetings were held in the Cook Inlet area and since it was so costly to travel from the Arctic churches, even their ministers seldom attended. The Presbytery was very dependent on the Board of national Missions for most of its support. The Presbytery, on June 27, 1919, voted that a per capita tax of $10 be levied on the ministers in active work to meet the traveling expenses of the delegates, and a tax of $0.25 per church member was assessed to meet the General Assembly, Synod, and Presbytery expenses. Also, that the Board of Home Missions be asked to make a grant of $100 per annum to apply to traveling expenses of delegates to the annual meeting of Presbytery.
That was the first mention of a per capita tax. As with most taxes it has kept increasing until it reached its maximum of $19 per member in 1983. Yet there are still greater needs than there are funds to meet them. Presbytery meetings rotate among different churches but few have been held in the Arctic churches simply because it costs more to meet there.
General Assembly Delegates
The one consistent action at all Presbytery meetings has been the election of delegates to General Assembly. Rotation was established early. Even now the stated clerk has a list of the clergy members with the dates of their entry to Presbytery of the Yukon, their date of ordination and the last time each attended General Assembly. This is the guide to the nominating committee for their yearly selections. Nevertheless hardly a year goes by without some question being raised concerning the validity of the candidate nominated. There was evidence of strife in the ranks as early as 1921 judging from the following excerpt:
"The Presbytery records its judgment that ministerial representation from this Presbytery to General Assembly should be determined by the order of their respective terms of service and confined to ministers actually in charge of parishes, provided no minister who has earned his commissionship under this rule and has left the Presbytery within six months of the Assembly to which he should have been commissioned, shall be deprived of his right by such removal."
That same year the first delegates to Synod of Washington (Synod of Washington and Alaska, Synod of Alaska Northwest) were selected. The relationship between Synod and Presbytery was tenuous for several years. There was definite feeling that the Presbytery of the Yukon was being treated as a stepchild.
At the 1928 meeting of Synod, resolutions were adopted requesting the Board of National Missions to transfer the administration of the Alaska work from the Board, as at present, to the Synod Committee on National Missions. The Presbytery of Yukon did not concur with this proposed change and entered its protest. Two pages of reasons were listed and ended by saying that "it is the carefully considered judgment of the Yukon Presbytery that no change should be made in the present form of the Alaska work, and that the present immediate supervision of the Board of National Missions should continue inasmuch as the Board of National Missions is and must be responsible for the promotion of the work and raising of funds to support it." Continue as it was, it did.
Gradually relations improved. The Rev. Roy Hawes, at a Presbytery meeting, discussed Presbytery/Synod relationships, answering questions concerning Synod corporation, building loans and Presbytery representatives at Synod. For several years there were eight ministers and eight lay persons elected to attend Synod meetings. In the minutes of March 11, 1983, an overture was approved limiting one minister and one ruling elder for each 1500 ministerial members of Presbytery. From time to time studies have been made as to the feasibility of joining both Alaska Presbyteries or having a Synod of Alaska. To date it continues on as it was originally designed.
Native Alaskan Ministerial Candidates
The first candidates taken under care of Presbytery were four young men of Point Barrow Mission on October 15, 1923. They were Robert Ikkok, Andrew Akootchook, Percy Ipalook, and Roy Ahmaogak.
Robert Ikkok's name was later dropped. Andrew Akootchook was ordained elder in July, 1924 and worked at Barter Island until his death. Percy Ipalook and Roy Ahmaogok received early religious training under Dr. Marsh. Percy spent five years at Sheldon Jackson school, four years in Dubuque Seminary and after ordination, was appointed to the church at Wales. He also served on St. Lawrence Island from 1934 to 1945. Roy Ahmaogok was ordained at Barrow June 3, 1947, and served at Wainwright until he worked on the translation of the New Testament into Inupiat. Many other young men and women continued to be taken under the care of Presbytery and eventually a Leadership Development fund because a Presbytery cause designed to assist those who needed it as they pursued their studies. It is still a viable Presbytery cause.
Women in Ministry
Women have also played their part in the development of Presbytery of Yukon. Many served along with their husbands, some such as Mrs. A.W. Newhall, whose husband was a licentiate of Presbytery at Barrow, expressed a desire for engaging in future missionary service in Alaska following his death. The minutes of 1929 only record that discussion ensued at great length.
During the 1921 Presbytery meeting one of the overtures acted upon by the Presbytery was one on women elders; the vote was negative. There is no record of when churches were allowed to elect women as elders but in 1939 Mrs. Agnes Sherwood of Anchorage was elected elder commissioner to General Assembly and Mrs. Madge A. Vance of Cordova was elder delegate to Synod.
In the first standing rules of the Presbytery of Yukon, 1927, one paragraph states:
"All women appointed to permanent committees, it is understood, shall act in an advisory capacity; shall represent branches of women's work, and shall be nominated by the Presbyterial Society, when there is such a body."
During the same meeting the Committee on Resolutions reported the organization on Thursday evening, August 25, 1927, of the Presbyterial Society of Yukon Presbytery with the following officers: Mrs. J.E. Youel, president; Mrs. J.F. Vernon, vice president; and Mrs. Robert Marquis, secretary-treasurer. Presbytery pledged them their support and urged the local churches to strive for good membership. The women were all ministers' wives.
It wasn't until the February 3 and 4, 1947, meeting of Presbytery that Mrs. U.S. Hanshew and Mrs. A. Rooney, on behalf of the Women's Organization, presented the request for approval to organize the Yukon Presbyterial Society. The request was unanimously approved.
In 1935, Ann Bannon was sent to St. Lawrence Island and by 1940, she had organized a church at Savoonga with 98 charter members and one at Gambell with 140 charter members. In 1941, she was succeeded by Anna Martin who, in 1945, was replaced by Alice Green. All of these served there as "Sunday School missionaries."
No record was found of when Emma Stauffer went to labor at Wales, but in 1938 she put in for a need of another stove in the Thornton Memorial Church there. On March 6, 1942, she was granted permission to moderate the session there in the absence of a minister. In 1944 Presbytery reported she had been ill. After being replaced by Percy Ipalook, she was later transferred to Alaska Presbytery.
Women have also served on many Presbytery committees, have been elected committee chairpersons as well as serving in Synod and General Assembly.
More Presbytery Meeting Notes
Presbytery has met in many places across the state under many adverse circumstances and in many diverse buildings. They met on board boats, in airports, in other denominational buildings, various hotels and from north to south. To name a few, on December 12, 1932, the meeting of Presbytery was held in Seward at the Van Gilder Hotel during the night while the boat was in from the south and the train was down from the north. There were three ministers present and one elder delegate.
In 1947 the weather changed the time of Presbytery. It was called for January 24th but Dr. Frank Warren of Whitworth College, who was to be the special speaker, couldn't be present so Presbytery was postponed until February 21st. When Dr. Warren arrived record breaking weather in the interior (-50 degrees for 25 days) did not allow the ministers in Fairbanks and highway churches to travel to Anchorage. All travel was at a standstill until the weather broke. It was necessary for the popular meeting to proceed, and Dr. Warren proved to be a great inspiration.
The ministers from the Interior arrived February 3 and Presbytery was officially called for February 4.
Two meetings of Presbytery were declared illegal and all actions taken had to be reenacted at a later legal meeting. Presbyterian minutes seldom record the reasons that some actions are taken and so one must use his own imagination as to what went on before the action recorded.
The accomplishments of the Presbytery of the Yukon can never be fully measured in the lives of the many who felt their influence. Nevertheless there are some measurable achievements, such as:
1. Two Presbyterian hospitals were built with Presbyterian encouragement.
2. Thirty churches were organized, 22 of which are still active.
3. Participated in two Youth Campgrounds, one of which is owned by Presbytery. Other youth camping experiences sponsored.
4. Established and helped maintain Hospitality House.
5. Participated in the support of two campus ministries.
6. Helped support an Ecumenical Consultation which seeks ways to work with problems specific to natives.
In the beginning Alaska was populated with Eskimos and Indians. When the Presbyterian church first arrived, its primary concern was ministering to the indigenous people. It wasn't long before the gold seekers, miners and trappers needed as much spiritual assistance, if not more. Each period of history brought in new people who needed a church home. Using the funds available to them and yet attempting to follow the Comity agreement the Presbytery of Yukon has responded as God has lead them. This proved true when in the early seventies groups of Koreans arrived in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Because of their different language and customs, they felt the need to organize their own churches even though established churches welcomed them in their services and even set aside times for them when they could meet separately. By 1979, the First Korean Church of Anchorage and the First Korean Church of Fairbanks had been organized and were soon raising funds for their own building, assisted by Presbytery.
While the language of Presbytery is basically English, it is aware of the other tongues and ethnic groups which include Korean, Yupik Eskimo and Inupiat Eskimo. In their attempt to have all issues clearly understood Presbytery has voted to have all questions that are voted on translated into each language. Hopefully as they work together they may all become more sensitive to each other's needs and know each other better.
Presbytery Celebrates 75th Anniversary
The Presbytery of Yukon celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary at spring Presbytery meeting and again during the summer of 1974 with a pro-renata meeting in Eagle on July 26. A history of seventy-five years was commissioned and most of the material used here was taken from its pages, which were compiled by Patricia Van Bergen of Immanuel Church, Anchorage.
Earlier, Mable Bingle had compiled the history from 1899 to 1929 which was included in the second edition.
The Presbytery of the Yukon has grown in numbers but not in size. The budget is larger but so are its expenses. Although it still depends on some support from General Assembly, it is responsible for all its own properties. As new communities develop and old communities expand, the need for new congregations will accompany them. Anchorage is called the largest native village in Alaska and for years Presbytery has struggled to find ways to be able to meet their needs. It also needs more money to maintain and expand its camping program. These are some of the challenges that face the Presbytery of the Yukon in 1988. As it seeks answers to all these challenges, each member needs to look for encouragement from Psalm 37, as interpreted by Leslie Brandt in his Psalms/NOW:
If we really trusted in God and were truly committed to His purposes, the world might be a great deal better off today. God is in our world. He is destined to be the source of our joy and well being. He is the fulfillment of our heart's desires. If we dedicate our lives to Him and His will, He will be able to work through us, to permeate this world's darkness with divine light.
Let's keep our cool and try to be patient. Stop worrying about the apparent hopelessness of it all. We only contribute to this despair by always being negative and defeatist.
God has not taken a vacation: He is here. He has His own way of dealing with the instigators of corruption.
It will take time, but the victory is ultimately God's. Those who live within God's will shall surely discover that His purposes prevail, that true joy and peace and security come from Him.
Let us wait on God and seek daily to obey Him. He is our salvation and our security, and nothing in this world can take that away from us. Let us calm our hostilities, overcome our anxieties, and walk in peace and love.
From the minutes of February 1 and 2, 1928, Presbytery honored the Reverend S. Hall Young with the following words:
"The Presbytery expresses at this time its sense of loss at the death of Rev. S. Hall Young, D.D., killed by a streetcar in Pittsburgh. He was connected with the Presbytery throughout its whole history. He organized many of its churches. We owe to him, more than any other man, the fact that we exist as a Presbytery today. He was always a faithful Presbyter and loyal friend. His place can never be filled. We can only hope to be able to someday bring to reality the things for which he dreamed, worked and prayed."
AMEN and AMEN.
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