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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

The Church of Nome: Part 2

January 13th, 2011 · No Comments

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Alcoholism also greatly concerns Pastors David and Julie Elmore. They say that many of their neighbors live with a sense of hopelessness. They don’t feel able to look forward to success in the modern culture, but lack the tools to exist in a traditional Alaskan community.

Some of the latest sociological research traces alcoholism to group trauma — the trauma of losing their culture, rather than the theory that alcoholism among Native Americans is genetic. Alcoholism is one unhealthy way that they try to cope with that group trauma and the lack of identidy that comes with it.

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David and Julie can’t do everything at once. So far they are mainly working with the kids to provide them with a safe place to go at least one night a week with the Tuesday school, which meets here at the Fellowship Hall. “We try to respect them and their culture as well and communicate that God as the Creator created their culture as well,” David says.

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David has two formal roles: co-pastor of the church and community service coordinator.

The Youth Court program is an activity of the community center. It is a restorative justice diversion program for youth that who commit minor infractions of the law, like alcohol possession, staying out past curfew, or vandalism. In the Youth Court their peers try them, and a part of their sentence is usually community service.

David’s job is to arrange community service opportunities for those youth and other youth in the community who want or need community service hours. Their tasks include painting, clean up, construction work, and secretarial work.

“We try to match the tasks to what the kids like to do,” David says. “Hopefully they will find something that they enjoy doing and continue that after they complete the program.”

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With the Youth Court kids David and Julie are particularly concerned with finding supervisors who will mentor those kids. Here David speaks to about 20 members of Nome’s Rotary Club at the group’s regular meeting place, Airport Pizza. Both he and Julie are Rotarians. In this talk David drummed up recruitment of basketball officials to help mentor the kids.

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The Boys & Girls Club is another activity of the community center. It works with kids to discourage smoking. Apportionments from the whole church go for tobacco prevention education.

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One of the friendly girls at the Boys & Girls Club.

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David has several other informal roles. He is also a handyman and painter.

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We have 35 members on our membership role, Julie says. “But we have a lot more people than on the membership role who are committed to the church here.”

Like David, Julie also has many roles. As co-pastor she says that they have 35 members on their membership role. “But we have a lot more people than on the membership role who are committed to the church here.” In addition to Sunday morning services, they hold services on the first and third Monday nights to reach out even more to people in the community.

A long standing ministry of the United Methodist Women, the Thrift Shop provides high quality, low cost clothing to the people of the Bering Straits region. People come to Nome from all over the region for shopping, and the Thrift Shop is one of their favorite spots. Due to the paucity of retail stores in the area, this vital ministry serves all the people of the Nome area, not just those who shop for the price. In addition to being a source for clothing, the thrift shop also is an important gathering place for the community.

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