Local churches and Christian education centers are gearing up for a busy 2017.

Pastors Rony and Cynthia Harden Sr. and their congregation of Abba Father Christian Fellowship are joyfully celebrating the waterfront church’s fifth anniversary this weekend. There will be special services on Friday and Sunday, with a prime rib and chicken dinner scheduled for Saturday night at the Golden Anchor on the Coast Guard base.

Out-of-town guests include a dynamic couple, known as Apostle Alfonso Steele and Prophetess Cynthia Steele, from Florida.

For fundraising purposes, Abba Father also sells dinners of ribs (slathered with Rony’s unique barbecue sauce) in March and later at Crab Festival.

The congregation is expanding the sanctuary in the building on Shelikof Avenue.

In October the Hardens will be honored at Pastor’s Harvest, which acknowledges their five years in pastoral service.

The church theme this year, in keeping with the new administration in D.C., is Watch and Pray.

“We need to stop criticizing and pray for our president,” Harden said.

River of Life

Pastor Emma Gonzalez and her congregation of River of Life are making good use of their new van. Emma transports middle and high school students to school.

Before they get off the van, the group studies a Bible verse, prays and shares testimonies. This prayer time helps students remain focused on their studies, stay away from negative influences and better understand the spiritual battle they are in engaged in, said Gonzalez. 

River of Life youth also plan to take a mission trip this summer.

Vacation Bible School is a highlight of summer, Gonzalez said. Teachers from the Lower 48 teach up to 130 Kodiak kids, ages 4 to 12.

River of Life also operates a day center at its Selief Lane residence and provides help to the needy.


Cathedral, seminary

This summer Holy Resurrection Cathedral and St. Herman’s Orthodox Seminary will be hosting Orthodox Christian Mission Center teams who will help with church camps (including those in the villages) and various renovation projects.

This winter during the Lenten season, Father Chad Hatfield, provost of St. Vladimir Seminary in New York and former St. Herman’s dean, will give a lecture.

The parish of Holy Resurrection is excited about a new Sunday school program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, introduced by Shelly Finkler of the St. John’s Orthodox parish in Eagle River.


Frontier Southern Baptist

Frontier Baptist Church on Rezanov is gearing up for the 50th anniversary of the church, which takes place in August.

Pastor Gary Elmore said that the congregation was blessed by a visit last summer of charter members who provided them with historical information that will make the event more meaningful.

Elmore, his wife, Candy, and the congregation are actively involved in Kodiak Island Outreach, a servant ministry that addresses islandwide needs in the name of Christ. At Crab Festival time students from major universities in the Lower 48 help Frontier and KIO with community projects.

“We are reformatting and re-energizing Kodiak Island Outreach,” said Elmore.

It will be headed up by Mark Overbeek, associate pastor and worship leader at Frontier.

“Last year (the volunteers) painted a widow’s house while she was out of town,” Elmore said. “It was a total home makeover.”

He said the team will check with the community to see what the needs are.

This summer volunteers from Beltway Baptist Church in Abeline, Texas, will run Frontier’s vacation Bible school.

In coordination with Alaska Missions and Retreat, headed by Brenda Crimm, a team of eight volunteers representing Frontier will do service projects in Nome at the finish line of the Iditarod.


Bible Chapel

The Kodiak Bible Chapel on Island Lake Road will host this winter’s first singspiration event. It begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29.

The singspiration, a coming-together of community churches, is a good way to brighten up the dark winter months, said Sue Rohrer, an active member of the Chapel.

Members of the Filipino Fellowship, which is part of the Chapel congregation, will participate in the service. The program also features solos by Franco Nero and Adela Martinez. The congregation will sing several gospel songs. Snacks will be provided after the service.

Bible Chapel youth and their leaders, Chris and Beck Pollum, Jon Breuninger and Autumn Underwood, are preparing to take a mission trip to El Salvador in June, Rohrer said.

Working with Envision, a ministry of Christian Missionary Alliance, they will do an after-school program, teaching Bible classes and engaging with kids in American football and other games.

In the past, Bible Chapel volunteers have worked on construction and repair projects. This trip will be more “relational,” said Rohrer.

Since the group of 12 is paying their own transportation as well as room and board in El Salvador, they raise money through fundraisers.

Today beginning at 6 p.m., the group will sell spaghetti dinners at the Chapel.


Filipino Bible Church

Pastor Jun Belen and his congregation at Filipino Bible Church have bought the former Hebron Presbyterian Church on Selief, which they have rented in the past. This is a major milestone for the church, said Belen. With help of the Filipino Bible Churches in Kodiak and other parts of Alaska, the congregation was able to raise the necessary money for the building and lot.

“Now we have it,” said Belen.

The congregation raises money throughout the year so that the Belens and others from the church can go to the Philippines to help needy children with school supplies, food, clothing and other staples.

Those who would like to contribute to this cause can contact Belen at 942-1291.


St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s School kicks off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday at the morning Mass. Students will read Scripture texts and prayers for the day.

“We want to spread the good word of what Catholic schools are really about,” said a school spokesperson.

The week’s activities include a community service day on Tuesday, which includes visits to city fire, police and other departments. Students will give them snacks as well as verbal thanks for the work they have done.

The week will wrap up with a brown bag luncheon on Friday, said the spokesperson. The mayor, police and fire chiefs and other dignitaries will be special guests.


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