August 3rd, nine members and friends from Seward UMC headed up to Nome Community United Methodist Church to assist them with building repairs and maintenance. We landed at the tail end of a winter storm that had turned up new sea glass on the beaches and had brought in a new supply of gold-rich sand, making the gold miners in the area quite happy.
We had three primary tasks at the church: furnace and boiler maintenance, mapping the electrical system and fixing fixtures and emergency exits, and repairing an arctic entryway that had separated from the building because of the freeze/thaw of permafrost. All three of these jobs took longer than we thought they might and the entryway was more technically challenging than expected. In addition, we repaired items on the playground, replaced gutters, doorknobs, and a handrail, and provided a deep clean and paint job to the kitchen which takes a beating from the sand and dirt from the environment. Also we spent most of a day cleaning pew cushions and carpets.
We all slept in the sanctuary and were able to share one toilet and one shower. We brought some food from Anchorage and Seward but we were close enough to a couple grocery stores so getting items was not a problem.
Nome Community UMC and their pastor, Bertha Koweluk, overwhelmed us with their hospitality. We had two church pot-lucks and each day someone from the church would bring by cookies or muffins or brownies as a way to say "thank you" and to let us take a break from our work. Plus, there was always someone who "knew someone" when we we were looking for tools that we didn't have on hand.
While we worked hard we were able to get out enjoy the environment. Their Chair of Trustees provided us with two tours around the city, along the beach, and up Anvil Mountain. Most evenings we were able to walk along the beach for a couple of hours after dinner in our quest for sea glass. And one night we were able to drive out of town to see Safety and "The Last Train to Nowhere" in Solomon.
August 10th we returned home, proud of the work that was accomplish and beginning to have dialogue with others who may choose to return to Nome in the coming years.
Thank you for all the financial support that made this possible. And thank you to the nine workteam members who represented our congregations so well.