Alaska Christian Ministries

Tags: Alaska, SEND North, Community Development, Education, Story

It is not the person, but the purpose that lasts. Our team member, Eileen Starr, is working to create such a legacy that supports the purposes of God’s Kingdom in the bigger cities in the Far North. Working through SEND North with Alaska Christian Ministries (ACM), Eileen has served in Alaska for over 40 years with the central goal of connecting churches with communities.

She coordinates with churches and schools to host parenting classes that combine a family meal and children’s program, as well as the parental portion, all in a  once-a-week, 2-hour session that lasts for ten weeks. Working fervently to provide the classes at as low of a cost as possible, our team member seeks volunteers from churches to provide the meals and staff for teaching and childcare. The program is built to attract all people, so the first several sessions are spiritually neutral. These first sessions provide excellent opportunities to build relationships with the families, and at the end, they offer an additional three sessions that have a spiritual focus. Over 85% of their attendants chose to return for the final three meetings.

Eileen has not stopped there. She works in prisons in the area to lead parenting courses for inmates. Approximately 30 inmates attend each course, and most of them show significant growth. Some even reach out when they are released because of the care they received from ACM. “They know who we are and why we do it,” says Eileen.

In addition to the parenting classes, Eileen Starr coordinates the Thanksgiving Blessing program in Anchorage, where families can come to locations within their zip code and receive a full Thanksgiving day meal for their family. She oversees the largest zone, which feeds about 2,500 families every year. They partner with the Food Bank for food donation pickups and deliveries, as well as storage for the donated food leading up to the event.

All this work from just one of our members is in response to the dire need of connection between church and community. The purpose is to “love by providing.” Eileen Starr facilitates the serving of about 225 families through the parenting courses every year.  She also mentors inmates who are seeking God, builds relationships with released inmates, and serves God wherever she goes. Most importantly, Eileen is looking for the next leader to come along and continue the legacy she is developing with Alaska Christian Ministries.