Kuukpik Presbyterian Church


The Commission to organize the Presbyterian Church at Nuiqsut, AK, met at the Utkeagvik Presbyterian Church, Saturday, April 19, 1975. Present were Gordon Corbett, Associate Synod Executive of Alaska-Northwest; Nelson Ahvakana, commissioned lay preacher for the Ahmaogak Memorial Parish; Gene Straatmeyer, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fairbanks; Dean Hickox, pastor of the Ahmaogak Memorial Parish; and Rex Okakok, commissioned lay preacher at First Presbyterian Church in Fairbanks and chairman of the commission.

The list of prospective members was reviewed. The Session of Utkeagvik Presbyterian Church in Barrow was asked to transfer them to the new church. 

It was recommended that the young people who wanted to join the new church by profession of faith and confirmation of their baptismal vows attend a communicant's class first. Charter membership of the church would be kept open until the September meeting of Presbytery, so that the class could take place and the young people could be “charter members.” 

Next Stop: Nuiqsut

 The entire commission then flew from Barrow to Nuiqsut: Rex Okakok, chairman, Sarah Kunaknana, Isaac Akootchook, Nelson Ahvakana, Dean Hickox, and Gene Straatmeyer. Associate Synod Executive, Gordon Corbett was not present because of airplane scheduling difficulties. He was in Nuiqsut for the morning worship service, but had to return to Barrow when the second flight arrived at 2:30 p.m. bringing other members of the commission to Nuiqsut.

Also attending the meeting was Tom Brower, chairman of the Ahmaogak Memorial Parish and Roxy Ekowana, an elder in the Utkeagvik Church in Barrow.

Since there were new requests for membership, only those persons coming by letter of transfer from the Barrow church were allowed to join. Several of the people's status in other churches was unknown. The new session was instructed to take them in as soon as possible.

Irene Oyagak was made an exception to the above, since she was known to be a member of the Kaktovik Presbyterian Church and was accepted pending the receipt of her membership from the Kaktovik Church.

Ed and Ruth Nakapiagak asked to be taken off the list of transfers from the Utkeagvik Church because they felt they were members of the Assembly of God Church in Barrow.

The following 42 members were received into the membership of the new church and listed as charter members: 

May Ahtuangaruak

Johnny Ahtuangaruak

Ray Ahnupkana

Marjorie Ahnuphana

Jane Brower

David Brower

David Evikana

Florence Evikana

Bessie Erikook

Paul Erikook Ogroogak

Steve Hopson

Terza Hopson

Raymond Ipalook

Flora Ipalook

Clay Kaigelak, Sr.

Kitty Kaigelak

David Kasak

Susie Kasak

Jimmie Kasak

Helen Kasak

Sarah Kunaknana

Samuel Kunaknana

Annie Lampe

Mamie Matumeak

Hattie Long

David Otuana

Frank Oyagak

Nannie Pausanna

Ruth Sielak

Dorcas Ahkiviana

Nannie Woods

Alice Woods

Archie Ahkiviana

Jimmy Kaigelak

Clay Kaigelak, Jr.

Joash Tukle

Nita Tukle

Patsy Tukle

Helen Tukle

Irene Oyagak

Lora Oyagak

Lucy Ahvakana


The Covenant of a new Presbyterian Church was read as follows: 

"We desire to be constituted and organized as a Church, which is to be known as the Kuukpik Presbyterian Church. We do covenant and agree to walk together as disciples of Jesus Christ in a church relation according to the provisions of the Constitution of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. We promise to maintain this church by our attendance at its services, our support of its work, our gifts, our efforts, and our prayers, and to seek in its fellowship to glorify the name and further the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Nelson Ahvakana read the covenant in Eskimo. The ad hoc nominating committee of Annie Lampe, Alice Woods, Florence Evikana and Nannie Woods nominated the following persons for elders: David Brower, Kitty Kaigelak, Ruth Sielak, Terza Hopson and Dorcas Ahkiviana. Nominated from the floor were Clay Kaigelak Sr., Samuel Kunaknana, Flora Ipalook and Sarah Kunaknana.

Elected were David Brower, Ruth Sielak, Terza Hopson, Clay Kaigelak Sr., Flora Ipalook and Sarah Kunaknana.

 Nominated for deacon by the nominating committee were: Annie Lampe, Florence Evikana, May Ahtuangaruak, Alice Woods, Norman Lampe, Frank Oyagak, Helen Kasak, Joeb Woods. Nominated from the floor were Johnny Ahtuangaruak, Jane Brower and Archie Ahkiviana.

Elected were Annie Lampe, Alice Woods, Frank Oyagak, Helen Kasak, Jane Brower and Archie Ahkiviana.

After a delicious potluck dinner served by the members of the Kuukpik Presbyterian Church, the Nuiqsut school building was packed for the organizational worship service. The congregation was swelled by the arrival, at worship time, of a planeload of persons from Barrow. 

Moderator of Yukon Presbytery Nelson Ahvakana preached the sermon. Dean Hickox, pastor of the parish, ordained and installed the new elders and deacons, and presided at the communion service with Gene Straatmeyer and Gordon Corbett assisting. Rex Okakok led the service. Isaac Akootchook offered prayer and Sarah Kunaknana gave the invocation. 

Two babies were baptized: Elaine Suvalik, infant daughter of Jerry and Lydia Suvalik, and Alexander Lynn, infant son of David and Cheryl Koganaluk.

The Kuukpik Presbyterian Church building was constructed in 1977 through "nationwide" effort. The Mission Committee of the Welshire Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado, sent a check for $2,500 toward construction costs. The First and Calvary Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Missouri, sent a bell. Phillip Masuleak presented a photograph of the gift at the 1976 Presbytery meeting. The Presbytery of Alaska sent a check for $201.84.

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