Raven’s Eye View

Of the Yukon Presbytery

1971-1985

 (The Reverend Gordon L. Corbett served as Associate Synod Executive for the Alaska and Yukon presbyteries from 1971 through 1985. The comments below come from interviews conducted with him at his home in Goleta, California, January 6-8, 1998, by Reverend Dianne O’Connell, Yukon Presbytery Historian.)

 The Earl Jackman Years

 Earl Jackman ran the Alaska and Yukon presbyteries from his office in New York City for twenty years. He hired and fired ministers for Alaska mission churches -- all but six were mission churches -- from New York, and he made all the decisions regarding church and manse construction and maintenance.

Twice a year Jackman toured Alaska with notebook in hand. He interviewed every single pastor and made promises covering the next six months. When something needed to be done, you asked Jackman, and if he agreed, it got done.

Jackman is remembered as a competent, prissy, old school conservative. A story is remember when Alice Green (*) interviewed for a position in Jackman’s New York office wearing a red dress. Jackman told her he would send her to Alaska only if she got rid of the dress. The village people would never stand for it, he told her.

Well, in 1966-1967, things changed dramatically. The Board of National Missions decided that it was time for the administrator for the Alaskan churches to live in Alaska. The system underwent one of its frequent re-organizations and the Rev. Mr. William Pritchard was hired as the first on-site Associate Synod Executive for the Alaska and Yukon presbyteries.

The Bill Pritchard Years

The Board of National Missions could not have found a man who stood more in contrast with Earl Jackman. Pritchard was anything but conservative or prissy. Known as a consummate drinker with an earthy outlook on his approach to human and pastoral relations, Pritchard’s style almost immediately split the pastors in the presbyteries into pro-Pritchard and anti-Pritchard forces.

This was the late 1960s, and battles were often fought during these years not on theological issues, but rather life style issues -- and a number of people did not approve of Bill Pritchard’s life style.

Eventually the Synod let Pritchard go. He left the church for a time and worked for the State of Alaska. The Rev. John Tindell of the Northern Lights Church in Juneau enticed him back into the ministry as an associate for a time -- and a renewed and more relaxed Pritchard eventually retired to Vermont, his controversies behind him.

A man by the name of Alex Campbell tried to run the two presbyteries from Seattle for a while after Pritchard left but it wasn’t working. Alaska’s presbyteries definitely needed a person residing in the state to help guide them and train them for more traditional responsibilities under the Presbyterian form of government.

What kind of a man could follow the conservative Jackman and the liberal Pritchard? 

The Arrival of Gordon Corbett 

Born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, north of Boston, Gordon Corbett graduated from Bates College in pre-ministry in the early 1940s. Not being a pacifist, upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps where he was trained as a pilot and served for two weeks in India and considerably longer in China, assigned to the Transport Section. 

“I actually enjoyed my time in the service,” Corbett says today, “but it is often difficult to say it. My kid brother was one of those who didn’t make it -- he was killed during the invasion of Guam. It’s a strange feeling to reflect theologically on why some make it and others don’t.” 

Upon discharge, Corbett had to re-discern his call to ministry, a call he had felt as early as high school. He’d heard of the GI Bill education benefits, of course, so he donned his military uniform for his admissions interview at Yale Seminary. He was accepted. 

Still struggling with theological issues which had developed during his war service, Corbett was encouraged to enroll in Richard Niebuhr’s ethics course. During the course, he listened to and discussed the concept of how God reveals himself in the world and among people -- and to this day Corbett considers himself theologically to be a classical Christian in the Niebuhr tradition.

Following graduation, the young minister and his new wife, the daughter of a Congregationalist minister, were called to serve a Baptist community in Northhaven, Connecticut. Corbett was their first fulltime minister in 75 years. He spent four years in Northhaven before accepting a call in Glen Falls, New York -- this time to a Presbyterian church. Corbett found he liked the Presbyterian’s Book of Order and soon changed affiliations. 

During this period, he became vice moderator and then moderator of his Presbytery. He was re-elected moderator -- helping to facilitate a merger of two Presbyteries. He found he liked administrative work, and, in January of 1959, was offered a position as synod executive in Kentucky. 

Corbett served as executive for twelve years in Kentucky. Here he was able to facilitate yet another merger, this time of the “Yankee” and the southern Presbyterians into Union Presbytery. When he heard that the Alaskan executive position was open, he applied. 

“Corbett,” it should be noted, is Scottish for “Raven” -- and ravens are known to do well in Alaska. Corbett was no different. 

Ken Smith of the Presbytery synod executive search committee called Corbett in Kentucky in January 1971. Corbett attended a meeting of the Alaska Christian Conference in Anchorage, met the committee, was offered the position and accepted. He arrived in Anchorage to begin work in April 1971 and lived with the Ralph Weeks family until he found a house for Win and his own family. In July, he flew out, and drove everyone up the Alcan Highway. 

Where was Corbett along the theological spectrum after Jackman and Pritchard? Remember that he considers himself a “classical Christian” in the tradition of Richard Niebuhr. 

“In other words, I wanted, and continue to want, to go down shouting for the Middle of the Road,” Corbett smiles from retirement.

Healing Wounds

“I met Bill Pritchard shortly after arriving in Alaska,” Corbett says today. “He was fun to be with and had a ribald sense of humor. He told me that he knew that I had had nothing to do with his dismissal. 

Nonetheless when Corbett arrived in Anchorage, it was evident that the wounds inflicted on each other by the pro-Pritchard and anti-Pritchard forces had not yet healed. 

“The Yukon presbytery was a mess. There was an anti-Anchorage group -- which, frankly, helped drive First Presbyterian Anchorage into an even more hostile attitude toward presbytery than normal. Win (Mrs. Corbett) and I decided we would attend First Presbyterian in an effort to help ease the dissention and, perhaps, draw the church back into Presbyterianism,” Corbett says today.

The ministers’ backgrounds and interests were incredibly diverse. Ralph Weeks was into spiritual healing; Dick Madden, political action; Hal Banks, parapsychology; Joe Bettridge, Biblical literalism and speaking in tongues; members of Sig Kristiansen’s congregation in Savoonga were experiencing visions during the long winter months. 

“Nobody seemed to trust anybody,” Corbett observed.

One of the first things the new executive did was to organize and offer a weekend sensitivity training program for about ten ministers in the Yukon Presbytery. This was the early 1970s -- such approaches were just beginning to be in vogue. Neil Kiper from Seattle facilitated the program. Among the ten ministers, nine different seminaries were represented. 

“We experienced an incredible trans-formation after the weekend together. A new level of respect developed among the men. We learned that we each needed spiritual healing; we all hurt; and we all needed support, not attack. I believe we began to learn to trust each other, work together, and exhibit a quality of mercy,” Corbett says. 

Other people noticed the change, too. Sometime later, an elder from First Presbyterian Church attended a meeting of Presbytery and asked Corbett, “What happened to these ministers? They’re acting like Christians towards one another?” 

Perhaps, now Corbett could get down to the business of administering the Presbytery. 

Mission Church Development 

Before 1971, mission churches had no input into whom was to serve as their pastor or virtually anything else regarding local church government. At this time only six Yukon Presbytery churches were more or less self-supporting and, hence, self-governing: Fairbanks First, University Community in College, United Protestant in Palmer, and Anchorage First, Trinity and Immanuel in Anchorage. All others were “mission” churches. 

Alaskan “mission” Presbyterians knew very little about running their own churches. It had always been done for them “by New York.” Committee structures and procedural rules, so basic to the Presbyterian form of government, were foreign to them. 

All that was to change under the Board of Missions’ new re-organization plan. Alaskans were soon to become “Presbyterian” in the traditional sense of the word. 

“It’s not very dramatic to talk about building maintenance and committee structures -- but that’s what we had to do,” Corbett explains. “We began inviting people from the smaller churches to come into Anchorage, or sometimes Fairbanks, for training meetings and we’d pay their way. It was expensive, but necessary.” 

There was additional personal and cultural exchange benefit arising out of these meetings, as well. For instance, Win and Gordon remember lunches at their home with lay leaders from Arctic, Inupiat-speaking churches, and Siberian Yup’ik speaking lay leaders from St. Lawrence Island churches. They would compare words in their respective languages and laugh and laugh, the couple recalls. Some solid friendships were sealed as a result of these meetings. 

And, the committee structures began to take root and produce. A system of block grants had been set up, for instance, to help train committees on ministry to call and remove their own ministers. It was still an expensive process and creative ways had to be developed to implement it. Corbett would fly Outside to interview prospective candidates, as an example, and bring back taped sermons for the ministry committees to review before making a final decision on the call of the pastor. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start. 

Ecumenical Efforts

 The United Presbyterian Church was a member of an organization called the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), a body of Christians looking for ways that mainline Protestant denominations could work together and possibly, someday, merge.

 Several ecumenical efforts were initiated in Alaska before and during the Corbett years. For instance, there was already a United Methodist and United Presbyterian joint congregation established in Juneau in the mid to late 1960s -- the Northern Lights Church. 

After Corbett’s arrival, the Methodists and Presbyterians joined together to form the Jewel Lake Parish in Anchorage on March 19, 1972; and the New Hope Church at North Pole on July 1, 1976. The Methodists and Presbyterians also shared administrative offices on 29th Avenue, now Benson Boulevard.

“When I first got to Alaska, I was expected to go to Valdez periodically to consult with the Presbyterians who worshipped in the town’s only Protestant church. The congregation was made up of Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Presbyterians, and maybe some others. Eventually, the congregation became fully Episcopalian,” Corbett recalls. 

There was a plan to establish another federated church in Kenai, but that project never got underway, he says. 

Out at Nome, we encouraged the Presbyterians from St. Lawrence Island to worship with the Methodists. But the Irrigoo family and others were uncomfortable with the Methodists and eventually formed a separate Presbyterian congregation (on July 15, 1975), that met in the Methodist building. (Today they have their own building, as well.) 

The foundation was also laid during the period for the ecumenical Yup’ik ministry to the Natives on the Chukotka peninsula in the Russian Far East. 

At the close of World War II, Corbett explains, there was a commercial radio station at Nome which began broadcasting the song services from the local church each Sunday evening. The hymn singing was conducted in the Siberian Yup’ik and English languages and the radio broadcast ran through the 1970s. 

In late 1985, after the Cold War ended, a number of Alaskans were allowed to travel to the Chukotka peninsula for the first time in a generation. The visitors were met at the airport by Yup’ik Eskimos singing the hymns they had heard on the radio all those years. It was quite an emotional reunion. 

“The Yup’ik Eskimos had relatives in the Soviet Union. The older people could remember as children when they could travel freely back and forth by umiak before the War. Ora Gologergen remembers,” Corbett says, “Ask her about it.” 

Today the Chukotka Native Christian Ministry includes the efforts of the Moravians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Evangelical Coventers, and the Lutherans.

And an additional historical note: the Presbyterian Church USA, in 1997 General Assembly action, accepted the Consultation on Churches Uniting recommendation to recognize the full validity of baptisms, ordinations, and communion between and among the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Presbyterian Church USA.

The Koreans

“When Win and I were attending First Church in Anchorage, there was a Korean surgeon who also attended. He had been raised in the United States. Then he was joined by a young couple from Korea, Jim and Jane Kim. Jim needed a safe place for his new wife to live while he was out of town, and Tom Teply (pastor of First Church) provided them free rent and accommodations in the recreation room of his home. That was pretty nice of him,” Corbett recalls. 

Eventually more Korean families came. There was Ike and Tooksook Chang. Ike had a doctorate in animal diseases and sold real estate in Anchorage. Tooksook worked as a librarian at Alaska Pacific University. 

Tooksook attended a women’s triennial meeting at Purdue University one year and came back a changed woman, according to Corbett. 

“Things are going to be different,” she assured me. “And sure enough, Tooksook was soon elected the first woman elder in the Anchorage Korean Church.” 

As the Korean community continued to grow, comments were heard about forming a separate Korean congregation. A young man, trained as Presbyterian preacher, soon arrived in town. It didn’t take long for a delegation to show up at Corbett’s office with 75 signatures on a petition to organize a new church. The congregation was officially established October 12, 1976. 

The group continued to meet at First Church for a couple of years.

“The Koreans like to pray, sing and eat,” Corbett remembers. “And there were swarms of kids in the church school program. They needed more space.” 

Trinity Presbyterian was struggling for survival at the time and offered to rent their Sunday school wing to the Korean Presbyterians. The Koreans accepted. 

After a while, the Korean congregation got to be bigger than the Trinity congregation.

The Trinity people loved their building, but they were losing money, members, and children. It was a “terrific balancing act” to help them face realities and have the faith and courage to re-locate in a growing area of Anchorage. It was a big step, but they made the decision to re-locate to south Anchorage. Starting worship services in a school, attendance began to pick up. 

Then there were several years of negotiating with Ike Chang, Corbett laughs.

“We had to negotiate the sale of the former church building with the Koreans -- and with the new church development office out of New York. Trinity qualified for re-location monies, which helped, and the Koreans asked Trinity to carry the mortgage for ten years. It all worked out well for everyone involved.”

There were some interesting battles with the Korean congregation, Corbett remembers. One involved an associate pastor who renounced the presbytery, moved to Seattle, and started a new denomination. He came back to Anchorage and started a rival Korean Presbyterian church.

“We were asked to run this young man out of town, which isn’t exactly how we do it,” Corbett remembers. “Fortunately, he was held accountable by his own church back in Korea and he did leave.” 

Working with the Korean communities both in Anchorage and in Fairbanks was a learning experience for Corbett and others in the Presbytery. They learned, for instance, that there were, at that time, 55 different Presbyterian denominations in Korea, including five major ones.

“The people had lived under oppression for a very long time, and they are solid in their faith,” Corbett suggests. “In fact, they are so solid in their faith that they can’t compromise -- even with other Presbyterians. The only solution is revolution -- or the establishment of a new Presbyterian denomination.” 

“They brought this attitude to Anchorage. During one meeting of the deacons, for instance, a man pulled out a pistol and shot out the light in the ceiling,” Corbett can laugh now. 

“After reaching my 13th year as synod executive, I had been stretched, pounded and pummeled -- but I really loved the Koreans,” Corbett says. 

The Koreans seemed to love and respect Corbett, as well. When Gordon retired, Ike Chang presented the Corbetts with airline tickets to visit Korea, on behalf of the Korean church. Corbett was able to visit the offices of three of the major Presbyterian denominations in Korea during the visit. He also re-visited China on the same trip. 

Angela Davis 

Corbett, you remember, first arrived in Alaska in January of 1971 -- the year that the United Presbyterian Church contributed $100,000 of national mission monies to the Angela Davis Defense Fund. The action shook the denomination to its roots. 

(Editor’s Note: Angela Davis was a Black activist. She came to national prominence when she was removed from her teaching position in the philosophy department at UCLA because she was a member of the Communist Party. In 1970, she was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground and culminated in one of the most controversial trials of the decade. She was acquitted in 1972.) 

Following the news of the Defense Fund contribution, the new synod executive was summoned to speak before an open meeting at the First Presbyterian Church, Anchorage. The topic: Angela Davis. 

“Now, I had gone through the Civil Rights fight in Kentucky in the 1960s,” Corbett says, “and I passionately believed in it. But $100,000 to defend an avowed Communist was too much for me, too.” 

“There were five or six people in the social concerns department of National Missions who had decided it would place the Presbyterian Church on the front line in the battles for justice for Blacks, justice for women, and other left wing causes. These were the people who made the decision to support Angela Davis -- not the General Assembly. We never learned exactly whom the staff and board of the National Missions were who had the authority to make the appropriation -- which was just as well, I guess.

“During the meeting with the angry people at First Presbyterian Anchorage, I asked them if they ever had a youngster who did something with which they completely disagreed -- but the kid was still your child and you loved him. Well, that was how I felt about the action of the social concerns department,” Corbett says today.

The new executive’s comments didn’t seem to do much good -- the following Sunday, the First Presbyterian Church of Anchorage, Alaska, was the first church in the country to cancel its mission giving to the national church. 

Robert Atwood, publisher of the Anchorage Daily Times, hated the Presbyterian Church. He had been a member and an elder of the church, but after God took his home in the Earthquake of 1964, he never set foot in the place again. 

He ran the Angela Davis story on the front page and began a crusade against the leadership of the church. 

Sometime later, Tom Teply of First Church Anchorage, invited a South American speaker to address the congregation. During his remarks, the speaker indicated that Communists or Communist leaning people dominated the Presbyterian Church staff. Atwood had a banner headline in the next day’s paper: Presbyterian Leadership Dominated by Communists.

Corbett loudly complained to Teply in his office, stating flatly, “Well, I for one, am not a communist!” 

The next Sunday, Reverend Teply calmly stated from the pulpit, “I want to assure this congregation that Gordon Corbett is NOT a Communist!” 

*** 

As a postscript, sometime later a half dozen Black Presbyterian pastors raised $100,000 and donated it to the national church to repay the sum given to the Angela Davis Defense Fund.

Norma Hoyt was a member of the session at First Presbyterian Church, Anchorage. About a year after the controversy, she had agitated enough to get the church back into mission giving -- at least on a designated basis. 

Alaska Native Issues

 Well, after the Angela Davis controversy, the $95,000 the Presbyterian Church’s Self-Development of Peoples Committee gave to the Alaska Native Land Claims effort and the $150,000 loan they made later to help get the fledgling North Slope Borough on its financial feet, hardly made a ripple. 

“We just didn’t experience the same level of dissent,” Corbett recalls today. “Maybe people were just tired. I was afraid that Bob Atwood would get a hold of the story and we’d really be in trouble. But not much happened. By and large, people supported it.”

The most significant part of the story came several years later, in 1974, when the Arctic Slope Native Association -- including two-thirds of the session of the Barrow Presbyterian church -- received their long expected monies, and decided to repay both the grant and the loan in one $245,000 check. 

“It was a dramatic gesture at General Assembly. Elder John Upicksoun delivered the check in person. A great moment,” Corbett recalls. 

“There was another large sum of money -- another $100,000, I think -- that the Presbyterians gave the Arctic Slope sometime later -- this time for an Inuit Circumpolar Conference, involving representatives from all the arctic nations. Chuck White, a former pastor in Barrow, turned social activist, had gotten on the Self-Development of People Committee and wired the process.

“I was infuriated with White because he went straight to the national church,” Corbett remembers, “circumventing both the Presbytery and the Synod. I also was somewhat concerned about the accounting of the funds.”

 The Yukon Presbytery did a lot of work with the Native communities during this time -- with a focus on developing indigenous pastoral leadership. 

Three Inupiat men from Barrow expressed interest in the ordained ministry. After graduating from Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa, James Nageak became the first fully trained Inupiat to be ordained. He pastored the congregation at Anaktuvuk Pass for several years and then went to work for the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Rex Okakok attended San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo for a while, but eventually went to work for the North Slope Borough. And Nelson Ahvakana -- now he was a little older and there was some controversy as to whether he should be required to attend seminary. He served the new church established at Nuiqsut on April 19, 1975.

It is sometimes difficult for a “local boy” to be accepted in a leadership role by the home community. Jesus, himself, experienced a little of that. 

“The Natives sometimes have a bad tradition of eating their leaders. A captain of a whaling crew, for instance, is captain on the water -- but once ashore, every man goes his own way,” Corbett observes. 

“Samuel Simmonds was different. Samuel Simmonds was a Saint,” he added.

Retirement

Corbett was a pilot in World War II and was part of a special group of ten sent to China. It was a good place for him, he says today, because the only person saluted was “The Old Man” -- the general.

“Good morning, Major,” “Good morning, Colonel,” -- but no salute.

“I enjoyed the free-wheeling camaraderie of the Yukon Presbytery. We weren’t strong on formalities either,” Corbett says.

Corbett was executive for both the Alaska (Southeast) Presbytery and the Yukon presbytery. When he first arrived in 1971, the structures were somewhat undeveloped, as observed earlier. But after twelve years, the churches and presbyteries had developed accordingly and there was too much work for one man to do. 

“I tried to get the Synod to split the two presbyteries on a two-thirds basis. But they politely said, ‘Gordon, go ahead and quit, we’re not going to accommodate you.’ So I did. I retired in August of 1984.” 

Later, of course, the job was split in half and Bob Palmer became executive for the Alaska Presbytery and Neil Munro remained executive for the Yukon Presbytery. 

Gordon and Win Corbett stayed in Anchorage for a little over a year. In October of 1985, Corbett accepted an interim synod executive position (Lincoln Trails Presbytery) in Indianapolis, Indiana. He and Win drove down the Alaska Highway and across the country.

 The couple stayed in Indiana one year when they saw another interim Presbytery executive position open in Whitewater Valley (Oregon). Corbett didn’t get that particular job -- but he had his resume’ updated and was ready to fly when an interim position opened up in the Santa Barbara (California) Presbytery.

They stayed in Santa Barbara the requisite year. Following completion of the assignment, the couple found themselves driving back across country to Indianapolis -- where their condominium had been on the market for the entire year. They’d given some thought to staying in the west -- when they would be close to, at least, two of their four children -- but not a single offer had been made on the condo during their twelve month absence. 

While on the road, Corbett used their cellular phone to check the voice mail back in Indianapolis. The real estate agent had called with an offer that had some promise. 

Somewhere along the road, they stopped and faxed a response to the agent. And in Portland, Oregon, they pulled into Kinko’s to send a counter, counter offer.

In the middle of Nebraska, they had to decide -- do we want to sell this place or not.

They pulled over, found a phone, called in their acceptance, and headed for home. 

On arriving in Indianapolis, their condo sold, they found a temporary apartment. They moved in during late September 1993, sitting free with no entanglements. In March 1994, they flew back to Santa Barbara for a visit and found real estate prices down, and a great condominium for sale in Goleta. They bought it.

The couple flew back to Indianapolis and drove to California -- by way of Boston. Took six weeks, 8,400 miles, but they made it home and they are happy.

“Exactly 56 years ago on a Sunday afternoon in my college dormitory, we heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been bombed,” Corbett writes in his 1997 Christmas letter.

“It was a memorable day in my adult life. It began a process of change for me, and for all Americans, and for all the people of the world, which has continued at an accelerating rate that was unimaginable at that time.

“Three years later, in 1944-45, I was a pilot flying with the 14th Air Force in China. A year later, 1945-1946, I was at Yale Divinity School seeking to discern if I really was called to be a minister. The answer was ‘Yes.’ That was also the year I met Win and proposed to her. Her answer was ‘Yes.’ Since then we have lived with continual changes which I will not try to list. I just know that constant change has been a reality in our lives. 

“But human nature does not change. We still go to war, and we pray for peace, whether it is in Europe or Asia, Korea or Vietnam, the Persian Gulf or the Middle East, Bosnia or Ireland. We see violence and hatred all around us, and yearn for loving relationships. We meet sickness, tragedy and despair, and hope for healing and renewal. We are born, grow up, grow old, learning, learning, learning, all the way. At the end, what can we say with certainty?

“God does not change. Our Creator and Sustainer patiently works with us, calling us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him; to love our neighbors as ourselves, even as he has loved us.”

A message for the New Year -- or a message for the second hundred years of Presbyterian work in Alaska -- Gordon Corbett predicts: Change. What else? 

“However, the continuing love of friends and family, and the assurance of the love of God in sustaining and guiding us will not change,” he tells us. “May we all have the continuing assurance of God’s love, and His peace and joy.” 

-30-

 The Anchorage Times, Sunday, October 15, 1978

Protect Everyone’s Rights,

Presbyterians Urge Voters

Alaska Presbyterian leaders Saturday encouraged Anchorage voters to protect the civil rights of homosexuals and all other persons. 

In a resolution passed at the fall meeting of the Presbytery of the Yukon, Presbyterian leaders voted to “urge the citizens of Anchorage, and all persons to work for the protection of the civil rights of every citizen of whatever race, religion, gender or affectional preference.”

In a prepared statement, Presbyterian leaders said, “The raising of the issue of civil rights of homosexual persons in the (Anchorage) mayoral campaign is of concern to this body of Christians.”

The Rev. Gordon Corbett, associate synod executive, Saturday night said the resolution passed by about a three-to-one margin.

The vote on the issue, he said, is in line with the vote of the church’s general assembly earlier this year in San Diego. 

The homosexual rights issue was raised earlier this week in Anchorage’s mayoral runoff race by a group largely made up of fundamentalist religious leaders. That group, Concerned Citizens Against Dave Rose, plans to spend $5,000 advertising in opposition to mayoral candidate Rose. 

Corbett said the presbytery is taking no position on the mayoral race. But he said the disclosure Thursday by the Anchorage Times of the fundamentalist group’s plan spurred the Presbytery of the Yukon resolution. 

“It was the result of the story that was in the Times earlier this week about the Baptist group,” Corbett said. 

Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo is the leader of the anti-Rose campaign group. 

“Some members of the Presbytery said they didn’t feel Baptists should be given the right to speak for all religions,” Corbett said. “We believe in civil rights for all people. 

“In no way is this saying that we approve of ... homosexuality,” Corbett said, “but we do believe in civil rights for all groups.” 

The Presbytery of the Yukon is composed of 18 churches in Southcentral, Central and Arctic Alaska, Corbett said. 

Rose earlier responded to the formation of the fundamentalist group by saying he is opposed to discrimination in all forms. He has refused comment on the issue since that time.

(Note: The above article was found in Corbett’s papers with a note from State Legislator Lisa Rudd: “Dear Gordon -- Hurrah for the Presbyterians and hurrah for you!”)

 
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