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About Ascent Alaska

Ascent Alaska is a progressive Christian faith community that meets through outdoor activities, explores spirituality, and actively works for a better world.



People of all ages and abilities are invited to hike, bike, climb, ski, skate, camp, boat, fish and more to enjoy the incredible recreation opportunities in Southcentral Alaska and beyond.

You are invited to explore your spirituality and what it means to be a person of faith - through common resources, discussion and study groups that happen in person and online. You are encouraged to inquisitively push and challenge the boundaries of Christian traditions to seek authentic connectedness to God and to (re)define faithful living.

The people of Ascent Alaska are an active force for good in the world and in our communities. We seek collaborative relationships to improve the common lives of all of God's people as we balance the relationship between God, neighbor, the created world and self. To that end, we invite people of all faith communities and those without a faith community to partner with us to work for a more just and peaceful world.

As people with a great appreciation for God's creation, we work for a better understanding and solutions in the tension between faithful care of God's created world, environmental justice and the need of God's people to live whole and fulfilling lives.
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We Believe...

As a Christian faith community, we seek God through Jesus Christ as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Our beliefs are broad boundaries to encounter God and live faithfully in the world.

You are encourage to seek God, explore these beliefs, probe, ask questions, journey together, ask more questions and then ask more questions.

  • We believe in God in three persons: God the Creator, Jesus Christ the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit the Sustainer.
  • We believe in God's amazing grace that works in our lives before we even know God, grace that draws us to God and grace that embraces and empowers us to live faithfully in God's household.
  • We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, given to us through tradition to explore, wrestle with, and inform our faith as we interpret God's word for our world and faithful living.
  • We believe in the sacraments of one baptism and communion. Our non-traditional setting means that we seek creative expressions of these sacraments.
  • We believe in the importance of worshipping as a community and invite creative expressions so that Ascenders find regular opportunities to worship and offer praise and thanksgiving to God.
  • We believe that community is a critically important part of our faith journey, and we encourage Ascenders to be involved in groups for spiritual growth, adventures, worship and service.
  • We believe in the sacredness of all persons and invite all people to join us. We welcome people of all ages, ethnicities, faith backgrounds, church affiliations (including none), sexual orientation and transgender identity. Recognizing that LGBT persons have been marginalized in both church and public arenas, we advocate that all persons should live free from discrimination in the public arena and affirmed to all expressions of ministry, clergy or lay.

Our Leaders

Ascent AK Staff

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Nora Ortiz Fredrick is the Community Curator of Ascent Alaska. Nora is a seminary-educated layperson (not clergy) with experience helping churches develop strong ministry plans. She is on staff of the Alaska United Methodist Conference assigned to launch Ascent Alaska into a vibrant community of faithful people.

Nora and a group of leaders began dreaming about a faith community that honored the short glorious summers in Alaska and the people who spend their summers outdoors. Many people of strong faith spend time in nature because that is where the experience the holiness of God's presence. Ascent AK helps people be part of a strong faith community that lives as followers of Jesus through service, social & environmental justice, worship and outdoor recreation.

Ascent Alaska is formed through principles of missional communities. Nora has been blessed by training through the Academy of Missional Wisdom - a two year certificate program of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. In addition, Nora is receiving community development support through United Methodist resources and training.

Ascent AK Leadership Team

As a new faith community initiative, we are working to understand the most effective leadership structure for Ascent Alaska. If you are interested in joining in this conversation, please contact Nora.

In June 2013, the Alaska United Methodists affirmed Ascent AK as a new faith community initiative. Thanks to their generosity and the resources of many experts in community development, we look forward to working within the United Methodist system to step forward in vital ministry.

Ascent Guides

Ascent Guides are an important part of the community. They are committed volunteers who organize outdoor recreation events and invite you to come along. Your Guides help create an active and inclusive community that makes safety a high priority.

Are you interested in becoming an Ascent Guide? The 90-minute training focuses on:
  • Safety - our highest priority
  • Coordinating planned and impromptu Ascent Events
  • Ascent Event communications
  • Emergency procedures

We also ask that all Ascent Guides have recent first aid and CPR training.