EAGLE RIVER, AK (February 24, 2015) – While Bostonians continue to dig out from record snowfalls that have crippled the city, an unseasonable lack of snow has forced James Barefoot, assistant director of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska, to abandon his attempt to complete a fundraising 1,000-mile trip by snow machine. He was hoping to raise funds for parsonages in the two remote villages of Elim and Scammon Bay.
There is virtually no snow west of the Alaska range for more than 50 miles, so Barefoot and two team members are stopping at McGrath and flying home. “They are all safe, but they have busted gear,” said Kristi Ivanoff, editor of the ECCAK conference newsletter, Sinew.
Peter Hansen of Nome and Barry Munsell of Wasilla joined the journey that began on February 20 in Willow and planned to follow the northern Iditarod trail route all the way to Nome. The trip was to be the first half of a 2,000-mile trans-Alaska adventure in order to transport Barefoot’s Skidoo four-stroke snow machine and sled to Norton Sound in preparation for spring ministry travel, in addition to raising funds for the parsonages. He is calling his trek “2 thousand miles of snow 2 warm parsonages.”
The parsonages are in terrible disrepair and need to be replaced so pastors can live in the communities. For a previous story on the need, click here.
“We still need more than $300,000 for the project,” said Barefoot. “We are hoping some of our sister churches in the Lower 48 and other churches in the state will consider hosting some fundraisers during this time to help with the effort.”
Barefoot hopes to complete the second 1,000-mile round trip in March and April, when he will travel to the conference Annual Meeting in Elim from Nome via snow machine, and then on to Mountain Village, Scammon Bay, Hooper Bay and back to Unalakleet.
Barefoot has been traveling Alaska’s snow machine trails since 1971 when he moved to North Pole, Alaska, with his parents.