First United Methodist Ketchikan Alaska
First United Methodist, Ketchikan
400 Main St.
Type of Prayer Place
The First United Methodist Church in Ketchikan’s most notable feature is an Easter totem pole installed on the corner of the church. It was carved in 2001 out of a 500 year old cedar log from Ketchikan in the tradition of the Tsimishian clan of which the artist, David K. Fison, is a member. The totem pole tells the Easter story substituting animals and customs familiar to the native culture to tell the story of the Last Supper, Christ’s arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. For instance, instead of bread and wine, the disciples partake of smoked salmon and berry juice at the last supper. Instead of Peter denying Christ before the crow of the rooster, he denies Christ before the wolf howls. Next to the totem pole the store is told in verse on a tablet on the church wall. Here is an example:
They sing and drum a sacred song
As into the forest they walk
Stay wake and watch with me
For with the great chief I must talk.
After admiring and meditating upon the Easter Totem pole, I found the church door open and I entered the sanctuary for a moment of prayer and solitude. I also enjoyed meditating on a traditional stained glass window hung in the vestibule of Christ standing at the door and knocking.
How I used this place of prayer
I photographed both the totem pole and the tablet beside it with the Easter Story in verse form so I could enjoy meditating on it further when I returned home from my trip.
Contact Information / Sponsoring Organization
To get to the church I walked through a small one way car tunnel on the road that runs along the waterfront, then turned left and walked one block up to the church. If you’re on the main shopping street by the water, you’ll want to go up one block to Main Street to find the church. It was about an 8 minute walk from the cruise ship dock.
Added by Karen Barber on September 29, 2014