A Message From Afar: Dominican Associate Liz Klas Says Hello from Alaska

Elizabeth “Liz” Klas is pictured at the 2016 Associate Commitment Ceremony in Dominican Chapel at Marywood.

I do miss being part of the Dominican community. Not a day goes that I am not grateful for their input into my life.  I could probably write many, many reflections because the Dominican’s teaching has been vital to my ministry here.  

As you may or may not know, I teach, during the school year, at a small Bible school -Alaska Bible Institute – in Homer, Alaska. The classes I teach are Spiritual Disciplines, Ministry of Worship, Fundamentals of the Faith, Disciple Making, Christian Living and Church History.  During the summer, my husband and I travel up and down the Alaskan peninsula visiting remote native villages, teaching Bible and ministering any way we can. Most of these villages have no church or gospel representation at all. It has been quite a calling, quite an adventure and quite a joy.

We have a smorgasbord of faith traditions here at ABI, from Amish to Anglican and everything between. Practices such as Lectio Divina, Ignatian Prayer, the Examen, Centering Prayer, etc. are completely unfamiliar to these students. In my Spiritual Disciplines class we explore and practice all of them and more. Students have LOVED these practices because through them they connect more deeply to God. What a joy and privilege it has been to journey with them in their discovery of our Beloved. These practices which I now teach, I learned from our precious Dominican Sisters. How grateful I am for them. How amazing it is that though they reside in Grand Rapids, their impact is felt to the uttermost part of the earth – Alaska.  

One of the events I enjoyed with the Dominicans was the “Saint Series”. In my Church History class, I do a mini Saint/saint Series each week. My objective is to allow the Saints/saint to inspire devotion, faith and passion for God among the students. It has been very effect and the students love it.  A surprising benefit of the Saint/saint Series was that it became a sort of unity bridge. Every faith tradition has its heroes; in fact, God seems to be denominationally blind. As we are exposed to that reality, the “us versus them” mentality is bridged and what emerges is a great big “we”. When we share heroes, we begin to realize that we are all in this together, that we belong to one another, we are in unity. Our Lord prayed: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have love me.” John 17:23  What a joy to be an answer to His prayer and desire.