Cordova Community Christian Center
Cordova, Alaska 99574
Work Phone: 907.424.3465
email: [email protected]
Located in a remote, commercial fishing town in Alaska, the Cordova Christian Center serves the town’s population of 2,500 people, which swells to 5,000-6,000 during the summer. The geographic isolation and transient nature of the community contribute to a lack of social connections, loneliness, depression and alcoholism among adults
“My goal is to provide ministries and programs that meet the needs of people—adults and children, families and singles,” says Susan Harding, the center’s director. ”It is my hope that these people will see the love of Jesus demonstrated in the people who serve in these ministries and that ultimately they will be drawn to respond to that love and choose to follow Jesus.”
The center’s ministry has evolved uniquely over the years to meet community needs. Ministries have changed along with changes evident in the community. Preschool—which used to be age- and day-specific—is now varied. All ages come on days of their choice. “The newest development is the HomePort Coffee Shop, which opened in 2012 and serves Cordova on Saturday nights. Local entertainment, games and fellowship are featured by those who have created this ministry,” says Harding, who has been at the center since 1975.
In addition, the ministry offers a variety of social and evangelistic activities for children and teens. Good News Kids for children from kindergarten to second grade offers Bible stories, games and crafts, while Kids of the Kingdom offers those in third to sixth grades a hamburger supper, Bible videos, music and games. Teens attend a weekly Bible Study held at the high school. Vacation Bible school is always a looked-forward-to five-day event each summer. Other activities revolve around holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, as well as other special days in the year.
“The most rewarding part of my work here has always been reaching people for Christ,” says Harding. “I am excited about Jesus Christ and about living for Him.” Her favorite verse comes to mind whenever she sees the many eagles that live in the beautiful mountains God created in Alaska: “but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their
strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Her previous roles have prepared her to work with children. “I am most excited about telling children about Jesus, his love and his great gift on the cross for us,” she says. “I love seeing them respond to God’s word.”
Harding was married to Richard Harding until he passed away in 2008. He was pastor of Cordova Community Baptist Church until he retired and became assistant pastor to John, their son. John served the church for 10 years before moving to Kansas, where he is varsity volleyball coach at Sterling College. Harding is also the parent of an adult daughter, Nancy, and has seven grandchildren.
In her spare time, Harding enjoys reading, taking photographs and baking for people in the community.
- M.A., Secondary Teaching, Social Sciences, Loma Linda (Calif.) University
- B.A., Social Sciences, University of California, Riverside
- Certified MegaSkills trainer (teaching students to be successful in school and at home)
- Campus coordinator and adjunct instructor, Prince William Sound Community College, Cordova
- Teacher for at-risk students, Cordova High School, 1999-2004
- Remedial reading teacher, high school, junior high school and elementary, Cordova School District, 1979-1999
- Teacher, elementary and high school, Riverside, Calif.
- High school teacher of pregnant teens, Riverside
- Working with youth in all types of church ministries, Riverside
- Joined Cordova Community Christian Center : 1975
- Home missionary commissioning: 1976
- Birthday: Oct. 16
HOME MISSION HIGHLIGHTS:
- Because of limited resources and its remote location, Cordova Community Christian Center relies on supplies donated by American Baptist Women. White Cross donations have included basic materials used in children’s activities, craft supplies and bazaar items.
- Individuals and groups through Volunteers in Mission regularly work on mission projects that support the center’s ministry.
- For a list of items to donate for projects, to borrow a DVD about the ministry to use in your meetings or to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of the ministry, please contact Susan Harding at [email protected], 907-424-7294 or 907- 429-5294 (mobile).