The latest news from the Montana-Northern Wyoming UCC Conference of the UCC
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E-News February 2016

Tom Norquist as Camp Manager, with a faithful gathering of longtime campers enjoying the shade of the Gazebo Tom designed and built in 2013.  Tom is in the front row in the white T-shirt.

God-seeds, reflections from Marc Stewart  

I am going to talk about change. My experiences with life’s changes have taught me that sometimes there are times when everything suddenly seems different. Now, that shouldn’t surprise us, but our minds can take a bit of time to accept and grasp that “what it used to be” is not “what it is now.” 
What used to be a Sunday School, overflowing with eager faith learners, might now be a church service for the remaining 10 or 12 people who just want to be together on Sunday mornings.  

What used to be a Conference and denomination that provided copious resources, programs, and mission opportunities for local churches, might now primarily be a facilitator and connector for churches that do resources, programs, and missions very well on their own.

What used to be Camp Mimanagish, a place that provided a few rustic program opportunities, might now be a setting that has built on that sacred mission to become a significant and treasured retreat location among a variety of groups.

In 2016, Camp Mimanagish is beginning a new era of presence on that sacred piece of national forest land 15 miles up the Boulder River.  Under the masterful work of Tom Norquist, many of the facilities have been remodeled over the past five years. In addition to his position as Camp Manager, Tom was also given first refusal as contractor for the remodeling of camp facilities.  

This week, Tom announced his resignation from the Camp Manager’s position. Among those who received Tom’s announcement of resignation, many have lamented that Camp Mimanagish will not be the same without his presence. It will not be the same, but it will be better for the investment that Tom made in remodeling Camp and in bringing a sacred presence both in his walk and in his work. For these gifts, we are truly thankful.

Committee for Outdoor Ministry chairperson, Robert Shy, offered thanks for Tom with these gracious words. They speak for many of us who have appreciated the gift of Tom’s presence at Camp:

Often in our lives, the path and journey will, for a time, run parallel with other paths. So it has been with you and I.  I am grateful for the time they did, and for all that I learned from you- from walking softly in the world, to the many and important uses of a speed square.

May the creator of Mimanagish and all that is amazing on the earth, grant that our paths run side by side again before our time here is done.

Thank you for all that you have done for camp and for the youth of this Conference. May all your future endeavors be as much blessed, as you have blessed all of us
Mimanagish FAQs:

Who will be the Camp Manager this summer?
The position has been advertised and a task force will hire a Camp Director from the pool of applicants.

What improvement projects will happen this season?
Camp Mimanagish needs funding to rebuild the walk-in kitchen cooler ($5000) before the start of the season.  The compressor and coils no longer work. There may be some more electrical work to finish that may be paid with Adopt-A-Cabin Program funds.  Funding is also needed to replace walls in the assistants/nursing cabin.

What is this “new era” that Camp Mimanagish is entering into?
Adult and intergenerational programing will increase, as will the development of spiritual discipline retreats.  Additionally, advertisement to and recruitment of outside groups and wedding events will contribute to building up camp use.
Seminary Students Available for Summer Ministry

Through a relationship with our United Church of Christ seminary in St. Louis, Eden Theological Seminary, our MT-NWy Conference is able to place seminary students and post-graduate students for short-term ministries.  A 3-month summer ministry internship offers fine experiences and supervision in rural setting ministries. Larger churches may also utilize a summer intern to supplement their program ministries. A 12-month placement offers an opportunity for a recently graduated seminarian or life experienced member-in-discernment to gain parish experience and mentoring. These types of internships provide us with opportunities to participate in the education of future church leaders in a cost-effective way for students and churches.  The MT-NWy Conference also reaches out to other seminaries to recruit interns.

A Call for Office Volunteers 

The ministries happening through the Conference office require general secretarial support that our budget is unable to fund. Elaine Black is hired part-time for some specific duties, such as financial secretary and Church and Ministry Commission registrar and Facilities Manager and Camp Mimanagish Administrator all for 7-12 hours per week.  We also need filing assistance, data base upkeep, and communications assistance.  

Volunteer position hours can be flexible, though it would be good to think of time units of 3-4 hours and volunteering one or more units each week or month.  There is filing work to do at the Billings office, and offsite there is data-base and communications work that can be done from anywhere.

Office volunteers will get assignments from the Conference Minister and the Board of Directors.  

If you are feeling called to this important and necessary ministry of the MT-NWy Conference UCC, please email or phone Marc Stewart about your interests and availability:  406.656.8688

Feb 11 Central Area Clergy gathering
       in Billings office, 10:00 AM
Feb 15 Human Resources Committee, 10:00 AM
       at Plymouth UCC Helena
Feb 17-10 Marc attends Retirement Housing
       Foundation Annual Meeting in Long Beach CA
Feb 21 Marc with Kalispell Community Church
Feb 25 Committee for Outdoor Ministries, 6 PM in Billings office
Feb 27 Faith Communications Task Force, 10 - 4 PM at Plymouth UCC Bozeman
Feb 28 Installation Service for Rev. Roger Lynn, Plymouth UCC Helena 3:00 PM
March 4-6 Youth Leaders Training Seminar, at Plymouth UCC Bozeman
March 11-12 Board of Directors meet in Miles City United Community Church
March 14-18 Marc with Council of Conference Ministers, Cleveland
April 10 Installation of Rev. Chuck Aurand, Red Lodge Community UCC
April 17 Installation of Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister of President of the
       UCC, in Seattle, WA
April 21 Clergy Boundary Training, Sheridan WY
April 22-24 Conference Annual Meeting, Sheridan and Buffalo, WY
May 20-22 Camp Opening Work Weekend
May 27-29 Camp Kickoff Weekend

One Great Hour of Sharing is an offering that directly supports relief ministries through out the world.  Many of our churches participate in the OGHS offering during March. Learn more about the accomplishments of OGHS.

CUE Sunday (Chicago, United, and Eden Seminaries): February 28 worship and promotion materials.

Pacific School of Religion online courses are offered this winter and spring.

Creation Justice Ministries writes about the Flint MI water contamination problem and provides resource for Earth Day Sunday, April 17.

UCC Global Ministries is seeking to connect churches that are interested in refugee resettlement.

Chicago Theological Seminary launched a new initiative on Feb 2 to inspire productive, engaging, respectful dialogue about race and privilege.  Watch the CTS video to see how it might look with a "different set of glasses."

John Dorhauer, our UCC General Minister and President, continues his weekly blog, "Into the Mystic" that is available for download on Mondays.
National Youth Event 2016 Registration 
Marc Stewart will lead a delegation of youth and chaperones. Registration will be done through the Conference. The cost will be approximately $1400 for lodging/meals, transportation, and registration. Registration deadline for participation in MT-NWy Conference UCC delegation is May 1.  NYE 2016 information is available at WEB site.

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