New Ministry, New Look

by Rev. Sheri Nelson, Program Director, Outdoor Ministry of the Minnesota Conference UCC

When the Covid-19 pandemic canceled so many activities scheduled in 2020, the Outdoor Ministry of the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ got busy reinventing, creating, and working with ecumenical partners.

With a new look and renewed energy around Outdoor Ministry, we will continue to utilize online spaces for such things as the Contemplative Gatherings series with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Hans Peterson, and Sara Thomsen, as well as deeper conversations about Creation Justice with a series starting in January featuring Rev. Brooks Berndt, Minister for Environmental Justice in the United Church of Christ, and Buff Grace from the Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.

We don’t know what Covid-19 has in store for us in 2021, but we are planning some new in-person activities, keeping our fingers crossed that we won’t have to cancel.

Youth programming will take on an old and new look, starting with our Spring Conference Youth Event (CYE) April 30-May 2 at Camp Onomia. Our fall CYE is set for October 8-10 at Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center. Summer camp will look a bit different with a middle school retreat July 12-14 and a high school retreat July 17-19, both at Shalom Hill Farm.

For families, we are working with Camp Amnicon to create three 1-day canoe adventures, one of which will take place in the Twin Cities. A bit of time on the water, a little hike in the woods, a meal, and contemplation will round out the day. Dates for these events will be shared in coming months.

We are also planning two Women’s Retreats in 2021. We are working on a location for our regular retreat in September, and we will offer a Wilderness Retreat with Camp Amnicon on the banks of Lake Superior September 24-26. Canoeing, hiking, relaxing around a campfire, and sleeping in tents (cots included) will bring us into natural contemplation.

The Men’s Retreat will be September 24-26 at Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center. Relax and engage with nature in this idyllic location surrounded by woods and water.

In the wilds of the unknowns, we continue to plan and prepare. We will work with creation, not against it.

Blessings from the Outdoor Ministry of the Minnesota Conference UCC: Where the Creator and creation pray, play, and wonder together