Mission Moment for May 2022             

Breaking Chains”             Acts 16:16-34

When Paul and Silas broke the walls that bound them, they created a new life not just for themselves but for the other prisoners and the jailers, as well. Suddenly, everyone in the story began thinking of themselves and their place in the world in a transformed way. Like the transformed people in the story of Paul and Silas, as old walls and ways of being crumble, many churches and conferences are opening themselves up to a new way of being and doing in the world.

In recent years, many UCC Conferences have gone through the wrenching process of letting go of their beloved church camps, for a variety of reasons. Tears have been shed over these decisions, because of the poignant memories and formative faith experiences that have taken place at these camps. Many clergy are camp alumni; they felt their call to ministry in the beauty of nature among extraordinary people.

After the tears, one such camp alum felt propelled by the Holy Spirit to start a non-profit to purchase and operate Camp Mimanagish in central Montana. Rev. Cathy Barker, with her husband, Rev. Dick Weaver, started talking with others who love that particular sacred space. The group sent out a “What If” survey to gauge the interest in seeing Mimanagish into a new future.

Within months, the working group had founded and incorporated Singing Waters Montana, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The group consulted extensively with the U.S. Forest Service, who manage s the land, sharing their vision of becoming “A Camp for those who have no Camp.” Mimanagish alumni lent their expertise in fundraising and Singing Waters Montana raised over half a million dollars for the purchase and maintenance of the facility.

At the Dedication Celebration on July 31, 2021, over 50 people, including UCC Conference leaders, honored the past and shared hopes for the future. In addition to faith communities, this lovely wilderness retreat on the Boulder River will host recovery groups, veterans, LGBTQ+ support groups, youth de-stress weeks, Foster and Adoptive Family Camps, and more. Fishing, Art, and Music will round out the schedule. The welcome will be wide.

When the Holy Spirit is leading, anything can happen!