Beatrice the Bumblebee Wants You to Know About Outdoor Ministry
“What exactly is Outdoor Ministry of the MN Conference UCC?” I’ve heard this question often over the last few years. Since we don’t have a camp and Covid has kept us from doing anything in person, it’s a question that has an evolving answer.
First, the goal of this ministry is to create experiences where we can all connect to the Sacred and connect with each other. Though many of us live in rural areas or walk in parks and have home gardens, how often do we pause to sense the sacredness of our environment? I bet not as often as we think we do. Outdoor Ministry offers a chance to meet the Sacred in various places (some might even be indoors) through rituals, contemplation, and conversation. And we do this utilizing as much of our state as possible.
Second, Outdoor Ministry wants to connect congregations in their works for a healthy planet. I plan to continue to offer Zoom Gatherings in the winter months that relate to environmental issues and actions. And, I have connected with Creation Care teams in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio to have other opportunities to share in our common concerns, such as Microplastics in our lakes and watersheds and understanding the long-term costs of fossil fuel pipelines. Be looking for the next series starting in January, 2023.
This is also a partnership for congregations to share issues in their areas, resources, and actions, weaving together actions of joint stewardship for our planet. It takes a village (or in this case, a Conference of dedicated churches) to build a Creation Care/ Eco-Justice platform with great purpose and action.
Third, Outdoor Ministry is still about youth, young adults, and families. The MN Conference is dedicated to giving our youth and young adults spiritual grounding and a community of belonging. We continue to offer Conference youth events, family camps, and young adult retreats. Weaved into this will always be times for rest, immersion into “wild” spaces, and leadership building.
Along with these events, Outdoor Ministry will continue to offer the Women’s Retreat and Women’s Wilderness Retreat, while experimenting with other events, such an Eco-Spirituality retreat, Earthwise Justice retreat, a music retreat, and 1-day family events. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the list of events and open registrations by January 2023.