Retreating as a Church (and Family) to Huckleberry Family Camp

September 14, 2015

In the other quarter time of my work life, I am appointed as young person's minister at Parkrose United Methodist Church.

Parkrose UMC hadn’t been to camp for 5 years, which is when the church had been to Wallowa Lake for a weekend retreat. Pastor Bill and I were determined to get our congregation to camp this year in one form or another, and we decided that a programmed family camp was the best option. I had learned that Huckleberry Family Camp was a ministry begun by the Wilshire Native American Fellowship, a church in our same quadrant of the city, designed not just to be a ministry for Native Americans, but to also be an open door to relationship with Native Americans. In addition to finding time outdoors, Parkrose UMC is also seeking to be in deeper relationship with our neighbors, with people of color, and seeking justice with the marginalized, so Huckleberry Family Camp was an obvious choice.

Overall, the experience was extremely valuable. Connections were made between neighbors who were formerly strangers, existing relationships were strengthened, huckleberries were picked and consumed, and God was praised! To learn more about how you can get your church to attend camp together, please contact any site director or contact me at or 503-802-9212.Parkrose UMC leaders devoted two Sundays to outdoor ministries, including one combined with Native American Sunday, where a member gave testimony about the power of the outdoor connection to her as an indigenous person. I communicated with Steve Rumage, the director of Camp Magruder, and Gloria Marple regarding the logistics of sending a larger group to this camp, which would more than double the camp's size in recent years. The Parkrose board, having named Camp and Retreat Ministries as one of its five priorities for 2015, offered $50 scholarships to everyone planning on attending the weekend and offering full scholarships to anyone for whom cost was still an insurmountable barrier. Thirty people from Parkrose ended up coming to Magruder, with 10 more showing up for the closing worship.

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A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon