young boys sitting on the porch of a cabin

At a convocation of Department of Indian Work faith communities, seminary-trained Native priests shared stories of their faith formation and eventual call to ministry. They found they had similar roots. They all began with powerful experiences at Sunday School, youth groups and Bible Camp.

A question emerged from this sharing: how do we strengthen and expand the number of opportunities available to youth today?

Young people living on Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth Reservations needed access to opportunities to engage in their faith. To build community, learn about God, learn about their culture and experience something new.

The answer? Developing partnerships that built on the assets already available.

Leaders met with Steve Peterson, the Executive Director of Pathways Bible Camps to brainstorm potential youth and family programs operated in partnership between Department of Indian Work churches and Pathways. One project that emerged was to expand camping opportunities for youth on all three northern reservations in 2016.

With an energized and committed network of partners, this collaborative project needed some funds to really get going.

That’s where the Missional Innovative Partnership (MIP) Grant came in. Offered through ECMN, MIP Grants help kickstart innovative ideas by providing base funding for new projects done in partnership between community partners and Episcopal faith communities.

Together, Pathways Outdoor Ministries and a number of Episcopal Churches across the state have created opportunities for 16 young people to attend camp this summer and for even more to attend a Labor Day trip to Minneapolis. This means more young people have had the opportunity to worship, serve, explore and learn more about their faith and their culture.

As Mark Olson, the project’s coordinator said it ‘this grant process opens the conversation. More people get to touch the project, tell the story and feel positive about what God is doing in our midst. Now you get to pass the story on. Your turn.’

MIP Grants are open for submission. So put your big idea into action!  Click here to learn more.