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Mission u 2023: Stretched in mind and spirit

By: Connie Smith, 2023 Dakotas Mission u Dean for the southern site

Building The Lords Prayer

Participants in Pastor Debra Ball-Kilbourne’s class work together to put together The Lord’s Prayer word by word. Photos courtesy of Connie Smith.

Participants of Mission u 2023 at the southern site got an opportunity to try out their design and collaborative skills when they met on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, July 14-16. They were given a challenge to design a community that reflects the concept of God’s “kin-dom”—a place where justice, equity, and love for all is practiced.

The “Thy Kin-dom Come” design activity was just one of the events that helped reinforce the theme of this year’s Mission u: “Living the Kin-dom: Exploring the Lord’s Prayer as a Spiritual Practice for Social Transformation.”

The three-day event included intensive and interactive study of the Lord’s Prayer, creative worship services, a hands-on mission project, and a “trivial pursuit” style game that tested everyone’s knowledge about mission projects across the globe that are supported by United Women in Faith. It also is a time for getting together with long-time friends and building new relationships.

Forty-three men and women attended the annual cooperative event of the United Women in Faith and Dakotas Conference UMC.

A wonderful weekend

Cutting Bread In Martys Class

Dawn Armstrong (left) and Diane Culver slice bread made in Pastor Marty Toepke-Floyd’s class.

“It was wonderful to see everyone really engage, not only in class study but in all of the activities provided this year,” says Connie Smith, dean of Mission 2023—Southern Site. “These individuals come to be stretched in mind and spirit, and it’s so much fun to be a part of that journey.”

Study leaders this year were Pastor Marty Toepke-Floyd who serves Jamestown First UMC in Jamestown, North Dakota, and retired pastor Debra Ball-Kilbourne of Fargo, North Dokata. Conni McCormick of Mitchell is assistant dean of the Southern Site Mission u.

Participants helped remove tags and sort more than 200 backpacks for the Mitchell First Downtown UMC’s backpack program. The Saturday evening Healing and Baptismal Renewal Service included reciting and singing The Lord’s Prayer while using interpretive arm and hand movements.

One of the participants summed up Mission u 2023: “What a wonderful weekend. Just the right blend of class time, worship, visiting and meals. Loved it!!” Another wrote, “Great study, great teachers and great fellowship. All so refreshing.”

View more photos of the 2023 Mission u—Southern Site

Soon you will hear more about Mission u 2023—Northern Site took place July 20-22 at the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, North Dakota.  A virtual option will be August 10-12. Click here for more information


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