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Mission u: Coming together in community

By: Connie Smith and Bonnie Ostensen, deans for UWiF Mission u 2022

Southern and Northern sites dive deep

It was a deep dive into the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke over the past two weekends for participants of the Dakotas Conference Mission u 2022. A total of 75 women and men gathered at Dakota Wesleyan University on July 15-17, and Jamestown University on July 21-23, for this annual event of United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women).

Based around this year’s study— Who Can We Be Together? A Biblical Exploration of Luke 13 — Mission u study teachers Lou Whitmer (Southern and Northern sites), Chris Heacock (Southern Site), and Dayne Zachrison and Michelle Brennan (Northern Site) led participants into discussions and interactive activities to see what Luke’s parables of the barren fig tree, mustard seed and yeast, or stories like Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath have to say about who Jesus calls us to be today as a community of Jesus followers.

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Dawn Armstrong, LaRee Mayes, Marsha Timm, Carol Bonham, Cheryl McKnight and Bryce Armstrong act out the story of Jesus healing on the Sabbath from Luke 13:10-17 as part of the 2022 Mission u class. Photo submitted by Connie Smith.

“The curriculum this year was new and different from what we are used to,” said Mission u Southern Site Dean Emma McKirdy-Wilsey, “but the material continued to be challenging and relevant to the world in which we live. Our teachers were wonderful leaders in discussion, challenging us to think about Jesus in a new light.”

Especially after being virtual for two years, Emma said being together and experiencing community and learning was particularly meaningful.

“I think the attraction of this event is the opportunity to detach from normal life and come together with a group that is welcoming and accepting,” she adds. “The weekend is a time to reconnect with friends and disconnect from hectic home lives. Our studies provide a safe place to explore and examine our faith and our involvement in our church and community.” 

Some of the participants commented on the event, saying, “(the study) refreshed and stirred me to share and think outside the box,” and “my mind was opened by great Bible study - the best Bible study I attended all year."

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Refreshing floats cooled off the participants at the Northern site during United Women in Faith Night in Jamestown. Photo submitted by Bonnie Ostensen.

Folks at the Northern site heard about upcoming district and conference events, Assembly 2022, Solar Oven Partners, United Women in Faith through short video clips at the Northern site's “United Women in Faith Night," and even heard a poem for Mission u written and shared by Rachel Bahrenburg.

Three worship plenaries were held (one each day) with the addition of a communion service on the final day. Offerings were received, to be divided equally between Pledge to Mission and Solar Oven Partners. The sharing of Love Ribbons will go towards Love Ribbon Grants.

A participant at the Northern site said, “It is always great to meet with friends and also to meet new ones, and to be inspired to go out in my community to do what I can do.”  To top the event off, another participant said, “I think I smile more now than when I came (to Mission u) on Thursday.”

You can still attend Virtual Mission u, Aug 11-13!

There is still time to register for the virtual Mission u 2022, which will feature Dayne Zachrison on August 11-13 leading the class using Who Can We Be Together? A Biblical Exploration of Luke 13. Registrations are due August 4, 2022. 

Please register using information in this brochure, or contact the registrar to for mailing information, to register and get the Zoom link.

The study book, Adult Curriculum Who Can We Be Together? A Biblical Exploration of Luke 13 is available online and costs $10 plus shipping.

Review some fun photos from the Northern and Southern sites of Mission u 2022 here (hover and click arrows to advance photos).

Mission u 2022


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