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Virtual Mission u participants grow in Kin-dom

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communication, Dakotas UMC

More than 35 people gathered around screens and in break-out rooms to explore the Lord’s Prayer and what it means to create kin-dom here on earth.


Presentation and webcast equipment filled the fellowship hall at Jamestown First UMC in preparation for the live webinar called Virtual Mission u. Photos by Dave Stucke, Dakotas Conference Communications.

Rev. Marty Toepke-Floyd, First United Methodist in Jamestown, North Dakota, led the teaching for each of the eight lessons. The lessons were presented in four two-hour sessions. Participant discussion and feedback was coordinated by Rev. Michelle Brennan, retired deacon of the Dakotas Conference.

Each year, United Women in Faith members prepare for faithful living and action by engaging in transformative educational experiences at Mission u events. These events are centered around Mission u curricula that are designed to motivate, inform, and enrich our commitment to global ministry.


Bonnie Ostensen, of United Women in Faith, assisted the presenters with communication in the Zoom webinar.

Dakotas United Women in Faith held three Mission u events. Mission u Southern Site was held July 14-16, 2023, at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota. Mission u Northern Site took place July 20-22, 2023, at the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, North Dakota.

Another group of participants gathered for Virtual Mission u on August 10-12, 2023, using Zoom. A broadcast studio was set up in the basement at First UMC in Jamestown, North Dakota. Pastors Marty and Michelle were the on-camera presenters. Bonnie Ostensen served as the dean for Virtual Mission u and supported participants in the chat room. Dave Stucke and Doreen Gosmire, Dakotas Conference Communications, provided the content feed and switching. Cindy Yeager assisted with the break-out rooms remotely.

Pastors Marty and Michelle

Pastors Marty Toepke-Floyd and Michelle Brennan presented the sessions as a team, sharing participants' online responses in real time.

One participant shared, “I was not sure how the virtual sessions would work. I was impressed with the content, the quality of the visuals and viewing experience. The break-out rooms really helped to make the experience more interactive.”

Participants learned that Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels proclaim the good news of the kin-dom or reign (basileia) of God. In fact, Jesus mentions the kin-dom 90 times in the Synoptic Gospels.  Attendees pondered—what does the Bible tell us about God’s basileia and why do we call it the kin-dom? For Jesus, the kin-dom was not simply something to talk about but something we could live and experience. 

Specific parts of the Lord’s Prayer were the focus for each of the lessons.  Those attending learned how the Lord’s Prayer is at the heart of Jesus’ preaching, teaching and ministry.

“I am leaving these sessions enriched. I will never say the Lord’s Prayer the same way again,” shared one of the participants.


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