By: Victoria Rebeck
Star Lake Wilderness Camp (Pequot Lakes), vigorously advocated for by a number of its users, has a chance at an existence independent of the Minnesota Annual Conference.
Session members approved the Retreats and Camping Ministry Team’s request to divest of Camp Kingswood (Mound) in order to alleviate the conference camping ministry’s debt and invest funds into an improved camping program that would more effectively reach children and youth.
They also approved an amendment that removed Star Lake from divestment. Instead, they authorized the conference Board of Trustees, in consultation with RCMT, to “negotiate, if possible, an arrangement for Star Lake Wilderness Camp to operate a new entity that is separate from RCMT with no annual conference support.”
Session members asked for hard details on the arrangement, but the Trustees and the amendment author, Walter Lockhart (Walker Community United Methodist Church, Minneapolis), explained that this is simply authorization for negotiation, without obligation from either Star Lake or the conference trustees to accept an arrangement.
The legislation does not identify who negotiates on behalf of Star Lake or what constitutes Star Lake as an independent entity, as the property is owned by the conference, which also oversees and staffs programming there.
RCMT had asked the conference to agree to divest of both properties to fund an improved Christian residential camping program for youth and children at Northern Pines (Park Rapids) and Koronis Ministries (Paynesville). These two sites seem most suited accommodate the RCMT plan to draw as many children as possible to a faith-building camp experience.
Matt Sipe (Delano UMC) said the RCMT’s vision is 152 children a week at summer camps, where participants deepen faith, build self-confidence and leadership skills, and mature in a faith that sustains them for life.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church