It’s Time for Camp!

It’s Time for Camp!

Colleen Holt

contributing writer

With Arkansas being called The Natural State, it’s only natural that the Arkansas United Methodist Church would offer opportunities for members of the faith community to spend time outdoors and grow closer to God.

There are four United Methodist camps and retreats in the state: Shoal Creek, Bear Creek, Mount Eagle Retreat Center, and Camp Tanako.

According to online information from Discipleship Ministries, “Christian camps and retreats invite persons and groups to sacred settings typically within the natural world where the creation can speak to their hearts of God. In tandem with the Holy Spirit, [camps] will give guests and participants unparalleled opportunities to focus on the deeper meaning of their lives by inviting them away from normal routine and distraction. These intentional times apart are a catalyst for new possibilities that embody the Church’s mission to nurture Christian discipleship and to engage persons in the transformation of the world through love and justice.”

For those closely tied to camping ministries in Arkansas, it is truly convincing that what is offered at their facilities can help others grow in their walk with God.

Katelyn Hiatt, executive director at Mount Eagle Retreat Center in southwest Stone County, said, “One of my favorite parts about camping and retreat ministries is hearing and experiencing God meeting people right where they are, no matter how they come to this place, whether they are broken, tired, lost, joyful, or at peace. God meets them, and this setting is prime for people letting go of their day-to-day and opening to God meeting them right here.”

Renee Henson, a trustee at Shoal Creek Camp in New Blaine (Logan County), couldn’t agree more. “There are so many special things about camping ministry that it is hard to pinpoint one thing. Being at camp has a tremendous impact on lives – whether you are an elementary school student, a youth or an adult, camp changes lives in ways no other ministry can,” she said.

Those who visit the camps quickly see that relationships are built through fun, study and just being together. “Relationships are built at camp that form life-long friendships and sometimes even marriage,” Renee said. “Playing outside, swimming, arts and crafts, bible stories, campfires, and sleeping in a cabin creates experiences like no other. After playing all day, campers are tired, and without television, phones, or video games to distract your mind, hearts are more open to hearing and experiencing God.”

Kayla Hardage, executive director of Camp Tanako, has special memories of her time spent at the camp during her formative years. “Having grown up coming to camp here, and working on Summer Staff, 15 years ago, I most look forward to the sunrises in the chapel or nightly worship around the fire pit on the lake. I often tell people that you do not have to be Methodist or even Christian to come to camp at Tanako, just come and be present. This place will work its magic!”

Shoal Creek

This summer Shoal Creek will celebrate 63 years of ministry. Located on 22 acres, the camp offers “a place for people of all ages to unplug from the world and build relationships with others and with God.”

“We have eight cabins that sleep 12, a cook’s cabin, a nurse’s cabin, two pavilions, a community hall and kitchen, and a pool,” Renee said. “Over the last several years we have improved camp by adding heat/air to five cabins, building bathrooms to the chow hall, adding a nine-hole disc golf course, a sand volleyball pit, a nine square in the air, and a Gaga pit. These are in addition to traditional camp activities of horseshoes, corn hole, swimming, kickball field, and a giant tree swing.”

Shoal Creek, called “a hidden gem that offers an affordable place for churches and ministries of all sizes,” obtained American Camping Association Accreditation in 2019. “This was a huge undertaking for a small camp that is mostly run by volunteers and a part-time caretaker,” said Renee.

“I am most proud of Shoal Creek because we have been able to keep our ministry as our first priority and I believe that’s why Shoal Creek is still in the camping ministry. We have been able to hire a summer intern the last five summers to help groups with their ministry at camp. This has been a great way to help a young person grow in their faith journey while providing a service to others.”

For more information, call (479) 438-1429 or visit the website at or Facebook page at

Mount Eagle

Mount Eagle is a year-round retreat center that sits atop a mountain surrounded on three sides by the Middle Fork of the Little Red River. Located on about 1,000 acres, offerings include program resources for family and personal renewal and spiritual growth. All facilities are available to churches, small groups, families, and individuals for use when conference events are not taking place. Mount Eagle is also open to other not-for-profit groups and has been known to be the site for beautiful wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Mount Eagle will offer or host spiritual retreats, family getaways, mental and physical renewal trips, and everything in between. “Our goal is to help you have the most amazing retreat for you or your group. We offer miles of hiking trails, several fire pits, a volleyball court, river access, multiple places for personal and group worship, and amazing views of nature,” according to the website at

“Mount Eagle is a very special place for many people, it has been a place where people have been rejuvenated. People have experienced the comforting presence and peace of God. This place is also simply put, a place to rest. You cannot talk to many people without them mentioning the views. You walk onto the porch of our oldest lodge (Kaetzell) you will find yourself in awe of God’s wonder and beauty as you look out over the Little Red River,” said Katelyn.

For more information about Mount Eagle Retreat Center, visit

Camp Tanako

Camp Tanako, located in Hot Springs on Lake Catherine, has been a tradition of the United Methodist Church in Arkansas since 1948. The Mission at Camp Tanako is to welcome children, youth, and adults to a place set apart where they can grow in their faith by experiencing God through nature and time spent in community and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit.

“We are in the forever business, in that relationships built with Christ in this place give peace to folks throughout their life. We take pride in the joy we see in both children and adults, as they enter our space. Adults relive their childhood here and children are given the opportunity to try new experiences. Camp is a place where the pressures of daily life are lifted and each individual person has the opportunity to be present with themselves, something we all need to do more often,” said Kayla.

The summer of 2022 is chock full of activities at Camp Tanako, including a special camp called “Tanako To-go” for a children’s ministry to come to camp for the day. Reservations for this can be made by calling 501-262-2600 or emailing

“We are gearing up for Summer Camp 2022. We have hired 30 summer staff, including a few international students. We will offer nine weeks of programming this summer with day camp, overnight camp, and ‘Tanako To-go.’ Registration is live on for day camp and overnight camp,” Kayla said. “Our curriculum this summer is ‘What’s in a Name’ by InsideOut, an Ecumenical community that writes summer camp curriculum. This summer we will look into how names have great power. Some hold special meanings and some come with expectations. In a lifetime, we may give new meaning to our name or take a new name. Along the journey, we discover who we are and how God equips us to care for others.”

For more information about Camp Tanako, visit their website at or Facebook at

Bear Creek Camp

Bear Creek Camp is a year-round camp and retreat facility located in the St. Francis National Forest, on Bear Creek Lake. Located seven miles from Marianna in eastern Arkansas, Bear Creek offers facilities, services, and programs for a variety of groups such as church, community, professional, civic, and school. This camp has been used for many years with Ozark Mission Project summer camps and has hosted numerous workshops and retreats. For more information, email Glenn Hicks, director, at

FUMC Sheridan Brings Last Supper to Life

FUMC Sheridan Brings Last Supper to Life

Jim Lancaster

FUMC Sheridan member

In a spectacular Holy Week drama, thirteen men of the First United Methodist Church in Sheridan portrayed Jesus and the twelve disciples as they appear in the 1494-98 Leonardo Da Vinci painting of the “Last Supper.” One by one, the disciples captured the tension of the moment when they described their relationship and belief in Jesus after he had said, “One of you will betray me.” Each disciple ends their part with a question about the betrayal, saying to Jesus, “Is it I?”

The drama ends with Jesus presenting the broken bread representing his broken body, and the cup, representing his shed blood, which is the basis of the Eucharist and Holy Communion services that have been observed by Christians for centuries.

The dramatization was directed by Summer Scott, a Sheridan High School teacher, and the scripts were from the works of Dr. Ernest Emurian and Pat Underwood. This drama was first presented in 1954 when Dr. Emurian was pastor of the Elm Avenue Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia.

United Methodist Men Announces New Resources and Brand

Nashville, TN – April 4th, 2022 – The General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) is introducing a “modern way” of doing men’s ministry. Greg Arnold, General Secretary & CEO, said we are approaching men’s and scouting ministry with a much larger and more modern vision. The Commission has re-imaged how men’s and scouting ministry can be effectively offered, packaged, and distributed to the church and world around us.

Launching a new program and brand, “United Men’s Ministry”, along with several innovative products is quite an ambitious undertaking during a time of uncertainty within the UMC. “Our vision is to offer a credible resource which meets men and youth where they are. Discipleship has been the focus of the church for 2000 years and cannot take a back seat to the current administrative discussions of the church.”

Arnold says, “The older chartering model has been showing a steady decline over the past several years and placing its effectiveness in question. We’ll continue to offer the chartering model of service according to our book of discipline mandate, however, we’re adding these new and exciting ways to serve the men, youth, and families of the church.”

UNITED Men’s Ministry is an innovative online resource providing an easy-to-follow package of resources including leader coaching, online learning, support, topical studies, connection, and more. Each subscribed church will receive a “kick off kit” packed with items when signing up for UNITED Men’s Ministry. The goal is to help churches launch, grow, and sustain effective men’s ministry.”

The UNITED Men’s Ministry product is designed to help any local church easily provide a consistent men’s ministry. The model is wrapped around a process rather than dependent upon a program. UNITED is layered with the framework of a well developed discipleship pathway, small group support resources, and leader’s materials. All of which are deeply rooted in the Wesleyan tradition and presented in a fresh approach.

Every church leader who feels their men’s ministry effort could use a restart, and upgrade, or a boost is encouraged to visit: to get in on the launch, happening May 1st, 2022. Simply register on the website for the launch event and join the movement.

1000 17th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
Ph: (615) 620-7266


200k More Reasons Announces Local Church Grants

Mary Lewis Dassinger, Project Coordinator for 200,000 More Reasons, recently announced its local church grant recipients for the spring and summer grant cycle.

“One of the best parts of my job is to join with our grant review committee to make grant awards to local church feeding and literacy ministries,” said Dassinger. “Thanks to the generosity of the Methodist Foundation of Arkansas and those who give during Annual Conference, we were able to present an award to every church that applied, and totaled $25,500,” she added.

“I am grateful for the generous support given by the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas as well as the Annual Conference offering that allows these grants to be offered,” said Jim Polk, ARUMC Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop. “Even more, I am thankful for the efforts of these and so many other congregations in the Arkansas Conference who are actually doing the work of 200,000 More Reasons. Together, Arkansas United Methodists are making a difference as we strive to eliminate childhood hunger and increase the literacy rate in our state.”

Dassinger added that they had six grantees that had never asked for a grant before and seven who were creating new ministries. “Our feeding and literacy ministries are alive and well!”

Churches that received grants may be found here:

Church District Project Title
Concord United Methodist Church, Drasco Northeast Summer Backpack Program with Literacy Component
Cushman United Methodist Church Northeast Helping Hands Food Pantry: Food Bags For Children
First United Methodist Church, North Little Rock Central Backpack Feeding & Literacy Ministry
First United Methodist Church, Conway Central Summer Feeding Ministry
Green Forest United Methodist Church Northwest Food Pantry Ministry
Hazel Edwards Memorial United Methodist Church, Newark Northeast Garden for Youth
Henderson United Methodist Church, Little Rock Central Food Pantry
Jacksonville First United Methodist Church Central FAM 5000
Lakeside United Methodist Pine Bluff Southeast RELATE (Read, Educate, Learn, Aspire, Tutor, Edify)
Lonoke First United Methodist Church Central Lonoke FUMC Community Garden 2022
Mena First United Methodist Church Northwest Blessing Cabinet
Mount Eagle Retreat Center Northeast Family Get-A-Way
Mt. Olive United Methodist Church, Fordyce Southeast Food Pantry
St. James United Methodist Church, Pine Bluff Southeast Project Transformation Snacks and Supplies
Swifton/Tuckerman United Methodist Churches Northeast North Jackson County UMC Children’s Ministry
Vilonia United Methodist Church Central Summer Feeding Ministry and Reading Program

UMCOR collaborating to relieve the suffering of Ukrainians
Nearly $1 million of essential medical supplies and equipment sent to Ukraine thanks to joint effort between UMCOR, the Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation and Ohio Health

ATLANTA (April 20, 2022) – The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), a Texas-based humanitarian organization focused on Ukraine and Ohio Health, are collaborating to send 47,895 pounds of medical supplies and equipment worth $935,000.00 to three hospitals in Kyiv, Ukraine. AEC Parcel Services is handling transport of the supplies, which are being sent in three shipments.

The effort was put together by the Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation, headquartered in North Zulch, Texas, which has links to health facilities in Ukraine. UMCOR is paying specific costs, including transportation, of approximately $160,000. Ohio Health, a not-for-profit, charitable, health care ministry of The United Methodist Church, donated the supplies through a medical surplus program. UMCOR put the foundation in touch with Ohio Health and opened the door to the United Nation’s Logistics Cluster to move the supplies into Ukraine after they arrived in Poland from the U.S. via chartered jet.

The first shipment arrived at the State Ukrainian Health Ministry Heart Institute in Kyiv on Thursday, April 14. The second shipment was shared between the Heart Institute, the Center for Pediatric Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery Clinic for Children, and the National Specialized Children’s Hospital, which is the nation’s largest children’s hospital, on April 20. The third shipment is scheduled to follow soon, according to Roland Fernandes, general secretary of UMCOR and its parent organization, Global Ministries. “UMCOR is pleased to facilitate both the procurement and the transportation of essential medical supplies to war-torn Ukraine,” he said. “We multiply our own efforts and the generosity of our contributors when we engage in creative service partnerships.”

Lena Denman, president of the Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation, expressed appreciation of UMCOR for its role in the project. “The Foundation is honored to receive the support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief for our efforts to provide medical supplies and medical equipment to the State Ukrainian Health Ministry Heart Institute in Kyiv, Ukraine,” she said. “This hospital serves not only Kyiv, but also suburbs of Kyiv that have experienced mass atrocities. It was because of the support of UMCOR and its contributors that we were able to arrange transportation for these three shipments of vital medical supplies.”

“This is the biggest shipment we have ever had,” said Dr. Vitaly Demyanchuk, deputy director of the State Ukrainian Health Ministry Heart Institute in Kyiv. “Every box contains useful supplies that give us the possibility of providing high-quality medical care to our patients, wounded individuals, and others in our area. We thank all of the American people. Together we are strong.”

Playing a vital role in the transport of these supplies is AEC Parcel Services, a Chicago-based shipping company. AEC Parcel’s long-established connections with key points and customs agencies on the Ukrainian border have made them one of the few shipping companies still able to deliver regular parcels and aid from the U.S. and Canada. When war broke out, AEC partnered with several international nonprofits to provide greatly reduced overseas shipping costs to Ukraine and other affected areas.

Items in the shipments include wound care/triage supplies, surgical kits and masks, examination gloves, mask respirators, varieties of hospital gowns, stethoscopes, sterile containers, and basic medicine.

The Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation, founded in 2016, provides medical supplies for hospitals in Kyiv and helps facilitate physician training and research programs between U.S. and Ukrainian physicians. It continues the work of the late Arlene Campbell who, in 1989, started a not-for-profit agency called Russian Relief, one goal of which was to supply medical equipment and supplies to Ukrainians. The current foundation memorializes Ms. Campbell.

Ohio Health represents 35,000 associates, physicians, and volunteers, a network of 12 hospitals, more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment, and other health services in 47 counties of the state.

As part of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission and humanitarian assistance agency of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR provides relief and recovery response throughout the world. UMCOR is extensively engaged in services for refugees from Ukraine both inside Ukraine and beyond in the wake of the Russian invasion in late February 2022.

To support UMCOR’s continued efforts to offer immediate relief and long-term recovery for the war in Ukraine, make a gift to Advance #982450.


About UMCOR and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church
Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is the global humanitarian relief agency of The United Methodist Church. A part of Global Ministries, UMCOR works in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States and its territories. The agency’s mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering with open hearts and minds to all people. Working in the areas of disaster response and recovery, sustainable development and migration, UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own. Learn more about UMCOR by visiting or by following and