A total of 11 persons from five congregations formed a district mission team traveling to Montana to engage in mission at the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish (BUMP) Aug. 6-10.
BUMP serves the people who live on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation located just East of Glacier National Park in the State of Montana. The majority of the present day residents living on the Blackfeet Reservation are bloodline descendants of the original indigenous inhabitants of this area. Since 1882, the United Methodist Church has had a continuous presence on the Blackfeet Reservation. The participants in the ministry and programs of the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish reflect the cultural and racial diversity of the larger community. Most of our members are connected to the Blackfeet Tribe by blood, marriage or occupation and are the bearers of much wisdom which comes from generations of the struggle for life with dignity.
Team members were front row, from left, Rita Rudloff, Tilden UMC; Mike Witte, New Baden UMC; Joan Witte, New Baden UMC; Rev. Karen Oplt, Prospect Park UMC; and Lydia Johns, New Baden UMC.
Pictured in back row, from left: Doyce Tabbing, Coulterville UMC; Bill Wiedman, New Baden UMC; Mark Allen, Coulterville UMC; Rusty Fry, Wood River UMC; Rev. Lisa Wiedman and hosts Sheri Hill and Rev. Calvin Hill. Not pictured was Denny Hughes, Coulterville UMC. Special thanks to Nashville Grace UMC for use of their van.
While there, the team worked on completing the outside of a building that will store equipment during the harsh winters.
They also helped replace a fence of a church member that was damaged from the spring snows.
And a few of the team members worked on braiding ropes the youth group sell to local ranchers
The Blackfeet United Methodist Parish is amazing and the work that Rev. Calvin Hill and Sheri Hill are doing in the local communities is a blessing. Rev. Hill works with and trains horses. He teaches many young people this skill. They have 340 acres and uses most of it. They do have an area for a community garden, but due to the long winter and late thaw, they were unable to plant this year. They have started growing alfalfa on the ranch. Rev Hill will tell you that he knows nothing about farming, but like everything, he knows that with God he will be successful. This will allow the ranch to have food for the horses.
By Lisa Wiedman