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Summer is time for ministry and mission

Summer is butterfly time

Summer has always been a time of engagement for Michigan United Methodists of all ages. While the pandemic continues, there will still be plenty of opportunities for ministry and mission.

Senior Content Editor

Ready for summer? The summer is ready for you! Although, after 14 months of pandemic and counting, it will be a summer unlike many you’ve known before. Ministry has never shut down in Michigan during the months of June, July, and August. And even though COVID-19 continues to shape how traditional ministries will happen, disciples will be made, and communities will be transformed.

Long-standing church summer programs may take new forms and you have help in navigating the changes. Conference staff are providing three things to help you get ready for the summer of 2020. There is information about the status of ministries and missions you’ve come to know and love. And there are ideas about how to create a plan that safely engages the children, youth, and adults in your congregation. Finally, there are resources to help you work that plan. All of these things are collected on the 2021 Summer Opportunities webpage.

Here’s a peek at ways to connect, have fun, learn, and serve this summer.


  • Vacation Bible School: Visit the Michigan Conference Children’s Ministry Vacation Bible School Tool Box for recommendations and resources or contact Kathy Pittenger, Children’s Ministry Initiatives Coordinator.
  • Take-Home Boxes and Sunday School for families: Summer of Playful Kindness coming in mid-April. Six weeks of ideas to practice kindness and playfulness for the summer. The resource can be used for take-home summer boxes, Sunday School, and more!
Mission Interns serving at Cass Community Social Services.
The Mission Intern Program is life-changing … for both the children involved and for the interns. Applications for the 2021 Mission Intern Program are open. Apply now.


  • Mission Intern Sites: Celebrating its 22nd summer, the Mission Intern Program is an opportunity for post-high school 18-29-year-olds to serve in UMC-related non-profits or local congregations in ministry with children and families experiencing poverty. 2021 sites include God’s Country Cooperative Parish, Lincoln Road, Utica, West Branch, Caledonia, and Port Huron UMCs, Motown Mission, and Cass Community Social Services.  ENGAGE CCMM#3039. Young adults apply here to become a Mission Intern.
  • Freedom School Positions: Rooted in the Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964, the CDF Freedom Schools program is a six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program designed to serve children and youth in grades K–12. The CDF Freedom Schools program enhances children’s motivation to read and makes them feel good about learning. 2021 Sites in Bethel UMC, Flint and Second Grace, Detroit. ENGAGE CCMM#3049.
  • Servant Lay Leader: Young Adults, 18-29, may apply to be a Servant Leader Intern by contacting Lisa Batten, Young Adult Ministry Initiatives Coordinator.



Follow the links below to learn about summer opportunities at Michigan Area UM Camping, UM-affiliated camps, and the Bay View Association in Michigan:


  • Find tips on the Summer Opportunities page on how your congregation can plan a mission team experience that is virus-safe and low-risk. 
Girls serve up north mission
God’s Country Cooperative Parish is a destination for Volunteers in Mission across Michigan and the Midwest. These VIMs from Manchester UMC were at work in the U.P. in July 2019. ~ Facebook/GCCP


The Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) serves Hispanic United Methodist youth and young adults. Its main purpose is to identify, recruit, and facilitate the leadership development processes of high school and college students. HYLA consists of a three-year curriculum program that covers and focuses on a variety of topics each year. Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy will take place online via Zoom in Michigan June 23-26, 2021. For more information about HYLA check on the website or contact Sonya Luna.


June 11 (6:30 to 8:30 pm) & June 12 (10 am to 12:30 pm). A Deacon serving at Waterford Central UMC, the Rev. Cora Glass will lead a rest and renewal retreat. Rest and renewal are so important in our lives and yet, it so often is far down on our to-do lists. This Friday evening and Saturday morning retreat will help you bring it to the top of your list. The cost is $15.  Register here.


Mission u 2021 will examine anxiety, the culture of violence that impacts children in and out of schools, and how God’s people can deepen their moral witness and respond faithfully. Download the flyer to register and to learn about virtual sessions in July and August and an in-person event in Gaylord in October.