Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

“Families for God” Weekend: Twin Cities—March 13–15!

January 29, 2015

Please reserve the date and make plans to join teens, singles, couples, and families from across the United States at our 18th annual Families for God weekend in the Twin Cities, Minnesota:

God’s Family Dynamics

Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15!


Our theme this year is “God’s Family Dynamics” and will feature a Bible study, Sabbath Services and a dynamic, interactive workshop.

In addition to our signature teen prom, “City Lights,” we will also host an entertaining game show for the young and young-at-heart, a delectable festive dinner, a refreshing ice cream social, and a family outing at the ever-popular Nickelodeon Universe Park at the Mall of America.

The beautiful Minneapolis Marriott Northwest will again provide a memorable setting for hundreds of brethren who will enjoy specials and discounts in an all-suite environment with a complementary hot breakfast every morning for those staying at the hotel.

We are pleased to offer a family cap of $100 for Saturday night’s dinner, prom and ice cream social (for parents and their minor children). Postmark your registration by March 1 to participate in the various activities! Up-to-date information and registration form may be found at

In an effort to make the signature weekend as memorable and festive as possible, a beautiful hotel setting was chosen to again serve as a safe haven for our families.

In close cooperation with the Marriott, we are pleased to offer the suites as well as each of the catered meals at significant savings over the regular, customary rates. Also, we are encouraged by the compassion and generosity of brethren serving one another by contributing to those who would otherwise not be able to participate in the meals and activities. As we follow the example of the early church, let’s “continue in the Apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and prayers” (Acts 2:42). The weekend’s activities will provide ample opportunity to do so.

Saturday Night Festive Dinner

  • Adults: Caesar salad, smoked chicken medallion with smoked Gouda cream sauce, medallion of sirloin with a rosemary demi, mashed potatoes, spring vegetable medley
  • Youth: Fresh fruit cup, chicken fingers, French fries
  • Attire: Semi-formal or Sabbath
  • Cash Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar: Vanilla and chocolate ice cream (two scoops), chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream, chocolate balls and various other treats

Saturday Night Teen Dinner / Prom & Dance

Calling all teens ages 12 to graduating seniors to this year’s prom themed: “City Lights.” We expect teens from numerous states to join in this memorable event, which includes honoring our graduating seniors.

  • Dinner: Caesar salad, fried chicken medallion, medallion of sirloin with rosemary demi, mashed potatoes, spring vegetable medley
  • Ice Cream Bar: Vanilla and chocolate ice cream (two scoops), chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream, chocolate balls and various other treats
  • Attire: Formal, Semi-formal or Sabbath

Sunday Activity @ Nickelodeon Indoor Amusement Park – Mall of America

Fun for the entire family! Wristbands are good for 5 hours from first scan

Location & Housing

Due to popular demand and wonderful feedback from prior years’ participants, we are excited to return to the all-suite, Minneapolis Marriott Northwest Hotel (7025 Northland Drive North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55428).

The suites comfortably accommodate up to 6 guests at a most attractive price of $99 per night (plus tax) including a hot breakfast to meet our special dietary needs. The price includes 4 breakfasts per suite. Couples are encouraged to donate their extra tickets to large families staying at the hotel.

The complimentary hot breakfast includes scrambled eggs with cheese, turkey bacon/sausage (alternate bacon & sausage each day), fresh sliced fruit, assorted breakfast breads served with butter, preserves, assorted cereal, orange juice, coffee and tea.

We have asked the hotel to set aside 40 suites and we encourage the brethren to stay at the hotel, as many activities run late into the night!

Let’s plan to spend extra time together, having our lodging in the evening just steps away from our fellowship!

For any inquiries, please contact:

  • Brian & ReNae Shaw: or (763) 689-2892
    David & Stephanie Mörker: or (952) 237-9816

Families from across the U.S. will venture to the Twin Cities for a most memorable weekend! Will you be one of them? Please send in your registration forms at once! So, do not delay!


January 29, 2015 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , | Leave a comment

2013 United Youth Camps

February 12, 2013

United Youth Camps Video Promo

As we prepare for another exciting year for United Youth Camps, please enjoy the UYC video teaser posted below. Teens and staff, be sure to watch for the February United News to arrive in your mailbox for full details and application information. The deadline for both camper and staff applications is May 1. We are all looking forward to another great camp season!

We expect hundreds to apply this year, and we know that you are excited about being there. Some camp scholarships may be available if needed, so see your pastor for details.

Campers and staff, we are truly looking forward to a wonderful United Church of God camp season this summer. Be sure to get all the details from the February issue of United News and apply so you don’t miss out.

Steve Nutzman—National Coordinator, United Youth Camps

February 12, 2013 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

United Youth Camps Application Deadline is May 1

April 18, 2012

United Youth Camps Announcement

This is a reminder that now is the time to register at one of our five United Youth Camps summer camp locations. Campers and staff are anticipating another great camp experience. The official May 1 deadline is coming up fast so please register online at

Camp scholarships are available if needed so see your pastor for details. Campers and staff, we are really looking forward to a wonderful camp season this summer!

We expect hundreds of campers and staff to apply this year, and all are excited about being together at camp this summer.

Campers and staff, we are truly looking forward to a wonderful United Church of God camp season this summer. Be sure to apply now so you don’t miss out.

Steve Nutzman—National Coordinator, United Youth Camps

April 18, 2012 Posted by | United Youth Camps | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Announcement for Winter Youth Camp

November 10, 2011

As the United Church of God’s teen Winter Camp is only six weeks away and counting down, we are happy to report that we’ve received over 40 camper applications with more arriving daily. The beautiful, snowy, white fields and hills of Wisconsin beckon more campers to embrace the cold and enjoy the friendship, fun and spiritual instruction that is Winter Camp.

We also have several staff positions yet to fill, especially in the area of dorm counseling.

Application details await your attention at:

Randy Stiver/Dan Dowd

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , | Leave a comment

Winter Camp Registration Open

October 31, 2011

United Youth Camps Winter Camp 2011 is fully operational and eagerly waiting for camper and staff applications! We have a beautiful new camp location in southeastern Wisconsin situated on 600 acres of rolling hills, woods, open fields and on a bluff overlooking a scenic 60-acre lake.

Activities planned include cross-country skiing, tubing, winter field sports, broomball, horseback riding, arts and crafts, winter wilderness survival skills, Christian living classes and a special Bible class called “Bible Super Heroes.” Dance class will feature additional group dance instruction to add to the fun and learning of Camp.

To facilitate participation in the Winter Family Weekend in Cincinnati, Winter Camp starts with camper arrivals on the morning of Tuesday, December 27. This would allow a family to attend the main weekend events at the WFW, then Winter Camp is only seven hours away.

Broomball on the ice!

Additionally, the new camp location allows us to provide shuttle service for campers and staff flying into the Chicago airports (which should make the airline tickets less expensive than before).

The United Church of God Winter camp offers a wonderful opportunity for teen campers to build close friendships, learn a lot about God, the Bible and serving others. Plan now to join us for the fellowship, fun, laughter and learning of Winter Camp!

Camper and staff applications are ready and waiting for you at The cost is reasonable, the rewards are great. Receiving your applications very soon will help tremendously with planning.

Winter Camp director Randy Stiver can be reached with questions at or at (513) 248-1466. Or you can contact assistant camp director Dan Dowd at or by phone at (262) 247-0428.

Randy Stiver/Dan Dowd

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , , , | Leave a comment

Video: August Youth Corps Project in Zambia

September 27, 2011

A video has been produced about the August 2011 Youth Corps project held in Zambia. The project was a joint venture sponsored by LifeNets and the United Church of God GoodWorks program.

Jim Tuck, Lewis VanAusdle, Lena VanAusdle and Marc Eddington traveled from the United States to Zambia to conduct the leadership program (for adults) and youth camp (for teenagers) from August 7-21. This Youth Corps/Leadership project taught English, computers, first aid, leadership, biblical principles, career guidance and ultimate frisbee!

In addition, the team visited with 265 members of the United Church of God while in Zambia. An article in the September-October issue of United News written by Lena also explains more about the project.

The video below was shot and edited by Marc.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services

September 27, 2011 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

UYC 2011: Lagos, Nigeria

September 2, 2011

Camping on the Sea Side!

Forty-five staff and campers had a wonderful, exciting and inspiring time at the United Church of God’s “UYC Nigeria 2011″—with everyone strengthening or developing fresh, strong bonds of fellowship and friendship. Camp was attended by brethren from three countries and two continents—Nigeria, Ghana and America; from the continents of Africa and the United States respectively!

Steve Arner, a Youth Corp volunteer, arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday, August 10, for the sixth United Youth Camp (UYC) in Nigeria. He was met at the airport by Oludare Akinbo, the resident Elder in Nigeria, his wife Oluwatohungbogbo Akinbo, and by a member of the Lagos congregation, Paul Ogundipe. Two staff and three campers also arrived on Friday from Accra, Ghana; two staff and eight campers from the Owerri congregation in the Eastern part of Nigeria; and eight campers from the Benin City congregation in the western part of Nigeria.

Mark and Michelle Mickelson, through what we believe is a special miracle and grace from God, arrived Sabbath evening. Michelle had to be rushed to the hospital on Tuesday, the morning initially scheduled to leave for Nigeria, and by God’s intervention she was able to make the trip after rescheduling for Friday, August 12.

On the Sabbath in Lagos, attired as the native Nigerians mostly are, Steve Arner gave a sermonette titled “Attitude,” encouraging all to have a positive attitude to all they encounter in life and to be the kind of people God wants us to be.

Camp was held on a little stretch of land dividing a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Campers and staff slept in five ten-man tents (with eight persons per tent including gear) and six four-man tents (with three per tent with gear).

On the Sabbath during camp, some brethren from the Lagos congregation also took the half-hour boat ride to join the campers and staff (total attendance 66) for a truly picturesque and inspiring Sabbath in a natural, relaxing and serene environment—adding to the richness of the fellowship and the inspiration in hearing the message delivered by Mark Mickelson, regional pastor for West Africa.

Camp was so much fun with activities ranging from the morning compass checks, daily Christian living classes, team challenge (combining various team building activities), archery, swimming (with water pumped from the ocean into a swimming pool built by some of the oil companies that keep a beach hut by the ocean there), rope bridge (tyrolian traverse), volleyball, craft class and learning the Philippine national dance, Tinikling!

The last night of camp was a Hawaiian themed night with the serving staff attired as Hawaiian men and women complete with grass skirts for the women and neck garland leis for the campers and staff.

Camp ended August 21 with many of the campers from Lagos, Owerri and even Ghana shedding tears when it was time to depart for home. All were happy camp ended and were going back home, but sad the one week of fellowship and friendships discovered and strengthened with brethren sharing the same faith and goal was finally at an end. They would be going back to their respective church areas and homes to continue living as examples of God’s children in a world where to be different and standing for the truth often makes you walk alone or not with many deep close personal friends.

Oludare Okinbo—Pastor, Lagos, Nigeria

September 2, 2011 Posted by | Ministerial Services, Uncategorized, United Youth Camps | , , , | 3 Comments

Winter Youth Camp Planning

August 23, 2011

Camp Timber-lee to Host Winter Camp

The search for a good, cold and snowy facility for our United Church of God Winter Camp is coming together! We are in contract discussions with Camp Timber-lee near East Troy, Wisconsin.

Located north of Interstate Highway 43, a little over half an hour west and south of Milwaukee, Dan Dowd and I toured Camp Timber-lee two weeks ago in addition to viewing other facilities in our traditional United Youth Camps (UYC) Winter Camp area. One other camp with very nice facilities had never hosted a winter camp. After our tour and inquiries there, however, their management declined our offer to rent the camp since it would require them to re-power their winterized buildings. Timber-lee, on the other hand, is fully functional all winter—except that they almost never have anyone renting it during the traditional holiday season. That made a nice match-up for us.

Broomball on the ice!

Camp Timber-lee has a 600-acre campus on the shore of a 60-acre lake. Winter Camp will feature an interesting variety of winter activities, including broomball, cross-country skiing, tubing, tobogganing, horseback riding, winter survival instruction and winter-modified field games, plus some warm, indoor activities such as dance, team-building, arts and crafts, life skills and camp’s key activity–the Christian Living classes.

As soon as the details are finalized, we will post the Winter Camp applications and other information on the camp website.

Randy Stiver—UYC, Winter Camp Coordinator

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , , , | 1 Comment

Youth Corps Project in Zambia

August 11, 2011

Team Arrives on the Ground in Lusaka

U.S.A. Youth Corps Team from left: Lewis VanAusdle, Lena VanAusdle, Marc Eddington and Jim Tuck.

This past Monday, August 8, four representatives of the United Church of God Youth Corps traveled to Zambia for the purpose of teaching classes for the brethren. Jim Tuck, pastor of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, congregations, conducted leadership training. Lena VanAusdle, from Cincinnati, Ohio, taught English and was assisted by her husband, Lewis, and Marc Eddington, also of Cincinnati, Ohio.

They were greeted at the Lusaka Airport with an enthusiastic welcome by Zambian pastor Wilson Nkhoma and his wife Dorothy, Major and Felicia Talama, Anderson and Benadety Mwanza, and Aaron Mwale.

A short 40-minute drive found them settled into Chongwe River Lodge in Chongwe, where the four-day program was slated to take place. Dinner was served at 7:30 p.m. with members from the Copper Belt and Lusaka arriving in the new UCG bus. Members from Malawi were already settled at the lodge. The friendliness of the brethren was evident as they, one by one, came up and introduced themselves to the Youth Corps group.

The Zambian welcome group and the Youth Corp team at the Lusaka International Airport.

Tuesday morning the program got off to an early start with all participants gathering for breakfast at 8 a.m. This was followed by fellowship and then a 15-20 minute “compass check,” or short message, designed to focus our thoughts for the day on spiritual matters. The same routine is being followed each morning. To date, the topics for compass check have included prayer and the importance of “planting seeds.”

The English class got off to a spectacular start, with 17 participants—not including the babies and little ones in attendance with their mothers. The goal of the class is to improve the member’s grasp of English, particularly vocabulary unique to the Bible. Utilizing some of the hymns from our UCG hymnal, vocabulary words were chosen. The Zambian brethren are musically inclined, making the choice of music an excellent tool for memorization. Joyce, a member of the English class gleamed: “The classes are good. I am learning a lot and want to continue in English.”

Jim Tuck teaches one of the leadership classes.

The Leadership Training Classes have been well attended with 21 involved in the four-day program. Each day’s presentation is divided into three parts with short breaks in-between. Subjects include; “No Room for Pride and Vanity,” “Why is There Need for Leadership?,” “Character Development Is What It’s All About,” “Looking for the Heart of a Servant” and more. Each day a session is held on answering difficult scriptures as well. Some classes deal with public speaking, song leading and sundry other topics.

Onesimus Kalenga says, “It’s great, I have learned a lot of things, one thing I’ve liked about this program, we are doing it not only for leadership purposes, but also conversional purposes, and this is the most important part. We must concentrate on spiritual matters, and lead people to Jesus Christ. We will be leaders when Jesus Christ comes, and we must be leaders now.”

The Leadership class poses for a group photograph.

It was thought that there would not be enough interest or computers available to warrant a class, but at the last minute, four computers were gathered and Marc Eddington, standing in the gap, prepared lessons for a beginning and an intermediate class on computers. The lessons have been well received and will continue throughout the four-day program.

This Sabbath we look forward to meeting many of the brethren from Lusaka and the surrounding area who were not able to participate in the program.

Jim Tuck and Lena VanAusdle

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Home Office, Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

United Youth Camps: Camp Magruder

August 5, 2011

Experiencing a World Away from the World at Northwest Camp

100 United Youth Camps campers and 56 staff enjoyed a wonderful week together at Camp Magruder near Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast! The weather this year was mostly sunny and warm, letting campers really enjoy the beach and outdoor activities. Our camp theme this year of “A World Away From the World” came alive in the daily Christian Living lessons and themes for the day. Those lessons and memory scriptures were the core around which all activities took place.

Camp Magruder Tug of War.

The lesson for each day was introduced with a talk by the dorm counselors, who placed a placard with that day’s theme in each dorm for visual reinforcement. The Christian Living classes taught the lessons to each dorm every morning after breakfast, and then the lessons were worked into every activity during the day. Even the campfire story to end the day tied into the theme.

Campers came up with songs each day to help with remembering the day’s key scripture. These lessons will be long remembered as campers and staff head home. Since this was our second year at Camp Magruder on the Oregon Coast, our staff was able to settle in and get ready for camp quickly once we arrived on location.

The Magruder staff hosts many different groups here during the year. They commented often how much they enjoyed having us here and noted the organization of the camp and the mature behavior of our campers. They especially appreciated the lack of litter during our week. When things are done “decently and in order” people notice and appreciate what they see.

One of the highlights of the camp was the beach campfire and bar-b-que on Monday. The “all camp” tug-of-war may have been the largest ever at a United camp. I was just thankful that the rope did not break! Experiencing the campfire on the beach as the sun sets over the ocean is a memorable experience.

Boogie Boarding on the Ocean.

Our United Church of God camp staff clearly wants to pass on important life lessons to the next generation of leaders in God’s church. In 1 Corinthians 12 we are told that God sets members in the body to benefit everyone, and camp this year was an outstanding example of this in action. We are so fortunate to have professional and qualified volunteers to fill every need that we have. Northwest Camp could not operate without them.

No doubt campers and staff will hold on to what we have learned and experienced here, and keep a part of this special “world away from the world” during the coming year.

Two comments from the Camper Surveys illustrate the result of camp:

“God is where our hearts should lie and we need to strive for character to be able to be the person God needs us to be in His kingdom (camper, age 16)”

“I learned about making good choices and learning to live my life as God wants me to (camper, age 18)”

Rex Sexton—Northwest Camp Director

Rex and Patty Sexton

August 5, 2011 Posted by | Ministerial Services, United Youth Camps | , , , , , , | 1 Comment