Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect, ponder, and pray with us.  

This summer I spent a week at Camp Vermilion teaching pottery as one of the offered Journeys for campers.  As I prepared for the week, I thought about how I could wholeheartedly share my passion for this craft.  I worried about how to create a meaningful experience that would inspire children to learn.  While planning, I discovered that clay and pottery are brought up in the bible 34 times, most profoundly in our creation story: Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7)  

It is here we learn that it was from the soil that we were first made, the earth itself our oldest ancestor. "For even at its beginning the humble clay received God's art." - St. Irenaeus  

As adults, we often think of learning in terms of intellect, but forget knowledge acquired through engaging in activities that nurture our creative imagination.  As a child, I had learned how to be a servant in God's kingdom by planting a garden with my mom.  Patience was taught on a fishing boat, and gratitude for the meal that followed, from weekends on the lake with my dad.  When I brought out the wheel and muddied my hands to throw my first pot, campers immediately wanted to engage in the process.  While I had never found the perfect words or lessons to convey what pottery stirs up in my heart, the clay itself became the teacher. These campers, and their curiosity and eager spirits, reminded me that wisdom often comes from simply participating in the work.  

That physical act of work is mirrored in the verse from Genesis.   Here God is not some far away being directing our creation.  Instead God is the sculptor, active and up close, partaking in the creative process.  


Working with clay connects us to a practice that dates as far back as 20,000 BC.  As a vessel is formed from a lump of mud, it brings us into mindfulness that everything (from the food we eat, to the bowl that holds it) is of the earth.  As Robin Kimmerer writes, "It's not just land that is broken, but more importantly, our relationship to land."  For me, pottery helps restore our relationship to God's creation.  It reminds us of our kinship to the earth, and the abundance of God's gifts that flow from it.  

Jessica Holleque

VLM Alumni 09, 10

Come share your "Journey" with us this summer!

What is a Journey?

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We are inviting campers to "journey" with us this summer.  During our weeklong programs, we'll be setting aside time in which campers will have a chance to learn a new skill, spend time on a new activity, or express their creative side. We are calling these learning times Journeys, and they might include canoeing, drama, campfire cooking, music, theater, sports, or arts.  It is, in its simplest form, an extended time to spend on those activities (Grovers) that camper wanted more time to do.

A Journey is a 2 hour block of time for focused learning offered to our weeklong campers.  The age of the camper will determine how much time is spent participating in a Journey - 2 hours for Seekers, 4 hours for Trekkers, and 6 hours for Explorers.  

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The age of the campers in camp will determine how many blocks of time you, as a specialist/guest artist, will need to prepare.  You are welcome to spend the entire week with us as your schedule allows, but can also be at camp only on the days you will be teaching and sharing. 

If you are able to join us this summer, please contact Gretchen to schedule your week(s). Call 218-780-4116 or email gretchen@VLMcamps.org.

Summer Staff Application Available!

Consider a summer with VLM!

We are seeking people who are open to the Holy Spirit and who are willing to be used to bless and impact the lives of others.  A summer at camp can prove to be the hardest job you will ever have, but also one of the most rewarding.

As a VLM staff member, you will also have the opportunity to grow in your own faith, and you will be amazed at the things youwill learn and do - skills you can take with you wherever you go.  And the friendships that develop will last a lifetime! 

Being a part of Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry provides staff the opportunity to share their faith in meaningful ways. In this special environment, staff have been able to learn and share what it means to live in a Christian community and in the world as God's people.

If this sounds like something you want to be a part of this summer, then we invite you to apply.  Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled, but you are encouraged to return your application as soon as possible. 

Find your application and position descriptions online! We look forward to working with you this summer in sharing the Good News of Christ's saving love!

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Thank You for Giving to the Max!


On the 16th of November, we had an incredible Give to the Max Day! In just 24 hours, VLM met the $20,000 matching challenge, but also raised an additional $2,500 for the Watch them Flourish apeal for Voyageur Lodge construction. That means $42,500 to help support opportunities for Christ-centered spiritual growth, leadership development, and outreach in God's great northwoods! Thank you to all of you who do so much for Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion!

New Canoes at Vermilion!


We have received a wonderful trailer and three canoes from Lutheran church of the Good Shepherd in Duluth.  These canoes have been used by the church and families along with the local boy scout troop.  

VLM thanks LCGS for this wonderful gifts that will get more kids safely into God's great northwoods!


If you have a gently used canoe or have other equipment that could be put to use at Camp Hiawatha or Camp Vermilion, please contact us at (218) 666-5465 or VLM@VLMcamps.org.  



Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect, ponder, and pray with us.  

"I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus". - 1Timothy 1:12-14

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Are you ready for turkey, stuffing, football games and Macy's parade balloons?  I know I am.  TV commercials have been priming me for Thanksgiving since before Halloween with the showcase of pumpkin pies, Swanson's chicken broth and Black Friday shopping.  With all of that, it can be easy to forget what the day is really all about - giving thanks.  

While Thanksgiving isn't necessarily a religious holiday, it may be considered a spiritual one as we are encouraged to live in gratitude on Thanksgiving.  And gratitude is the granddaddy of spiritual practices. Paul writes to Timothy in the passage above naming how grateful he is for the "grace of our Lord".  Paul was a downright mean guy.  His changed life and faith in God is a testament of how God's grace and mercy overflowed for him.  Paul has been changed by Christ and lives each day in gratitude for all that God has done for him.  

What are you grateful for?  How will you live out that gratitude this holiday season?  

Faithful travels everyone,

Pastor Lisa

*Reprinted from Knapsack 11/22/11

Merciful God, we thank you for your abundant grace that you give to us out of your love.  Bless us with open eyes and warm hearts to live in gratitude for the many blessings around us.  Amen. 

Celebration of Light and Music - Camp Hiawatha

Sunday, December 10, 2017 at Camp Hiawatha

2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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Join us for an afternoon of fellowship, holiday fare, winter activities, and celebrating the season of Advent. There is something for all ages as we gather in community to prepare our hearts for the coming Christ child. We invite you to participate in all or part of this day.

Activities for the day include sleigh rides, food demonstrations, crafts, cookie decorating, hymn sing, worship, and a festive holiday meal. It's a great event for all ages!

Cost: $5 per person for the afternoon activities ($15 family maximum)

Schedule of Events

2:00-4:30 - Sleigh rides, Ethnic food demonstrations and samples,cookie decorating, Advent crafts, conversation and fellowship
4:30 - Holiday Hymn sing
5:00 - Worship Service
6:00 - Festive Holiday Dinner

Meal: $10 for adults, $5 ages 6-11, free under 5 years.

Please RSVP by December 5 by contacting the main VLM office - email or 218-666-5465.

Cookie Bake - Dec. 2nd

Saturday, December 2

Camp Vermilion

9:00 am - 3:00 pm



Join us and get all of your holiday baking done in one day!   We'll provide the ingredients and recipes, you provide the labor of love.  Each participant will take home at least one dozen of everything we make. 

Cost: $75 per person, which covers lunch for one, devotions, and taking home cookies. Bringing another person from the same household? $10 for each additional person to cover lunch.

Space is limited! Contact the office to hold your spot, or complete the registration form.




Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect, ponder, and pray with us.  


I have always loved stories. One of the ways my dad and I connected in my middle school years was through going to movies together and talking about the stories and characters. As an adult, I have embraced the identity that "story" is a big part of my life. Only then did I stop to think about my family heritage around story telling. My grandma was a traveling story teller who told farm and Norwegian folk stories to church and community groups all over the midwest. My dad is a story teller. And more recently, he has started working with others on telling their stories. I started paying attention to the author Donald Miller when he talked about how each person has amazing stories. Sometimes they just don't realize it yet. As I studied educational equity and leadership I learned about "hidden narratives" and the effort to create spaces where people who haven't had a chance to tell their story get the opportunity to reflect, craft, and document their own story.

When people ask you to tell about yourself when you are in a new group where do you start? How do you introduce yourself- do your first identify yourself with an occupation, vocation, family identity? "I am a nurse, and I have two kids." or "I volunteer at our church, and I have a big family." While these are often roles, which provide much identity to ourselves and those around us, they leave no opportunity to share our lives. Think about the following. "When was the last time you laughed, who were you with, and what were you doing?" "When you have a lot of your busy plate, what do you do/eat/read/etc. to relax? Where would you go to relax if you had an hour for yourself?" "What is one thing you learned in your family of origin that regularly comes up in your family or circle of influence now?"

In our family, we have a brief story time each night. It's something we have done since our kids were little to make eating together easier and intentional. We sit down at the table together, and one by one each person shares the "Best part of their Day." It's one of my favorite times in our family. As others occasionally join our family dinners, they are expected to join the dialogue, and each time I always learn something new. Through the best part of their day, I hear many things I wouldn't hear through the usual identity statements like, "I am a nurse, and I have two kids." Through this daily practice, I can tell my kids' friends, favorite parts of the school day, and the things that drive them crazy and make them laugh. 

In the upcoming YourStory retreats, we will do two main things. We will learn about some of the lesser known stories of some well know Bible characters. In the November retreat, we will learn about Jacob's life beyond the "big" stories. How did Jacob's family of origin shape his relationships with his wives and children? What is unique about Jacob's birth? Why does the Bible take time to tell us this? Then, we will have time to reflect on, craft, and record some of our stories. In upcoming sessions, we will explore, how do we go about trying to change our stories? You have a story that only you can tell. This week, ask someone, "What was the best part of your day?" And then, listen. You may be surprised by what you hear.  

Andy Mork

VLM Board Member


A Taste of Camp - Give to the Max!

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It's Give to the Max and we are having a camp celebration! Join us for a Taste of Camp - a chance to play some games, try some new camp recipes (and tell us which ones should be added to our menu in 2018), and learn about - and perhaps even register for - our 2018 summer programs!

You will also have a chance to make a one time or recuring donation to VLM and help us meet the $20,000 challenge grant we have for Give to the Max - the great Minnesota Give Together!

Hope you see you in Duluth!

Thursday, November 16 at 4 PM - 7 PM

Grace Lutheran Church - Hermantown, MN

If you're unable to join us in Duluth, please join us online! We would love to hear your stories of camp. Use #whyVLMcamps and tag us in your favorite camp photos. Visit our Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram to be part of this day with us!

Summer Registration is OPEN!

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Spend time at Camp Hiawatha or Camp Vermilion this summer and you will experience a week of a lifetime!  It's a chance to try some new things, meet new friends, explore your creative side, learn team work, be silly, sing, laugh, and learn what it means to live as God's people in the world! 

We have programs for all ages - a one day experience for those new to camp, a two night program for those not quite ready for a full week, and week-long programs for elementary, junior high, and senior high campers. No matter what option you choose, we will work hard to make it a experience to remember.




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New this year!

The Early, Early Bird Discount!

 Register by February 15th and save. 

Cost will increase by $50 after February 15th.

(Early Bird Discount available until April 10th)


Checkout VLMcamps.org for the summer scheduleprogram options, and rates

Thank you, Jan!

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It is with with both regret and honor that we share news of the resignation of Jan (Soltis) Greniger.

We are honored that she felt called to do ministry here with us at VLM when her daughter told her "hey, Camp needs a cook. I told them you would do it". For 17 years at Camp Hiawatha, Jan became the embodiment of "Camp Hospitality". She helped VLM grow tremendously over the last several years. She expanded our food and hospitality vision by implementing a new "Food Service Philosophy" at both camps. Designing common space and new kitchens and developing our policies over the years. Through that process she became a respected voice regionally and nationally in Lutheran Outdoor Ministries as well as here in God's great northwoods.

Jan raised up a new standard of family and community that we seek continue after she her departure. Her fierce desire to make sure all are welcome to experience safe, quality meals was only surpassed by her love for every person that walked through the door.

Her imprint on Camp is experienced in many ways from campers smiling over a plate of food to a group of men faithfully gathering every Thursday morning. We will miss Jan's leadership and efforts at Camp.

Jan's last day will be Nov 16th. We pray for her on her next steps with husband Gary and for her whole family. Thank you Jan, for your service to God's mission at camp.

Camp Vermilion Program Director Opening

Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry is now accepting resumes for the position of Camp Vermilion Program Director.  The job description, including qualifications for applicants, can be found here.

Resumes and inquiries can be sent to Gretchen Bachman, Director of Operations at gretchen@VLMcamps.org or 36944 Camp Hiawatha Road, Deer River, MN 56636.

We will be accepting resumes until November 20.



Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect, ponder, and pray with us.  


"Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." - Colossians 3:17 (The Message)


Ahhhhh, Fall, my most favorite of all the seasons. The cooler temps, combined with the warmth of the sun.  Picking pumpkins at my parent's farm.  The beauty of the leaves turning.  Walks in the woods filling my nostrils with comforting earthy scents.  Wearing sweaters with sandals or mukluks depending on the day. And if you're in any doubt of the seasons changing, a trip down the aisle of the grocery store where you'll see pumpkin flavored everything solidifies all that is good about this time of year.

Another sign of the Fall season as we approach Thanksgiving is hearing the question "What are you thankful for?"  We've probably all made a list like that at some point.  My list is filled with names of family, friends, communities that I am a part of, belly laughs, the beauty of the landscape surrounding me, health, a roof over my head, food on the table, chocolate, etc., etc.  And caffeine in the form of Dr. Pepper.  Totally thankful for that one on long days. 

Recently I was challenged to ponder a follow-up question to my thankfulness list:  "How do I show that I am thankful?"  This question slowed me down a minute and got me thinking. How do I live out a life of gratitude towards all of God's creation - to the people that I encounter day-to-day or to the world around me?  How does God desire my actions, words, and thoughts to be a reflection of my thankfulness for different people and things in my life? Seems like a good challenge to live out during this thankfulness-focused season (and it doesn't have to stop there!)

Here is a blessing to take with you: Remember that you are God's love loose in the world!

Deb Westerberg

VLM Alumni '97-'99

Gifts of Equipment

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Thank you to Rosemary Guttormsson, of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Duluth.  Rosemary made a wonderful gift of some car maintenance tools, including a 2 ton engine hoist, a press, and a dozen jack-stands.  The tools were used by her husband Steve who passed away recently.  "Steve would be happy to know that his stuff is being put to good use.  He used to go to bible camp as a kid."  

Thank you Rosemary, the tools WILL be put to good use at both camps!

If you have equipment, a vehicle, or tools that you think camp could use, let us know by calling the office at 218-666-5465.  It is great to be alive in God's great northwoods!

Thank you, Meagan!

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In August, Meagan Esterby, decided to take a step back from her position at VLM as the Communications Coordinator. Meagan has served VLM very well with her creativity, welcoming smile, compassion, and drive. She is an incredible support system to this ministry. Meagan is looking forward to being able to focus on her job at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Virgina and to continue doing her part as a VLM Alumni.

We will miss you, Meagan! 

Camp Vermilion Program Director Opening

Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry is now accepting resumes for the position of Camp Vermilion Program Director.  The job description, including qualifications for applicants, can be found here.

Resumes and inquiries can be sent to Gretchen Bachman, Director of Operations at gretchen@VLMcamps.org or 36944 Camp Hiawatha Road, Deer River, MN 56636.

We will be accepting resumes until November 20.

Thank you, Mev and Grant



To our VLM Family -

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We are sad to say that our time with VLM has come to an end. While the opportunity to live here is not something that can be overlooked - after all, it isgreat to be alive in God's great northwoods - it is our work with and for the ministry that made this time worthwhile. 

It has been our joy to serve this ministry, and while we may be leaving, our time and memories from the past 3 ½ years are ones we will cherish for a lifetime. From the moment we arrived, we have felt a part of this greater community. Three days after we arrived with our moving truck, we were at Our Savior's in Hibbing for a church Sunday. From that first church Sunday through each visit after, from summer camp to year-round retreats, each opportunity we had to spend time with you was another memory we take with us. So while we may be leaving Minnesota, we are taking VLM with us.

Many blessings to you all,

Grant & Mev


We thank Grant and Mev for their ministry over the last 3 1/2 years. They brought many new ideas, creativity, and laughter to VLM and will be missed. We wish them well on their next adventure!

Three Days of Giving!

Three Days of Giving

September 15th - The $10,000 match that was available in September has been met!  To date we have received over $15,500!  Thanks to an anonymous donor we have had great start to our Three Days of Giving.

New Match opportunities made available for VLM:

Another $10,000 in additional dollar for dollar match is available for gifts made online on Thursday October 19th. To be eligible for the match and to double your gift, give online at www.VLMcamps.org/donate-to-vlm

Special thanks to the donors who came together to make this happen:  

Mark and Sally Ludlow of Lake Vermilion. Two anonymous donors including one who wants to lift up the Blood Stripe movie and the work they are doing for Veterans. And from the estate of Louise Hill, former VLM Board President, who passed away in August.

Thank you for making camp happen! 


November 16th - GiveMN Give to the Max Day!

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An additional $20,000 has been offered by an anonymous donor who loves to see people support God's mission at Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion.  Give to Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry on November 16th on our our websiteor GiveMN page and double your dollars.  Gifts received that day at the VLM office and marked "GTMD" will be eligible for the match as well. 

That's $40,000 in total matching dollars given to sustain ministry and make camp happen in God's great northwoods.  See what three days of giving can do to encourage faith in kids.  Thank you!