Talmaks: Camp Meeting of the Nez Perce Presbyterians
NEAR CRAIGMONT, ID
On July 6th, while attending the Talmaks (TALL-MUKS) camp meeting of the Nez Perce Presbyterian churches, in north-central Idaho, I conducted a “town hall meeting” to listen to the joys and concerns of this Presbyterian Native community. That evening I would also preach and baptize a child, my great-nephew and the following day, Sunday, preside over the sacrament of The Lord’s Supper.
It had been just over one-month since I began working as the Associate for Native American Congregational Support (NACS).
Members of the six Nez Perce Presbyterian congregations have held this camp meeting since 1897, one-hundred-sixteen
years. The present location was selected in 1910 on forested land deeded to the Talmaks Association by the Nez Perce tribe for their permanent camp site. Since 1897, generations of Nez Perce Presbyterians have made the annual trek to the two-week camp meeting in the cool of the Idaho pines to worship God leaving behind the cares of the world in the valleys below.
Concerns ranged from lack of clergy leadership in some of their churches, financial challenges to revitalizing their children’s ministries. For some of these concerns I was able to offer examples how other Native congregations have dealt with similar issues. Questions that I was unable to answer I will be researching and giving feedback to these congregations.The “town hall meeting” was attended by about thirty individuals who included church leaders, Elders, Deacons and guests. Rev. Cheryl Kinder-Pyle, Executive for Inland Northwest Presbytery and retired pastors were also in attendance. After I shared what my duties for Native American Congregational Support are as well as some of the goals that I have set for NACS, those who had questions or concerns shared them.
Communication is job #1 for me as the new Associate. The website, Racial Ethnic Torch, published by the PC(USA) twice a year, Facebook, and a newsletter-type of publication will be used as a means of keeping these and the other Native American Presbyterian congregations updated.
Thanks be to God for people who remain committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as these Nez Perce are.