DAVIS—Indian Falls Creek (IFC) is the largest Christian camp for indigenous people in North America. In 2015, more than 3,000 people from more than 55 tribal nations attended.

This year’s camp will run from July 31-Aug. 4.

“Since 1947, IFC has been a time for Native Baptist churches to gather for learning, encouragement, and fun,” said Executive Director Vistor Cope. “Churches from across North America have made IFC an annual tradition because it is an opportunity for them to gather with other Native people who share their faith.

“One of the greatest draws is that IFC is for the whole family. Most summer camps are for youth, while IFC is a family camp where churches are able to bring everyone in their community.“

The theme for IFC 2016 is “Compel,” based on Luke 14:23.

IFC offers classes for preschoolers, children, youth, young adults and adults.  Topics include Bible studies, ministry skills, and issues important to Native people, such as suicide.  A range of recreational events for different interests and ages fill the afternoons.  The morning worship service has a more youthful flair, and the evening service blends in music familiar to the adults.

Throughout the week, campers are able to meet people from other tribes, hear traditional hymns original to a particular culture and language, and make friends from across the nation.

“Having this diversity together in one place allows campers to also learn from each other’s differences as well as experience the cultural ties that bring Native people together,” Cope explained. 

Returning this summer as camp preacher is Robert Smith Jr., , Professor of Christian Preaching and holder of the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School.

“Smith is a powerful preacher who encourages, calls out, and teaches his listeners,” Cope said.

Something new this year is the format for the evening worship services, which will be live-streamed again.

“The IFC Board of Directors made some changes so those viewing online will have a better worship experience,” Cope said. “The evening service will consist of Tribal Singing  (one per night), praise & worship, message and invitation only.

“All announcements will be circulated to campers through Facebook, Instagram, email, the Daily Splash newsletter, tabernacle screens, office video, and hard copies following each evening service.

The streaming link is http://livestream.com/bgco/IFC.

IFC also seeks to encourage healthy living and support efforts that benefit Native peoples by hosting an annual Health Fair that offers informational booths and classes. A Blood and Bone Marrow Drive collects a large number of donations from campers each summer. The Bone Marrow Drive has helped increase the number of potential donors for Native people, who have a greater difficulty finding a matching donor.