DAVIS—In 2020, Indian Falls Creek (IFC), which has been called the largest Native Christian encampment in North America, took place as a virtual event.
In 2021, IFC returns to Falls Creek, where it has met since its founding in 1947. IFC Executive Director Victor Cope said he and leaders with IFC are enthused and expecting a great move of the Lord at this year’s IFC, which is set to meet Aug. 1-5.
IFC is unique in that it is a family camp that brings together many Native American tribes, with thousands attending each year. Campers enjoy times of worship, recreation, meals, fellowship and more, all with a Gospel focus.
This year, the IFC camp preacher will be Vern Charette, pastor of Coweta, First, who also has spoken at many events and conferences.
“Pray that God will gather His people together in His tabernacle, binding up our wounds, speaking words of encouragement, dusting us off, telling us that He loves us, and reminding us to feed His sheep. Pray for Dr. Charette as he challenges us from the Word,” Cope said.
According to the IFC website, IFC “campers … represent (more than) 50 tribal Nations from across North America and (more than) 250 churches each year. Indian Falls Creek is a time of encouragement and training.
“Beginning in 1947 with an attendance of 333, the camp’s average registration is now more than 3,000. … The constitution for Indian Falls Creek… states, in part, ‘The objective of this assembly in its annual meeting shall be to foster and promote Christian training, inspiration, fellowship, evangelism and missionary zeal among the Indians in their Baptist church life.’”
Cope said, “The Indian Falls Creek Board of Directors are busy putting the final touches on this year’s program. The planning continues with the hopes that many people will attend and that the Lord will move in our midst.”
He noted COVID-19 and economic challenges have presented barriers for churches and potential attendees.
“The IFC board is trying to remove barriers that would hinder our churches attending IFC 2021, including helping churches maximize sharing expenses,” Cope said. “A unique area of assistance is coming from the Chickasaw Nation’s Impa ‘ chi! (Let’s Eat!) Meals for Kids Program. The program is part of the National School Lunch Initiative that feeds public school children every day in our nation. Our students 1-18 years of age will eat breakfast and lunch for free Monday-Thursday thus cutting the food budget for an attending church by two thirds.”
IFC will also assist campers with half scholarships as an incentive to attend camp, Cope noted.
“The Indian Falls Creek Board of Directors is working overtime this year to make sure no one is left behind,” he added.
IFC also will have COVID-19 and health protocols in place, to ensure camper safety. “IFC has worked diligently to plan for camper safety and well-being. IFC is a family camp that ministers to babies as well as senior adults. People of color were hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 virus, and our tribal nations were not spared,” Cope said. “I lost 35 of my friends during the height of the pandemic. Indian Falls Creek lost Bill Barnett, Victor Bear, LeRoy Sealy, Ray Mealy, Maggie Nelson and Rhoda Anderson.”
IFC activities include sunrise service, morning Bible studies, a skills section, 11 a.m. worship, recreation, Vacation Bible School, nursery, a Veterans Recognition Service, pastors’ wives ministry, evening worship and children’s church.
As preparation for IFC, Jennifer Barnett is leading a 40 days of prayer emphasis. In addition, there is a third annual IFC Golf Tournament being planned, the proceeds of which are being used to bring campers to Falls Creek.
“Our people are ready. We are excited. We pray the Lord moves in mighty ways,” Cope added.
For more information about Indian Falls Creek, visit indianfallscreek.org.