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Ascension School Conference Camp and Conference Center

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Ascension School Camp and Conference Center is a summer camp and conferencing facility in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon.  It hosts 6 to 8 youth camps each summer and has conferencing facilities that are used year round.

Volunteer opportunities

One time opportunities
Ongoing commitment opportunities

Summer Camp Volunteers, Chaplains and Medical Staff.  See our website for detailed job descriptions.

Ministries

Land Restoration and Trail Project

Creation Care/Community Gardens

Ascension School Camp and Conference Center sits on approximately 100 acres on the edge of the town of Cove in Eastern Oregon. For nearly a century, 80 acres of the property has been leased for farming. Through the support and leadership of our bishop, Patrick Bell, and the discernment of our values around creation care and racial reconciliation, we have been compelled to reimagine our stewardship of the land. In November 2019, the land was returned to Ascension School's direct care, and we began implementing the vision to re-establish the native riparian and prairie eco-system and build a nature trail throughout the 80 acres.

Knowing that this was not a simple vision and would require extensive expertise, we have entered into partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service through the USDA and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), which seeks to support landowners in establishing vegetation along streams, protecting water quality and restoring fish and wildlife habitat. CREP will be a primary source of funding for the restoration component of the project.  Native grass seed was already planted in early November. We have hired a Director of Habitat Management, Bobby Fossek, who specializes in land restoration and will oversee the project and provide leadership around environmental stewardship for all the land in our care – including the 20 acres on which our main campus sits.

We are driven by the conviction that our relationship to the land is critical in our spiritual formation and connection with the Creator. We are equally convicted by the need for racial justice, and we name the fact that we inhabit the ancestral lands of the indigenous people of our region – many who were dispersed and displaced by our occupancy.  This project is an opportunity for reconciliation with our native brothers and sisters and has opened new relationships and partnerships. We have been awarded a sizable grant from the Wildhorse Foundation of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) to assist in funding the project.  We have also been awarded a grant from the Episcopal Church and the Creation Care and Environmental Racism Task Force.  We are grateful to have the opportunity to steward these gifts.

All Ascension School visitors can view the project via the trail system which meanders throughout the property and creates a conservatory and sanctuary for those who visit.  Educational, cultural and spiritual markers will guide visitors.  We are excited to incorporate this “classroom” into our Outdoor School program, camping ministry and adult formation retreats. We look forward to observing the land come to life once again.

Bobby Fossek

Habitat Manager

Sacred Ground Race Dialogue Circles

Racial Reconciliation
Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground is dialogue series on race, grounded in faith.  Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race, racism, and whiteness while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. The 10-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.

Sacred Ground is a resource coming out of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society.  This series is especially designed to help white people talk with other white people, while being open to all racial/ethnic groups.  Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love.

News about Ascension School Conference Camp and Conference Center

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Ascension School Conference Camp and Conference Center, Cove, OR

Episcopal Relief & Development and Ascension School address food insecurity during COVID

Over the summer of 2020, Episcopal Relief & Development worked with Ascension School in Cove, OR to provide lunches to families with children under 18 years of age. As part of their efforts, the school used its garden to provide produce to the local food bank.

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