Interdenominational group marks 50 years in parks

GC VILLAGE — Outdoor worship services sponsored by "A Christian Ministry in the National Parks" will begin Memorial Day weekend and continue through Labor Day at Grand Canyon National Park, the Rev. Joe Surin announced.

This summer marks the 50th year of ACMNP, an interdenominational organization that began in 1951 in Yellowstone National Park.

Surin said that during that summer, a Princeton Seminary student, Warren Ost, began services at Old Faithful Inn and other sites in Yellowstone. The following winter, a meeting was held in Washington, D.C., with the National Park Service concerning the expansion of the program.

Conrad Wirth, NPS director, believed it was a wonderful idea to have the interdenominational worship services in the park, Surin said. With the services, park visitors would not have to drive outside park boundaries for Sunday worship.

Services began the following summer at four other parks, including Grand Canyon.

To mark the 50th anniversary, ACMNP will have a celebration Sept. 13-16 at Yellowstone National Park at the Lake Hotel.

This summer, more than 200 college and seminary students will conduct interdenominational worship services at 40-plus national parks and monuments. At Grand Canyon, Surin said 29 college and seminary students will provide 22 weekly worship services at both the North Rim and South Rim.

"The staff represents 21 colleges and seminaries from over 15 denominations, including Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Nazarene and many others," Surin said in a news release.

Susanna Methven will serve as staff director at the South Rim. Methven is Episcopalian and serves as director of the "Oasis," the interdenominational student ministry at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

John Estes will be the North Rim staff director. Estes is a retired Southern Baptist minister from Hogansville, Ga. He will be joined for the summer at the North Rim by wife, Cindy.

Grand Canyon Summer Worship

Following is a rundown of the ACMNP-sponsored worship services in Grand Canyon National Park:

Sunset Service

(At West Rim Worship Site, located 300 yards from the Hermits exchange shuttle bus stop near the Bright Angel Lodge).

When: Daily, 7 p.m.

Ten-X Campground

(Located one mile south of Grand Canyon National Park Airport on east side of State Route 64).

When: Sunday, 7 a.m. & 9 a.m.

Mather Campground

(Located in Grand Canyon Village).

When: Sunday, 7 a.m. & 9 a.m.

Desert View Campground

(Located in East Rim/Desert View area of Grand Canyon National Park).

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Sunday, 7 a.m. & 9 a.m.

Shrine of the Ages

(Located near the National Park Administration Building in Grand Canyon Village).

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Sunday, 8:15 a.m. & 11 a.m.

West Rim Worship Site

(Located 300 yards from the Hermits exchange shuttle bus stop near the Bright Angel Lodge).

When: Sunday, 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.

Monday-Saturday, 7 p.m. (Sunset Service)

North Rim Campground

(Located at North Rim Campground).

When: Sunday, 8 a.m.

North Rim Auditorium

(Located at North Rim Auditorium).

When: Sunday, 10 a.m.

Note: For more information, contact the Rev. Joe Surin, resident minister, at 638-2340.

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