Our Camp and Retreat Ministries sites provide wonderful opportunities to seek out teachable moments that help us grow our capacity for being Christian spiritual leaders. What are the teachable moments that you can receive or share today?
I am proud that I am a part of a denomination whose forebears gave birth to these beautiful settings from the early days of the Methodist movement through to present day.
While working on site for Twinlow United Methodist Church Camp in Rathdrum, Idaho 20 years ago, I received my call to service as a clergy person in the United Methodist Church. In fact, most of the young adults I worked with over my years at Twinlow made significant changes to their prospective career paths because of their time working at camp.
This one should be obvious for a retreat center, right? I mean, what is the point of a Christian retreat center if not to provide a place and ways to nurture people in their faith? But the part of this that I want to reflect on with you today is the nature of Christian faith and discipleship.
For over 100 years we have been engaged in the work of nurturing Christian faith and discipleship in some of this region’s most beautiful outdoor spaces.
We may not always be able to tell when someone is genuine, but often we have a good sense of it. This is why we work hard to hire staff who have a calling to offering hospitality, who feel that this is part of who they are. This is also why we continually talk about hospitality as a staff, to remind ourselves of our calling. By cultivating a community focused on offering hospitality, we work to ensure that it is a heartfelt expression.
Whether one is taken in by the tall trees, the harmonious architecture, or simply the atmosphere of peace that infuses the space, there is something special that happens as one enters the property.
I have shared some reflections about important elements to our experiences at our camps and retreat center. The current list begins with the physical elements of: land, water, sky and fire.
Last September, I agreed to serve as the interim Executive Director for Camp and Retreat Ministries in Oregon-Idaho, until a national search could be conducted to hire the next Executive Director, which turned out to be me!
Life is always about transformation. One thing that makes our camps and retreat centers special is that we are places where we are intentionally cultivating positive transformation. Sometimes we are able to direct our hearts and lives to bring about positive transformation, and sometimes the Spirit of God tosses aside our carefully crafted plans and provides us with blessings beyond our imagination.
The 7 Foundations of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries (nationally, UMCRM) began with a prayerful discernment centered on two specific questions:
What must we do well in order to be truly effective now and into the future?
What is absolutely vital for us to focus on in fulfilling the church’s mission within the unique camp and retreat setting?
Visit business.landsend.com/store/gocamping/ to have the Camp and Retreat Ministries logo embroidered on any number of clothing or other items that Land’s End offers. You can order one piece at a time, in the size and color you wish. There is also an option to vary the colors of embroidery threads to be better visible on the material you choose (you could even choose pink, purple and orange!). The National Camp and Retreat logo is also available. The logo fee is typically about $6.00 in addition to the price of the clothing article, but often coupon codes can be found with an online search that may eliminate this or the shipping charge.
Are you feeling nudged to work at camp as paid or volunteer staff? Opportunities always abound to be a part of a dynamic, inspired, and hardworking team.
We are in the thick of the summer camp season, and we have been blessed to hear stories of rejuvenation and exploration. One camp mother exclaimed about her daughter’s Wallowa Lake experience: Wallowa Lake Horse Campers “I have been a ...