There have been many ups and downs in the five years since our first visit to the Oregon Coast. It has taken routes I did not expect. This is also the nature of callings, though. If we knew all that was in store, we might shy away. Because of the hardships, we might miss the beauty, we might miss the ways we grow to something we didn’t think we were capable of. It works well to start us off with an incredible, magnetic draw to something we cannot shake loose from; much like our initial draw desire to the west coast. The obsession with that wonder and beauty will draw us to places we didn’t know we could go.
As we look ahead to the entire year before us, we in Camp and Retreat Ministries would like share with you a few stories. These stories will convey our experience of God’s call in our lives, the passion that we hold for this ministry, notable features of each of the sites that makes these places special places to encounter God, impact that the site has had on us or someone we know and then to conclude the year we will be sharing some things that we are excited about for 2021!
This past week a unique camp and retreat ministry event, The Great Gathering, occurred at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. The Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries of the Oregon-Idaho Conference was represented by 7 people: Vanessa Allen (Executive Chef, Collins Retreat Center) Rev. Dan Benson (Director, Collins Retreat Center, Jayde Dunkerly (Office Manager, Collins Retreat Center), Hope Montgomery (Program Director, Camp Magruder), Troy Taylor (Director, Camp Magruder), Jane Petke (Director, Suttle Lake Camp), and Rev. Todd Bartlett. We were also joined by former Executive Director, Rev. Lisa Jean Hoefner.
There are many activities we provide to campers through our programs that encourage them to step beyond their comfort zone and just shy of the “freaking out” zone. This intentional work of entering the place of discomfort allows campers to experience a level of trust in themselves and their abilities and to learn that the intentional Christian community of which they are part for the week will support them no matter what.
Living with gratitude ignites a cycle of positivity in our world.
Beyond the gift itself and our feeling of appreciation, there is the knowledge that something other than ourselves, greater than ourselves, gifted us.
Today, we live in a world that lets us connect to more people and over greater distances than ever before. But those connections may be more superficial due to both the number of relationships and the limits of technology. We encourage people to take time away to form deep community, steady community, shaped by spending more time physically present with one another.
Because community is essential well-being, we understand that the cost of getting there is worth it. We may not like the experience in the midst of the chaos but the stories that we get to tell later of meeting the challenge says something that we like about ourselves and the community of which we are a part: together with one another we are strong and better off.
Acceptance, understood as an embodiment of compassionate curiosity towards ourselves and others, makes space for others to be seen and valued as they are regardless of how in-line it is with our own understandings.
This grace of acceptance offered to me by the church, through camp and retreat ministry, continues to inspire me in my work and life. Through these next few weeks as we focus on Acceptance, I hope that you are encouraged to offer and/or receive this wonderful gift
We encourage you, dear reader, to look for joy in one of the simplest of things, food. To care for yourself in new and engaging ways as you prepare food for yourself and for others, remembering that how we share with others and consider their needs is one of the most holy acts, for together we can experience joy around the table so that our lives may be abundant.
For me, joy is a gift that is available to us each day. I believe that, for most of us, the experience of joy is a matter of choice. While I am aware that joy can come from a spontaneous surprise in our lives, the choice remains as to whether or not we will accept these gifts, even on days that seem joyless.
Each week, in 3-4 pages, McLaren invites us to revisit biblical principles for living. You’ll receive blog posts to expand your study, with reflections and prayers and a place for comments and conversation. As we journey together, we’ll add opportunities for conversation, further study and action."
The blog post for this week, titled We Make the Road by Walking, was written by Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, Todd Bartlett.
In their weekly e-news, the National United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministry includes a blessings report. This report gives readers the opportunity to share the blessings that they experience at camp. We are happy to provide a similar report in our weekly publication!
In their weekly e-news, the National United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministry includes a blessings report. This report gives readers the opportunity to share the blessings that they experience at camp. We are happy to start providing a similar report in our weekly publication!
When it becomes natural for campers to face the difficult challenges in their lives, they are able to develop a sense of what it means live out their Christian faith. These elements are sign posts to guide them in their relationship with God and with all of humanity; and because they endured, persisted, and built character along the way, they can live with hope that this moment of difficulty is not all that there is.
I have witnessed wonder in all of these forms, among others, here at Alton L Collins Retreat Center and at many other camp and retreat ministries. I think we have these experiences of wonder because camp and retreat ministries can help us slow down and connect more deeply.
This week we begin our year-long journey on values by exploring Wonder. Part of what I believe the directors and I sensed is that there is so much that has been explained about our world that there is little space left to encounter wonder. Another element of wonder is to get lost in connecting with something outside of, or bigger than, ourselves while at the same time we experience a deep connection to it.
For 2019 the directors and I will be writing about values. Each director looked at a list of values and were asked to select seven that guide their work.
There is Still Time to Make Your Year-End Gift to Camp and Retreat Ministries!
With 2019 right around the corner, all events are now open for registration!
Beginning in 2015, the research team at Sacred Playgrounds began work to answer the question:"What is the impact of the one-week summer camp experience on the lives of the primary participants and their supporting networks?" The research has yielded some fascinating discoveries!
With 2019 right around the corner, the excitement and anticipation for our return to camp is building! All events are now open to you for registration.
Gracious hospitality is a core concept that shapes our ministry, and the meals that we serve are a critical component of that hospitality.
Each year, because of generous donors like you, Camp and Retreat Ministries offers over $15,000 in camp scholarships. The Joy Fund enables us to respond to anyone who is in financial need and applies for assistance. We have never turned anyone away for lack of ability to pay for camp! Please help us continue to be able to state that boldly!
It is with thanksgiving that I celebrate ALL those who have inspired me in the doing of the work of Camp and Retreat Ministries. Your life and energy are tremendous gifts, to me, and to all the people who are touched by this organization!
Annual Appeal Alert!! *Every* site has a project YOU can participate in with your Gifts, your Prayers, your Presence, your Service, and your Witness!!
Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries is hiring a director for Sawtooth Camp.
Check out these amazing opportunities!
Of the Seven Foundations of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries, partnering with United Methodist churches and agencies sounds both the most boring and obligatory. I say this being fully committed to the work of The United Methodist Church and as an ordained Elder serving under appointment. But still, on the surface, this foundation might appear to be less engaging than all of the others.
It is often surprising to people to find this segment of forest tucked away in Clackamas county.
As you land at Portland International Airport amidst the noise, traffic and buildings of the city, you can see Mt. Hood looming, but it seems that wilderness is so far away. You probably leave the city via congested interstates and will soon find yourself in sprawling suburbia. And finally, because of planning policy that limits that sprawl, the suburban landscape eventually gives way to farms stretching over miles and miles. But somehow, it is that last turn that is most surprising, the one from the winding country highway onto our driveway and you suddenly realize that you are leaving the the farms behind and entering a towering forest. Forty-five minutes from the blessings and curses of the modern age, you enter into a healthy and diverse forest.
Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries operates as a team together where directors share and learn from one another in growing in our ability to fulfill our mission as “People dedicated to providing quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning.”
Believe me, I understand the irony of this article. most likely read on a mobile device! In the other part of my life, I also work for the Missional Wisdom Foundation, an organization that has a Rule of Life, found here: https://www.missionalwisdom.com/rule-of-life/. One of the substitutions I would like to make in my life is under the 'Prayers' heading: "We will fast from food once a week." Not only is this the one part of the Rule that most people stumble over when they first read through it, but I don't know about you, but I have a cell-phone addiction, so fasting from all mobile technology would be a more challenging and mindful practice than fasting from food. Check out this blog-post from Gregg Hunter of Christian Camp & Conference Association (CCCA). His last question seems directed toward me - what would it look like for me to leave my cellphone in the car when I am a guest at camp? - Eric Conklin
My journey with creation care and appreciation began when I was a young child. When our family would go camping, my sister and I were paid by our parents 1 penny for every scrap of garbage that we picked up. This helped us to live out the “leave it better than you found it” mantra. There were field trips, scout trips, and of course, church camps, which all demonstrated and encouraged me to live out these values.
You may have heard variations of this old "campfire" story before, or you may be reading it for the first time. Either way, be reminded that your flaws can create beauty in this world:
A waterbearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master's house.
Click here to read the whole story as told in AmazingWomenRock.com
Tag is making a popular comeback, thanks to the new movie in theaters now, but do you know these variations of the classic game of tag? With all of these in the tool box, I can't think of an easier way for kids and youth to get out their energy!
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 ...