The seventh and final foundation of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries is: Inspire and equip all guests to do love and service.
As staff and volunteers, we are “dedicated to creating quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning.” As we carry out this work, we understand that people are watching to see what we do, how we do it, and with what intent we do this work. For some we become role models on what it means to be a Christian. One of the greatest compliments that I received was from a Sufi leader of a retreat at the Collins Retreat Center: “I see that you are a Christian by the way that you welcome and treat us as your guests; Jesus would be proud."
In all that I have done, my work has been to carry out my call to ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. If some also follow because of my example, then that is wonderful; if they get a glimpse of what life can be in relationship to Jesus, then that too is wonderful. As the director of a retreat center, my goal was to make sure that they understood that I do my work of welcome, hospitality, and witness in the name of Jesus. Some recognized it and understood it in those terms, and while others appreciated the warmth and welcome, they may not have received the religious aspects of it.
As I think about my life, I am deeply indebted to those who inspired me in this work. Some are names that are familiar to those who have long connections with Camp and Retreat Ministries in OR-ID: Kevin Witt, Lisa Jean Hoefner, Tim Stover, Ted Hulbert, Dave Hargreaves, David and Ingrid Cook, Bob and Jo Buescher, Greg Clensy and Eva LaBonty, and Guillermo Reyes. Current people who inspire me: Troy Taylor, Hope Montgomery, Sam Grainger, Jane and Daniel Petke, David and Peggy Lovegren, Dan Benson, Eric Conklin, Geneva Cook, Tanner Morton, and Holly Dolan.
Others who would not be familiar to readers here because they impacted me during my days growing up in Minnesota: Keith Horning and David and Barb Taylor.
There are two other groups of people who inspire me every day: the many staff and volunteers who give of themselves to accomplish our work in Camp and Retreat Ministries and, most importantly, the campers/guests who come to our sites and entrust us with their lives and well-being.
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!
See you around the campfire soon,