Last week I shared about sky gazing and terrestrial gazing. This week I want to focus a little bit more on the terrestrial part. In 2018 Camp and Retreat Ministries took a leadership role in returning a parcel of land to the Nez Perce nation. This land is mostly Wallowa River stream bed, and that stream bed is important because it is prime spawning habitat for Sockeye salmon. While the Sockeye can no longer get to this spot, there is hope that one day the irrigation dam will be fixed to support the movement of Sockeye both upstream and downstream.
One of the changes that came about in my life from the process of working with two different groups of people to acknowledge this land return--first at Annual Conference and then at Wallowa Lake--is that I no longer use the term “Holy Land” as a reference for the territory in the Middle East (Israel, Palestine).
I came to understand from my siblings the sacredness of land, all land, in a way that I had not previously understood. This understanding allows one to refer to Mother or Mother Earth and embrace that relationship in a vital way.
This understanding of sacred land has undergirded my visits to each of the places where we carry out our mission in Camp and Retreat Ministries. In our mission statement we say that we are a people dedicated to creating sacred spaces of Christian hospitality and learning. We are committed to doing what we can to create spaces where people can encounter God in all of God’s beauty, wonder, and mystery.
These places that are home for us and for so many of God’s amazing creatures are endowed with a holiness that calls to us to take some time to be in the presence of the Divine. In doing so we are sustained and encouraged to carry out the two great commands: loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. John Wesley called these the goal of the Christian life.
As you think about your relationship to the land, I invite you to mark Indigenous People’s Day next Monday by looking for the name(s) of the Native peoples who lived on the land where you live, work, and recreate. Two websites that might help are Native Land and Land-Grab Universities. The second site tells the story of the Morrill Act and how many higher education institutions were and continue to be funded by this act of the US Congress to take lands to benefit the nation and non-native peoples.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Bishop Elaine Stanovsky participates with Arthur Broncheau in the land return ceremony at Wallowa Lake in 2018 (Greg Nelson).
Wallowa Lake Camp has been blessed once again by our generous donor, Ray Johnson, who has donated $25,000 to be matched dollar for dollar by your donations!
That means we need YOU to help us reach our goal of $25,000 before the end of the year, so we can receive all of Ray’s donation!
The funds will be used to build a beautiful permanent roof over the outside patio area attached to Bailey Lodge (dining hall and meeting space). We estimate this roof will increase the covered seating capacity of the patio to about 150 people in rows or about 100 people at tables.
We are excited to get this roof built before our 100 Year Anniversary Celebration next summer, 2022!
At the anniversary event, we plan to have a benefit dulcimer concert under the new patio roof. We will also purchase new plastic folding chairs to replace the broken (hot when in the sun) metal ones we currently use and a few more table/chair combos. We will also add a sound system to the space.
These last two years have really made us realize just how important it is for the camp to have a permanent covered outdoor program area. Your donations will help grow the amazing ministry that happens at Wallowa Lake camp.
You can donate by clicking this link or you can mail checks to:
Wallowa Lake Camp
84522 Church Lane
Joseph, OR 97846
Mark your check for the Patio Roof.
Please help us reach our goal of $25,000 before the end of 2021!
*PHOTO: Tarps offer temporary cover over the patio at Wallowa Lake's Bailey Lodge (Todd Bartlett).
Camp and Retreat Ministry is full of challenges: campers build confidence and learn teamwork on the challenge course; steep hikes, rock walls, and whitewater rapids challenge us physically; adults and kids alike learn problem-solving as they negotiate the challenge of conflicts or difficult conversations. When we make it through one of these challenges, we not only learn and grow, we also get to celebrate with the camping community!
But we have a challenge for you today that doesn't even require you to leave your computer. As you may have read above, one of our generous supporters is offering a challenge grant to Wallowa Lake; we just need $25,000 to match it. And all you have to do to donate is click that green button below. We hope you're up for the challenge, because we're already looking forward to the celebration--will it include you?!