With this issue we begin Round One of our series related to the camping curriculum, Creation Speaks, which we will be using for our programming in 2022. Each E-News issue will use the graphic associated with the theme for the day, and the scripture texts chosen for that topic. So today we have Light and the texts: Genesis 1:1-5 and John 8:12.
A little over three weeks ago, we marked the day with the shortest amount of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice. Have you noticed that the daylight each day is now increasing? It’s hard to believe and sometimes hard to prove during these dark, rainy days in the Pacific Northwest, although I do know on the east side of the Cascade mountains the clouds don’t always have the same impact.
Around the same time as the solstice, we celebrated Christmas as a reminder of the Light that came into the world and continues to shine in our lives. I will admit there are days that seem darker and when the shadows seem more ominous, but the Light that came into the world is shining in you and in me and in others who take the time to share that Light with others.
I remember as a youth that I participated in an event that involved camping and included some time to explore a cave. We used our headlamps going in but coming out we only used one candle lit from one of us who had kept their match dry (no, it wasn’t me). I am grateful for the person who was able to light their match and share with us the light to lead us out of the darkness of the cave.
During Advent last month, the Oregon-Idaho annual conference lifted up each day a different layperson with a history of sharing the Light with others. Several of these light-shiners have been involved in camp and retreat ministries. Do you remember someone who lit a candle to illuminate the way for you? When have you done it for others? How can you share the Light for someone else today?
If you would care to share with me any of your stories of light being shared, please drop me a note.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Path lights illuminate the trail at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).
United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries (UMCRM) is partnering with Jacob Sorensen of Sacred Playgrounds to survey our camp and retreat ministries across the country. The process includes a random sampling of ministries throughout the denomination in the United States. In that process Sawtooth Camp was selected. Because they are requesting that up to 250 surveys be filled out, we were asked to extend our invitation to Latgawa, Magruder, and Suttle Lake.
The survey will center on campers who are age 11 and older, and it will focus on five elements that Sacred Playgrounds has found are important for effective camps: Faith Centered, Safe Space, Relational, Unplugged from Home, and Participatory. Parents or grandparents will have the opportunity to sign up their campers for this survey during the online registration process for camp.
Campers will fill out the survey three times, and parents will also be able to share their perceptions of their camper’s experience. At the end of the project we will have more information about what we are doing well and where we need to improve in our ministry. Stay tuned for details.
An easy and effective way to share the Light with others is to support camping and retreat ministries. Encourage kids to register for camp. Join with other adults to attend a retreat. Serve as a summer camp counselor. Pitch in for a work weekend at one of our sites. Pray for our staff and our Board. And offer your financial gifts by clicking the green button below. Let your light shine!