Nurturing Christian Faith

April 18, 2018

 Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries

Introduction to Foundation 3:

"Nurture Christian Faith and Discipleship"

by Todd Bartlett, Executive Director for Camp and Retreat Ministries

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. Our story began with camp meetings in Falls City, Oregon, continued in 1922 with the development with the Epworth League and Institutes at Wallowa Lake and Suttle Lake, and has ultimately grown into the formation of our other sites: Leewood (1941) which would become Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (1981), Camp Magruder (1945), Sawtooth (1948), Latgawa (1953). We also operated Loon Lake and Camp McCall.

“In 1941 the Conference adopted a ‘Unified Institute Program’ to build spiritual values and improve sites, with a Conference-wide campaign.” (from Camp Magruder’s 50th Anniversary booklet published in 1995).

From the beginning, Camp and Retreat Ministries was an extension of the Christian formation being done in local churches. This partnership is essential to the success of Camp and Retreat Ministries and local churches to shape the followers of Jesus with whom we are in ministry.

Camp and Retreat Ministries provides places apart that are learning laboratories for Christian discipleship and formation. There are many elements in this world competing to form and shape us. Camp and Retreat Ministries provides a place where people explore who it is that God is calling them to be as they hear the voice of Christ in their lives.

Family Camp @ Magruder

We help make this happen through the inclusion of daily worship, prayer, song, exploration of creation, breaking bread together, addressing the concerns that we have about the state of the world and the culture in which we live, and trying new things. In brief: this is short-term intentional Christian community. The intensity of living together for a week offers everyone the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of being in Christian community and the support of our personal journey as disciples of Jesus.

My own life was dramatically impacted by being included in Christian community by deans and counselors from the summer programs held at Camp Frontenac in Minnesota. At camp, I served on the site staff in maintenance and waterfront capacities over the course of 6 summers and had many opportunities to interact with those who were leading the programming. Their invitation to join with them and experience Christian community around the campfire and at meal times is part of how I know the impact of this ministry and why I became the Executive Director for Camp and Retreat Ministries.

See You Around the Campfire Soon,



© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon