This week I had the opportunity to travel to Camp Magruder to provide some training in Compassionate Communication for the summer program staff. I arrived in time for dinner, and during the meal the staff extended grace to me by including me in their process. The welcome that I received included an opportunity to be the center of attention.
I will admit that being the center of attention can sometimes create some anxiety, but this was done in a playful way; each member of the staff introduced themselves by name and their preferred pronouns, and then asked a variety of questions. Some of the questions that I remember:
About those things that I cannot explain in my life, I am clear that they often fall under the theological category of “grace.” I’m thinking in particular of the Wesleyan concept of the first type of grace that exists in our lives before we are even aware of it (John Wesley called it prevenient grace). Only in looking back do we see some of the elements conspiring together that we refer to as an experience of grace. For me, some of those experiences include my acceptance into seminary, the love of family and friends while I was growing up, the way that camp and retreat ministry has shaped my life by means that have encouraged me to live an authentic life and have fed my soul through the deep and rich relationships of colleagues and companions throughout my life.
When were you welcomed into community and encouraged to be the person that God knows you to be? How do you make that same opportunity available for others? I hope that you share your stories with me.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Reveling in God's grace at Camp Latgawa, 2019 (Todd Bartlett).
When you hear the term “get some rest,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are, it has something to do with sleep. According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, there are actually many other non-sleep forms of rest that can renew and restore us for maximum well-being. Find out more about all seven types of rest--and then make sure you're registered for a camp or retreat event that can help you get some rest on many different levels!
For most of this past year, the majority of photos we've used in this weekly E-news have been related to nature--which certainly makes sense, because getting to hang out in God's creation is a big part of the allure of camp & retreat ministry. But often it's the human relationships that we remember most intensely when we think about camp, and that's typically where we experience God's grace. Which is why we're thrilled to be getting back to the basics of what we do (and what you see reflected in this week's photos): offering spaces where those grace-filled human relationships can flourish. As you already know, we're doing our work with lots of planning, careful thought, and many creative adjustments to keep things as safe as we can while we continue to pray that the pandemic comes to a complete end. All of that takes extra resources, which is why we are so very grateful for your donations. Thank you!
*PHOTO: Campers at Latgawa, 2019 (Todd Bartlett).