The title of our 2022 curriculum is Creation Speaks. This material was produced by Inside Out, a resource for outdoor Christian ministry settings under the umbrella of Chalice Press. Inside Out uses a team of camp and retreat leaders from a variety of denominations and from around the country. Troy Taylor, our director at Camp Magruder, has been a part of the team for several years.
Throughout this year in our GoCamping weekly E-News, we will highlight each of the themes for the seven days of a week at camp: Invited by the Light, Refreshed by Water, Shaped like Earth, Moving Through the Seasons, Kinship with Animals, Purpose for Humanity, and Inspired by Creation. Our six site directors and I will rotate through all seven of the themes to explore with you each one of the elements.
Part of what we are invited to experience in this curriculum is the gift of listening. As “Creation Speaks,” we have the opportunity to listen. When was the last time you listened carefully for the voice of Creation or the Creator? With each of the themes, we have the chance to encounter a different aspect of Creation’s expression. I look forward to conversation with you throughout the year as you let me know what you are hearing when you make the time to listen to Creation.
While outside the scope of the curriculum, I am also wondering what you are hearing Creation say as we enter our third year of COVID. At some levels of this pandemic there doesn’t seem to be much change in what we hear from the light, water, land, seasons, or animals. Climate change, though, has plenty to say through these elements. I do think that maybe we are learning that the purpose for humanity is something other than constant work. May this year ahead bring us more fully into who we are in God’s eyes.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
P.S. Thank you for your support for me and my family following my mother’s death and Laura’s broken arm and surgery. Laura continues to heal and is looking forward to the end of January when her cast should come off.
*PHOTO: The cover for this year's camp curriculum.
Even as we celebrated the arrival of Jesus into this world, our Camp and Retreat Ministries family also suffered the loss of two wonderful persons:
Fritz Marvel – long-time manager at Camp Magruder, and facilities manager for all of our sites. You can read his obituary here. The family has named Camp Magruder's Maintenance Fund as Fritz's memorial (make a donation here).
Parker Pletcher – son of Mike and Christy Pletcher. Mike is the director at Sawtooth Camp, and Parker was a camper at Sawtooth. You can read his obituary here.
We invite you to hold these families in prayer.
*PHOTO: Snow-covered ferns at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett)
Creation Speaks, according to this summer's camp curriculum, but a beautiful contemporary hymn by Shirley Erena Murray tells us that creation sings: "The universe is resonant with music, the smallest creature dances to its play." (Creation Sings, by Shirley Erena Murray, copyright 2000, Hope Publishing Company, found at #3018 in Worship and Song)
Through camp and retreat ministry, creatures great and small are invited to dance to the music of creation. Have you heard creation sing? Have you listened to the "litany that rises from the heart," as Murray writes in her song? When you donate to this ministry, you have an amazing opportunity to join in the song of creation and to help enable the dancers--and the listeners. Please give today so that this year's campers will be able to hear creation speaking and singing.