Sawtooth Invites Us Out of Isolation and Into Community

November 14, 2018

Our Organizational Partners:

Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries

Foundation 6: Partner with Local churches and Church-Related Organizations

by Robert Poe, Former Director of Sawtooth Camp 

The beauty of the church is that we never find ourselves alone and in isolation. We are called to live and love within church communities but even churches are not in isolation. The Body of Christ extends around the world and we are united through our love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Our camps are no different; but there are temptations to lose sight of this.

It is incomplete to say that camps operate in isolation, seldom visited long enough to be anything more than a pit-stop along the way. In this view, denominational camps would end up feeling more like an isolated ministry that seeks to fulfill some special niche within Christianity.

Fulfilling our mission to affirm individual's service as disciples of Christ takes a more holistic approach.  

When this happens, our camps become sacred community spaces for our churches. Places where people come to spend time with one another and where they are transformed. These are places where the discipleship efforts of the local church can be given new perspectives, enhancing their influence. We offer this perspective in a variety of ways. For instance, we work with parents who desire to have their children's faith informed by a wilderness experience. We also provide opportunities for church leadership to stop and reflect, enriching their spiritual life as they discover new ways to lead the People of God.

Included in the importance of keeping our camps from becoming isolated, we encourage local churches to maintain community with one another. Camp Sawtooth provides space in which local churches come together and celebrate their love of Christ. May we remember, in this important work, that we are one church and one community. 

© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

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