Camp Leaders Gather in Texas
Michigan is well represented at biennial event
Michigan Area United Methodist Camping leaders traveled to Palestine, Texas this week to take part in the United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries Association biennial conference. This year’s event taking place at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center continues the tradition of equipping camp and retreat leaders to be effective in this specialized ministry as partners with congregations throughout the United States and beyond.
“Waters of Grace” was the theme for this year’s event. Water is elemental, like grace: water symbolizes the grace and love God has for us that rains down without our asking or earning. Gathering from the tributaries of their dispersed ministries around the living water that is our spiritual heritage, camp and retreat leaders engaged in education, worship, play, song, fellowship, and renewal with other professionals. Rev. Jenna Morrison, Associate Pastor at First UMC in Rockwall, Texas led worship each evening with a message and sacramental celebrations given in her uniquely engaging and perceptive style. Worship is an important part of both the renewal and teachings of these gatherings that bring leaders together to grow, become better equipped, and be renewed in a shared ministry calling.
This year each participant was encouraged to fill a bottle with water from a source at their respective ministry sites and to bring it with them to Texas to be part of the creation of a living worship experience that formed the entrance to the main hall all week. The fundamental role that water serves at ministry sites from around the country being lifted up, blended together, and allowed to flow freely was especially symbolic. This shared connection was both moving and sacred for participants.
Michigan Area United Methodist Camping board members Rev. Paula Timm (Oak Grove UMC) and Rev. Sherry Foster (Milford UMC) joined Interim Executive Director Rev. George Ayoub, and Directors Rev. Ann Emerson (Lake Huron Retreat Center), Sarah Ratz (Judson Collins Center), Dan Stuglik (Crystal Springs Camp), Ryan Culby (Lake Michigan/Albright Camps), and Eric Hoffman (Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat) who were in attendance January 30 – February 3, 2017. Each bringing this experience back to further enhance the offerings at your United Methodist camp and retreat sites located throughout the state. Of course gatherings like these bring a called group of professionals together who act daily through their professions to be in ministry to others, through acts of Christian hospitality, service, and faithfulness to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world…
One of the joys of such a gathering is being with others who share in this calling and can lift one another up through that energizing spirit!
Refreshed and renewed, full of excitement and ideas this group is ready for your arrival at camp! Be sure to make plans for your camp and retreat experiences for the upcoming season at the nine United Methodist Camp, Campground, and Retreat programs throughout the Michigan Area.