Camp and Retreat E-News May 11: MOVING THROUGH THE SEASONS | Training for Camp Leaders | Blessings Report | God Is Present

May 11, 2022

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Reflections with
Camp & Retreat Ministries


Genesis 1:14-19 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)

Have you sat and welcomed the day’s first light, as the darkness of night fades into day? Have you watched the shift of shadows as the sun crosses the sky mid-day, occasionally hiding behind a fluffy cloud, or seen the mid-day’s light darkened by a fierce and quick-moving storm? Have you witnessed the vast array of colors unfold on the horizon as the sun fades from another day? Or paused to admire how a full moon wanes away and unfolds yet again as the days and nights march on?

There is a peace that comes with observing the changes in light during the day or across the seasons. Both dawn and dusk offer significant invitations. It’s hard not to slow down and breathe when you truly stop to observe. A sense of rhythm and consistency are present, even as change is ever present. An invitation to … just … be. In these moments of communion with nature, the Creator speaks. 

I’ve often heard on a moon-lit walk words of reassurance and an invitation to rest, that a new day awaits. While watching the autumn leaves fall with new crispness in the air or the snow melt as the days grow longer, there are reminders that others have traveled these same seasons of life. Perhaps, most powerfully, in observing the changes of time there is comfort that I am not alone. God is ever present, offering a steadfast love, day and night, no matter the season. 

Jane Petke
Suttle Lake Camp Director
What time of day or night do you find it most delightful to be in nature to observe the change of light? What season do you find you’re more reflective? What messages have you heard or sensed from the Creator/Spirit/God in these times of quiet? We’d like to hear from you. Please drop a note to Todd.

Has it been a while since you’ve been able to watch the sunset or sunrise? Read Mary Oliver’s The Sun for a poetic reminder of the magic of this celestial body. Want to see the moon from a different perspective? HERE you can find a “Moon and Earth Visualization Story” with footage from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio set to Julia Rovinsky playing the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the harp. 

*PHOTO: Spring snow at Sawtooth (Todd Bartlett).

Training for Camp Leaders 

Over the course of two weekends in April, Camp and Retreat Ministries held two training events for camp leaders. These leaders included deans, counselors, chaplains, nurses, and summer staff members. Over 60 people participated in the two events held at Suttle Lake Camp and Meridian UMC.

We had the opportunity to look at the camp curriculum, “Creation Speaks,” and use several elements of the curriculum to prepare for the summer camp season. We also covered topics like Positive Group Management, Trauma-Informed Care, and the fundamentals of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

While the trainings were focused on the camp setting, much of what these leaders, both new and experienced, engaged with can be used with families, churches, and communities to live out our vision of a world of wonder, love, and justice. 

Thank you to all who participated and to those who help grow leaders for Camp and Retreat Ministries and beyond. 

*PHOTO: Camp staff training in April at the Meridian UMC (Louise Kienzle).

Blessings Report

  • The seasonal movement toward summer that we are experiencing.
  • Work projects readying camps for summer season.
  • Competent and capable staff members at all our sites.

 Please send your blessings to share in future issues of the e-news. 

God Is Present

As Jane points out above, the changing seasons are a reminder that God is always present with us, no matter what, where, or when. This may be the most important message we communicate through this holy ministry in which we’re engaged. For many of our campers and guests, it is the most important message they will receive. Your financial gifts are essential in helping us proclaim that message, no matter the season. Please donate today!

Please donate today! 

© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

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