The season of Advent that leads up to Christmas has historically been shaped by four words: Hope, Peace, Love and Joy. These essential elements to human well-being are lived out in the Camp and Retreat Ministries of the Oregon-Idaho conference of The United Methodist Church because of your generosity of time, money, and service.
Your generosity provides safe sites, beautiful natural environments, updated facilities, life-enriching programs and support of the mission to create “quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning” which in turn lead campers and guests to experience Love, Joy, Peace and Hope.
You bring hope for families who live in poverty through the Creation Vacation events that occur at Camp Magruder, Suttle Lake Camp, and Sawtooth Camp. Families arrive weary and heavily burdened and in these sacred places they find a warm welcome and a gracious spirit that fills them with hope for the journey ahead. In August of 2020 you will provide hope for teens who claim their place within the LGBTQ community with the first of its kind in United Methodism, a High School Queer Pride Camp.
Peace comes through engagement with the natural environments of our sites as campers and guests experience a spaciousness that allows them to breathe deeply, rest, and decompress from the pressures of daily life. Imagine walking along Deep Creek at the Collins Retreat Center and breathe deeply of the fresh air. In this moment what do you feel?
When campers and guests can let go and be present in the moment, joy arises. You see joy on the smiling faces of campers riding horses as Wallowa Lake, or campers experiencing the natural waterslide upstream from Camp Latgawa. And that joy is contagious. One camper’s smiles are passed to others, including their families when they return home making the world brighter. Your gifts for camperships spread this joy to the nearly 200 campers who received financial assistance in 2019. Thank you.
Where hope, peace and joy reside, there you find love. When campers and guests experience the warmth of Christian hospitality, they understand that they are loved. It might be in the young adults on staff who offer the kindness of being present and listening to the camper, supporting them in their effort to try something new, and comforting them when the darkness falls and they are aware that they are away from home. Knowing that you are loved is the greatest gift that any of us can receive. And where love is lived, never-imagined possibilities arise and lead us back to hope.
As 2019 ends, I want to say thank you for making love, joy, peace and hope possible. You can be proud of the impact that you are making in the lives of children, youth, and adults with your generosity.
I would also like to ask you to contribute to make all of this and so much more possible in 2020 and beyond. In 2020 we have plans for a new shower house at Wallowa Lake, a roof for the Borgny Corbett patio at Camp Magruder, expansion at the Collins Retreat Center, and renovation of the shower houses at Camp Latgawa. Your financial support for these will provide safe, updated facilities that support campers and guests to experience the wonder of Camp and Retreat Ministries. Also, in 2020 Camp Magruder will celebrate 75 years of providing life-changing ministry. And in 2022, Suttle Lake and Wallowa Lake will be celebrating 100 years of ministry.
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May you experience joy and peace through living with hope and acting with love,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries