I hope that you were able to find moments of joy and celebration during these past two weeks. I was able to do my eleventh Polar Bear Plunge with my brother-in-law and one of my daughters on New Year’s Day. Have you decided on any resolutions to help guide your life in 2023?
I hope one of your resolutions is to engage with Camp and Retreat Ministries in as many ways as you can. I invite you to read this weekly email and then take some action based upon what you read. It might be doing something that is directed toward a particular site or ministry, or it might even be taking some sort of action in your local community that doesn’t seem to have much to do with Camp and Retreat Ministries, except that you read something here and were moved to do it.
Throughout 2023 I will be exploring with you various elements of our camp and retreat ministries related to our mission, vision, and values. During the middle of the summer, we will mix in some reflections on the camp curriculum for this year, What’s in a Name?, and we will also plan to do some profiles of the six sites, including some staff profiles as we encourage you to be in relationship with us. We hope learning more about our work will inspire you, just as your engagement with camp and retreat ministries inspires us.
At this point, as we begin the new year, I invite you to join me in prayer for all of our sites, the onsite staff, and our staff in the conference office. Thank you for all the many ways that you support Camp and Retreat Ministries.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Executive Director Todd Bartlett (along with his daughter) is pictured just after welcoming the New Year at the Polar Bear Plunge in Lake Washington (Laura Jaquith Bartlett).
One of the great gifts of camp is that we somehow find wonderful things to do that have nothing to do with looking at a screen. Although this article, which was written a few months into the pandemic, doesn't come out of camp and retreat ministry, the author clearly recognizes the value of finding relationship apart from an electronic device. Read about all seven ideas here.
The Board of Camp and Retreat Ministry will be meeting this weekend at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center, where this photo of an old trail sign was taken. It's no secret why the Board would want to meet at Collins: excellent hospitality nurtures body and soul, while the surrounding forest, meadows, and creek offer endless inspiration for the important work of the Board.
Our six sites--and the hospitality offered by their staff--do plenty of inspiring throughout the year. As we begin a new journey around the sun, think about what the Spirit is inspiring in you today. Do you feel moved to organize a "no screens" activity night for your family or friends? Can you do something to help protect this amazing creation? Are you inspired to support camp and retreat ministry through your financial donation? Whatever your new year's resolution, do it with passion and joy, just as our Board members do as they engage with their work in the beautiful and inspiring setting of the Collins Retreat Center.
*PHOTO: A trail sign at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).