Last week I shared that we are a community of people who are engaged in this work of “creating sacred spaces of Christian hospitality and learning.”
This week the focus is on creating sacred spaces. Through camp and retreat ministry I have had the opportunity to live, work, and play at two of our sites for an extended length of time, and to see how the sites change from season to season. It has been easy to recognize the sacred aspect of these places. But with regular visits to the other sites, I have also seen and experienced the holy simply by being there.
I acknowledge that if we have a theological understanding that God created these spaces, then they are already sacred. Of course, we may say that we believe this--yet at times we act as though the spaces we inhabit are not sacred. Our work in Camp and Retreat Ministries is to remind those who come that these are indeed sacred places, because of the divine imprint on all that is there. We deliberately go about our daily work in a way that communicates to others our understanding of the sacred aspect of these places that we steward.
Being intentional is essential in communicating this message, this value, to others. That intentionality shines through when we talk about recycling, care for the earth and all that lives upon it, the way we go about constructing our buildings, the programs we lead, and the methods we choose for communication.
As people of faith, one practice that is important to our staff is to pray for groups and to pray in the spaces that groups use. This practice of prayer acknowledges the Holy in these places, and it reflects our understanding that we are partners in the work that the Spirit will do among those who meet together in these sacred sites. Our prayer supports the groups in their work of being community, practicing their faith (for religious groups), and learning about relationship in these incredibly holy spaces.
Thank you for being a part of doing and supporting our mission of creating sacred spaces of Christian hospitality and learning. If you have a story to share about creating sacred spaces, please send me a note or call me (503-802-9211).
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: The outdoor chapel at Latgawa beckons visitors into sacred space (Todd Bartlett).
Next week, January 23-27, the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Leaders national event will be happening at Epworth by the Sea on St. Simon’s Island, GA. Eleven of our camping leaders from Oregon-Idaho will be attending! Todd Bartlett (executive director) and Troy Taylor (director at Camp Magruder) will each be leading workshops at the event, as will Lisa Jean Hoefner (retired executive director).
On Wednesday, a silent auction will begin, offering the chance to be a guest at one of a variety of United Methodist camp and retreat centers across the country--and this opportunity is open to anyone, regardless of whether you're attending the event in Georgia!
The auction will begin at 9am Pacific (10am Mountain) on Jan. 25 and continues through Thursday, Jan. 26 at 2:15pm Pacific (3:15pm Mountain). If you want to check out the options and find a place to experience the beauty and hospitality of a UM camp and retreat center while you’re traveling somewhere in the country, all you need to do is click here once the auction begins.
Proceeds from the auction benefit the Legacy of Leadership fund, which provides support for those who want to attend the biennial national event or other training events for camp and retreat leaders.
Whether you are retired and want to work a little more, you're a teacher or student seeking summer employment, or you're looking for part or full-time, seasonal or year-round work, we may have the right opportunity for you! Or let us know if you’d prefer to volunteer.
You can be an active part of “creating sacred spaces of Christian hospitality and learning.” Together with others, you can enjoy a positive work environment, delicious meals, the beauty of nature, fun things at camp...and get paid!
Many positions are open at all six of our beautiful camp and retreat centers (cooks, kitchen assistants, housekeepers, dishwashers, camp assistants, counselors, and more!). On-site housing may be available.
You must be physically able to do the job and willing to learn.
To apply, contact the director at the site where you wish to work:
*PHOTO: Hauling mattresses around is hard work, but when you're doing it with a partner in the midst of the mountaintop beauty at Sawtooth, it can turn into a sacred opportunity! (Todd Bartlett)
Sometimes it seems heretical to talk about money and God in the same breath, but the Bible actually refers to money quite often. When we're engaged in the work of creating sacred spaces, we acknowledge that financial resources are an essential piece of that work. And that's where you come in! Your dollars are part of the holy fabric of our ministry. We see God's divine imprint in your gifts, and in the community of people who support this ministry of creating sacred spaces of Christian hospitality and learning.