Every day we are bombarded with opportunities to indulge ourselves with the best the world has to offer. Cancun is just a plane ride away. A cruise to almost anywhere can be had if the price is right. And health spas are blossoming like never before. Our society entices us to pamper ourselves because “you deserve a break today” after all!
God does call us to Sabbath, to take time away, to put work away, to relax, to regroup, and to recharge. A spa or a relaxing vacation may do that, but God’s call to Sabbath also calls us into relationship with our community and with our creator. To that end, thirteen Presbyterian conference centers have collaborated to create the “Way-Points” programs; unique experiences for adults to retreat and learn. Way-Points programs offer Sabbath experiences in a faithful way — experiences that leave us spiritually full, instead of spiritually longing.
A quick look at some of the programs offered illustrates the Way-Point experience. This summer you might choose to travel to Meadowkirk just west of Washington, D.C. to explore the religious foundations of the American Civil War alongside engaging historians as you visit Harper’s Ferry and Gettysburg. Discover up close how the faith of Americans helped to both justify and understand our nation’s bloodiest conflict. You may even decide to stay an optional extra day to see DC, shop in nearby outlet malls, or visit a Virginia winery!
Or maybe you will travel out west to Highlands Camp and Retreat Center nestled in the Rockies outside of Estes Park, Colo., to learn about the wonders of the world around us. What are those lights in the night sky? How did that mountain get so tall or that lake so deep? Who or what created it all? Join astronomers Irene and Steve Little, geologist Gary Wallace, and the Rev. Brad Rowher to explore the sky, the earth, and God’s wonderful creation as they play out in the Rocky Mountains. These are just a sampling of the events offered through Way-Points in 2009.
“Way points” mark a point on a journey; they provide a place to pause and reflect before moving on to a new chapter. They mark our accomplishments. They serve as bookmarks for us to use as we look back over our lives and the accomplishment, challenges, and inspirations we have experienced. Each Way-Point program is tailored to meet the needs and interest of a select group of participants. Program focuses include travel and experiences in a specific region, hands-on skills and learning, the deepening of theological understandings, and experiences in and care for God’s creation. The Way-Points programs draw from the best national leadership and aim to provide the highest quality of program and hospitality for discerning adults.
The complete listing and explanations of each program and host Presbyterian center can be found at www.Way-Points.org.
Brian Frick is associate for camps and conferences at the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).