Written by Rev. Betty L. Angelini
Monday, 12 March 2012 17:57
Dear Rev. Haberer :
I am delighted that the "Outlook Magazine" annually devotes an entire issue to the ministry of camp and conference centers. The face of camp and conference ministry is certainly changing- playing a vital and expanding role in the denomination as so eloquently described in Mr. Frick’s article. Mr. Scheneman and Mr. Winchip also do an excellent job quantifying the ministry of connectionalism and relationships that camp and conference centers provides to disciples all along the spectrum of transformation. I am also thankful for the work that is happening at Howell Conference and Nature Center as described in the third article related to outdoor ministry. Psalm 8 clearly tells us that humanity has dominion over all creatures and humanity is commanded to care for them.
As the Executive Director of a PCUSA camp and conference center, I write though to encourage others to review that dedicated March 5, 2012 issue of Outlook to see primarily the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of campers and retreaters, both on and off of our sites, in transformation of brothers and sisters by and for Jesus Christ. The essence of camp and conference ministry is to introduce and then develop each attendees’ relationship with Jesus Christ, whatever the season of the year. Living into the Great Commission, going out into the world and making disciples, is essential to this ministry. In a time when the GAMC is encouraging the development of 1001 Worshipping Communities, camps and conference centers are at the apex, creating the foundation of these fellowships through its role of spiritual leadership development and community/relationship building. (www.pcusa.org/news/2012/3/7/creating-space-somethng-new-be-born)
Camps and conference centers not only attend to the needs of the plant and animal kingdom, but to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual nurturing of individuals working toward both evangelism and outreach. I do hope that the cute animal picture on the cover does not obscure for Outlook readers that we in PCCCA know well that our central mission is to grow disciples of Jesus, and not simply to give campers a nice experience of nature (though that certainly is a real benefit of spending time at one of our centers!). For me, the issue’s cover does not immediately emphasize the reasoning for the animal outreach or the consequential benefits that have resulted because of this emphasis.
Certainly, Camps and Conference Centers are not just for humans anymore as the cover proclaims. Even more importantly, Camps and Conference Centers have so very, very much to offer humanity, churched and unchurched, in the name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Rev. Betty L. Angelini
Crestfield Camp and Conference Center