Friday, March 27
Presbytery of the Pines
Since 1988, MedCamps of Louisiana has partnered with the Presbytery of the Pines to “improve the health and wellness of people living with chronic illnesses and disabilities through unique recreational and educational camping experiences.” In the beginning, MedCamps provided one week of residential camping for 13 campers with severe asthma and allergies. Since then MedCamps has grown to serve almost 400 campers a year. Over its history, MedCamps has served over 3,500 children living with various illnesses and disabilities, including sickle-cell anemia, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, orthopedic conditions, Down syndrome, epilepsy, autism, and numerous hearing, speech, and visual impairments.
By 1990, with the opening of Camp of the Pines in Bismarck, Arkansas, the presbytery was no longer using its Camp Alabama site for residential camping. MedCamps was looking for a long-term solution to its growing camper numbers, so the two negotiated a 25-year lease for Camp Alabama.
In the process of negotiating a new lease in 2014, the presbytery came to a new understanding of camping ministries. We began to see our camp not merely as a site for programs but rather as a place of mission. (Imagine the cartoon image of a bulb lighting up over our heads.) Repurposing Camp Alabama operations from program to mission opened the door to fresh thinking about mission opportunities. We were now thinking not about what we do for our own folks but about what we could do in the name of Jesus for those children ordinarily outside our walls.
The Presbytery of the Pines serves 54 congregations in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas.
—Joseph W. Hill, general presbyter
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Gracious God, may we be open to your freshness and your recreative work in our midst. Repurpose us to do your work as we live into your kingdom. Amen.