A Tale of Two Camps (and One Partnership)
April 23, 2016
Change is hard. Loss is harder. That is what we faced as Lehigh Presbytery decided to close our beloved Camp Brainerd for financial reasons. A task group formed to look into the possibility of finding a way to keep the camp alive. As the months rolled by into the summer of 2014, we prayed for God to show us the way. We hoped for a miracle that would allow Brainerd to stay open, but the discernment process led us onto an unexpected path.
Five miles from our camp was another camp—Kirkwood—owned by Philadelphia Presbytery. A group from Philadelphia Presbytery began meeting with our task group to discuss the possibility of merging the two camping programs. At first, we could only see the loss. As we built relationships, we discovered that our new friends were sympathetic and caring about our situation, having also been through a discerning process that resulted in a decision to reorganize and re-energize their waning program. We began to see God’s caring hand in this gracious opportunity. We wouldn’t have to lose our camping program; it would be alive and well but in a new location—only five miles away!
God wanted us to dig deeper, to understand anew that Christ-centered community is what happens at camp. It’s not about a location; it’s about relationships nurtured in the love of Christ and a faith journey toward our loving God that lasts a lifetime.
Although Brainerd was closed and sold, we have found new joy and mutual grace in working together with our new camping team representing both presbyteries. God is faithful and full of surprises for those seeking God’s path!
Rev. Joan Spangler, Lehigh Presbytery
Let us join in prayer for:
Hungarian Reformed Church in Romania, Cluj and Oradea Districts
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Loving God, provide Spirit-filled leaders for Kirkwood and all Christian camps. Bless your camps and touch all participants with your grace and love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen