In the 1920's several visionaries in the Church of the Brethren knew that one way to develop leadership in the church was to create a set-apart place where young people could go, recreate, worship and learn more about God's world and God's Word. Those places were the birth of our Church of the Brethren youth camps, the oldest ones being Camp Harmony, Camp LaVerne, Camp Bethel, and Camp Alexander Mack. From that point many others have sprung up across the country and the total now stands at 29 Church of the Brethren camps.We lift up our district's camps, Camp Emmaus and Camp Emmanuel, and wish them a successful season ahead.
Our church camps have been the place where life-changing growth happened to many young men and women, eventually leading them into a life of ministry ...Our camps are holy ground. They each have their own sacred place or 'thin place' where those who come feel truly close to God. The camps are sanctuaries where there is unconditional love, and no one is left behind.
In today's world the average child spends only 25 minutes a week outside, and seldom in a natural setting. We as Brethren need to work hard to make it a priority to reach these children and get them out into creation. No one can respect, appreciate, and care for a creation they don't understand, know nothing about, and are afraid of. No one can believe in and trust a God that they have not been able to learn about or experience in a truly personal way. Those things can and do happen at camp on a regular basis...
Next to our Sunday schools and sanctuaries, our camps are the best ministry tool out there to teach, to love, and to grow our children and our faith. Don't let the camps be a lost and forgotten ministry."
This article is from a letter to the editor of the Church of the Brethren Messenger, Dec. 2009, written by Karen Rowland of Milford, Indiana
Source: April 2010 IL/WI District Newsletter