For Generations; for the Generations

Camp wraps us in God’s creative handiwork...energizes technology-weary souls...invites us to let down our guard and our egos and pick up new friendships while trying new things.

June 17, 2024 |

“No place I’d rather be…”

Guitars undergirding a familiar tune. Familiar lyrics. Everyone in the same pink t-shirt.

No place I’d rather be.

One of the great things about camp songs is that they never drastically change. Oh, we learn some new ones with different words sometimes, but the feel for them, the vibe, remains cemented. And those of us who grew up going to camp, and those of us who ended up working at camps (like myself), are grateful for this. Reigniting the feeling of camp, even when you’re not at camp, is a holy act.

It happened again at the Synod Gathering’s Friday evening vespers this year.

For generations camping has changed lives and, it is no exaggeration to say that it has changed this church and this synod, too. It wraps us in God’s creative handiwork. It energizes technology-weary souls. It invites us to let down our guard and our egos and pick up new friendships while trying new things. On the fields of “capture the flag” and in the “gaga ball” court, church leaders have been formed and into a cruciform shape to lead lives of service and love.

It is not an accident that seminary classrooms have been filled because camp has encouraged a sense of call in a young heart. Camp does that.

But even more than this, it is also not an accident that church councils have been filled, that social service agencies have been staffed, that volunteer needs have been occupied by former campers because the call is not just to ministry, but to minister, by God.

Camp has been doing this for generations.

And, literally, for the generations.

This is why the appeal for Camp Lutheridge, and all the Lutheran camps in the NC Synod, is so important: camp intentionally shapes us into the body of Christ through adventure, song, and play. It has done so intentionally for generations.

For the generations.

Pastor Tim Canniff-Kuhn emphasized this truth about camping in his sermon where, reflecting on his family Bible passed on to him by his mother, he noted how intentionally each important verse is underlined, and how each token stuck in the pages was done so to highlight a particular passage or verse. Carefully the names of the generations of those who received that Bible were written inside, a log of the faith passed down on purpose.

Camp does the same thing, except instead of passing down the Bible it helps campers live out the stories in their lives. And, instead of tokens stuck in particular passages, very particular memories are crafted and stuck in the lives of campers so that they can recall the grace, strength, and bravery for the rest of their lives.

Vespers led by the staff of Lutheridge reignited all of these deep truths in me as I was reminded of my own time camping, and my own time as a camp counselor.

But it was more than just reminiscing. It was a reminder that this precious gift of an experience is worth the investment of the church not only because camping has continually reinvested campers into the life of faith in the church, but also because there are so few good, rich, faith-enlivening experiences in this world.

And camp is one of them.

And has been for generations.

For the generations.

Thank you, members of NC Synod congregations, for your Mission Support giving! These generous gifts get passed along to our synod’s camping ministries for the faithful reinvestment of campers back into the lives of faith in congregations all across this church. These generous gifts are tangible evidence of God’s love in your lives joined with the Spirit’s holy work in camp ministries to provide faith-enlivening experiences from one end of this state to the other. These generous gifts are witness to one of the many ministries we do together as synod for the sake of the world. Thanks be to God!

Story Attribution:

Pastor Timothy Brown, ELCA Director of Stewardship; Anam Cara Community


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