Pastors Lisa and Michael Beery and their kids showing summer camp love at the Camp Agapé entrance sign. Image credit: the Beery family.
Like working parents everywhere, rostered ministers (pastors and deacons) who serve in this synod find themselves pulled in many directions as they manage their busy schedules and live out their calls in a weary world. Time apart at summer camp is a welcome respite—especially when it happens at one of the NC Synod’s outdoor ministry sites. NovusWay sites, Lutheridge and Lutherock, and Agapé+Kure Beach Ministries sites, Camp Agapé and Kure Beach, are places where encounters with the Holy include intentional community, learning together, and lots of fun!
Fourth of July Week Family Camp at Lutheridge was a hit for Pastor Matt Smith (St. Mark’s, Asheville), his wife, Keri, and their two kids this summer. “Our kids loved family camp and already have asked to go back next year! My wife and I appreciated getting to play and sing all week with them, and it was also really nice to have adult conversations around faith each morning while the children were in Kids Camp.”
Pastor Marsha Anderson was grateful for her two oldest children’s experience with Agapé Day Camp at her congregation, Good Shepherd, Raleigh. “Our kids came away from a week of camp with a feeling of joyful belonging, a slew of fun stories, and a deeper experience of the faith.” In fact, Pastor Marsha continues, “after a week of Day Camp, my daughter told me the story of the Walk to Emmaus for fun…that says it all.”
When Pastors Lisa and Michael Beery (Community in Christ, Cornelius) picked up their son from his first-ever week away at Camp Agapé, they knew it had been a good week. “He wanted to stay for the rest of the summer! As our kid’s pastors, we are grateful for the opportunity for our child to spend a week surrounded by faith-filled and faithful leaders who led him in worship, devotion, and learning about creation all while affirming his gifts as a child of God with 8-year-old energy and eagerness to try new fun things like archery and CORCLing that he can’t do in his own backyard. ‘Mom, we did church IN THE POOL!’ We are grateful for a place apart at Agapé that helps our child experience that the church isn’t a building, God’s praises can be sung anywhere, and a tremendous amount of fun can be had during all of it!”
Parents always hope that their kids’ camp experience will be a haven for them—regardless of their age. If your teenager just happens to come back from a week at camp talking non-stop about Bible conversations, fabulous counselors, and wanting to invite friends next year, that is a win!
These two outdoor ministries of our synod—Agape Kure Beach Ministries, Inc., and NovusWay—both have long, treasured histories of providing time apart, intentional community, and encounters with God’s creation for both kids and adults. Supporting these important faith-forming ministries has been a priority for the North Carolina Synod since each of their beginnings, many decades ago. In fact, the total budgeted amount earmarked in the synod’s 2022 budget for these camps is $125,600. Additionally, this summer, both as a support to our camps and our rostered ministers, scholarships were offered from the synod to rostered ministers sending their kids to camp.
Your Mission Support dollars are part of this story! The part of your congregational giving which gets passed along to the synod is, with gratitude, forwarded on to the marvelous outdoor ministries which are building faith from one end of our beautiful state to the other. Thank you for your generosity and the way your gifts support these ministries and the rostered ministers of this synod.