As I reflected on the meaning of acceptance, and how this value is needed in Camp and Retreat Ministries, one of the memories that surfaced was my college search.
Many young people spend countless hours writing essays, filling out applications, seeking letters of reference, and studying very hard to improve their grades, all for the college admissions process. They are doing what folks have done for generations: trying to share their best self in order to earn acceptance to the college or university of their choice.
I am sure many of us can recall the feelings of anxiety and excitement as we waited to receive word back, the overwhelming joy of being told “you are accepted, just as you are, to our institution” or the deflating feeling of being told “no, we do not want to accept you at this time.”
My hope and dream for Camp Latgawa, and Camp and Retreat Ministries as a whole, is that we may offer acceptance to each of our guests, freeing them from the stress or anxiety of not feeling welcome. I believe that our camps and programs have been set aside as a holy place, for ALL people, regardless of where they are in life.
John Wesley described God’s grace as three-fold; the first part of grace being known as prevenient grace: God’s grace and love is actively flowing towards each of us, not dependent on any action or request. Our settings at Camps and Retreat centers give us an awesome opportunity to be an example of that prevenient grace; you are welcome here, just as you are, without a need to justify yourself.
My hope is that this reminder and message of acceptance of who you are sparks joy and excitement in you, and that you are able to visit camp soon so that you may experience this grace in person.