Nurturing Faith at Wallowa Lake

May 25, 2018

Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries

Foundation 3: "Nurture Christian Faith and Discipleship"

by Peggy Lovegren, Director of Wallowa Lake Camp

It is a great joy to nurture Christian faith and discipleship at Wallowa Lake United Methodist Camp! Nurturing faith is behind everything we do. 
 
From the staff and volunteers we hire to the expectations we set that these talented people will offer remarkable hospitality to every guest and visitor.

From selecting great curriculum to offering inspiring camp programs we always think about how those things nurture faith and discipleship.

Being at camp, “away from home and life’s distractions”, in a safe, healthy, beautiful, and sacred space opens people to “hearing and seeing God”.   Maintaining our facilities and sacred grounds and having outdoor chapels and spaces for people to meditate are a very important part of that. 
 
Being in loving community and fellowship also nurtures faith. Camps have large and small gathering spaces for both learning and playing together.
 
When people are fed healthy, delicious meals, within community they feel comforted and loved and are more open to meeting new people, and growing both intellectually and spiritually.  One time I overheard two women in their 80s who said they’d seen each other for years but had never spoken to each other.  After meeting at a camp meal, they visited for over 2 hours and realized what great friends they could be!
 
Places and opportunities to grow spiritually are always available at camp, often happening casually in conversation over coffee or while volunteering in the kitchen, or going on a walk.  We write up a “thought for the day” which often starts great discussions, as do the conversational starters on each dining table, and free bibles available to all.  We make sure our Christian youth camp curriculum allows for different religions, “questions and  opinions”. Saying grace before meals, open Bible studies, invitation to church services, and loving acceptance of all make growing spiritually a natural happening at Wallowa Lake Camp.
 
Did you know that a youth coming to a week of camp will spend more time in Christian learning than in a whole year of attending Sunday School classes?

It brings tears to my eyes to remember the youth who arrived never having heard of “Jesus” to when she left telling me “she would never feel “alone” again, that God loves her!”
 
Think how exciting it would be to have that many non-believers walk into church on a Sunday morning?  That’s how it is at camp….the opportunities to nurture Christian faith and discipleship and share the Good News are abounding!  Thank the Lord we get to be a part of this exciting adventure!

Through the Love of Jesus,

Peggy

© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon