Camping: Pathway to discipleship

Fun, faith and friendships are nurtured at the Carson Simpson Farm Summer Camp.  Photo courtesy of Carson Simpson Farm.

Article by The Rev. Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien*
I always marveled at the excitement of the children to be part of the body of Christ by sharing with other their joy of singing songs around the campfire!
By exploring the beauty of God’s creation in our four beautiful camps, children and adults can enjoy and reflect on God’s goodness.  Camp experiences help persons of all ages grow in their love of God, develop their potential, and become contributing disciples.
My daughter, Anne, was president of the student senate in her high school, and is now secretary of the sophomore class at Boston University.  Her leadership gifts have been gradually learned through opportunities that started in church, with making announcements in church about Sunday School, youth, or acolyte service, and in going to summer camp at Camp Innabah, Pocono Plateau, and Gretna Glen.  She grew into her confidence and leadership abilities in part through her camp experiences; all these things help a child to grow.
As a pastor in Reading, I encouraged the churches to collaborate, where camp staff came down and worked with volunteers to offer week-long day camps for church and community children.  Together we created great camping experiences in a local church setting.   When we held our camp closing ceremony on Sunday, with a great choir of children, their parents watched in the pews, along with the school superintendent, a principal, community leaders, police chief, and neighborhood watch.  What a marvelous celebration it was!   Our camp was a great way to invite neighborhood children and their parents into the church, and a great way to grow our congregation and make disciples.  When children come, the parents come, too!
When we take our vows as members of The United Methodist Church, we pledge our prayers, presence, gifts, and service.  You have an opportunity to fulfill your vows through the exciting camping program.  Please keep our camp and retreat ministry in your prayers, sign up for the many wonderful camp and retreat opportunities, pledge your church’s and your own financial support of the “Pathway to Our Future” funding initiative, and volunteer in one of our camps.  There are so many opportunities and you will find your life enriched by the experience!
Find out more about camping in the four beautiful camps of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference:
What’s cooking for Summer Camp 2012?  S’mores and more… Find out in the February NEWSpirit!
·         See a photo of Bishop Peggy Johnson as she plays a shop-owner of the ancient Holy Land at Carson Simpson Farm’s Summer Camp;
·         Hear how Dr. Christopher Kurien credits camping in part for helping t his daughter, Ann, develop as a disciple and a leader;
·         Read what Rev. Jim Heath says about the “Pathway to Our Future” camping funding initiative;
·         See the smiling faces of young disciples whose lives have been changed by our four wonderful camps!
·         What is the Pathway to Our Future?  Find out in the February NEWSpirit, now online:
*The Rev, Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien is the Director of Connectional Ministries for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church: