Bishop Peggy Johnson appealed to Eastern PA Conference churches and members in a letter this week to support our four Camp & Retreat Centers as they struggle financially from the cancellation of Summer Camp and numerous events in the still looming shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The camps have had to make painful choices to cut staff and other costs, while trying to offer limited activities online and onsite, uncertain of when the pandemic will end and if they will recover.
But the bishop, in her August 27 letter, expresses faith in the Holy Spirit and hope in the support that already exists for the camps, which she describes as “important mission extension outposts for our churches and the greater community. They are one of the most effective evangelism tools we have.”
While initial government loans helped a lot after the pandemic struck, and the Conference Council on Finance and Administration provided additional funds, trying to maintain just basic staff and services in the coming months would result in a budget deficit, Bishop Johnson admitted.
“Thus, I am asking you–churches, members and friends of our Conference—to embrace a vision of what it would look like if every church would donate $300 to support our camp centers and avoid a budget shortfall,” she writes. “Such well-deserved generosity would help them with their already scaled-back payroll needs through the rest of this year and provide some funds to help them plan, resource and launch a new year of exciting retreats and camping adventures in 2021.
Citing the “power and possibilities of our United Methodist connection,” the episcopal leader urges members, friends, groups and churches to “please consider donating online, or send checks to the Treasurer’s Office, Eastern PA Conference, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Inndicate Camp and Retreat Ministries in the memo line.
She also promotes the conferences other online giving options, including the new Giving page on our conference website, the church remittances portal (#302) and our Text-to-Give option at 610-463-0244. Use CAMP – Camp Retreat Ministry
“Our Conference has been successful in paying down our pre-1982 clergy pension liability,” the bishop writes, citing that as a reason to hope. “I believe we can help our beloved camps in their time of need as well.”