Friday, April 29, 2016

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

May 2016: "Camping Out"

Dear Church,

Despite my many attempts to enjoy camping in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scout as a kid, as an adult I have had to accept that I am only a daytime outdoorsman. I enjoy the outdoors a great deal when it involves hiking, grilling or cooking out over a campfire, or even simply walking the Oregon and Washington beaches.

But at night? I really, *really* love a warm bed, a roof, and electricity.

Which means that as much as I may have tried to like the brand of camping people simply more rugged than I enjoy, I really am much more of a creature suited for the type of camp that, say, our Northwest region within the church features up in Lacey, at Gwinwood, where church camp is held every year for our region's children.

I got to attend church camp several times as a kid myself, and each chance was a genuinely life-affirming, joyous occasion for me (even the one time when I leaped into the creek on a dare--and then stuffed my soaked clothes into my can imagine how great it smelled by the time I got home). It is something I long since realized that I would want for every kid raised in whatever congregation I would end up pastoring.

And, this July and August, it is the turn for our own kids here at FCC Longview. We have been able to send a few kids to camp in the past several years and would like to be able to keep that tradition going! There are two different weeks of overnight church camps being held at Gwinwood this year: the week of July 11 for children entering grades 2-6, and the week of July 31 for children entering grades 7-12.

The theme for each camp is "Fearless Faith," which is meant to give our children the courage to be able to say yes to, and live out, their faith within their own lives with their family and friends, whilst making new friends from across the state during their week at church camp--which, I can verify firsthand, has beds, roofs, and electricity!

The early bird rates for camp are $225 for grades 2 and 3, $335 for grades 4-6, and $345 for grades 7-12 (presumably because well all know how much teenagers can eat?!). To be eligible for the early bird rates, children must be registered for camp by May 30 for grades 2-6 and June 17 for grades 7-12.

cholarships *are* available from both the regional office and from a line item in FCC's money market account specifically set aside for education and scholarships. If your kid(s) would like to go to camp this year and cost is an obstacle, please reach out to me as soon as possible so that we can work on arranging a scholarship. You can obtain the necessary registration forms by contacting our secretary, Charlotte, at the church office during her regular office hours.

Church camp is a truly fantastic opportunity for any child in our church community to be able to take part in, and if your child is old enough and interested in attending this year, we would love to be able to make that happen!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

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