I cannot overemphasize how formative going to Christian camps have been in my lifetime. I have had the opportunity to attend a camp at every one of our four campsites in this conference, either as a camper or counselor, or both. If you are not familiar with our campsites, they include Twinlow, located on Twin Lakes near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Lazy F (where Henry is working), located near Ellensburg, Washington, Indianola, located on Elliot Bay across from Seattle, and Ocean Park, located on the Long Beach Peninsula. Each site is unique and beautiful. Ocean Park was my favorite. I went to Senior High camp there for four years, and then returned as a camp counselor several times after that. Every week spent at camp was transformative.
But camping is not just for children and youth. By the time you read this, I will probably be half way through Seabeck Christian Family Camp. This camp is the most special of all to me. I have gone to this camp every year of my life, so this year will be my 55th year at Seabeck (I was 6 months old the first year I went. I don’t remember much about that camp). Seabeck is a tradition in our family. It was originally part of the United Methodist Camping program of this conference, but for a variety of reasons, the conference decided they no longer wanted to include us in their camping ministry. And so we had to change, and became our own 501C3, and named ourselves Seabeck Christian Family Camp. We are interdenominational now as our participants come from many different religious traditions. The leadership is still primarily United Methodist however.
Every year there is a theme to the week. A resource leader that the Seabeck Council chooses develops this theme. Our theme for this year is Not In God’s Name and our resource leader is the Reverend Brett Strobel, a United Methodist pastor from the Oregon/Idaho conference. Rev. Strobel is currently on leave of absence after having most recently served Christ United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon.
Along with the Sr. High youth and adult program, there is a children’s program that is akin to a Vacation Bible School. So while the adults and Sr. High youth listen to the resource speaker, the children along with the mid-high group, have a program all their own.
In the afternoons and evenings, there are planned events throughout the week that add to the fun—a giant slip-n-slide, Weird Cup Soccer, and Chicken Football just to name a few. There’s lots of unscheduled time as well that you and your family can spend just the way you want. I liken Seabeck to a “Land Cruise.” Just like on a cruise, there’s always something going on, but you choose whether or not you want to take part.
But what makes Seabeck so special are the relationships that have developed over the years. It’s one of the few times when all my siblings, along with their children (and now grandchildren) are all in the same space together. Most of my closest relationships have been birthed at Seabeck. This would be true of my relationship with God. My first “heart-warming” experience of God occurred at Seabeck.
So if you’re looking for an amazing vacation for you and your family for 2018, you might want to look into Seabeck Christian Family Camp (the dates are July 29th through August 4th- Sunday afternoon through Saturday morning). I have the privilege of being the resource leader for 2018, but don’t let that stop you from coming. I guarantee you that if you go to a Christian camp, whether that’s at Seabeck or any of the four conference campsites, you will leave a changed person.
August Sermon Texts, Themes, and Titles for August
We strive to make worship meaningful, relevant, and challenging each and every Sunday. You are challenged to make worship a regular part of your life. You are invited to take some time to read the Scripture and reflect on the passages before each worship service.
August 6th: Guest Preacher- Carol Mason.
August 13th: Help! The Scripture passages will be Psalm 18:5-6; Psalm 30 and the theme will be seeking God’s help through prayer. This will be the first in a three-part series based on Anne Lamott’s book Help, Thanks, and Wow!
August 20th: Thanks! The Scripture passages will be Psalm 100 and Colossians 3:12-17 and the theme will be giving thanks to God through prayer. This will be the second installment in a three-part series based on Anne Lamott’s book Help, Thanks, and Wow!
August 27th: Wow! The Scripture passage will be Psalm 145:1-6, and the theme will be praising God in our daily lives. This is the final installment in a three-part series based on Anne Lamott’s book Help, Thanks, and Wow!
September 3rd: Do This, Don’t Do That! The Scripture passage will be Romans 12:9-21 and the theme will be rules for living in community.
Worship is a vital part of a growing and vibrant faith. So make sure you attend on a regular basis. And bring a friend or two with you. It’s a great way to introduce someone to Jesus.
Centralia First UMC's Strategic Plan
Vision: To practice extravagant hospitality and live out the radical inclusivity that Jesus Christ modeled for us so that all persons find a safe harbor in this church.
There are so many people in our community who have felt unwelcomed by the church in general. Particular subgroups (LGBT and those who struggle with mental illness for example) have been judged and condemned, and often feel that the church is an enemy as opposed to a source of comfort and support.Throughout his ministry, Jesus was constantly reaching out and incorporating into his ministry the disenfranchised and marginalized.His unconditional love and acceptance of others was the catalyst of reconciliation and transformation.
Our target audience is all those who have felt unwelcomed by the Church, as well as the millennial generation who do not see homosexuality as a sin. Given the progressive nature of this vision, those of a more liberal mindset would also be targeted.
One of the first action steps would be for us to launch a study on officially becoming a Reconciling Congregation. The Reconciling Ministries Network only has one official step in becoming a reconciling congregation, and that is to craft a welcoming statement.After the church officially adopts this welcoming statement, individuals would be given the opportunity to declare themselves Reconciling United Methodists.
A second action step in this plan is to rework our published information regarding our church to reflect this change. Newsletters, websites, Facebook page, brochure, etc. would all have to be updated.
A third action step is to establish and nurture a deepening relationship with the student body at Centralia College. In order to reach out to the millennial generation, we would take advantage of our close proximity to Centralia College.Some actions steps include strengthening our connection with the College by holding a Pastor Chat type gathering on a weekly basis at the new Student Union building upon it’s completion.
Another action step is to erect a chalkboard of some sort that engages the students in thought-provoking ways. For example, on the chalkboard are printed, “My Biggest Regret…” and people are invited to share their thoughts.At another time, the words, “Love is…” are printed on the chalkboard, and students are again asked to share their thoughts.This could be an ongoing interaction.Results would be posted on our Facebook page as well as our website.
The timeline for these action steps vary. The goal of becoming a Reconciling Congregation can begin immediately so that it is completed by the end of January 2017.
The chalkboard outreach is in process and should be up by the end of 2016.
And as soon as the TransAlta Student Commons is completed (scheduled to be done by September 2016) we will begin to hold our Pastor Chats there. The hope is to offer the students an opportunity to meet and get to know the pastor, and maybe even engage the pastor in some theological conversation.Hopefully, these contacts will eventually lead to more millennials worshipping in our church.
Benchmarks we will be striving to meet include a greater participation from the LGTQ community in the life of the church.
Another benchmark will be increased participation in worship, outreach, missions, etc. from the millennial generation. The millennial generation is defined as people born between 1977 and 1994.
The stakeholders include the pastor and all the leadership team. They will be primarily responsible for carrying out and sharing this vision.
Most of the action steps do not require any additional funds.
We will begin by sharing our vision with the rest of the leadership team. Their buy in will be key.We will also use publications such as our newsletter to communicate the plan to the congregation.Our website and Facebook page will also be key in spreading the word.