By Peter Fraser
Our four camps in the Pacific Northwest Conference are missional. If you doubt this, look no further than page 15 of the Funding Ministry and Mission Outreach document. There you will find a heading titled, “Five Other Ways To Be In Mission” listing “additional ways that individuals, groups and congregations can be involved in mission.” On this same page it lists Special Offering Sundays, and one of our Conference Designated Offering (or Advanced Special) suggestions is a Camp Sunday.
I have to be entirely honest with you. For the past several years I have received this document and somehow have missed this page entirely. I knew that Camp Sundays were an option, but it took another member of CBS (Camping Board of Stewards), Sandi Miller, to point out that they are officially a recognized Conference Offering Sunday. And while the document suggests February as the month to have one, any Sunday during the year can be a Camp Sunday.
Here are some suggestions on how to have a Camp Sunday:
- Dedicate an entire Sunday service to camp. Contact Alan Rogstad, Executive Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries (email@example.com) to come to your church and give a talk about camping. Plan for all the songs during service to be camp songs. Have kids/youth/adults give testimonies on how camping has impacted them and their faith journey. Collect a special offering for one or all four of our camps. And wear camp clothing, t-shirts and hoodies and even set up a fake campfire (which can look as cool as a real campfire).
- Dedicate part of a Sunday service to camp. Have someone from your church give a camp testimony, and sing at least one camp song. During fellowship time have a taco bar or similar camp style luncheon and help raise funds for camperships to send kids in the church to camp or for the general Campership fund.
- Have camp literature available during a Sunday service. While we have moved away from paper promotional material, it is still available to send to your church if that would be helpful. Contact Alan Rogstad and he will make sure to get extra material to your church.
- Show a video from camp during Sunday service. Go to our PNW Camping YouTube page and show a video from our channel or visit pnwcamps.org for more information and resources.
- Contact one of our four outstanding Camp Directors to come to your church and speak during a Sunday service: Indianola Director Darin Gemmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lazy F Director Dave Burfeind (email@example.com), Ocean Park Director Brandon Scheer (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Twinlow Director Tyler Wagner (email@example.com). If they are not available, ask if there are staff members or former campers that can come and speak on their behalf.
These are just a few suggestions, if you have more ideas, please leave them in the comment section below or contact myself or Alan Rogstad. Our camps need your support and a Camp Sunday not only highlights the missional nature of our camping program, but also brings our four camps to your congregation’s attention. Thank you for all you do for camping!
Peter Fraser serves as chairperson for the Pacific Northwest Camping Board of Stewards which helps to provide support and oversight for the four United Methodist camps in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference.