Photos & Story by Patrick Scriven
On Sunday, May 19th, numerous supporters were on hand to dedicate a new dining hall at Lazy F Camp and Retreat Center outside of Ellensburg, Washington. Lazy F, one of four United Methodist camps operating in the Pacific Northwest Conference, raised over $2.1 million for this project, building upon years of steady growth.
After a warm greeting and prayer from the Rev. David Tinney, Cathy Raymond shared the biblical story of the feeding of the 5,000, a reminder of generosity made manifest again in the project. Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky offered her own words of blessing and encouragment through a video, itself an opportunity to showcase AV equipment and the facility’s more practical design.
PNW Camping executive Alan Rogstad shared a short story about one early moment in the process of getting the dining hall project off the ground. He recalled walking into a meeting with Virginia Searls, a strong advocate for the camp, seeking approval to raise funds, something akin to “defending a dissertation.” As they made their pitch, he was soon surprised when people responded by telling their own stories of the transformative power of camp in their lives.
The Rev. Brad Beeman offered a moving homily during the dedication service, revealing that he first attended the camp with his family as a child in 1963. Beeman reminisced about the beautiful log lodge that burnt down in 1968, the rock ledge that has yet to fall as one drives up the canyon, and he shared how the camp’s ministry has continued on through the years to impact new generations, including his own children. His daughter, Cora, joined him in leading the assembly in the singing of several energetic camp songs.
Soon after, Rev. Tinney had the honor of revealing the official name for the new facility, Manastash Lodge, one of a number of suggestions the camp had solicited from social media.
Later in the program, Dave Burfeind shared again the names of those who were being remembered for their impact on the camp, by having parts of the new construction named after them.
- The Searls Dining Room named in memory of Virginia and Foster Searls
- Linda’s Lounge named after Linda Toycen
- The Mack Cross View Courtyard named to honor Kara and Morris Mack
Rev. Bruce Smith and Shannon Brannon led those gathered in a responsive dedication of the space.
It did not go unmentioned that nothing was being named after Dave Burfeind himself. His vision for the camp and an expanded understanding of its ministry “for others,’ a collaborative spirit, and Burfeind’s tireless encouragement were lifted up as essential ingredients to the project’s success.
Patrick Scriven serves as Director of Communications and Young People’s Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church.