“Camp Christian: Building The Beloved Community”

July 15, 2018
Jonathan Rumburg
Isaiah 11:1-9

Introduction

For over sixty years Camp Christian has been a holy and sacred ground where children, youth, and adults have gone to encounter God in unique and special ways not found in many settings.  And as they do so, intentionally, but maybe accidentally and innocently, yet always faithfully, they partner in building the beloved community which is…a society based in justice, acceptance, hope, peace, joy, and love—where all people come to know they are a holy and beloved child of God.

Now, is this the explicit message every camper and counselor hears each morning when the Camp Christian bell rings to wake everyone up for a new day?  No.

Yet this is the message and intent in every day at camp—to promote and instill this message and this truth in each program, in each class and Quest group, in each Vesper service, in each Talent Show and Skit Night, in each free time activity, in each meal, in each Consecration service.

Camp Christian has aimed to bring together children, youth, and adults together to build this beloved community—but not simply for a week, and then you go home.  Rather, to be immersed in such a community, and then to become equipped to go forth to further build such community in our homes, school, churches, places of work—or wherever we are.

I could spend many a sermon time telling you about the impact of Camp Christian on my life.  And in a way I suppose I do each week because it was at Camp Christian that I got my call to ministry—which means I stand before you week after week because of Camp Christian.

But today I want for you to hear about the impact Camp is having from some others—youth and parents—who have been impacted by the beloved community that is Camp Christian.

Already this summer we have sent to Camp: Violet Rumburg, Lane, C.J. and Dixie Ball, Pete Fletcher, and Zoey Waite.

Next Sunday Elise Fauvie and Kaedyn Channey will head to Camp.

So let us hear from some of them about their experience with Camp Christian and building the beloved community.

No text copy of the speakers.  Please listen to the audio file for the tremendous stories and accounts of youth and parents connected to Camp Christian.

Conclusion

Our text from Isaiah gives us a picture of the work the Messiah will come and do, and the truth the Messiah will establish—that there will be a peaceable kingdom, that there will be a holy and beloved community.

That is an ongoing endeavor to which God calls us to partner with God in making a reality in our society today.

Through the life and ministry, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ much of that work has been done for us—yet it is still up to us to share this Good News, and equip others to find and share this message themselves.

And that is what Camp Christian has been doing for over 60 years.

Yet the next 60 years, and actually, the next year, is in question because of rising costs and financial strains the Christian Church in Ohio is currently working to navigate.

To date, Camp Christian has a significant mortgage—from a loan taking a few years ago to aid in facility updates and programing needs— that is hindering its ability to maximize its ministry intent.

This has spurred a grassroots movement to raise funds to reduce and even eliminate that mortgage.

Coins for Camp Campaign is the name of that effort, and it invites us to consider how we can join in this effort to ensure Camp Christian will continue to be a place where children, youth, and adults can always go and have an encounter with God in unique and special ways not found in many settings.

But this is done not just through  financial support of Camp.  It is done first and foremost when we remain strong and true to the commitment to what Isaiah outlines in chapter 11—that we are those who believe in, and will work with and for the one who came to build the beloved community throughout all the earth.

So may we aim to fulfill this calling.

May we do so by doing all we can to support Camp Christian.

May we do so by encouraging our young people to go to places like Camp Christian.

And may we do so by living the Good News the prophet Isaiah proclaims comes to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let us, continue to build God’s beloved community.  Amen.

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