Greetings to all in the Love of Jesus Christ:
“Pharaoh, Pharaoh, Oh baby, let me people go!”
“You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.”
“Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary …”
“Come, and go with me, to my Father’s house …”
“Some-times in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow …”
If these lines sound familiar, if you start humming, tapping your foot, or if you just got up out of your chair and started dancing and singing and walking around the room – perhaps you’ve been to church camp. Or perhaps you sent your child to church camp, and they came home singing and singing and singing until you knew all the songs by memory.
That might be the case for several parents around our Region, as 13 campers and 3 adult leaders from Arizona went to Winter Camp at Loch Leven Retreat Center this past weekend. The theme of Winter Camp was: “Virtual Faith IRL.” Now before I lose your attention, let me admit … I had no idea what that meant. It turns out, for any of you who are as clueless about modern lingo as I am, that “IRL” is code for “In Real Life.” Apparently when the on-line world came to be, people used to distinguish between their “virtual life” and their “real life.” So they would tell their online friends: “In real life, I’m just a 14-year-old boy who is the backup catcher on my high school team.” Except they’d text: “IRL, I’m just …”
Several years later, however, there is not so much distinction between being online and your real life. In other words, our real lives involve the use of technology. It is ever-present. And so the point of camp was not to say that “real life” is better than “virtual life,” but to say that we are called to live our whole lives, including the virtual parts of our lives, in ways that are pleasing to God. Campers made short movies to express a faith message, practicing using technology to communicate positive messages and to explore how faith can be part of our virtual life.
Winter Camp was our third camp partnership with the Pacific Southwest Region, following Summer Camp in 2022 and 2023. We are grateful for this inter-Regional partnership. And we are most very grateful to Church of the Palms UCC in Sun City who generously loaned us their church bus to make the trip. All children and youth in the Arizona Region are invited to join us this summer for the next installment of Summer Camp (dates found below). If you want to know more, you can ask me, or you can ask one of the parents at Foothills who were waiting in the parking lot Monday afternoon as the bus pulled in full of enthusiastic campers singing: “Pharaoh, Pharoah, Oh baby, let my people go! Oooh, ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!”
Dios les bendiga,