Since the beginning of operations at Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry and Retreat Center in Mid-Atlantic District, there has been a focus on hospitality and spirituality. A year ago, it was decided to take this a step further. Several spiritual directors, board members, and staff met to discuss ways we can open the facility to a deeper spiritual awareness.
Every summer, multiple generations gather at a Church of the Brethren camp for a time of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation. For 20 years now, some 120 to 180 people come together for Song and Story Fest, one week each year set aside for singing, playing music, and hearing and telling stories.
There are two new books in the Covenant Bible Studies series from Brethren Press: “Ten Reasons to Love Leviticus” and “More Miracles of Jesus.” Also newly available from the Church of the Brethren publishing house is the 2016 camping curriculum on DVD, titled “Branching Out.”
This year’s Song and Story Fest, a family camp and gathering of Brethren musicians and storytellers, will mark a milestone: the 20th anniversary of the annual event. The 2016 Song and Story Fest is scheduled for July 3-9 at Camp Blue Diamond near Petersburg, Pa.
The members of the 2016 Youth Peace Travel Team have been announced. As the team spends time with youth this summer at camps across the denomination, they will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation, all core values throughout the Church of the Brethren’s 300-plus year history.
The first retreat for the SMEAS (Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar) Camp Leaders Cohort took place Nov. 19-21, 2015, at Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry and Retreat Center in Mid-Atlantic District. Participants had completed their annual Outdoor Ministries Association Retreat and stayed onsite for this new continuing education program.
Every year in mid-November, those engaged and interested in Church of the Brethren outdoor ministries gather for a conference and retreat. Camp managers, administrators, program coordinators, board members, and those who love and support outdoor ministries come together for a week of sharing, learning, and enjoying each other’s company, and of course, the great outdoors.
The ninth Family Peace Camp was held at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., from Friday evening to Sunday noon, Sept. 4-6, just before labor Day. This year the resource leader was Kathryn Bausman, co-pastor of Community Church of the Brethren in Twin Falls, Idaho, with her husband Mark Bausman. Both Kathryn Bausman as speaker, and the theme, “Living into Scripture, Today! Building Justice and Peace,” were chosen with the help of On Earth Peace.
Following the closing worship service of the 229th Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, in Tampa, Fla., there was a second gathering of Brethren at Camp Ithiel in Atlantic Southeast District. The EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir and a number of other guests from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) stayed at the camp for a time of rest and recovery following a demanding tour that took them to Church of the Brethren congregations across the United States.
The 2015 Mountain Meadows Song and Story Fest on the theme, “Moving in Time With…” is planned for July 26-Aug. 1 at Camp Wilbur Stover, New Meadows, Idaho. Song and Story Fest is an annual intergenerational family camp featuring Brethren musicians and storytellers, co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. This is the 19th summer in a row for Song and Story Fest.